Book Review: Eighth Grade Is Making Me Sick by Jennifer L. Holm

Happy Thursday my lovely peeps!
For once, I’m not looking forward to the weekend because this weekend, I’m planning on sitting down and doing everyone’s taxes 😦

But hey! I can’t wait to do some more reading because I’ve picked up some neato books and my TBR for 2023 is looking pretty solid so far. It may only be nearing the end of Q1, but this year has shown to be an interesting bookish year already!

For this week’s book review, I’m featuring Eighth Grade Is Making Me Sick by Jennifer L. Holm and illustrated by Elicia Castaldi. Let me tell you, I never forgot the joy of the colorful first book even after all these years!

Title: Eighth Grade Is Making Me Sick
Series & Book No.: Ginny Davis Book # 2
Author: Jennifer L. Holm
Illustrator: Elicia Castaldi
Genre: Fiction, Epistolary, Graphic Novel, Contemporary, Humor, Family, Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction
Edition: Kindle
Length: 128 Pages
Published: 7 August 2012
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Amazon: [LINK]
Goodreads: [LINK]

Part graphic novel, part scrapbook and altogether original—New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Holm’s Eighth Grade Is Making Me Sick is just right for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dork Diaries and Babymouse!
Ginny has big plans for eighth grade. She’s going to try out for cheerleading, join Virtual Vampire Vixens, and maybe even fall in love. But middle school is more of a roller-coaster ride than Ginny could have ever predicted. Her family has just moved into a fancy new house when Ginny’s stepdad loses his job. (Can worrying about money make you sick?). Ginny’s big brother keeps getting into trouble. And there’s a new baby on the way. (Living proof that Ginny’s mom and stepdad are having sex. Just what she needs.) Filled with Post-its, journal entries, grocery lists, hand-drawn comic strips, report cards, IMs, notes, and more, Eighth Grade Is Making Me Sick is the sometimes poignant, often hilarious, always relatable look at a year in the life of one girl, told entirely through her stuff.

I know I read the first book, years back, but didn’t realize there was a sequel until recently. All I remembered about this book was how unique it was. There’s no real words. There’s no dialogue, no paragraphs, no text and descriptions in the traditional book sense. Instead, what you get is a storyline and plot laid out for you all in the form of pictures. Imagine scrapbooking on steroids. Imagine and picture those Instagram pictures of people blogging their daily lives via stories. You might get a page of remotes, popcorn, sticky notes, and a can of drink followed by a picture of someone’s text/messaging window and in the background, you will see a folder. 

A bunch of pictures might not seem like a “story” but all of these pictures form a story even without typical narration. In Eighth Grade Is Making Me Sick, Ginny Davis tells you a tale starting from the beginning of the school year, which might include a picture of the fridge, lined with calendars, a note from mom, and a real estate photo, followed by (pages later) a picture that has a student handbook in front of the toaster, along with school dates, followed by a picture of a locker, and another page with a picture of the school lunch calendar, and so on. The story, even if it’s only a snapshot of picture after picture, tells you a story of Ginny as she begins 8th grade, followed by her to-do list for the year, her brother getting in trouble, and parents going through financial trouble as well as herself getting sick for the whole titular moment. It shows you, through her poems (for class) and IMs to friends, her frustrations and joys. There are moments that, even without sentences, you can see how life is affecting Ginny such as watching her report card and grades slip from the beginning of the year, to the next quarter, and the next as well. You don’t need to know Ginny is feeling unwell when all you need is a picture of her copy of the emergency room report or a handful of “Get Well Soon” cards. You don’t need someone to tell you that Ginny’s brother is in trouble once again when all you need is a court summons picture. 

I know it doesn’t really feel like a “book” because of the lack of true words in the form of dialogue and paragraphs, but I absolutely adored the first book as a kid and loved this second book as well. The concept of a tale through a series of photos is so creative and I enjoyed trying to see every little tiny piece of detail that was included. I’m talking about looking at the design of the thumbtacks that holds the cheer team notices to the board, the different magnets holding notices up, the actual art and poetry included, the different menus and contents, and so much more to explore. If you thought that a fictional diary allowed you to peak into someone’s life, then try this book as well. Everything’s so colorful and it really takes experiencing it to really understand. 

I enjoyed this book greatly and, if you pick up a copy yourself, I hope you will too!


Book Review: Wrath of the Land by Oli Jacobs

*squints at Google Docs*
Ever since I accidentally refreshed my WP draft page (and lost my entire review), I’ve begun to write all my WP post drafts in Google Docs before transferring them over here. But since I also write my shorts and AO3 drafts there, I had to make sure “untitled document A” was actually a review and not mixed with “untitled document B” which is a random fic…

Happy Thursday my lovely peeps🐥! This has been an eternally long week. I still need to do my 2022 taxes for the entire household…I’m procrastinating of course…

If you recall the spotlight for this book last week, well…I promised a review and here it now is! TA-DA!
So, for this week’s book review, we’re going to be featuring Wrath of The Land by Oli Jacobs!

Title: Wrath of The Land
Author: Oli Jacobs
Genre: Fiction, Horror, Comedy/Humor
Length: 269 Pages
Published: 7th March 2023


Amazon UK – [LINK]
Amazon US – [LINK]
Goodreads – [LINK]
Author Website – [LINK]
Newsletter – [LINK]

Spotlight: [LINK]

Disclaimer: Thank you Oli for this review copy! An e-copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Book blurb from Amazon US

When the plumbing around the centre of West Crumb starts to overflow, everyone believes the problem is a series of badly blocked drain.

What they don’t expect is a fatberg the size of a double-decker bus.

Council worker Ronald Pile is tasked with clearing the horrible mass, but soon finds himself dealing with a bureaucracy that works deep behind the scenes of the local council. Meanwhile, student Laura Bennett begins to notice how the fatberg seems to be influencing those around town.

Then, the reality of what the fatberg contains is revealed, and it begins to sprout.

The first time I came across Oli’s work, it was as an excerpt in BBNYA. I quite enjoyed it and I really enjoyed this book as well. I hardly read horror (because I’m a chicken) but because it was listed as a horror comedy, I was happy to give it a try. I’ve only read anything eldritch related once before so I can’t really comment on that aspect, but I must say (this book at least), things sure go from zero to one hundred in a snap of a second! 

That’s why I just stuck around for so long. The plot was so crazy, my mouth hung open the entire time. I mean, the book started with me annotating “wow, blocked toilet for no reason. It happened to me just the other week back, due to main pipe issues too, and I watched with great fear as the water level rose just as the people of West Crumb did. SO real and relatable. Much wow!” I gave it another couple of chapters and things dropped so far into chaos and insanity and that was probably the MOST amusing thing about this book. With just how quickly things went nutty, I knew I was in for a fun time.

