Review: Counting by 7s

Counting by 7s
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a sweet, quirky story about loss and finding family in unexpected places. It’s best if you don’t overthink anything. Once you do, it’s a downhill slide that you won’t recover from, so I recommend you put on your fiction blinders and cinch them tight before you read this novel.

I finished this story 4 days ago, and I gave it 4 stars in the moment. Today, I couldn’t even remember the story well enough to write this review without going back through to read a synopsis to prompt my memories.

After careful reconsideration, I have reduced my rating by a star.

This story has a few things that may be interesting or amusing in the moment, but that in reality, I didn’t actually appreciate. There’s a bad counselor, a strange relationship to money/wealth/poverty that lacks depth and truthfulness, some truly unbelievable moments and occurrences for a contemporary story, a lack of character development in most side characters, and a depiction of loss and grief that doesn’t resonate as well as it could.

HOWEVER, there are these sentences and moments throughout that are so perfectly charming and touching, that I think it makes it really easy to look past the flaws of the storyline. My advice to readers is to not overthink anything, and to enjoy this book for what it is, without thinking too hard about what it could have been. Once you do the second, it will be impossible not to fixate on everything that just doesn’t add up.

PAGES: 380

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Review: Monstrous

Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an unusual MG fantasy novel that has both an innocence and depth that I found fascinating.
Basically, it’s the love child of a dark fairy tale and a Halloween horror story.

It’s also a novel of contradictions. The story is dark but with just enough rays of hope to make the ugliness feel beautiful. The MC is indeed monstrous, with animal features, instincts, and a strong fight or flight mode, but she’s also so desperately human that it almost aches to read about her wants and desires. There are good guys who do bad things and bad guys who do good things. All of this added such interesting textures and layers to the story.

Pages: 432

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Review: Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer
Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is okay. It’s kind of fluffy and obvious. If I had known it was a ghost story, I would have skipped it completely (not typically my cup of tea). However, it doesn’t follow the pattern for a usual ghost story, in that there isn’t much suspense, and it’s never scary (which I found disappointing).

This is definitely not a thriller/horror. It’s more of a contemporary story with a bit of a twist. I think that’s the biggest mark against it. If you have a serial killer in the title (and the story), I should get the chills at least once while reading. My heart should beat fast, or I should get nervous about the fate of a character. Unfortunately, that did not occur. I felt like — “Meh. Whatever”–so I think that was a missed opportunity. The book has only a very narrow range of emotions that it will make you feel, because everything is a bit superficial.

I don’t hate it. I finished it. The writing isn’t bad in a general sense, though there were too many characters, they didn’t grow enough, and the majority lacked depth. The MC wasn’t bad though, which is why I stuck with it.

Pages: 304

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