When the Bees are Long Gone (Stung – A Book Review)

Stung (Stung #1)
Author: Bethany Wiggins
Published: 2013

On Goodreads

Stung - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

 

There is no cure for being stung.

One minute Fiona is thirteen and being put to sleep for her safety and the safety of everyone else, the next she wakes up older and confused. There’s a strange tattoo on her hand, but these tattoos marked the infected, mindless, violent beasts.

Worse, she’s on the wrong side of the wall. She doesn’t know why or how, except that she’ll have to conceal her tattoo by any means necessary, especially after she’s caught by the militia. Now she’ll have an old friend and a new, shaky ally to stay alive as it becomes more obvious that she isn’t like the other tattooed beasts.

In this world, where a bee sting was more dangerous than anything else, Fiona may just help save it. That is, if she doesn’t end up dead first.

 

Fiona reawakens in a world that has completely crumbled because of the extinction of bees. People have to self-pollinate their fields. Women are scarce. Violent being that were once people roam the desolate world, destroying any living thing that crosses its paths.

 

How was this book? It is straight down the middle for me. It was good, but it wasn’t great. Call me psycho or morbid or anything, but I’ve always wondered about a world without the bees. It’s a real possibility. They’re going extinct and it sucks. I love bees. They help gives all kinds of things we need from food to beauty to life. So, I was pretty amped up. BUT. Yep, a but. Everyone has them and we all like to shake them. So, here’s a little shake-shake. There were pros and cons to this book.

Fiona was an interesting character. She struggled with her new reality because in her head she still felt like she was thirteen. I found that to be one of the COOLEST things in this book. It was so unique and incredibly realistic. Fiona had to play catch-up really fast and she had some help from her old neighbor/slash friend, Bowen, who’s no longer thirteen either, but seventeen, nearly eighteen. While there’s a spark between them, the progression between them went from subtle and gentle to suddenly macho speed and was very weird. He was so guarded against her and by the end of the book it was as if he couldn’t live without her. Just the way it came about was too rushed for my liking.

Scarlet Reader - Slow Down

The plot of the story was predictable and reminded me of The Maze Runner, but I loved it anyway. The way it came about was unique and bleak. I was thriving to see more of it. Wiggins did such a great job creating this dead world. I could imagine the dead and barren, grey wasteland and the vibrant, tech city behind a great wall. The law and lack thereof in this universe were horrifying. You don’t want to be a girl here. Although, not going to lie, I wouldn’t mind reading a book where men are the rare ones alive. Just saying.

Some parts of the book came off as ridiculous and filler. Not good filler either, sadly. The flashbacks on Fiona’s life really added to her backstory, but it was some of the interaction between her and Bowen that felt like too far of a stretch. Like, it was forced. However, there were some lines that were so good they took my breath away.

As I said, this book was right down the middle.

 

Overall

I like and didn’t like this. It’s really a 50/50. I may read the sequel just to see how it goes for Fiona and see if she and Bowen could have a life together. This wasn’t a mind-blower, just a decent read to pass the time.

 

Quotables:

“I don’t remember going to sleep. All I remember is waking up here—a place as familiar as my own face.” (Fiona, p. 1)

“I will not die without fighting for a life I am not yet done living.” (Fiona, p. 253)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Crave by Tove Lo.

 

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Mind Over Phobias…and Curses (A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares – A Book Review)

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares
Author: Krystal Sutherland
Published: 2017

On Goodreads

Semi Definitive List of worst Nightmares - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

A family.

A curse.

A greatest fear.

Esther’s family has been haunted by a curse. See, each family member dies from their fear. Dad is agoraphobic. Mom is terrified of bad luck. And her twin cannot be in the dark. All of this leads to Esther living an interesting life.Esther is searching for hers and has an ever-growing list of phobias that might be what she’s cursed with.

When Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, a boy she used to know, she is left stranded at a bus stop. He took everything down to the fruit roll-up and that list of possible fears. They make a strange pair, but Jonah is determined to help Esther through her list. Turns out, she may be afraid of the one thing she didn’t even think about. Love.

