Review | Sorry I Haven’t Texted You Back by Alicia Cook

Sorry I haven’t texted you back, (I’ve been so anxious and depressed) I haven’t had time to catch my breath, you know how life gets!

Returning to the form of Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately, Sorry I Haven’t Texted You Back is a poetic mixtape dedicated to those who struggle or have struggled with their mental health. Divided into two parts, “Side A” holds 92 poems, titled as “tracks,” and “Side B” holds the “remixes,” or blackout-poetry versions, of  those 92 poems. The book includes the evergreen themes of love, grief, and hope. Named after Cook’s viral Instagram poem, Sorry I Haven’t Texted You Back lands in the crossroads of self-help and poetry.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

First and foremost, be aware that there are trigger warnings for anxiety, depression, talk of suicide and death. This was definitely a collection of poems that I had to take in multiple settings as to me they rang extremely true.

I really enjoyed the format of this collection, with the first half being more traditional poem formats and the second half being black out or other styles that isolated specific words of the poems. Both halves went really well together and captured the feelings invoked in the collection as a whole. Each poem also comes with a song – which if you don’t know the song listed I highly recommend looking them up since they add another layer to the experience. It’s definitely an emotional read, but the language used and the way the poems flow just add beauty to the overall collection.

Happy reading!

Review | Yokai Stories by Zack Davisson

Beware the trickster Yokai of ancient Japanese mythology. In these contemporary, original stories, young narrators must outfox the supernatural shapeshifters.

I originally picked up this title when I went to the 2019 Portland Book Festival. I would have loved to pick up other titles from this publisher as a few of them sounded interesting to me, but I was trying to keep myself to a budget. I was immediately drawn to this one from its description and the artwork so it was the one I picked up, and I managed to score a signed edition which made me even more excited.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Yokai Stories, but I like anything having to do with Asian folklore/mythology/etc. so I know I wanted to give it a read. What’s inside is a number of reimagined stories, some which take from source material some which are inspired by the Yokai and their legends. The artwork included by Eleonora D’onofrio was a perfect companion to these short stories. Though the stories may not be 100% the original legends/folklore, I really loved the modernization and reimaginings that were applied to these creatures, making them accessible for people today.

Happy reading!

Review | Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.

To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.

A traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting, Horrorstör is designed to retain its luster and natural appearance for a lifetime of use. Pleasingly proportioned with generous French flaps and a softcover binding, Horrorstör delivers the psychological terror you need in the elegant package you deserve.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I thoroughly enjoyed this creepy exploration of a knockoff Ikea where employees get more than they bargained for when they stay overnight, but I sadly think it was a little overhyped for me. I had heard numerous people talk about how creepy this book is and how they couldn’t read it after dark, etc. Hearing those things I was super excited, but I would get to pages that were noted as being extra creepy and while they were creepy and the descriptions were done really well – it didn’t scare me or send chills down my spine. Granted, this is totally a me problem, it may be because I’m just desensitized to some stuff and it doesn’t really affect me as bad.

That being said I really enjoyed the adventure of this story, and the creepy twists that were thrown in. The backstory that Hendrix created was perfect and fit in with everything depicted really well. Many of the characters aren’t necessarily likeable, but they all fit into the puzzle and the events that happen. All in all, it was a great read to start off October and a really good story.

Happy reading!

Bookblogtober Day 31: The End

What a month it has been! This was my first time making sure to post at least once per day and it is definitely something I would like to keep up with, but with a full time job and other obligations it can sometimes be a challenge. The key thing I learned was that it is definitely better to try and pre-plan some stuff, but that’s not always feasible.

Bookblogtober has been a lot of fun and if you want to get in a better groove regarding posting on your blog I definitely recommend doing a monthly challenge such as this. Next time I do something like this I may try to preschedule as many posts as possible, even if I might write some of them out of order. This month I did everything in order and that may have been a mistake, so in the future I may switch it up.

I feel like I was able to be much more conversational this month, which was definitely fun, so I will continue to try to incorporate that as I can. All in all I’m happy with how this month went, even though there were some stressful moments. I’m eager to move into November and the madness that is NaNoWriMo even though my November is super busy.

Happy reading!

Bookblogtober Day 30: What Are You Afraid Of?

Everyone has those things that they are afraid of. Some of those fears may be surprising or irrational to others, but they are very real for those who experience them.

I am very claustrophobic. While I’m not afraid of the dark, if you mix darkness and confined spaces I am not okay in any way. This made parts of Tunnel of Bones very interesting for me, which tells you that Victoria Schwab’s writing was amazing since it evoked those feelings.

I’m also not the biggest fan of heights, but it’s weird. I can be perfectly fine standing on a roof, but standing on a step ladder? Oh boy, the fear is real. I don’t understand it, it just comes as it wants to. I do have a lot of fear and anxiety over being on planes, but that is more because I have a loss of control over the situation and apparently my anxiety is not okay with that.

In most instance my fears do not really affect my reading, though there are cases such as with Tunnel of Bones where they may make me a little uncomfortable while reading, but it’s not going to stop my reading progress or make me stop reading a book.

Do your fears affect your reading? What are you afraid of?

Happy reading!

Bookblogtober Day 29: Spells You Wish You Could Cast

Whenever you read books that include magic or spells, you find yourself wishing that such things could really be used, it could definitely make some aspects of life easier. We find ourselves fantasizing what we would do if we could use such talents.

