Posts By: Rashika

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Incredibly Hilarious and Deeply Sad: The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried

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Incredibly Hilarious and Deeply Sad: The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried
The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried
Shaun David Hutchinson
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: February 19th, 2019
by Simon Pulse

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A good friend will bury your body, a best friend will dig you back up.

Dino doesn’t mind spending time with the dead. His parents own a funeral home, and death is literally the family business. He’s just not used to them talking back. Until Dino’s ex-best friend July dies suddenly—and then comes back to life. Except not exactly. Somehow July is not quite alive, and not quite dead.

As Dino and July attempt to figure out what’s happening, they must also confront why and how their friendship ended so badly, and what they have left to understand about themselves, each other, and all those grand mysteries of life.
-A copy was provided by Simon Pulse for review-

So I was going to open this review on a whole tangent about how long I’ve been reading Shaun David Hutchinson but when I went onto Goodreads, I realized I haven’t even READ ALL OF HIS BOOKS because I am a terrible person. But, in some ways, opening an SDH book is so familiar and comfortable even though, including The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried, I’ve read all of three books by Shaun David Hutchinson.

The Past and Other Things That Should Say Buried is more reminiscent of some of Hutchinson’s earlier stuff in that it is more lighthearted but that’s not saying much when even at his most light hearted, Hutchinson never fails to punch you in the feels. The best way to really describe this book is that even though it is so funny (I laughed out loud A LOT), it is also deeply sad. July may have been temporarily brought back to life by some magical forces, but throughout the novel, we as readers are all deeply aware of how temporary this is.

Hutchinson’s work stands out because of how bizarre his books can be. Characters who have powers to perform miracles, alien abductions, universes that shrink, DEAD PEOPLE WHO COME BACK TO LIFE, ALL WEIRD, fascinating stuff. Hutchinson clearly isn’t afraid to venture out into the weird and bizarre but the reason why his books always hit the mark for me is because he is SO GOOD at writing characters. His teens always feel so authentic to me and July & Dino are no different.

July and Dino used to be the best of friends but when Dino started dating Rafi they slowly drifted apart. A lot of things were left unsaid and they slowly became resentful of one another. It’s been approximately a year since they ‘broke up’ when July has an aneurysm and dies. When July suddenly comes back to life, it is like a second chance for their friendship. Of course, they cannot stop bickering and playing the blame game. BUT, EVENTUALLY, they begin to communicate and fix their friendship.

One of the my favorite things about this book is how much we are aware of the fact that July is basically a zombie. There are detailed descriptions about how her body is decaying even though her mind is reanimated. IT IS GROSS but it grounded the book and made it feel all the more real.

While this book really focuses on their friendship, I love that we also get to see both July and Dino grow as people (EVEN IF JULY IS DEAD) as they relearn each other and face what went wrong with their friendship.

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried is full of wit and snark, and also just laugh out loud moments. It is also incredibly thoughtful and respectful. You should definitely pick this book up if you love complex characters, weird scenarios and some good, old snark.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

Romance Mini Reviews #3: The good, the not-bad and the bad

Romance Mini Reviews #3: The good, the not-bad and the bad

Posted by on 02/01/2019 • 3 Comments

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy Alyssa Cole

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Alyssa Cole returns with a fun, sexy romance novella in the Reluctant Royals series!

While her boss the prince was busy wooing his betrothed, Likotsi had her own love affair after swiping right on a dating app. But her romance had ended in heartbreak, and now, back in NYC again, she’s determined to rediscover her joy—so of course she runs into the woman who broke her heart.

When Likotsi and Fabiola meet again on a stalled subway train months later, Fab asks for just one cup of tea. Likotsi, hoping to know why she was unceremoniously dumped, agrees. Tea and food soon leads to them exploring the city together, and their past, with Fab slowly…

Old School YA PNR Vibes: Slayer by Kiersten White

Old School YA PNR Vibes: Slayer by Kiersten White

Posted by on 01/31/2019 • 1 Comment

While I’d heard a couple of things about Slayer, they were mostly about Buffy and how the book was set in the same world as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’ve seen less than half an episode of the show so I immediately checked out and assumed it would not appeal to me as someone who does not care about the show. Then I read the synopsis. I got old-school YA feels from the blurb and I’ve been craving old school YA for ages so I was immediately drawn in.

