I’ve been eyeing this YA book for some time. The cover art is so intriguing and so is the concept. After reading it, I’ve got to say that it is one of the most unique, best built worlds I’ve ever read. Ophelia is a great character because she is unusual and is perfectly fine being herself. In the story, she has to leave her comfortable home ark (fragment of the Earth that was) to travel to the Ark of the Pole in an arranged marriage. But when she arrives in the cold, desolate North, she finds she is caught up in a dangerous political intrigue and is surrounded by illusions. I liked this book a lot (so much so that I will likely read the other three installments), but it was a bit slow.
Mirrorland, by Carole Johnstone
I went into this book expecting some horror, and there was some but it was mostly the psychological thriller kind. Still, this was a really interesting, twisty book. Identical twins Cat and El had a strange upbringing, so even though they are estranged now, Cat feels she must travel back to Scotland when she finds out El has disappeared. There she finds Ross, El’s husband, and the love of her life. While waiting for news about El, Cat begins to find clues left for her that make her remember things about her childhood she’d rather forget. (I’d kind of like to forget it too, because it is harrowing.) Very good book.
Lycanthropy & Other Chronic Illnesses, by Kristen O’Neal
I really loved this book. As someone who has a chronic illness, looking at a disability through the lens of a mythological creature was a really fascinating way to take on the concept. However, I can’t recommend this book because the main character and her family is Tamil and the author is white. I don’t know why the author decided to write a POC MC, but it was decidedly not appropriate. Priya is a college student with recently developed Lyme disease. She’s involved online with a group of other people with chronic illnesses including her close internet friend, Brigid, whose illness is not one you go to the doctor for. Priya, Brigid, and their sidekick, Seth, make for a fun trio and an interesting story. I just wish that I could recommend it without all sorts of caveats.
Undercover Bromance, by Lyssa Kay Adams
The second installment of the Bromance Book Club follows the sister of the MC from the first book, Liv, and the founder of the book club, Mack. Liv doesn’t trust men or relationships. Mack thinks that because he knows how to romance women, he knows how to be in a relationship. They come together when they decide to bring down the city’s most famous chef for his pattern of sexual assault on his employees. A fun read, just like its predecessor.
Hannah Green & Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence, by Michael Marshall Smith
I’ve read a number of Smith’s books over the years and liked his middle grade book, The Servants. I picked up the ARC for this book thinking it was another kids’ book. It was not. It follows 11-year-old Hannah whose life is upset by her parents’ separation and her dad’s downward spiral. She’s sent to stay with her mercurial grandfather, who, it turns out, is several hundred years old and friends with the Devil. The Devil has a problem with a machine built by Hannah’s grandfather and engages him to help him find the root of the problem. The story is much more sprawling than I can easily sum up, but it’s quite good. There is a theme about writing your own story that is thought-provoking. I wonder at the marketing for this book, though. It really seems aimed at a younger crowd, but it certainly isn’t. Recommend for the 15+ reader.
Cursed Objects: Strange But True Stories of the World's Most Infamous Items, by J.W. Ocker
A second nonfiction entry this month! This was a perfect book to read while recovering from surgery. Each chapter covers a different subject and the chapters are only a few pages long. Cursed subjects ranging from precious gemstones to funereal art to online curses are summed-up and reviewed with a tongue-in-cheek style that makes this book grossly entertaining.