There’s Not Dead and Then There’s Not-Dead (The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried)

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Published: 2019

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader

Goodreads

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated N for not-dead people not dying because of unsettled teen drama.

 

A good friend will bury your body, a best friend will dig you back up.

Dino is used to spending time around dead bodies. His family runs a funeral home, so death is the family business. In all the time he’s helped out though, he’s never had a dead body talk back to him, until now.

Dino’s ex-best friend July died suddenly, but when she awakens screaming, there’s a lot of confusion. She’s not really alive, but not really either. Even stranger, nobody else is dying either. It seems like death has come to a standstill. While Dino and July work together to figure out why this happened, they also confront why their friendship ended in the ugly way it did. As they do, they discover a lot more than they expected, changing what they knew and understood about each other.

 

This book was phenomenal. Spectacularly written. If ever you wondered or wished to get that closure and moment to say goodbye before losing someone then here you go. Just the right amount of wit, humor, honesty, and selfishness. This wasn’t just a paranormal YA with zombies. There were no zombies actually. In fact, it was just a lot of not-dead. The POVS alternated between Dino and July. They’re both so different, but I was hooked on them. I related to Dino the most because I’m not very good at being courageous. For others, yes. For myself, no. Their dynamic is off the wall and I can see how they were best friends, yet it surprises me because of how different they are. My bookworm senses went wild with this story. I laughed, I swooned, I was shocked, and I got my dose of the paranormal.

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giphy

The not-dead gave way to some real themes and subjects today. Personally, since I don’t know what to call something like this I’m going with para-realism because it was just that. While Dino struggled to be confident, something I think a lot of people can’t relate to, there was also his struggle to try and figure out who he is. That is so difficult, and the fact that he was feeling that kind of pressure at sixteen…wow. It’s also a reminder that no one’s perfect and no one has it figured out and THAT’S OKAY.

The Scarlet Reader

Tenor

The LGBTQ of this made my stomach swim. Dino and Rafi literally ooze adorableness with the way they care so much for each other. I couldn’t get enough of this couple. This relationship not only showed those cutesy aspects but the other angles as well: the worry, and insecurity. The way they actually talked through their issues and recognized their worth and worried over whether or not they were good enough. That’s it, guys, This. Right here. Major fucking goals!

Thanks for the Trouble

My Art Forest

Overall

A heck of a good time filled with real-talk, unexpected advice that is hella useful and wisdom that seriously blew my mind. Love and Death may be the primary subjects here, but there is so much else in-between all of that. This story resonated with me deeply and I seriously recommend it. However, if you’re looking for some crazy Paranormal with the end of the world vibes, this isn’t for you. This is a book of friendship, trying to handle life, and being not-dead. Some say this is bizarre, but I think this is just what we need.

 

Quotables:

“That’s the family you were born into. We’re the family you chose.” (Rafi to Dino, p. 4)

“Love’s only gross when you’re not in it.” (Delilah to Dino, p. 13)

“We don’t get to control how people feel. The only thing we get to control is how we feel…” (Rafi, p. 127)

“Friendship with someone you love isn’t a consolation prize.” (Rafi, p. 127)

“Funerals are our last opportunity to show the world how much we cared about the person who died.” (Dino, p. 159)

“Humor can shine a light on truths that make us uncomfortable, and we all know how painful facing the truth is, but that humor doesn’t have to come from another person or group’s pain.” (Dino to July, p. 205)

“Some people deal with breakups by watching sappy movies and crying it out; I deal by watching crappy horror movies and rooting for the killers.” (Rafi to Dino, p. 234)

“Don’t ever apologize for being happy, Dino. Not to me. Not to anyone.” (July to Dino, p. 241)

“Love isn’t obvious until you’re in it. It’s not a punch in the face that leaves you reeling, Love is gradual and sneaky. It grows like weeds between the cracks of a hundred average moments.” (July, p. 243)

 

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Ironic by Alanis Morissette.

 

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The Shape of Her Dead Heart (Paper Valentine – A Book Review)

Paper Heart
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Published: 2013

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader - Paper Valentine

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated C for chills creeping down your back thanks to your dead best friend haunting you.

 

I am not the kind of person who gets haunted by anything.

The city of Ludlow, the kind of city that isn’t very big but the population is, is suffering its hottest summer on record, but Hannah Wagnor is getting the chills. Chills because her best friend, Lillian, who died six months ago, is haunting her.

