April 2019 TBR

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It’s the fourth and I haven’t posted a TBR yet?? Well don’t worry because here it is. It’s a big boy, and I am almost certain I won’t finish it but we’re going to give it the good old college try. Also I will be posting three times this week so check back for a series review on Saturday. Posting will continue regularly on Mondays and Fridays next week. Okay! Let’s get into the books!

This isn’t even all of them.
  1. Envelope Poems – Emily Dickinson: This month had a ton of large novels, and literary fiction so I needed to pick a couple palette cleansers. I love Emily Dickinson’s poetry and I have had this compilation for years so I think I should get around to reading it.

2. This Is Not The End – Chandler Baker: You guys, I. Have. A. Problem. This is yet another book that I bought for the cover, which is ridiculous because this doesn’t even seem like a book I’d like! It’s YA and the author’s name isn’t capitalized on the cover which bugs the living fuck out of me. I have very low expectations for this one so maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

3. Bloom – Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau: It’s another graphic novel! It’s about gay boys! That make bread! What’s not to love! There’s something about monochromatic illustration that just gets me every time. This one will hopefully be another quickie.

4. Looker – Laura Sims: This has been on my list of new releases to read since the beginning of the year. It’s a suspense/mystery novella with an awesome cover. It’s also Laura Sims debut work so I am pumped.

5. Clever Girl – Tessa Hadley: Another book without capital letters on the cover! I picked this one up at the Boulder Bookstore because…I liked the cover! (shocking I know.) It’s a contemporary set in the UK.

6. Lullaby – Chuck Palahniuk: A few years ago, I inherited my ex-boyfriend’s Chuck Palahniuk collection, and I have two left. I’ve decided to torture myself and read them both in one month! Hopefully, these are two of his less fucked up books.

7. Invisible Monsters – Chuck Palahniuk: Here’s the second one! I have this one on audio book from my library so I’ll probably end up listening to it.

8. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn – Betty Smith: This month’s bookclub book! If you are interested in reading with us this month, message me on instagram @avejam_ !

9. The Sun Is Also A Star – Nicola Yoon: I read Everything Everything a couple years ago, and since this one is being made into a movie next month, I decided to read it. I don’t think I’ll like this one too much, but it’s an easy read so I kind of need it this month.

10: Where The Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens: This was not originally on my TBR at all but just today a volunteer at work gave it to me, after telling me how great it was, so I’m throwing it on the list!

And that is my April TBR! I know it’s excessive, but I did finish nine books last month so I have faith in myself. What are you guys reading this month?

March 2019 Wrap Up

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Hello all! Sorry that I did such a crap job posting this month. I started a new job which took up a large portion of my time, and I haven’t been feeling great lately. I did however want to give you an update on what I read this month! If you read my tbr for this month, then you know that I planned to read nine whole books…and I did! I genuinely did not think I would get through them all but I did, and here’s what I thought of them

Deadman Wonderland Volume Two – Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou: As I mentioned in my tbr, I finished this one before the month even started. I always feel weird rating these since they have such little writing, but it is my favorite anime and manga so it of course gets a 5 out of 5 stars.

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We Are Okay – Nina Lacour: This book broke me and I was not prepared for it. I was very hesitant while reading this because l felt so deeply for Marin and her denial and loneliness. I felt like I was reading someone else’s description of myself. The ending had me sobbing. Such a hopeful and true testament to grief, pain, and taking steps to overcome it. I think if I had read this book at an earlier point in life I would have liked it but not considered it a new favorite however at this point in my life this was a book I needed. We are okay.  5 out of 5 stars.

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The Ask and the Answer and Monsters Of Men – Patrick Ness: There will be a full trilogy review of these and The Knife of Never Letting Go up on Friday so check that out if you’re curious! I gave them both 4 out of 5 stars.

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Circe – Madeline Miller: Okay, so I actually have a tiny bit of this left still but I wanted to get this up tonight. This book from what I’ve read is really good. It spans over thousands of years which is something I always like in books and it also centers around probably my favorite character in Greek mythology. A slightly preemptive 4 out of 5 stars.

