Review: The Largesse of the Sea Maiden

This book takes up my mini review slot for the week of the 8-14.  For most of this past week, I’ve been as sick as the proverbial dog, laid out by a beast of a head cold.  Finally, I’ve been able to start reading again, so I dove into this book.

A collection of five short stories, each one deals with the life events of different men:  an ad exec, a man in rehab, a criminal, a writer, and a professor.  Each one talks about an important part in their life.  The advertising executive tells stories about friends and his meetings with them.  The man in rehab writes letters to all the people he loves.  The criminal talks about his time in prison when he was a young man.  The writer shares a story about the old friends that have begun dying around him.  The professor discusses a student of his who is obsessed with an Elvis conspiracy.

They’re a competent set of stories, that don’t blend together the way some short stories do.  It was an enjoyable read, not necessarily one I’ll go back to time and again, but I’m not sorry for the time I took reading it.

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Mini Reviews January 1-7

The Chalk Man
by C. J. Tudor

I just need everyone to read this book so y’all can talk about it with me. I can’t even talk about the thing that made this so good because it’s THE spoiler for the book, but just trust me when I say it’s good.

It’s a very real terror that haunts this book, full of normal people and their normal decisions that veer off into terrible consequences. It’s about growing up and realizing that adults aren’t always as infallible as we hoped as children. It’s being an adult and realizing you are how you are and that’s that.

Ugh, but it’s wonderfully written, so tightly paced that you almost can’t put the book down. Just… y’all, read it.

The Wife Between Us
by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

I went into this not quite knowing what to expect. I was looking for more of a taut thriller, which this isn’t, but that doesn’t mean it was bad. It’s more of a domestic thriller (the thrills beginning only in the second section of the book as we finally learn some backstory). It has a few different twists for one novel, but the most prominent one is the realization of who’s narrating and when.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, even if at times the character motivations seemed to change between sections. It’s still getting a place on my shelf.

‘Til Death Do Us Part
by Kate White

A better installment of the Bailey Weggins series with a twist that, I admit, I never saw coming until the end. Writing was less plagued by description, although the constant reminder that the 200 pound woman was just so fat was annoying at best (at 190, I wonder what she’d think of me).

Overall, solid story.

Grist Mill Road
by Christopher Yates

Oh, we were doing so well with one character losing his fucking mind and his wife learning more and more about that horrible day in her past, welp guess it’s time to kill the queer character!

You can tell how excited I am by this book. Hard pass, queer friends. Hard pass.

Prime Meridian
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I can’t talk about how much I love this type of science fiction enough. There’s advanced technology, people can live and farm on Mars, but the real heart of the story is on the people. The technology is background to the lives of the people involved. I’m a bad reviewer because I don’t want to talk about the book because I don’t want to spoil it for you. But just go and pre-order it and read it.

Bad Call
by Stephen Wallenfels

First thing first: this is a young adult novel. That’s not shade, but I didn’t go into it knowing that and it made the novel a little weird to get into. That said, it’s a fun study into our two main characters and extra fun when shit hits the fan in the form of a blizzard and an ax. It’s a solid read that’ll keep you reading till the end to know who makes it out alive.

Before I Let Go
by Marieke Nijkamp

I cried. I cried a fucking lot. It was really ugly. I identified so much with Kyra and the fact that she’s not even there during the story just broke my goddamn heart. Marieke’s writing is quick and easy to read, but packs such a punch. I dare y’all not to cry.

I fucking loved it.

Skinwalkers
by Tony Hillerman

This is the first Tony Hillerman book I’ve read, which works out because, even though it’s technically the seventh book, it’s the first one where Chee and Leaphorn meet. I like the amount of research he’s clearly done, including a page of things he took liberties in. I’m still not sure how completely accurate he is, but I’ve heard good things and have another book of his to read. I know the TV movies were really good and featured all Native actors, so I’ve got high hopes.

The mystery in this one was very convoluted, but as it started to come together, there was a way to start piecing together who the ultimate bad was. Overall, I enjoyed it, so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy the next book, too.

