Adult Novels I read in May 2018 – Reading Wrap up

I probably should have…. ended on my young adult fiction wrap up since I talked a HELL of a lot more in that one since I loved so many of them, but you know what? I’ve built up a system at this point. I’m sticking with it.

  • Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer
    • Rating: 3.75/5
    • Thoughts: Not gonna lie, I picked this up after slogging through several emotionally draining reads. I was like “I need a garbage bland fantasy novel” so I opened this up, and I was pleasantly surprised how much I loved it! This was a lot more serious read than I anticipated it being, but I found that I really enjoyed all the characters. The world building wasn’t super special, but I have to say, I could NOT predict at ALL what twists and turns this book made with its characters. That being said, the world was still pretty standard adult fantasy, and I really really did not like the choices the author made with two of the characters. It felt super reductive of the story they had seemed to build for them.  I think this book could have really benefited from being a little bit longer, and using some additional time to build up the relationships between characters. The ending felt way more abrupt than I really cared for, but I can’t say it was bad…. just seemed like it didn’t really crescendo in the correct place. I’d still give this a shot if you want some stand alone fantasy with some interesting characters and story beats.
    • Also wtf I can’t believe I cried at the end of this book. I can’t believe I got so attached to the characters that I straight up CRIED I’m fucking MAD about it.
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
    • Rating: 4/5
    • Thoughts:  I had tried reading some of Le Guin’s work when I was younger and none of really clicked – to be fair I was a much more picky reader then than I am now. I saw a BEAUTIFUL old copy of this at my local used bookstore and immediately had to pick it up, and I’m glad to say I enjoyed this a lot! While the beginning was hellaaaa slow, about half way through the book really clicked into gear. The scifi concept the story is based on is really cool, its incredible to think this was written in the 60s. Where Le Guin really stands out is her two main characters and their relationship. I absolutely LOVED reading all of their interactions. Le Guin is also a master of prose – she has this incredible way of discussing these super interesting philosophical ideas almost poetically. To be honest, I don’t really want to say more about this – I think going into the book as blind as possible works to its benefit. I really did not know how this book was going to end, but the story choices it made and the ending were just a  Just know I completely agree when people say that this is a scifi classic – and Le Guin’s other work has moved to the top of my to-read list. If you’re not into scifi, I don’t think this will be for you, but otherwise give it a shot.

  • The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
    • Rating: 3.25/5
    • Thoughts:  I had some friends that kind of warned me that this was only and okay novel, but I picked this up anyways since it’s right up my alley of non western paranormal fiction. Unfortunately, I found myself agreeing with my friends. It is just okay. While the realm of the dead and the historical setting were super super cool, nothing really stood out to me about the plot or the characters. It was just kind of…. okay. Some of the relationships and the romance had glimmers of interesting moments, but I think this book didn’t spend nearly enough time on them to carry the novel. I found myself (again) wishing the book was longer, or just cut out scenes entirely to try and develop the characters and relationships more. There are just some really cool conceits in here that just. Don’t work as well as I wanted them do. I don’t have a ton to say about this – I’d pick it up if you are tired of western paranormal fiction because its still interesting, but it definitely wasn’t a new favorite.
  • Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie
    • Rating: 3.5/5
    • Thoughts: The more Poirot mysteries I read, the more I realize that the way Hastings acts during the tale will make or break the whole damn thing. I really enjoyed a lot of the short stories in the collection – but the narration was a dark spot for about half of them. I also just found that I prefer Poirot’s longform mysteries. I like listening to the twists and turns and red herrings Christie throws at me – and I don’t think her short stories work as well in that respect. Sure there are twists, but since these stories are so short, it tends to feel like Christie holds her hand too close for me as the reader to puzzle out any clues – which is my favorite part of reading mysteries (unless the fake outs are created by missed perceptions of the narrator, a la Murder of Roger Ackroyd). Still, if your on the fence about Christie, I think there’s a couple really good stories in here that help  kind of capture what makes Christie so beloved. And it’s still all together better than Murder on the Links.
    • They also used a different narrator for this audio book than the previous three Poirot novels I had picked up, and he is definitely no where near as good as the previous narrator. 
    • A couple favorites from this collection: The Adventure of the Cheap Flat, The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge, The Kidnapped Prime Minister, The Case of the Missing Will.
  • The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories, Edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin.
    • Rating: 4/5
    • Thoughts: This was…. such a weird collection of stories. I think more than any other anthology I’ve read. I varied pretty wildly from “New favorite story I loved this I can’t wait to read more of this author!” and “what the fuck am I reading.” That being said, the stories I loved, I LOVED. The one’s I didn’t though weren’t even bad – while they didn’t really do it for me as a reader, each story is built on some top notch ideas and concepts.  This kind of collection is made for me – I loved djinn stories and I’ve been seeking them out more and more as I’ve read better and better stories. This collection won’t be for everyone though – I have to reiterate it is fucking weird. Definitely a cool read if you like sci-fi and fantasy. Not so much if you don’t. Though there are a couple that I think are just so good that they may cross genres. Maybe just read one or two of the ones I recommend for a taste, and then see if you’re feeling like picking up the rest if the concept has a bit on the fence. If you’re like me and you’re already on that train, definitely pick this up.
    • A couple favorites: Majnun by Helene Wecker, The Jinn Hunter’s Apprentice by E.J Swift, Hurrem and the Djinn by Claire North, Glass Lights by J.Y. Yang, A Tale of Ash in Seven Birds by Amal El- Mohtar, Queen of Sheba by Catherina Faris King, The Spite House by Kirsty Logan, Bring your Own Spoon by Saad Hossein, and the Congregation by Kamila Shamise.
    • I…. really liked a lot more of the stories than I thought I did.

That’st the last of my wrap up! I’m still super busy in the coming months, but let’s see if I can make time to write… more than the one of wrap ups at the end of the month.

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