Though it’s not a spell, the one thing I wish existed would be a time turner. There are never enough hours in the day to get everything done that I want to get done. A time turner would make things so much easier, and allow me to accomplish so much more.

I also would love the powers of being able to tell the future, it would allow me to know if I’m going to enjoy something I read before I read it, but then again I suppose that would take the fun out of reading. So maybe not now that I think about it.

What about you? What spells or magical items would you want to be real?

Happy reading!

Bookblogtober Day 28: Witchy Reads

There are tons of books out there with witches as a central theme, or at least a major part. If you’re looking for classics, The Crucible not only concerns witches but also the human condition and mob mentality. There are also some anthologies featuring witches as well, such as Toil and Trouble. Some of my favorites may be a little lesser known, but they’re enjoyable to me.

Three Sisters Island Trilogy – Nora Roberts has a number of books that deal with witches, but this is my favorite of the ones that she has written. It’s set on an island off the Eastern coast of the United States (think New England) and follows three different women who must work together to undo a curse that was created by their ancestors. Each book follows a different woman in the trio as they deal with their own personal demons as well as form romantic relationships. Each of them deals with different issues and have very distinct personalities.

The Hollows Series – I’ve only read the first book in this series so far but they are a fun ride. The main character is a witch, but there are all manner of supernatural beings in the series. The main character’s sense of humor is amazing and the writing is easy to read, which makes it a fast book experience. This urban fantasy series has a great starter and I’m excited to continue on in the series.

Mercy Thompson Series – Ok, the main character in this series is not a witch; however, there are witches in the series. This is another urban fantasy series that includes a main character who can shape shift into a coyote. She’s a mechanic and is surrounded daily by other supernatural beings. The relationship that Patricia Briggs create, even the friendships, are deep and full fledged. Serious events that happen in earlier books continue to have repercussions in future books instead of being ignored.

These are all series that I’ve enjoyed and are comforting rather than creepy to me. All of them are worth diving into and in the last two cases there are a number of books to keep you busy.

Happy reading!

Bookblogtober Day 27: Creepy Book Covers

If you are a lover of thriller or horror books, or even just slightly creepy books, then you’ve probably seen some darker book covers. There are some styles that I think are the best design wise, as they really step up the creepy factor.

Pictures within pictures: You don’t see this one as much as I would like to see it, but they can really be amazing. The ones that are done really well won’t be immediately noticeable and be a total surprise when they are seen. This is not necessarily exclusive to creepy books, but I’ve seen it the most in that genre.

Not your standard girl on the cover: Everyone has seen the usual girl on the cover that is very popular in young adult and romance so I love seeing when it is altered for the purpose having a creep factor or just being different. This can still be done in an elegant way without being disturbing, but that in and of itself can be disturbing when you look at the descriptions of these books along with the cover. Some of these are masterfully done and I really hope this becomes a more popular trend.

Normal scene, or not: Again, these are similar to pictures within pictures where you may not notice anything out of sorts with the cover. It may look completely normal until you look closer. These may not be creepy in theme, but you do sometimes see them used in the thriller/horror genre. These are the kind of covers that are fun to look at for a while until you find all the details.

There are tons of other styles of cover which may be more creepy but I love the covers that have deeper details and make you want to spend a lot of time just looking at them.

Happy reading!

Bookblogtober Day 26: Are You Influenced By the Color of the Cover?

Cover styles are constantly changing as are the spectrum of colors used in those designs. Certain genres certainly use some colors more than others, but more and more the whole rainbow is being used. At the root of it is definitely marketing and attempting to draw in an audience, but do the colors being used really influence people to buy the books?

When looking at YA books, or even contemporary romance there appears to be a rapid increase in illustrated covers with bright happy colors. Of course these would draw the eye and perhaps intrigue someone enough to pick up the book and read what it’s about. That’s really what cover appeal is all about, being able to draw in a reader from something as small as a simple glance.

What colors are most popular? If you look at popular genres now I would say for the most part it is those bright, but not glaring colors. Certain genres of course have certain colors they use, for example a lot of thrillers and horror will use darker colors to set the mood of their subject matter.

So the real question is, do the colors on a cover influence the decision to buy the book? In my case, not really, but they will definitely make me check out a book. The color and overall cover of books are really a type of ad, and for that purpose they definitely do their job. It will be interesting to see how the industry further changes and modifies the covers of books to better attract their consumers.

Happy reading!

Bookblogtober Day 25: Cozy Books

I’ve mentioned multiple times in this series that these last two seasons of the year lend to hunkering down and staying cozy, so it’s the perfect time for those books that give you a cozy or warm feeling.

Now, October does tend to be the exception since myself and a lot of people reach for spooky reads, but beyond that I also reach for books that give me a warm and cozy feeling.

The first things I turn to are cozy mysteries. What better way to curl up and enjoy an adventure than with these books. These mysteries are usually light and fun, full of humor and also a murder mystery.

I also reach for graphic novels, even darker ones, because they are quick and fun. Even though some of the genres can be heavy they go by quickly because of what they are.

Finally, this is the time of year that I will start reaching for seasonally themed books. Some of the most heart warming and cozy books can be those centered around Christmas or other holidays. Yes, they can sometimes be overly sweet or even a little corny, but there’s just something about them that suits this time of year.

Happy reading!