This book starts off with and is told from the perspective of Laura Bennett and Ronald Pile, a student and a city council official, as they view this…situation from different lens. It starts off with blocked toilets and investigations into the cause of this leads city workers to discover a fatberg the size of two buses. I didn’t know that the blockages caused by people flushing non-biodegradable stuff down the toilet even had a name. OK. Things are still relatively sane at this point. Totally normal stuff. Again, relatable even. Realistic too.

Until this 2-bus sized lump of yuck begins to grow tendrils and takes over the town. 

You know how I said I started the book off with “Wow, so relatable!”? Yeah. Throw that out the window now. Things took a turn for the weirdest worst and the sanity level of the townspeople plummeted. The most baffling part of this event(?) is that people started to consider the giant “monster” down below as the new norm. People just…accepted that there was this great growing tumor below their feet, that it’s there, that it’s not going away anytime soon, and that it’s the end of days…and booze and stuff is all that’s left. People just…saw tendrils in town and went about their day! And the MOST baffling part, was that I, the reader, didn’t even notice that I myself took it as a the new normal because I didn’t comment about it until 80% of the way through. I was so hooked into the book, that I just went with the fact that there’s a monster below ground and waited to see what was to happen next. Which was exactly what the townspeople did. They sat around and waited to see what happens next (because what else are you gonna do?).

This review is turning out to be a bit of a ramble. But I guess, to summarize in a single statement: I was so hooked into the book and story, so involved with the progress of the fatberg that I began to feel and act like the West Crumb citizens; I sat and waited for it to progress and see how the government and officials were going to deal with the monster because I’m just an ordinary random human and what am I going to do against a near-invincible creature that I can’t even describe besides “otherworldly”? 

And if a book can get me to be so immersed that I feel like I’m a West Crumb civilian, that’s a book that earns all the good stars on its own. 

The actual violence itself is kept pretty contained, nothing too horrifying. I think it was mostly more of a disturbing tale than anything, especially when cults form (but when are cults anything but disturbing?). I enjoyed the writing and dialogue though and it made for an entertaining and smooth read. A great book that was wild and imaginative. 

Book Review: The City & The City by China Miéville

Happy Thursday my lovely peeps!
Let me tell you, this has been a really good week! Still, I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming weekend because rest I need!

For this week’s book review, I’ll be featuring The City & The City by China Miéville. I started this book a while ago so this review is now truly long overdue!

Title: The City & The City
Author: China Miéville
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction, New Weird, Weird Fiction, Mystery, Crime, Urban Fantasy
Edition: Paperback
Length: 329 Pages
Published: 27 April 2010
Publisher: Del Rey

Amazon: [LINK]
Goodreads: [LINK]

When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. To investigate, Borlú must travel from the decaying Beszel to its equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the vibrant city of Ul Qoma.

But this is a border crossing like no other, a journey as psychic as it is physical, a seeing of the unseen. With Ul Qoman detective Qussim Dhatt, Borlú is enmeshed in a sordid underworld of nationalists intent on destroying their neighboring city, and unificationists who dream of dissolving the two into one.

As the detectives uncover the dead woman’s secrets, they begin to suspect a truth that could cost them more than their lives. What stands against them are murderous powers in Beszel and in Ul Qoma: and, most terrifying of all, that which lies between these two cities.

Wow, I don’t even know where to start with this one. I have an intimidating blank draft in front of me and all these emotions I want to lay out on it, but nothing’s actually coming out because I’m having one hell of a reading hangover and it’s not even the following day yet! I had the same feeling when I’d finished Miéville’s Perdido Street Station and I thought I found the gold of golds in that book; it ended up being my 2022 book of the year choice and replaced my all time favorite book as well. I didn’t think anything could top it.

The City & The City did, not in every aspect, there were plenty of things about Perdido Street Station that stuck with me, the phenomenal and otherworldly worldbuilding, the tone & atmosphere, the characters, and plot (I never got over the empty feeling it left behind after I finished that last sentence)…but The City & The City came in a hard challenger, contending for the same, favorite book, spot. I still prefer Perdido Street Station, but if this book didn’t leave me in shock, I’d be lying.

OK, the warm up about my history with Miéville is over and that means hopefully the words of phrase for The City & The City can start flowing. 

Anytime now…

This was an insane book. I still can barely wrap my head around the concept of it, something so clever and original that I just ate the whole book up like a dessert that needed savoring. And savor I did. Because, no matter my heaps of praise and how much I liked it, it took nearly 3 weeks to finish. I read so slowly, wanting to read a couple chapters a night, annotate as much as I could, and sleep on everything I’d read before continuing to do the same every day. 

This story begins with Inspector Tyador Borlu of the Extreme Crime Squad arriving on scene of where a body has been reported to the police, a woman with multiple stab wounds. When it’s discovered that she’s a student and that she was researching into something much larger, the investigation takes off in a direction that Borlu may have never imagined himself to be in.

The concept here is that, there are two cities that occupy the same geological location, which is why our title is called the city and the city. Beszel and Ul Qoma, are fictional locations but sits right on our real map, somewhere in the Eastern Europe, and the two cities share the same location, but are isolated by rules, regulations, and its people. The two cities may literally share the same physical place, but there’s nothing that really ties them together other than that. That’s all they share as everything from language, culture, clothing, banned COLORS, and even architecture is different for both cities. Citizens of both cities grow up and learn to unsee and unhear the other side, to pretend that they don’t exist. Imagine walking by as someone from Beszel, side by side, next to someone from Ul Qoma, but you can’t see them because you’ve learned to unsee them, almost as if shrouding the otherside in a blurry vision and to completely disacknowledge their existent, even if their purse might be close enough to brush up against your jacket. To get into Ul Qoma from Beszel, as Borlu had to do, you would have to cross in practically like you do when leaving and entering a new country. To come to either cities as a foreigner, such as as an American, you need to go classes to help you learn the laws and to teach you how to unsee or unhear, the other city (since the act of unseeing/hearing doesn’t come naturally to foreigners).

There had once been a fire grosstopically close to my apartment. It had been contained in one house, but a house not in Besźel, that I had unseen. So I had watched footage of it piped in from Ul Qoma, on my local TV, while my living room windows had been lit by the fluttering red glow of it.

