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Book Round-Up: I thought there'd be more ghosts?



Recently, I have been making more time to read. This may seem weird coming from someone who writes almost every single day. Most people think writer = reader. But over the last few years, I had fallen off of reading. I don't know why; I still continued to buy books. About a month ago, I faced the reality that I had a stack of over 50 books waiting for me that I'd been collecting for since the pandemic had started.


Making more time to read meant slowing down, picking a good time, setting up a schedule for myself. The problem with me reading has always been that I ZOOM through books. I have always read very quickly and I wanted to make sure I was enjoying reading as well as doing something positive for my mental health.


Here are the parameters:

  • Most reading takes place at night after I begin my night routine (skincare, night meds, tea, melatonin)

  • I am allowed to check social media one last time and set alarms

  • I turn on my new reading lamp (no blue light!), set a 30 minute timer, and read for that duration

  • I log how many pages on my Goodreads app and then head to sleep

So in two weeks (skipping some nights because I was too tired), I read three books! I really impressed myself one night when I was able to get through 134 pages in 30 minutes. I'm finding my passion for reading again; this thrills me.


I thought something that would add to my little corner of the internet was small book reviews. I am no expert when it comes to writing them, despite being a former journalist. So, this will be a work in progress. I will include an overall rating out of five stars (one being the worst thing I have ever read and five being HOLY GUACMOLE, BEST BOOK EVER), a brief summary, and my thoughts overall.


I also want to make a note that I am only keeping some of these books because I thoroughly enjoyed them and I think I will re-read them. Others I will offer up on social media to be purchase at a discounted price and, if no one wants them, I'll donate them to my local library.


Onto the reviews!


This Is Not a Ghost Story by Andrea Portes

  • Dates Read: January 22 - 24

  • Rating: ☆☆

  • Goodreads Summary: Daffodil Franklin has plans for a quiet summer before her freshman year at college, and luckily, she’s found the job that can give her just that: housesitting a mansion for a wealthy couple. But as the summer progresses and shadows lengthen, Daffodil comes to realize the house is more than it appears. The spacious home seems to close in on her, and as she takes the long road into town, she feels eyes on her the entire way, and something tugging her back. What Daffodil doesn’t yet realize is that her job comes with a steep price. The house has a long-ago grudge it needs to settle...and Daffodil is the key to settling it.

  • Overall Thoughts: I wanted to love this book. I really, really did. The cover was intriguing and the summary had so many questions percolating. However, from the jump, I felt like the stream-of-consciousness first-person narrative was jarring. It was almost too conversational. The main character is incredibly redundant. BUT! I loved the spooky elements, the weird timey-wimey things that occurred, and the descriptions of being forlorn. I felt like the author described loss in such a way that was both poetic and relatable. The ending was confusing and a bit rushed, though unexpected, but I was left with the question, "What was the point in all of this?"

  • Final Musing: I thought there'd be more ghosts?


Wounded Little Gods by Eliza Victoria

  • Dates Read: January 25 - 26

  • Rating: ☆☆☆☆

  • Goodreads Summary: Until they didn't. Ten years ago, the town's harvest failed utterly, and the people---believing the gods had abandoned them--left their farms and moved on. Now, on a Friday before a long weekend, Regina ends her workday at an office in Makati, and walks home with a new colleague, Diana. Following a strange and disturbing conversation between them, Diana does not show up at work on Monday, nor Tuesday, nor Wednesday. On Thursday, Regina finds a folded piece of paper In her bag. In Diana's handwriting are two names and a strange map that will send Regina back to her hometown. Here, in her quest to find Diana, she encounters rumors of genetic experiments, stumbles upon a strange facility that no one seems to know about, finds herself in places that don't exist, and discovers that people are not who they seem to be. And the biggest question in the bizarre chain of events is not what, or how, but why? Wounded Little Gods is a tale that brings mythology to a sci-fi thriller that's filled with a sense of place--a place where gods are in many ways human and point to the ways in which humans can be inhumane. As Regina struggles to unwind the knots surrounding the mystery of this facility and the people connected to it. She discovers that she is more intertwined in the strange events in her hometown than she ever knew.

  • Overall Thoughts: From the gate, this book had me hooked. It was a random pick-up from a table at Barnes and Noble, and I am so pleased I gave it a chance. I am always a little wary of smaller books because I like a good beefy story, but though it be small, Wounded Little Gods be mighty. The characters were well-formed, the plot was absolutely mesmerizing, and it took me into a world I never anticipated in exploring. It was a beautiful marriage of medical experimentation and Phillipine mythology. The heartbreak and bewilderment of the characters was palpable. Haunting and wonderful.

  • Final Musing: I'd love to read more Asian literature and learn about the various mythologies within the separate cultures because this was INTRIGUING.


All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O'Donoghue

  • Dates Read: January 29 - February 4

  • Rating: ☆☆☆☆

  • Goodreads Summary: After Maeve finds a pack of tarot cards while cleaning out a closet during her in-school suspension, she quickly becomes the most sought-after diviner at St. Bernadette’s Catholic school. But when Maeve’s ex–best friend, Lily, draws an unsettling card called The Housekeeper that Maeve has never seen before, the session devolves into a heated argument that ends with Maeve wishing aloud that Lily would disappear. When Lily isn’t at school the next Monday, Maeve learns her ex-friend has vanished without a trace. Shunned by her classmates and struggling to preserve a fledgling romance with Lily’s gender-fluid sibling, Roe, Maeve must dig deep into her connection with the cards to search for clues the police cannot find—even if they lead to the terrifying Housekeeper herself. Set in an Irish town where the church’s tight hold has loosened and new freedoms are trying to take root, this sharply contemporary story is witty, gripping, and tinged with mysticism.

  • Overall Thoughts: Witchcraft. Queer Representation. A vengeful spirit. Teenage drama. And set in Ireland? Sign me up. I felt like this book packed such a fun, witty punch and I kept not wanting to put it down, even after my timer went off. I love a good witch self-discovery tale, especially when it involves adolescent, awkward girls. And not only that, the author really wove such a diverse cast -- it felt inclusive without being preachy. The main character is a little self-centered, but what teenager isn't? Also: NON-BINARY representation! YES YES YES. At times, I felt some of the description was a bit long-winded, but overall, the story was woven with just the right amount of magic, humor, and the author included an introduction to Tarot at the back of the book. There is a sequel and I will definitely pick it up.

  • Final Musing: I have never felt more nostalgic for my teenage witchy self until I read this.

I'm feeling really good about my new reading habit I am developing. If you all have any recommendations as far as books go, please comment! And if you'd be interested in purchasing one of these books for a discounted price, hit me up in DM. I'd love to share them with other people.


Happy Hauntings!

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