Review: Providence by Caroline Kepnes

My Rating: 2 / 5 stars

Verdict: Buy Borrow Bypass

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A propulsive new thriller about the obsessive nature of love when an intensifying relationship between best friends is disrupted by a kidnapping.

Growing up as best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe are the only ones who truly understand each other, though they can never find the words to tell one another the depth of their feelings. When Jon is finally ready to confess his feelings, he’s suddenly kidnapped by his substitute teacher who is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft and has a plot to save humanity.

Mourning the disappearance of Jon and facing the reality he may never return, Chloe tries to navigate the rites of entering young adulthood and “fit in” with the popular crowd, but thoughts of Jon are never far away.

When Jon finally escapes, he discovers he now has an uncontrollable power that endangers anyone he has intense feelings for. He runs away to protect Chloe and find the answers to his new identity–but he’s soon being tracked by a detective who is fascinated by a series of vigilante killings that appear connected.

Whisking us on a journey through New England and crashing these characters’ lives together in the most unexpected ways, Kepnes explores the complex relationship between love and identity, unrequited passion and obsession, self-preservation and self-destruction, and how the lines are often blurred between the two.

My Thoughts:

The plot of Providence is not one I’d usually go for. But I’d heard great things about Kepnes’s writing and this book was a much buzzed book for this summer, so I thought I’d give it a try. The kidnapping storyline was interesting but never fully resolved. The point of view shifts every chapter and it would have helped to hear more from the teacher who kidnaps Jon. I realize that part of Jon’s struggle was in not being able to talk to Jon about what happened, but the reader still needed to know more. Personally, I don’t like when stories are too ambiguous. I prefer when authors actually acknowledge the character’s motivations.

I also think there were big pacing issues throughout the story. Providence starts off pretty strong but all of a sudden Kepnes introduces a new character, Eggs, who is a police officer. To be quite frank, it felt like the story came to a crashing halt once Eggs appeared. It was impossible to connect with Eggs on any level. His entrance into the story felt too abrupt and out of place. From there, Providence becomes a different book. Chock full of references, nods, and allusions to H.P. Lovecraft, Providence is a story that doesn’t know what it wants to be. Kepnes tries to explain the Lovecraft references, but as a reader who has never read Lovecraft, I’m sure I missed a lot. I’m struggling to understand why Kepnes thought this particular story should be told. The story just sort of…ends. What was the point of all this? Why did Jon, his friends, and his family need to suffer?

On Goodreads, this Providence is being categorized as a thriller. But I’m not sure I’d agree with that classification. It’s like this book wanted to be a thriller but never fully connected with the genre. Providence lacks the pulse, drive, and intensity of a thriller. It’s certainly not a mystery, though, and I don’t think there are enough sci-fi elements to put it squarely in that genre, either. I can appreciate Kepnes’s attempts to blur genres but, ultimately, I don’t think it was successful.

Wrap Up:

Overall, I thought this book was okay. It’s considerably harder to review a book that’s only okay because there’s a lack of extreme feeling one way or the other. This was my first Kepnes book and I’m hesitant to read her first novel, You, just because Providence was so lacking. Although I understand that the two are incredibly different from one another, so perhaps You is the better novel. There was something about this book that made me want to keep turning the pages and finish, but I think I wanted to know the point of the story. And unfortunately, there isn’t a point. I would not recommend this book.

This book is…



a mix of thriller and sci-fi



Publisher: Lenny

Genre: thriller

Page Count: 400

ISBN: 0399591435

Available here from IndieBound.

Are you excited to read Providence? What book would you recommend with sci-fi elements?

I am an affiliate with IndieBound and as such, receive a tiny commission should you choose to click through any of the above links and purchase the book(s). Thank you for supporting A Word is Power!

Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Verdict: Buy Borrow Bypass

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

My Thoughts:

This story is creepy! I loved how much Flynn used Missouri in this story. Missouri is not just the setting of this novel, it is a character in this novel. From luxurious details about the heat and how it gets under your skin to descriptions of the fields and rivers around town, Flynn lets Missouri embody the story. The characters in Sharp Objects are dried up, prickly, and bored. It reminds me of the play Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. In both stories, the unrelenting heat coupled with limited locations drives the characters to make questionable choices. And no one wants to own up to their mistakes.

Camille is a fascinating protagonist. We learn early on that she previously spent time in a psychiatric hospital and that she’s also a heavy drinker. Immediately, Camille’s perceptions are distrusted. Most characters in Sharp Objects act different ways with different people which, especially when coupled with the heat, mean appearances can be deceiving. Camille is also obstinate at times, and her futile interactions with her distant family make the reader question what really happened to drive a wedge between mother and daughter.

And speaking of mothers and daughters, Camille and her mother, Adora, are destructive to themselves, each other, and everyone around them. One of the things I loved about Gone Girl was how much Flynn pushed back against traditional gender roles and challenged some stereotypes. She takes a similar approach in Sharp Objects by questioning the notion that all women should be mothers and that they are, inherently, good mothers. To say that Adora is not a good mother is a massive understatement. Camille seems reluctant to take that path herself which is understandable once we get to know Adora.

Wrap Up:

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! Sharp Objects is definitely more gruesome than Gone Girl, so please keep that in mind if you’re expecting many similarities in tone. I’m eagerly awaiting the HBO miniseries and can’t wait to see how it compares to the book. I would also love to see this turned into a play. It would work quite well! I highly recommend this book, especially for fans of Tana French.

This book is…






This book contains content warnings for…


child abuse

animal abuse

Publisher: Broadway Books

Genre: mystery

Page Count: 254

ISBN: 0307341550

Available here from IndieBound.

Have you read Sharp Objects? What mystery book would you recommend?

I am an affiliate with IndieBound and as such, receive a tiny commission should you choose to click through any of the above links and purchase the book(s). Thank you for supporting A Word is Power!

Review: Educated by Tara Westover

My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Verdict: Buy Borrow Bypass

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

An unforgettable memoir in the tradition of The Glass Castle about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University

Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag.” In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.

My Thoughts:

Westover’s life story is incredible. And I’m not using that word lightly. What struck me most about this memoir was that despite all the horrific experiences Westover endured, as well as the emotional and verbal abuse she suffered from her parents, Westover writes lovingly of her family. Throughout Educated, there is an undercurrent of ‘if only they would accept me, things would be okay.’ Even though she suffers no illusions about her past, Westover longs for her family to be reunited.

Some of the people in Educated felt larger than life. Like they couldn’t possibly really be this bad. It would be easy to refer to them as ‘characters’, but it’s important to remember that these are real people from Westover’s life. But the more you read this memoir, the clearer it is that the gaslighting, paranoia, mental illness, and distrust run deep. It would be easy to write off the Westover family. But Westover herself shows that nothing is black and white. Her parents thought they were doing right by their children. Her parents legitimately believe the things they believe. I’m sure we will never hear her parent’s points of view, even though it would be fascinating to hear directly from them.

Admittedly, I didn’t know much about Mormonism prior to reading this book. Most of my knowledge of the Mormon religion come from the musical, The Book of Mormon. I enjoyed learning more about Mormonism through Westover’s experiences. I’d be curious to see how her family’s more extremist take on the Mormon faith compares to other families’ experiences. But I also think it’s important that stories like Westover’s are told. Not only from a survivor standpoint, but I think it’s good to hear the life story of someone very different from one’s own.

Wrap Up:

Overall, I loved this book. I was consistently amazed at Westover’s life and the courage she had to overcome her upbringing. Her story will inspire readers to pursue their own education. Several times I set this book down while reading, needing to take a break from her life, which is a luxury that Westover herself never had. I would highly recommend this book to everyone, but especially for fans of The Glass Castle.

This book is…






This book contains content warnings for…

emotional abuse

physical abuse

Publisher: Random House

Genre: memoir

Page Count: 352

ISBN: 0399590501

Available here from IndieBound.

