Middle Grade Monday: The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills

43783388

I have a Middle Grade Monday post ready for next week about a few books with spooky storylines and ghosts but I felt that there was no way that I could group this book into that post so it’s getting one of it’s own. Today I’ll be discussing and reviewing The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills.

After losing her mother unexpectedly, Shelly begins to hoard ghosts. A gift that has been passed down through generations of women in her family, Shelly has the ability to see ghosts, catch them, and help them move on. When she realizes that her mother has not come back as a ghost, she can’t let the other ghosts go.

Rooted in a Cree worldview, Shelly and her grandmother use their long hair to catch ghosts and then help to guide them onward to whatever comes after death. I thought that The Ghost Collector was a really deep story of a young, grieving girl who has to learn how to let go. It was so interesting to see how different ghosts could be, anywhere from the old, the young, animals, happy, sad, angry… The list goes on.

It was heartbreaking to see what Shelley was going through, just wanting to see her mom one more time. I think this was a unique and beautiful story about death, grief, and learning to let go. It is so important to share stories like this with young readers, to give them a more broad perspective of the topic of death, dying, and more. I really enjoyed reading a “ghost story” that wasn’t scary. I feel like what is often the case is that ghosts are made out to be malevolent and while those stories are definitely fun, it’s good to see stories where ghosts are just existing too.

In terms of reviewing this book, I gave it three stars. I would highly recommend it to anyone but I personally felt that parts of the story were underdeveloped. The origins of a few characters felt unexplained as did the backstory as to why Shelley and her grandmother were able to see ghosts and catch them in their hair. I would have loved more explanation and a bit of world building in that regard… I did try to do some internet research on the topic of ghosts and Cree beliefs but came up with nothing! Regardless of these qualms that I had, I thought this book was spectacular and have definitely thought about this story a lot since originally reading it.

If you are interested in a book that handles grief well and provides a new view on ghosts and death, this might be the book you’re looking for! Definitely worth checking out.

**I received an ARC of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

 

 

Advertisements

Autumn Tag: Are You Ready For Sweater Weather?!

This tag was created by Jenn and the picture above was created by her as well! I saw this tag on both Emer’s and Amanda’s blogs and decided I wanted to participate too!

Despite autumn being one of the most, if not the most, stressful time of year for me, it’s also genuinely my favorite time of the year. If I could live in perpetual autumn I would be happy forever.

I’M SO GLAD I LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE THERE ARE OCTOBERS!! Now, onto questions.

hot choco in black mug beside white bowl
Photo by Isaiah Quindo on Pexels.com

Hot chocolate : What is your comfort book?

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. I also think that I can include The Unexpected Everything by her on there too. They both just make me feel warm and fuzzy inside and I’ve read them so many times when I need to get those feelings back again.

close up creepy dark darkness
Photo by Toni Cuenca on Pexels.com

Pumpkin carving: What is your favorite creative outlet?

Watercolor painting! I am a creative person by nature and while I love doing things like photography, writing, crocheting, and sewing, all of those have stressful aspects to me. The main reason that they’re stressful is because I sell a lot of the pieces that I make and of course most of my writing is on my blog which I have given myself a “schedule” for so they all have bits of deadlines and pressure. Watercolor is the one thing that I do that’s just for me. It’s also the only “physical” art that I do that doesn’t stress me out! It’s so easy to change things and adapt the piece you’re working on. I love it!!

concrete road between trees
Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

Falling leaves: Changes that appear bad that you secretly love

The dropping temperatures and all the rainy days. While I don’t love being cold all the time, I do enjoy getting to put away my summer clothes and not having daily heat induced migraines anymore. And rainy days are genuinely my favorite. I love gloom and hearing the pitter patter of rain on the roof. The only thing I hate about rain is having to drive in it, it’s something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to.

orange pumpkin near white ceramic mug with seeds
Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

Pumpkin spice latte: Something you love that others tend to judge

Three things immediately came to mind when I saw this:

  1. Peeps & Candy corn & Sprinkles
  2. Puns
  3. Glitter

Look, I get it… Peeps and candy corn are pure sugar and they’re totally gross but they’re also pure sugar and pure gross deliciousness. I can’t help it that I am a disgusting sugar troll who enjoys these things, I just do. And yes sprinkles are pure sugar as well but rainbow sprinkles are pure happiness in physical form.

And also, puns are wonderful. It makes no sense to me that people judge me for this but I have on numerous occasions by former roommates and partners been judged by my unabashed love of puns.

