Tag Archives: death

Book Review: The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert

TBP July 7th 2020
304 Pages

Marva Sheridan was born ready for this day. She’s always been driven to make a difference in the world, and what better way than to vote in her first election?
Duke Crenshaw is do done with this election. He just wants to get voting over with so he can prepare for his band’s first paying gig tonight.
Only problem? Duke can’t vote.

When Marva sees Duke turned away from their polling place, she takes it upon herself to make sure his vote is counted. She hasn’t spent months doorbelling and registering voters just to see someone denied their right. And that’s how their whirlwind day begins, rushing from precinct to precinct, cutting school, waiting in endless lines, turned away time and again, trying to do one simple thing: vote.

They may have started out as strangers, but as Duke and Marva team up to beat a rigged system (and find Marva’s missing cat), it’s clear that there’s more to their connection than a shared mission for democracy.- Goodreads

TW: Death of a Sibling 

If there wasn’t a more timely book currently out there right now, I don’t know where it is. This book is important. It focuses on the importance of voting BUT it also focuses on the importance of who you surround yourself with, race, trauma, stereotypes and community.

This is the first book I’ve read by Colbert  and I was pleased with it. It packed a bigger punch the summary makes it seem and I was expecting the different issues that written. I guess I should have assumed given the fact that this is a political novel (so to speak).

The romance was so far behind that I don’t actually consider it a romance. Duke and Marva have a mutual interest but I am not sure its chemistry. The fact that voting brings them together is fantastic and I love it. But if it wasn’t for the fact that Marva’s boyfriend was selfish and exhibited allyship fatigue (-_-) she would have paid Duke no attention.  However, I liked the fact that there was willingness to try because not everything has to be insta love and things can take time to grow.

The pace of the novel was great. The entire book was detailed without feeling like a run own. And going back to its timeliness. . . this book is important and not just because it stresses the importance of voting but also what someone can do for their community outside of them voting.  It was touching and thought-provoking.  It makes you think.

Overall, I liked this book and would recommend it.

3 Pickles


Book Review: The Afterwards by A.F. Harrold (Illustrations), Emily Gravett (Illustrations)

Bloomsbury Children’s Books
TBP: March 19, 2019
208 Pages

Ember and Ness are best friends, completely inseparable. Ember can’t imagine what life would be without Ness. Until Ness dies, in a most sudden and unexpected way. Ember feels completely empty. How can this even be real?

Then Ember finds a way into the afterworld-a place where the recently dead reside. She knows there must be a way to bring Ness back, so she decides to find it. Because that’s what friends do: rescue each other. But the afterworld holds its own dangers. How far will Ember go to make things the way they were again?

Paired with enchanting illustrations from Emily Gravett, A. F. Harrold’s powerfully woven tale explores the lengths we go to for the people we love. -Goodreads

This book was generally hard for me because I recently experienced a death in my family that is taking time to find peace with. I began this book knowing what it was about but not fully understanding that it will come with some emotional investment.

You feel for Ember. You feel for Ember because she is anyone that ever wanted someone to come back. It isn’t that Ember doesn’t understand death, because she does. When she finds that there is a way to bring Ness back, she won’t accept death and that makes the difference with how the book is presented.

There are two parts within this novel that chocked me up. The beginning and towards the end. In the beginning you are in the present looking back. At no point within the novel do you feel that you are looking back in the past. You know you are but the author did a fantastic job making you feel as if everything happening is in the present that you forget what happened in the beginning until the end.

The end . . . I can’t say much because it would give away so much. But what I can say is Ember has one of the best character developments I have seen in quiet awhile. I am extremely glad that she keeps her innocence. She doesn’t let what has happened change her in a way where she is no longer the same person. She changes yes but she isn’t 13 going on 30. I appreciated that on so many levels.

The pace of the novel was fantastic. You are invested within the novel because of the emotional aspect of it and that is more than enough to keep you going. At no point did I feel the book was moving too slow or there wasn’t enough going on. The illustrations matched the feel of the each chapter and if you are a crier you will.

Ember deals with a lot within this novel and it isn’t just the death of Ness that does it. The afterward shows her something that she didn’t know she wanted and how she handles it, makes you wonder where she gets the strength from.