Have you read Educated? What books about the Mormon faith would you recommend?

I am an affiliate with IndieBound and as such, receive a tiny commission should you choose to click through any of the above links and purchase the book(s). Thank you for supporting A Word is Power!

Young Adult Recommendations

Hi, readers!

How was your reading this weekend? I’m finally making some serious progress on two books I’ve been reading for weeks now and am greatly enjoying them. I am also actively picking up books by authors of color. Right now, I’m alternating between a book by a white author and a book by an author of color. We’ll see how long I keep this up!

Also, are you following along with the Reading Women’s June reading challenge? Be sure to check out their website for all the details, including giveaways! I’m joining their Mrs. Dalloway read along. Be sure to check them out and find great book recommendations by women!

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite Young Adult books. I think summer is a great time to read YA. The stories are sometimes a little shorter, and the plots often move along quickly. There are also so many great YA series, making it easy to find your next read!

I recommend…

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

This is a beautiful story about a young man grieving after the death of his best friend and ex-boyfriend. I previously mentioned History in this post in which I shared three books about mental health. I was blown away with how honestly Silvera depicts grief and how respectfully he presented the relationships in this story.

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

This is a coming of age story, that is really about a feminist awakening. Juliet travels to Portland for an internship with a prominent feminist writer. While there, she learns more about her mind, her body, and her feminism. Rivera makes you cheer for Juliet while also teaching the reader plenty of feminist and queer studies terminology.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

You’ve likely heard of this story because it was recently turned into a movie called Love, Simon. This is a very cute story about a high schooler’s budding anonymous email relationship with a fellow classmate and his coming out story. Both the book and the movie have received a lot of attention, and for good reason. LGBTQ romances are often only told when they end in sadness. Simon’s story has a happy ending, which is always good to see.

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Spoiler alert: this book will have you sobbing by the end! This is Yoon’s second novel and it’s a wonderfully written story about fate and the ripple effect of human interactions. It’s a bit hard to describe this book without giving anything away. Suffice to say, you’ll have to read this for yourself.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

This is a fantastic retelling of 1001 Nights. You will devour this story because it has everything: romance, fantasy, a hero, a villain, danger, and sacrifice. Ahdieh has a great explanation for why events unfold the way they do. Can’t recommend this one enough!

That’s it for today! What YA books would you recommend?

I am an affiliate with IndieBound and as such, receive a tiny commission should you choose to click through any of the above links and purchase the book(s). Thank you for supporting A Word is Power!

5 4 3 2 1 – #18

5 Articles I’m Reading

Book Riot is sharing 50 books about neurodiversity.

Crime Reads has a great list of road trip Noir.

The New York Review of Books has an article on Eileen Chang! See which one of her books I’m currently reading below.

Over at Electric Literature, two authors discuss how their Lyme disease interacts with their identities as women of color and as writers.

“The Unapologetically Lesbian, Latina Poetry of tatiana de la tierra.”

4 Shows/Movies I’m Watching


Brooklyn Nine-Nine



3 New to Me Books

The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig

Still Lives by Maria Hummel

Visible Empire by Hannah Pittard

2 Books I’m Currently Reading

Educated by Tara Westover

Love in a Fallen City by Eileen Chang

1 Quote

“Between memory and reality there are awkward discrepancies.”

Eileen Chang

I am an affiliate with IndieBound and as such, receive a tiny commission should you choose to click through any of the above links and purchase the book(s). Thank you for supporting A Word is Power!

Review: Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Verdict: Buy Borrow Bypass

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity–and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution…

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba’s high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country’s growing political unrest–until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary…

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa’s last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba’s tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she’ll need the lessons of her grandmother’s past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed the dual storylines of 1950s Elisa and present day Marisol. The shifting perspectives and eras kept the story moving forward and each storyline lent the other needed context. Each storyline also introduced the reader to a vastly different Cuba. While Elisa’s Cuba reeked of opulence despite the world crumbling down around her, Marisol’s Cuba showed the results of their crumbled world. I especially loved the paralleled romances between Marisol/Luis and Marisol/Pablo. Reading along as each couple fell in love was absolutely beautiful and I found myself cheering for them every step of the way.

