Thursday, December 29, 2022

Stuff I Like: Recent Reads.

I've been doing a lot of reading lately and here are a few that I finished, one that I'm currently reading and what I have on deck. First, what I've read recently:

The Cloisters by Katy Hays. I am so conflicted about this book. I loved the story overall and really loved the dark academia/NYC feel. It's really atmospheric and descriptive and I love learning about an esoteric subject about which I knew nothing. But, the main character feels like such a beige drip of a Mary Sue that it's hard to feel like she's a real person. This resolves itself later (sort of) but the other characters are so much more alive, cunning, and interesting that it really was kind of off-putting, but Marianne (who also read it) thinks that contrast is important to the story.) Despite my conflict, I would recommend this if you like a twisty dark academia type novel. 

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. I'm pretty sure one of you recommended this to me! Overall I loved this book - the PNW location and the beautiful weirdness that one of the main characters is a giant Pacific octopus named Marcellus really made this book work for me. I enjoyed Marcellus above all the other characters. My only complaint is that one of the main characters is so unlikeable that I couldn't really make myself care about that storyline, but the rest of the characters make up for it. Overall, definitely recommend. 

The Christmas Wish by Lindsey Kelk. This was delightful! It's pure British rom-com Christmas fun but has a fun Groundhogs Day setup that I enjoyed a lot. All of the characters feel like real people and it was a fun read. I'm definitely going to see what else she's written and add her to my Brit rom-com roster. 

Currently reading: 

Meet Me Under The Mistletoe by Jenny Bayliss.  I am almost finished with this one and it's also delightful and fun in the most British rom-com Christmas kind of way. This is the third book by Jenny Bayliss and I really feel it's her best so far. Just a comfortable, cozy read with super likable (and a few deliciously hate-able) characters. 

On deck: 

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson
I was saving this book to read on my flight to and from my hometown, but that trip obviously got canceled so it's been patiently waiting for me to be ready for it. 

Heartburn by Nora Ephron
How have I never read this? I love all of Nora Ephron's essay books but I've never read her novel. 

Finally, I was gifted the following books which are currently waiting in a tempting stack:

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O'Farrell
An irresistible love story, an unforgettable family. The New York Times bestselling author of Hamnet captures an extraordinary marriage with insight and laugh-out-loud humor in what Richard Russo calls “her breakout book.”

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
A triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring story about children on the cusp of adulthood in worlds in peril, who find resilience, hope, and a book.

The Southern Book Club's Guide To Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Steel Magnolias meets Dracula in this New York Times best-selling horror novel about a women's book club that must do battle with a mysterious newcomer to their small Southern town.

MacBeth by Jo Nesbo
Shakespeare’s dark and tragic play retold in a heart-pounding New York Times bestselling thriller from the author of The Snowman and The Thirst.


  1. The Grady Hendrix book scared me so much! I recommend it!

  2. I got my mom Remarkably Bright Creatures for Xmas - and she already finished it and _loved_ it. Among the books I got for presents: Percival Everett's Dr. No - which I am super excited about. But first I'm going to finish All About All About Eve - very amusing and packed full of old Hollywood details. Before that I read Alias Emma, which was an enjoyable spy novel.

  3. Definitely will check some of these out. I just recently read Hamnet, which I enjoyed very much so This Must Be the Place might be first on the list.

    1. Bonus! It’s $1.99 for Kindle right now.

  4. I have the Cloisters on hold , so I'm even more interested to read it now. If the main character is annoying, I won't finish it. That's one thing I really hate. Did you read Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo? One of the best dark academia novels I've read in ages. Also A Deadly Education By Naomi Novik.

    Thanks for the Lindsey Kelk recommendation! I love a British romcom too.

    1. The main character isn't annoying, she's just kind of...blank? You'll see. It's definitely worth a read. I haven't read either of those others, thanks! I'll check them out.

    2. Here to second both Ninth House and Deadly Education, AND the next two books in the Deadly Education trilogy!

  5. Cloud Cuckoo Land is perhaps my favorite book EVER, which is saying a lot! I'm so excited for you getting to read it!

  6. Currently struggling with The Cloisters - the main character is totally beige and it feels kind of trope-y to me so far. Did you feel like it picked up the pace?

    1. I thought the ending delivered but yeah, she's kind of beige and featureless.


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