I used to work in a craft store and most of my coworkers despised glitter… We all referred to it as the herpes of the craft world because once it got on you, well, it was never going to go away. Like I still find glitter from that store on various items I own (the shoes that I currently have on actually have some glitter on them from 2017 Christmas season). So while most people were hating on the glitter, I genuinely didn’t mind it. I think it’s so fun and it makes me happy!

ash blaze bonfire burn
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Bonfire night: Something that makes you explode with joy

Cute animals. Specifically cats and red pandas. I do not have any pictures of red pandas but enjoy some pictures I’ve taken of my cats recently:

night building forest trees
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Fright night: Favorite scary book or film

So my favorite scary film is Oculus! Most of the time I get so bored with scary movies because I get annoyed with how illogical it all is but Oculus was so good in my opinion.

Image result for oculus movie

I don’t have a favorite scary book but I want to mention that if any of you ever get the chance to see The Woman in Black in play format, GO SEE IT. Truly one of the most suspenseful shows I’ve ever seen, absolutely genius execution. Such a great experience.

And one last one that I want to mention is a horror (if you can call it that) film called Black Sand. It’s a Deaf film so it’s all done in ASL and I watched it back in high school in my ASL class. It is one of the funniest, most outrageous movies I’ve ever seen and I want everyone to watch it.

Image result for black sand movie

orange pumpkins on white surface
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Halloween candy: Favorite sweets to eat

Sour gummies of any kind! I’m also not opposed to most chocolate but sour stuff is what I eat far too much of.

dog wearing crochet scarf with fringe while sitting on snow selective focus photography
Photo by Benjamin Lehman on Pexels.com

Scarves: You Autumn must have accessory

Socks!! Once the temperatures start dropping I am cold 24/7 so that means I can break out the fun socks! I own way too many pairs of socks but I literally cannot stop buying them.

Also, fun fact, most of my socks also have puns on them. Yesterday I wore a pair that had figs on them that said “it’s figgin fall!” I also have a really awesome pair of cowboy snowmen, but those are more for winter.

activity adult barbecue bbq
Photo by VisionPic .net on Pexels.com

Fire: A book or film that burns your soul

oppositeofloneliness

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. This feels like an odd choice the more I think about it, but this book burns. It’s beautiful and inspiring and so sad. I wrote a post on it a while back if you want to check that out. It’s at this link. Marina is one of my biggest inspirations and one of the main reasons that I am trying so hard to find a purpose for my life. Everyone should read some of her work.

tray of candy apples
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

Toffee Apples: A book or film that seems one big thing but really has a different inside

Cloud Atlas

I don’t know why but the one thing that keeps coming to mind when I read this is Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. While the description of the book definitely goes into how big the nuances are within the book, it just blows my mind to see the interwoven story. I rewatched the movie recently and while I definitely want to reread the book too I have to say that the movie brought back so many of the thoughts that I originally had. It just brings forth so many questions about fate and time and the universe and has me questioning everything. If you’re into really complicated and nuanced books, I highly recommend it. And if you’re not that into complicated and nuanced books, I highly recommend the movie too!

 

September Favorites 2019

To wrap-up my marathon week of posts (it’s been a while since I did a full week of posts like this even though technically I didn’t post on Sunday so it wasn’t really a full week!) I’m here to share with you some of the things that I loved in September!

Books:

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

31931941._SY475_

This is literally my new favorite book of all time. You can read my review about it here.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

32758901._SY475_

There’s a good chance that this is going to be one of my new favorite series. I’m overly obsessed with technology and robots and the singularity and whatnot and I genuinely gasped when I read the description of this book. Technology terrifies me and I love reading stories in which it is sentient, etc. Ugh I’m so excited to continue on with this series.

Also this book is a novella so it’s super short so if you’re looking for something really engaging and quick to read I highly recommend this!!

Other Media:

Bones ❤ ❤

Image result for bones

I decided to start rewatching Bones. I’m pretty sure I haven’t done a full rewatch since the show ended! I started watching this in 8th grade and it quickly became “my show”. I’m up to season 4 now and oh my goodness I forgot how painful it is to watch. Like I keep remembering events that are going to happen later in the show and I just start crying.

This show is probably my favorite show of all time and oof my heart is just so happy to watch this again.

