Weekly Update

In case you missed it, here are this week’s blog posts:

  • Review: The Mental Load by Emma
  • Review: She’s the Worst by Lauren Spieller
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d love to have as a best friend
  • Review: Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine
  • Tag: Anything But Books
  • Review: Smooth Criminals, Vol. 1 by Kiwi Smith & Kurt Lustgarten

I’ve been reading:

Recently acquired:

  • Nothing this week!

1 thing this week:

  • I scheduled this post very far in advance because at the time it posts, I’ll be in Tennessee!

Blog hopping:

  • Kristi is doing a giveaway to celebrate her two-year anniversary!
  • Brittany is also doing a giveaway! Hers is to celebrate hitting 500 followers! (Congrats!)

Song of the week:


How was your week? What’s the best thing you read or listened to? Anything interesting happening in your life? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Smooth Criminals, Vol. 1 by Kiwi Smith & Kurt Lustgarten

Smooth Criminals, Vol. 1 by Kiwi Smith & Kurt Lustgarten
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Source: Borrowed

When a bit of hacking goes wrong, geeky Brenda accidentally unfreezes Mia, a master cat burglar from the 1960s. Together, they work to pull off a heist bigger than either of them could have dreamed…and solve the mystery of Mia’s cold storage in the proc

When Brenda, geeky hacker extraordinaire, accidentally awakened Mia, an international jewel thief frozen in the 1960s, she wasn’t sure what to expect…but it surely wasn’t a new partner in crime! With their powers combined, they decide to pull off the heist of the century and with fifty years of catching up to do, Mia already has a target in mind. Writers Kirsten ‘Kiwi’ Smith (Legally Blonde) and Kurt Lustgarten (Misfit City) and illustrator Leisha Riddel swing into action and steal the show with this daring and hilarious caper of time-melding suspense.

I found this graphic novel in the new releases section at my library and couldn’t pass it up! I love the concept of a thief frozen in time and accidentally set free by a hacker.

The first volume of this series is a lot of fun, and the action kept me really engaged throughout the four issues. The storyline definitely moves along with one thing happening after another, but one problem I had was that every issue basically just ends with no resolution. I’m left wondering what the heck is going to happen next, and since the next four issues aren’t out yet, I assume I’ll be waiting a while to find out what Brenda and Mia will get up to.

I think that this series has a lot of promise, but it might be better to wait until at least the second volume is out before picking it up.


Have you read Smooth Criminals? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Tag: Anything But Books

I was tagged by Consu to do the Anything But Books tag! I don’t get a lot of chances to talk about things I love other than reading on my blog anymore, so this sounds like it’ll be a lot of fun!


Name A Cartoon Character That You Love

Tina from Bob’s Burgers.

What Is Your Favourite Song Right Now

Not sure how I’m supposed to choose one single favorite song, but I’m feeling a resurgence of my love for Strange Desire by Bleachers, and especially the song “Wake Me.”

What Could You Do For Hours
(That Isn’t Reading)

Play with cats, pet cats, talk about cats… basically anything dealing with cats.

What Is Something You Love To Do That Your Followers Would Be Surprised By

I don’t know if there’s really anything that my followers would be surprised to hear that I enjoy, but maybe going to comic book stores? This is a new thing for me and I’ve found that I really enjoy it!

What Is Your Favourite Unnecessarily Specific Thing to Learn About

I love reading about linguistics, especially modern linguistics. I love hearing about how language is evolving and how things like emojis and acronyms find their way into our everyday lives. Modern linguistic trends are really interesting to me, too, like vocal fry (the creaky voice that’s stereotypically used by bored teenage girls at the end of a sentence).

What Is Something Unusual You Know How to Do

People that don’t work in medical coding might think it’s unusual that I have pretty much every dermatology-specific procedure code memorized, along with what documentation is necessary to bill for it.

Name Something You’ve Made in The Last Year (And Show Us If You Can)

I have made a lot of things in the last year, but one that I was happiest with is these chocolate-dipped cheesecake bars that my boyfriend and I made back in February. (Also pictured are chocolate chip cookie lava cakes.)

What Is Your Most Recent Personal Project

Hmm, probably decorating my apartment. I’ll share pictures once it’s done (provided it looks how I’m imagining) but it’s going to be based around one of my favorite series.