The summer takes a turn as girls turn up gruesomely murdered with little Valentine hearts by their bodies and somehow, she’s in the middle of it while she’s still grappling with how Lillian self-destructed up until she died. A curfew is put across the city. The police are watching everyone closely. Hannah is drawn further into the world of ghosts and this killer, but she’s not alone. She attracts the attention of quiet, delinquent Finny Boone and while she can’t really put her finger on it, she can feel her life changing and for the better, but she’ll have to figure out who the killer is to keep it.

 

While the writing style threw me off here and there because it felt choppy and unnatural, I got some chills of disturbed with this story. Some emotions were had too.

Ghosts + Slasher = L❤️ve!

I enjoy horror and tis the season for some of that! the main character, Hannah took on some struggles with life that I was really surprised with. Not only was she dealing with the loss of one of the most important and influential people in her life, her BFF Lillian, but there was an in-depth look at how she lost her because of an eating disorder. Now, I’m about to get a little personal, but don’t get too serious on me, okay? This look into how this eating disorder effected not only Lillian but Hannah as well struck me right in my past. If you’re sitting there thinking, “Oh dude, did this weird, spastic blogger have an eating disorder?” then yes, you’re right. And, the thing about it, is that age for something like this doesn’t matter. I was a little girl when I had Anorexia. It was what it was, I’m doing pretty good in the food area now. In fact, I LOVE food! Mexican in particular because spice is the life and any kind of breakfast food is the way to my heart. Anyway! This very real subject brought into a narrative about a serial killer and ghosts was incredibly creative. It was a way to go beyond a disorder killing the one it effects, but also the way it effects everyone afterward, and in the midst of something deadly no less. It brings an understanding of sorts as well as heartache. It’s the how and why; the questions that several seek answers to. It just really struck home with me, and I really like how it was incorporated with the storyline.

Scarlet Readers - Endings

Gravity Klubas

Horror can be tricky because getting the scary and jumpy parts on a page isn’t like putting on a big screen; while The Space Between was okay though a little flat, I like the interweaving bits. It was a strong tie between reality and the world of the supernatural. Granted, there were moments that broke this wall for me, but it wasn’t enough for me to find any serious dislike in the book. Where an ending already happened, a beginning came into being. It was like a reversal.

I loved the main characters, but the secondaries like Angelie and Ariel were real grating. Mostly it was because I was reminded that people can act real selfish and mean like they did. Hannah and Lillian had real depth. While I admire the way Hannah is reserved, I also admire how outgoing Lillian is. The duo is true opposites but best friends because they found this special bond. Finny was just strange. The mysterious quiet drew me in, but envisioning what he looked like was so goofy! I couldn’t get a complete picture. LOL. The development wasn’t very strong with either, but discovering all of his little nooks and crannies made up for that.

 

Overall

A pretty decent read! Not major heebie-jeebies but I got some chills. I really loved the friendship and creativity that Yovanoff created here. This felt like the hometown you didn’t expect bad things to happen even though there were skeletons. I’m not saying this is an absolute favorite, but it surprised me and was worth the read.

 

Quotables:

“I’m not those things you think I am. Yeah, I looked bright and shiny on the outside, maybe. But inside, I was always just the same as you. Underneath, I wanted all the chaos and the scary, messy stuff. I think I was always just this—this strange, secret girl who always wanted to kiss Finny Boone.” (Hannah, p. 255)

“I’m not a victim or a fragile little thing. And maybe there’s all kinds of dangerous stuff out there, but not you. Okay? I don’t need to be kept safe from you.” (Hannah to Finny, p. 272)

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Haunted by Kelly Clarkson.

 

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Who’s Into Who? (M or F? – A Book Review)

M or F?
Author: Lisa Papademetriou & Chris Tebbetts
Published: 2006

On Goodreads

M or F - Goodreads

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated C for quirky cute with a side of crazy and a sprinkle of boy trouble.

 

I’m thinking this whole thing will make a good movie someday.

Frannie has a crush on Jeffrey. Frannie is really shy. So, Frannie gets her fabulous (and gay) best friend, Marcus to help her, by having him chat online as her because she’s too terrified to do it herself.

In the chat room everything goes well, she even gets a date. But, as Marcus keeps chatting the more he’s sure that Jeffrey likes him, not Frannie. His best intentions to help his best friend goes down a shady path. If he doesn’t turn back soon, his and Frannie’s friendship could be over.

But he really likes Jeffrey. What will he do?