Makeup:

ELF Wow Brow Gel

People talk about eyebrow gel more frequently than I thought it would be talked about so I decided to give it a shot because ELF has one and if I ever want to experiment with something I almost always go for the ELF brand one first because it’s so cheap. I have a love hate relationship with my eyebrows and I’m still working on finding the perfect product for me. There’s a good chance that this is the product I’ve been looking for. It’s enough color pay-off that my eyebrows look filled in but it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to apply it. My problem is normally that I’m very heavy handed when it comes to putting on pencil and powder/cream takes too much effort. I put on my makeup in my car before I go into work every day. I’ve got about a 10-15 minute window to do a full face so precision and ease is key.

Profusion Cosmetics Contour I palette

One of my coworkers got me this palette as part of her birthday present to me back in August and I didn’t really touch it until this month. I finally put the bronzer away for the year and decided to try out the lighter of the two contour shades in here. It really works great for me! I’ve also been using the two highlighting shades as eyeshadow.

Clothes/Accessories:

Midi skirts

kujicam_2019-09-23-18-25-03_developed5847985460876721770.jpg
Enjoy this pic of me in the bathroom at work

As I’ve been learning more about what clothes I like and don’t like and trying to curate an actual sense of personal style I’ve come to really appreciate midi skirts. I have a really hard time with skirts and dresses being too short on me so I love that midi skirts are perfectly proportioned for me! I am trying to purchase more “basic” items so that it’s easier to put together outfits on a daily basis. My next task is to find some good white shirts that aren’t completely see through 🙂

Back to the skirts, though, I have just found that wearing skirts and dresses makes me feel instantly put together and fit me nicely regardless of what my body decides to do and feel like each day. I actually currently have 3 more skirts coming in the mail and I’m actually going to do a whole post with those when they get here because of how excited I am about them.

The link I attached is to a skirt listed on Amazon, it’s the one I’m wearing in the picture! I also have a black one in the same style.

Garmin watch

20190930_0833508725092470930491822.jpg

I finally started wearing my fitness tracker again and I’ve really been enjoying that. It’s fun to see what I do in terms of steps every day and I love having it track my sleep. I used to wear a Fitbit every day and probably would have switched to an Apple Watch had I continued to use an iPhone but I ended up just getting a Garmin instead.

Other:

Compression brace!!!!

20190930_0833411982864352365926036.jpg
Ignore my chipped to hell nail polish lol

I have really bad tendonitis and usually the worst joint pain I have is in my knee. But recently I’ve been having really bad foot pain so I finally decided to buy some compression braces for my feet and let me tell you, greatest decision I made all month.

Kindle Paperwhite

20190921_1114191046691553158173804.jpg

This could technically go in my books category but I’m putting it here instead. I have struggled with reading ARCs on my computer since I started using NetGalley and when I try to get them on my phone the formatting is so difficult to read that I never want to read them. So I decided to splurge on a new Kindle and I’ve used it almost every day since I got it! I used to have a Kindle Fire and I didn’t really use it a ton. It was nice but I played more games on it (good old Angry Birds) than actually read. This Kindle is super lightweight and you can change the brightness so you can read in the bright sunlight or a dark room. This is probably going to be my favorite purchase of the year. I’ve been much more productive with my reading since getting it.

I think this pretty much sums up what I did this month… Spent too much money and cried a lot over fictional characters. Going to say it was a solid month! And now, for the most wonderful time of the year. Bring on October!!

 

Today I Am… Discouraged

I grew up always thinking that for one reason or another I wouldn’t live long enough to become an adult and have to make adult decisions. I’m pretty sure that’s why I never actually had a “dream job” or big aspirations or anything like that. I’m pretty sure I told my peers a different job every time they asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up… I had teachers in high school who tried to encourage me to pursue the things that I was good at (American Sign Language and photography/graphic design/art) but then I had other teachers/professors tell me that I would never be good enough to pursue those things. So I pursued none of those things.

My first year of college I changed my major six times before finally declaring communications as my official major. I ended up dropping out at the very beginning of my junior year thanks to a disgustingly messy breakup and an existential crisis that triggered a complete breakdown. When I started looking into going back to school, I realized that most schools didn’t offer a communications program that would be similar to what I had at my previous school so I had to change my major yet again. I finally decided upon English because I might as well just get a degree instead of nothing.

