Welcome back! We all know the drill by now, so let’s just get into it.
WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Taking On A World Of Books (previously hosted by A Daily Rhythm). If you decide to join in just answer these three questions: What are you reading now? What did you read recently? What will you read next? And then comment and leave a link to your post there. Then you can go and check out what everyone else is reading!
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?
Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.
If I sound a bit off, it’s because of this book. When people say it’s dark, they really mean dark (maybe I should be more trusting in this regard). Not only dark in the themes but also in the atmosphere. I feel very… not scared, as though I am bracing myself for impact. When, in movies, you see something go off and there’s this long period of silence and then everything is almost painfully loud and happening and everyone is either running or fighting. I feel like I am currently in the “silence” part of that sequence. I don’t like it because I think the entire book might be like this and I tend to absorb the tension and become very unpleasant to be around.
On the other hand, do you guys know Gansey? From The Raven Cycle series? If you’re a big Gansey fan then I think you might like Darlington.
So far (10% percent in, but you wouldn’t know it by how much I’m talking about it right now), the characters have been carrying the book, which is great because I like character driven stories. The problem is that the book is not in chronological order, as in it skips between multiple different times kind of like flashbacks but not really?
Despite all of this, I am kind of getting invested and interested and I am a clown for only now realizing that some of the content might upset me.
They Never Learn by Layne Fargo
Scarlett Clark is an exceptional English professor. But she’s even better at getting away with murder.
Every year, she searches for the worst man at Gorman University and plots his well-deserved demise. Thanks to her meticulous planning, she’s avoided drawing attention to herself—but as she’s preparing for her biggest kill yet, the school starts probing into the growing body count on campus. Determined to keep her enemies close, Scarlett insinuates herself into the investigation and charms the woman in charge, Dr. Mina Pierce. Everything’s going according to her master plan… until she loses control with her latest victim, putting her secret life at risk of exposure.
Meanwhile, Gorman student Carly Schiller is just trying to survive her freshman year. Finally free of her emotionally abusive father, all Carly wants is to focus on her studies and fade into the background. Her new roommate has other ideas. Allison Hadley is cool and confident—everything Carly wishes she could be—and the two girls quickly form an intense friendship. So when Allison is sexually assaulted at a party, Carly becomes obsessed with making the attacker pay… and turning her fantasies about revenge into a reality.
The plot twist was astounding, I really enjoyed it. The sheer amounts of rage this book radiates is unparalleled. The romance-y elements of this book served as a good contrast to the murder stuff, if that contrast was beneficial or not is up to you. It was very captivating, I could barely put it down, but I do think that it weakened towards the end. The ending itself was on par with the story.
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.
This book was really good! I don’t know why, but it kind of felt like a warm towel after standing in the rain, a ray of sunshine, if you will. I think Esme and Khai were both great characters, and I like the development they went through during the story. The focus on not having to compromise your goals or values was cool.
First Comes Like by Alisha Rai
Beauty expert and influencer Jia Ahmed has her eye on the prize: conquering the internet today, the entire makeup industry tomorrow, and finally, finally proving herself to her big opinionated family. She has little time for love, and even less time for the men in her private messages—until the day a certain international superstar slides into her DMs, and she falls hard and fast.
There’s just one wrinkle: he has no idea who she is.
The son of a powerful Bollywood family, soap opera star Dev Dixit is used to drama, but a strange woman who accuses him of wooing her online, well, that’s a new one. As much as he’d like to focus on his Hollywood fresh start, he can’t get Jia out of his head. Especially once he starts to suspect who might have used his famous name to catfish her…
When paparazzi blast their private business into the public eye, Dev is happy to engage in some friendly fake dating to calm the gossips and to dazzle her family. But as the whole world swoons over their relationship, Jia can’t help but wonder: Can an online romance-turned-offline-fauxmance ever become love in real life?
This book was very flat. You know how a plot is supposed to go up and down? There’s conflict and there’s resolution, right? Well there was basically no conflict in this book. The relationship felt like a very normal and healthy one — they would communicate everything and when they went on their first few dates it was kind of awkward. This absolutely normal relationship didn’t make for a good read. I do have to admit that between approximately 60 and 90 percent I finally got interested but after that arc I was a bit bored again.
I can be very picky with words. Certain words can throw me off, or certain uses of words can do that. Sometimes I will get the urge to disagree with what someone said because I don’t like the way they phrased it even though I agree with the concept which is sucks and I am working on not being so stuck up, but the book uses “girlboss” unironically. Also the word “oodles” is used. Characters will say things that people don’t say, like list off the psychological issues of other characters.
However, if Lakshmi got her own book, I would absolutely be down to read it and I might still try out the previous books.
I have the feeling that I will need something not hardcore or strenuous in any way after Ninth House, so probably a romance novel — either Well Met by Jen DeLuca or The Roommate Risk by Talia Hibbert. However, if I am really into Ninth House when I’m done or if I still feel dark academia-y, I’ll read A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee.
I just noticed that the two romance novels I read both have warm yellow covers and single parents as one of the main characters.