Is this a hard read for a child as in too sad? Maybe; it depends on the child. But as an adult I can see this as a book to help children letting go.


3 Pickles

Book Review: You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

Little Brown Published July 26, 2016 352 Pages
Little Brown
Published July 26, 2016
352 Pages

Eric and Katie want the best for their 15-year-old gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful daughter and have given their lives for her and her dream. But when a death hits the close-knit gymnastic community. secrets spill out and hidden agendas are discovered. Katie, unwillingly finds herself drawn to the crime, as she tries to hold her family together. 

*Short Review*

I picked this book solely because of the author. I really enjoyed her book, Dare Me (click here for review), so I went straight for this.  Abbott has an interesting style of writing as she takes down difficult topics involving teenagers and adults. Unlike Dare Me, this book wasn’t as intense or surprising. It dragged with Katie’s monotone voice and overall dipping into the past to explain the present wasn’t as successful as other books.

I didn’t care for this book. It was missing intensity, strong emotion and a better scenery or at least a better description of the scenery.  The characters didn’t provide the need support and it came off as if they were there for show. Their involvement wasn’t strong enough to keep the book moving.

The book was okay. It could have been way better than what it was. I was disappointed in this read but I there is another book by this author that is in my TBR pile. So, no hard feelings.

2 Pickles

NetGalley Review: The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough

Jo Fletcher Books Originally Published 2009 144 Pages
Jo Fletcher Books
Originally Published 2009
144 Pages

A woman watches her father take his last breathes and while doing so, she relives the past week and thinks about what brought her family together and what tore them apart. As the middle child in a family of five, she has secrets; one in particularly that keeps her at her childhood home and that keeps her waiting for the darkness. 

*Short review for a short novel*

Dangggg Tanya, what’s with you and these short stories?!!? I know I have said constantly that I do not enjoy short stories and yet I keep reading them. I don’t know why I do it but I do it.

So anyway, I actually really like Ms. Pinborough’s writing, which is why I requested this book. She can paint a pretty picture or in this case a chilling picture.

I liked this short read but I did feel it was very dull and drawn out. This feeling had nothing to do with the fact that from beginning to end, we are waiting for a man to die. It comes from the lack of color from the narrator or even the other characters. I did not expect it in present time but more so from the past. It was even hinted at one point but the that was it. I get the whole point of this book is to be despair but some kind of life would have made this book perfect and much more chilling.

Beyond, this I liked the creativity shown in this book. I like what the author was able to draw out of the story and I really loved how she made this much bigger than simply a daughter watching her father die alone. There is so much depth to this 144 page story, you can’t help but be in awe.

The pace could be improved but I am not complaining that much. Overall,

3 Pickles

NetGalley Review: Everything You and I Could Have Been If We Weren’t You and I by Albert Espinosa

Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial Expected to be Published July 2, 2015 203 Pages
Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial
Expected to be Published July 2, 2015
203 Pages

Marcos just lost his mother, a famous dancer who is/was his everything. So he decides the world just isn’t the world without her.

So he makes a change, one in which that causes him to live life in an extreme way . . . by not sleeping.

*Short Review*

Espinosa is the creator of my most beloved show The Red Band Society. So it was only natural that I pick up this book. The idea that the future no only believes in sleeping is such an intriguing idea that the author got point simply off this.

However, the book went down hill. Marcos is the most lifeless character I have ever read and although I understand why the author choose that route for most of the book, it made for a hard read.

I also felt some type of way about Marcos relationship with his mother. It was off. Which made me see why Marcos was off.  Even after everything was said and done, it made a hard book even harder.

This book is part of my DNF list. The concept of not having to sleep again was great and it really brought attention to the book but the main character. . . I just couldn’t do it.

2 Pickles


Book Review: Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

HarperTeen Published April 21, 2015 304 Pages
Published April 21, 2015
304 Pages

Quinn lost her boyfriend Trent in a car accident in their junior year of high school. To help heal and move on, Quinn has turned to the recipients of Trent’s donated organs in order to receive closure. 

Although she hears from most of the recipients, only one person doesn’t respond and that is the person with Trent’s heart. Determined to move on, Quinn tracks down the recipient, only to be surprised at what she finds. 