 

I plucked this up because it was bright and mysterious, like a bright beacon that said, “READ ME”.

This book was cute, filled with awkward teen spirit. Frannie and Marcus are best friends. Frannie is the shy one while Marcus is the outgoing one, making them two peas in a pod of sorts. They really encompassed friendship and I loved that, especially their telepathy. Everybody wants that with their BFF. I’m VERY lucky to have that with mine. These two were inseparable and it made me all mushy.

I really liked these two’s chemistry, but I also liked the way all of the characters interweaved together. Granted, Frannie was sometimes annoying and Marcus was a little obnoxious, but that’s what made them them. There was a lot of individuality.

I was kept guessing as I read. The way that everything got mixed up between everyone was comical. Plus, all of the drama made me antsy. It really made this book a fast read.

Thumbs Up

This book had one of the most unique styles of writing I’ve ever seen. It was creative and kept me invested with its occasional chatroom structure. That really added to the story. It was entertaining and had me hold my breath from time to time.

And the title complimented the story so well. Not only does the POV move between Frannie and Marcus, but the book is also open about sexuality and how difficult and tricky it can be in high school. I think it’s great to address this factor. Dating is awkward enough in high school, but the hardships and pressure that it can have is stressful.

There were many little surprises even though the whole book was pretty predictable. I really like when a book does this. It’s like sprinkles on a cupcake. Simply delightful. The best part for me was the Coda aka the Epilogue. It perfectly rounded out the whole book.

 

Overall

A fun book to read and fast too. However, it wasn’t memorable. It got a good pass for being entertaining and filled with high school drama, but that’s about it.

 

Quotables:

“If silence speaks louder than words, right then Frannie’s silence was saying crush, crush, crush, which is different than hot for, hot for, hot for.” (Marcus, p. 5)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? One Love by Mariana’s Trench.

 

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On Valentine’s Day We Wear Pink

My lovers of books!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you that enjoy this little holiday. Not my thing, but I don’t dare stand in the way those who love V-Day. What do I do instead? Create an awesome book list!

For your reading pleasure, here are some recommendations.

 

Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Scarlet Reader

Penguin Random House

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

Jinx
Author: Meg Cabot
Scarlet Reader

Pan Macmillian

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

The Merciless
Author: Danielle Vega
Scarlet Reader

Amazon

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

Keeping the Moon
Author: Sarah Dessen
Scarlet Reader

Amazon

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

 

Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance
Author: Emily Franklin
Scarlet Reader

Goodreads

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

Broken Beautiful Hearts
Author: Kami Garcia
The Scarlet Reader

Goodreads

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

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Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

NO Vacancy (All the Little Lights – A Book Review)

Hey, my precious!

I hope you are all well. I want to take a moment to apologize for my tardiness lately. I was pretty sick with a nasty head cold that had me weak, dizzy, and a whole lot of other nastiness, so I wasn’t doing much of anything, but being a blob. I’m sorry, I do still love you and still love ranting about books. I’m starting to get back on track. 

I also want to give a shoutout to my mum, though I’m not sure she reads this. LOL. While I was utterly blobby, she was being mum and helping me take care of me. Love you, mum.


All the Little Lights
Author: Jamie Maguire
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader

Amazon

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated S for sweet and strange, with a plot twist that’ll sneak up on you and leave you gobsmacked.

 

Everything buried will come to light.

Elliott Youngblood is just a boy with a camera, and he captures Catherine Calhoun in his lens on a sad summer evening. After that, he had to know her, make her smile. They have an amazing summer together, but then tragedy strikes in Catherine’s life and Elliott is nowhere to be found, she’s heartbroken.

When Elliott returns, everything has changed. He and Catherine are not the same people they were. He’s a football star and she’s a pariah that helps run her mother’s secret bed & breakfast. Elliott will do anything to get Catherine to forgive him for leaving her alone. And, just when she starts to come around and trust him again, he becomes a prime suspect in a missing person’s case. She refuses to believe he has anything to do with it. But, the dark secret she keeps threatens to dismantle happiness she has with him.

 

The relationship this book gave me was on-again-off-again. It was good and it wasn’t. The main characters, Elliott and Catherine, come with their own unique POVs. I found them to be realistic, but at times they both came off a bit over-dramatic. BUT!!!!! The further I got into the book, the more I got to know each of them, the more that was divulged about why they were the way they were. I find that perspective to be incredible. The author writes so that the characters surprise you, not them. And I was very surprised by the time I got to the end.

