August and September were two months I can only describe as liminal spaces. Long story short, we moved into one apartment, and then transferred to another apartment. I didn’t feel like doing an August recap without having settled in. So here we are. I’ve also been busy otherwise.
I did several author interviews (and there are so many more to come):
Listened to the audiobook Content warnings: gaslighting, missing person, rape (mentioned, not depicted), murder, gun shots
I dragged my feet a bit on listening to this one. I’m having a hard time with fiction, but something that’s a mystery with a structure that has to deliver on certain beats could fix some of it. Wow, was I correct.
In this sequel, there’s another mystery to solve and Pippa tries to have nothing to do with it. But when the police are true-to-life useless, it’s up to her and her podcast to come to the rescue.
Predictable in a masterful way that the author lays out everything that’s coming, really fun to listen to on audiobook, especially give the full cast performance in multi-format.
What even was July? It was my last month in Chicago, I moved to Texas (am still moving in Texas, no, I won’t be getting into more specific details). Reading was a bit fraught. I had lofty goals, like reading everything I borrowed from the library (didn’t happen). But I did enjoy a bunch of what I read, which is always a blessing.
The Taking of Jake Livingston tells the story of the eponymous medium, hunted by the ghost of a teen who committed a mass shooting years before. This book is the kind of scary where I read bits of it through splayed fingers. Jake is one of my new favorite horror protagonists, and all I wanted for him was a happy ending and some peace. The prose is atmospheric and horrifying while also touching on less supernatural fears like being a bit of an outcast and the only Black kid in a private school.
Today, I’m thrilled to celebrate author Ryan Douglass’s debut day with an interview about the process of crafting this spooky read. XOXO, Sierra also put together a debut box with a finished copy of the book and related goodies. Check it out here.
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction Year Release: 2021 Source: Library Audiobook
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Listened to the audiobook Content warnings: racism, racial slurs,. freezing to death, drowning
The story of the Titanic fascinated me as a child. The luxury, the hubris, and specific ironic tragedy captivated me. But now as I’m older, I gravitate towards the individual stories of passengers. When I saw that a young adult novel about fictional characters had been coming out, I was thrilled.
Valora Luck gets a ticket on the Titanic where her twin brother Jamie who’s on his way to America in search of work. Because of policies like the Chinese Exclusion Act in the U.S., Valora has to sneak her way on board and gain passage into America using acrobatics and cleverness to win over an associate of Ringling Brothers.
Immersive in a way that made me periodically remind myself that there was a major maritime disaster on the way, this is a must-read for those who additional details and contexts about the people who found themselves on that doomed voyage.
June was my birth month! I also finished writing an entire project! It’s an exciting time of reconnecting with myself and art, and it’s been lovely. I also spent a lot of time at the gym getting into the rowing machine and preparing for my big move in August.
Read a NetGalley eARC Content warning: Gore, school shooting, revenge porn, attempted rape, bullying, homophobia, abuse by parents
Jake Livingston is one of the only Black student at St. Claire’s Prep. The ghosts reliving their deaths and ghouls following him don’t make high school any easier. When a mass shooter from the town’s recent past decides to pick Jake as his next target, it’s a race against escalating violence as Jake comes into his powers as a medium to banish the spirit once and for all.
An atmospherically horrifying new voice in horror that had me reading this book through splayed fingers from start to finish, while clinging onto the hope for a happy-for-now ending for Jake.
Author Ryan Douglass will be featured on the blog on release day, July 13.
Genre: Young Adult Thriller Year Release: 2021 Source: Library Audiobook
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Listened to the audiobook Trigger warning: Drug abuse, gun violence, rape (depicted, fade-to-black), microaggressions against indigenous people, vomiting, drug overdose, murder, kidnapping
Taking place on the border between the U.S. and Canada, this thriller follows Daunis Fontaine, a biracial, dorky, 18-year-old who deferred college enrollment to take care of her mother and grandmother. A newcomer captures Daunis’ attention and hidden truths come to light when she witnesses a murder. The body count starts climbing and the source of harrowing trouble might hit closer to home than initially expected.
Heart-breaking as it is beautifully written, Boulley presents a thriller that’s as much about the power of community and honoring those around you as it is about the terrible ways the drug trade ravages communities.
Read a NetGalley eARC Content warning: Vomiting, panic attack
Noah Ramirez runs a blog called Meet Cute Diary, a collection of short stories about trans people meeting the love of their lives in increasingly adorable ways. He writes most of the stories and an online troll calls it out in online-public ways. Noah’s also spending the summer in Denver with his brother as his parents move from Florida to California. To save the blog, he strikes up a fake relationship with a local while trying to balance the blog situation and a new job at a summer camp.
This book is adorable and refreshingly young as far as young adult protagonists go. Meet Cute Diary is a delightful light-hearted summer romp.
Liv Flemming retreated from all but her best friend Doug when her dad went missing two years prior to the start of the story. Lee Flemming claimed to have been captured by aliens, and his ensuing psychotic episodes made him a bit of a lost cause to the town’s authorities. But when an unidentified humanoid winds up in the woods behind her house, Liv will stop at nothing to find out what really happened to her father.
Pissed all the way off and horrifying, this book has twists and turns with a compelling character arc of understanding and the prices paid for the truth.