I think the best way to sum up my feelings about Slayer is that the first half was a solid 3 stars and the second half was a solid 4 stars. The first half is sort of slow and takes a…

Mediocre: Immoral Code by Lillian Clark

Mediocre: Immoral Code by Lillian Clark

Posted by on 01/30/2019 • 0 Comments

I love a good heist book and 2019 truly seems to be the year of heist books but unfortunately, Immoral Code was not everything I wanted it to be. It’s the kind of book that has good bones but ultimately, neither the writing style nor the pacing worked for me.

The entire time I was reading the book, the characters voices felt sort of inauthentic? But upon reflection I don’t think the fact that they were all self-aware makes them inauthentic, I am an extremely self-aware human being, but I think self-awareness doesn’t always translate as well in writing. This book is written in a very free, stream-of-consciousness style and yes, human beings constantly think that way but also, I don’t want to hear every single thought an MC…

A Gender-Swapped Mean Girls: The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

A Gender-Swapped Mean Girls: The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

Posted by on 01/24/2019 • 0 Comments

I don’t think this book has actually been pitched this way but when I finished the book, I couldn’t help but think of Mean Girls. The Field Guide to a North American Teenager, while not a perfect fit, read to me, like a gender-swapped Mean Girls.

Norris Kaplan is the new kid in town. Although he feels incredibly out of place, he does somehow immediately capture the attention of several people who are taken in by his snark. He writes in his journal, trying to categorize and group every individual and HS trope-y student he comes across in an attempt to other them and to distance himself. Somehow though, he finds himself mingling with the very cheerleaders and the jocks he loves to snark about. Combined with a new, cute love interest…

Chef Heroes & Road Trips: Three Little Words by Jenny Holiday

Chef Heroes & Road Trips: Three Little Words by Jenny Holiday

Posted by on 01/18/2019 • 1 Comment

Trigger Warning for eating disorders, drug abuse in the past

I had not read a single book by Jenny Holiday in the past (including the two other books that precede Three Little Words) but when I saw Nick shouting about it, I AM INTRIGUED. Chef heroes own my soul. Nick, who has known me long enough to know I am super picky with contemporary romances, said I would at the very least like Three Little Words SO of course I had to read it because CHEF HEROES.  So, I went in expecting to like it since Nick said I would but I ended up completely engrossed in the lives of these characters and finding a new author to binge. Three Little Words takes you on quite the journey – quite literally because…

Why Marie Kondo Doesn’t Actually Want You To Throw Out All Your Books

Why Marie Kondo Doesn’t Actually Want You To Throw Out All Your Books

Posted by on 01/16/2019 • 1 Comment

Marie Kondo took the world by storm with her ‘revolutionary’ tidying up ideas with her bestselling books. On January 1st, Netflix decided to drop “The Art of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” bringing even more people on board the KonMari train but also causing many people to lose their minds when Marie Kondo ‘made’ people get rid of their books in an effort to clean up and take back their living spaces. 

Except she didn’t???

I haven’t finished watching the series nor have I had the privilege of reading any of her books but based on what I have seen and what I know about her books, nowhere does she explicitly state you should get rid of your books and everything else you love.

I am a lover of reality…

The Heist Novel We Need: Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig

The Heist Novel We Need: Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig

Posted by on 01/14/2019 • 1 Comment

In 2019 and we’re finally getting all the heist/thief books we deserve. Death Prefers Blondes is one such heist book and IT IS AMAZING. Maybe you’ve read Caleb Roehrig before or maybe you’re drawn by the fantastic premise and gorgeous gover. Regardless, this book is both quintessentially Roehrig and also different from what he has written before. His previous books are more on the fun end of the spectrum (WHICH IS NOT A BAD THING. I love fun books!) and while Death Prefers Blondes is incredibly fun, it also has a tendency to punch you in the guts. TO SAY EVEN MORE because I clearly cannot shut up, Death Prefers Blondes is not a short book but it FLIES by. It was so well written and visuals/imagery were done so…