Hello everybody! Today, I have another review post for you, and this time all the books are things that some of my lovely blogging pals have recommended to me. So without further ado, onto the post!
The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
This came very highly recommended, so I was very excited about picking it up and it really was a great romcom. It follows a woman named Jess who is a single mum on the verge of giving up on dating for good, who tries out this new dating app based on DNA, and ends up finding out she is incredibly compatible with the app’s founder River Peña, compatible to an unprecedented level, in fact. The only issue is that they already know each other, and Jess is pretty certain this man is NOT her soulmate, given that he basically makes her blood boil, but she’s convinced to give fake dating him a chance for the good of DNA Duo. Jess is a great main character and I loved that her relationship with Juno (her kid) came above literally anything else, and her devotion to her grandparents and best friend Fizzy was also really lovely. At the same time though, it is nice to see how her relationship with River changes her life and makes her realise her happiness matters too, and the chemistry between them is just so deliciously fun to read about. I also liked the exploration of the idea of soulmates because it is a concept I find super interesting and I think this book deals with it really well. Overall, just a really fun book that I’m glad I read!
Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzalez
As you might know, Perfect on Paper by this author was one of my absolute favourite books I read last year, so I had high hopes for this Grease-inspired book that actually came out before it. It follows Ollie and Will, who had a summer fling and have now ended up at the same school for senior year, but only Ollie has come out, meaning they can’t really be together. I personally really loved Ollie, even though he does make mistakes and struggles to accept the fact that Will is closeted, because I think he’s just a good guy trying his best at the end of the day, particularly when you factor in his heartbreaking family situation where his aunt is very ill. I very much shipped him and Will together because they’re very cute and just seemed to get each other, and again I think Will isn’t perfect but he’s fundamentally good. My favourite, however, was Lara, and I loved the exploration of her sexuality and her sassy personality and I low-key want to be her cause she’s just extremely cool. Is she meant to be Rizzo? I feel like she was but it’s been years since I last watched Grease so I wasn’t sure. Niamh’s journey and her identity are also so important and well handled. At this point, I think it’s safe to say I’m a huge fan of Sophie’s writing and I’ll be picking up everything she writes, starting with the already released If This Gets Out, as soon as possible.
The War Came Home by Lesley Parr
I really enjoyed Lesley’s first book the Valley of Lost Secrets so I was always going to be picking this one up, but hearing a few pals RAVE about how good it was definitely made me want to read it even more. It is the story of a girl named Natty who has to move in with extended family after her mum gets sacked for demanding better workers’ rights at her old factory job. There, she meets some young men who have been gravely affected by fighting in World War One, and also becomes involved in a fight for justice at her new school against poverty and cruelty. Natty is such a wonderfully complex character and I loved seeing her change as the book went on, and her support of people she barely knows is symbolic of both how kind she is and how committed she is to doing the right thing. The supporting cast were wonderful too, my particular favourites being Nerys, Huw and Johnny, although Natty’s mum probably deserves a mention too because she’s the coolest. Finally, I don’t want to give anything away, but there is something that I really, desperately wanted to happen basically the entire way through, and it happened and it made so happy! This can be a tough read in place, but it’s ultimately so uplifting and gorgeous and I’m already so looking forward to seeing what Lesley writes next.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure this is the first adult thriller I’ve read this year, and I have to say it was a very strong start. It follows a psychotherapist named Theo who takes this new job at the Grove, where infamous alleged murderer Alicia Berenson resides, in the hope that he will be the first person able to make Alicia speak, as she hasn’t said a single word since the death of her husband, who she apparently shot 5 times for no apparent reason. The premise is obviously incredibly intriguing, and I loved that the writing was split between Theo’s perspective and old diaries of Alicia’s, who I’ve seen people say isn’t a good character but I loved her; I think she was very complex and interesting and I just wanted to know who she really was, and I wonder if this criticism of her is because she isn’t what you’d typically consider likeable . Theo is another one people seem to be very up and down about, but again I felt like he was written to be largely unlikeable and it’s understandable how he turned out this way when you consider his upbringing and other key information we learn about him over the course of the book. I have also seen mixed thoughts on the twist but personally I thought it was very clever, and I was kicking myself for not seeing it coming because looking back it makes a lot of sense. I’m not sure if I’ll read more from this author, but this was for sure an enjoyable, proper page-turner of a read.
The Memory Thieves by Darren Simpson
I bought Darren’s first book back in like 2019 or very early 2020, because the dedication made me cry in a Waterstones, and just keep forgetting to pick it up, and then I bought the Memory Thieves pretty soon after it was released because one of my friends LOVED it and I have no self control when I walk into Waterstones. I did not manage to read either in the final months of 2021 as I had hoped to, so I made a solemn vow that I would read some Darren Simpson in 2022 and I hope you’re all proud of me that I have officially DONE IT. Thrillingly, I also loved this, which means I’m very likely to hopefully read Darren’s other books this year too. Anyway, enough rambling from me! This is the story of a boy named Cyan who lives at the Elsewhere Sanctuary, a place where traumatised children go and have their memories erased, where everything is not at all as it seems,and Cyan sets out to investigate the truth. I find books (or TV or films or anything, really) about trauma so interesting and I think my personal connection to the theme definitely made this much more tense and scary for me, although the way the atmosphere and creeping sensation that something is not quite right definitely also played a part because it was just phenomenonal. I am so grateful my psychologist is nothing like Dr Haven, and I think it’s really important to have that underlying message that talking about trauma is essential, because I hid things for years and made myself really unwell. I got so attached to the characters, obviously Cyan because we follow his journey the most, but also brave, outspoken Ruby and Teal, who just stole my entire heart and who I wanted to protect so badly. This review has ended up being very rambly and also quite a lot about me but I just think this book is so special and I’m so happy I read it, even though it made me cry and also had me on absolute edge the entire time. I’ve seen this described as Sci fi, but I would personally be more inclined to call it psychological horror/thriller with sci fi leanings, and I just hope this review makes even one person want to read this because I loved it.
Thank you so much for reading! Have you read any of these books? Which books have your friends recommended to you lately? And have you loved any books I’ve recommended to you?! I’d love to chat in the comments!