mnboyer's reviews
1728 reviews

Big Swiss by Jen Beagin

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dark emotional funny mysterious reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

This was absolutely weird from start to finish, but at the same time I couldn't stop wondering where it was going to go... none of the characters are likeable and the MC is one of those 'crazy girls' that we love to read about. No one here is perfect -- in fact, everything in the story is messy as hell. But I have to say, I just wanted more and more of the story. Perhaps it is just the Arizona monsoon weather that has me enjoying oddities that I normally would be harsher critiquing but this was, again, just one that I had to rush through. 

It isn't perfect. But, no one going to therapy (or working for a therapist!) is perfect either. 
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

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adventurous dark mysterious tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.0

<b>PopSugar 2016 reading challenge #29</b>

This is likely a book that you're supposed to love... but I just didn't love it. It follows a young woman coming-of-age in a dystopian society that both made sense in certain moments, yet did not in others. I didn't always understand her motivations and thought her decision making was a little, well, imperfect. I also wasn't a huge fan of the 'religiosity' that seeps into the book. There were moments where it felt like I was reading through thick mud while turning the pages... the pacing was great one moment, slow and deathly the next. I wanted something to stand out and nothing ever did -- so, alas, it was just a three star 'meh' from me. 
Five Broken Blades by Mai Corland

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adventurous dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

1.0

<b>Book of the Month Club: May 2024</b>

I must have started reading a different book than all of the people raving about this one. At about 10% into the audiobook, I started wondering if the author thought I was stupid. There were moments where the narrator said something along the lines of, "I was deep in my cups... which means drunk" (paraphrasing) -- look, I know what "deep in my cups" means and if you think your reader doesn't understand your metaphors, then perhaps you shouldn't be using them. You don't write something like this and then explain it to the reader. I mean, the reader isn't stupid. Again and again little things like this would pop up and it became overwhelming rather quickly! 

Multiple POVs can be great or can be a miss for me. These seemed to be a miss for me because even though these were different characters, the way in which they were thinking continued over and over again -- the same thought patterns. This other person I've encountered is hot. I want to sleep with them. Look. I like a romance as much as the next person. But there wasn't enough here to make me think these were just flat character archetypes and not fulfilled, rounded out living people. 

Now, very rarely do I DNF a book. But I kept thinking to myself "I get it, stop explaining your own work!" and after several times of thinking this, I gave up on this one. My TBR pile is just too big to sift though this one. 
Just Say Yes by Goldy Moldavsky

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hopeful informative medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.0

Okay, I'm going to have an unpopular opinion here: Getting married at 17 to try and keep yourself legal in the United States sounds like a really great idea, but in reality I don't think that should be the go-to answer for young woman facing immigration issues. I know, I know, I speak from a place of privilege where I've never, not once considered what I would do if suddenly my status as a citizen was called into question. And I admit that. But, I'm still going to say 17 is young for anyone to get married. If YA readers are the target audience, I just don't want them walking away from this book thinking that this is the <i>best</i> way to go about getting citizenship in a pinch. Quite honestly, some of the online dating moments were cringe -- and of course, maybe the point is that this would be cringe (having to fake a marriage). 

There are some very funny moments throughout the book, some cute moments, and even some sweet moments. As a whole, it almost works. There is just something that kept me from feeling this was a great ending to a book about an (empowered) young woman. I don't think that marrying someone is "brave," although you can tell that some may think, based on this story, that it was. 

As a whole, this is a middle of the road rating for me. I liked several parts of the story but others were a bit of a letdown. The ending... I just expected so much more. It took the wind out of my sails. 
The Return of Ellie Black by Emiko Jean

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

<b>Book of the Month: May 2024</b>

Ellie Black was abducted and her case goes cold. Suddenly, two years later, she stumbles back into town and detective Chelsey Calhoun is desperate for answers. Where has Ellie been? Does she have any information about other girls that were abducted around the same time as her? And the kicker is that Ellie really doesn't seem excited to share any information about anything. Sure, she's traumatized and has drawn herself inward, but does she really want to stop helping the investigation altogether? 

<img src="https://i.giphy.com/media/v1.Y2lkPTc5MGI3NjExbmVzNTljODRucjJ2bmtzOXFhaXZuMThmOGMwMGI2NWgyYnR4eXJhaSZlcD12MV9pbnRlcm5hbF9naWZfYnlfaWQmY3Q9Zw/57Ulq1oC617AapwUl4/giphy.gif" width="480" height="480" alt="description"/>

Chelsey is letting the case eat away at her relationship with her husband, Noah, largely in part due to the fact that she just refuses to believe Ellie doesn't know anything. Not to mention, her own sister, Lydia, disappeared decades ago and she's never gotten over that. Of course, you never would. 

Okay. So here's the review. 

This book had me hooked for 75% of the story. A girl disappears and then just randomly comes back two years later, without the help of any police. I mean, that's a miracle! The fact that Ellie is standoffish and doesn't really want to get involved in Chelsey's investigation (I mean... she doesn't want this serial abductor/rapist/killer to get found?!). 