The End of Temperance Dare
by Wendy Webb

It took me months to finish this book, not necessarily because it was bad, but because it took too long to get to the horror. It started out very “Women’s lit” ish??? Which I know isn’t a bad thing but it’s just not my thing. It took a long time of ooh, will she/won’t she romance to start building into the haunting and once it arrived it was like a firecracker. Impressively loud, but far too brief.

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New Year, Same Me

I’m not super big on New Year’s resolutions, because I’m of the opinion that any time is a good time to make changes, but since we’re here, I thought I’d start with a few ten resolutions I am planning for the new year.

In no particular order:

  1. Post more on Patreon.  I’m writing a lot, but nobody else sees it, so I’m going to start remedying that.
  2. Write more for myself.  That means if I want to write that Tabloidshipping fic, or that Jason/Cass twin story, I’m gonna do it, because it’s what I’m feeling.  What I write is not beholden to others.
  3. Progress, not perfection.  This is a big theme for this coming year.  Getting things done, getting things forward, that’s my goal.  It doesn’t need to be perfect to happen.
  4. Cleaning up my room.  This is one I’ve been meaning to do for years, but if I just work on it a bit at a time, I know it’ll get done.
  5. Stop giving a fuck.  I still worry about what people think of me, of hurting people I don’t care about, and that’s gonna be done.  It may not happen right off, but that’s a big goal.
  6. Get my shit together.  An overarching theme for the year, just trying to put myself into a schedule and place I want to be.
  7. Do me for me.  Be more authentically me without stifling myself.  That means being more queer, more masc, and more honest.
  8. Read what I own.  I’m planning on cutting down the books I buy and check out from the library, because I’m into the thousands of book ownership and the vast majority are unread, so I need to get on that.  I missed so many amazing books last year, and I want to get to those.
  9. Get out of debt.  Making a budget and a set limit of what I can spend and where I can spend it, even if that means cutting back on some amazing boxes, well, so be it.
  10. Get my license.  It’s been to long since I’ve been practicing and this has got to be the year I finally grid my lions and do it.

That’s the lot for me.  I’m not focusing on my health so much this year, because this past year I got it mostly under control.  Yes, I still have bad days both physically and mentally, but these goals are going to help with some of the worst mental health problems.

I’ll also be reviewing more of what I read this year, so wait to see that coming up.

Happy New Year, y’all.  Let’s make this one the best we can.

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The Life-Changing Magic of Sweary Self-Help Books

I’ve recently finished the trilogy of self-help books by Sarah Knight:  The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck; Get Your Shit Together; and You Do You.  It was reading (and finishing in about an hour) You Do You that prompted me to check out her other books and I have to say, these are much more my type of self-help books (and not just because she swears as much as I do).

These books focus on all the things I need to be working on:  letting go of things I can’t control, gaining control of aspects of my life that I can, of being myself authentically and proudly no matter what.  I gave a great deal of fucks this year, more than I really needed to, with some things I won’t name, that took up a great deal of my time and limited energy.  And that’s not something I want to continue in the coming year.

Her first book is all about figuring out what things you really care about and what things you really don’t care about or need to care about, and getting rid of them.  “Get rid of the annoy, focus on what brings joy.”  Making lists of things you currently give a fuck about, then dividing them into things you do and don’t need to give a fuck about really helped me cut out some negativity I didn’t need hanging around.

Her second book really is helpful in getting your shit together.  Similar to her first book, the first focus is on figuring out what you need to do and what you don’t.  Then, once you have that figured out, decide which is truly important and what isn’t.  It’s amazing the amount of things I was able to scratch off my long to-do list with this method of focusing on the must dos first, then worrying about the rest later.

Finally, You Do You is about focusing on you, on being selfish with your time, your energy, and your fucks to get the most out of life for you.  Understanding that it’s OK to be self-ISH and put yourself first was an amazing inspiration for me and helped me put myself forward on things I wanted, and pulled back on things I didn’t want.

I actually bought all three of her books because I know I’m going to keep referring to them a lot with this coming year.  These are the type of self-help books I need, ones that are encouraging without being twee, ones that are motivating without being overwhelming, and ones that are just plain fun to read and work with.

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A Veritable Cornucopia of Reviews

This is gonna be a long rundown of everything I’ve read since I last updated.  I know, that sounds daunting af, but trust me, it’s gonna hurt me more than it hurts you.  Or something like that.

Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers
Really impressive, gave me tons of ideas.  I really love this concept and want to play with something like this in my own writing.

Skeleton Tree
A good work on children dealing with death in many ways.  A sweet book (though I found the sister annoying whoops my hatred of children is showing).

Theodore and the Enchanted Bookstore: Tale of the Spectacular Spectacles
Cute little story, nothing spectacular, but a quick fun read.

Ghosts in the House
Cute little kids book.  The art was just adorable.

Penguin and Pumpkin
I love reading kids books in the hopes that I’ll write my own one day, and let me tell you, this was an adorable board book.  I mean, it stars penguins, what’s not to love about it.

the sun and her flowers
Stronger than milk and honey, with a lot of resonating poems.  It made me start following her on Insta, so that’s a point.

White Bodies
Predicted the twist right off.  Book immediately bored right after.

The Murders of Molly Southbourne
Surprisingly good.  I wasn’t keen about it by it’s description, but it came in a Page Habit box and I devoured it in a few hours.

Crenshaw
Cute quick story about imaginary friends and dealing with times of stress.

Vacationland
Funny when I really thought it would be cringy.  Really enjoyed it.

Wishtree
Good story about a town fighting back against racism within it.  Loved the naming systems she created for all the animals and trees in the book.

Survive the Night
Not as good at horror as I hoped.  A little too reliant on eldritch evil to punch horror buttons.

Friend Request
Sorta figured out one twist from the beginning, really squicked out by the ending.

Even if it Kills Her
Read this in a four-hour car trip.  Absolutely devoured.  Author has really grown as a writer.

Hell House
Ugh, what even is there to say about this book that isn’t just that it’s amazing?  Also a bit more gory than I thought it would be??  But like damn, it was good.

Lady Killers
Read this on the four-hour car trip home.  Really good detail on some unknown female serial killers.

Help Me Follow My Sister Into the Land of the Dead
Ugh, that ending just killed me.  In a good but sad way.

The Apartment
Boring as fuck.  Skimmed through it hoping to get to the damn horror.  Barely found any.

If Looks Could Kill
The start of the series that currently ends with Even If It Kills Her.  Good start, got into this one easily enough, not so much with the second book.  But I know they get better.

Lie to Me
Really stupid fucking plot twist at the end, with an even more pointless reveal.  Still, I liked the characters, even if they did whine on a bit.

The Dry
Good start followed by a surprising twist that actually fit with the clues given.  Follow the money, indeed.

A Field Guide to the North American Family
White middle-class people are terrible to each other:  the book.

The Shape of Ideas
Good comics that felt telling without being preachy.  Felt inspired after reading.

The Chalk Man
Holy shit balls I need everyone to read this so y’all can talk to me about it because I’m still reeling from the ending.

The Shepherd
A Christmas Eve ghost story that had me actually tearing up.

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Review: All the Missing Girls

All the Missing Girls
by Megan Miranda

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Another Damn Missing Women Story

I started out enjoying this book while I was reading it on my library shift. The characters, while not the most fleshed out, had my attention, as did the story. Where that attention started to wane, dear reader, was when I realized the entire story was going to be told backwards.

I’m a mystery reader. It’s my go-to genre, which means I’ve seen most of the tricks done before, usually better. A couple of chapters in reverse are fine. Putting almost the entire book in reverse is not. It just feels like you turned in the chapters wrong. It also means reveals aren’t as shocking because we know what they’re going to be.

Sadly, I was unimpressed with the reveals and the ending felt like a cop-out.  Maybe it’s just not for me; most of the domestic type thrillers aren’t.  I found myself skimming between chapters, putting most of the clues together before the final chapter.  But who knows, you might enjoy that.

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Review: There’s Someone Inside Your House

There’s Someone Inside Your House  [Buy Hardcover or ebook]
Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Slasher horror, Young Adult

First off, there is a trans dude who is never misgendered and survives the book. There. That’s the only real spoiler I’ll give because that’s the most vitally important one. Now then, the rest of the book.

I really enjoyed this book. Like, I’m gonna recommend it to everyone looking for a new Halloween read. The main plot is simple: there is a serial killer going around and slaughtering high school students. But the characters were fantastic and complex. Everybody read differently, there was no mistaking one character for another, and even the murdered characters got their moments of being people, which made their killings all more tragic.

