ten mini book reviews pt. 19 featured image

Ten Mini Book Reviews Pt. 19

Hello everyone! I’m back with another set of mini book reviews! Books included: It Ends with Us, Crying in H Mart, Cobra II, How to Be Perfect, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Out of Office, Things We Lost to the Water, The Undocumented Americans, House of Sky and Breath, and Verity.

ten mini book reviews pt. 19 featured image

I’m actually super behind on these! I’m already well into Pt. 20 of these series, as I had a great reading month in March. At this time, I think I’m almost reading too much if you can believe it! I have a reading goal of 65 books in 2022, but I am trying to finish reading the books by Cassandra Clare, read the books by Colleen Hoover, and read the recommended books from President Barack Obama too. Plus, I have a super long list of books I want to read beyond these on top of that! So I’ve been very motivated for sure.

Note about my ratings: I’ve switched to using the StoryGraph to track and rate the books I’ve been reading. This site uses 1-5 stars, 5 being the highest, in 0.25 increments. Feel free to friend me on the StoryGraph – my username is StarringPamela there!

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

This was my second CoHo book! I read Layla last year and quite enjoyed it, so I thought I’d read It Ends With Us next as I think it’s the newest CoHo book. Honestly, I didn’t really enjoy it! The book had strong domestic violence themes and, I don’t like those themes.They’re honestly so annoying to read. Apparently the book was inspired by CoHo’s mom’s abusive relationship and Hoover wanted to show her mom support by writing this. I guess I did enjoy the start and the end of the book, but the abuse in the middle was so frustrating to read and getting through it was a struggle due to that.

I gave this book 3.75 out of 5 stars.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

This was one of President Obama’s picks from 2021, so I picked it up. I thought the title was so interesting so it really caught my eye! I expected to enjoy it a lot more than I actually did. It was a memoir centered around the illness and eventual death of Zauner’s mother, and how it impacted her life during and after the death. I had expected it to mainly focus on the “after” portion of Zauner’s life, but it really didn’t, lingering on the “during” as Zauner returned home to care for her mother. Even if I didn’t like it as much as I expected to, it was really an emotional and heart wrenching read. Everything from Zauner struggling to connect with her parents as an adult after moving back in, trying to support both parents in different ways, accepting their support in return, and even trying to move on after as well was a lot for Zauner to work through.

I gave this book 3.75 out of 5 stars.

Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq by Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor

I found this book via TikTok, and it was such a dense book. It was super informative for sure, but it took me such a long time to get through it due to all the information. I did appreciate it was I was quite young when the invasion and occupation of Iraq was really starting to take place, so it was good to really understand the situation and the decisions that led to the events that occurred.

I gave this book 3.75 out of 5 stars.

How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question by Michael Schur

This was the first audio book I tried! I finally decided to give it a try as I did enjoy the show The Good Place and the cast did get featured in Schur’s audio book. I actually did like it, and it was super interesting. Schur has been a student of philosophy for awhile, and it was really well explained. I felt like every time I was contemplating a hypothetical situation that Schur was proposing and I thought up of a response, he’d address it with the philosophical explanation that he’d studied. It was a ton of fun to contemplate and learn. I actually did enjoy listening to the audio book more than I expected to. I listened to it as I walked around my basement (too cold for outdoor walks and desperate times call for desperate measures), so I had plenty of time to listen without distractions. I did find my mind wandering more than I would have liked, and more than it would have if I’d been reading a physical or digital copy of the book, but it was still really interesting and I learned a lot.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson with Roger Wayne (Narrator)

This was the next audio book I downloaded on Libby. I did really like it, and I especially liked that some of the same philosophical topics from How to Be Perfect came up in this book too. It was super cool to read them back to back like this and see those common threads. I don’t think this book was particularly groundbreaking for me, but it was still really, really good and I would recommend!

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working from Home by Charlie Warzel and Anne Helen Petersen

I checked this book out because I work from home! Personally, I love it and I don’t really see the “downsides” that this book mentioned as downsides at all. Honestly it felt like a bunch of CEOs and middle managers decided to pay some people to write propaganda against working from home. I found myself rolling my eyes and muttering “yeah that’s why I will never work in an office again!” so often when reading this book. I do agree there are some problems with working from home, but I think this book tries too hard to focus on what the authors think are negatives to be taken seriously.

I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Things We Lost to the Water by Eric Nguyen

This was another book on President Obama’s 2021 reading list. This book is a fiction book following a single mother escaping war in southeast Asia with her sons, while waiting for her husband to join them. Years later, their father never showed, their mother has moved on, and the sons are off on their own very different journeys.