Tell Us Something You Think About Often (Maybe While Staring Out of Windows)

Without being too dramatic… the indeterminate future where I’m working at a job I actually enjoy and living in New York.

Give Us Something That’s Your Favourite, But Make It Something Oddly Specific

Sunday excursions with my boyfriend. We go out for lunch, usually go in a few shops downtown, look around the library for a while, sometimes get ice cream, and really just go wherever and do whatever we feel like. It’s such a nice and relaxing way to spend a Sunday while still having a lot of fun.

Say The First Thing That Pops Into Your Head

I’m tired.


I’m not tagging anyone specifically to do this, but please link back to me if you do your own post! What’s your favorite oddly specific thing? What’s your favorite song right now? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine

Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 1, 2015
Source: Purchased

Killing and Dying is a stunning showcase of the possibilities of the graphic novel medium and a wry exploration of loss, creative ambition, identity, and family dynamics. With this work, Adrian Tomine (Shortcomings, Scenes from an Impending Marriage) reaffirms his place not only as one of the most significant creators of contemporary comics but as one of the great voices of modern American literature. His gift for capturing emotion and intellect resonates here: the weight of love and its absence, the pride and disappointment of family, the anxiety and hopefulness of being alive in the twenty-first century.

“Amber Sweet” shows the disastrous impact of mistaken identity in a hyper-connected world; “A Brief History of the Art Form Known as Hortisculpture” details the invention and destruction of a vital new art form in short comic strips; “Translated, from the Japanese” is a lush, full-color display of storytelling through still images; the title story, “Killing and Dying”, centers on parenthood, mortality, and stand-up comedy. In six interconnected, darkly funny stories, Tomine forms a quietly moving portrait of contemporary life.

Tomine is a master of the small gesture, equally deft at signaling emotion via a subtle change of expression or writ large across landscapes illustrated in full color. Killing and Dying is a fraught, realist masterpiece. 

I found this book for $2.00 at my library’s annual used book sale. Being someone who generally enjoys graphic novels, I thought I didn’t really have a lot to lose by buying it. It took me a little bit of time to get around to reading it, but I finally read it over a couple lunches at work.

When I first started this one, I really enjoyed it. I liked “A Brief History of the Art Form Known as Hortisculpture,” mostly because I liked the twist at the end. It really did not end in a way that I expected, and I appreciated that. I also really enjoyed “Amber Sweet” and the more or less unexpected ending that one had as well.

The other four stories, though? I was not a huge fan. I don’t know if I’d really call them “darkly funny” like the synopsis promises. I didn’t find them particularly emotional, and, in fact, really felt very little of anything as I was reading them.

In the end, I’m not mad that I bought this, but it’ll be going to a Little Free Library or back to the used bookstore with me one of these days.


Have you read Killing and Dying? Have you enjoyed any great graphic novels recently?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d love to have as a best friend

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is characters I’d love to have as a best friend, which I could have sworn we did before… but I think I was thinking of answering this question in a few tags over the years.


either Alex or Henry from Red, White & Royal Blue


Lucy from The Hating Game


Belle from In Bed With the Beast


either Josh or Hazel from Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating


Daisy from Anything You Can Do


Luka from Infini


Emily from Since You’ve Been Gone


Bailey from Alex, Approximately


Daisy from Hothouse Flower


Lily from The Allure of Dean Harper


Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! Which book characters would you like to be best friends with? Let’s talk in the comments!

ARC Review: She’s the Worst by Lauren Spieller

She’s the Worst by Lauren Spieller
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Source: ARC via Netgalley

Sisters April and Jenn haven’t been close in years. Jenn’s too busy with school, the family antique shop, and her boyfriend, and April would rather play soccer and hang out with the boy next door.

But when April notices her older sister is sad about staying home for college, she decides to do something about it. The girls set off to revive a pact they made as kids: spend an epic day exploring the greatest hits of their childhood and all that Los Angeles has to offer.

Then April learns that Jenn has been keeping a secret that could rip their family—and their feuding parents—apart. With only one day to set things right, the sisters must decide if their relationship is worth saving, or if the truth will tear them apart for good. 