Big warning: If you don’t like depictions of gore, this is super not for you. Every kill is brutal and specific.

I really liked the descriptions of the small Nebraska town they lived in, how everyone knew everyone else, which makes some of the interconnectedness heartbreaking. But, let’s focus on the main reason I love this book: Makani.

Makani is our protagonist and she is fantastic. She’s biracial: Black and Native Hawai’ian. She’s got some dark secret that she’s hiding, but nobody in Nebraska knows about it. What makes her such an interesting character, though, isn’t her dark secret. It’s that she’s written as fully human. She’s a good granddaughter, and sometimes she’s not. She fucks up sometimes, but fixes her mistakes honestly. She’s got shitty parents, but an amazing grandmother (Grandmother Young is by far one of my top favorite characters in the book). She’s a good person, and she makes the book so easy to read because of it.

I can’t get too in detail because, really, this is a book that’s best going into knowing nothing, or almost nothing, about. I will say the balance of somber and humor was perfect, even getting me to actually laugh out loud at some places. I super recommend it and I hope somebody reads it because otherwise I’m just gonna be over here flailing by myself.

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Review: The Cottingley Secret

The Cottingley Secret  [Buy Paperback or ebook]
Hazel Gaynor
Genre: Historical, Women’s Fiction

The Cottingley Secret tells two interconnected stories: that of Francis, the nine year-old girl behind the famous fairy photographs; and that of Olivia Kavanagh, a modern women in Ireland faced with the task of putting her grandparents affairs in order while trying to get her life the way she wants it. The novel alternates between written passages left by Francis and what’s happening with Olivia in real time. It’s a fairly neat trick, as what Olivia reads inspires her to make changes in her own life, but it does get a bit tiring after a while. I found myself willing the author to stay in one time period for more than a handful of sections.

The story of Francis makes for a very good read, although it’s hard at first to realize this was written by an adult Francis looking back, and not by her nine year-old self. Once that was figured out, the word choices made more sense. But even still, the wonder of the child seeing fairies each time was clear and easily felt. It was also a good look into life on the home front during the first World War, exploring new technologies invented as well as the domestic problems that come with half of the population being gone.

I found myself invested in both stories equally, which made it all the worse for being split up so. Olivia’s story ended up feeling very repetitive as she went back and forth over whether she should marry her fiancé or if she shouldn’t, her anguish over not being able to biologically have kids (because, again, adoption is somehow never an option in these stories), and her decisions over the bookshop left to her by her grandfather. There is a romance, for those looking, between Olivia and a writer named Ross, both introduced originally by his daughter Iris. But it ends with a maybe, which, to be honest, was very refreshing to me. Happy endings aren’t finished with weddings and forever decisions, but with maybes and hopes.

One note: the fiancé is shown to be controlling, self-important, egotistical, and not very concerned with her outside of how it affects him, which made me wonder why they were even together in the first place. It’s hand-waved away with about a sentence of explanation, but really, when she realized marrying him would make her “Olivia Oliver”, she should’ve called it off right then.

Overall, I like the book. I read it through Once Upon a Book Club, so I got to open little gifts as I read, which maybe helped get me through it a little more than if I’d just had it on my own, but you never know. It’s a pretty quick read, great for a book club or if you’re just looking for something light and fun.

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Review: Courage is Contagious

Courage Is Contagious: And Other Reasons to Be Grateful for Michelle Obama [Pre-Order Hardcover or ebook]
Edited by Nick Haramis
Genre: Non-fiction, Essays

I received an advance uncorrected proof from Random House Publishing. The opinions expressed here are surely my honest own.

I cried. That’s my lede. I straight up cried during some of these essays because yes, all of this. Michelle Obama is such an inspiration and reading so many different people talk about how she inspires them just hit so poignantly. From Chimamanda Full Name to Janet Mock to two eighth graders telling their stories of what she means to them, this book is full of amazing feeling and energy.

Of course, not every essay is a stunner. The foreword by Lena Dunham is a joke, what with her, again, making everything all about herself, with a dose of cutting down other women and bonus ableism for good measure. And Gloria Steinem’s essay ends with a call to be color- and gender-blind, a sentiment that has no place in a discussion about a proud Black woman.