Scarlet Reader

Imgur

Catherine was more surprising than Elliott. He came across as the great Prince Charming that was unexpected and in some cases pushy and unneeded. It’s totally sweet that he wanted to protect and be there for Catherine. He had a way of saying “I’m in love with you just because.” and it was such a peeve. There’s got to be more, and by the time I got to the more part I didn’t believe it.

I did admire Maguire’s attention to the world she built up around the characters. An old town, filled with nothing but a couple of shops and boarded up spaces is very common. The additional extra of the town being poisoned was shocking. The visual was vivid and strong.

Scarlet Reader

Bustle

I love Maguire’s storytelling. She does such a fantastic job. I just don’t think it reached my inner bookworm. The book started out slow for me. Some places felt rushed. There were parts that sparked my interest and then the ending was a total BAM! SHOCK! But in some places, it just didn’t reach me. There wasn’t enough to keep me invested with intrigue.

EXCEPT: there was a moment, a split second, that left me confused and ever curious. At the very end. And I will leave this open for discussion because I would very much love to talk about it. So, SPOILER for anyone who hasn’t read this book. à Catherine goes to visit her mother after the Juniper closes and they talk about her going to college, but then her mother says the strangest thing that make alarms go off in my head. You know, those flashing red ones that spin? Okay, so it goes,

“I think it’s nice that you still talk to him.”

Mama looked around and leaned in. “It’s okay. We won’t tell anyone. You don’t have to worry.”

“What do you mean?” (p.406)

That’s what I want to know. What the hell did her mother mean? Do any of you know? Was I just blind? Was it just super creepy and that’s all? GAH!

Scarlet Reader

Gfycat

If you’ve read the book, let’s talk!

 

Overall

Jamie Maguire is an author I very much enjoy to read from. This book was good, but I won’t say it compares to the others that I’ve read by her. I just didn’t get hooked this time. It was good. Definitely glad I read it, but sadly, I think this will be the only time I read it.

 

Quotables:

“Haven’t you figured me out by now? You go where you want. I’ll follow.” (Elliott to Catherine, p. 267)

“Pain…Love. Can’t really have one without the other.” (Catherine to Mrs. Mason, p. 358)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol.

 

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Forever’s an Awfully Long Time…(Forever… – A Book Review)

Forever…
Author: Judy Blume
Published: 1975

On Goodreads

Forever

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

8/25

 

There’s a first time for everything…

Katherine and Michael can’t get enough of each other. They’re pretty sure it’s true love. After meeting at a small New Year’s get-together, they are inseparable. A second apart and it’s like the end of the world even though they haven’t been together for very long.

While it’s their senior year in high school, their relationship is tested in many ways. While there are many firsts for both of them, life-changing firsts, they will find out if this love is forever or just fleeting.

 

This book marks 8 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. Even though this is the first time I’ve read Judy Blume, I can see why she’s such an icon. She’s got a way of approaching topics head on.

 

Though the story came as pretty straight forward, somehow managing to both wear and not wear those rose-colored glasses, this story held something quite special. I really wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it when I started, but by the end I really liked it. While realistic in its actions, it was also romantic for its characters’ feelings.

The story was raw and intense. I imagine all first loves are like that. You only see the person in front of you and it doesn’t matter who tells you to be careful because you are pretty sure it’s forever. That’s how it is for Katherine. From her POV, she’s more than head-over-heels for Michael. She dead sure he’s the one. They understand and have a deep hunger for each other. It’s something I’ve seen happen before and it’s like seeing and alien take over a person. While sweet and interesting, also gross and weird. Don’t tell my friends I said that…

When you build up something in your mind-really imagine is, wish for it, sometimes, when it actually happens, it doesn’t live up to your expectations.

I really like how real this story came across. The situations and results weren’t fluffed up or exaggerated at all. From understanding the importance of protected sex to understanding one’s feelings, it’s all relatable for people who have experienced their time of firsts. It’s clumsy, and half the time, awkward. It’s not like in the movies, and I really like that Blume addressed that. That’s really what kept me attached to the story. Otherwise, I might not have stuck with it. The tone had been a bit bland at some parts and I had to push through because I wasn’t getting a full grasp on it. There was a lack in emotional understanding, but I guess that’s teenagers. They’re like bipolar jumping beans. Uncontrollable.