This book started out curious and intriguing and snowballed into me loving it a LOT. This was upbeat, yet personally heavy. An incredibly unique story not only about fears and approaching fear, but also dealing with anxiety and other mental illnesses. This book made them so vivid real. For people who don’t fully understand what it’s like, they’ll get a close up

Scarlet Reader - Perfect

There are so many more phobias than I have ever thought about. (Here’s a site where you can have a look for yourself-here.)My best friend has countless. I love her to pieces and always ALWAYS support her and encourage her that it’s okay. It’s no joke to make fun of a person who has them whether they are rational or not. They give people some serious anxiety. I always try to help her work on them, but it’s easier said than done. Mostly, I try be the comic relief. It’s not dumb or ridiculous. I worry about her, but I know she’s a toughie. There are just some things that affect us. I have a fear of spiders sometimes, but that’s because they think I’m a jungle gym. My fight with the dark is worse than an on again off again relationship. More than anything, failure and the thought that I am greatly unneeded, are what often haunts me. By unneeded I don’t mean being a needy human. No, I mean that I have no purpose on this planet and am useless. These fears and matched anxieties are ones I am working on overcoming every day. We should all work on overcoming our fears. Oh, and heights. Heights are tricky because I’m not afraid of climbing them. It’s the idea of falling from them. And I certainly WON’T divulge on my clown fear. They eat people, people! *shivers*

The characters were phenomenal. Seriously. BRAVA. complex, diverse, and opposite of each other. Esther was extremely awesome. From being determined to face her fears even though some of them are pretty scary to dressing up as inspiring characters, both real and fiction, she was brave, strong, and human. Whether she realized it or not, people were drawn to her. Jonah Smallwood, for example. Funny and kind, he was the hot sauce on her ice cream. Sounds gross, but trust me, it’s so GOOD! So spicy and sweet. A fantastic combination if there ever was one. He supports her with no cruelty or frustration or impatience that could be normally received from somebody who doesn’t have any understanding of what it’s like to feel an uncontrollable amount of fear that just squeezes tightly around you like a boa constrictor, taking the air right out of you. He’s even kind to her whole family, not judging or distancing himself just because they have their beliefs with their phobias. I completely melted.

Dead of Winter

The style of story was buoyant, like floating in an air balloon, or so I imagine-the balloon part. All floaty, though there’s that bit of nervousness because all you’re in is a human-sized picnic basket with a massive balloon and a blazing torch keeping it up. So, a little nerve-shaking. But, the view is impeccable. Completely breathtaking and totally worth it. This book is definitely breathtaking. Invigorating even, but I can relate to it so much. The rule-breaking, risk-taking, and life-changing moments were unbelievable. Lighthearted, yet intense and heartbreaking. Just magical with so many emotions so perfectly placed and written.

The ending left me with my jaw on the floor. While the exploration of mental illness was quite serious, I was still left shocked because there was a twist! I was guessing on and off throughout the book about Esther’s serious need to face-off with Death and by the end I was breathless. I had to read it twice. I can’t give too much away, but I was stunned.

mindblown

Overall

Tackling a real world issue in a light of bravery and determination. This wasn’t about love conquering all. It was about overcoming an all-consuming struggle. It encourages understanding for those who face not only fears, but actual illnesses that most people don’t believe

Quotables:

“God, so basic. I can’t decide what would be more tragic, dying at seventeen, or having the most cliché funeral ever.” (Esther, p. 9)

“Fears can’t become full-blown phobias if you avoid them, and phobias can’t kill you if you don’t have them.” (Esther, p. 60)

“Tolkien knew a lot of stuff, but he knew nothing about the dark souls of moths. No way a moth would’ve helped Gandalf. Least believable part of Middle-earth.” (Esther, p. 94)

“Murals were a well-known-gateway drug to feelings, and she couldn’t have any of that.” (Esther, p. 101)

“Depression was a real sneaky asshole.” (Esther, p. 147)

“Love was a trap, a sticky trap of molasses meant to bind two people together. It was a thing that couldn’t be escaped, a weight that people strapped to their own legs before they waded into the water and wondered why they drowned.” (Esther, p. 268)

“Everyone we let into our lives has the power to hurt us. Sometimes they will and sometimes they won’t, but that’s not a reflection of us, or our strength. Loving someone who hurts you doesn’t make you weak.” (Eugene, p.315)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Lucky Day in Hell by Eel.

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Thin Line Between Love and Alchemy (Bloodlines – A Book Review)

Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Published: 2011

On Goodreads

Bloodlines - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

18/25

Love and loyalty run deeper than blood.