To break this unspoken law, would mean to invoke Breach and up to a certain point in the book, nobody really knows what Breach is (even by the end of the book, only Borlu and the readers really get to know Breach a little better). Nobody seems to be able see them and to be taken by Breach means you might never be heard from again. Their presence “can’t be explained” and honestly nobody really knows much about Breach other than that they seem to have eyes everywhere. In fact, I honestly thought that they were some sort of omnipresent entity, like aliens but more eldritch and unimaginable. They seem to watch for all signs and moments of breach as, while you might not be whisked away if you accidentally didn’t unsee or unhear fast enough, if you, let’s say, smuggle drugs into the other city without properly crossing over (in which the crime of smuggling might have the police at your door and that’s FAR FAR favorable than to smuggle while Breaching and to have Breach show up) or if you walk into a cafe from Beszel and emerge from Ul Qoma.

The second case was a man who had killed his wife and when we closed in on him, in stupid terror he breached—stepped into a shop in Besźel, changed his clothes, and emerged into Ul Qoma. He was by chance not apprehended in that instance, but we quickly realised what had happened. In his frantic liminality neither we nor our Ul Qoman colleagues would touch him, though we and they knew where he went, hiding in Ul Qoman lodgings. Breach took him and he was gone too.

The story, moreorless, focuses on this, although larger elements gets added in later on and by the end, it’s a chaotic mess of things. What started as trying to investigate a murder, a “simple” murder of a lady in a single city, soon expands to include both and then things just drop off into insanity because it turns out the lady wasn’t just a student, but a student who discovered something big and bad and eh, as much as Borlu wants to seek justice for the slain woman, not everyone is that keen on investigating too far into details, lest you accidentally invoke Breach.

I could go into the characters aspect, I did like Borlu and his partners in this investigation, Corwi from Beszel and Dhatt from Ul Qoma, but my biggest set of notes focused on the world building. I have so many marked pages and sections for world building in this book, that I actually ran out of one of my flag’s colors and had to start using a different color dedicated to world building. 
All in all, a fantastic book that I can’t truly do justice in just a simple review. The characters were good, the world building was phenomenal, and I enjoyed the somewhat choppy and weird writing as well. It was a deeply enjoyable read and, as slow as I took it, it wasn’t as hard to read as Perdido Street Station which I actually found to be quite dense and I had no choice but to grab the dictionary app again and again until I just gave up and borrowed the Kindle version so I could just highlight words instead. The concept was what loved the most and that was the aspect that blew Perdido Street Station out of the water because it was just so…entertaining to envision this world where, there’s nothing exactly superstitious (besides Breach) although a slight element of spooooky is still there and this whole separation isn’t formed by bricks and fences but by our eyes and ears. Another great Miéville read, this time combining the genre of New Weird with a bit of detective case. Wonderfully done, I might once again need a brain cleanser after this, something easy and not blowing my mind.

Book Spotlight: Wrath of the Land by Oli Jacobs

Happy Wednesday my lovely peeps🐥!
It’s a lovely mid-day of the week and today, I have something special for you.
In lieu of the usual weekly check-in, I’ll be sharing a book spotlight for a release from yesterday!

In today’s bookish feature: The author of BBNYA 2021 finalist, Oli Jacobs, is here with a new release, Wrath of the Land. Stay tuned afterward for I’ll be sharing my thoughts on it, in a review, soon enough!

Title: Wrath of The Land
Author: Oli Jacobs
Genre: Fiction, Horror, Comedy/Humor
Length: 269 Pages
Published: 7th March 2023


Amazon UK – [LINK]
Amazon US – [LINK]
Goodreads – [LINK]
Author Website – [LINK]
Newsletter – [LINK]

In the small town of West Crumb, a lifestyle of shopping and pub visits is disrupted by the discovery of a huge fatberg. What at first seems like a mild inconvenience soon brings mysterious government agencies, an affable cult, and a grotesque pillar stretching far beyond the sky.

“It began, as these things tend to do, with a blocked toilet in West Crumb.”

“”Existence is chaos, Mr Pile. As I’ve told you, the slightest twitch can cause ramifications that are beyond your understanding.”

“A butterfly flaps its wing, yes, I’ve heard of that nonsense.”

“In this case, a butterfly hasn’t flapped. It has grown to the size of a continent and eaten the people there.”

Oli Jacobs is a mad bearded fellow who enjoys croissants. He is best known for Wilthaven, a finalist in the BBNYA 2021 competition. When not writing, he can be found contemplating existence with a cocktail in hand.

February Wrap Up

Hello, my lovely peeps🐥!

I had an interesting day yesterday. I woke up to everyone in the house complaining about the lack of internet (because nothing makes people, who’ve already been awake for hours, actually crawl out of bed faster than seeing the little Chrome dino show up on your screen to make you feel better about the inability for your device to connect to the internet). Turns out, there was an outage somewhere, and it was right before I had to leave for my dentist appointment. By the time I came back though (mid-afternoon) everything was all sorted out. My brother got to hop back on to take his online exam, my dad opened his phone game again, and my mum ran off to read more online novels. 

The appointment took forever. It lasted way longer than usual due to the amount of appointments that day, but hey, I got a whole lot of reading done! I mean, I hate the dentist and all, but there’s nowhere as quiet as a dentist waiting room because everyone’s dead silent waiting for their turn on the torture chair. Heck, it was even more quiet than any library I’ve ever been to! 

Anyway, on to my monthly updates!


This month has been exciting for Cozy with Books! 

When I first started the blog, back in April of 2020 (Oh hey! The anniversary is coming up next month!) I was aiming for a cozy vibe (hence the name). So it was going to either be brown themed based on coffee and cafés or pastel themed. In the beginning, I alternated between the two themes over and over. Eventually, I settled on just pastels although I did switch up the colors every now and then (pastel pink for a few months, baby blue for a few months, minty green, etc.)

Well. I got sick of pastels. I wanted something BRIGHT and happy. I wanted something that makes me happy every single time I opened up to my blog. I also couldn’t stand the pugly drawings all over my blog. I was never really an artist and settled for my fuzzy blob as a mascot (it was a duck…like rubber duck…). I couldn’t draw a normal looking rubber duck to save my life and settled for the mountain of “mochi ducks” that you still see on the front page. I wanted a complete overhaul of everything; the theme, the colors, the doodles. I got to work and skipped out on two (three?) days of studying and gaming to redo all my blog banners/featured images and even drew a rubber duck to be my new blog logo. 

Her name is Ducky. I know. So creative. I finally learned my lesson with digital art. Have layers. Have LOTS of layers. She’s a bit…flat…but I like her. I have plans on switching up her outfit to match seasons and holidays, just like the themed rubber ducks I love so much!

