I am finally uploading my July wrap up!! I was in a blogging slump for personal reasons. (hint: overthinking about my future) I felt the push to blog but just couldn’t bring myself to actually blog. I am glad I am back again! I completed my Goodreads challenge too yay 🥳
Lullabies for suffering- Caroline Kepnes (ed.) et. al.
I came across this book on an amazon kindle book sale I believe?? It was only £0.85 and also a horror book so I decided to get it. It was a pretty average book I would say.
Lullabies for suffering is a horror anthology that deals with stories surrounding addiction. It is pretty graphic and I would not recommend everyone to read it. I am usually okay with the horror genre but this made me squirm so much. (too disturbing) I will be typing out the triggers for each story below so that you can decide whether you want to read this book. (in no particular order) I do hope I mentioned all the possible triggers as I could not find any databases for this book.
- Caroline Kepnes, Monsters: Alcohol & Drug abuse, depression, sexual abuse & abuse, explicit sexual content, inappropriate age gap (relationship)
- Kealan Patrick Burke, Sometimes they see me: Alcohol & Drug abuse, depression, attempted suicide, mentions of gore, sexual content
- Mercedes M. Yardley, Love is a crematorium: Abuse, alcohol abuse, depression
- Matthews Mark, Lizard: compulsive violence, drug abuse (severe), murder
- Gabino Iglesias, Beyond the reef: drug abuse, murder, gun violence
- John F. D. Taff, The melting point of meat: excessive cutting, self-harm, pain addiction, unethical pain experimentation, gore
Now, on to the review. This book… was something else. I think the ones that stood out to be were monsters and lizard. I felt really sad for the characters and I could almost experience the pain they were going through. The story for lizard also had a shocking twist which highlighted the horrid lengths people can go to attain something. As for the other stories, they were either too disturbing, cheesy or absurd.
The melting point of meat felt like I was reading torture porn and it is simply not my thing. While I know pain addiction is something people do experience, I have found out that it is something that is triggering to me. I just could not handle the gory descriptions of the character hurting herself.
Love is a crematorium was deeply disheartening too and I really wanted the main characters to escape from the scary situation they were in. However, when it got to the end, I was left feeling confused. I didn’t care for the romance between the two characters which is a bummer. Speaking of being confused, beyond the reef was another oddity. I think it was trying to incorporate creature horror by taking inspiration from Inuit culture. I don’t know how to feel about a White author writing about Inuit culture hmm. Besides, it was done very haphazardly. I didn’t see what relevance the creatures served. The story is supposed to be the struggle of a father being addicted to drugs. He gets involved in shady drug dealings. We see from the beginning that he is repenting by writing a letter to his daughter. I thought that was touching. However, later on, with the mention of these creatures, I felt lost from the story.
Addiction can be extremely haunting. I think this anthology did capture that idea perfectly.
Why I’m no longer talking to White people about race– Reni Eddo-Lodge
With a title like that, it is bound to make a huge impact on society. It absolutely did. Phenomenal read! I urge you to read this no matter how aware you are of the Black Lives Matter movement and the struggles Black people face.
Reni dives deep into Black history, her personal experiences and experiences of Black people around her. She is not afraid to call out people for being ignorant– The book starts with her addressing White people’s ignorance.
She highlights the disparity between White people and Asian/Black people in terms of opportunities for education, financial status, housing and employability. New flash: It is HUGE. (to this day unfortunately) It was disheartening to read about the discrimination between the races. BUT it is important that we learn about things that make us enraged, uncomfortable.
Another important issue she brought up was White feminism. Often spaces curated for feminism don’t take into account people of colour. This can be alienating for people of colour. This is what many people of colour feel, including the author. She highlights that feminism is not as inclusive as it portrays itself to be and it needs to be better. This was illuminating for me as I learnt more about about how feminism can be dominated by White voices. It made me ruminate about how limited my knowledge is on feminism. I definitely have to improve on reading books by people of colour (both non-fiction and fiction) on feminism!
The most important issue this book tackles was also White dominance, how White people think it is important that their voices be heard on Black people’s issues. They tend to overstep their boundaries. This was prevalent after George Floyd’s murder and other issues affecting Black people. In the book community, people were being disrespectful towards the Black community as well.
I highly recommend this book if you have not read it yet! The discussions were done so eloquently. It is a good starting point to educate yourself on the issues Black people experience. It also gives empowerment to Black people. DON’T just pay attention to Black people when there is a casualty or death.