Sydney Sage is still suffering repercussions for aiding dhampir Rose Hathaway in a shaky alliance that has deemed her a vampire sympathizer by everyone. Alchemists believe that vampires—Dhampir, Moroi, and Strigoi are unnatural creatures, but they’re not there to stop them. They’re there to protect humans.

Woken in the middle of the night, Sydney is given a second chance when charged with guarding the young Moroi, Jill Dragomir—younger sister of Queen Lissa Dragomir—at a California boarding school after an assassination attempt. As they try to adjust to being roommates at Amberwood Prep, threats, distractions, and forbidden romance test Sydney’s patience. She can’t risk getting to close to Jill or else she’ll lose whatever chance she has at regaining her family’s trust, but she’s beginning to care about Jill as she gets to know her and discovers her secrets.

This book marks 18 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. I’ve heard many good and interesting things about Vampire Academy. I also find alchemy to be intriguing.

I never read Vampire Academy. *GASP* I know. I know. How incredulous. There was and still quite a hubbub about it just like with Twilight and Shadowhunters and I just can’t get myself to. Not right this second anyway. Something about it having so much attention makes it feel overhyped and I don’t want to be overhyped in case my expectations take a shit. So there are a few titles on hold, but I’m going to say this spin-off is a delightful gateway.

Scarlet Reader - Giphy

I must say, while I expected more than just an investigation into students getting freaky abilities from metallic tattoos and Jill being stalked, I was intrigued. I find alchemy to be an interesting subject. Science + Magic = Alchemy. And Richelle brought a mysterious, heroic elegance to it. Alchemists are granted abilities, but like with the vampires of this universe, they aren’t invincible. I found that to be creative. The structure and building of this world was really interesting. I just wish there had been more to the supernatural feel.

Sydney (an alchemist) and Adrian (a vampire) were quite the opposites while Jill was softhearted with her other guardian, Eddie, secretly pining after her. Richelle created a delicate balance with these characters. I really enjoyed how she wrote them. They each had their own personal struggles that you wouldn’t see on the outside because they’re so well guarded. These characters didn’t give me any kind of over-dramatic feels even though there were times I wish they did. Sydney was serious while Adrian was comical. That can always be a fun dynamic. They were sweet, each like a flower. Maybe that’s tacky, but that’s how it was to me. There was an elegance.

I wasn’t thrown for any loops. Some parts were actually pretty predictable, but that didn’t make it any less entertaining when the villainy targeting both Sydney and Jill was revealed. It was the emotional pull that kept me attached. Sydney, though she tried not to, she became attached to Jill and even to Eddie. She didn’t wish any harm to them, though to others they, along with Adrian, are considered unnatural beasts. I could really feel that connectivity and that really kept me engrossed.

Scarlet Reader - Quirk Books

Overall

This was a book that had me a little curious, but it didn’t strike me as super interesting. I hope to read the next book though. I’m hoping to see what happens between Sydney and Adrian, because there’s DEFINITELY something bubbling between them. I also want to see more supernatural bits and rebellion. Sydney seems like the type that just might rebel. While this book didn’t feel intoxicated with the usual dose of magic and supernatural, it did strike closer to realism.

Quotables:

“It didn’t matter that people expected everything of me and nothing of him. We were still the same, both of us constantly trying to break out of the lines that others had defined for us and be our own person.” (Sydney, p. 282)

“Something in the way he was looking at me froze me up and made my stomach do flip-flops though I couldn’t quite articulate why. I only knew that he looked as though he was seeing me for the first time.” (Sydney, p. 413)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Secrets by OneRupublic.

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Backpacking Across Worlds (The Ragwitch – A Book Review)

The Ragwitch
Author: Garth Nix
Published: 1991

On Goodreads

Ragwitch - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Paul is easygoing while his sister Julia is adventurous. While playing along the beach one grey afternoon, they happen across a strange spot on the shore and Julia finds a peculiar doll. Suddenly, the siblings are thrust into a world they never imagined.

Paul never imagined being a savior, but that’s the role everyone puts him into. All he wants to do is save Julia. She suffers, possessed by the Ragwitch, an evil that brings ruin. She is not alone though. With allies of her own, she fights for her being as Paul fights the Ragwitch’s army to save her and the Kingdom of Yendre.

Garth Nix, author of the Abhorsen trilogy and Shade’s Children, brings forth The Ragwitch. Nix jumps right into the story without any dawdling. Once moment these kiddos are playing around and the next they’re stepping into a whole different world. I really liked how he just jumps right in. It grabbed my interest instantly.

