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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Review: The Package by Sebastian Fitzek

The Package
by Sebastian Fitzek

Thanks so much to Kaye Publicity for this copy!

Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publish Date: February 4, 2021 (first publiched Octboer 26, 2016)
384 Pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Emma's the one that got away.

The only survivor of a killer known in the tabloids as 'the hairdresser' – because of the trophies he takes from his victims.

Or she thinks she was.

The police aren't convinced. Nor is her husband. She never even saw her tormentor properly, but now she recognises him in every man.

Questioning her sanity, she gives up her job as a doctor in the local hospital and retreats from the world. It is better to stay at home. Quiet. Anonymous. Safe. No one can hurt her here.

And all she did was take a parcel for a neighbour.

She has no idea what she's let into her home.

My Review:

Based on the title and the synopsis, I think I expected something completely different.  The creepy beginning drew me right in and then it kind of faded after that... but I was still interested as this is one of the most unreliable narrators I've ever met.  Goodness Emma, pull it together!  But then, had I just been raped, my head shaved and lost my baby in one terrifying night, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't pull it together either.  Especially with the past that Emma has, which just leads to more misery for this poor woman.  

This is definitely a page turner, that's for sure - even in the lull parts, it kept me wanting to know what was going to happen.  But it did become a bit of a struggle as the plot seemed to explode and was missing that glue to piece it all together.  The last few chapters were eye opening and full of twists and turns - can someone get me a neck brace please?  It jumped the shark quite a bit and went one twist too far in my opinion.  HOWEVER, if you don't mind suspending some belief, love a ton of twists and want something that may get to be a bit ridiculous but in a pretty fun way... you should definitely pick this one up. For me, this one kind of lands in the middle.  


Sunday, June 27, 2021

Review: Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

Tender is the Flesh
by Agustina Bazterrica

Publisher: Pushkin Press
Publish Date: February 26, 2020 (first published on  November 29, 2017)
224 Pages
Genres: Horror, Dystopia

It all happened so quickly. First, animals became infected with the virus and their meat became poisonous. Then, governments initiated the Transition. Now, ‘special meat’ – human meat – is legal.

Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans only no one calls them that. He works with numbers, consignments, processing. One day, he’s given a gift to seal a deal: a specimen of the finest quality. He leaves her in his barn, tied up, a problem to be disposed of later.

But the specimen haunts Marcos. Her trembling body, her eyes that watch him, that seem to understand. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost – and what might still be saved..

My Review:

Ever since I first heard about this book, I knew I needed to read it.  Animals are no longer safe to eat, so the world turns to humans to supply carnivores their ..... humans to eat.  Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised at how quickly this would happen should the world EVER get in this position.  And whatever kind of person this makes me, I liked reading about the process and even ate a cheeseburger while reading.  😏  There's been so much hype arount this that while this is a disturbing and bloody dark book, I think I expected... more.  There was really only one scene that made me cringe and humans weren't the ones being hurt, flayed, bloodied up in it.  

I really liked Marcos's character.  Yes he works in human slaughtering.  Yes he was gifted a female who he kept like a pet.  But no, he didn't eat the special meat.  He seemed to have a little teeny bit of a moral conscious while still going along with the direction of the human species.  I almost felt like I understood him and that also makes me consider what kind of person I am again. 🤣  So to see his character kind of evolve was quite interesting.  I admit that I did get a bit bored towards the middle of the read.  But that ending honestly made me smile.  I wasn't expecting to get shocked in *that* way but I appreciated the full circle.  

There were parts of this book that reminded me of the movie, The Farm.  It's not a great movie but I appreciated it the way I appreciate this book (though this book is quite a bit better imo).  Concept, love. Disgusting level, high.  Execution.... meh?  I felt like there was something missing that made it feel a bit incomplete and some opportunities may have been lost.  But my grotesque loving black heart equally cringed and evilly smiled at everything that was going on.


Saturday, June 26, 2021

Review: The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

The Last House on Needless Street
by Catriona Ward

Thanks so much to Tor Nightfire for this amazing free book.