Next up, the Nintendo Direct! I was pretty excited for it and watched it as soon as I got out of work. There wasn’t a lot I was overly excited over. I’ve never played Splatoon or Zelda, generally sticking to Pokemon, Fire Emblem, and most farming sims you might throw my way, but then I saw DECAPOLICE and thought, “Oh that looks SO interesting!” I kind of had a hint (a good whiff) of Astral Chain vibes (maybe it’s the color theme?), which I never did finish because I couldn’t bare the thought of finishing it, but whatever the case, I’m hyped. I’m SO excited to hear more about it.

And a last bit of life news; things are starting to settle down again. Generally, when November/December rolls around, I get pretty burned out from both reading and blogging. I tend to slow my pace down and read whenever I want. Last year, I even stopped the “read every day” goal of mine around October. I have no plans on ever doing that again. If I’m that stressed, I’m perfectly fine with simply cutting down blogging content (no weekly reviews) just so that I could slow my reading pace down. Whatever works to keep me reading daily, even if it’s as slow as a single chapter a night before bed. 

Coming out of this end-of-year reading slump fog combined with the stress of a new job with completely different duties than I’m used to, in a completely different industry, January and February have been just massively stressful. I’m slowly coming out of it though, and I see some signs that things are picking back up! For the first time in forever, I started reading ARCS again, physicals included. I even logged into NetGalley! It’s been so long, I barely remembered my password! My requests are currently still closed, but I’m hoping to open them up soon.

And that’s all my updates on life and blogging! Now to get on with the bookish wrap up for February~

I had a pretty good February, having read 7 books last month. It was mostly composed of a few short stories and one Middle-Grade book and I absolutely enjoyed each of them! I also had three books that were “normal” (my normal) novel sizes, The Santa Suit, 3 Days to Live (this one was actually composed of three short stories in a single book), and The City & The City. The last one was a wild read that I’m still trying to wrap my head around. 

Since one of the books was actually a [nearly] 3 weeker, I won’t be breaking my February down by weeks as I did back in January. Instead, they’ll be in [relative] reading order.

*** click on the book covers to pull up their Goodreads page***
**disclaimer: all cover images are from Goodreads**

Book 1

The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews

My first read of the month was The Santa Suit and I really enjoyed this one. Romance will always be a book that’s outside my usual reading moods, but this one had mentions of Santa and damn if it wasn’t such an absolute tooth-rottingly fluffy book. I adored it. I kind of wish I picked it up back in December because it would’ve made for a wonderful Christmas read. It was hopeful, hope-filled, and so sweet. 

Check out my review for it >HERE<

Book 2

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

This was a short read. A VERY short read. If my memory serves me correctly, I was reading this during the few days I was trying to rush my blog overhaul. One night, I’d just happened upon it in Libby, right before booting up ibisPaintX on my ipad to drew all those oranges and lemons you see on this post. It was perfect because Libby’s audiobook player can still run in the background as I draw in ibisPaint. My eyes glanced at the summary for all of five seconds before I dived in. I wasn’t expecting what I read and I was in a complete daze for the ENTIRE evening afterwards. I read a lot of good books in February, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be this one. 

Check out my review for it >HERE<

Books 3 & 4

The Odd1s Out (Books 1 & 2)

I came across this in Libby as well. It was just out of the blue and I saw that squishy loveable marshmallow and couldn’t resist. Afterall, I’ve watched and loved James’ videos a few years back, before I randomly stopped visiting Youtube on the daily. I loved the first book so much and was so excited to see that there was a sequel, but when I’d gone into Libby…there was no ebook of the second book, only an audiobook. It was a really good audiobook still. I am so used to watching a lot of Youtube videos in the background while working, that this was essentially the same thing. However, at the end of the day…comics are comics and I know I must’ve missed out on all of the illustrations which (based on the Amazon samplers) I felt like were a huge improvement from the first book, which had already been full of wonderful comics. I’ll come back for the physical or ebook version on Amazon one day. 

Review to come: 27 April 2023 (Tentative, but will definitely be in April)

Book 5

Eighth Grade Is Making Me Sick by Jennifer L. Holm (Illustrated by Elicia Castaldi)

I don’t have a lot of bookshelf room at home (in fact I’m completely full. Books have started to just pile up in corners of my room). I try to borrow whenever I can, especially if the books are relatively short. I tried pretty hard to check for this book (and for book 1 of course) in Libby, through both of my library cards (BPL & NYPL), but no luck. So I brought it. I loved book 1 to death. I NEVER forgot the creativity of the colorful mixed media used, not even after all these years and I read the first book back in middle school! I’m a grown adult now!! Loved this second book as well, but the review hasn’t been put up yet so…keep your eyes peeled for it! 

Review to come: 23 March 2023 (Set)

Book 6

3 Days to Live James Patterson

I received a gift copy of this from Grand Central Publishing and got right to reading it, but the actual review was just put up a few days ago on March 2nd. It was a pretty enjoyable book, a collection of three short stories all by James Patterson working with three other authors (in their own respective shorts). They were all interesting, some more gripping and exhilarating than the others, and all have pretty short chapters. I felt like I was flying through the book! The book collected 3 thriller shorts and none of these stories are connected other than the mystery and the thrill. You can even tell the difference in writing style and it’s really neat. Each of the stories were good for their own reasons and with the review now live, you can take a look at my thoughts on this book yourself!

Check out my review for it >HERE<

Book 7

The City & The City by China Miéville

My head is still reeling from this book. I loved Perdido Street Station so much, but was kind of intimidated to start any other of Miéville’s books. Perdido Street Station had been so dense and the world-building was world-class that I stopped every few paragraphs to write up a quick note. My copy of the book is marked up with notes and flags, highlights, and random other things like sticky notes. I put my heart into annotating that book and ever since then, I felt like I needed a fully charged emotional battery before attempting anything Miéville again. 

The City & The City had these lingering feelings and didn’t leave me even by the time I finished the book. It took me 20 days, nearly 3 weeks, to finish and not even because I disliked it, but because I was so enthralled by the world that Miéville painted, that I, once again, felt the need to annotate every little thing, especially if it involved world-building. In this New Weird with a splash of mystery book, we follow Inspector Borlu as he begins an investigation into the murder of a young woman in a world where two cities sat on top of each other, sharing the same geological location but as two separate places. There isn’t even anything otherworldly about this book. It was just how people were conditioned to be; a border created by laws, regulation, and people rather than by brick walls and fences. It was an utterly fascinating book in which the concept itself topped even Perdido Street Station. The review for this book is coming up in a few days as soon as I tidy it up a little more. It won’t come close to doing the book justice, but I hope it’s enough to convince someone to pick up a copy for themself!