But, really, when you get down to it, two out of about fifteen (the number of total essays in the proof; there are still at least two more to come) is pretty good for a book of only 128 pages. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone. Every single person who finally felt like they had a voice in the White House, every person who learned what it was to have an actually caring First Family, and every single person who discovered that they could do their best, even when their best means just surviving. Everyone should get this book.

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Double Review: Basic Witches and Gone To Dust (with bonus mini-review)

Basic Witches [buy here or here]
Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman
Self-Help

Basic Witches is at heart a self-help book, but less of the “woo-woo let me teach you my ways” and more of the “here’s some things that might help, also you are the best you you are,” which I have to say is way more refreshing to read.

I don’t really have a lot to say about this book other than that I liked it. It’s one that I think you really have to read for yourself to see if it fits you. One thing I really liked was that it didn’t delve too much into “The Divine Feminine” like so many other witch books do; they used “she/her” as the main pronouns, but acknowledged genderqueer and non-binary people. They also mentioned in their section about sex that it’s perfectly OK to not have or want sex, which is a huge A+.

I will recommend you at least check it out from your library, or look for it in a bookstore (if y’all still have those; we sadly do not), because the cover is damn pretty. Like damn, damn, dammity, damn, damn pretty. When it catches the light, the gold on it literally glows like fire, and if that’s not the coolest shit then get out of my face.

TL;DR: Read if if you want some neat spells or just want to know that you’re not weird for being you, but definitely look at it because, again, damn pretty.

Gone to Dust [buy here or here]
Matt Goldman
Mystery

I really loved the premise of this one. A murder is committed and the entire house is covered in a thick layer of vacuum dust, rendering DNA sampling nearly impossible. That’s the kind of story I’d come up with, so I was super on board before I even began.

The writing is better than average for a male writer, with only two unnecessary, though thankfully brief and not dwelled upon, sex scenes. Our protagonist, Nils Shapiro, has a healthy friendship with his male friends and actually does very well at being not a dick to the women he meets. I may be selling this short like this; I really did enjoy his character, but you know me, master of the hard sell.

The book was well plotted and paced. Except for one frankly bizarre subplot about Islamic militants among refugees was, honestly, really fucking odd and out of place and racist. It was legit only used as a plot point for the FBI to come down and stop the investigation for about five chapters before it was resolved anyway.

One thing that did make my Southern Californian heart melt was the constant descriptions of what roads led where, and how he got where he was going. I’m not kidding about this. Every single time he got into the car, we got a street-by-street rundown of his route anywhere. This is literally how we talk in SoCal, and I can’t figure out if this is also how they do in Minnesota or if Goldman’s lived out here long enough we’ve corrupted him.

Overall, I’d recommend it, bullshit subplot aside. It’s a pretty compelling read, and there are enough twists in it to keep you entertained, but none that really come out of nowhere once they’re explained. Nils is a pretty likable narrator among so very many awful ones. Also, no dead queers, so that’s A+, good job.

TL;DR: Good, I’d definitely read the next if there’s a series, but watch out for random subplots.

OK, big reviews are done, now what do I do? What else have I read?

Whobert Whover, Owl Detective [buy here or here]
Writing: Jason Gallaher
Illustrations: Jess Pauwels
Children’s Mystery

It’s a really cute book, y’all. I love reading children’s books because there’s something refreshing in seeing storytelling done in only a handful of pages. That, and I want to write my own someday, too, so they’re great inspiration.

Whobert Whover is swooping over the trees one day when suddenly he spies Perry the Possum lying still on the ground. Lying /very/ still. Whobert is determined to solve the mystery!

The illustrations are adorable and the writing is so cute. When accused of soaking Perry in his sickening slime, Freddie the frog points out that he’s not slimy before even answering the charges against him. Whobert is so energetic in his quest to solve the crime that it doesn’t occur to him to let people answer his own questions.

I super recommend checking it out if you like quick examples of children’s books or really like cute illustration.