I’m not super interested in school. I haven’t been in years. If I’m being honest, the classes that I thrive in are math classes but I can’t picture myself doing any sort of career that utilizes math. I just like having concrete answers. Books have genuinely been the only constant in my life. They’re the one thing that I will always end up turning to. They are always an interest of mine. When I started working the job that I have right now it was out of desperation to pay my bills… And now I’m stuck here until I finish my degree. So I’m forcing myself to get through a degree that I’m really not that interested in, to hopefully get a better job that will allow me to pay off my debt so that maybe, just maybe, someday I will be able to retire or own a house.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ll probably start enjoying school more once I get more into major specific classes but also being an English major, I’m stuck doing all sorts of things that I don’t like doing… Like peer reviews. So I guess I’m just really discouraged to be in the spot that I am right now. I royally screwed up my life and I’m just constantly wishing that I was in a different spot than I am now. I saw all my peers graduating and moving away and just all over thriving this year and it makes me really sad to look at my life and see where I actually am. I just want to be happy and thriving and not barely making it paycheck to paycheck despite the fact that I don’t even have a rent or car payment.

I’m struggling to not constantly wish for things to be different. I wish that I had made different choices in my past and I wish that the future was more clear. I wish that I could see that everything will be worth it in the end. I’m an incredibly logical person and it’s difficult to be optimistic when there is so much wrong with not only my life but with the larger world.

Sigh… I don’t want to keep going on and on about this but I’m just really discouraged with where I’m at. I want to take a break and find motivation again but I can’t. Which makes things even worse. And now I’ve just got more work stuff to stress about so that’s fun……..

Sorry to be such a downer on a Friday. I’ve just been overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I have to do that is getting me nowhere. I’m just going to try and hold out hope that something good will happen to me and that the world doesn’t end before that has the opportunity to happen.

 

 

September 2019 Reading Wrap-Up

As much as I’m super excited that it’s October now, I’m also really sad that it’s already October. This past month was really stressful and yet incredibly successful in terms of reading. I’m hoping I can keep this momentum going in October as well because the reading has been helping me a lot with my stress. I managed to read 20 books this month so bear with me as this post is going to be quite long! I’ll try to keep my reviews short and sweet!

Books marked with ** were ARCs that I received through NetGalley in exchange for honest reviews.

All Amazon links are affiliate links unless otherwise stated 🙂

Filter This by Sophie White**

46197409

3/5 stars.

You can read my review here.

Amazon // Book Depository

Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix

227658

5/5 stars

My favorite middle grade book! I made a post about it here.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

31931941._SY475_

5/5 stars

My new favorite book of all time. You can read my overly emotional review here. I read this twice already and am probably going to reread it because I need a pick me up after the week I had last week.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Though I didn’t read them in this exact order (there were books in between) I’ll group them together for the sake of this post. I read Jenn Bennett’s books:

Alex Approximately, Starry Eyes, and Serious Moonlight

 

 

I rated them 4/5, 2/5, and 3/5 stars respectively. You can read my review post about them here.

AA: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Starry Eyes: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Serious Moonlight: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Resurrection Girls by Ava Morgyn**

44174348

I rated this 4/5 stars. You can read my review here.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Next I read two graphic novels:
Sheets by Brenna Thummler and Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

 

 

I rated them both 5/5 stars and you can read my reviews of them in this post.

Sheets: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Ghosts: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

17661416.jpg

1/5 stars

I genuinely didn’t have the energy to write a full review of this after reading. It was boring, nonsensical, and incredibly insensitive. I would highly recommend reading some of the reviews on Goodreads from people who actually have schizophrenia or actually just most of the 1 or 2 star reviews are really thorough in all things wrong about this book. Ugh just writing this makes me frustrated all over again. I am genuinely glad I read Eliza and Her Monsters before I read this or I never would have picked it up. This book was atrocious.

Meet Cute by A Variety of Authors because it’s a short story anthology.

33503607.jpg

3/5 stars

Oomph by Emery Lord was my favorite story of all of them and honestly, the rest were pretty forgettable. None of them fit that meet cute vibe to me. Except for Oomph that is. If you want my full list of individual ratings, you can see them on my Goodreads review, linked here.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Redwood and Ponytail by K.A. Holt**

38326884._SX318_

4/5 stars

My post where I talk more in depth about this book can be found here.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean**

43159032

3/5 stars

My review can be found here.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Mother Knows Best by Kira Peikoff**