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Tweak – Nic Sheff: Nic Sheff is a very powerful person and writer. Honestly if the writing hadn’t been so eloquent and moving I don’t think I would have made it through the book. It’s depressing as hell. And as a person who has a bit of a drug dependency and a hell of a lot of trauma it brought up a lot of shit for me. This is a moving look into living with addiction. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars.

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Beautiful Boy – David Sheff: Overall I thought this book was good. I listened to the audiobook which had a horrible narrator but the story was good. This one is much more chronological than tweak so it’s a little easier to follow but it’s not as grungy and powerful as Nic’s. It mostly made me feel bad for my parents. I hope I don’t make them feel this way. 3 out of 5 stars as well.

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On A Sunbeam – Tillie Walden: This book was gorgeous. There were a lot of plot elements that I would have liked to know more about, but honestly the illustrations make the story not even matter. Absolutely beautiful. We love space lesbians. 4 out of 5 stars.

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Call Me By Your Name – Andre Aciman: A very strong yet realistic novel about passion and caring for another. The ending gave the whole book so much more meaning than it originally held at face value. 4 out of 5 stars.

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March tbr

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Some books for March

It’s March people! Which means it’s time for a new tbr. I used January and February as warm up months just to get used to reading again, so I set some smaller goals for myself. Well not this month. I am going back to my elementary school days and although I have set my reading goal for the year at fifty books I am hopeful that I will reach one hundred. I did some math and that means I have to read nine books a month as well as working at my two jobs. So without further ado, here are the nine books I’m reading in March.

Deadman Wonderland Volume Two – Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou: This was set to be on March’s tbr but I ended up reading it between my wrap up post and this tbr. Whoops! Oh well, it puts me a little ahead for the month at least.

We Are Okay – Nina Lacour: Introducing another member of the “Ave just bought it for the cover club.” This his been on my shelf for ages. It’s a really small book and I have no idea what it’s about. I’ve only just started it and it seems like it revolves around this girl trying to cope with grief or trauma from something. It’s YA contemporary so my expectations aren’t that high. I’m just hoping it’s a little better than my last, “purchased because it was pretty;” Sad Girls.

The Ask And The Answer – Patrick Ness: I’m wrapping this series up this month so I have the second and third book on my tbr. I’m really excited to finish these

Monsters Of Men – Patrick Ness: See above

Circe – Madeline Miller: Yay! This is March’s Book Club Book! If you don’t know already, my friend Grace and I have started up an internet book club via Instagram. This is our first read ever! I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book, and I used to be really into Greek mythology so I’m sure I’ll like this. If you are interested in joining our book club please get in touch with me on Instagram @avejam_

On A Sunbeam – Tillie Walden: I saw this while browsing at the bookstore awhile back and knew immediately that I needed this book. It’s a THICC graphic novel and I am so excited about it.

Tweak – Nic Sheff: Did you know that the film “Beautiful Boy” starring my favorite boy Timothee Chalamet is actually based on two memoirs? I sure didn’t but I’m glad I found this book at Barnes and Noble because now I do and I plan to read them both before watching the movie. Normally I wouldn’t care that much about reading the book before the movie if it was a memoir but this one is about drug addiction, which I love to read books about, so I figured I’d like it.

Beautiful Boy – David Sheff: Hey! It’s the second memoir! I think I’ll probably like this one less, because it seems less edgy. I think for these I’ll read both at the same time.

Call Me By Your Name – Andre Aciman: Timothee Chalamet more like Timothee chalaMARCH am I right!? Sorry that was bad. I decided to theme my reading because why the fuck not! I haven’t seen Call Me By Your Name yet either and I know it’s a pretty quick read so I decided to make it my ninth read. I’m always down for some good gay romance, lets be real. And Army Hammer in those athletic shorts. Yummy.

February Wrap Up

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Hello! and welcome to my February reading wrap-up! This month contained some highs and some very low lows as far as reading is concerned. Here are my final ratings and thoughts on the books I read this month.

