oct 2021 reads

October Mini Book Reviews

 

 

Hi friends. Hope this finds you well.

Halloween is almost upon us, and what better way to celebrate than with some spooky reads?

This month I started off with an appropriate read, The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor.

Although most of the other reads are not very Halloweenish, their covers are very Fall appropriate. The orange and similar colored covers are how I picked my reads this month.

You can tell by the picture that my TBR list is, once again, very ambitious, but a girl can dream!

We will see what I actually end up reading once the month ends, but I probably won’t get to most of those.

But let’s start with the first read of the month,

The Burning Girls, by C.J. Tudor.

 

the burning girls book cover

 

This is my second novel by author CJ Tudor, and I have to say it is my favorite of the two. I’ve read The Hiding Place, but I can’t say it was memorable.

 

Plot

Reverend Jack Brooks gets transferred to Chapel Croft, a small village that is filled with some dark history. 

A single mother of teenager Flo, she hopes the move will give them a fresh start after a somewhat challenging time at her old parish.

But within days of their arrival, strange things start happening, and it freaks them both out. On one hand, Jack wants to trust her daughter and her friendship with underdog Luca Wrigley. But, as we will realize as we read on, her maternal instincts prove to have been spot on.  

The book has many twists and turns, and the discoveries the Reverend and her daughter makes are dark and gruesome.

Everyone in this small village seems to have something to hide, but she won’t rest until she gets all the answers she needs.

The truth is even more disturbing than she had imagined, but it does help her relationship with her daughter.

 

Thoughts

Honestly, I was a bit skeptical when I read the synopsis, but I was pleasantly surprised. 

Tudor’s writing style is easy to follow, and although the subject matter is a little dark, I found myself chuckling at times.

She has a sarcastic side to her writing that works for me and distracts from the twisted plot.

I gave this book four stars on Goodreads.

 

 

The Last Story Of Mina Lee

 

the last story of mina lee

 

This book tells a story of an immigrant Korean woman who raised her daughter by herself in LA.

 

Plot

A depressing story of an immigrant Korean woman that settles in the United States and raises a daughter by herself.

Mina, of Korean origin, is approaching forty and flees her hometown after she loses her husband and daughter in a tragic accident. She can’t deal with being in the same city where her loved ones lost their lives, so she goes as far away as possible.

But she doesn’t seem to have luck when it comes to love. She ends up getting pregnant by a coworker at the supermarket she works at, but he disappears from her life as well. 

The book has two timelines that intersect each other, told from both mother and daughter’s perspectives. Through her determination to find out how her mother dies, Margot finds out what really happened to Mina Lee in the end. 

 

Thoughts

 

It is a sad but heartwarming story that comes and awakes emotions in you you forgot you had. To be honest, the beginning was a bit slow for me.

But once Margot started digging in order to find answers pertaining to her mother’s death, I started to become more engaged in the story.

It is an interesting cultural lesson, in which the author portrays the way some immigrants see themselves and their role in modern society. Also, she analyses the way children of first-generation immigrants have a real struggle to fit in. No matter how hard they try, they feel like they don’t belong anywhere.

Although the writer brought some interesting points, the novel felt a bit flat and unspectacular. I rounded it off to three stars on Goodreads.

 

 

White Ivy by Suzie Yang

 

White Ivy book cover

 

The third read of October was advertised as a thriller, and obviously, that’s what attracted me to this book. But I didn’t find it to be a thriller. Honestly, I have no clue how to categorize it. Here’s a brief description, draw your own conclusions.

 

Plot

Ivy, the daughter of Chinese immigrants Nan and Shan, grows up in the United States, after being brought over to join her parents by her grandmother, Meifang. While she is young, her grandmother teaches her some immoral ways of survival, to put it mildly.

The way she’s brought up forms Ivy’s character as a liar and a thief, and as she gets older, even some more serious character flaws. 

When she’s at school as a teenager Ivy develops a crush on one of the golden boys, popular Gideon Spears. While at school she does some things to make her mother doubt she is behaving the way is expected of her. So she is sent to China by her mother with intentions of correcting her behavior, which has gone from bad to worse. 

On her return to the US, she finds out that the family relocated to New Jersey, and she loses hope of ever having a chance with her crush.

But as adults, their paths cross again by chance, and Ivy is determined to win Gideon over. Eventually, she does, even though their relationship is not as rosy as she thought it would be.

But the story takes an unexpectedly dark turn, which I won’t spoil in case some of you actually want to read this book. All I’m going to say is that it ends very weirdly, to put it nicely.

 

Thoughts

It was a disturbing read, but as I mentioned, I would not categorize it as a thriller. The main character, Ivy, is definitely twisted and messed up in a disturbing way. I’m all for ‘disturbing’ in my novels, but this was borderline mentally ill. 

So I can’t say I hated it because I was curious to find out how it ended and stuck it out until the end, but did not like it much either.

 A three-star on Goodreads, with a little nudge.

 

Where the Grass is Green and the Girls Are Pretty by Lauren Weisberger

lauren weisberger book cover

 

 

This is a light, fun read, although the title has nothing to do with the story. Although I prefer dark and twisty, once in a while I like to read something more ‘fluffy’.

 

Plot

The subject matter of the story is very current. Peyton, the star in the family, is a beloved anchor for one of the most-watched morning TV shows. Her life seems perfect until one little lie comes to destroy everything she worked so hard to build. 

Her sister Skye, whom she is super close with, is a stay-at-home mom that is highly educated, with degrees from all the right schools. But as the lie her sister told affects her own livelihood, she is forced to reevaluate her life. 

Then Max, Peyton’s daughter, is the most innocent in this story. She is a real fighter determined to do things on her own terms and is not afraid of taking chances. Extremely mature for her seventeen years, she does everything she can to pursue her real dream, not the one her parents want for her.

 

Thoughts

Unrealistic and at times superficial and infuriating, it did light up my mood tremendously. I enjoyed this read more than I expected, and although flawed, I did like all the characters. They all had a very human side to them, which only made them more endearing to me.

More of a fun beachy read, it can be enjoyed at any time. 

I gave this one four stars on Goodreads. If you’re looking to get lost in a story without getting too involved, I highly recommend it.

 

 

Although I did start another two books this month and still drudging through You Know You Want This since September, I ended up with only four finished books for October. Pretty average, so I guess I’m overall satisfied.

What have you read lately?

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