Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

In Progress with MAY DAY

May Day by Josie Jaffrey

Progress: page 243/312 (78%)

I’m flying through this book even though I only started it yesterday. I took a chance outside my usual, and I am being rewarded for it! Thank you Josie Jaffrey for the delight of May Day!

Why did I start reading it?

This book actually just published today! I received an ARC from the author, and although it’s not my typical genre, I was intrigued. And I am so glad I gave it a shot, because I’m loving it! It’s a sexy vampire detective on a murder mystery, and it is so much more than that little description makes it sound. 😍

Where have I gone?

(British English) Words I’ve Learned:

Lines that linger

I’d never have thought that laughing in bed was a good thing, but here she is in my arms, and I’m so happy that I can feel the joy bubbling up into my throat, so happy that the force of my kisses is shaped by my smile.

He’s rich and powerful, which is a bad place for any man to start, but he’s also arrogant and elitist, which makes him a particularly wanky breed of wanker.

He’s an imposing man, over six-feet tall with dark skin and darker eyes. We don’t ask about his past, but I’m pretty sure it’s dark too.

Posted in Reviews

Review: Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler

Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler – ⭐⭐⭐
Expected Release: July 7, 2020

Recommended: sure
For a look at spiritual beliefs and the way a life looks lived by them, a story of grief and how a family works through it, a light mystery thrown in

Stunning cover. And even more intriguing because I can juuust make out that the shading lines ARE ALL WORDS. I see some numbers — what does it say?!

An exploration in grief, suicide, spiritualism, and Inuit culture, Winter of the Wolf follows Bean, an empathic and spiritually evolved fifteen-year-old, who is determined to unravel the mystery of her brother Sam’s death. Though all evidence points to a suicide, her heart and intuition compel her to dig deeper. With help from her friend Julie, they retrace Sam’s steps, delve into his Inuit beliefs, and reconnect with their spiritual beliefs to uncover clues beyond material understanding. Both tragic and heartwarming, this twisting novel draws you into Bean’s world as she struggles with grief, navigates high school dramas, and learns to open her heart in order to see the true nature of the people around her. Winter of the Wolf is about seeking the truth—no matter how painful—in order to see the full picture.

I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed the spiritual aspects of this book, like the many discussions of beliefs and life after death. I’m not particularly spiritual myself, but this was an accessible and interesting look into Inuit beliefs. Bean seems a bit wise beyond her years, but she does struggle. She feels lost too and is just doing her best.

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Posted in Reviews

Review: I’m the Grim Reaper, Season 1 by GRAVEWEAVER

I’m the Grim Reaper, Season 1 by GRAVEWEAVER – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Brilliant art style with minimal but impactful colors and a story to keep you coming back for more.

Recommended: YEEESSSS
For a fantastic representation of how a little goes a long way, for a dark story that also makes me laugh out loud, for characters who are a lot broken but you still like them anyway

On earth there are bad people, and then there are REALLY BAD people. If you’re one of the latter, you don’t just get sent to Hell, you get sent to Hell and get assigned a job collecting the souls of some of the worst people on Earth. Such is the career path of a young woman named Scarlet, who dies and is delivered down to the fiery underworld only to find herself in an entry level position as…The Grim Reaper!

I stumbled upon this comic recently and I am so glad I did! ‘Scarlet’ is the worst kind of sinner, and delays her eternity of damnation by becoming a grim reaper. But she’s got a quota to fill — one sinner killed per day. Things get hairy quick, though, when a rogue detective happens to find her immediately after she slices up her first kill. Mutual suspicion is had.

I absolutely adore the art style. It’s almost entirely in black, gray, and red, and it’s stunning. It fits the story so well, and you might be surprised by how much drama the scheme adds to it. Plus when we get a surprise pop of brights or pastels, it’s a dramatic punch in the face that lets you know something is seriously different. Beyond that, it’s just raw and gritty and scary in that unsettling way. Multitudes of eyeballs usually are. And you know what? A story about the grim reaper and killing sinners really should be a bit unsettling.

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Posted in Reviews

Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Good, not mind blowing. As the author says, more than just a dead mom book. Read this from 3:38am to 7:42am because I couldn’t sleep. Just call me Ethan.

Recommended: sure
For a quick cute read, for those who can suspend disbelief and pretend the world is a nice place, for a fairly predictable and straightforward story, for those who can tolerate a plot that sometimes makes you roll your eyes at the MCs ability to misinterpret obvious things

Yes, I read everything in the cover background.

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help? In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

The primary strength of this book was in the connections created between characters and the portrayal of grief from Jessie. She’s thrown into a crazy situation when around two years after her mother’s death, her father abruptly announces he’s remarried a rich LA lady, and they’re going to move out to California to live with her. Cue Jessie’s entrance into a creme de la creme private school for the rich and glamorous, as well as a bizzaro world of her new “family” in a house that’s more like a museum.

