Kiss Her Once For Me by Alison Cochrun
What a pleasant surprise for my last book of the year to be a 5-star read! This was a fun, sweet book and the drama and yearning were JUICY!! There was a love trapezoid and high stakes and a ridiculous yet actually understandable premise for why they needed to fake marry. I normally don’t buy into romance only built from one day with each other but the yearning and author’s dramatic way of expressing sentimentalities got to me. I could also tell she put care into developing both the main character and her love interest, so we get a sense of who they are and their goals and their own individual arcs even outside of the romance. I also appreciated that miscommunication was addressed quickly and that the characters often talked about their feelings with each other (as the love interest says, miscommunication is for the straights). Overall, a sweet, messy sapphic rom-com that I hope gets a movie adaptation.
D'Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins
3.5 stars. This was a fun quick read and put me in the mood to watch reality TV. I like the premise for this fictional show and wish it existed in real life! Imagine all the fucked up messiness if this played out IRL lol. I wish there was more drama and that the stakes were higher though. For a book about reality TV, things worked out for the characters so easily and there was very minimal conflict, which is incongruent to how these entertainment networks play out. Can be enjoyed by readers looking for something simple and sweet though.
The American Roommate Experiment by Elena Armas
Didn’t feel any chemistry between the characters and some of the things that happened were unintentionally funny, i.e. the love interest saying he finds yellow paint attractive after he sees a picture of the main character dressed as a Minion, the love interest calling her an “avenging angel” after he stops her from throwing her purse at an attacker, etc. The best parts about these types of books are the smut scenes but this couple was constantly getting interrupted and giving me blue balls too. How dare you!
Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving by Celeste Headlee
Goes in-depth about the history of labor and how it has impacted work culture today. I feel like I didn’t learn that much new stuff though, since I was already aware of how behind America is compared to other countries and our obsession with overworking ourselves to prove our worth. Might be a good wake-up call for those who need it?
As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow by Zoulfa Katouh
Sad as fuck but earnest as fuck. A love letter for Syria that more young adults should read instead of, like, ACOTAR or something
The Maid by Nita Prose
A fun premise for a cozy murder mystery: Amelia Bedelia gets caught up in a murder mystery. The main character is endearing and likable, which makes me wish she played a bigger role in solving the mystery herself. I'm glad other characters come in to support her, but they also made things incredibly easy by giving her instructions for what to do. I would have liked her to have more agency, especially if we could see her use her unique strengths to crack the mystery. I also wanted more juicy twists to make things more interesting, but what is revealed near the end just left me more lukewarm.
This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens
The setup for this is unique and cute, but the love interest’s commitment issues was a big turnoff for me, and the the main character was so smitten and lovesick over him without much of a substantial reason other than him being a better alternative to her crappy boyfriend. Girl, stand up!!
Bunny by Mona Awad
I appreciate the experimental approach to the writing, especially as the main character gets more initiated into the cult and the story started feeling like a fever dream. I also liked the satire with writing groups and the way they critique and the MFA environment. However, the characters and story felt too juvenile for my tastes, and it was hard to believe that they were adults instead of teenagers (you could argue it’s because they’re supposed to be out of touch and immature, but ehh). I think this would be cool to watch as a movie but it wasn’t really my thing as a book.
The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
The main character is endearing but the plot itself was pretty predictable and obvious. Felt more like chick lit instead of a thriller.
Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
I was surprisingly engrossed with this book. The morbid and grotesque treatment of humans in this fictional world is just like the way we already treat animals in reality, so I was fascinated by the reimagined dynamic in this dystopian setting. However, the turn of events in the last half of the book made things go downhill, and the ending cemented a 2-star for me. Not because of personal disagreement with the main character’s actions (I’m aware of how he’s supposed to be portrayed as), but because it read more like a parody instead of a thoughtful critique. I mean, if you have a bunch of teenagers kicking a puppy while loudly shouting expositional dialogue about the government, you’ve kinda lost all subtlety at this point lmao