Publisher: Nightfire
Publish Date: September 28, 2021
352 Pages
Genre: Horror

In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street at the edge of the wild Washington woods lives a family of three.

A teenage girl who isn’t allowed outside, not after last time.
A man who drinks alone in front of his TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory.
And a house cat who loves napping and reading the Bible.

An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all.

My Review:

Well slap my ass and call me a cat.  I am equal parts still utterly baffled and entirely impressed and let me tell you why... without telling you too much because it's best to go into this with only knowing what the vague synopsis tells you.

For 85% of this book, I had a look of puzzlement on my face that surely created a new wrinkle somewhere but I'm A-freaking-OK with it because of what the last 15% (or less probably) did in bringing it all together when I didn't think that was going to be possible.... but alas, Ward gave it to me good here.  We get a few perspectives throughout the read and Olivia, the cat, was my favorite throughout.  Yes, we get the POV of a cat and it's glorious.  It wasn't until one shocking reveal that the little clues left throughout starting pinging in my head... ping, ping, ping, PING, PING, MF-ING PING!  That's when I did that little shake of the head that you do when you're impressed with just how crazy everything sounded but then also made so much damn sense.  But I did figure out the next part but only because surely, that's the only way it COULD go, am I right? *wink*  But seriously, it was the thread ups after THAT that really got to me and I could hear something going "oh... OH..." and realized, it was me. 

Now, after all of this, why not the full stars? Because for 85% of it, I was UTTERLY CONFUSED - I had no idea what was happening and yet I was very much intrigued.  But I also truly am impressed with the geniusness of Ward and I implore you to make sure to read the Afterword after you pick up this book to read (because you WILL, right?).  I realize that the utterly confused to brilliant is still leaving me in a state of awe but damn, sometimes it just didn't feel like an enjoyable read and I felt myself wanting to put it down at times but was compelled not to.  Catriona, did you put a spell on this book? 😏 (I approve.)

Ahhhh - this one is going to stick to my bones for a long time.  I eagerly await whatever Ward has for us next.  Definitely get this one on your TBR, readers... and stick with it until the end.  Meow.


Friday, June 25, 2021

Review: Sweethand by N.G. Peltier

by N.G. Peltier
narrated by Chrystal Bethell

Thanks to for this gifted book.

Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC
Publish Date: May 26, 2021
10 hrs 32 min
Series: Island Bites #1

After a public meltdown over her breakup from her cheating musician boyfriend, Cherisse swore off guys in the music industry and dating in general for a while, preferring to focus on growing her pastry-chef business. When her younger sister reveals she’s getting married in a few months, Cherisse hopes that will distract her mother enough to quit harassing her about finding a guy, settling down, and having kids. But her mother’s matchmaking keeps intensifying.

Cherisse tries to humor her mother, hoping if she feigns interest in the eligible bachelors she keeps tossing her way, she’ll be off the hook, but things don’t quite go as planned. It turns out that, for the first time in ages, she and Keiran King, the most annoying man ever, are on the island at the same time. Avoiding him is impossible, especially when Keiran’s close friend is the one marrying her sister and he’s the best man to her maid of honor.

Keiran doesn’t know what to make of Cherisse now. They’ve always butted heads. To him, she’s always been a stuck-up brat who seeks attention, even while he secretly harbored a crush on her. Now with Cherisse’s sister marrying one of his good friends, he can’t escape her as the wedding activities keep throwing them together. When things turn heated after a rainy night of bedroom fun, they both have to figure out if they can survive the countdown to wedding day without this turning into a recipe for disaster.