Review to come: 09 March 2023 (Set)

And that’s my February! It was such a short month, but a whole lot happened. I’m ready to tackle March with whatever it has to throw my way, but hopefully…hopefully those lemons are nice and sweet 😉

Toodles my lovelies! I hope you had a wonderful February and hope your March will be grand and superb just as well!


Book Review: 3 Days to Live by James Patterson

Woohoo! It’s March already and that means Spring is right around the corner!

For this week’s Thursday review, I’m featuring 3 Days To Live by James Patterson. It is a collection of three short stories written with Duane Swierczynski, Bill Schweigart, and Julie Margaret Hogben. Short and thrilling, I had a pretty good time with this set of stories!

Title: 3 Days to Live
Authors: James Patterson [w/Duane Swierczynski, Bill Schweigart, and Julie Margaret Hogben]
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thrillers, Short Stories
Edition: Paperback
Length: 400 Pages
Published: 14 Feb 2023
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

: [Link]
Goodreads: [Link]
Grand Central Publishing: [Link]

Disclaimer: Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for this gifted copy! All opinions are of my own.

The people closest to you can be your most dangerous enemies in this heart-pounding collection of 3 brand-new thrillers from the master of suspense.

3 Days to Live: A CIA-agent bride is on her European honeymoon when she and her husband are poisoned—leaving her seventy-two hours to take revenge (with Duane Swierczynski). 

Women and Children First: When a deal goes bad on a tech executive in Washington, DC, he turns an order to kill his family into a chance to relive his military glory days (with Bill Schweigart).  

The Housekeepers: A Los Angeles doctor trusts her two housekeepers, but when she’s murdered in a botched attempt to steal drugs, the pair of grifters vie to control their former employer’s estate—facing off against the Russian mob (with Julie Margaret Hogben).

That was a pretty nice book. 

3 Days To Live by James Patterson is actually a collection of short stories whom the author worked with other authors. There are three short stories in total and I like to think of them as little bit sized thrillers; some that could honestly have been bigger books. Of the three, I quite enjoyed the first, thought the second was alright, and the third really ended the book nicely with a bang. 

Story 1: The book starts off with the titular 3 Days To Live by James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski and begins from the POV of Samantha, an ex-CIA agent, on her honeymoon with the love of her life, Kevin. What was supposed to be the best days of her life is cut short when she finds her husband dead in a hallway alongside a couple of other people. Samantha nearly loses her own life during this but escapes. She’s not out of the woods yet though, and never will be, as the same neurotoxin that killed her husband is now coursing through her own blood, due to kill her in roughly 3 days. Determined to use this remaining time to find out who took the love of her life away from her, she begins to investigate. If she wants revenge to be hers, she better act fast. 

This was a great opener to the book, although the opening chapter was so cheesy it hurts. Still, it shows a very happy time smack in a book of thriller short stories. The reader best enjoy these last moments of happiness because things are really going to hurt in the next few chapters. I love LOVE books with a massive time deadline, and this one comes with the Sword of Damocles hanging overhead. It’s incredibly fast paced (I mean, Sam’s got only 72 hours) with tons of suspenseful moments with bits of sarcastic dark humor. The ending was actually kind of predictable, I saw it a mile away, but nevertheless, it was a good read. It started out with a bang, there was lots of action in between, and the short story finishes on such a badass note, I had to applaud involved. 

Story 2: The second story is Women and Children First by James Patterson and Bill Schweigart. It was a little confusing at first, I had to reread the first chapter over and over to understand that the main character wasn’t being arrested (for real) for a tweet he made. There were moments throughout the story that I did reread a couple of times, but overall was a pretty good story. It begins with probably the biggest hook between the three stories; a man, our main character, killing his wife while saying he’ll always love her and crying because he has to finish the job by killing his two kids next. It ends there. The prologue literally ends with “Tears streaming, Chase Weldon turned to finish the job.” Like, you HAVE to read the rest now!

Years after the military, Chase Weldon is now part of a security firm in which is wife is an attorney at. The book begins with Chase acting undercover as a normal civilian attending a ball game and in which he sends out a physically threatening tweet and is arrested a few minutes later. He quickly throws off his cover in front of management and says that he was hired to test out the reaction time of the stadium’s safety team, but in the middle of this, there’s threats of gunshots and a stampede of panicked people ensues. From here, Chase’s life slowly goes downhill as the same person threatening the park, which is owned by Avalon, blows up a plant belonging to Avalon and a string of other threats follows. He targets Chase’s family to force the Avalon CEO to deposit an amount of money or the threats will continued to be acted upon and if Chase happens to fail, then the voice over the phone will slowly and painfully kill Chase’s family, starting with the women and children first. 

I thought this was an OK book. There were lots of plot twists and there too were a few predictable moments along with some surprising plot twists. The ending did threw me for a loop though. The characters here are the interesting point. We’ve got Chase of course, but we also have his old Captain and he’s loyal and fierce dog, Chase’s badass wife, and even his kids, especially his daughter, are super clever. I mean, she’s a teen hacker that’s able to act as a mission control of sorts behind the scenes. We have a super family here!

It ends well and it wasn’t a bad story, save for a few moments where I thought it was a bit slow. All in all, a good read. 

Story 3: This last story is called The Housekeepers by James Patterson and Julie Margaret Hogben. It was probably my least favorite in content (there’s some messed up/disturbing moments) but the most thrilling and gripping read as well as the longest short story in the book. 

It begins from the POV of Masha Poplov and about how she was capable of killing a live chicken, but would do so while wearing name brands, spider-leg lashes, and acrylic nails. If she had to work hard for a living, she might as well look damn good while doing so. Oh, and she steals. She cleans houses and then steals from them. She can’t help being a klepto, but her cousin, Sophie, knows it’s not a good thing to do and tries to talk her out of it. 

The following chapter involves Masha’s cleaning client, Doctor Elizabeth Parks in which she’s talking to a detective. Her client is dead, murdered, and not just that, but there’s been a string of attacks and all of the victims were her clients. Well, she sure didn’t kill them, but it also means that her client files have been compromised. The story goes from there.

In this short story, we have two major plot lines. There’s Sophie, who has run away from her abusive husband, and he’s furious with this so he places a hit on her two kids, having succeeded with one already. Desperate to keep her other son from harm, she’s eventually sheltered by Dr. Parks intertwining her family with Dr. Parks’ who is having enough trouble of her own dealing with someone stealing her client files, her clients being dead, and her addict son. From there, the hitmen follow Sophie to Dr. Parks’ house and they’re determined to complete their mission in killing Sophie’s remaining son, collateral damages or not. A string of events follow.

