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{Book Review} Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen

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Thank you to Andrews McMeel Publishing for sending my this ARC of Sarah Andersen’s new collection of “scribbles” in exchange for my honest review. This review will be slightly different from my usual reviews, in terms of structure, i.e. there is no real structure.

Some Background:

Sarah’s Scribbles is a webcomic by cartoonist, Sarah Andersen. It generally revolves around the protagonist, bug-eyed and messy-haired Sarah, as she struggles with social anxiety, laziness, body-image issues, and adulthood.

My Thoughts:

Sarah’s comics are not only adorable to look at, but they are also hilariously written. Her way of expressing her thoughts on certain events or daily interactions are both funny and endearing. She brings up issues regarding mental health, anxiety, lethargy, and makes the reader feel like they are not alone in facing similar feelings. I read this collection in one sitting, after a long and rough day, and it instantly cheered me up and had me laughing all through the night. Every little story is so relatable and makes you think about your own ways of dealing with the same things. Have you ever tripped over your words while ordering a coffee or a danish? Have you ever been trapped in an awkward conversation with someone you didn’t really like? Have you ever been caught stealing your boyfriend’s (or girlfriend’s) sweaters? With every turn of the page, I found myself thinking, “Oh, I remember when I did that,” and laughing like a lunatic. The “on the bag” bit just killed me, honestly. But it’s not all just jokes and giggles; Sarah also speaks about her social anxiety and how hard it is to break out of your own self-built shell, something I found highly relatable and refreshingly honest.

Verdict:

I give this book a hearty 4★s! I can’t wait to see more comics by Ms. Andersen and I hope that she writes a book about Comicbook Sarah’s adventures and misadventures one day, because I would order that in a split second. If you would like to check out Sarah’s comics, you can find her on Facebook, WebToons, TapasticInstagram, and her website. So, if you like giggles and cute comics and honest, hilarious accounts of what it’s like to be a not-so-adult adult, then I highly recommend this collection and urge you to check out her collection from last year, called Adulthood is a Myth, which is equally wonderful.

 

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{Book Review} Set for Murder by Jolie Beaumont

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Firstly, I would like to thank Aster Press for sending me this book for review. That in no way influences my review, as I liked some aspects and disliked others, and what follows is an honest review of this novel.

Spoiler-free Summary:

This charming and suspenseful crime novel revolves around a diverse set of guests aboard a luxury cruise liner at the height of the Great Depression and the events that unfold aboard the ship. A young and glamorous duchess is found murdered halfway through the voyage and everyone is a suspect. Anyone, from the young Broadway duo to the sour, old dowager, from an old Vaudeville partner to a resentful young step-daughter, or from a flamboyant French designer to a former jewelry thief, Guy Travers, a Scotland Yard inspector, is forced to find the killer among the ship’s elite before he or she strikes again. The story is filled with suspense and suspicion as both character and reader try to figure out who the killer is in this mystery.

What I Liked:

  • Character Building: The characters were very well-developed and portrayed in a convincing way. They were each unique and layered with their own issues and nuances, making it a very diverse cast for the story.
  • Writing Style: Beaumont’s writing style was very atmospheric and helped create the mood throughout the story. Every scene had a purpose with regards to showing a certain aspect of the characters and propelling the story forward. It also built up the suspense and mystery surrounding the main event in the story (i.e. the duchess’s murder) and kept the story interesting.
  • Place & Time: I loved the fact that the story was set aboard a cruise ship, rather than your typical “it was the butler with the candlestick in the library” sort of setting for a mystery. I also liked the fact that it was very immersive with regards to the era it was set in, i.e. The Great Depression, and the characters fit in very well with the setting.

What I Disliked:

  • Lack of Setting Description: One thing I disliked was the lack of description with regards to the setting. There was a bit of description in passing, but if it weren’t for the dialogue, we wouldn’t really know what the ship looked like. The characters were described with great detail, but the environment itself wasn’t and the fact that the story unfurled aboard a ship in the middle of the ocean was one of the most appealing aspects for me, personally, so I would have loved to get a better mental picture of the setting itself.
  • Pace: The pace of the story was rather slow and although many little things happen throughout the first part of the story, leading up to the murder, I found myself waiting and waiting for it to happen, so that I could get to the actual mystery part of the story.
  • Switching Between Characters: Although the story was written from the perspective of a third person omniscient narrator, the abrupt switches between who the narrator was talking about were very confusing. I had to go back and check who was doing or saying what at which point several times and it made it difficult to keep up with the narrative.

Verdict:

I give this book a hearty 3s, as there are some aspects that I really liked and some that I didn’t. However, the story was interesting and different, and the suspense made me want to keep reading to unravel the mystery of the murder aboard the SS Good Ship Diamond Lollipops (I love that name, by the way).

 

 

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My First Book Challenge: The March Classics Challenge!

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One of the things I love about Bookstagram is that there are so many monthly challenges to inspire you every month. They include daily prompts, usually surrounding a theme, and are just really fun to be a part of and to be creative with throughout the month. So, a couple of friends and I, who are also huge fans of the classics, we decided to create a challenge for the month of March inspired by the classics. Now, fear not, even if you’re not a big fan of the classics or would like to discover some more classics, you can participate in this challenge. It’s not limited to the classics, i.e. you can post whatever you feel expresses the prompt of the day and interpret it however you like. For example, for Day 24 “Bright Star by John Keats (high fantasy or sci-fi)”, you can do anything that you feel expresses either of those prompts, whether it’s posting a photo inspired by Lord of the Rings (e.g. high fantasy) or a photo inspired by the great, big galaxy itself. Just have fun and be creative! I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with! 😀