Read time: doesn’t matter


not me but the first person perspective of a person reading a book.

Photo by Samantha Hurley/Burst

Does it come with the territory that if you enjoy writing you also enjoy reading? IDK but I can usually be found caught up with a book. A couple of years ago I made a list of all the books I read in a year hoping to feel a sense of accomplishment — it didn’t really work so this time I’m doing it for you!

Whether you enjoy reading and want some recommendations or you just want to get a better idea of who I am, this is for you. And if you love any of these, please send me a message and let me know! 

For the sake of being less wasteful, I check out 95% of my books from the Chicago Public Library and use the Libby app to read them with! When I miss the feeling and smell of a physical book or am in the mood to buy something, I gather the other 5% of books from Open Books or Bookshop.org

To be continued…

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

Invisible Women screenshot from bookshop.org

Caroline Criado Perez | Okay, here’s the thing. I LOVE this book, but I checked it out from the library, as I do with 95% of books, and ran out of time. Also, I became extremely annoying to everyone around me so maybe I’ll pick up a copy at Open Books and finish it on a vacation. 

Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands

Bad Mexicans book cover screenshot taken from Bookshop.org

Kelly Lytle Hernández | I LOVED this book but I only got a few chapters before I had to return it. I’ve been wanting to buy a physical copy because I definitely want to keep this but I haven’t found it at my local secondhand bookstores yet. TBD!

April 2024

Afterlife (on deck)

Afterlife book cover taken from bookshop.org

Julia Alvarez |

Good Night, Irene (currently reading)

Good Night, Irene book cover taken from bookshop.org

Luis Alberto Urrea |

Chain of Thorns (The Last Hours #3)

Chain of Thorns book cover taken from bookshop.org

Cassandra Clare | This one felt messy. Teenagers trying to save London from an arch-angel of Hell is messy. But there were so many personal dramas, thoughts, and deviations that it was all a little too much to hold on to/care about. Nothing felt like it blended well together and many of the characters personalities felt off in this one. We’re only in the third book of the series and they already weren’t acting in a way that they had been set up to act in (if that makes sense). I would have liked to see more of these personal issues play out in book 2 while this one dedicated itself to saving London.

Despite my ramblings on these 3 books, let it be known I RACED through them. I spent all my time after work reading reading reading to get through them so who really has the last laugh?

Chain of Iron (The Last Hours #2)

Chain of Iron book cover taken from bookshop.org

Cassandra Clare | My issue with this book was HOW LONG it took to address the main plot build-up. The first book set it up beautifully, we all knew what was happening, and the characters should have realized it by NO LATER than at the halfway point of the book. But no, it was dragged out until the last pages of this book. It was painful in a bad way. The way this was structured with that plot-fulfiller happening at the end made it feel forced, like there was a word (or book) count to meet.

Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1)

Chain of Gold book cover taken from bookshop.org

Cassandra Clare | I think I found this book on Bookstagram and to be totally honest I wasn’t committed to it. The first two times I picked it up to read was with the expectation that I wouldn’t finish. But I just kept coming back for more and ultimately couldn’t put it down and checked out the next two books in the series before I was even finished with the first! And yes, it’s another series about a group of 17 year old friends who save London.

March 2024

Our Last Echoes

Our last echoes book cover taken from bookshop.org

Kate Alice Marshall | This was NOTHING like I expected! It seemed like a regular suspense-mystery from the description, but the whole book has an additional supernatural theme going on that takes it out of this world (hehe)! It was good – and weird – with a creepy twin but not a twin thing going on. I flew through this!

Echo

Echo book cover cover taken from bookshop.org

Thomas Olde Heuvelt | Folks, this might a DNF for me. I was looking for another book with Echo in the title (CPL didn’t have it) but this and Our Last Echoes came up instead so I checked them out. It’s giving Steven King which I don’t know if I LOVE his books either. And also it was originally written in German and the English version isn’t hitting. I completely understand translating is an art and it’s hard work but some of it is just plain wrong, some of it uses slang like ‘gotta’ (I think) in places that don’t feel right. IDK it’s kinda weird. I love a haunted mountain though so we’ll see.