I appreciate that although Cleeton wrote strong women into this story, they were by no means perfect. Both Elisa and Marisol took tremendous risks to protect their families and the men they love, but neither leapt at the chance to be involved with politics. These are women who did what they had to do to survive. I have tremendous respect and love for Elisa and Marisol, and it’s abundantly clear that Cleeton feels the same. This book is full of strong well-written women and it was a joy to read about them.

I loved reading the interactions between the characters in this story. They were very realistic and lent an air of truth to everything that occurred. Elisa and her sisters felt especially true to me, and I’m excited to learn more about Elisa’s sister, Beatriz, in next year’s sequel. I’d be curious to know if any of these characters are based on real-life people from Cleeton’s life, as they all were engaging, well-written, and familiar.

I hope many people read this book. It’s important talk about the realities of Cuban life and its shifting political climate. Cleeton wrote a beautiful story about one family, and I hope that many more Cuban family stories are shared through books. Cleeton also does a great job of criticizing the rampant tourist fever, along with the disconnect between tourist Havana and citizen Havana.

Wrap Up:

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. While I initially thought the story moved a bit slowly, the pacing really improved once the plot picked up. This story serves as a great introduction to the complicated Cuban political climate and the mindsets of those who stayed and those who left. I would definitely recommend this book, especially for fans of Beatriz Williams.

This book is…


a page turner

beautifully written



Publisher: Berkley Books

Genre: fiction

Page Count: 356

ISBN: 0399586687

Available here from IndieBound.

Have you read Next Year in Havana? What fiction set in another country would you recommend?

I am an affiliate with IndieBound and as such, receive a tiny commission should you choose to click through any of the above links and purchase the book(s). Thank you for supporting A Word is Power!

Review: You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld

My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Verdict: Buy Borrow Bypass

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A suburban mother of two fantasizes about the downfall of an old friend whose wholesome lifestyle empire may or may not be built on a lie. A high-powered lawyer honeymooning with her husband is caught off guard by the appearance of the girl who tormented her in high school. A shy Ivy League student learns the truth about a classmate’s seemingly enviable life.

Curtis Sittenfeld has established a reputation as a sharp chronicler of the modern age who humanizes her subjects even as she skewers them. Now, with this first collection of short fiction, her “astonishing gift for creating characters that take up residence in readers’ heads” (The Washington Post) is showcased like never before. Throughout the ten stories in You Think It, I’ll Say It, Sittenfeld upends assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation that feels both adrift and viscerally divided.

With moving insight and uncanny precision, Curtis Sittenfeld pinpoints the questionable decisions, missed connections, and sometimes extraordinary coincidences that make up a life. Indeed, she writes what we’re all thinking—if only we could express it with the wit of a master satirist, the storytelling gifts of an old-fashioned raconteur, and the vision of an American original.

My Thoughts:

I was honestly surprised with how much I enjoyed reading each and every story in this collection. Usually, I find that one or two short stories really stand out and the rest are mediocre. But every story in Sittenfeld’s collection deserved to be there. I found myself reflecting on moments and characters days after finishing a story. If you’ve heard anything about this collection, you’ve likely heard great things about “The Prairie Wife.” And let me tell you, that story absolutely lives up to the hype. A few stories touch on the shifting dynamics after the 2016 election and the increasing usage of social media. Sittenfeld’s stories are relevant and therefore useful for reflection. And believe me, you’ll continue to reflect on this short story collection for days after.

Additionally, I thought that every story fit with the title of this collection: You Think It, I’ll Say It. These stories are about the negative thoughts we entertain about ourselves and each other. These stories follow the negative thoughts we have on a daily basis about normal experiences. Sittenfeld writes realistically about jealousy, envy, boredom, despair, and affairs. And as much as you won’t want to admit it, you’ll find yourself and people you know in the pages of this collection. I also appreciate that Sittenfeld continues to write about the white middle class. This is clearly the demographic Sittenfeld knows well and is able to write honestly, even painfully so at times.