Colton has a new lease on life and is more than happy to live each day like never before. At what he thinks is in accidental meeting turns into Quinn receiving a new lease on life but at what cost?

Here I go again with realistic fiction. But I enjoyed this one for the most part.

I appreciate the author for taking down a sensitive subject such as organ donation. The biggest question I hear from people is “does that person now see, feel or remember memories from the original owner?” I liked the fact that the author used this question to fuel her book.

Quinn’s whole life surrounded by Trent. You don’t really know who she is outside of her lost. This made it hard for me to get into the book at times. I wanted to know Quinn more and I didn’t want to only associate her with her lost. Yes, she develops but her personality was missing.

I did love Colton. I believe I loved him so much because of the contrast with the main character. The author did a really good job of showing clear differences between the two while also showing what brought them together was Trent. I am pretty much stating the obvious while avoiding the biggest issue I had with this book and almost all realistic novels. . .  the pace.

Because Quinn was a lackluster character throughout the entire book the pace was slow. I wanted more from Quinn so bad it hurt. I understand lost and I understand lost as a teenager. I understand being broken and feeling dead inside but even when love was forming Quinn didn’t develop enough for me and it caused the pace of the novel to stall.

Beyond that I felt that this book was emotional (in a good way) and a insightful read. It is recommended to those who love realistic fiction.

3 Pickles

Book Review: Bird by Crystal Chan

Atheneum Books for Young Readers Published Jan. 28, 2014 304 Pages
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Published Jan. 28, 2014
304 Pages

So remember a far back, I interviewed Crystal Chan? If not read the interview first here. I finally was able to read her book and here is the review.

Jewel is born the day her brother Bird dies. She is constantly surrounded by the remembrance of his life and his death.

Unable to live as freely and lovingly, Jewel sneaks out her home at night to release frustrations. One night she meets a new boy (in the small town) named John and everything she wanted to come out does. 

This book moved me. Firstly I loved the fact that it was realistic without being too emotional. This was book wasn’t dripping with sadness. Yes, it was sad in a sense that a little girl feels unloved and a lack of support from her mother but the sadness didn’t make her who she was. It was part of her but Jewel was smart, responsible and observant of other feelings.

I liked how the story didn’t add a lot of nonsense to it.  There was a moment regarding Jewel’s new friend that I felt didn’t need to be there, in regards to his name, but that didn’t kill his character or the story-line.

This was a slow read but I didn’t mind too much because I liked Jewel so much and I needed to know how her family came together.

What I didn’t like about the book was the cliche of the lonely girl. I would have liked her to have someone that she can be completely truthful too. Although she was to a certain extent with the boy, I feel that her growth wasn’t as high as it should have been at the end of the book.

I also felt that the issue of being bi-racial wasn’t as big as I though it would be in this book. Yes, there are difficulties but it seemed more within family than with people who are outsiders.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad read and I would recommend it for those who are into realistic coming of age novels.

4 Pickles.

Book Review: The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

Lo (Penelope) Marin likes all things that shine and are beautiful; so

          EgmontUSA   Published Feb.14,  2012            325 Pages
Published Feb.14, 2012
325 Pages

she has a tendency to just take them especially since her family is constantly moving, she likes to have reminders of the balance where she has been.

However, it’s been a year since her brother Oren’s death and Lo has become a full blown hoarder. But when she finds a butterfly necklace at a flea market and realizes that it belonged to a girl who was murdered only the day before, Lo become obsessed with finding the girl’s killer and indirectly finding the truth about her brother’s death.

This book was a great read. It began a little weird because I honestly though the main character in the first chapter was a boy but then you quickly find out that is not the case.  What I truly loved about the book was the mystery of it. Lo has OCD and not only does she have to do things three times or even nine, she has to follow through with what she started. So when one clue led to another it was perfect. The author made you feel the need to discover the truth and there was nothing predictable about it.

