Book Review: First Time for Everything by Henry Fry

CONTENT WARNING

anxiety/panic attacks, homophobia, emotional abuse, mention of parental death (in past and off page)

Summary

Danny Scudd is a gay man. He had known this for a while and hasn’t hidden it. When everything turns upside down, Danny realizes how lost he is. After finding out his relationship wasn’t the relationship he thought it was and his friends asking him to move out, Danny moves in with his friend Jacob and slowly starts to discover himself. 

I was thrilled to start this. I love seeing character driven stories as they drive to discover themselves. Watching Danny discover himself really left me excited and I was eagerly paying attention to see what would happen. While I loved seeing his developments there were moments that left me scratching my head. 

Plot

As I briefly mentioned earlier, this is a character driven story. First Time for Everything really focused on Danny and his story. With it being so focused on him, there are times where it does feel like the story might lag and stagnant a bit in places as he’s trying to figure out where he is going or what he is doing. Please remember that while reading. 

Now, as Danny is discovering himself, I’m not going to lie, he becomes pretty insufferable. He makes poor decisions all with the idea that he is finding himself, so it’s okay. That does make parts of this hard to read because I just wanted to shake him into actually thinking through things. 

While Danny does have his hard parts, he also has people by his side who are true to him. These people call him out on his bullshit and really make him reflect on what he’s done and who he truly is as a person which I thought was lovely. 

What I really loved here is that there are  positive interactions between Danny and his therapist. Those moments were wonderful to see and I’d love to see more of those in books. 

As Danny explores himself and gets help, he learns a lot about undoing the trauma responses he had that was keeping him from being his true authentic self. This is something that I feel like a lot of people will be able to relate to and allow them to really feel connected to this story. 

One thing that really put me off from this book was some of the constant homophobic slurs. There was so many and it made it hard for me to focus at times. 

Overview

First Time for Everything  is a good debut. It has a storyline that I think a lot of people will be able to relate to. There is some humor (though overall the story has a darker vibe to it). I recommend cautious entry into this one. Really check in with yourself and make sure you are in the right place to read this one. 

Book Review: Carefree Black Girls by Zeba Blay

CONTENT WARNING

racism, racial slurs, sexual assault (mentioned), suicide attempt (mention), suicidal thoughts, police brutality

Summary

In this collection of essays, Zeba Blay celebrates Black women and brings up how their achievements are downplayed or ignored. She doesn’t stop there and continues to talk about all the ways that Black women don’t always get to be ‘care free.’

I truly enjoyed this collection of essays. I thought this was a fascinating look into a few of the issues that Black women face and how that can affect them. Throughout this, Blay isn’t shy to talk about how it has affected her throughout the years. 

Overview

Blay talks a lot about colorism. It’s so ingrained into life and really affects them day in and day out. She brought up a point that there is a missing presence of Black women actors under 30. Dark skinned actresses, not lighter skinned or mixed race ones. It was upsetting to hear that they really couldn’t come up with one under 30 dark skinned actress who had a lead role recently. Even reading this a few months after it has been published, I can’t recall this having shifted even a little. 

With each point, Blay brings up an icon to help bring home her point. Whether it’s for how their bodies are policed or how they can easily slip into the role of the angry black woman, she has someone for every point. 

From a white perspective, this reiterated a lot that I have learned and witnessed throughout pop culture while also giving a little background and history as to why this was as big of a deal as it was. 

Her voice made this easy to read. Once I started, I really didn’t want to stop as she has this way with words that really shines through. Even when it felt repetitive at times, I didn’t mind. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about Black Women’s issues. 

Comic Review: Beyond the Breach by Ed Brission

Summary

When Vanessa’s life seemed to fall apart, she was eager to get away from it all. She needed time to clear her head. Unfortunately, the trip that was supposed to be relaxing turns into anything but that. 

When I first looked at this one I wasn’t sure, but then I had someone recommend it for people who are friends of Stranger Things, so I quickly picked this one up. Gotta, say, this was such a fun journey and I’m really glad that I picked it up.

Overview

Beyond the Breach is a wild journey. The world here is fascinating. There is so much in here as there are a number of dimensions coming together. With all the creatures and aliens in here, I was gripped from start to finish. I never knew what was going to pop up and was thrilled to meet whatever it was. 

Damian Couceiro, the illustrator, did a wonderful job of bringing all the creatures and aliens to live. They were visually stunning to look at. I often found myself pausing so I could look at all the details included. 

I really found myself enjoying this and wanting more. The ending did leave me a little confused as to where this series is going to go as this really seemed to tie everything up, but I’m curious nonetheless.