Wrap Up:

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed these stories and how much I’m still thinking about them days later. This was the May selection for Reese Witherspoon’s book club and I’m not sure if I would have picked it up otherwise, but I’m very glad I did! I would highly recommend this book, regardless of whether or not you’ve read Sittenfeld’s novels.

This book is…




full of interesting characters


Publisher: Random House

Genre: short stories

Page Count: 223

ISBN: 0399592865

Available here from IndieBound.

Have you read You Think It, I’ll Say It? What short story collection would you recommend?

I am an affiliate with IndieBound and as such, receive a tiny commission should you choose to click through any of the above links and purchase the book(s). Thank you for supporting A Word is Power!

TBR: June 2018

Hi, readers!

Happy June! Anyone else busily making summer reading lists? I’m aiming for a mix of unread classics and brand new reads. There are so many great books I want to pick up that I’m already setting aside some serious reading time in June. I’ll be sharing some great summer reading ideas in the next few weeks here on the blog. This month, I’m hoping to finish a few books I’ve been slowly reading, as well as set aside time for some quick reads.

Here are three books I’m hoping to pick up this month:

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I won’t lie. I’ve decided to read Sharp Objects now because of the impending HBO series. This story follows Camille, tasked with reporting on the murders of two girls in her hometown. It’s a murder mystery that sounds like it will be all kinds of intense and scary. I loved Gone Girl and am excited to give this a try!

Trouble the Water by Jacqueline Friedland

Abigail, a young British woman, is sent to America to work for Douglas Elling as a governess twenty years before the Civil War. But when Abigail learns Douglas is helping a slave to escape, her entire life changes. I think this story will be quite emotional but it’s well reviewed.

Visible Empire by Hannah Pittard

A plane crash in 1960s Atlanta leaves a city bereft. It is now up to the residents left behind to move Atlanta forward. I’ve heard mixed things about this book but it’s received a fair amount of hype. We’ll see if it lives up to expectations!

That’s it for today! What books are you hoping to read in June?

I am an affiliate with IndieBound and as such, receive a tiny commission should you choose to click through any of the above links and purchase the book(s). Thank you for supporting A Word is Power!
Posted in TBR

Reading Wrap Up: May 2018

Hi, readers!

It’s that time again! Today I’m sharing my reads from this past month as May comes to a close. In my May TBR post, I shared my goal to read books written by authors of color only. I did not accomplish that goal, mainly because I eventually realized many of the books I wanted to read this month were darker in tone and content. You can read a bit more about that in this post. All in all I still had a pretty great reading month! I’ll first share this month’s reading stats and then move on to highlight the books themselves.

This month I read…

Books: 8

Books by women: 8 / 8

Books by PoC: 2 / 8

Favorite pick of the month: The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

Now, onto the books!

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

A lot of people loved this book but unfortunately I was not one of them. The imagery and use of color in this story is beautiful. Astonishing Color addresses depression, suicide, and grief and I had a difficult time connecting with the story as a result of my personal experiences with these topics. I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars and you can read my review here.

By the Book by Julia Sonneborn

Looking for a Jane Austen retelling? Sonneborn did a great job of reimagining and modernizing Persuasion, which is a fantastic Austen book. This retelling is super cute and fun, and Sonneborn is clearly a big fan of both Austen and Persuasion. I would definitely recommend this for Austen fans, as well as to anyone looking for a quick and breezy summer read. I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare

I think Tessa Dare is quickly becoming my favorite romance writer! This is a fun and charming read with a hilarious premise that I refuse to spoil. Also, there’s a mystery! The characters are realistic, endearing, and hilarious. I flew through this story and was quite bummed when it ended. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

This story is absolutely beautiful. The writing is incredible. I would actually stop and reread passages just to appreciate the language better. This is a beautiful story about family that I can’t stop recommending! I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars and you can read my review here.