The story follows both siblings, detailing their journey through both of their eyes. I found this to be unique. Both POVs were incredible, expanding such amazing storytelling from a battle for the Kingdom of Yendre to the battle for one’s soul. The detail was fantastical and reminded of so many other great journeys’ like J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and C.S Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia that leave you breathless and wishing the journey didn’t end. It’s that element that makes you sad when a story ends.

Scarlet Readers - Endings

While this was adventurous and enchanting with magic, it was also silly and cute. This was a splendid balance and Nix did it well. What has surprised me the most is that each person and magical being that Paul happened across during this great pilgrimage has helped him out without a question or expectation. Not once was he treated as an outsider, though it was very obvious that he wasn’t from around Yendre. Lives were given and nobody batted an eye, like he was the savior they’ve been waiting for even though no prophecy was mentioned whatsoever.

Paul and Julia were just mere kids, but that meant nothing with the great responsibilities that they shouldered. These siblings are complete opposites but so close. There were many moments I just wanted to snatch them up and shield them. Paul broke free of his shy shell, though his fainting spells didn’t dim a bit and he fell asleep for most of the journey, he became a warrior and leader alongside Qwerty, A Friend of Beasts, Tanboule, the wise, and even the great elementals. Julia had the hardest battle between the two of them. Rather than hide in a dark crevice of herself and let the Ragwitch win, she rose up to battle for control and to free herself of the evil hag. She risked losing everything. Both of them had their weaknesses though. Paul has a habit of fainting A LOT while Julia wanted to just give up at times. This made me like them even more because this only showed how human they were and humans have limits they have to battle everyday.

Nix’s imagination blew me away. He can build a world that can compete with Tolkien in my opinion. He’s always had strong originality that is pure and untouched. It’s utterly striking how he can create a world like Yendre off the coast of Australia in a far away land. It was beautiful and vast. I can’t talk about it enough.

Overall

Fantasy beyond my wildest imaginings. Creatures unheard of and phenomenal storytelling. Garth Nix has always impressed me. I loved the Abhorsen trilogy and had no doubt that I’d love this one as well. He follows no traditional path and creates such amazing worlds.

Quotables:

“The stars don’t lie—but they can be mischievous. There’s nothing they like more than a joke, particularly if it’s a long one, played on someone who deserves it.” (Tanboule to Paul, p. 79)

“The stars see everything, and look deep into everyone below them.” (Tanboule, p. 306)

“Questions, questions, questions. No one ever just comes for a spell. They always want conversation as well.” (Patchwork King, p. 360)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Punching in a Dream by The Naked and Famous.

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The Jungle Will Consume You (Heart of Darkness – A Book Review)

Heart of Darkness
Author: Joseph Conrad
Published: 1899

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader - Heart of Darkness

My Rating: Full boltFull bolt

 

There is a taint of death, a flavor of morality in lies-which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world—what I want to forget.

Up the Congo River, follow Marlow on his journey. He meets Mr. Kurtz, an ivory trader who has a mysterious, godlike presence over the region and its inhabitants. During his journey, Marlow is obsessed with the man. Both intrigued and disgusted by him, Marlow is shown the darkness and despair that dwells within man in this jungle.


This review is going to be shorter than my usual ones and that because I didn’t really enjoy this one. There was nothing wrong with it, we just didn’t mesh. Sometimes the bookworm and the book just don’t work. This is one of those cases. I did finish it. I just can’t say that I enjoyed it.


The theme of the darkness that dwells inside humanity was really strong in this one. In the depth of the wild which draws out the beast even in men—a side that we often don’t like to think about or imagine that we have. You never see it until you’ve been pushed to limits you never knew existed. I mean, this is more than just button pushing. This is mind-breaking.

The style of the short story was poetic and dark and bridged on horror. Horror that lives in people that nobody knows about, not even that very person sometimes.  It was chilling and deep and read much like a journal. Though the story was short, it took me some time to get through it, like crawling through molasses, which I don’t like. It was detailed not so much visually, but philosophically, I felt. In some places, I was left in awe by Conrad’s words and in others I was falling asleep. It was a real push and pull.

Scarlet Reader - Gifer

The characters, Marlow and Kurtz, came across maniacal in their own way. Marlow was obsessive to a very scary level that made goosebumps crawl all over me. Right up until the end he was unable to even think about anything else unless it had to do with him. Kurtz came across as a very unstable individual. Narcissism became very dangerous in the form of this character. Everything circulated around him. Each felt incredibly drawn out which was another part of the reason I wasn’t fond of the story.