My Review:

First of all, LOOK AT THIS CUTE COVER!! GAH. 😍 Gimme all them Island Bites! This first in a series is full of pastry goodness, wedding hysteria, sexual tension and just plain fun.  Cherisse and Keiran have a bit of a history stemming from their childhood in that they were nemeses who are now bound together via Cherisse's sister's wedding to Keiran's best friend.  Maid of Honor, meet Best Man.  Good luck! 🤣

I really enjoyed watching everything pan out between these two.  And the narrator is AMAZING! Highly recommend the audio of this to those who can read with their ears.  You really can't help but to cheer on their sexual chemistry and even the sex scenes, while somewhat tame was still extremely hot and that perfect blend of not being too much while still being everything.  Maybe I've been cooped up by myself for too long but .... 😏

The diverse cast of characters was so fun to meet and really made for some comical, fun scenes.  While I figured the story would go in the obvious direction, it's following along with each of them that made this so very entertaining.  Now, I will say that the big "to do" that caused a bit of friction seemed a bit unnecessary for the reason that it was but hell, I've certainly popped off for things that I could've handled differently and quite frankly, it's amazing what a simple song can do at times. ❤ You'll know what I mean when you read this, and I highly recommend that you do.

I'll absolutely be continuing this series and am really hoping for a book dedicated to Remi and Maxine - Peltier, we ARE getting that, right? 😉  Either way, I loved journeying to the Caribbean in this book which makes me want to travel IMMEDIATELY and find Cherisse so she can teach me to BAKE!


Monday, June 21, 2021

#ATBR2021 Review: The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

The Maidens
by Alex Michaelides

Thanks to and Macmillan Audio for this listen!

Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publish Date: June 15, 2021
9 hrs 18 min
Genres: Thriller, Mystery

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.

Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life. 

My Review:

I used to devour mythology books when I was a kid but it's been literal decades since I've read any so it was nice to see so much Greek mythology throughout this book.  Michaelides gives us a very atmospheric thriller on campus at Cambridge.  Who else loves campus thrillers?! 🙋  

This is a bit of a slow burn that doesn't feel like a slow burn.  Know what I mean? I thoroughly enjoyed the dark and foreboding campus setting.  In this setting is a very popular professor named Edward Fosca.  He even has a following of female students called The Maidens.  When girls start dying, all signs seem to point to him and Mariana is determined to catch him - especially since Zoe, who Mariana considers a daughter, is there and upset. And so the story begins....

The Goods:  short chapters, easy reading style, atmosphere and mythology.

The Mehs: plot holes, Mariana (woman, you are a therapist with no detective skills.. step back!), a zillion red herrings and a frustrating ending.

My two besties had read The Silent Patient and are shocked that I have NOT ... yet!  But it is definitely on my TBR and after reading THE MAIDENS, I can see why his writing is so addictive to readers.  While I had slight issues with this story, it is a very quick and fairly entertaining read - gimme mythology and I already know I'm going to like it.


Jessica's Review:

What I've noticed about the books by Alex Michaelides is that you like one better than the other. I'm in the camp where I liked THE MAIDENS a little bit better. There's no denying how great the author is at setting the scene and creating the atmosphere - I also enjoyed that in THE SILENT PATIENT. There was a nice little nod to his other book in this one and I appreciated that.

I've always loved Greek Mythology and this book has me wanting to read more books on the subject again! The pacing was good but definitely a slower building start but I never felt like I was losing interest. It's hard to really go into a lot of detail at risk of spoiling anything but the only real drawback I had was that I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. It was alright, not the direction I was hoping it would go, but could have been worse. 

I'm curious to see what readers think that read THE SILENT PATIENT because it's seems most people like one or the other. I can't wait for his next book so I can get my tiebreaker. If you want something with a good amount of suspense, secret societies, Mythology, and a great atmosphere then you should have this on your TBR. 

4 stars

Review: Trouble Girls by Julia Lynn Rubin

Trouble Girls
by Julia Lynn Rubin

Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publish Date: June 1, 2021
272 Pages
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Queer, Retellings

A queer YA #MeToo reimagining of Thelma & Louise with the aesthetic of Riverdale, for fans of Mindy McGinnis, Courtney Summers, and Rory Power.

When Trixie picks up her best friend Lux for their weekend getaway, she’s looking to escape for a little while, to forget the despair of being trapped in their dead-end Rust Belt town and the daunting responsibility of caring for her ailing mother. The girls are packing light: a supply of Diet Coke for Lux and her ‘89 Canon to help her frame the world in a sunnier light; half a pack of cigarettes for Trixie that she doesn’t really smoke, and a knife—one she’s just hanging on to for a friend—that she’s never used before.