44081631

2/5 stars

This book was quite a disappointment in the end. As are my thoughts with Made You Up, I just really wish authors would stop using mental illness in their books without properly knowing how to write it and handle it. This book had the potential to be really good but it ended up being not great. You can read my review here.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

evelynhugo

3/5 stars

I swear, everyone and their mother loves this book so I genuinely thought that I was going to love it too. So imagine my surprise when I’m reading and it just stays at the same level of interesting the whole time. Don’t get me wrong, I was very far from hating this book but it also didn’t wow me like it seems to wow so many other people. It was good, which is why I rated it 3 stars, but I won’t be shouting my love for this book from the rooftops anytime soon.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills**

43783388.jpg

3/5 stars

This was a really beautiful story about grief and ghosts and I am looking forward to going more into my thoughts on this book in a post later on this month. If you’d like to read more of my thoughts now, you can check out my review on Goodreads.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

The Grave Digger by Rebecca Bischoff**

44313475.jpg

1/5 stars

Oh boy… This was really not good? Like the convoluted plot and overuse of 1800’s “slang” could have been easily overlooked had this book been not downright racist. It’s one thing to use the term colored (which the author explains her choice for doing so in an author’s note, which I respect seeing as this is a middle grade book and it’s important to talk about stuff like that) and make off-hand comments about how one of the characters couldn’t get into medical school because “you-know” (also due in part to her being a woman, so I’ll let it slide) but literally all of the victims of the grave robbing were black? And the housekeeper was straight up out there racist and the author thought that was okay to include in a middle grade book? I get that this book takes place in the 1800’s but I felt like it was really insensitively written. Like incredibly insensitively written.

SPOILER: Literally at one point the black woman who is pregnant throughout the story delivers too early and they steal the body of the stillborn baby… THIS IS A MIDDLE GRADE BOOK WTF.

Okay… I’ll get off my soapbox now.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

32758901._SY475_

5/5 stars

WTF THIS WAS SO GOOD. I am so pumped to read the next book, I already bought it and am going to pick it up this week. Robots and “what does it really mean to be human” and so much sarcasm and corporations and holy shit YES YES YES. This is probably going to be one of my favorite series of all time. Also this is super short so if you’re at all interested I 100% recommend picking it up because you can read it so quick!

Amazon // Barnes & Noble

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

13069935.jpg

4/5 stars

I loved this book and emotionally, I would have rated it 5/5 stars but the more that I thought about it, there were definitely aspects of it that I wasn’t a huge fan of (mainly Astrid’s and Dee’s relationship) so that’s why I decided to go with 4 stars instead. Also I went to my library over the weekend and picked up three more A.S. King books and I’m really looking forward to reading them!

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

The Missing Season by Gillian French

39937609.jpg

2/5 stars

I will not lie to you when I say that this was really well written, because it was genuinely really well written. I was just not a huge fan of it overall and I got really bored. The action and solution literally took up less than 20 pages and by that point I had skimmed most of the book.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

I know I mentioned my Goodreads throughout this post a few times, so if you’re interested in adding me as a friend on there, or following my reviews, you can find me at this link.

What did you read in September? Any fun reading plans of October? I might be trying my hand at the Spookathon (and I might try vlogging it too) but I have no idea yet, I’m not that great with readathons!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Resurrection Girls by Ava Morgyn

Resurrection Girls by Ava Morgyn is all about grief and healing. Telling the story of a girl named Olivia, three years after the death of her younger brother. A new girl named Kara Hallas moves in across the street with her grandma and mother and Olivia is immediately drawn to them.

While hanging out with Kara, Olivia begins to pull herself out of the hole that her brother’s death left her in. The two of them form an unlikely bond while writing letters to death row inmates and Olivia tries to learn who exactly the Hallas family is.

44174348.jpg

I received an ARC of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was beautifully written and utterly heartbreaking. It’s all about grief and healing and it felt so personal to look into the lives of the people within this book. At times I felt like it was too much, like I was reading about the lives of real people and I felt almost bad reading it. Although it was really hard to read I ended up reading it all in one sitting while I was doing some work at the library a few weeks ago.

The prose within this was beautiful and I think that Morgyn did a fantastic job writing her first novel. I thought that the different portrayals of grief added a lot of depth and I appreciated that Olivia and her parents all dealt with the loss of her brother in vastly different ways.

The actual Resurrection Girls subplot in which Olivia and Kara wrote letters to death row inmates was very minor, at least in my opinion. I thought it was interesting but it didn’t lend itself to the plot as much as the descriptions of this book make it out to be. I think in general this book is more about healing and relationships than anything else. There is a bit of a romance subplot as well and I thought it was okay. I loved the overall arc of the book and while I wasn’t so invested in the subplots I did enjoy them for the most part.

