Title: Life Is Short and Then You Die
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Release Date: September 10 2019
Genre: Horror, Anthology
Goodreads Rating: 3.56 (of 86 ratings)
representation: varied – hard to tell usually with anthologies
content warnings: death, murder, gore
This one was a mess. Usually in an anthology, I won’t be a fan of all the reads, but I still might enjoy a few. There wasn’t one in here that I really really enjoyed. To be honest, I could barely make it through most of the stories. I wasn’t able to get pulled into any story, and I felt like it was just super eh even on the ones I sort of enjoyed.
I can’t think of a stand out one. The Kelley Armstrong one was probably the best, but I saw the twist coming the moment I started reading the story. I don’t have too much to say about this, but I just wouldn’t recommend reading it. A Merida rating!
Title: This is Kind of an Epic Love Story
Author: Kheryn Callender
Release Date: October 30 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Goodreads Rating: 3.41 (of 2642 ratings)
representation: audibly impaired love interest; biracial (black/Asian) love interest/best friend; black MC; m/m romance; f/f side relationship
content warnings: cheating; sexual content; death of parent (not shown); divorce (not shown)
It’s been a full day, and I still don’t know how to feel about this book. This is the quickest book that I’ve read in a while, and it got me one step closer to achieving my dream of binge reading a book in one sitting. There was a lot of good to this book, but also, there were also some major frustrating things that had me going ???
The biggest frustrating aspect for me were two main things. One: no one seems to understand the concept of cheating? Characters actively prompted others to barge into relationships that were defined as committed and monogamous. There are multiple shared kisses between those in other relationships and Bird, and legit no one even *blinks* when they see a cute person and they are in a relationship if they want them. I just ??? Yes, I know people make mistakes and feel desire and whatever. However, I wanted, like, maybe a moment of hesitation or guilt before actively trying to break up a relationship/cheating????
And speaking of relationships, I wasn’t a fan of the novel constantly pushing the characters to force each other to find another person/be in a relationship. It wasn’t super forced, but everyone was super super super focused on each other’s love lives throughout the story and it felt like there was a lot of pressure on it.
Second: the characters made completely and utterly frustrating choices. I swear, at one point, we were going in circles because Nate continued to make the same insufferable choice over and over and over again. I feel like we would take two steps forward with the characterization and then take a million steps back. It felt like we were in a loop with his characterization at times. I liked how messy and realistic Callender made these characters and book – it was beautiful in its realism. However, I just couldn’t sometimes with it.
That being said, there was a lot to enjoy with this novel. I loved that it was super sex positive – although at times, it was like all characters focused on which didn’t feel very real to me??? – and showed the real thoughts and feelings of teens. Callender made these feel like real teens and showed their real struggles. Callender’s writing is also a dream – it was literally so easy to binge read this, and I enjoyed getting lost in their story telling. Even when I got extremely frustrated in this novel, I couldn’t be mad at it truly because I was so swept up. The characters were also extremely detailed, and Nate was a good character to root for. I also loved the inclusion of a hearing impaired character, and this book included the most I’ve ever seen regarding signing and the struggles that I’ve seen in novels. I can’t talk regarding its authenticity, but it certainly seemed right on.
Overall, I’m still not sure what to do with it because it had some major highs but also some substantial lows. I enjoyed the characterization, realism, and writing style so much. However, there were a lot of frustrating choices that has me majorly teetering between Ariel and Belle so much that I just can’t choose. Therefore, an Elsa rating!
Book Princess Reviews receives a percentage of commission from purchases you make after following Book Depository links on our site.
What do you think? Let’s discuss in the comments below!