Let’s talk about the things that drew me to this book before we talk about my actual opinions on it:

✔️ a book about sisters
✔️ the cover (especially the expressions on the two girls’ faces)
✔️ going away to college
✔️ an “epic day” together
✔️ the general hype I’d seen surrounding this book

So, all things considered, I probably should have loved this book. In the end, I was kind of indifferent. Objectively, there was nothing inherently wrong with it, but I think I might be over the target age for this one, or maybe this type of story just isn’t my cup of tea.

I could appreciate the conflict between the sisters. I could appreciate how awkward it would be for Jenn to have the conversation in question with her family, two adults who can barely keep themselves together and a younger sister with her own life and her own concerns. I could appreciate the idea of the book, a day filled with memories and excursions and family bonding.

What I could not appreciate was the constant drama.

You see, the main conflict in this book could have been resolved in about five seconds if Jenn had just opened her mouth and had a meaningful conversation with literally anyone in her family. Instead, everyone dances around the topic. Jenn avoids an uncomfortable conversation even more deftly than I do. I’ve talked so many times about how much I hate the trope of purposeful miscommunication. In this book, it just came across as childish. I understand that I was reading a book about teenagers, but one of these girls is college-aged. She should be at least trying to act like she’s ready to be an adult.

And, really, don’t even get me started on the parents. I’m sure that parents like this exist, but their existence seems to be primarily in the realm of YA novels. These are parents who are barely capable of surviving without the help of their daughter, who somehow own a business that they don’t know how to run, who blatantly ignore the issues that their children have in favor of their own petty arguments. I can understand how this type of parent creates a backdrop for a story like this, but it’s still very frustrating to me to read a YA novel with stereotypically terrible parents.

Overall, though, I thought that the writing was good. Although the characters frustrated me, they were well-developed and came with their own backstories and their own problems. The thing that kept me from enjoying the book was the constant childish drama, but that might just be my perspective as someone about a decade past the target demographic for this one.


Have you read She’s the Worst? Can you recommend any good books about siblings?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: The Mental Load by Emma

The Mental Load by Emma
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 26, 2018
Source: Borrowed

In her first book of comic strips, French artist Emma reflects on social and feminist issues by means of simple line drawings, dissecting the mental load, ie all that invisible and unpaid organizing, list-making and planning women do to manage their lives, and the lives of their family members. Most of us carry some form of mental load – about our work, household responsibilities, financial obligations and personal life; but what makes up that burden and how it’s distributed within households and understood in offices is not always equal or fair. 

In her strips Emma deals with themes ranging from maternity leave (it is not a vacation!), domestic violence, the clitoris, the violence of the medical world on women during childbirth, and other feminist issues, and she does so in a straightforward way that is both hilarious and deadly serious. If you’re not laughing, you’re probably crying in recognition. Emma’s comics also address the everyday outrages and absurdities of immigrant rights, income equality, and police violence. 

I guess I should start off this review by saying that before I stumbled upon this book in a local bookstore, I had never heard of Emma or her blog. I think this will be a fairly short review because I don’t have a ton of thoughts about this book — I appreciate what it’s aiming to do, but I don’t necessarily think it’s a groundbreaking piece of work.

The thing is, the people that are going to pick up this book are likely people who already agree with the author. I can’t imagine many people who are anti-feminist picking up a book that literally says “a feminist comic” on the front cover. I didn’t find much in this book that was new to me, despite the fact that I don’t necessarily consider myself well-read when it comes to feminist theory.

I think my favorite section of this book, and the one that was most interesting to me, was the one titled “You Should Have Asked.” This is where Emma brings up the mental load — the extra work that women in heterosexual relationships stereotypically have to do. I found myself nodding along as I read, recognizing behavior from past relationships and finally realizing what had been wrong that I hadn’t been able to put into words.

Aside from that, the book is mostly a collection of the author’s thoughts on several highly political topics. I agreed with some and disagreed with others. I wasn’t really pulled in by the art style and the font could be pretty hard to read at times, so I got distracted a lot while reading about the topics that I wasn’t terribly interested in.

Still, if you’re looking for an accessible primer for feminism, this graphic novel would be a great place to start.


Have you read The Mental Load? Can you recommend any good books dealing with feminism?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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