Jessie’s grief stays with her through the story, as a constant point of reflection and pain and growth for her. The author in a note at the end states that this is very personal for her, as she lost her own mother at 14. Because of that painful personal experience, the portrayal in the story of grief — Jessie’s, her father’s, and even her new stepmother & stepbrother’s — are consistent and painfully believable.

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Posted in Reviews

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Recommended: Yes!
For anyone who will die or knows someone who will eventually die, for people curious about everything and anything, for my favorite mix of science and humor

In Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?, Doughty blends her mortician’s knowledge of the body and the intriguing history behind common misconceptions about corpses to offer factual, hilarious, and candid answers to thirty-five distinctive questions posed by her youngest fans. In her inimitable voice, Doughty details lore and science of what happens to, and inside, our bodies after we die. Why do corpses groan? What causes bodies to turn colors during decomposition? Can you donate blood from an embalming post-mortem? Readers will learn the best soil for mummifying your body, whether you can preserve your best friend’s skull as a keepsake, and what happens when you die on a plane. Beautifully illustrated by Dianné Ruz, Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? shows us that death is science and art, and only by asking questions can we begin to embrace it.

You know what, I just made this 5 stars instead of 4 because, as far as I know, nothing so approachable and clear has been put out there before. At least not in such a well-known and effective way! (FYI I totally gave this my vote for Goodreads’ Choice this year!)

Funny. Honest. Accessible. Smart.
For me, a huge part of enjoying this was how funny Caitlin made it. She took death from being a terrifying and heartbreaking ordeal, to – let’s say – giving it some life, and making it less scary by making it more understandable.

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Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast-Forward Friday: The Weight of a Soul

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I’m using Fast-Forward Friday to drool over books that I’m waiting on to come out! I first saw The Weight of a Soul by Elizabeth Tammi a month or two ago, and it has been at the top of my list to grab for a late-year read for 2019. I have a feeling it’ll be a great one to devour for anyone who’s working on finishing a reading goal before the end of the year! ^.^

Expected Release: December 3rd, 2019 — coming up soon now!!

Why wait on this one?

This promises many dark things. It begins with death, mourning tribes, and the goddess of Death herself. Where it goes from there, I can’t wait to see, but it seems like it will maintain a twisted atmosphere throughout. It can be difficult to write darkly dramatic stories without becoming over-the-top gory or too stretched to believe, but when well done, they seriously blow me away.

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Update: I don’t know the story of Frankenstein

As I’m reading The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein I’m realizing I either know very little about the original story, or this is so cleverly developed into it’s own world around the original basis that it feels entirely new. I’m inclined to believe it’s the second one, but now I’m doubting myself!

It’s quite fantastic so far though. I particularly love Elizabeth’s character, and how unapologetically flawed both her and Victor are. The darkness is delivering, and I felt like I could imagine the gut-turning stench of the attic in Victor’s laboratory. I admit though – the sojourn to Inverness got me immediately thinking back to Macbeth!

Posted in Reviews

Every Colour of You by Amelia Mandeville

Every Colour of You by Amelia Mandeville – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

WOW. I had no idea what I was getting into. First suggestion: don’t read the last quarter of this book in public. Huge thanks to Netgalley and Sphere for a free copy of this to review.

Recommended: YEEEESSSSS
For those who know, love, or are someone who has dealt with grief, love, depression, identity, mental illness, passion, general happiness… basically that list is “everyone” so my recommendation is more or less to “everyone.” A raw story, characters with secrets that are hinted at then revealed, a story that will make you feel terrible and lovely at the same time and renew the power of a smiley face. ☺

Be ready for a good cry (if you’re a particular softie for this stuff) and some deep thoughts about life that end with gratitude.

Classroom book for sure. Enough that I’m inspired to create a new Goodreads shelf right now for it and add some of my others on the list of “books I definitely want available for my students.”

Don’t be fooled by the curly font and bright colors: this book is heavy and intense and so, so good

Quiet pain: Zoe. Loud and outgoing and determined. Endlessly optimistic and manages to say exactly the right things, even when they might seem like just the opposite. And yet, giving up on her passion for athletics and abandoning her dreams, replacing them with salad and coaching and careful living.

Loud pain: Tristan, re-christened Tree by our aforementioned Zoe. Considering not living, carefully or otherwise. Fallen – or perhaps pushed – from his bright and charismatic self into a depression that is somehow both devoid of feeling and excruciatingly emotional.

Loss ties them together, but being together will help them create something new.

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Posted in Reviews

What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sweet and honest and unexpected. ☺️

Recommended: yes!
For those who want a different-than-usual read on high school, particularly for those who aren’t neurotypical.

From Goodreads: When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?

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