October Reads Flash Reviews

Here are quick reviews of seven novels I read in October, along with their individual “awards.”

Written by Possibly My New Favorite Author – Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver)

I loved everything about Before I Fall. Lauren Oliver might just be my new favorite writer, and she recently posted on Twitter that Before I Fall is being made into a movie, yay! 5 stars out of 5

Most in Need of Better Editing  and the Whoah, What’s Up with that Cover Award – The Truth About Forever (Sarah Dessen)

The Truth About Forever could have been thirty pages shorter and wouldn’t have missed a thing. The older sister was a really good character, but I’m a bit miffed that one of the key plot questions was never answered. I’m not usually too picky about covers but this one looks like Grandma’s needlework pattern. 4 stars out of 5

Set in the Place I’d Most Like to Visit (Sort Of) – Exodus (Julie Bertagna)

Writer Julie Bertagna hails from Scotland (the #1 country I’d like to visit), and her story is set in post-apocalyptic Glasgow. Exodus poses important questions that I’m not sure I was prepared to think about. 4 stars out of 5

Most Adorable Love Interest – Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell)

Levi is the sweetest. I love his confidence, loyalty, and passion for life. Before reading Fangirl I had no idea the main character Cath was a twin—I always like a good story about twins. In my humble opinion, the Simon and Baz excerpts didn’t add much to Fangirl, but I am curious about their full-length novel, Carry On. 4 stars out of 5

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Most Controversial – The Man in the High Castle (Philip K. Dick)

This book was recommended to me by a work associate who knows about my connection to Japanese culture. The Man in the High Castle is an alt history exploring what might have happened if Germany and Japan had won World War II and ended up occupying the United States. There is genius in this story (and it gave me an idea for something I’d like to use in novel I’m currently writing), but the characters exhibit a lot of racism, which was tough to get through. 3.5 out of 5

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Backstory Extravaganza – The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender (Leslye Walton)

Set-up is important; I get it, but the first third of this book reads like backstory. Also, one of the dangers of writing magical realism is that it can easily veer into ludicrousness, which this book only did a couple of times, and only early on. When the real story begins around page 80, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is a highly imaginative, compelling, and emotional read. Whoever designed this gorgeous cover deserves an award (Do they give out awards for book covers? If so, I’d love to see the winning work.). 4 stars out of 5

Best Ending – Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo)

Yes, I like the characters (the Grisha! The Wraith!), and the world building was incredible, but maybe because I’m not a big fan of caper stories, this book felt like it took a really long time to read. That being said, the ending BLEW ME AWAY. 4 stars out of 5

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Basking in the Bounty of the Book Gods


The book gods have been good to me this week. I’m suddenly basking in books that are at the top of my TBR list.

Currently Reading
Julie Bertagna’s Exodus. If you ever read this book, rest assured it gets really good after the first couple of chapters. It’s so imaginative and, as for social commentary, whoah.

Library Holds
Two holds also came through from the happiest place on Earth, my local library:

  • At last, my first Rainbow Rowell book, Fangirl.
  • Leslye Walton’s debut novel, with its simple yet very beautiful cover, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. (I’d like to randomly add that I am mad at the word lavender because it refuses to be spelled — as I perpetually want to write it — like the word calendar.)

   

Contest Prize
And here’s where I saved the best for last. Along with a nice handwritten note, literary agent Janet “The Shark” Reid mailed me Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows ARC as a prize for winning her recent flash fiction contest. I’m not gonna lie, I worked HARD to win because I REALLY wanted to read Six of Crows, but I had no idea that….

THIS ARC COMES WITH WINGS!!!

Six of Crows book wings

Fellow book lovers, surely you understand how happy this makes me.

Happy reading!

— Eve Messenger