 

Overall

I enjoy diving into classics. There’s a wisdom in them that can and should be taken away from each of them. The lessons they teach or emphasize upon is so important. However, I didn’t enjoy this very much. I seriously struggled to get to the ending. The is one of those that is either eye-opening or it is just blah. I fell to the blah side.

 

Quotables:

“The fascination of the abomination—you know, imagine the growing regrets, the longing to escape, the powerless disgust, the surrender, the hate.” (p. 4)

 “The earth seemed unearthly. We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there—there you could look at a thing monstrous and free.” (p. 32)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Absence of Fear by Jewel

 

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Buzz Buzz Little Crow (Black Bird of the Gallows – A Book Review)

Black Bird of the Gallows (Black Birds of the Gallows #1)
Author: Meg Kassel
Published: 2017

On Goodreads

black bird of the gallows - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

A simple but forgotten truth:

Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues of soon be full.

Angie Dovage knows there’s more to Reece Fernandez than the tall, athletic boy of mystery that the whole school is swooning over, just like he can tell there’s more to her than the spazzy band-geek. When he tells her that him being here, in her town, means a great tragedy will strike, she knows he must be full of it, right? But then why is there a murder of crows always around him? Why is he sneaking off and to who know where?

When something dark and supernatural attacks Angie, she’s lucky that Reece is there to help her. Then fellow students and people around town have been going crazy. She’s left with more questions than answers. There’s a battle between good and evil, chaos and death, she never saw coming. In the middle of it all, and which is a bad idea, she may or may not be falling in love with a harbinger of death

 

The cover of this book is utterly gorgeous and breathtaking!!!!! If that didn’t make me curious enough, then the mysterious back cover did. All around, this book drew my interest and I enjoyed it! It was quirky and funny mixed with the drama of teenage love mixed with the chaos of an intriguing mythos around the harbinger of death and creator of chaos.

Scarlet Reader - Excited

the approach to magic was genius and unique. Major disasters became so much more. So did animal mythos. Evil bees? I love bumble bees so I surprised when they were used as a force of evil. The logic behind was awesome though. Same with crow. It was like the dark met the light and the light met the dark in this book and was sprinkled with love and a hint of tragedy from the main characters. Everybody has a little tragedy though, right?

Scarlet Reader - Black Bird of the Gallows

The magic was incredibly enchanting, yet dark, reminiscent of Sleeping Beauty in that way. It wasn’t overbearing, but perfectly fitting into everyday life, perfectly hidden. This design was beautiful.

Angie was both interesting and not. There were times I wasn’t into her. She’s a teenager, so she’s going to have those dramatic moments, but her tone came off goofy. She rambled off from time to time and it seemed pointless. But I loved her relationships with her dad and her friends and how mixed up she felt for Reece. I admired her passion. It was louder than a bass dropping at a rave.

I love Love LOVED the style and unique vocabulary that Kassel used to sweep this book away. It was brilliant and refreshing and kept my attention with such enthusiasm. I giggled. I felt my heart break. I was swelling with emotion and engulfed in the words.

 

Overall

I’ve never read anything like this before. Something that was both enchanting and chaotic and tragic and yet, filled with love. My big problem? The ending felt hugely rushed and vague and confusing. I was as clueless as Angie and Reece were, but more so because there was no real hint as to how everything happened. And the special possibility about magic in Angie’s family? It didn’t feel very solid. I was more fascinated than anything so it was easy to let those bits slide. I feel like they’ll possibly come into play in later books, which I hope to read someday.

 

Quotables:

“Crack your bones and eat the marrow, snap your spines like broken arrows.” (p. 104)

“…I don’t kiss guys who don’t tell me what planet they’re from.” (Angie, p. 119)

“Death doesn’t require a prediction. It’s an inevitability.” (Reece, p. 128)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles

 

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Monsters of Man (to make monsters out of girls – A Book Review)

to make monsters out of girls (the things that h(a)unt #1)
Author: amanda lovelace
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

to make monsters our of girls - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

this is how I bury you

Amanda Lovelace comes back with this epic first book in a duology answering the question, and contemplating it: What happens when the man of your dreams turns out to be a nightmare with sharp teeth?”.

