I read some books this month.

I’m trying a new thing this month. Since I don’t want to write big long reviews of EVERY BOOK I READ, I’m going to do a digest of the books I read each month along with short reviews and ratings. Enjoy!

My first book was the audio of Dark Disciple by Christie Golden. Golden is easily becoming one of, if not my favorite, Star Wars writers. This book focuses on Quinlan Vos, a Jedi who has been instructed by the Council to assassinate Count Dooku. The best way to do that? Get close with Asaaj Ventress, Dooku’s former apprentice. It was gripping from page one, an incredible love story, and really shed some light on Ventress, a character that I though got shafted a bit in Clone Wars. Overall, 5/5, 9/10, definitely worth picking up.

My next book was The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe. This was a Book of the Month Book from a few months ago and, man, did I sit on it for too long. The book follows Michael, a high schooler trying to find his place in the world, and Bunny, the titular knockout queen and volleyball star. They become unlikely friends by being neighbors. However, after Michael is assaulted in a parking lot for the massive “crime” of being gay, Bunny decides to take matters into her hands. We get to see their friendship develop, fall apart, and reconnect several times in the book and it is artfully done by Thorpe. Bunny and Michael were likeable and detestable at different points, but you could really feel connected to them. Worth picking up, for sure! 5/5, 10/10

Oh man, this one was fun! The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths was one of our Freking Book Club picks (more on that another time) and it did NOT disappoint. Clare is an English teacher at a shabby high school where the famed author R.M. Holland used to live. She uses his famous work The Stranger in her creative writing class to teach about, well, good writing. Then, her best friend was murdered at the school, with a note saying “Hell is empty”, a repeated motif in The Stranger. Now, Clare, her daughter Georgie, and Harbinder Kaur, a detective working the case, are racing to find the killer and prevent more deaths from happening. Oh, and someone is writing in Clare’s diary, which is super creepy. This was a really great, atmospheric murder mystery. Holland was a Gothic writer and Griffiths does a great job of emulating that style, at least for Clare’s portions. Another 5/5, 10/10. I just like books, okay?

Hi there, you can ignore me, I’ll be in the corner sobbing, thanks bye. Whew boy, this one was a tough hang. This follows Joe Biden’s life after he found out his son, Beau, had inoperable cancer. It talks about his tragedies in his life and the grief he suffered after Beau’s death. It’s a heart-wrenching book. And I did it on audio where Joe was reading it and I just cried. Another great thing about this book is that it’s political without taking the focus away from Beau. It doesn’t feel exploitative like a lot of political tragedies sound. Definitely pick this up, even if you don’t support him. It’s a book about a human who happens to be a politician. 5/5, 10/10.

My streak ends here. The Rise of Kylo Ren by Charles Soule is… Okay? Like, it was very well written and a beautifully done book, but I guess I just wanted more. This four-issue mini series shows us how Ben Solo became Kylo Ren. I read this a week ago and I struggle to remember how it happened, honestly. You get some good interactions with Ben and Luke and Ben and his fellow Jedi, so that’s good. I dunno, I was just really underwhelmed with this. Give me MORE. I WANT A KNIGHTS OF REN BOOK DAMMIT. 3/5, 5/10

The last book I’ll talk about today is Over the Top by Jonathan Van Ness. I love Queer Eye and I love all of the boys. I will say, Jonathan is middle of the road for me (Bobby, Tan, Jonathan, Karamo, Antoni, in case you wanted my ranking) but this was a great listen. I highly recommend the audiobook. I don’t think I would have enjoyed reading it as much as I did listening. This tells about Jonathan’s life, being a gay kid growing up in Missouri. He chronicles his drug and sex addictions, how he was able to overcome them, and where he is now. If you are a Queer Eye fan, pick it up! 4/5, 8/10

It’s been a good reading month and I have some spooky goodness coming up in the next post.

All book images are from Goodreads.