Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (12/29/20)–Cemetery Boys

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles, and welcome to the last Book Review Tuesday of the year!

I figured this book would be a good note to end a year of reviews on, judging from how much hype it’s gotten this year. I put it on hold a few months back (sometime in the summer, I think?) and it just came into the library a few weeks ago. It’s got a super high average rating on Goodreads (4.41 at present) and no shortage of glowing reviews, but although it didn’t live up to all the hype for me, it was still a cute story of ghosts and #OwnVoices queer joy.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Cemetery Boys–Aiden Thomas

Yadriel’s conservative family doesn’t accept him as a trans boy, but he remains determined to prove himself to them–by any means possible. His means? Summoning the spirit of Miguel, his murdered cousin. Problem is, Miguel isn’t the spirit he summons–by accident, he summons Julian Diaz, his high school’s troublemaker. Julian joins forces with Yadriel and his best friend Maritza to find out how he died–but they might uncover something more sinister in the process.

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This one was easily one of the most hyped YA books of this year, and I was definitely excited for it, even if I tried not to get my expectations too high. I wouldn’t say it was a disappointment for me, but it didn’t live up to the mountain of hype for me. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Let’s start off with the good stuff. First off, the representation! I loved seeing the variety of Latinx representation and culture (and I was especially excited to see that Julian was Colombian-American!), as well as the diversity of gender and sexuality, especially with Yadriel. For some reason, I see hardly any trans boys in YA literature, but I love that we have this fantastic #OwnVoices rep in Cemetery Boys!

And beyond that, this novel managed to be appropriately spooky and lighthearted at the same time. There was definitely a kind of 80’s paranormal vibe to it, which I really enjoyed. I loved the intricacies of the brujx culture, as well as all of the individual laws of what a ghost can/cannot do. It’s always interesting to see each author’s different takes on the limits of ghosts and spirits. Never a dull moment.

However, Cemetery Boys wasn’t without its flaws. My main problem was the writing itself–it seemed to lean too much on telling as opposed to showing, and it felt a bit too bare-bones for my taste. Maybe it’s just me. And even though I love the representation, Yadriel wasn’t the most likable of protagonists, either–he came across as rather entitled and whiny, for me. A bit self-centered.

Also, I feel like there was an opportunity to discuss some of the sexism in Yadriel’s conservative family; I get that the point of the whole “stay behind with the women” scene was to highlight how much of a transphobic jerk Yadriel’s dad was, but especially seeing that Maritza has a significant role in the book, I feel like that could have been addressed instead of ignored completely. Thomas did a great job of highlighting aspects of trans life and tackling transphobia, but there was definitely a missed opportunity to challenge some of the present sexism.

Most of my other issues were more nit-picky though; Yadriel’s dad changed his mind about Yadriel a *bit* too quickly for realism, but honestly? It’s what we need. And you know why? Because queer people need happy endings too. (@ Netflix please tell me you hear me) And Cemetery Boys was the perfect kind of feel-good story of trans joy.

All in all, a feel-good, #OwnVoices tale that struggled in the writing and protagonist department, but made up for some of it with LGBTQ+/Latinx representation and a lighthearted paranormal vibe. 3.5 stars!

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Cemetery Boys is a standalone (and Thomas’ debut), but they are also the author of the forthcoming retelling Lost the Never Woods, slated to arrive in March 2021.

Today’s song:

That’s it for the last Book Review Tuesday of the year! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (10/19/20)–Ghost Wood Song

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Before I begin, thank you so much for 300 followers! Thank you so much for sticking around, tagging me in things, and spreading the word and the bookish love 💗

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

I’m back with another paranormal read for this fine spooky season. This one just came out this July, and all it took for me to put it on my TBR was the comparison to Sawkill Girls in the description. (Again–I’m a woman of simple tastes 🤣)

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (10/19/20)–GHOST WOOD SONG by Erica Waters

Amazon.com: Ghost Wood Song (9780062894229): Waters, Erica: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Sawkill Girls meets Beautiful Creatures in this lush and eerie debut, where the boundary between reality and nightmares is as thin as the veil between the living and the dead.

If I could have a fiddle made of Daddy’s bones, I’d play it. I’d learn all the secrets he kept.

Shady Grove inherited her father’s ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle, but she also knows the fiddle’s tunes bring nothing but trouble and darkness.

But when her brother is accused of murder, she can’t let the dead keep their secrets.

In order to clear his name, she’s going to have to make those ghosts sing.

Family secrets, a gorgeously resonant LGBTQ love triangle, and just the right amount of creepiness make this young adult debut a haunting and hopeful story about facing everything that haunts us in the dark.

So why do I want to read this?

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Ooo, hornets and pythons on the cover? Could’ve put this one on last week’s Top 5 Saturday…

There’s only one thing that I love more than a good paranormal story…and that’s an LGBTQ+ paranormal story! I just checked, and Erica Waters has confirmed that the protagonist is bisexual, and there are two lesbian characters as well!

In the description, there’s several common YA tropes that I spotted (a YA heroine with an [ahem] interesting name and a love triangle), but at least Ghost Wood Song sounds like it at least puts a fresh twist on some of them. I may despise love triangles, but hey, this one isn’t where the two love interests are two white boys that are identical in everything but hair/eye color and personality. So I think it’ll do me some good to stick around.