I honestly think everyone should read this as a part of a health class curriculum. Before you start on me,

  • No, I’m not a teacher.
  • No, I’m not a parent.
  • Yes, I am curious about experience and find this to be extremely beneficial.
  • There are many subjects addressed in a way that I think teens will understand without feeling berated.

It’s not some sugarcoated book made for a fantasy that young humans will get a rise out of and then toss away. While the story is enjoyable, it gives you life lessons that you can carry with you and keep in mind as your own sexuality begins to bloom. From understanding your limits to understanding your feelings and more, I found this book to be enlightening, yet not pushy. The relationship between Katherine and Michael was realistic in that way. A true high school romance.

 

While this book didn’t reach out to me on a level of enjoyment, it did reach out to my need for knowledge on humans. You can easily sit down and read this in a few hours. I did. I’m glad, too. It may not have been the most exciting book, but it was sweet, and tender, and certainly a must-read.

 

Quotables:

“Oh wow…your generation is so hung up on sex.” (Jamie to Katherine, p. 39)

“You probably never took a chance in your life.” (Michael to Katherine, p. 87)

“So they’ll find out that separating us won’t change anything…and then maybe they’ll leave us alone.” (Michael to Katherine, p. 146)

“I think forever’s one hell of a long time for a kid like you.” (Theo to Katherine, p. 172)

“Have you thought about how the relationship will end?” (p. 189)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? That’s What You Get by Paramore.

 

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So Much For Normal… (Paranormalcy – A Book Review)

Paranormacly
Author: Kiersten White
Published: 2010

On Goodreads

Paranormalcy

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

 

I see things you can’t see.

I find things that hunt you.

I am your protector.

But even I can’t protect you now.

Evie works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA) and her job is to bag and tag paranormals so that they don’t hurt humans. Easy enough. She’s been doing it since her time in the foster system. Her norm is being friends with a mermaid and having a faerie ex-boyfriend.

Life gets a little complicated after capturing an unknown shapeshifter named Lend while paranormals begin turning up dead. Thought told to ignore this case, she is determined to figure out what’s happening, especially since she’s having strange dreams. With Lend’s help she will find the one responsible for this, but what scares her is that she’s connected to it all.

 

So much diversity. YAY! There were so many different supernaturals across this book. Each of them were unique and incredible. There were even a couple I’d not heard of. One of my favorites things about this book was how the supernaturals didn’t feel like monsters, like they tend to in other supernatural novels. They were just like humans, trying to survive life. In some cases, it was really funny.

One thing I will say is, there is a decent amount of mention about the world’s elements that supernaturals belong to, but I wish I knew more about them. I wanted to know more about these elements and which supernaturals belonged to which.

Evie is whimsical and really reminds me of Elle Woods. Her and the trusty taser: Tasey were hard at work bringing in those feisty supernaturals. She really brings out the soap opera aspect of this book. She’s the butter of seeking the normal life. I was giggling at how ecstatic she was over the simple things, but only because there are a few simple things that get my eyes glittering, too.

Evie, Lend, and Reth—an unknown, shapeshifter, and a faerie. One intriguing and whimsical triangle. Evie’s romantic life is complicated and it shouldn’t be as a teenager. While getting stalked by her ex, Reth, she’s falling for Lend, one of her bag-and-tags. Lend is my favorite. I admire a sense of authority, like Reth has, that you can screw with, but Lend was a sweetheart unlike him. He’s manipulative and reckless with Evie. Freaking faeries…so damn mischievous! And granted, Lend’s guarded, but his heart is in the right place, caring for Evie. He’s the good guy and after all of the tough times that Evie’s been through, she deserves a good guy that treats her right, like this guy…

Paranormacly

or this guy…

Paranormalcy

 

This book wasn’t all that for me. It was fun, but in regard to the story itself, I just wasn’t that interested. While I enjoyed the strive Evie had for a normal life, I didn’t get a strong feel for her emotions. Teens are whiney boogers, but they do have feelings and I just wasn’t getting those. There were a lot of areas that just didn’t feel quite finished. Again, this was fun, so don’t count that out, and there was a bit of tension. The plot twist wasn’t much of a twist, but I did think it was pretty cool! It just didn’t move me.

 

Quotables:

“Eyes like streams of melting snow…Cold with the things she doesn’t know.” (Evie to Lend, p. 109)

“What a lovely balance. Lend shows whatever he was the world to see and you see through whatever the world wants to show you.” (Cresseda to Evie, p. 215)

 

more to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Hot Mess by Cobra Starship.

 

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