I loved Lo. Although she had OCD, she wasn’t panicky and she wasn’t needy. There was a scene in which she flipped out for not doing her tap tap but there was a huge point to that and I thought it was great. Throughout the book you see Lo grow up and not try to fit in but trying to be herself with no issues. Also by the end of the book she was taking no nonsense from anyone. Lo was essentially a plain girl who was only complicated by her OCD

I also liked the romance that was in the novel. Yes, Lo does meet someone she becomes attracted too but she doesn’t let her romance stop her from what she is trying to do; solve the girl’s murder. His name is Flynt and I liked him mainly because he was so different than most male love interest. He was technically homeless but he didn’t look nor acted as such. He had blond dreads, he smiled a lot and he genuinely liked Lo. He was real down to earth and smart about Lo and just life in general.

Ellison did a great job writing the story. She created characters that balanced each other out and she made them believable. Overall this book gets 9 out of 10; true definition of a mystery.


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Book Review: Life Eternal by Yvonne Woon

*This may contain some spoilers because I have some questions*

DisneyHyperion                January  24 2012              392 Pages
                   Disney Hyperion                             Published: January 24 2012
392 Pages

I was skeptical of the second book to the Dead Beautiful series. Although the first book was a good read (you can look at my review here) I didn’t think the second book would be strong. But oh my goodness was I wrong; this is an amazing read.

17 year old Rene Winters is nothing like her former self. A year has past since her parents’ death, Dante is in hiding, and her Grandfather is still mean and hiding information.  But that’s not all when Dante and Rene kissed things changed for her. She’s having nightmares that she believes is the future, she looks older and worn out. Rene is not the same.

But things change when her Grandfather sends her to another school and she discovers some secrets about her mom, the infamous Nine Sisters and Dante.

The author did an amazing job with this book. There was minimum dragging and that was perfect; everything was exactly as it needed to be and at a consistent pace until the climax came. The questions that formed in the first few chapters weren’t easily solved either. It was a mystery up until the last two chapters. Woon, even threw in a little love triangle which wasn’t in bad taste. It wasn’t the whole theme of the story and I really appreciated that.

The story itself didn’t have any issues worth mentioning but I was disappointed in the Grandfather. You would think that after almost losing his grand-daughter after just losing his daughter, he would be a bit more opened to Rene. NOT. He was a stubborn and mean man and I couldn’t stand him. Rene also bothered me this book too because she didn’t stand up to him. She never stood her ground; he walked over her the entire book and I’m pretty sure he will do the same in the next book. But that was the most annoying thing ever.

As for Dante . . . I am still completely in love with him ;)

Okay . . . here is where the spoiler comes because I have a question to anyone that has read the book. If the ninth sister used the box of eternity . . . where the heck is she? No one even bothered to ask if she was alive or not, which I though was weird. Maybe it will come up in the next book?

Overall, I give this book a perfect score; 10 out of 10. I’m terribly upset the book won’t release until January 2014 -.-

Book Review: Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

Was I in for a surprise when I read this book!

Dead beautiful by Yvone Woon (goodreads)
Dead beautiful by Yvone Woon (goodreads)

For Renee Winters her life is perfect; dating the hottest guy in school, love her parents, and has the best friend in the world. She couldn’t have asked for a better life that is until her 16th birthday. On her way home from a beach date, Renee discovers her parents’ bodies in the middle of the woods.

After the funeral, here comes the rich Grandfather that has not been in contact with Renee since she was seven.  For his own reasons, he sends Renee to Gottfried Academy in the middle of no where Maine, where she meet Dante. The hottest boy at Gottfried, who doesn’t talk to anyone much but seems to be drawn to Renee as much as she is to him.

But of course as they get closer things get complicated.

This book when I initially picked it up sounded typical. Rich Grandfather, the main character doesn’t really know; sent to a boarding school; meets a hot guy; discovers everything isn’t what it seems; all of this is pretty typical. But Woon was able to surprise me and keep me going even though for about 20 chapters she was really repeating the same things over and over and over again.

It took too long for Renee to actually get answers. But once the answers started coming it was great. I loved the ending. It is perfect for a book two. I loved loved Dante. He didn’t come off too weird or too perfect. Renee wasn’t bad either. Woon did a pretty good job developing her and I am pretty sure she will grow up more in the next two books.

Overall, the book gets a 8 out of 10. It was long, dragged out but the connection between Dante and Renee kept the book going on strong.