A thrilling, probably the most of the three, read that had me gripping my book from the beginning of the story to the end.

WWW Wednesday 01 March 2023

Happy Wednesday my lovely peeps!
Since it’s the middle of the week, that means it’s time for our reading check-in!

How is your bookish week coming along? Mine is starting to get a wee busy but hey, at least I’m somewhat ahead of my yearly reading goal still!

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam over on Taking on a World of Words

The Questions
What are you currently reading?
What have you just finished reading?
What are you going to read next?

(Click on the book covers for a link to their GoodReads page)

What are you currently reading?

The Monkey’s Raincoat by Robert Crais

I just finished watching the playthroughs for both Judgement and Lost Judgement from the Yakuza series and now I’m in a massive mood for PI books. PI books generally never make it onto my TBR, because I enjoy team settings and a lot of my favorite police procedurals satisfies that craving (calling in for backup, having a forensics team, etc.) and to me, PIs generally work alone, are kinda broke, and lack a lot of resources. I guess it never really occurred to me to just look for PI books with MCs that work as a duo. I’ve had my eyes on this series a few years back, but never got around to it. I totally missed it afterwards becauses, again, the series never made it into my TBR.

I read a little of this yesterday. It’s dated, and right away the MC strikes me as sexist (he literally says, in the first chapter, “as much as I’d like, to lick chocolate syrup off your body, I want you to shut up.”) I’ll see how it goes. Not looking great right now, but I’m not one to judge a whole series on a foul first chapter of the first book. I do at least want to see how “go find my husband and kid” can turn into a mess of a thriller.

Meet Elvis Cole, L.A. Private Eye. . . . He quotes Jiminy Cricket and carries a .38. He’s a literate, wisecracking Vietnam vet who is determined to never grow up.

When quiet Ellen Lang enters Elvis Cole’s Disney-Deco office, she’s lost something very valuable—her husband and her young son. The case seems simple enough, but Elvis isn’t thrilled. Neither is his enigmatic partner and firepower, Joe Pike. Their search down the seamy side of Hollywood’s studio lots and sculptured lawns soon leads them deep into a nasty netherworld of drugs, sex—and murder. Now the case is getting interesting, but it’s also turned ugly. Because everybody, from cops to starlets to crooks, has declared war on Ellen and Elvis. For Ellen, it isn’t Funtown anymore. For Elvis, it’s just a living . . . He hopes.

The Lost War by Justin Lee Anderson

My general reading habits are a book a week, but recently (starting with The City & The City) I’ve taken a liking to finding one read that takes a little longer (2-3 weeks to finish) while finding smaller or cozier/funnier books in the middle so that I’m still technically finishing a book a week. With The Monkey’s Raincoat as my “shorter read”, The Lost War by Justin Lee Anderson will be my longer read (~2 weeks, maybe 2½ because I like to savor world-builds and take my time). I received an ARC of the book (paperback, coming out in May 2023) and immediately started on reading it. I’m 7 chapters deep and there’s already so many page flags and little margin notes because I’m liking what I’m reading so far. Like, a lot.

The war is over, but something is rotten in the state of Eidyn.

With a ragged peace in place, demons burn farmlands, violent Reivers roam the wilds and plague has spread beyond the Black Meadows. The country is on its knees.

In a society that fears and shuns him, Aranok is the first magically-skilled draoidh to be named King’s Envoy.

Now, charged with restoring an exiled foreign queen to her throne, he leads a group of strangers across the ravaged country. But at every step, a new mystery complicates their mission.

As bodies drop around them, new threats emerge and lies are revealed, can Aranok bring his companions together and uncover the conspiracy that threatens the kingdom?

What have you just finished reading?

The City & The City by China Miéville

Last week, I finally finished reading The City & The City by China Miéville. It only took 3 weeks minus a day, but I’m finally done with it. It was such a good book full of world building and charm that I wanted to savor a few chapters every night until I finished and so, unlike some of the other books that I love (in which I end up inhaling them as quickly as possible) for this one, I wanted to drag it out for as long as possible. I drafted a whole review for it already, but I’m lazy on editing format and layout so…

But don’t you worry! It’ll be up as next week’s Thursday review! Stay tuned!

When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he investigates, the evidence points to conspiracies far stranger and more deadly than anything he could have imagined.

Borlú must travel from the decaying Beszel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own. This is a border crossing like no other, a journey as psychic as it is physical, a shift in perception, a seeing of the unseen. His destination is Beszel’s equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the rich and vibrant city of Ul Qoma. With Ul Qoman detective Qussim Dhatt, and struggling with his own transition, Borlú is enmeshed in a sordid underworld of rabid nationalists intent on destroying their neighboring city, and unificationists who dream of dissolving the two into one. As the detectives uncover the dead woman’s secrets, they begin to suspect a truth that could cost them and those they care about more than their lives.

What stands against them are murderous powers in Beszel and in Ul Qoma: and, most terrifying of all, that which lies between these two cities.

Casting shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984, The City & the City is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights.

What are you reading next?

Dust & Lightning by Rebecca Crunden

I usually start my books on Mondays and with The Lost War being a 2 week read and having started The Monkey’s Raincoat a little late I may very well still be reading both by next week’s WWW Wednesday. However, I do have my eyes on Rebecca Crunden’s Dust & Lightning and seeing as it’s a shorter read than both of my current read, I may still make it in time! Regardless of the whens, Dust & Lightning will still be my next read, whether it’s for next week or the week after.

In the near future, humans have gone beyond simple space travel. By the year 4054, multiple solar systems are inhabited, and taking a spaceship is as commonplace as taking an aeroplane.

Unfortunately, not everything about the future is so advanced. The central planets, led by Earth, have risen high at the expense of cheap labour on distant worlds. Dissent is widespread and arrests are common. Sometimes prisoners are released; sometimes they disappear without a trace, sent to labour camps in other solar systems.

When Ames Emerys receives a letter telling him that his brother Callum has died en route to the remote planet of Kilnin, he takes the first ship he can off Earth, desperate for answers. But the secrets Ames uncovers prove far more dangerous than he could have imagined.

And trouble isn’t far behind.

[BBNYA 2022 Finalist Tour] Book Review: Haven by Ceril N. Domace

Happy Thursday, my lovely peeps🐥!

For this week’s review, we have yet another blog tour! This time, we have one in celebration of one of the 2022 Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Award (BBNYA) finalists. For my stop on this tour, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this imaginative and fast-paced fantasy, full of world-building wonders! Haven by Ceril N. Domace came in 13th place for the BBNYA 2022 competition and you’ll see why by the end of my review! A round of applause please 🎊


BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 15 finalists and one overall winner.  If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website or Twitter @bbnya_official. BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (if you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads.