Also, I love the connection to music! The premise of calling the departed from their graves with the power of music is such an inventive idea, and I have my fingers tightly crossed that Waters will execute it well.

All in all–bi protagonist and spooky vibes? Say no more.

White Light – a poem – Fallen Angel On the Run

Today’s song:

I’ve been thinking about this song quite a lot in the past few weeks…

I always make playlists for my WIPs, but this one’s snaked its way into the outline for the story I’m working on for NaNoWriMo. Desperately hoping to channel some weird, Legion-esque vibes for a certain scene to channel this kind of energy…

That’s it for this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in ARC Reviews, Books

eARC Review: Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

Two eARC reviews? In one week? It’s more likely than you think.

Everything about this graphic novel makes me wish that I’d read it in October. Whether or not you’re familiar with Mary Shelley, Mary is a spooky delight from start to finish.

Enjoy this eARC review!

Amazon.com: Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great- Great-Granddaughter (9781644420294): Grant, Brea, Li, Yishan: Books

Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaugthter–Brea Grant and Yishan Li

Family legacies are always a chore to live up to. Just ask Mary, a surly girl who comes from a long line of women writers–starting with the one and only Mary Shelley, the mother of science fiction and the author of Frankenstein. But Mary has no intention of becoming a writer, despite her mother’s persistence. But she soon discovers that there’s more than one career runs in the Shelley family; not only was Mary Shelley a masterful writer, she also had the ability to heal monsters.

For the rest of her family, it’s a curse. But for Mary, it might present some new opportunities.

When a strange, pale boy shows up on her doorstep asking for aid, Mary must put her abilities to the test. With the help of Rhonda, her best friend (and proud witch), Shirley, a ghost trapped inside a stuffed bunny, and Polly, a disgruntled harpy, Mary must master her newfound ability–and pass all her classes, while she’s at it.

Art by Yishan Li

Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Ingram/Six Foot Press for sending me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Ever since reading Frankenstein freshman year, Mary Shelley has been something of a personal hero for me. So when I saw this graphic novel pop up on Edelweiss, I knew I had to at least take a chance on it. I was afraid that they might deal with the concept sloppily, but to my delight, Mary pulled out all the stops to make a darkly funny and spooky graphic novel!

Let’s start off with the art: SO CUTE! I loved Li’s art style, and it translated well to all of the people and the various strange creatures that we encounter throughout the story. I had no idea that she had previously worked on B.P.R.D., which got me so excited, not gonna lie. The muted color scheme also meshed flawlessly with the general atmosphere with the story.

I can’t stress enough how perfect it is that Mary will be released in October. It’s the perfect Halloween graphic novel, filled with all sorts of spooky goings-on–and more than a little goth. It simultaneously manages to be a lighthearted, fun story and a poignant tale of living up to family legacies, handling both with aplomb. The cast of characters was absolutely delightful; Mary was the perfect, angsty goth without being overly whiny, and I loved Rhonda, Shirley, Adam, and the rest of the gang. I especially loved Polly. Her lines always made me snicker.

All in all, Mary was a joy to read, with a lovable cast of characters and a poignant story–perfect for SPOOKY TIME! 4 stars!

Art by Yishan Li

Expected release date: October 6, 2020

Today’s song:

That’s it for this eARC review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (2/11/20)–Anya’s Ghost

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Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

In my recent scouring of my early TBR (which also included Zenn Scarlett), I came upon this little graphic novel and decided to give it a go. Though my expectations were just above average, I was pleasantly surprised at how clever, sarcastic, and spooky it turned out to be!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Image result for anya's ghost

Anya’s Ghost

As far as Anya is concerned, her life is decidedly the opposite of perfect; alienated from her Russian immigrant family, and all but friendless in high school, there’s little that interests her anymore. To make things worse, she falls down a well on her way to school one morning, and is trapped there for the whole night. But what she finds at the bottom of it may be the key to changing her life.

For residing in the well is the neglected ghost of a girl named Emily. With one of Emily’s tiniest bones with her at all times, Anya can confide in Emily at any time she wants, whether it be to cheat on a test or get secret intel on her longtime crush. But the more time she spends with Emily, both she and the ghostly girl begin to change. The ghost is hiding far more than Anya knows, and if they continue on as they are, it may cost Anya her very life.

 

 

Anya’s Ghost was an absolute joy to read!

First off, let me just say, this had the perfect balance of paranormal spookiness and teenage angst–similar to comics like Courtney Crumrin (which I highly recommend, if you haven’t read it). The art style is very stylized, but not so much in a way that it distracts from the writing or the plot–perfectly cute, if you ask me. 🙂

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Beyond that, the story spoke partially to some of my own experiences. As someone who’s fallen into the trap of manipulative relationships, Brosgol’s use of an arguably parasitic ghost as a sort of metaphor for these sorts of friends was a masterfully executed move. She perfectly captures what it feels to be a teenager, both in writing and in art style, and the feeling of being an outsider vying for clarity and friendship in an environment that feels so unkind. Though I wouldn’t quite award it the full five stars, Anya’s Ghost was a graphic novel that undoubtedly spoke to me, and perfectly balanced paranormal fantasy with the drama of high school. Four stars for me! 

 

Today’s song:

Alright, sorry, I know I pummel you with David Bowie and Radiohead, but I personally think this is a masterpiece. Plus, it managed to lodge itself in my head all morning, so there’s that.

 

That just about wraps up this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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