Hi everyone, this month I read 8 books! I’ve been very busy at work lately…

From Blood and Ash Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Rating: 3 out of 5.

You can read my full review of this series here! Despite sub-par writing and shaky plotting, I loved the romance in this series and it was the perfect palette cleanser between heavier books.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I’ll have more coherent thoughts on this one in its own post. I’m torn between taking a moment to appreciate the candor and openness with which Obama seems committed to telling his story…and feeling that the whole thing was rife with hypocrisy. Or if not hypocrisy, there was a general defensive tone, a careful, focus-group crispness to the order of the sections, the length, the people he remembered to thank…perhaps it wouldn’t have grated on me so much had I not read Dreams From My Father. Had I not know how Obama can really write, when he feels he has nothing to lose. When a pretty phrase won’t betray a state secret.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Having lived in Washington, DC for three years, this book was far too on the nose and far too unrealistic—at the same time. I know people like the main character, and because I don’t like them very much—the side of them their coworkers see, that is—I was often rolling my eyes. Red, White, and Royal Blue is far too idealistic, of course, but perhaps not in a bad way. The whole thing reminded me of an episode of The West Wing, with a healthy amount of Princess Diaries sprinkled in. And gay. In any case, it was witty and well written, and I absolutely sailed through it. Reading this book is like wrapping yourself fin a warm blanket with a cup of hot cocoa in your hand.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I did a full review of this book here. I confess I love Yanagihara’s writing, and though this book is as brutal as everyone says it is, I ripped through its pages and found myself slightly in awe until a twist at the end that left me disappointed enough to knock off a star.

The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness by Todd Rose

I really like the ideas in this book. As with most nonfiction, I felt it could have been smaller, and I found it utterly threadbare as far as addressing modern counterarguments. But the research is gratifying and, frankly, bias-affirming. I quite like the idea that late-stage capitalism might be able to co-exist with the idea of the individual. …Might being the operative word.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Laughter in the Dark by Vladimir Nabokov

What a stunning book. It’s a quick, easy read, and Nabokov’s prose is a feast for the senses. This book is also funny, and gets funnier when you realize that the completely unlikeable main character is a caricature of one of Nabokov’s real-life enemies.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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