Title: Haven
Author: Ceril N. Domace
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy
Age Category: Adult
Length: 280 Pages
Published: 30 April 2021
Publisher: Self-Published

Amazon Canada
: [Link]
Amazon USA: [Link]
Amazon UK: [Link]
Goodreads: [Link]

Disclaimer: Thank you to BBNYA, TheWriteReads, and the author for providing me this copy in exchange for a fair and honest review! All opinions are mine.

Most people think the fae are gone. Most people are wrong.

Owen Williams wakes after a horrific car accident to find his wife is dead—and somehow turned into a gryphon—and his kids gone after a home invasion turned horribly wrong. Shattered and reeling, he vows to do whatever it takes to find them.

When a fae scout appears and promises to reunite him with his kids, he doesn’t hesitate before joining her. But she warns him that if he wants to protect his family, he must follow the fae to their city, the hidden haven of Tearmann.

With enemies on the horizon, Owen needs to set aside his fears and take up arms to defend their new home alongside the people he’s always been taught were monsters—or he’ll lose everyone he’s trying to protect

I enjoyed this read a little too much and by the end, found myself ready to jump right into the next book. The writing was engaging and, if I wasn’t so busy or too sleepy to continue, I probably could have finished this book in a single go. I loved all of the characters, especially Owen, the main character. I’ve read a lot of books that star father, but usually there aren’t so many people in the family: a wife and many a son/daughter with a single sibling. Owen’s family is huge compared to that. He’s got him and his wife, their dog Toto, an older son (Arthur) and daughter (Ashley), a pair of twins (Jen and David), and a younger toddler (Dorothy). Right away, I loved the engagement and interaction between this family. We start the book with the family going to grab ice cream together after Ashley’s violin recital and the bickering and warmth made me fall in love immediately with the Williams family.

And then immediately, having known the summary of the story already, my heart already shatters knowing this is probably the last happy night they’re all safe, happy, and together. As they get ready to leave the ice cream shop, Tiffany collapses in agony with a splitting headache and Owen instructs his oldest son to grab the kids and head home first while he tries to get his wife to the hospital. On the way there, Tiffany undergoes a change, in which a human becomes a fae, and then Owen crashes the car. It’s the last thing he remembers until he wakes in the hospital, his wife declared dead, and when he gets home there’s blood and his children are missing. In a single night, Owen’s life is changed forever and he immediately sets out to look for his missing children.

The story is really interesting and I really enjoyed the twist of history and lore. The world is much like our own with the exception that the fae showed up fifty years prior, went to war with the U.S. after realizing they were being experimented on, and then isolated themselves in havens post-war. There hasn’t been a change, like Tiffany’s, in the last five years and Owen can barely believe it when the nurse tells him that his wife was in the process of this change when she died due to injuries during this vulnerable state.

The world-building here was great and the fae is such an interesting concept. When I think of the fae, I think of fairy-like creatures. Here, they’re not fairies, but rather the collective name for a number of mythological or folklore creatures including shades, werewolves, centaurs, gryphons, harpies, trolls, harpies, vampires, dragons, and so on. A werewolf is a fae but so is a vampire. Usually, they’re just called supernatural creatures, but here that given name would be the fae and that was a neat twist. When Owen eventually lives amongst the fae in their havens, he becomes a sort of audience surrogate and as he learns all about the fae, so do the readers. I really enjoyed reading every little small detail (which says a lot because I generally don’t care for supernatural/mythological plots).

Character-wise, we eventually see the children again and a lot of the story revolves around Owen’s struggle with not just trying to raise his children while the entire family is still hurting and going through grief and loss, but that it’s a whole new world out there and within his family. His wife being fae meant that his children have a chance to go through the change as well and are all partially fae by birth. The fear of knowing one of his kids may die in the process, much like his wife did, weighs heavily on his mind daily. But, they all eventually settle and attempt to adapt to their new life. You can see how caring and doting of a father Owen is. We constantly see Owen worrying over them or going into full papa bear mode, doing whatever it takes if it means his kids can be safe.

Owen is the character that we get to know the most through the book since we only get his perspective of events, but there are occasionally diary entries of different characters as well including a fae queen. The rest of the Williams aren’t forgotten either by the author. Everyone is unique, although some have stronger and bolder personalities than the others in the family; their “stage presence” is just that much brighter. Besides the Williams, the others in the haven are very interesting as well: the queen, the lords, the daycare werewolf, the guides, and even the neighbors.

Another aspect of this book I really enjoyed was that this was a bit of a slice-of-life read. Sure, the fae and the U.S. are getting closer and closer to war almost every day and throughout the story, the air is heavy with anticipation of this inevitable event. However, much of the book focuses on the every day for the family. Getting to know the new place, learning about the new cultures and new things about each other, making friends, Owen heading off to work or attending meetings, the kids going off to school or hanging with friends, walking through town, celebrating in the cafeteria, and so on. I guess, after all these casual sim games with small towns and farm life, getting to read it as a story makes me kind of giddy.

All in all, Haven was a very enjoyable read. I loved the characters, I adored Owen’s protectiveness, the world-building was top notch and the writing is engrossing. Chapters always felt short and I was just flying through the book. Seeing a larger family in a fantasy book, even if it’s more of an urban fantasy, is refreshing. Family is a major theme here and so are grief and loss. The family grows apart at times and then comes back together again. Many have incredible personal growth and they change physically and mentally by the end. The concept was neat and it was interesting to see how it built and added on the traditional supernatural creatures of lore A great read and I can’t wait to get into the second book.

Ceril N Domace is an accountant, the owner of the feline embodiment of violence, and a dedicated dungeon master. On the rare occasions she manages to free herself from an ever-growing and complex web of TTRPG, Ceril enjoys taking walks and griping that all her hobbies are work in disguise

First Lines Friday # 41

February is going by too quickly. I need it to slow down just a bit. I feel like I just posted a First Lines Friday and here we already are with a new one for this week. 

I’m currently reading two books at the same time, one of which I’m slowly going through and has been my current read for about 2 or 3 weeks now. So, for this week’s FLF, I’ll be featuring my other read. Can you guess which book it is based on the opening lines?

Here’s a hint, it was released just recently!
And, since this book consists of three short stories, you get three opening lines instead of one!

First Lines Friday is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?  

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

(Click on the book covers for a link to their GoodReads page)

꜀( ˊ̠˂˃ˋ̠ )꜆ F – R – I – Y – A – Y !! ꜀( ˊ̠˂˃ˋ̠ )꜆

This week’s lines…

My life felt like a dream. I guess that happens when you elope, hop on a plane, drift off to sleep, and wake up in a foreign country.