In terms of characters, Olivia is the only one that felt fully fleshed out. Every once in a while we got into the depths of the other characters but throughout the whole story Olivia is the sole focus. I appreciated the depth we got from her parents towards the end, it felt right, but I would have loved to know more about Kara and Prescott. Prescott had so much potential to be a really great character and in the end, he lacked depth. I talk more about what I wanted from Kara in my spoilery section later in the post.

Due to the dark nature of this book I’m including content warnings here, and then the next section contains spoilers so if you want to skip them, scroll down to the next picture.

 

 

Content warnings for: death of a child, suicide, overdose, addiction, serial killers, death

This next section contains spoilers:

So this book, I assume, is considered magical realism but I honestly think that the whole subplot of the Hallas family having some sort of “curse” could have been done away with… Or this book could’ve been 50-100 pages longer in order to fully develop what was going on with them. I felt that the ending was extremely rushed and it didn’t really add anything to the story. Kara and her family could have just as easily been a normal family with how little I learned about who they really were. It was easy to imply some of the gaps in the story but I wanted more from that storyline. That was really my main issue with the book.

I am also a tad uncomfortable with the part of this book in which Olivia overdosed. Not saying that this was bad, but I will say it felt unrealistic. Like from what I remember they didn’t even place a psychiatric hold on her? They just let her go home with her mom… The same mom that she got these pills she overdosed on from? I’m probably just being nitpicky here but this is an area where I have a ton of personal knowledge and it felt really brushed over and reduced to something really simple. Definitely not saying it was bad, just that this also could have been expanded on and written differently.

Untitled design-4

Resurrection Girls was incredibly dark, hypnotic, moving, and deep. It was fantastic and I highly recommend it. I ended up giving it a rating of 4/5 stars and am looking forward to whatever Ava Morgyn comes up with next.

If you’re interested in picking up your own copy you can find links to the book here:

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles With Numbers in Them

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Book titles with numbers in them??? I could do this post so many different ways!!! In the end though I decided to just go with counting from 1 to 10. Another idea that I had was titles with “one” or “twelve” in them because those were a really common theme in my books surprisingly!

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

27276383._SY475_

So far, this is one of my favorite TJR books, I have two more to read before I can finally do a big post about all of her books… I’ve been working on this since June!

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

11071466.jpg

This is the one book by Morgan Matson that I don’t reread on a regular basis. I just remember the first time I ever read it, just how much it hurt, and I’m genuinely nervous to read it again? Even though my reading tastes have changed so much and I’ve read much more painful books than this one in recent years.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

28374007._SY475_.jpg

I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my TBR now. The premise sounds really interesting and I’m starting to get back into a mood to read fantasy so I might pick this one up soonish.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

13079982

Technically 400… But I’m counting it. This is my favorite classic!

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

16101128.jpg

I have almost no memory of this book anymore but at some point in time I did in fact read it.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

reid_9781524798628_jkt_all_r1.indd

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

evelynhugo

Yes… I did put three Taylor Jenkins Reid books on this list… Sue me.

Top 8 by Katie Finn

4505117

Ha! I have two Morgan Matson books on here too. However, the Top 8 series is written under the pen name Katie Finn! It genuinely took me years to realize this! Top 8 was genuinely one of my favorite series for years, it’s written with texts and status updates along with the regular narrative which I loved. Books with odd formatting almost always interest me. They’re so much fun to read.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

42036538

This is one of the unmentioned books on my Fall TBR, I’ve heard so many people rave about it so I bought it the day it came out and I’m excited to pick it up.

The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

the tenth girl-MECH.indd

Also for a fun add-on…

239973._SX318_

 

Middle Grade Monday: Redwood and Ponytail by K.A. Holt

So in today’s Middle Grade Monday post, I’m going to be talking about a book that’s release tomorrow called Redwood and Ponytail by K.A. Holt. I received an ARC of this from Netgalley in order to review.

This book is about Tam and Kate, two girls who have found their stereotyped places to fit in within their middle school but develop an unlikely friendship… And maybe a little more.

38326884._SX318_.jpg

Redwood and Ponytail is all about two girls who are growing up and learning more about who they are every day. It’s a book about identity and acceptance and I loved it.