I married my best friend to shut my parents up- Naoko Kodama
This was an adorable one shot manga!!! If you are looking for more f/f mangas to read, this definitely should be in your tbr! The story follows Morimoto who is lesbian but her parents are pestering her to marry a man and “settle down”. She brings up this issue with her fellow co-worker. To her surprise, her friend agrees to get into a sham marriage with Morimoto to help her out. Then, we follow how the both of them navigate their sham marriage.
I liked how the two characters interacted with each other. Morimoto’s friend doesn’t treat any different. They were both respectful of each other and we could see that they were good friends. Often, in manga, the gay/lesbian/bi character(s) are portrayed as lascivious and “forcing” the straight character to do certain things. This is honestly kinda gross cause it paints the gay/lesbian/bi character(s) negatively. It didn’t feel like that in this manga- everything happened according to what the characters wanted. I liked how we find out more about the characters’ past too.
Sadly, this manga was too short for my liking. It did feel rushed and underdeveloped. I would have liked it if we got a glimpse into more of the characters’ pasts and futures. Perhaps, we could have seen a development between Morimoto and her parents’ relationships.
Wicked fox- Kat Cho
After forever, I got to this book. I was intrigued the moment I heard that it a Korean mythology-based fantasy, involving a Gumiho (nine-tailed fox)!!! I have read many mangas and stories & watched animes about nine-tailed foxes. They were Japanese versions though!
Miyoung, the main character is half-gumiho. She survives by feeding on human souls. One day, after feeding, she comes across Jihoon who is being attacked by a goblin. Miyoung does something she is forbidden to do- save a human soul. She loses her fox bead in the process which begins to cause problems for her. Miyoung sees Jihoon again in school but she begins avoiding him as she has always been cautioned by her mother to avoid interactions with humans. She is also dealing with an overprotective mother.
There are many aspects to this story. It is both meaningful and entertaining.
I loved how familial relationships were discussed in this story– Miyoung and her mother’s strained relationship, Jihoon’s estranged relationship with his mother and Jihoon’s loving relationship with his grandmother. I felt emotionally connected to all the characters and their relationships. I was rooting for all the relationships. When things took a turn later, I was tearing up 😭
I tried rooting for the romance between Miyoung and Jihoon but I felt like it happened so suddenly. It kind of felt like instalove. There were many Kdrama moments (BANANA MILK) but still, I didn’t really feel invested in them to be together… 🙁 I think they would have been better off as friends. They did care a lot for each other and did so many things for each other which can be done when you are friends too. Another thing that bugged me was the communication issues they had. I thought that it could have been easily avoided. This issue is rife in a lot of Kdramas. I am personally not a fan of miscommunication to create drama.
The secondary characters were lovable too!! I LOVED Somin. She was such a badass character. She smacked sense into Jihoon Her friendship with Miyoung was wholesome <333
Apart from the characters, the mythological elements were so INTERESTING. I loved reading about the “rules” that Gumihos have to follow. The mentions of other creatures (goblins) as well as appearances of Shamans were fascinating. I have watched a lot of Korean horror movies and I am always fascinated by Shamans. So, this was great to read about! ALSO, the plot twists that happened at the end WOW!!! I didn’t see them coming at all. I felt like most of the action really went down nearing the end. I was at the edge of the seat, waiting for what would happen next.
I know I gave this book 3 stars but I am still going to continue on to with the series. I need answers after what happened previously! I would also like to see how the author will explore more of the world. And of course, I want to read about these precious characters again uwu.
SLAY- Britney Morris
If there is one book I would recommend that you pick up next, it would be this book. This is another unique book I have read recently. Can I have the author’s brain??? The author is a gamer herself so the gaming terms felt authentic. BTW, you can try out the game here: https://www.slaythebook.com/. It’s freaking cool!!!
My favourite thing about this book was the SLAY game. I loved the various card descriptions, designs and their purpose. They were all paying homage to Black culture so it was fascinating to read about. The descriptions of the arena was vivid. I felt myself in the arena every time a match happened. The code words used were so creative too?! I loved the discussion of creating a safe space for Black people specifically. Many Black people feel unsafe and unwelcome in gaming spaces. (Gaming spaces are White-dominated)
OOPS I totally forgot to tell you what this book is about. SLAY follows Kiera who is in her final year of high school. She is a gamer. She has created and programmed her own game, SLAY to create a safe space for Black people online. Along with that, she is dealing with being one of the only few Black students in her school, her relationship with her friends and family. She loves SLAY with her whole heart but she isn’t certain everyone else would be receptive to the idea of the game. One day, when one of the players is killed by another player from SLAY, her life takes a turn and she has to come into terms with herself and her identity.