<img src="https://i.giphy.com/media/v1.Y2lkPTc5MGI3NjExaXk1MGQ0bDhsYTNsMmRjZm96dTc4N3o5ZnN2cmR2MnNlZm14aDlqdCZlcD12MV9pbnRlcm5hbF9naWZfYnlfaWQmY3Q9Zw/PnfsGtSGXJjgcDo9cc/giphy.gif" width="480" height="480" alt="description"/>

Chelsey being absolutely crazy about solving this case... yeah! I completely understand where she's coming from. She has a good backstory (lost sister, bad father -- I mean, he's a jerk, let's be honest, and a kind of shaky marriage because she's so consumed with her work). I'm there. 

Ellie, telling her flashbacks to the 'camp' she was kept in. Horrifying. Yet, some of the best pieces of the book because they really draw you in! 

<img src="https://i.giphy.com/media/v1.Y2lkPTc5MGI3NjExdHpzcWIxcXRnYWd3YWN3dXN3dmI4YmV3ZHdieW93MTBmaWljcW5wNCZlcD12MV9pbnRlcm5hbF9naWZfYnlfaWQmY3Q9Zw/DZEplvtCuGqUVk2Ri3/giphy.gif" width="480" height="458" alt="description"/> 

And then... then there is the 'twist' ending. First, we find out who the abductor(s) are -- no, I won't tell you more about the (s) -- and the motivation behind these abductions. It is a little, I mean, hmm, it was a little much to try and pack into a few pages. I mean, does it really make sense? I guess it does in the sense that I decided sure... I guess that's a motive and this plot works. I was willing to suspend belief here even though I thought this didn't all mesh well enough. Whatever. 

Then there is a twist involving one of the other girls who was abducted and who is at this 'camp' in the woods. Now, that was too much. It just was too much for me to really enjoy and I hated that little fact -- minus one star. 

<img src="https://i.giphy.com/media/v1.Y2lkPTc5MGI3NjExNGxuaWllbWhod3Y5ZXY5MTVkdmhkbW0zcGNmaHU5emI5bzE5NnM2YSZlcD12MV9pbnRlcm5hbF9naWZfYnlfaWQmY3Q9Zw/pcoa9GfYAkJvS7exrl/giphy.gif" width="480" height="480" alt="description"/>

It was still a good book, overall. I just felt like the ending was 'off' and needed a little more work based on an otherwise good leadup. All in all, again, it was still a really quick, fun read. 


Hunt on Dark Waters by Katee Robert

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adventurous emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

PopSugar 2024 reading challenge #6

Katee Robert -- I love her work. This one... a little different.

I loved Bowen and, honestly, he was the main reason I kept reading this one. It took a bit to get invested in the story, but Bowen held his ground, and eventually I was slowly finding the story to be more enjoyable. There's just a lot going on... vampires, pirates, witches, world switching (and maybe kind of poor world creation, honestly). Again, there was a bit too much going on to really grab the story and love it.

But, in the end, it was still a fun read.

Added: The next story in the series isn't about Bowen at all (or, yet, I should say, I haven't finished it). Instead, it follows Lizzie. Weird twist. But I guess I'll travel that road as well! 
QueerceaƱera by Alex Crespo

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adventurous emotional hopeful informative lighthearted reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

Super cute!
The Idea of You by Robinne Lee

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emotional lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0

This reads like bad fanfiction for a majority of the book. Too much repetition, too much to be annoyed with, and yet... it was adapted into an almost watchable film (Anne Hathaway can save any film, to be honest). 

Look, I love the concept. 
I didn't love the execution. 

As much as I kept trying to read this as the 'feminist' novel it was being pitched as (by some, not all, admittedly) I couldn't get there either. A strong feminist would have been like, hell yeah... I'm 49 and you're 20 but guess what, we're doing this! That's not what you get. You get a woman who keeps reminding us of the age gap (yeah... we get it!). 
The Perfect Guy Doesn't Exist by Sophie Gonzales

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funny lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

I do love fanfiction. 

I do love lgbtq+ themed books (and this one was on a 'must read 2024' list, so I though, of course!). 

That being said, as fun and quirky as this book was, it was just kind of middle of the road for me. I can't actually pinpoint why I didn't fall in love with it, just know that I didn't. It is a quick read/listen and again, very cute and quirky. Lighthearted is great! 
Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

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emotional mysterious tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

I have never read a book with this many unlikeable characters (at least, not that I can remember). There seriously isn't a single person in this book that I don't take issue with -- and I guess Moriarty did a decent job of writing, because I kept reading. Heck, I even decided I was going to watch the Peacock TV adaptation of the novel [for those wondering, Sam Neil was great, I still hated all of the characters though, but I did find the show to be slightly more appealing... probably because of Sam Neil]. 

What can I really say? Everyone in this family is miserable.