May was a bit of a wash. I read two really great books, most of a book that just didn’t do it for me, and got 15 pages into another before I quit due to overwhelming interior design. I’ve debating talking about the books I didn’t enjoy. I feel… guilty… when people rave and I find it just wasn’t for me. I also know that’s silly. Reading is as subjective as writing. So let’s start with the ones I loved.
WINK, POPPY, MIDNIGHT by April Tucholke
Occasionally, I wonder how I’ve acquired my peculiar and wonderful set of friends and I’m always baffled by April’s work. She’s such a vivid storyteller and everything she writes has a distinctly modern Gothic vibe to it. It’s like catnip to me. WINK, POPPY, MIDNIGHT is a short read, but damn did April pack in everything I’ve come to love from her work and then some.
Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.
Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.
What really happened?
Someone is lying.
I can’t wait to see what she does next. We have plans for a midnight tea party and séance in the future.
STRIKE by Delilah S. Dawson
I really enjoyed HIT, the precursor to STRIKE, and I was hoping reading a more action-based book would help me on my quest to write an action-based book. Though I didn’t enjoy it as much I did HIT, STRIKE had the same snarky teenage humor and it’s kinda gratifying to read a book set in places you frequent. Delilah and I live in the same town, and this book is based locally, so it was kinda cool.
As for the other two…
I don’t want to name names. I don’t really want these things to be reviews per say. The first book I was really excited about. It’s a retelling of an old pirate story, and while it started out fine, I found it extremely slow and unfortunately tropey. The multiple POVs felt unnecessary and detracted from the story, and the plot was extremely obvious. I made it 90% through, leaving two chapters unread. Why? Because I didn’t care enough to find out what happened. I read that far hoping it would pick up, but alas…
The last book wasn’t so much a story issue as a design issue. I’ve learned a lesson in that I need to look at the interior of books before I buy them. This book I’ve heard rave reviews over, and I was excited to pick it up. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life for those of us who’ve studied designed that over-designing ruins your life. This book is formatted to look like a journal, with sticky notes (printed, of course), different “handwriting,” medical logs, etc.
A LOT of money was sunk into its production.
Unfortunately, that leaves it basically unreadable for me. I don’t like “noise” when I’m trying to get into a story. I made it 15 pages before I developed a headache. It was just too overwhelming. I know some people love that, but it isn’t for me. I might check out the eBook and see if that’s a better solution for me, but sadly the physical copy is too overdone for me to focus.
Both of these books are in the donation pile.
So, what’s on the slate for June? I’ve finally start THE DARK DAYS CLUB by Alison Goodman. So many of my friends recommended this one, and I have to say so far it’s pretty good. I’m only 50 pages in, but I’m enjoying it so far. I’m very very slowly chipping away at the dreaded TBR pile.
What have you read this month?