JJ Reads

Mini Reviews: Killer Mermaids, Alien Exosuits, Murder Club, Awkward Teens, and Living Memories

I’ve read some AMAZING books this month. Just going by the title of this post you can probably guess that. They sound awesome, which would have been why I picked them all up… Anyone want to attempt to put all those things from the title into one book? because i would read that book!

Some of these totally deserve their own full review in my wrap up post but time is a thing I don’t have so I’ll stick to my usual one full review for the bestest best book this month. In the meantime, here is a bunch of mini reviews that were fun to write that I hope are just as enticing if not verbose.

Sidenote: I’d love to know if people prefer writing mini reviews or full reviews? And reading too? Are you more likely to read a short review or do you like getting swept up in longer ones?

Emergency Contact by Mary H K Choi***** (review copy)

This is a bit of a strange one for me. In the first half of the book the characters made a lot of snide and problematic comments about other people (as in almost constantly) which isn’t necessarily unrealistic but made me feel very uncomfortable reading. But I do think the book got a lot better in the second half which I really enjoyed. Penny’s and Sam’s relationship felt realistic, she studies writing and he bakes and pretends to be cool, they are both awkward and anxious and adorable. I loved how their relationship grew from texting. It does a really good job of showing how important texting (and online communication) is in relationships now and their texting was my favourite part throughout. It also includes ownvoices Korean American rep for Penny, and anxiety rep too.

The Kill Club by Wendy Heard***** (review copy)

I am always looking for books featuring people in their twenties that are exciting and have the tone and fast pace of a YA thriller, and that’s exactly what this is. It was edge of my seat enjoyment about a woman who has run out of ways to save her little brother from their foster  mum until she gets a phone call offering to end her problems if she’ll do the same for the next person. Basically a murder club for people killing someone else’s abusers so they don’t get caught. I loved the setting and I felt the sheer desperation of it all mixed with the hope and love from the characters relationships. At one point it did get so twisty with every possible thing going wrong that I did get less invested BUT it definitely saved it and drew me back in towards the end.

CW: there is a well developed and adorable f/f but it does end in a death, and one of the bad guys is a POC

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant *****

This has been on top of my TBR for AGES and I’m so glad I finally got to it. The writing style is different but once I got used to it I really sunk into it (Sunk…get it?). Anyway. Who doesn’t like the idea of killer mermaids and a bunch of scientist on a ship in the middle of the ocean with no way out? It was AMAZING and terrifying and gory and I couldn’t help but keep reading! I loved how different all the characters were and the relationships and interactions between them all. I can’t speak to the quality of the deaf rep (two Deaf and one hearing sister. All scientists) but I loved the queer autistic rep. It was so nice to see it casually and yet intrinsically a part of a character within a larger plot not about that. And she gets an f/f too!

Exo by Fonda Lee *****

You know those books where right from the start you just KNOW that this thing is going to happen and it WILL break your heart but it’s so good and inevitable you read it anyway? Yeah. That was this book. Donovan is a 17 year old soldier with exoskeleton armour policing an Earth ruled by aliens. Kidnapped by human terrorist factions who want control back with a loyalist political Father who works for the aliens. It has a really interesting social power structure and aliens that actually don’t look or act human. Donovan himself is an emotional and brave and loyal kid who makes stupid mistakes like any 17 year old would. And. Ugh. It broke my heart in EXACTLY the way I knew it would. Definitely recommend.

MEM by Bethany C Morrow *****

The writing of this novella is more literary than I expected. Instead of action and plot it focuses on a character study about a clone created by removing a memory from its source person. We see her thinking of the differences between her and others and the slowly unfolding understanding of the science and her relationships with those around her. It’s set in an alternate 1920’s Montreal (which includes a lack of racism mentioned by the ownvoices author in the acknowledgements) that kept the same feel of the era. I loved how the story all came together at the end and it bumped what was a solid 4 stars up to a 5 star read.

Let me know if you’ve read these books, what you thought, and whether you prefer long or short reviews. Also bonus points for anyone who comes up with a story including all of the elements mentioned!

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