I did not enjoy this book at all, and at this point I was really questioning my choice to read all the 2021 reading list. At the end, I could appreciate the lessons and journey each character went on, but the family was so disjointed and everyone was so self-absorbed it was just annoying to read. Of course, that is what makes it realistic too.

I gave this book 3.25 out of 5 stars.

The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

I picked up this book after seeing it on TikTok. Cornejo Villavicencio follows several undocumented Americans during the terrible years of President Trump. I picked this up thinking it was going to be a more journalistic documentation of the lives of undocumented Americans, but it really wasn’t. Cornejo Villavicencio instead forms deep, lasting connections with the undocumented people she speaks to. She works hard to connect with them and earn their trust, traveling across the country to meet undocumented Americans and tell their stories.

I think the most impactful stories for me were the ones from Flint during the water crisis once lead was discovered in the water from the old pipes and the horrific experience and impact the 9/11 attacks had on the undocumented people that worked at the clean up site after the towers collapsed. It was so shocking to hear that they had undocumented people working in flooded areas clearing debris without any protective equipment at all, especially since they would later have no way to prove they had been working on the site in order to get assistance dealing with the health issues that later arose from that work.

It was a really interesting read and quite a story that lingered after the book ended. I did listen to it as an audio book as well, which was a really powerful way to consume this story.

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas

As a fan of Sarah J. Maas, I checked out House of Sky and Breath! This is the second in Maas’ Crescent City series, continuing to follow Bryce Quinlan. At this point, Bryce is trying to keep a low profile after the events of the first book, but when another threat to Danika’s memory, Bryce’s friends, and the city as a whole arises, Bryce leaps back into action with her new power and alliances.

*VAGUE BUT ALSO MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD* I do really like the world that this book is set in, although I did think this book was entirely too long with too many plot lines running amok. It sort of feels like Maas wanted to take all her Throne of Glass series, mix it up with her Court of Thorns and Roses series, make it different, and the shove it all into two very large books. Am I complaining? Maybe a little. While I love Bryce and reading about her world, nothing really interesting happened until the last third of the book. Also, that ending was insane! I have to admit, I read so much that a lot of details end up being forgotten from book to book, so lots of clues others picked up on for the ending were completely lost to me. Then, I also do not consume a ton of bookish material online (which I feel like I should!) so I didn’t see the leaked page that apparently gave away the ending, only finding out about that when I watched some reviews on YouTube after finishing the book. I will say, this book was one that I really wished I had someone to talk to about it in real life. I suppose that’s why I do these posts though!

I gave this book 4.75 out of 5 stars.

Verity by Colleen Hoover

The last book for this post will be another CoHo book, Verity. This book is often a favorite of CoHo stans, so I was excited to read it. In this book, Lowen is a struggling writer in NYC who is given an amazing opportunity to ghostwrite for famed author Verity. Verity is no longer able to write after a horrific accident. Verity’s husband, Jeremy, and her publisher, in effort to keep Verity’s true condition unknown to her loyal fans, hire Lowen to finish out Verity’s now final series. Lowen moves into the Crawford home in order to try to find Verity’s work thus far on the series to help her complete it, and discovers a terrifying autobiography that Verity did not intend anyone to find, where she admitted a horrible truths regarding several tragedies the Crawford family had endured.

*MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD* This book was so incredibly dark and crazy. I do love how CoHo left it a mystery as to who was telling the truth all along. This was another book I was dying to talk to someone about so I joined in one of the threads in a Facebook group I’m in. My end guess is that Verity’s autobiography was telling the truth, because it was just too wild to make up! Plus, why would a seemingly innocent woman hide her true condition like that? In the end, the final piece of the puzzle that tipped me towards “Verity was a murderer” was her treatment of Crew. No matter what, it was insane that she manipulated Crew and had him keep such a secret. Of course, I could be wrong! I did think it was so wrong of Lowen and Jeremy to get together while Verity is supposedly terribly injured nearby, but I did like that Lowen tried to help Jeremy and Crew, and that she tried to get the family to move on by getting Jeremy to understand that keeping the seemingly injured Verity in the house was not the best situation for anyone. Lowen seemed to have a good heart, going far above and beyond her duties as a ghostwriter.

I gave this book 4.75 out of 5 stars.

Well, to close this out, shout out to public libraries! I got all ten of these books from my library, mostly as digital or audio books, but some physical books too. Gotta love those public libraries!

Thanks for reading!


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