Try a Chapter Tag (+ Mystery Review!)


Ok, so, for a while now, I've had more books than I know what to do with. In a good way! Especially after my birthday haul of books, I have so many to choose from and I'm excited about them all. After being completely let down, in an unexpected way, by a book that I was reading (I don't want to end up ranting about it, but a chunk of 30 pages were missing when I was about 70 pages from the end and, apparently, I can't do anything about it...), I was in a major book slump. I had no closure! And I refuse to spend any more money on another copy. Anyway, I recalled a book tag video that I had seen on BooksandLala called the 'Try a Chapter Tag' (original tag by BookParadise) and thought that this was the perfect opportunity. The only problem that came up was the narrowing down to five books!

The 'Try a Chapter Tag' is exactly what it sounds like: you pick a selection of books, read the first chapter of each, then come to a decision for the book that you want to read next, and here it is:

When Dimple Met Rishi, Sandhya Menon
I was initially really excited about this one - I heard nothing but great things when it first came out. But then, recently, I started to read and hear some not so great reviews. This made me a little bit apprehensive; however, I was still excited to read a YA novel from the dual perspectives of two Indian American protagonists, about arranged marriage, something that I definitely haven't read before. Along with this new narrative, one thing that I did like seeing in the first chapter is the depiction of two females interested in and successful in computer programming. However, overall, I was quite disappointed. I found Dimple to have a very immature voice and, at this point, I can't imagine myself enjoying her character. I hope that as the story progresses, a deeper aspect of her personality will be revealed. This was a very short first chapter, though, so I am definitely open to continuing and hopefully having my expectations exceeded.
I felt myself relaxing into this one. It seems like a really nice, easy read so far. There are hints at some adventure for Emi - perhaps also finding herself a little bit. I really like the look of her life so far. In fact, I may be a little jealous. From her job of designing sets for movies, getting to spend time finding beautiful pieces of furniture for projects, to living in a small but cute apartment that's filled with great finds from Hollywood estate sales. LaCour's descriptions were just making me want that life - or just to be Emi's friend so I could tag along. I like that this is quite a mainstream book that tells a story that happens to have a lesbian protagonist (an area severely lacking), and not a story about a lesbian - there is certainly a place for that, but there needs to be space for this aswel - and it doesn't try too hard. The relationships  seemed genuine and I liked all of the characters introduced here in different ways. For me, there was a lot accomplished in this first chapter.
Final Girls, Riley Sager
This is a new release that I have been eagerly awaiting: the title and synopsis were very attractive to me, using the concept of a 'final girl', which makes me think of Sidney Prescott from the Scream franchise (a favourite of mine); not to mention the positive write-up from Stephen King. I've also been on the look out for YA thrillers/horrors lately, so this came out at just the right time. 
I was definitely intrigued after finishing the first chapter. I like Quincy so far; the first chapter gave enough hints at her character for a good introduction, making me care about where her story is leading. I'm not sure on the narrative so far (is the whole book from Quincy's point-of-view?), but I'm excited to either hear about or from another 'final girl'. I hope that (and I'm assuming that it will) the book goes into the stories of the aftermath of the girls' horrifying experiences and how they came to know each other and become The Final Girls. I can't help but be optimistic.
The Female of the Species, Mindy McGinnis
Having heard only good things about this book, I feel as though I've been fascinated by this story for ages without even reading it. Before starting this novel, I was a little bit nervous that this was just going to be a female version of Dexter, but if the first chapter is anything to go by, I don't think that is the direction that the story is going in and after reading the first chapter, I'm already quite confident that I'm going to enjoy this book. In a short amount of time, McGinnis has managed to immediately pull me in, providing enough of an insight into Alex's character and the place she is in right now to excite me about where the story is going. I know that the story is told from multiple perspectives, so I'm a little bit nervous that their voices won't be as captivating as I found Alex's to be. However, I didn't want to put this down and I'm really looking forward to continuing reading.
The Girls, Emma Cline
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding this book, which makes me both curious and nervous. After it's release, I have heard quite mixed things about it - although, just a couple of days ago, I heard someone talk about how beautifully written it is. And right from the start, I noticed evidence of this:
"I looked up because of the laughter, and kept looking because of the girls."
I want to note that the book is laid out quite differently - I had a flick through and there are 4 parts; parts 1-3 have a bit of an introduction at the beginning (I'm not sure at this point if they're all the same narrative as part 1), then it goes to 1969 with numbered chapters. I read the first 20-ish pages, which were told in present time; so, I'm guessing that the book is going to give flashes of the main character's story now, after the cult, then goes back to when she first joins the cult and what happened. I find this very exciting and interesting and I'm left feeling curious.




After finishing reading all of the first chapters, I slept on it. At first, I was contemplating reading When Dimple Met Rishi first, but I was pretty much just thinking that I wanted to "get it over with" so that I could move on to better novels. This isn't to say that I'm completely writing off When Dimple Met Rishi as it was so few pages that I think I should give it more of a chance, but it was my least liked from my first-chapter-reads.
I was definitely leaning more towards either The Female of the Species, The Girls or Final Girls. I did (and still do) feel quite drawn towards Everything Leads to You, but that seems like a much lighter read and I think that will be a good choice after reading a more "dramatic" and heavier story.
Above all else, there was one book that I woke up and immediately thought about reading. Therefore, my mystery review is:

The Female of the SpeciesThe Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“You see it in all animals - the female of the species is more deadly than the male.”

This book is a huge comment on rape culture, slut shaming, females in general and their status in society and the hypocrisy that has been ingrained in us all in some way - and all without feeling forceful or over-the-top... Loved it. Flew through it. Everyone should read it; I've seen a lot of females read it, but I just want to give this to everyone that I know, including all of the boys and men.

“I live in a world where not being molested as a child is considered luck.”

I really do love this book - I could quote it forever - and I really want to give it five stars, BUT I had to mark it down a star because of Jack. I got what the character was meant to be and why he was there, but I just didn't like him, didn't get him and didn't believe him.

“Physical attractiveness has nothing to do with it. You were alone, isolated, and weak. The three of them had been watching girls all night, waiting for someone to separate from a group. It happened to be you, but it could’ve been anyone else. Opportunity is what matters, nothing else.”

I want to end this by pleading with any teachers, principals, head teachers, etc. PLEASE take the excellent example of the assembly that is depicted in this book and implement it. It is seriously ridiculous to me that we still tip-toe around these issues.

“But 'boys will be boys', our favorite phrase that excuses so many things, while the only thing we have for the opposite gender is 'women', said with disdain and punctuated with an eye roll.”

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