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

This was the book to burst me out of my depressing book slump! Romancing the Duke is a quick and easy read. I finished it over the course of a day. This book had some surprising plot twists and nice renditions of genre cliches. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars and you can read my full review here.

A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny

Yay, Louise Penny! This is the fourth book in Penny’s famed series following Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. A Rule Against Murder offered a quaint change of pace from the previous novels set in Three Pines. I enjoyed the new characters in this story, as well as Penny’s usual insightful commentary on people, the world, and ethics. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld

This short story collection is Reese Witherspoon’s book club pick for May. And it was so great! I previously read Sittenfeld’s book Prep and after reading this collection, I know want to read her backlist. These stories are insightful, witty, relevant, and engaging. I can honestly say I enjoyed every single one. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars and will share a review soon.

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

This was a frustrating book. I was disappointed with the plot due to the troubling storyline involving a supposed romance between an adult man and a child. It is a quick read, which is lucky because I was not glad for much else in this book. I gave this book 2 out of 5 stars and you can read my review here.

That’s it for this month! What books did you finish this month?

I am an affiliate with IndieBound and as such, receive a tiny commission should you choose to click through any of the above links and purchase the book(s). Thank you for supporting A Word is Power!

One Post, Two DNF Books

Hi, readers!

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I spent most of mine reading and doing some much needed book organizing. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with how many unread books are in my home, which actually makes me less inclined to read. I almost feel paralyzed with choice! And so I took stock of just how many unread books are on my shelves right now. And the number…was over 100.

So I came up with a game plan. I want to read more of my unread books before purchasing new ones. I’ve given myself a target number and every month, I either need to read that many books, get rid of that many books, or some combination of the two. I’m also setting some hard rules about how quickly I need to read a book upon acquiring it and how long I can keep library books. The vast majority of my unread books are ARCs and I want to be in a place where I can actually read these ARCs before the books are published. We’ll see how everything actually goes, and I’ll keep you posted either here or on my Instagram.

Today I want to share some thoughts on two books I started this month and, ultimately, chose to stop reading. I’ve written about not finishing books previously, including this post which details why I do not finish books and also this post, which highlights three books I had recently stopped reading. I choose to share negative reviews on this blog because I think it’s important to be honest. I think all book reviews, both positive and negative, help determine what kinds of books we truly enjoy reading.

Now, onto the books!

The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll

I think The Favorite Sister is a great example of a book that does not live up to the hype. This book was heavily promoted this spring and unfortunately falls very flat. To be completely honest, I also stopped reading Knoll’s first book, Luckiest Girl Alive, due to disinterest and frustrating content. I stopped reading The Favorite Sister on page 94. After almost 100 pages, I was not invested in any of the characters and felt the plot, which is a mystery, boring. Curiously, Knoll chose this book to highlight every aspect pertaining to feminism she could think of and then explained them to the reader. I think Knoll was trying to seem relevant and ‘with it’ but the book suffered greatly for it. The plot and pacing dragged under the weight of explanation after explanation of feminism. It almost felt preachy at times. After marking both of Knoll’s books as DNF, I don’t think she’s an author I’ll return to in the future. I would not recommend this book.

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

Unfortunately, this book just isn’t for me. I stopped reading at page 192 and only read that far because The Poppy War is highly rated on Goodreads and several friends recommended it. It took several days for me to read almost 200 pages and it was a chore for me to pick this up each time. I found the pacing to be super slow and after almost 200 pages, I felt like I was reading mostly world building with very little plot. I know many people love slow moving novels but they’re just not my cup of tea. My stories need to move along! I also did not connect with any of the characters. Once I realize I don’t care what happens to anyone in a story, it’s difficult for me to enjoy it. I really wanted to enjoy this book but I need to move on to stories I enjoy reading.

That’s it for today! Have you read any of these? Which books have you read recently that you didn’t enjoy?

I am an affiliate with IndieBound and as such, receive a tiny commission should you choose to click through any of the above links and purchase the book(s). Thank you for supporting A Word is Power!