Below are my short reviews of the books I've read this year. They may contain slight spoilers, so be warned. Just like last year, if I have any long, in-depth reviews written on my blog, the links to those will be at the bottom.


Tender Is The Flesh Agustina Bazterrica
dystopian, horror, social commentary
What a ride! I'd say it was "disturbing", but I've read far worse before. I have enjoyed reading a bunch of normie reviews on this book though, people who don't normally read fucked up books because they're like "THIS IS THE WORST EVER!" At first I was confused as to why the author was writing the protagonist to be so... dislikable, but when I got to the ending, I got it. He constantly whines over his dead son and seems to only think about his "need to breed". I view this as even a feminist story, since even some of the normal human women aren't viewed as equals by the main guy. You can tell by some of the things he says and does to the very few women in the story early on, and so the ending made me understand - AH! This is a story about a man who views others as animals, but is no better than an animal himself! The tell-tale sign of this is that the author never even refers to the man by his name (in the story "meat" is not referred to by name). Very clever! I give it four stars, because it's not the most original story I've ever read, but I must have liked it because I devoured it rather quickly (see what I did there?)

The Black Farm Elias Witherow
horror, splatterpunk, supernatural
Okay, so. I am on the fence about this book. It was certainly entertaining enough for me to finish within a week (which is really fast for me). The concept is fascinating and I love the idea that when people commmit suicide, instead of going to Heaven or Hell, they're sent to a horrible third place. However, this story is gruesome simply for shock-value sake. The main character is Nick and we have no idea who he is as a person before he and his girlfriend Jess kill themselves. Sure, horrid things happen to him in The Black Farm, however, I think he "breaks" too quickly (and he is such a cringey edge-lord). For him to drop his morals so fast, clearly we shoulda got more character development on this guy to learn why that woulda happened. Something has to be wrong with him, but it's never delved into. And Jess, other than being the only thing keeping Nick going, is completely useless. Which is another problem, you can tell this story was written by a man, every woman in this story is just used for EXTREME abuse and none of them are strong or heroic. There are tons of deus ex machinas that somehow allow Nick to survive and thrive in The Black Farm where others (for eons) have not. A lot of his journey just seemed too easy, despite the horrors he went through and witnessed. OH! And this book reads a lot like the author is a pissy teenager writing a novelization to an anime. While I do want to know what he does with the sequel, the book is just not that good.

Return To The Black Farm Elias Witherow
horror, splatterpunk, supernatural
Aaaaall right. So as much as I didn't even like the first book, I had to read the second book since I couldn't just leave myself hanging without knowing what the proper conclusion was. I don't know why this book was written though. The ending of the first book would have been good enough, but I guess the author just wanted to continue fucking things up for this poor loser Nick...? I'm not sure. Either way, he's told he has to go back to The Black Farm to set things right. However, once he does this, he's told that things woulda righted themselves out even without him, and he was really just brought back as a punishment because he pissed off God. The way God is portrayed in the book is extremely anti-climatic too. What a let-down. The author also must have been in a phase where he was into "The Last of Us" or something, because he literally wrote Nick taking care of a little girl he finds as a good chunk of the story, and it's so stupid. Again - girls are only there to be "protected" by men from other men who want to rape and dismember them. I really think this author hates women. Anyways. One thing I did like about the story was the journey down into the abyss underneath The Black Farm, and the character Danny. Although I don't get Danny's story and why he wants what he wants so badly, but I do like him overall. And his relationship with the little girl was far more realistic. The ending was extremely predictable and the last lines were stupid. I just... I don't know. I saw on the author's Twitter that he wants to "reinvent the horror genre", and boy for someone who talks a big game, he definitely doesn't live up to it.

Convenience Store Woman Sayaka Murata
Japanese culture, contemporary fiction
I expected to like this a little more than I did, but I also had a lot of misconceptions about what the book was truly about. The story follows Keiko Furukura who is an employee at a convenience store (konbini in Japanese). She has no personality outside of being a konbini worker and this makes her abnormal to other people. In order to somewhat fit in with others, she takes on personality traits and mannerisms from people she interacts with at work, so as to hide the fact that she is not a "normal person". She comes across as autistic, or someone with Antisocial Personality Disorder, but I also think that this book is supposed to serve as commentary about the insanely workaholic attitudes that pervades Japanese culture. Keiko has ceased to exist as a normal person and has come to exist solely for her job and nothing more. She has no relationships, no hobbies, and doesn't yearn for anything outside of being at work. She even dreams of work and all her meals are food from work. It's like she becomes a living extension of a konbini. People keep saying the book is "quirky" and "fun", but I think it's more sad than anything. None of the characters are particularly likable and if the author had an intended message when writing this book - I'm not sure I got it. There was nothing that changed over the course of the story, nobody grew, and Keiko continued loving and living the konbini lifestyle. Being someone who hates the "your job is your life" message, I really hated it and Keiko's love for her job didn't speak to me at all. I'm very glad this was a short read, because it's insanely forgettable in my opinion.

Then She Was Gone Lisa Jewell
crime, mystery, thriller
I saw this on the bookshelves at work, but didn't want to pay for a hardback, so I downloaded it on Scribd and read it there. I enjoyed it quite a bit, despite usually not liking books that are from the perspective of a parent. This book was interesting in the fact that it changed perspectives between 4 different people, so that it could get the story across. It didn't even seem weird when it did that either. Anyways, the writing was nice and the story was good, albeit somewhat predictable. Although I couldn't figure out exactly what was going on until it was a bit too late. I can't help but feel like the author made the main male character out to be too villainous considering he was a good guy who didn't really do anything wrong. I don't understand the animosity towards him at all, or the ending he came to. I felt bad for him. Some of the interactions in the book were a bit odd too and never explaied. Like Poppy being really misanthropic and philosophical even at 9 years old - they bring it up once and then never bring it up again, almost like the author forgot that she gave her these weird people-hating lines at one point in the book. Either way the main plot was good, but the ending was lacking.


Longer book reviews found on my blog are below. They will probably contain spoilers, so reader beware you're in for a scare!

Nothing yet :)


Credit for the bookshelf divider goes to LVX-1, and the cute pencil icon and the star icons were made by FoxFable.