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Review: The Grip of It by Jac Jemc

Title:  The Grip of It [PRINT; EBOOK]
Author:  Jac Jemc
Rating:  Recommended

Julie and James have moved into an old house, away from the city and its problems and temptations.  Right away they begin to encounter strange things, but easily pass them off as forgetfulness and the stress of moving in.  Then Julie becomes covered in unknown bruises and James begins dreaming he’s awake.

It’s a book that’s both hard and easy to spoil.  Even if you already know what’s coming, it’s the journey there that sets the tone.

Continue reading

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Catch-Up Reviews

Hoo boy, it has been way too long since I’ve done a little set of reviews, especially considering when the last one was and how many dang books I’ve read since then.  These will be just short thoughts, with a couple of books probably getting full reviews later.

Library Books

OK, so, first thing:  I vastly overestimated my ability to read books in a timely manner.  Most of the books listed from last time (which was posted in June??? oh sweet jimmy jams) ended up returned unread as I had more coming in and was not feeling them.  I’ll get to them eventually, but, ah, not for a while yet.

Anyway, on to the books!

The Killers by Ernest fuck off Hemingway

You might be able to tell that I really hate Hemingway.  I only read this because it was included in a list of great film noir based on books.  Let me just say now, the movie is way better than the story.

Knife Creek by Paul Doiron

  • Incredibly good
  • Like, 10th in series or something
  • Picked it up without knowing anything and followed fine
  • Need to find the rest to read them all
  • Author offers signed hardback pack and I NEED

Final Girls by Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire)

  • Different
  • Wasn’t really a fan
  • Short enough I could finish it fine
  • Would probably not check out again

Security by Gina Wohlsdorf

  • Cool from a logistics perspective
  • Watching where everyone is and how things lead to others
  • Narrator was annoying
  • Wouldn’t buy, but didn’t feel I wasted time

The Field of Cloth and Gold by Magnus Mills

  • The bitter satire I’ve been missing
  • So very British, in a good way
  • Looking forward to reading more from him

The No.2 Feline Detective Agency by Mandy Morton

  • THIS piece of shit
  • Will post full (Goodreads) review (but with swears)
  • So racist
  • It’s cats, how do you fuck that up
  • So very British, in a bad way

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

  • Holy shit, this was my jam
  • Totally thought about this plot before, tho
  • Just saying
  • Loved all the characters of the team
  • Heart-wrenching yet so damn fun
  • I can’t wait for the next one
  • (why tf did the paperback screw up the cover)

I Am What I Ate and I’m Frightened by Bill Cosby

  • Nice short afternoon read
  • Listen, I still make “Why is there air” jokes, I can’t stop

Revenge by Yoko Ogawa

  • Oh my god this was my everything
  • I desperately need to own this
  • Eleven short stories and every one ties into the others
  • Just fucking beautiful

My Books

I actually did read some of my own books, go me!

Illness as Metaphor by Susan Sontag

  • Very good
  • A bit rambling at times, but coherent
  • Still very relevant, esp to chronically ill me
  • Great historical reference

Medea trans. by Rex Warner

  • Anyone who doesn’t come out loving Medea is a fool and a liar
  • BAMF
  • Seriously, she’s like my #lifegoals
  • Really great translation, very easy to follow

Shit, I’ve actually read a lot.  Go me.

Current Library Books

These are all the ones I’ve checked out as of now.  We’ll see what I make it through.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

  • Really enjoyed Part 1
  • Returned because I really need to start reading my own books
  • Will definitely check out again, if not buy

Dead on Arrival by Matt Richtel

  • “Eleanor listened to the wheels unfold–a sound that reminded her of a baby’s hum.”
  • What the fuck is a baby’s hum?
  • Does it not know the words?
  • So anyway, your honor, that’s when Death of the Author became accurate
  • Hard pass on the rest of the book

And all the rest I haven’t started yet.

Burning Your Boats by Angela Carter

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

The Ready-Made Thief by Augustus Rose

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer

That’s it for this quick update!  I’ll be making a longer review about The No. 2 Racist Feline Book probably around next week, because the end of this week is busy with, shall we say,

Long Beach, here we come!


You can see the longer review before everyone else by following me on Patreon!  Just a dollar helps a ton and allows me to make more content.  Plus, I’m always open for commissions, and always happy for tips.  And let me know if there’s any book (or movie) that you’d like to see reviewed here.  Thanks!

