book review · read-a-thon

Buzzwordathon Wrap Up + Life Update

I did it! I broke my reading slump (insert praise hands). The biggest reason in that after ten months of searching for answers I was finally given a diagnosis and the relief I feel at not only knowing what I have, but also having a plan in place if/when I have another attack is so reassuring. I feel like I can breathe and there is a huge weight that has been lifted off of me. I was diagnosed with MOG myelitis or MOGAD which is a rare neuroimmune disease that is like a cousin to MS but with a better prognosis. Unfortunately, I have already had two attacks since I got sick, so my doctors feel like it is likely I will have another, but like I said, we have already come up with a plan for if that happens. My biggest obstacle right now is to work with a physical therapist to hopefully regain as much of my mobility back as possible, but really I’m going to try hard for 100% recovery! Now that I have this huge stress of not knowing off my back, I will probably not be mentioning it as much here since books are such a safe and happy place for me and it is good for my mental health to have an escape. But if you are wanting to know more about what exactly MOG is I will link my Instagram here where I have a bunch of info saved in a story highlight on my profile. I also just want to say a huge thank you for all of your kind words and thoughts over the course of this journey. I am so grateful for this community and it has been a big source of comfort to me.

The second reason that my slump broke is that I read one of my favorite books of the year for the buzzwordathon and ever since I have finished it I have been back to reading like crazy. On the other side of that, the only other book I read for this readathon is one of my least favorite of the year. But I have still kept up my reading so I feel confident in saying that I am officially out of my slump!

Rating: 4.5/5

This is one of the best mysteries I have read this year. It can be a slippery slope to preachy when the plot is centered around a topical societal issue but Goldin really incorporated the whole idea of rape culture seamlessly into her story. The Night Swim follows popular podcaster, Rachel, who has traveled to a small coastal town to cover the rape trial of high schooler, K, by popular Olympic hopeful, Scott Blair. This story is also paralleled by a possible murder that was committed twenty five years ago. The pacing of this book was fantastic and the dual timelines and narrators really built the suspense up as we got deeper into the story. Besides being a really great mystery, this book is also a scathing commentary on how society views and treats rape victims. Why is rape the only crime where it is the victim’s fault that it happened? This book is equal parts infuriating and heartbreaking. And the whole thing is anchored by a solid mystery that is just as captivating. The ending was predictable but also suspenseful and was a solid way to end the book. I was talking about this book on Instagram and someone commented and said that this would be a great start to a series and while I had never thought about it before, I have to agree. If you are familiar with the Brock Turner case than this story will feel very similar to you and since I had coincidentally put Chanel Miller’s Know My Name on my September TBR I decided to pick it up today. Miller is the one who was raped by Brock Turner and it felt like the best way to move on from this topic would be to spend my time reading from a survivor. I highly recommend The Night Swim but please be aware of the difficult topic before starting. It will make you angry but it also important that we keep talking about the disgusting way that women are treated. Not only in regards to rape culture but also just in everyday life.

Rating: 2.5/5

I am sorry to say that this is my first Kristin Hannah since I really didn’t like this book. The premise could have been interesting but it was really bogged down by poor pacing, terrible characters, and a nonsensical plot line. The first part of this story takes place in 2004 when the teenagers of the story are seniors in High School which also happened to be the same year that I graduated. And I didn’t connect with them at all. There was also a weird thing where everyone was so convinced that because these kids are now seniors that they were going to start going to parties where alcohol was involved. If that was what they were going to do they wouldn’t just start because they are seniors. It was very off putting and along with the pacing of the first half it just left me bewildered. This is supposed to be an emotional read but because I didn’t connect to anything with the story until the last 50 pages I didn’t tear up once, which is pretty rare for me. I am a big crier in books, movies, tv shows, commercials, basically anything and this book left me feeling so empty for the majority of it. And Jude. She makes zero sense as a character and I failed to believe anything she felt or did was believable. Overall, this was a big miss for me but I did give it an extra half a star because it did start to touch my emotionally toward the end. Although, the ending was irritating and left me feeling annoyed that the author had wrapped it up like that. I have heard that this is Hannah’s least popular book so I will definitely be trying another one of hers before I decide if she is an author for me or not. Another plus for Hannah is that I did write down a couple of quotes that I resonated with me.

“She’d grown up on a diet of lies; she knew the bitter taste they left in your mouth.”

“A girl without a mother was a prisoner of a different kind.”



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