The Knife Of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness: This was really good! I love Patrick Ness’s writing and his use of metaphor. I remember reading “A Monster Calls,” as a teenager and just being blown away at the use of literary devices. The themes revolving around toxic masculinity, and loss of innocence are so well portrayed and refreshing to see in a YA post apocalyptic book. This book is very fast paced which I know some people really like, but I would have liked just a teeny bit more character development. Hopefully the second and third book deliver. If I was just judging it with other YA it would for sure be a 5/5. This is beyond amazing for its genre. I can’t wait to read the second one!

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Soppy – Philippa Rice: I just awwwwed the entire time I read this. It is truly precious. I will definitely keep it on my shelf for the rest of my life. 5/5 stars of course.

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 Love Poems – Pablo Neruda: You know, I might just be rating this one out of bitterness. I have never felt passion like that present in this book so I found it mostly annoying. I would like to reread this while I’m in love and see if I think differently. I mean he’s the Nobel Laureate so I really feel wrong for not loving this. Also I know nothing about Spanish but I think the translation was a bit crap?? Any who my favorite poem was “Forget Me.” I would like to read some of his poetry that’s not about love because I have heard really great things. I gave it 3/5 stars.

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 I’ll Be Gone In The Dark – Michelle McNamara: To see my full review click here! Loved this one. 5/5 stars and a new favorite.

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Snotgirl: California Screaming – Bryan Lee O’mally and Leslie Hung: I truly love the characters and the art style so much I almost want to give it 5 stars but the story line really loses me at points. I still can’t wait for the next one.

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 Sad Girls – Lang Leav: Oh man my first low review of the year. SPOILER ALERT on this one because I have a lot to say. I get it okay. The book is supposed to be this huge paradox that makes you question our standard set of morals and whether there are exceptions. But the execution was just. So. Bad. This book is dripping with pretension and had me rolling my eyes once per page. It’s horribly paced and read more like an episode of Pretty Little Liars, than a work of literary fiction. I love the cover of this book and I really wanted to like it, but poets are poets for a reason and Lang Leav should have never dipped her toe into novel writing. Poetry itself is pretentious which is why pretentious people make such good poets. I physically punched the book at least once. The only part I liked was the ending and that’s just because I love when shitty characters just become shittier people instead of better people. Audrey’s fall from Grace would have been a lot more poignant if she had ever been a good person to begin with but she wasn’t, so the meaning gets lost under incredibly poor character development. This was harsh I know, but I gotta call em how I see em.  

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We are now sitting at 11 books for the year with 9 on board for next month, a chunk of which have also been made into movies. Next month also includes the return of book club! If you have any interest in joining please get in contact with me on Instagram @avejam_ . What did you read this month?

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I’ll Be Gone In The Dark Review

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If you remember my tbr from earlier this month, you’ll remember how excited I was to read Michelle McNamara’s book, “I’ll Be Gone In The Dark. Well I have read it and I am back now to review it for you. Let’s get started.

Okay, so before I even opened this book, I already had a huge emotional attachment to it. I had listened to multiple podcasts about the book, and I had also been following the fairly recent capture of “The Golden State Killer,” who was arrested shortly after the publication of “IBGITD” (that’s what I’m going to call it from here on out.) So like I said I had very high hopes. I usually go into my books knowing hardly anything but I went into this one with lots of prior knowledge about the crimes and also the author.

The book is split into three different sections. Part 1: information about the GSK (Golden State Killer), Part 2: Michelle’s experience working on the case, and Part 3: Information from Michelle’s research assistant who helped finish the book after McNamara’s death, an afterword from her husband, and a letter from Michelle to the GSK. This arrangement works well and despite having so many different pieces, flows with surprising ease. I love the fact that they decided not to try to recreate McNamara’s writing style to finish the book because it truly couldn’t have been done. McNamara writes with an emotion and style that is rarely found in true crime. It’s the perfect amount of detail without reading like a report. Her descriptions of California are incredible and she has just the right amount of bluntness in the sections that describe the actual killings. Billy Jensen and Paul Haynes did an incredible job piecing together her research and the parts of the book they had into a complete book of Michelle’s work.