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What Love?

You can claim love, but you weren’t loving me when you went to the polls

You say Jesus has taught you love, but you didn’t love God’s people when you stepped into that booth

You tell me I should love when you backed the candidate supported by the kkk and who’s appointing Nazis by the day

You didn’t love me

You didn’t even think about me

You voted for the man who says my people are rapists

For the man who says we’re drug runners

For the man with the audacity to say we’ve gotta pay for a wall to keep us from our own homes

You voted for the conquerors who took our land from under us and then have the gall to say we don’t belong here

The soil that you stand on is my people’s

The ground that you farm is my right

You want to flush us out like desert rats when we built your cities with bricks from our ovens and taught you how to get water from a cactus

You’re worried about illegal immigrants but who changed our country’s borders with our blood?

“Go back to Mexico”?  Bitch, we ain’t never left

But you buy your brand new model home and sneer at us in the homes our great-grandparents were born in

You didn’t love me

You didn’t love my family

You didn’t love the man you made a home with

Or did our color trick you into thinking we’re your White?

Did our loss of our native tongue to centuries of assimilation fool you?

Did you look at our lost traditions, forcefully beaten from us, and think they’d be pretty to wear on Halloween?

Where is your love?

Because I’m not seeing it

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Mini Reviews

I’ve been borrowing a ridiculous amount of books from the library considering how many books I have and continue to get at home.  But!, I am nothing if not horribly unrealistic about my reading speed, so let’s do this.

Library Books

Seed by Ania Ahlborn

  • Loved it
  • Good old-fashioned demon story
  • Things go VERY BAD VERY FAST but honestly, it’s perfect and super tragic and fucked up
  • Demons don’t fuck around, y’all

Final thoughts

  • Definitely checking out her other books

 

The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

  • Super cute
  • My precious warrior child
  • Diverse bodies and warriors, double A+

Final thoughts

  • Adorable, do recommend

 

Crazy Is My Superpower by AJ Mendez Brooks

  • Never heard of her before, but incredibly interesting
  • Very easy read, like a conversation
  • omg fellow bipolar pal, what a good
  • Sometimes heavy, but always with an undercurrent of humor

Final thoughts

  • Learned so much about wrestling, well done
  • Very worthwhile read

 

Snowblind by Christopher Golden

  • Loved Ararat, so checked this out
  • A little disappointed
  • Cool premise, but kinda saw twists coming
  • Ice demons and ghost possession, A+

Final thoughts

  • ngl, I skimmed the end
  • Enjoyable if you’re not me extreme genre-savvy

 

The Dinner by Herman Koch

  • Super fucked up
  • Kinda Pretty racist, guess who dies
  • Psychologically interesting watching people justify themselves
  • YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO RELATE TO THEM, HOLY SHIT, REVIEWERS

Final thoughts

  • Why do men have deep thoughts when peeing?
  • Nobody should be that fascinated by their penis, c’mon
  • Have others of his books, but wouldn’t reread this

 

The Party by Robyn Harding

  • Tried so much to be a different type of novel
  • P good at showing rich people’s lives/justifications/faux problems
  • Ending kinda fell flat

Final thoughts

  • Not particularly moved to check out her other books
  • Needed more murder or comeuppance

 

Own Books

The Boy in the Earth by Fuminori Nakamura

  • Psychological mysterious thought-wandering
  • That’s not a criticism
  • I genuinely liked the book
  • Slow-paced, which helped follow the flow
  • Way more satisfying than White psych-novels

Final thoughts

  • Very glad to own this, will definitely reread

 

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

  • It’s Cruel Is The Night but with teenagers and less death
  • Great twisty mystery with solid characters
  • My baby queer child
  • Everybody grows so much and they’re all good people
  • Fantastic dénouement

Final thoughts

  • omg so good, everybody read it and gush with me

 

Approaching Ice; Interpretive Work; Once Removed by Elizabeth Bradfield

  • Three solid collections of poetry
  • Nature-filled and super queer
  • Approaching Ice is historical about the Arctic expeditions
  • Romance and living together and relationships and nature and ugh

Final thoughts

  • Poetry I genuinely like, well done, A+

 

