Ya know what? October was a crummy reading month for me. I did not like most of what I read but I’ll tell you about it anyway. Despite not enjoying most of the books I read, I persisted and ended on a five-star read!
As always, any purchases made through links in this post will go to benefit my store, Twice Told Tales.
This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron
Order the paperback copy here.
Okay so when I said that I didn’t like the books I read in October, I forgot that I read This Poison Heart this month. It’s so good!!! I’m not a re-reader. In fact, this is the first book I’ve ever re-read! Yes, that’s true.* There are just too many books that require my attention to go around re-reading things. But I read this one for an online book club that I host and everyone voted for it. And hey! Re-reading is fun! Since I knew how it ends, I got to be pay closer attention this time around. It’s almost like when you watch The 6th Sense for the second time. You know what I mean?
Anyway, Bri is a teenager with some lowkey weird magical powers. Plants are drawn to her and sometimes she can even control them a little bit. She inherits a house in a small town which will solve her parents pressing money problems–so they decide to move there for the summer and see what they think. When she’s there, Bri gets in touch and learns to harness her powers with a little more precision and a lot less fear as time goes on. But wait–it looks like some people are willing to kill to get to what she has. DUN DUN DUN.
Anyway, I don’t want to give too much away but I will say that when we were able to really start our book club discussion, my friend David just leaned in and said, “Okay…. WHAT THE FUCK!” And I feel like that really encompasses the ending of this book. It’s a good one. If you decide to read this one, make sure you have the second book in the series on deck.
*edited to add: No, that’s not true. I’ve also re-read Crime and Punishment. Which is so damn good.
Hmmmm did not like.
This book had all the ingredients to build a story that I would love:
Family stories, timeline jumping, a large cast of characters that all come together in the end.
But sheesh. I just did not get into this one. Which isn’t something I say very often–if I’m not getting into a book, then I’ll just DNF but I kept feeling like it was just about to come together. And then it finally did–when there was 45 min left in the book. Eventually I began to understand and like these characters but it was far too close to the end before that happened. Also I’m not even sure this book had a climax.
It was like looking at a plate of ingredients as opposed to eating a delicious dish.
It’s October. I wanted to read something spooky!!
The premise of this book is so good: Girls continue to be “lost” in the woods outside of town. Who or what is taking them? There was so much potential here.
This was not for me. Horror isn’t my typical reading genre–let’s get that out of the way right off the bat. I’ve found that watching horror movies makes me so nervous, scared, and jumpy! But every horror novel I’ve ever read has just left me feeling confused and wondering, “Wait is this supposed to be a scary part?”
Also in this book in particular I felt frustrated about certain things. Like, in the last 25% of the book the main character mentions a skill that she has that will be profoundly useful in defeating the villain–but this was never mentioned before now. Or one character will be described as, say, full of unyielding energy and then a few lines later they’re so exhausted they can barely move. These little things just kept me feeling frustrated as a reader and unable to get sucked in like I wanted to be. It just felt incomplete.
Okay now we’re talking! This book really did it for me!
Such Sharp Teeth is a story about a woman who was attacked by a werewolf and, surprise surprise, becomes one herself. It’s got some comedic elements and romantic elements to it to keep it feeling like it’s taking itself too seriously. This book has an incredible sister relationship and even a romantic relationship though that’s really not the main focus of the book. At the heart of it, it’s kind of a metaphor for the way that hurt people hurt people and we can disrupt that cycle or keep it going. I really, really enjoyed it and will probably seek out other books by Rachel Harrison.