• Horror Manga Reviews

    Jisatsu Circle

    Based off of the cult film, Suicide Circle, the distressing nature of this manga hits the reader hard and fast. A stunning thriller that is difficult to put down, I ended up reading it in one sitting. The story follows Kyoko as she watches the descent of her childhood best friend, Saya, the only survivor of a mass suicide. Kyoko finds herself pulled deeper into the mysteries of a suicide cult as she attempts to save Saya. “How do you relate to yourself?” The scary part of this manga isn’t the gore, though it is very gorey. No, the real horror here is psychological. Saya and the other girls of…

  • Poetry Book Reviews

    Our Numbered Days

    If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing slam poetry or have never heard of Neil Hilborn before then I strongly urge you to check out some of his performances, particularly OCD and Joey. It will give you an idea of his voice and the strong emotional impact of his writing. “Love how you hate yourself sometimes, because goddamn, at least there’s still something to hate.” Our Numbered Days is a brilliant collection because it challenges readers to ask questions about themselves and take a look at their lives. Hilborn tackles some extremly heavy topics such as heartbreak, mental illness, depression, and suicide. Many of the poems are emotionally raw…

  • YA Contemporary Book Reviews

    Bad Romance

    Bad Romance is a heartbreaking story about relationship abuse and self-loathing, and one of the most accurate portrayals that I’ve ever read. The book is exceptionally well-written, with developed characters that talked and acted like typical teenagers. It shows how a troubled home life can drive a young woman into the arms an abuser, trapped in a relationship because of dependency. Grace’s character changes gradually over course of the novel as her relationship with Gavin steadily spirals downhill. One of the things that worked really well for this novel is that it starts from the beginning, when Grace met Gavin and how they fell in love. Too often with stories…

  • YA Contemporary Book Reviews

    Thirteen Reasons Why

    This is a difficult story to unpack and process. The book tackles suicide and a number of other incredibly heavy themes that are not easy to approach and talk about even though they are topics that do need to be talked about, and badly. I can’t decide if I liked or disliked the way that this book was formatted as a suspense novel. While the pacing and set up for the novel makes the book incredibly readable it has it’s flaws. On one end it’s good, it allows Hannah to talk about the different life events that impacted her and sent her spiraling into depression while simultaneously showing the effect…

  • Women's Fiction Book Reviews

    Pretending to Dance

    I had to give myself time after finishing this book because it left me feeling emotionally raw. I wanted to rate and review immediately after finishing as I typically do but I just couldn’t get started. Pretending to Dance is a difficult book to talk about because it deals with some dark topics. Before I get started though, I will say that this book is egregiously mislabeled as a psychological thriller. It’s more of a coming of age novel blended with family saga with a hint of mystery, I don’t know where they got the thriller label from. With that out of the way, I’m a little divided about the…

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