But a single night of violence derails their trip and will forever change the course of the girls’ lives, as they go from ordinary high schoolers to wanted fugitives. Trying to stay ahead of the cops and a hellscape of media attention, the girls grapple with an unforgiving landscape, rapidly diminishing supplies, and disastrous decisions at every turn. As they are transformed by the media into the face of a #MeToo movement they didn’t ask to lead and the road before them begins to run out, Trixie and Lux realize that they can only rely on each other, and that the love they find together is the one thing that truly makes them free.

In rushing, powerful prose Julia Lynn Rubin takes readers on “a blistering, unapologetic thrill ride” (Emma Berquis) that will leave them haunted and reeling. Trouble Girls is “a powerful, beautifully-written gut punch” (Sophie Gonzales).

My Review:

As a huge Thelma & Louise fan, I was so excited to buddy read this “queer YA #MeToo reimagining” with @heatherflynnstagram. It stars off pretty strong where Trixie and Liz have a crazy night before having to take off on the run.. and the author brings us readers on their doomed journey.

Unfortunately it all kind of feel apart for me as the book continued. I get that they are just girls who don’t have the best home lives amd have suffered I their own ways… but we never really get a good sense of what is happening within and between them. Trixie’s crush on Lux, Lux’s mood changes, loyalty but mistrust… then it would flip and it just seemed a bit choppy in certain areas. I think bringing in a little bit of levity into this very somber read would’ve helped abut and for goodness sakes, I am now tied to reading the word ‘hog’.

Also, I think there was a little moss with the #MeToo angle of the story. It definitely touches upon the subject matter but misses the mark in execution. Many parts get like they were just left to dangle and I wouldn’t liked seeing these parts expanded upon. I don’t know y’all. There are so many moments where my heart went out to these girls and I wanted to scoop them up and take care of them but this puzzle has a lot of pieces to it and I’m not sure they all for as well as they could. 🤷🏻‍♀️😔


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Review: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Malibu Rising
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Narrated by Julia Whelan

Publisher: Random House Audio
Publish Date: June 1, 2021
11 hrs 5 min
Genres: Contemporary, Historical Fiction

Malibu: August 1983. It's the day of Nina Riva's annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over--especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud--because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he's been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can't stop thinking about promised she'll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own--including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family's generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.

My Review:

My third Taylor Jenkins Reid book. My favorite is still The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo followed closely by Daisy Jones and the Six.  Malibu Rising just reconfirms how talented this author is as she takes us from the 1960s to the 1980s centering around a family that appear to be falling apart.  While there's no mistaking that TJR tells a story with so much feeling that even her unlikable characters somehow become likable, this one fell just a little flat for me.  

I enjoyed learning of these siblings, their mother, the crazy relationships - TJR tackles family problems well and there's certainly a lot of quotes from it that I could pull.  For me, it just felt like I was listening to a story about them (btw the narrator is AMAZING on audio) and then the story just ended.  Which is fine in itself but I never got fully drawn in.

Note to self: never date a legendary singer. ✔🤣


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

#ATBR2021 Review: Shutter by Melissa Larsen

by Melissa Larsen

Thanks to Berkley for this copy and stop on the blog tour.

Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: June 15, 2021
368 Pages
Genres: Thriller, Suspense

A young woman agrees to star in a filmmaker’s latest project, but soon realizes the movie is not what she expected in this chilling debut novel.

In the wake of her father’s death, Betty Roux doesn’t allow herself to mourn. Instead, she pushes away her mother, breaks up with her boyfriend, and leaves everything behind to move to New York City. She doesn’t know what she wants, except to run.

When she’s offered the chance to play the leading role in mysterious indie filmmaker Anthony Marino’s new project, she jumps at the opportunity. For a month Betty will live in a cabin on a private island off the coast of Maine, with a five-person cast and crew. Her mother warns against it, but Betty is too drawn to the charismatic Anthony to say no.

Anthony gives her a new identity–Lola–and Betty tells herself that this is exactly what she’s been looking for. The chance to reinvent herself. That is, until they begin filming and she meets Sammy, the island’s caretaker, and Betty realizes just how little she knows about the movie and its director.