Yellowface

Yellowface book cover taken from bookshop.org

R. F. Kuang | LOVED this book. I usually try not to read book descriptions until after I’ve started or like, the middle but I’m glad I did with this one because it’s supposed to be satire and I needed to know that. Everything was so great, my favorite part was when the main character kept saying the other main character’s Chinese mom had such an eloquent vocabulary, with barely a hint of an accent. Maybe she really didn’t learn English when she came here 30 years ago. Maybe the main character was lying…

Echoes & Empires

Echoes and Empire book cover taken from bookshop.org

Morgan Rhodes | Honestly I don’t know! It was entertaining and I read the whole thing but I don’t know that I would read the rest of the series. We might be in for some character development in the future but it all felt like a teen drama. Where everything feels a little try-hard.

Solito

Solito book cover taken from bookshop.org

Javier Zamora | I did some research and it seems that Javier wrote this book to help him heal from the journey (SIX WEEKS SOLITO), the trauma, and from missing the intense friendships that were formed during his journey. But this book has never been more relevant. As a granddaughter of Latin American immigrants and a life partner of one, I think it’s important how he talks about how happy he was in El Salvador. The food, the culture, his friends – the only thing he was missing were his parents. Now, of course, he’s a child and wasn’t aware of the social or economic state of things (nor am I).

This book also exemplifies how much children take in – how many times he was told to be good, or be brave, or be quiet, and how he carried that with him the whole time. He’s crossed multiple countries, faced border agents, dangerous police, hateful people, coyotes just after the money, and his overwhelming concern is to not bother the other people in his group. 😭 Also also – go look up a picture of him as a kid.

February 2024

The House in the Cerulean Sea

The House in the Cerulean Sea cover taken from bookshop.org

TJ Klune | 😭 I’m not crying YOU are! Okay, I am too so let’s cry together. This is one of my books for the book club I’m in so I downloaded this and started reading without any context. It was so nice and so sweet and so kind. I love when books write about gay characters that just exist. They are and they exist and it’s normal and they’re normal people who do normal things. I don’t know how to say that without sounding like an asshole but it was a really sweet and refreshing read. It seemed like most of the action happened in this book but I’ll keep reading the series for the characters. Also LOL Lucy – all the kids are my favorite.

The Brothers Hawthorne

The Brother's Hawthorne book cover (taken from bookshop.org)

Jennifer Lynn Barnes | Yes, I’m a sucker. I get attached to the characters and I can’t look away! So while I didn’t LOVE the series, I did kind of love it. It was entertaining and I read it really fast so let’s just focus on this. In the end, I liked this 4th book. I liked that it acted as an epilogue to the final book in the series. We got to see what was going on without the perspective of the main character we’ve been following and without having to hear a recap from another character (very creative Jennifer!). So that was cool. It was cool to get to know the brothers a bit more, especially since for the life of me I couldn’t figure out this love triangle and like, why it existed to begin with. The final thing I’ll say is a 19-21-year-old being so protective and intense and good at so many things is just highly unbelievable to my thirty+ year self. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it forever – could we get some appropriately aged characters? Maybe billionaires are different, I’ll never know.

Nightwatching

Nightwatching by Tracy Sierra cover (taken from bookshop.org)

Tracy Sierra | OH.MY.GOD. Okay so this was another book that I downloaded via recommendation (or other method) without reading the description. I find that it’s best that way sometimes and then after the first few chapters I can go look and remind myself what I’m reading. ANYWAY. I did NOT look at this and so initially I was a little bored, I won’t lie. The author drops you into the action, no build up, which is an amazing writing technique but my brain kept saying “give me more info”. But I pushed through and I recommend you do too. I’m not even going to give you a plot point because I don’t want to spoil it. Badass woman, supporting characters don’t have names. Loved it.

The Final Gambit (Inheritance Games #3)

The Final Gambit screenshot from bookshop.org

Jennifer Lynn Barnes | Because I am who I am, and happened to be on vacation, I read the third one. I’m glad I did, I felt it wrapped up the series nicely. Spoiler alert: I love a good happy ending. I liked the character development of the main character, how she both learns to open up and trust herself and see herself as so much stronger than everyone thinks she is. There is one more book and I’m thinking I might read it that dives into the 4 brothers, because I’m a sucker.