I grew up reading books in verse, I devoured every one that I could get my hands on, but every single one was far outside of the range of what I should have been reading at that age. Like I was in seventh grade reading Ellen Hopkins (I was definitely a mature reader but those were some heavy, heavy books). If I could go back in time with this book, I would have loved to hand younger me this to read.

There really needs to be more books out there like this. Even with the world becoming more and more accepting, sometimes it’s still so incredibly hard to accept that you might be different. I mean, I’m 23 and I’m still trying to figure out who I am. Books like these are ones that make it easier to be a young girl and say “hey, maybe I like girls too” or a boy who likes boys or anybody who just doesn’t really like anybody like that.

In terms of books written in verse, I found this to be pretty good. There were some parts that really flowed and other parts that really didn’t. But if you were using this to introduce a younger reader to a book in verse I think this could be a good choice.

One of the things that made me love this book so much was that the author got those first crush feelings so spot on. It was so relatable and I think that anyone could appreciate that. The aspects of this that fell flat for me were the other characters, I think that this story focused so much on Tam and Kate that the development of the other characters was completely neglected. I would have loved to hear more backstory about literally any of the other characters, it was a long book so something could’ve been squeezed in. However, I would definitely pass this on to middle schoolers, it’s a good viewpoint to read from, a nice introduction to books in verse, and in the end I rated it 4/5 stars.

Untitled design-4

Before I end this post, I will say that people added the trigger warning of homophobia to their reviews and while I could understand where they’re coming from I think it’s important to add that it is very light (if that’s even a thing). The parts that I’m assuming they’re referring to are definitely hard to read in seeing a mom not really know how to react to what her daughter is telling her, but I don’t want to say that it’s the most painful thing to read. In the end everything turns to a “I just want you to be happy with yourself” type of situation. So yes, very minor homophobia but don’t let that deter you from giving this to kids to read or even reading it yourself!

If you’re interested in getting your own copy you can grab one tomorrow from these links:

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

State Park Chronicles: Afton State Park

This potentially might be the last State Park Chronicle of the year 😦

There’s a chance that I will be able to go to one or two more parks in the coming weeks but I swear every time I make the plan to go to hiking on the weekend, then one of three things happens: one is that work gets so overwhelming that I have to spend the weekend hibernating (even though I know that hiking will make me feel better), two is that I end up staying up way too late on Friday night and spend Saturday sleeping instead, and three is that all week it says it’s going to be nice on Saturday and then it RAINS.

So if I can somehow get it together, I might go hiking this weekend. But also, I’m getting a new bed frame next week and am supposed to be getting a storage unit soon and I have another paper due so I’m guessing I will spend the weekend crying and stressed instead of hiking. Plus my chronic pain has been through the roof the last few weeks and it’s hard enough standing on my feet for eight hours a day for work let alone unwind with some rigorous hiking 😦

Okay, back to the point of this actual post. Afton State Park!! I have been here a lot over the years and while I haven’t explored a whole lot of it, the parts that I have seen are very nice.

2019-09-23 07-18299704535137819637..jpg

Afton was created in 1969 and I think the biggest draw to the park is the St. Croix River!

2019-09-23 07701190223774650998..jpg

2019-09-23 071468412458043274980..jpg

The beach is almost always at least a little bit busy and there are always boats going by in the river.

kujicam_2019-09-15-13-00-40_developed5553423258486883157.jpg

Since I was there with my brothers and mom this time, we mostly stuck to the main loop, heading down to the river and then back up. There’s also a trail through a “prairie” that’s really pretty (when it’s not sunny that is, hiking in direct sunlight is no fun!). Other than that, I don’t think I’ve been on any of the other trails.

2019-09-23 071906710689623064430..jpg

It was crazy looking at these trees by the river because you can see the marks from flooding water and it’s crazy to see how high up the water got. The flooding this year was crazy!

kujicam_2019-09-15-13-00-39_developed1521731363092988633.jpg

kujicam_2019-09-15-12-59-52_developed5178545292557256493.jpg

kujicam_2019-09-15-13-00-38_developed1904213020088182156.jpg

2019-09-23 072547256874645943996..jpg

There have been a ton of butterflies out and about and my mom and I chased this one down the trail to get some pictures. Afton is also a great park for checking out birds. I almost always spot loons down at the river and there are usually some hawks swooping around too.

kujicam_2019-09-15-13-00-39_developed_17102691407871601273.jpg

I think that Afton is a great day trip spot. My mom and the rest of my family camped in a yurt there once during the winter and they had fun but I think I’d prefer going just during the day. It’s a pretty small park, at least compared to something like Itasca and like I mentioned earlier, I feel like the main draw is the river. And to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of water so it’s definitely not my main draw to the park. Plus if you stop in for a day trip, then you can head over to Stillwater, or across the river to Hudson and get food or just walk around. Both of those cities are really nice!

