Review: The Bell Witch Series by Sara Clancy

So, this is a series about four families who were cursed by a witch centuries ago and now a family member is chosen every year to face the witch. The family member is chosen by receiving a music box. The members of each of the four families that are chosen then have to hike through the ancestral woods of the witch (and the families) to search for keys and to lock the music boxes. If they don’t find their keys, a demon will escape and they’ll be tormented forever.

So, the premise was good. The main characters we’re likable. The villains were villainous. This was a fun little read to prepare for spooky season. But each of the novellas ended quite abruptly. I suppose we could call them cliffhangers, but it didn’t feel cliffhangery. It felt unfinished. This was a little disappointing because there were storylines I would have liked to know a bit more about.

I would read more by this author (or more in the Scare Street series… if only because I love that they’re knock-offs of Fear Street) but I’m in a hurry to do so.

So, 6/10. Entertaining and quick but nothing that will really stick with me.

Audible is having a sale!

So, I have been recently going through my subscriptions and canceling things that I haven’t been using. The pandemic has killed my interest in many things, I think this is what we call burnout? And I’m taking this as an opportunity to try new things and see what I like (and maybe save a little money). I’m obviously not abandoning reading or abandoning audiobooks, but I’ve got some credits built up and a TBR that exceeds my life expectancy, so it might be time to pause my audible subscription for a while.

And just in time for an audible sale (that is ending tonight), I log in to take a look at my wishlist. So, I thought it might be fun to see what I got with my surplus of credits.

First up, we have The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers. This is a sci-fi book about a truck stop sort of spaceport on the galactic road. The description makes it seem like it might be slice of space life/centering a mother-child relationship. I’m excited to see if I’m right.

The Galaxy and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers

Next up we have Jake’s Magical Market by J.R. Matthews. This looks like it is going to be about a clever child during an alien invasion. I’m hoping it is fun because it appears to be the first in a series.

Jake’s Magical Market by J.R. Matthews

I will be honest and say I picked the next one because I was pulled in by the cover art. This is a YA novel by an award-winning author to promises to be full of mystery and magic.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

My next selection is Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse. This is, I believe, YA and Sci-fi. It also had a neat cover. I’ve heard that Rebecca Roanhorse is a good writer and I don’t think I’ve read anything by her yet, so I’m excited to try this one.

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

My next pick is the Girl who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh. This seems like it is going to be full of magic and heroism and I am so excited for it. The main character is a young woman who makes a sacrifice to save her brother and then goes on a quest to save her people.

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh.

My last pick (which was actually my first pick) is These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong. This one is set in 1920s Shanghai and appears to be about gangsters and flappers. There may be some disease and mayhem and mystery. I couldn’t tell you why but I love novels set in historical Shanghai, so I am very pleased this was an option for me to pick.

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

And thus ends this haul post. Hopefully, I will get to some of these sooner rather than later and I can follow up on them.

Have you bought any books recently? What have you picked up that you’re excited to dive into next?

What I’m Listening to Now: Being Lolita by Alisson Wood

I went down a bit of a rabbit hole this week and listened to almost the entirety of Lolita Podcast. It’s made me want to re-read the book, but I realized that I only have it as an audiobook in the house and not a physical book. So, I thought, why not read…listen to… a recently published memoir by one of the folks Jamie Loftus interviewed on the podcast instead. So, I’ve picked up Being Lolita by Alisson Wood.

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT I SLEPT ON THIS BEAUTIFUL BOOK FOR SO LONG?? HOW? How??? It’s lovely and wonderful and good and heartbreaking and uplifting in all of the right ways. 10/10. If you’ve not read it, you should go read it (or get the audiobook and then Lin Manuel Miranda will read it to you.) That’s it. That’s the review. Done.

Okay, fine, I’ll say a little more. This is the story of Aristotle, who is a weird kinda angry teenager who goes to the pool and meets a weird kinda know-it-all teenager named Dante. They have very little in common, it seems, other than they are both kind of loners and they’re both Mexican. It’s the story of their friendship. It is about how their friendship grows and how they grow and how they deal with big life stuff. No magic (except the everyday magic of friendships, love, relationships, and personal growth), no monsters (except for the very real human monsters we’ve all met), just two teens living their lives and learning truths that feel like unlocking the secrets of the universe. Maybe it is that the world feels very dark and precarious right now, but reading a novel about just normal life stuff that had a good ending felt really great.

So, I still agree with the first paragraph. 10/10, would definitely recommend.

Quick Review: Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

Continuing on with my reading of brutal texts while self-isolating, I finally got off the wait-list at the library for this book and decided to go ahead and go for it. This is about news agencies, like NBC, catching news stories about sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape and keeping them from coming out. If you know about Harvey Weinstein and wondered how he could have gotten away with hurting so many people, this is a read for you.

But, it is not an easy read. (Or an easy listen. The audiobook actually contains a segment of a police sting recording.) This book was really upsetting. But, it is really good that we are talking about the structures that protect people in power and allow them to hurt others. Now we just have to change the structures. Ha. Just. No big deal.