Apart from Kiera, we also followed the perspectives from other characters such as Cicada (Her name is revealed later!). I adore Cicada. She is so supportive, sweet and kind. Honestly, her friendship with Kiera was gold. I was engaged in each person’s story. Reading about how SLAY holds so much meaning to them was heartening. I cried a lot in this book. It’s heartfelt, emotional.
I think my favourite aspect was the sisterhood between Steph and Kiera. The bond between them is the best I have ever read. Often, in YA, there is sibling rivalry. While that is interesting to read about, sometimes, it gets upsetting. Like I want to read about good relationships between siblings too!
Kiera also had to deal with the public. Not many people had warm/positive reactions towards SLAY. This says a lot about people from another community don’t understand the struggles of a particular community. Instead of hearing out their concerns, they make assumptions. Demonise others in fact. I appreciate the author for highlighting this issue. Anonymity is another aspect that plays into the story. Certain anonymous people in this book were vicious. This was maddening to read about but rooted in reality. This happens a lot. People hide behind anonymity to spew vitriol towards a creator.
There were beautiful moments but also really shocking moments. There was a plot twist that happened nearing the end that left me shocked. I couldn’t believe this person would actually do this?!?!
If you want to read a book about wonderful strong characters, this is definitely a book to start with. Even if you don’t like gaming (I don’t), I guarantee that you would still love this book. Support this book instead of Ready Player One 🙂 Also, I highly recommend the audiobook!
Star Daughter– Shveta Thakrar
I already did a full review for Star Daughter! Read my thoughts at: https://littleflyleafreads.com/?p=485 😀
Gone girl- Gillian Flynn
Unpopular opinion alert: This book wasn’t that spectacular to me. I think it is largely due to me reading/watching (mostly) way too many thrillers. Certain aspects did surprise me but overall, it felt underwhelming.
I am certain that most people know what this book is about but if you do not know, it is essentially following two characters, Nick and Amy, a couple of 5 years. One day, Nick returns home to see that his wife is missing. Immediately, the police are called in. Nick begins to fall under heavy scrutiny by both the police and the media as the evidence incriminates him. Is Nick really guilty though? Or is someone else involved? We try to piece together the reason behind Amy’s disappearance through Amy’s and Nick’s POVs.
These characters were so messy. I didn’t know who to root for half the time. Perhaps, that was what Gillian Flynn was intention after all! We get introduced to the characters’ past and other relationships. This did make me empathise with them. However, closer to the ending, I became disenchanted with them. I did think I figured out the plot twists but I was shocked again as more was revealed. It does not really go the way you think it is going to go. There were many clever moves played by one of the parties that I did not expect. Certain scenes were gross too so trigger warning for mentions of rape, sexual assault and gaslighting. It might be cause it was written in 2012 but the constant slut shaming and terrible treatment of women irritated me. That would not be okay now, that’s for sure.
Flynn’s writing felt really draggy, certain descriptions did not add value to the story. However, I did enjoy how the mystery and thriller aspects played out. We got to see how the characters around Nick and Amy reacted which felt reminiscent of people in real life, especially the media! After finishing the book, I was angry with the ending but after thinking about it, it did make sense. It is very chilling… Nick and Amy are truly made for each other.
I would still recommend it if you haven’t already read it.
The tech- Mark Ravine
*** I was sent this book by Dawn Hill Publications in exchange for an honest review ***
I unfortunately DNFed this book. (my 2nd DNF of the year oh no) The tech follows an agent who is assigned a new job to take care of a bank robbery. However, later on, she finds out that there is more to the case than it meets the eye. Other forces such as the FBI begin to thwart her moves to stop her from finding out who was behind the bank robbery. I don’t usually read crime thrillers so I was really excited to read a book outside of my comfort zone!
However, as I kept reading the book, I noticed myself growing detached from the story. I didn’t really feel any attachment to the characters and some characters’ actions angered me. From the beginning, we also kind of find out the antagonists’ actions. This threw me off as I usually prefer suspense. Then again, there could be other twists in the story later. Since I felt less inclined to read the story, I decided to not struggle reading this book. Perhaps, I will go back to finishing this book in the future.
Thank you for reading! I hope I will not upload my August wrap up a month later again but no promises 🌚 I hope you are having a great day/night. Till next time, take care 🙂