But it’s got relatively easy trails (the hike back up to the parking lot can be a bit of an effort just because it’s all uphill) that are simple to navigate.

kujicam_2019-09-15-12-59-31_developed6400345953578078909.jpg

Hopefully I’ll be able to make it to another park before winter hits, but I think if not I’m ending off the year on a high note. This was a fun trip and the weather was absolutely perfect!

Mini Reviews: Alex Approximately, Serious Moonlight, & Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Back at it again with another mini reviews post. This time I’m going to be talking about the three Jenn Bennett books that I have read recently. I’ve heard people talk about all of these before, in fact I normally hear people speaking quite highly of these books so that’s why I decided to finally pick them up.

I think I’ll write my reviews in order of how I read them, so that starts off with Alex, Approximately.

34927042.jpg

Synopsis:

Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online by “Alex.” Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new arch-nemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever-it-is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

Untitled design-4

This was by far my favorite of the three books. I rated it 4 stars and actually really enjoyed it! I found the sassy “hate” flirting between Porter and Bailey to be so perfect (sassy flirting is the best) and I found Bailey to be incredibly relatable. Her “dodging” methods were spot-on with things that I do and I found myself feeling for her a lot.

My biggest gripe with this book was how overly emotional everyone got. Like both Porter and his father got extremely angry and violent over events and that just really put me off. I think that this had a decent balance between the traumatic backstories and the happy go lucky teen romance. Also this is supposed to be a retelling of You’ve Got Mail, which I have never seen, soooo I can’t make any comparison to that.

The next one that I read was Starry Eyes.

35297469.jpg

Synopsis:

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern-day Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?

Untitled design-2

This was my least favorite of the three. I rated it 2 stars. This entire story was just outrageous. Like the entire “conflict” could have been dealt with had Zorie even tried to talk to Lennon. And honestly, who in their right mind would leave people stranded out in the middle of nowhere. That whole aspect of the book made me so mad. What an entitled group of side characters, HATED them!!! Also so many parts were just really out there, with bears and mountain lions and lightning…. How unlucky can two people get?? This book sounded sooooo good from the synopsis, a Shakespeare retelling and camping? Sign me up!! But the execution just wasn’t there. I didn’t really like any of the characters and I spent most of my reading just shaking my head in frustration.

Oh, and the fact that this book started off with Zorie literally using her telescope to peep on Lennon… Gross.

Lastly, I read Serious Moonlight.

36511805.jpg

Synopsis:

After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that the most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.

Untitled design-3

Birdie was hands down my least favorite character from any of these books. I had to drag myself through over half of this book. Honestly, the only reason why I rated this three stars was because there was a good 150 pages that charmed my pants off and kept me from DNF’ing this altogether. The first half was boring, the ending was convoluted, the middle was just right.

So I probably could have done an entire review for just this book alone but I’ll try to be brief. Birdie was so incredibly naive and genuinely stupid and fucking selfish and I can’t stand her. I don’t know if that was purposeful because of her “sheltered” childhood but I still couldn’t even look past that and give her the benefit of the doubt. Daniel was precious and can I say that he’s too good for Birdie? Because he’s Too. Damn. Good. for Birdie.

By the end of this, I think too many plot lines converged and it got overwhelming in a bad way. I finished the book unimpressed and wanting more.

Final Thoughts

I don’t think that I’ll be picking up any Jenn Bennett books in the future. I can see why people like her books, but they’re  just not for me. Also, coming from an asexual person, I understand why putting sex scenes into YA novels is important but damn do we really need to make it so pivotal?? It’s not life changing, as all these characters made it out to be… I think that it could have been written a lot differently. Honestly had me looking at these relationships a lot more like young lust instead of young love. But, again, I’m asexual so you can take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

All of these books sounded great from reading the synopsis but I was left wanting more. And, as is a problem I have with so many other books that I read, so much of the conflict within these books could have been solved with communication and I will just continue sighing heavily over this. Anyways, was not really impressed and I’m definitely looking forward to reading some better books in the next few weeks.