Melissa Larsen has an M.F.A. from Columbia University and a B.A. from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She has interned and worked extensively in publishing. She lives in San Francisco, and Shutter is her first novel.

My Review:

Well well well... what have we here.... SHUTTER's premise is quite intriguing and once you get into the first few chapters, you know something eerie is going to happen but poor little Betty and her starry eyes are too enamored with Anthony and her acting debut to care.  Bring on the oopsie and the doopsie!  

I really wanted to like this more but it was sooooo slow for my particular pace.  I do love the fact that this film project is basically, "act natural and we'll edit as we need it".... alrighty then. Check one, two, three on already things that would make me go hmmm.... but still color me intrigued!  I will say that the last few chapters really came with a punch, albeit a bit shark jumpy... but I didn't mind too much - I just kinda wish it was like this throughout the book.  I considered putting this down a few times but I was just curious enough to see where it was going to go.

As a debut, I do believe Larsen shines - there's some bumps in the journey but it is clear she is talented and I look forward to whatever she has coming for us readers next. Lesson learned: don't go somewhere isolated for a month with a group of people you don't know that well. 😏


Jessica's Review:

I never like having to write reviews that are less than 3 stars, so I’ll keep this one pretty brief. SHUTTER is the debut from Melissa Larsen and despite this one not entirely working for me this was still a solid first book with some great writing. The premise was great and interesting and there was so much potential, but it was so slow moving. I think that was the only downfall for me. I was anticipating a fast-moving thriller and this definitely a slower building suspense. Going into this knowing that will probably significantly help! Towards the end of the book it really picked up and made up for some of the pacing. That being said, the writing was great and despite having those issues I couldn’t put it down because I needed to know how it was going to end. I’ve seen some other great reviews out there, so it could be a case of it being more of a me as a reader situation. I’ll be curious to see what Larsen comes out with next.

2 stars

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Review: Animal by Lisa Taddeo

by Lisa Taddeo

Thanks so much to for this audiobook.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publish Date: June 8, 2021
13 hrs
Genre: Contemporary

I am depraved. I hope you like me.

Joan has spent a lifetime enduring the cruelties of men. But when one of them commits a shocking act of violence in front of her, she flees New York City in search of Alice, the only person alive who can help her make sense of her past. In the sweltering hills above Los Angeles, Joan unravels the horrific event she witnessed as a child - that has haunted her every waking moment - while forging the power to finally strike back.

Animal is a depiction of female rage at its rawest, and a visceral exploration of the fallout from a male-dominated society.

My Review:

The first sentence of the synopsis drew me right on in.  Depravity? IN! You hope I like you? I'm pretty sure I will!... and yet, here I am proven wrong. Don't get me wrong, I don't DISlike her... I think this is going to be a book that you either love or you don't.  Unfortunately it's not one that I loved and yet I couldn't stop listening either.  I love Emma Roberts and was delighted that she is the narrator... and I know this read is a somber one but the one tone sound, which I think is just the way the book is, had me fairly bored through the majority.  I know, I know - bored but couldn't stop listening?  YEP.

If you have been following me for any length of time, you know that I love unlikeable characters.. and Jane is a tough one.  I wanted to simultaneously hug and shake her.  She's has been put through the ringer and there are definitely some tough scenes to read through.  We get a full look into Jane as a character but I feel like there was just something missing here and I can't quite put my finger on it.  Maybe it's due to the jumpy chapters or the continued bad decisions by someone who can't seem to get herself out of this vicious, toxic cycle.... or that maybe when she kinda does it's... lacking?

I appreciate what the author was doing here.  For me, this journey from prey to predator had really good bones to it, but I needed more meat. 


Saturday, June 5, 2021

Review: One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

One Last Stop
by Casey McQuiston
Narrated by Natalie Naudus

Thank you for this amazing audiobook.

Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publish Date: June 1, 2021
12 hrs. 10 min
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQIA+, Science Fiction

Cynical twenty-three-year old August doesn’t believe in much. She doesn’t believe in psychics, or easily forged friendships, or finding the kind of love they make movies about. And she certainly doesn’t believe her ragtag band of new roommates, her night shifts at a 24-hour pancake diner, or her daily subway commute full of electrical outages are going to change that.