The Sybil by Pär Lagerkvist

  • Philosophical novel about god/God
  • Like a fucking religious experience oh my god
  • This is the cover of the book I have, jesus fuck
  • I mean, look at that, omg
  • Fucking staring into your soul, jfc

Final thoughts

  • Read it in one sitting from about 10-1 in the morning and lose your gd mind

 

Current Library Books

I have, checked out for me:

  • Ring by Koji Suzuki– Working way through, on first renewal
  • Ophelia by Lisa Klein–Retelling of Hamlet from Ophelia’s POV
  • Summer House With Swimming Pool by Herman Koch–Likely similar to The Dinner
  • Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin–New ghost story that my body is so ready for
  • Goodnight, Sweet Prince by David Dickinson–First in a series of Victoriana mysteries
  • The Grim Sleeper by Christine Pelisek–True crime about LA serial killer
  • Rag Doll by Daniel Cole–Murder mystery I found legit two days after I thought of the plot

After this, I really need to start reading the books I own, especially since I have Magpie Murders to read.

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Quick Book Thoughts

It’s been forever since I posted something here, but during this absence, I’ve read quite a few books that don’t really need full reviews.  So here’s some quick book thoughts.

Behind Her Eyes, a.k.a., Fear the Queer 2017.  Spoilers, but like, don’t even bother reading it, it’s actual trash:

The ending is literally “predatory murderous gay man kills women to get straight guy”.  Oh, and he plots to kill a child.  Because you know that’s what we queers are all about!  I use he pronouns because as soon as the “twist” comes, that’s how the book refers to him and how his internal thoughts refer to him, regardless of the rest of the book.  The alternative is that, of course, trans people (especially trans women) can’t be trusted and are all “really” men.  There’s so much shit to unpack in this bullshit, but let’s just remember this shit got published to widespread acclaim in 2017.

The Ice Twins, a.k.a., “mentally ill women cannot be told their own diagnoses nor be trusted with children.”

Honestly, this book is so shit, I don’t even know how to describe it, but the main conflict is an actually Idiot Plot (i.e., a plot that can only work if every character is an idiot).  Husband and wife refuse to talk to each other.  Husband keeps vital mental health info from wife (including contact from her doctor, which violates so many patient confidentiality laws, I can’t even).  Wife is slut-shamed in narrative and then, “gone crazy”, dies.  And that’s considered a happy ending.

The Couple Next Door, a.k.a., mentally ill women are violent murderers.  Are you seeing a pattern here?

The main plot is actually a pretty good kidnapping-gone-wrong story, pretty tight and legitimately twisty.  Unfortunately, it’s bogged down by clunky, samey dialogue; repetitive narration; incredibly ableist views on mental illness while pretending to be fair; and, of course, the ending.  Along with a fundamental misunderstanding of DID, the very last chapter is “lol, see, we could’ve had a happy ending, but then wife blacks out and murder someone *insert smug smiling emoji*”.

I don’t know what it is about mysteries lately, but there’s a big trend of writing a last chapter that completely ruins the rest of the book.  Also, a word to the wise:  a twist cannot be a random thing tacked on at the end.  It has to make sense within the story.  It has to be believable.  Sure, you might not want your reader to see it coming, but a reader has to be able to go back and see where the twist started; a twist must be rooted in something in the rest of your book.

I have read some good books, believe it or not.

I just finished Ararat by Christopher Golden and it was amazing.  The book literally feels like the plot, climbing up the mountain in exuberance and racing down in terror.  This has a plot twist done right, one I twigged to early in the book, but was still gobsmacked when it came.  If you like tightly paced, but not rushed mysteries, very well done characters, and LEGIT DEMONS HOLY SHIT, I cannot recommend it enough.

Currently, I’m reading The Boy in the Earth.  I’m getting from the library The Road Out of Hell, about a true series of murders that took place in Mira Loma back in the ’20s-’30s.  Plus, I just received One of Us is Lying, which is like The Breakfast Club, but with murder.  And, soonish, I need to read Murder in Matera, and do a legit review.

BOOKS!

What are you reading?  Let me know in the comments.  And, if there’s any book you’d like me to read so I’ll review it, rant about it, or just fan with you, let me know, too.

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