Category Archives: Reason: Grim Readers

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

All of Us Villains is extremely well-written Hunger Games fanfic. Take the Hunger Games, add magic, and make it between children in seven specific families and you have the premise of this book. A character even comments that someone else almost made him spill his drink on his pants. The story is told from the alternating viewpoints of four characters, three chosen as their family’s champion and one not. I got sucked into the story and then it just ended. There was no resolution whatsoever. It just got to a point and, boom, done. I wasted no time ordering the second book of the duology, but it still annoyed me a bit. I have no problem with series, but I do like for each book to wrap stuff up at least somewhat. This one answered one single question (who wrote A Tradition of Tragedy) and that’s it. Not satisfying at all. Other than that, I loved the book. I recommend this book to people who like magic set in the current day and enjoyed reading The Hunger Games. Just be aware that the two books really should just be one single book and expect to move on to the second book quickly to finish the story.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 85
Pages Read in 2022: 30,226
Graphic Novels: 2

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Grim Readers, Young Adult

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

Ban This Book is an excellent way to help middle grade kids understand why so many right now are trying to get books some deem inappropriate removed from schools and why that’s a bad thing. The point that it’s okay for parents to say you, their child, cannot read a book, but it’s not okay for someone to say no one’s child can read it is very clearly made. It also teaches kids to speak up to people who can change something if it doesn’t seem right. The kids in the book are all likable and even the “villain” (the woman leading the charge of banning books from the school library) is portrayed as a very good, nice person. I very highly recommend this book to kids who may be confused by why their favorite books are being questioned or removed and also to parents. It’s a great book for spawning a discussion with your late elementary/early middle school age children about book banning.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 84
Pages Read in 2022: 29,840
Graphic Novels: 2

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Filed under Middle Grades, Reason: Grim Readers

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing is a slow moving book. I generally do not care for books like that, but for this one it totally worked. It just fits the vibe and makes you kind of feel like you’re in the marsh, living a little slower, noticing things happening around you. The character development in this book is phenomenal. Even some of the side characters grow and change. The descriptions of things living in the marsh are incredible and vivid. The ending is both surprising and, when I think about, just what part of me hoped for. Kya learning to read so quickly and being able to comprehend high level textbooks is somewhat questionable as is her ability to so easily communicate with others even though she was so young when her family left her and spends long periods of time all alone. I recommend this book to adults who enjoy contemporary fiction.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 83
Pages Read in 2022: 29,583
Graphic Novels: 2

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: Book Club, Reason: Grim Readers

The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity and illustrated by Christopher Baldwin

The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity and illustrated by Christopher Baldwin

The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor is really funny. I laughed out loud several times. The pictures are very nicely drawn. I recommend it to people who like graphic novels, especially those who also like gothic novels.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 82
Pages Read in 2022: 29,204
Graphic Novels: 2

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Filed under Graphic Novel, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: Literati

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I preordered The Final Gambit ten months before it was published. It was worth every month of that wait! The book is full of surprise twists and puzzles to solve. The light romance is nice, too. By the end of this book all the questions have been answered and the ends are tied up, for now at least. I was very sad that my time with Avery and the Hawthorne brothers had come to an end, but it was a very satisfying end so that made it okay. I very highly recommend this book to everyone, but you have to read the first two Inheritance Games books first.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 80
Pages Read in 2022: 28,874
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Mystery, Realistic Fiction, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: I Like the Series, Young Adult

Holly Banks Full of Angst by Julie Valerie

Holly Banks Full of Angst by Julie Valerie

Holly Banks Full of Angst is so over the top farcically funny. Every character is exaggerated but still totally relatable. Everyone around Holly in her new village seems perfect. She tries so hard to fit in but is still a hot mess no matter what she does. The head of the PTA is kind of a bully, and maybe a little crazy, pressuring people into volunteering so they can have a much better school and town then the next town over. I laughed out loud several times while reading it. It’s just such a fun mind vacation. I recommend it to anyone who has ever dealt with “perfect” neighbors or an overbearing PTA.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 77
Pages Read in 2022: 27,870
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Murder by the Slice by Mary Maxwell

Murder by the Slice by Mary Maxwell

This book is one of the most poorly edited books I’ve ever read. It was revealed that one character was not who he presented himself to be and was using an assumed name and then the author seemed to forget that whole part and had the main character google (with no luck) the name and position as he had given it. There were many editing errors, both missing words and extra words. They were usually small ones like in and the, but it made it annoying to read.

The characters were very flat and they were pretty much all rather stupid. The main character is supposed to be really smart and a great PI, but she missed pretty much every clue and while investigating she left things to much later instead of actually trying to figure things out. For example, if I got a thumb drive from my dead boss – who inexplicably sent it to a previous address requiring the post office to forward it twice – I wouldn’t just copy the files to my computer, I’d figure out the passwords right away and open the files. Speaking of the thumb drive, why were the files password protected using passwords her dead boss used but he apparently was given the thumb drive by someone else and sent it to her the day before he died just in case? She seemed shocked that a knife used in a murder a few miles away could possibly also be planted at her home as a warning to her, though she had made the connection about that earlier (the author made sure to mention it was totally her excellent PI skills figuring that out of course). Over and over how tired she was and how little sleep she was getting was mentioned, to the point it got downright irritating.

When her fingerprints were found all over the knife – because it was HER knife someone had stolen – the police acted like that meant she killed the guy. Nevermind it was her knife that she used all the time so of course her prints would be on it.

The whole book was incredibly predictable which made it quite boring. I found myself finding every reason not to read it and ended up taking almost two weeks to read a book the length of one I’d typically read in a couple days. Usually I like cozy mysteries, but Murder by the Slice is one to skip.

1 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 76
Pages Read in 2022: 27,497
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Cozy Mystery, Reason: Grim Readers

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London is a very bizarre book. The story makes little sense and there doesn’t seem to be all that much of a plot. Sometimes too much description is a bad thing and with this book that is definitely the case. It could’ve been half as long. The cadence is weird, too. I read it out loud to my boys and usually within a chapter or two it’s easy to get into the rhythm of reading a book, but this one just stayed weird and was never pleasant to read. The romance was so contrived and unnecessary, almost like the author said to himself that this is a YA book therefore it must have some sort of romance (and the last paragraph, related to that romance, was totally silly and unneeded). The characters were pretty flat and while the main character got the information she wanted, there was no real growth or change to any of them. No one seemed to be shocked or even care much at having a traitor among the booksellers. It was just not a very enjoyable book so I do not recommend it.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 75
Pages Read in 2022: 27,273
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: Literati, Young Adult