Poetry takes a turn into the dark and scary. Boundaries are non-existent as Lovelace’s memory of an abusive relationship is explored from unimaginable angles.

The eternal question that she also faces, that we all face: Can you heal once you’ve been marked by a monster, or will the sun always sting?

 

Lovelace is always amazing when it comes to being vulnerable. She lets out ever part of her for the world with her modern and inventive poetic style. It’s what I love about her books. She takes the average box and not only jumps outside of it, but rips it to shreds, destroying the expected shape and stanza of prose poetry.

She segmented her book into parts, that for me, were curious.

pt. 1 – monster-boy

pt. 2 – monster-girl

pt. 3 – sun-heart

 

What was really awesome about this novel was also something I couldn’t fully agree upon. Lovelace approaches the idea of comparing abusive men to monsters. Throughout time (and my own personal studies) monsters are debatable. If asked, the common ones are vampires, werewolves, zombies, Frankenstein, Creature of the Black Lagoon, and the list goes on. But a lot of these have been divulged upon that they’re not so much monsters as they are just creatures turned dark by humans, which I agree with. They’re not evil 100% of the time just like people. So, as I read this book, man became its own terrifying monster over being like the ones we know through history. But for me, that’s also because an abusive man is scarier than any mythological, literary, film monster ever could be.

There’s artwork! Having read the princess doesn’t die in this one, I was excited to see artwork right alongside Lovelace’s work. It was chilling and perfectly paired to show the horror she was expressing through her words. It’s like getting hit by a million pinpricks.

Relatable on a very real level for anyone who’s been through abuse or knows somebody who has. Not just across the U.S., but the entire planet, women and men have grown stronger and braver in coming out about abuse they’ve suffered through. It’s become scary at how often it really happens and the fear it instills in people, keeping them from being able to speak out. This book was incredibly brave and vicious. It’s good to be vicious. To fight back and prove that you come back stronger from something that could destroy you because you destroy it instead. Triggers are very real, and I thank Lovelace for putting that warning in there before the beginning.

 

Overall

While I didn’t enjoy this book as I have her other one, it still approaches a major subject from an incredibly personal position, a firsthand one. The bravery of that alone is applauded. One thing I have to say is that you may not get a full feeling for what Lovelace expresses in this book if you haven’t experienced this pain before or seen it firsthand. It won’t make for a terrible read if you’ve never experienced things like this, but it’s an outside perspective versus and inside one.

 

Here are a few poems that I really enjoyed and that really ripped into me:

 

you had years
on me
&
I wanted
to drag
my teeth
across the surface 
of every one
of them.
 

-red & the wolf (p. 20)

 

I found this to be one of the most interesting ones with how Lovelace brings up the Grimm’s Little Red Riding Hood in which the wolf is actually a monster. Like I said, I don’t believe all creatures are monstrous, but this one definitely is. The wolf of the tale is known for not only being stalkerish, manipulative, and murderous of a young girl, but rapey, too. This shed light on the question of age, and at what point it is okay to be with someone older or younger than you.

It reminds me of the latest subject flitting across the internet, too: grooming. If you don’t know what it is, it’s when an adult builds a relationship, which is usually private/secret, with a young child/teen. While it puts on the front of friendship and/or guidance, behind the scenes it is boyfriend/girlfriend and deemed a type of sexual abuse. There have been many cases made across the decades.

Thankfully, at the end of the tale, Red splits the wolf open, making him regret coming onto her.

 

on the days 
you decided you

were still in this
we me,

ancient trees
leaned into my touch;

will-o’-the-wisps
swarmed around me;

butterflies
made nests in my hair;

falling stars
tangled in my eyelashes;

nectar oozed
from my fingertips;

& even oceans
feared the multitudes in me.
 

-moon made up of honey (p. 41)

 

The imagery of this one has to be my favorite. So strong and powerful. Sweet. Fantastical.

 

he may have gone,
but I’m still finding
his fingerprints
on every surface
of me.
 
-intruder (p. 66)

 

This one can be interpreted in many ways. Positive and negative. Horrifying or straight up heartbreak. Whether she is talking about a woman whose boyfriend, the love of her life, has broken up with her, leaving only memories and heartbreak behind, or the survival of sexual assault, trying to scrub away the feeling of it and never feeling clean enough, never feeling like the assaulter let go, is still a mystery to me. This one can be divided among many situations and emotions, I feel.

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Never Be Like You by Flume feat. Kai.

 

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