WHAT I READ: Q1 2019

Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba

Rating: 3/5

This book was cute and had some good nuggets, but it was incredible surface-level. It didn’t promise anything that it didn’t deliver, but it also left me feeling underwhelmed.

Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Rating: 4.5/5

This one is controversial, but I loved it, especially the chapter about weight loss (which seems to be the one people have the biggest problem with). Very motivating and inspiring, and I like that her advice wasn’t just faith-based despite being published by a Christian publisher. It was practical.

A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

Rating: 4.5/5

I devoured this book once I started. You wouldn’t think that the English Civil War is a good setting for a YA fantasy novel, but it was incredible. Brilliant imagery and engaging plot. I could have done with a bit more from Makepeace herself, but it made plot sense for her to be a *bit* underdeveloped.

This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps

Rating: 4/5

I’m a big Busy fan, so I was excited to read her memoir, and this did not disappoint. We’ve led very different lives, Busy and I, but it was so, so relatable, especially the parts where she talks about her anxiety. I also love the way she talks about her marriage in a way that is both respectful of her husband and refreshingly honest.

The Things You Find In Rockpools by Gregg Dunnett

Rating: 2.5/5

Really promising at the beginning, and the first half had me hooked, but it ended up being a bit predictable. Plus the end was very much the typical villain-unnecessarily-explaining-the-crime trope, which felt especially unrealistic given the circumstances.

Our House by Louise Candlish

Rating: 5/5

Alex asked me what it was about, and when I said real estate fraud he looked at me like I had two heads. But I was utterly gripped. Despite the fact that there are major crimes happening, this is a story where the tension is in the details, and the stakes feel massively personal. I also loved how self aware an examination it was of upper middle class ambition and social dynamics.

One Day in December by Josie Silver

Rating: 3.5/5

** spoiler alert for this review **

This was a tough one for me to review. Usually I really hate when books/films/etc embrace the whole "the end justifies the means" thing when it comes to cheating. Giving the characters a happy ending makes the cheating seem okay and worth it. But ultimately I felt that this book explored enough of the guilt and conflict that came from the indiscretion that it avoided this problem.

Some things I loved about this book: it wasn't obnoxiously Christmassy. Sarah and Laurie's friendship. The handling of Laurie and Oscar's relationship and divorce. Also, there's something to be said for the fact that I couldn't put it down and stayed up until 3am reading it.

Things I struggled with: how much time passed, yet how little of that passing we got to see. Hard to help, I know, but it affected how I felt about the characters. They didn't FEEL 30 at the end. And also I didn't particularly like Jack at any point. I don't like to hold unlikeable characters against the author too much as it makes it more real, but he is the romantic lead, so it's not ideal.

So, 4 stars from me. Objectively I think it was probably 3 stars, but reading isn't objective, and I think the author managed to hit that subjective sensibility inside me and make me care even if I wasn't always happy about it. Props for that.

ReadingSamantha Gale