I would not recommend this book if you are at all squeamish about murder. The GSK was a real horror show, and definitely not for the faint of heart. Any gory bits are written with tact and respect but if you are just beginning to delve into true crime, I wouldn’t start with this. It has a novel quality but is packed to the brim with information. The addition of maps, pictures, and a list of the detectives and criminologists that are present throughout the book, make the whole thing a real experience. This book took me the longest to read out of my books this month, and that was mostly because I felt I needed to absorb everything. I annotate all my books but if anyone tries to borrow this one, they might have a hard time reading the book under all my hand scribbled thoughts. I think that’s a sign that a book is good. If it takes up your whole brain.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I gave this book five out of five stars. It has been added to my list of all time favorites. I only had one grievance about the book and that is that it’s not really THE book. The whole time I read, I couldn’t stop asking myself if this was the book Michelle McNamara wanted me to read. I think it is definitely close. It was put together by people that knew her very well, but there was still so many things that she wanted to put in and unfortunately didn’t get to because of her untimely death. I wish she would have been alive to see how well it did, and see him get caught right after her book came out. I admit I teared up at the end when reading the afterword written by her late husband. In it he says she was “quietly, effortlessly, original,” and I think that shows in her writing and in her commitment to finding the GSK.

The GSK was a true monster. As Michelle states in one of my favorite lines, “the act…was arousal alchemized to hate, a vicious punishment meted out by one judge: his corroded brain.” In summary this is a book about a monster written by a hero. She helped so many victims through her work, and helped to solve one of the biggest unsolved cases in America. Although her time with us was short, she achieved more than a lot of people in this world ever will. I think this book is a treasure. It could have been lost to time, forever sitting on a dusty hard drive. I considered reading this a privilege and it is a book I will not soon forget.

If you want to see what I thought of the rest of the books I read this month, make sure to check back on Monday for my February wrap-up post!

February tbr

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Books to read this month.

Hello and welcome to February. That’s right folks it just keeps going. Time. It’s crazy. Anyway this is a tbr for the the month of February. We have some more actual books this month (as opposed to graphic novels and manga) so get ready. Okay here we go.

  1. The Knife Of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness: I’ve started this one and so far I’m really enjoying it so far. I read “A Monster Calls” by Ness when I was younger and really loved it so I decided to try this series. I am usually very hesitant when it comes to series’ because they are a commitment and I am even more hesitant when it comes to YA, so this book was a risk for me and so far, I am not regretting it. It’s also supposed to come out as a movie next month so that’s some convenient timing on my part.

2. Snot Girl: California Screaming – Bryan Lee O’malley and Leslie Hung: YEA VOLUME 2! I said less Graphic Novels, but we both know I need at least one graphic novel. I love this story so much and the art is amazing. I can’t wait to find out what happens next in this series.

3. I’ll Be Gone In The Dark – Michelle McNamara: I AM SO EXCITED TO READ THIS BOOK. I have heard so much about it from My Favorite Murder and various booktubers. I plan to read this one while visiting home next week. I also plan on making this the review of the month.

4. Soppy – Phillippa Rice: Hooray! seasonal pick! I felt bad reading so many books about murder and the apocalypse this month considering it’s Valentine’s Day in fourteen days, so I threw in this little book of joy to round it out. This barely counts because there are so few words, but I’m counting it so there. Happy Valentine’s Day bitches!

5. Love Poems – Pablo Neruda: I bought this little book because it was adorable and once again, if a book is a light shade of pink then there is a 90% chance I will buy it. I like that it’s pocket sized and I also like that it has both the translated poem, and the original Spanish version, because I can’t read Spanish but I sure do like to look at it.

6. Sad Girls – Lang Leav: My last pick for the month is another victim of my weird obsession with buying books just for their covers. This serious problem means that I don’t really know what it’s about but I’m sad and a girl so I’m hopeful. I’ve heard mixed reviews so we’ll see.

Those are the books I’m reading this month! what are you reading this month??? If you have any interest in joining a book club, contact me on my Instagram @avejam_