But then, there’s Jane. Beautiful, impossible Jane.

All hard edges with a soft smile and swoopy hair and saving August’s day when she needed it most. The person August looks forward to seeing on the train every day. The one who makes her forget about the cities she lived in that never seemed to fit, and her fear of what happens when she finally graduates, and even her cold-case obsessed mother who won’t quite let her go. And when August realizes her subway crush is impossible in more ways than one—namely, displaced in time from the 1970s—she thinks maybe it’s time to start believing.

My Review:

Well this was a read I never knew I needed!  I'll also never look at the Q train the same again. Can someone please deliver me a stack of pancakes please.  Extra syrup. K, thx, bye.

This was a super fun audiobook to listen to so thank you for bringing this into my ears and straight to my heart.  August and Jane... how do you not fall in love with them? I'm beginning to wonder if I should start reading synopsis again right before I start a book but then realize - what fun is that?  While I was surprised about the sci-fi portion of this, it wasn't hateful!  My mind, however, kept thinking of this and imagining Jane as the train dude from the movie Ghost.  🤷 Look, I can't control my mind any more than you can..... 😉

With a diversely lovable cast of characters and a storyline where we get to follow August in her quest of finding herself while also finding Jane... it's super cute.  I don't even know what else to say about it as I was left smiling even if it was just a little bit *too* cutesy for me.  


Friday, June 4, 2021

Review: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Clap When You Land
by Elizabeth Acevedo

Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Publish Date: May 5, 2020
432 Pages
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Poetry, LGBT

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.

And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other. 

My Review:

This is my second or third novel told in verse and while I'm still unsure if this format is really for me, there's no taking away from how much the ones I've read have made me feel.  It took me a bit to get into this one.  I'm not sure if I was confused on the POVs at times, or if my *shiny thing* of a mind kept wandering off.  But when it finally clicked, it CLICKED.  And then I read the Author's Note and I can't reiterate enough how important it is to read these if you don't.

Two girls, both with the same father and living worlds apart, find each other after his death in a plane crash.  Not only dealing with grief and betrayal, they now have to find a way to forgiveness and family.  Acevedo does a brilliant job in portraying the very different experiences both Camino and Yahaira go through.  And goodness though, Acevedo is spot on when she states that "Most families are messy; most parents will fail to live up to the hero worship of their children."  

I didn't realize this was based around the true story of Flight AA587 that crashed in 2001 from NYC to DR where 90% of the passengers were Dominican.  For something that is considered the second deadliest crash in US history, you'd think it's something I would remember hearing about but no, news coverage quickly dissipated and Acevedo gives us a very emotional inside look at a family trying to deal with the many consequences.  While I will always remember these sisters, I'm giving full props to Dre for being the most amazing and understanding girlfriend EVER.

Grab some tissues and prepare your heart.  A somber and compelling read. Highly recommend.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Review: Melancholia by Matt Wildasin

by Matt Wildasin

Thanks to Death's Head Press for this free copy.

Publisher: Death's Head Press
Publish Date: May 17, 2021
Kindle Edition
148 Pages
Genre: Horror

From within the confines of the family shed, Sarah makes a decision that cannot be undone. Afterward, she awakens in a perilous world overrun with horrific monstrosities and grueling tribulations. Sarah must discover the reason why she was brought here and find a way home before she succumbs to her inner demons.

My Review:

I'm going to keep this short as it feels like anything I say might be a spoiler.  I'm not a huge fan of time loop type reads but every once in a while one will work for me and to be honest, at the beginning of this one, I wasn't sure.  This one doesn't quite fit into the normal groundhog day's type reads and for under 150 pages, tells its story very well.  

Sarah's story is a reflection of her life, wrought with monsters, and finding her way back to face the very serious decision she made prior to being caught in this infinite loop of inner demons.  There's a very good lesson to learn within these pages.  This almost acid trip like journey via Sarah's mind is somber and fascinating and gave me a satisfying ending.