Chase Weldon stood outside his lovely townhouse, holding a 9-millimeter pistol pressed to his leg.

Masha Poplov could kill a live chicken by snapping its neck, but she liked to go it in Jimmy Choos. Chanel, Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, spider-leg lashes and acrylic nails, so what if she had to work hard for a living? She did it in style.

Enjoyed that preview? This week’s book is…

3 Days to Live by James Patterson


The people closest to you can be your most dangerous enemies in this heart-pounding collection of 3 brand-new thrillers from the master of suspense.

3 Days to Live: A CIA-agent bride is on her European honeymoon when she and her husband are poisoned—leaving her seventy-two hours to take revenge (with Duane Swierczynski). 
Women and Children First: When a deal goes bad on a tech executive in Washington, DC, he turns an order to kill his family into a chance to relive his military glory days (with Bill Schweigart).  
The Housekeepers: A Los Angeles doctor trusts her two housekeepers, but when she’s murdered in a botched attempt to steal drugs, the pair of grifters vie to control their former employer’s estate—facing off against the Russian mob (with Julie Margaret Hogben).

Book Review: And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer Fredrik Backman

Hello and Happy Thursday my lovely peeps🐥

It’s been a long week, but Friday is almost here, so fret not (I tell myself)! I’m currently juggling a couple of books, which is something I’ve not done in a while. It’s interesting though; A little bit of book 1 at 8pm, a nibble out of book 2 at 9pm, and right before bed, I might chow down on my main read for a while. It’s like a tv program…but for books!

Anyways, for this week’s review, I’m featuring And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer Fredrik Backman!

Title: And Every Morning The Way Gets Longer and Longer
Author: Fredrik Backman
Narrator: David Morse
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Short Story, Novella, Literary Fiction, Family
Edition: Audiobook (Libby)
Length: 1 hour 9 minutes
Published: 6 November 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

: [Link]
Goodreads: [Link]

A little book with a big heart!

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here comes an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go.

With all the same charm of his bestselling full-length novels, here Fredrik Backman once again reveals his unrivaled understanding of human nature and deep compassion for people in difficult circumstances. This is a tiny gem with a message you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

“This is a story about memories and about letting go. It’s a love letter and a slow farewell between a man and his grandson, and between a dad and his boy. I never meant for you to read it, to be quite honest. I wrote it just because I was trying to sort out my own thoughts, and I’m the kind of person who needs to see what I’m thinking on paper to make sense of it. But it turned into a small tale of how I’m dealing with slowing losing the greatest minds I know, about missing someone who is still here, and how I wanted to explain it all to my children. I’m letting it go now, for what it’s worth.”

“This is a story about memories and about letting go. It’s a love letter and a slow farewell between a man and his grandson, and between a dad and his boy. I never meant for you to read it, to be quite honest. I wrote it just because I was trying to sort out my own thoughts, and I’m the kind of person who needs to see what I’m thinking on paper to make sense of it. But it turned into a small tale of how I’m dealing with slowing losing the greatest inds I know, about missing someone who is still here, and how I wanted to explain it all to my children. I’m letting it go now, for what it’s worth.”

(excerpt of opening letter to readers)

I don’t know what to say. I’m finding it very hard to piece together the thoughts that are tumbling inside my head other than to note that it was a beautiful, loving, warm, heartbreaking, and striking read; the kind of book that’s short and bittersweet but leaves you with emotions that are hard to describe and leaves a heavy imprint in your heart. This was an amazing read. There’s not enough positive descriptors in the dictionary in any language to describe how I feel right now. I had originally just wanted to add it to my weekly reading list because I wasn’t going to make it in time [to write the review next week] with my other book. A random, happen-chance, in Libby. Afterall, that’s where all the magic seems to present itself.

This book is a story about family, memories, and letting go; it’s a story about learning to say good bye before it’s even time. It’s a book about Alzheimers and how the mind fades like a star even before the body is ready to follow. The story was very sad, there wasn’t a moment that you didn’t feel how somber it is; the moment where three people sit in a room, a child, his father, and his father’s father, all of which knowing that there is one mind in that room that is leaving them, at times already having gone. I had listened to the audiobook version of this short story and compared to the [sampler] Kindle book I read, the narrator made was an enormous contribution in terms of making this and the characters and all of the feelings and emotions attached so much more real. There are lucid moments when we are in little Ted or his father’s mind, watching their beloved family member leave them piece by piece. There are moments when we are in the grandfather’s mind as he sees the world, views his memories, talks to his deceased wife, and understands that each day, his “room” gets smaller and smaller and each day, memories seeming to slip away. The writing was already stellar and already made you want to cry, the narration only made it 10x more real and poignant. 

“Almost all grown adults walk around full of regret over goodbye they wish they’d be able to go back and say better. Our goodbye doesn’t have to be like that. You’ll be able to keep redoing it until it’s perfect. And, once it’s perfect, that’s when your feet touch the ground and I’ll be in space and there won’t be anything to be afraid of.”

There’s nothing more I can say that’ll help do even an ounce of justice and to show you exactly how I feel about the book, writing, the story, and the characters. I thought of my own family and how little time we seem to spend with each other in this hustle and bustle world of ours or how, even when we do have time, we’re all engrossed in technology. It really makes you realize that time isn’t so long for any of us and the thought of it being even shorter despite life and body still being a working and grinding gear for much long isn’t worth an extra 30 minutes on a Nintendo or television. We have time now, when everyone’s capable in body and still present in mind, and we should take use of it.

A beautiful story, I couldn’t NOT recommend it to anyone honestly. The book is always in third person, and we get to see it all through the eyes of a child, and how he views the mind stealing disease, the questions that he asks to his grandfather and father, the promises that he makes, and how he processes all of this. There’s the point of view from the grandfather and the son (Ted’s father) as well and is an all-round amazing book that portrays Alzheimer’s and how it affects the family from many different angles. 

Everything about the book was beautiful, and bitterly sweet. There’s a warmth that really lingers and left me with a bit of a stupor after reading. I felt like I was almost floating and unable to process what I’d just read, especially with the voice of the narrator and how lost he sounds as the grandfather, how sad as little Ted, and how desperate as Ted’s father. Even the opening letter to the reader left you feeling a certain kind of way. In the end, I might’ve picked this book up on a whim, but it’ll be sticking for a long long time. The book already left me speechless tonight. I’ll definitely be going to bed tonight feeling some kind of way. Yeah, it’s a short read, but I can’t recommend it enough.