Hawthorne Legacy (Inheritance Games #2)

The Hawthorne Legacy screenshot from bookshop.org

Jennifer Lynn Barnes | Because as I said, why does everything happen to 19-year-olds? So of course I had to read the second book. Mostly because I was very confused about Avery’s (main character) relationship with two of the hot grandkids. She was instantly obsessed with both of them and like, I just couldn’t understand why. And also I don’t remember being so intensely in love at 19. BUT ANYWAY, there were more games in this one than the first one (I felt) or maybe these had more clues and less character development so I enjoyed this one more (outside of not understanding these boys).

The Inheritance Games 

The Inheritance Games screenshot from bookshop.org

Jennifer Lynn Barnes | Just once I would love for the main character to be about a tired 30 year old but maybe that’s a book I’ll just have to write myself. The Inheritance Games is about an 18 year old inheriting a fuck ton of a money (billions) from a dead old guy but in order to actually get the money she has to meet his stipulations. The stipulations involve living in his giant mansion house with staff, his 4 gorgeous grandsons, and lots of clues, riddles, and tricks. Someone recommended this book to me and *sigh* it was fine. I liked it but I also hate-read it. 

Iron Flame (Fourth Wing #2)

Iron Flame screenshot from bookshop.org

Rebecca Yarros | When I tell you I speed-read my way through these books I AM NOT KIDDING. First of all I LOVE when the second book in the series picks up RIGHT where the first left off. 10/10 for that. I love the main characters growth throughout the series although her romantic problems in this book became a little trite. Like come on girl, we get it but you can’t just bring up the same argument over and over and over and over. There are so many other things to fight about! But other than that it was so good and I can’t wait for the next one. So glad my bookclub made me read this!

Fourth Wing

Fourth Wing screenshot from bookshop.org

Rebecca Yarros | Okay I really wasn’t going to read Fourth Wing because I thought I was an ACOTAR girly but holy.shit. These are so much better! Holy Moley! Once again we have a 19/20 year old main character who needs to save the world — but I digress. You have dragons, magic, castles, first loves, deep loves, friendship — it’s all there! It gave me Harry-Potter-with-an-edge-if-he-was-female vibes. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend! 

The Last Flight

The Last Flight screenshot from bookshop.org

Julie Clark | Another speed read! This was a really good read but I wish it was just a little… more. I like how each chapter is told from the two main characters’ point of view that slowly tell the story but it fell a little flat for me. The storyline was good, why each was escaping, but in the end, it didn’t feel realistic. I don’t know how else to explain that without being a dick. But something fell flat for me in the end although I really enjoyed it. 

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Invisible Life of Addie LaRue screenshot from bookshop.org

V. E. Schwab | I liked this book! It wasn’t a thriller or a mystery or even really that fast paced but it held my attention. Our book starts in 2014, but our main character, Addie LaRue, was born in the 1700’s in France. She made a sloppy deal with an old god that gave her immortality but also made everyone forget her immediately. Until she meets a boy one day in 2014, that doesn’t. The book explored how despite being basically invisible, she was the muse of multiple artists and musicians over the years. 

December 2023

The Paris Apartment

The Paris Apartment screenshot from bookshop.org

Lucy Foley | A sister heads to Paris to visit her half-brother who reluctantly agreed to let her stay with him in his gorgeous Paris apartment while she’s down on her luck. But when she gets there he doesn’t answer the door — typical sibling. She manages to get herself inside thinking he just forgot she was coming only to find a gorgeous apartment (WTF?!). Paris? Check. Really old house? Check. Creepy gatekeeper? Check. Weird neighbors? Check. This thriller/mystery/suspense had me up all night trying to figure it out! 

Building A Second Brain: A Proven Method to Organize Your Digital Life and Unlock Your Creative Potential

Building a Second Brain screenshot from bookshop.org

Tiago Forte | This book offers an interesting solution to the information overload we’re faced with in our society — better organization. Forte lays out his method for organizing information so it’s always within reach no matter if it’s been weeks or years. I thought this was really interesting and got into it for a second but (just from reading the book) I don’t know how I could take his structure and apply it to my life. I think it’s still worth a read, especially for someone like me who constantly has a million tabs open with articles I plan on reading. 

DNF

I HATE DNF-ing a book but every now and then (especially with self-help books) it’s necessary.

Books I’m reading