Thank you to Diamond Book Distributors, Aftershock Comics, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

ARC Review: My Greatest Save by Briana Scurry

Summary

A deeply moving and painfully honest memoir from the trailblazing, World Cup–winning, Olympic gold medalist, and US Women’s soccer goalie Briana Scurry

Briana Scurry was a pioneer on the US Women’s National Team. She won gold in Atlanta in 1996, the first time women’s soccer was ever played in the Olympics. She was a key part of the fabled “99ers,” making an epic save in the decisive penalty-kick shootout in the final. Scurry captured her second Olympic gold in 2004, cementing her status as one of the premier players in the world. She was the only Black player on the team, and she was also the first player to be openly gay. It was a singularly amazing ride, one that Scurry handled with her trademark generosity and class—qualities that made her one of the most popular players ever to wear a US jersey.
But Scurry’s storybook career ended in 2010 when a knee to the head left her with severe head trauma. She was labeled “temporarily totally disabled,” and the reality was even worse. She spiraled into depression, debt, and endured such pain that she closed out her closest friends and soccer soulmates. She pawned her gold medals. She walked to the edge of a waterfall and contemplated suicide. It seemed like the only way out until Scurry made her greatest save of all.

A memoir of startling candor, My Greatest Save is a story of triumph, tragedy, and redemption from a woman who has broken through barriers her entire life.

My Thoughts

I vaguely remember seeing Briana Scurry in a few games, but very few. I knew the strides her and the rest of the “99ers” made for women’s soccer, so being able to relive some of these moments through her eyes was fascinating. 

There is a charm to her memoir that makes it easy to fall in love with her and be invested in her story. She recounts the details of what led up to the ‘96 Olympics and ‘99 World Cup in an incredibly clear way. Giving fans new and old a chance to really relive those moments with her. 

I think the moment that captivated me the most was When Scurry talked about her career ending injury. It was frustrating to read as she really had to fight to get looked at or any sort of treatment, but I really appreciated how vulnerable she was sharing that part of her life. 

Scurry does a wonderful job narrating this. The tone in her voice is comforting and she does a good job of really bringing forth the emotions she wants to convey through her stories. 

If you are a fan of the USWNT, especially if you saw Scurry play, I recommend this. There is a charm to this that really shines through and makes this a truly captivating memoir. 

This is released on June 21st! Be sure to check it out on Tuesday!

Thank you Netgalley and OrangeSky Audio for an ALC in exchange for an honest review. 

ARC Review: Taproot by Keezy Young

Summary

Blue is struggling to move on, but at least Hamal can see him, giving someone for him to talk too or haunt rather. When something in town starts happening, the local afterlife is scared. Blue realizes what’s going on and knows what he needs to do, even if it’s not going to be easy.

The story seemed adorable from the summary. The art quickly drew me in. I was eager to read this story of this gardener and a ghost. From the cover, I couldn’t wait to see their story and I was not disappointed.

Art

I loved the art here. It was so soft and comforting. It took me a while to read because I would stare at the art and admire it. I wanted to get all the little details and wanted to see them again and again.

Plot & Character

This was a short story, but it still managed to give us a good feel for their situation and the characters. It was easy to fall in love with them and be developed in what was going on with them. I cared about them and wanted to see where the story was going in hopes that they would be okay. That’s all I wanted was for these characters to be okay and happy.

Even though I was able to fall in love with them quickly, I did find myself a little upset with the shortness. Everything happened so quick and sometimes I would have liked it to linger on a few things to give more importance, build up and just explain things a little more.

The epilogue was cute, but because the story was as short as it was, it felt almost like a part two rather than an epilogue.

Overview

Overall, this was a cute graphic novel that warmed my soul. It’s a nice fantasy story that was a quick read.

Thank you to Oni Press and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Be sure to check this out on June 28th!

Book Review: Such a Pretty Smile by Kristi DeMeester

CONTENT WARNING

violence, sexual violence, gaslighting, emotional manipulation

Summary

Lila has secrets that she can’t tell anyone. Her father is too busy with his new family nor her mother who is a local celebrity. Slowly, she has to learn how to use her voice. 

Caroline hears dogs, dogs that no one else can seem to hear. She brushes it off due to her insomnia and stress, but as things get worse her fiance asks her to seek out help where she is given pills to fix it and nothing more. But, that doesn’t help her. 

Lila and her mother, Caroline, now need to figure out what is going on to save themselves. 

This book sounds thriller and creepy. It delivers on that, but I still found myself a little disappointed with the delivery. 

Plot

This story is not only told from two different POVs, but the POVs are also at different times. Lila’s is set in 2019 and Caroline’s in 2004. Usually, this would be a point of confusion for me, but it wasn’t bad. While it was showing what the characters were going through and how it was similar, their voices and experiences were different enough that I didn’t have problems remembering as I read. 

What ended up being confusing for me was figuring out what was going on. It was fun to try and guess, but once it ended I was still sitting there with questions, wondering exactly what was going on. Even now I’m still wondering exactly where this falls as it wasn’t clear to me at all. It felt very open ended and up to interpretation which could be fine, but I feel with this one being open it loses some of the power it had. 

With me not fully getting a grip on if this is a paranormal story or not makes a lot of the messages that are hidden deeper in here fall a little flat for me? It’s fully possible that it’s not that, but how many messages DeMeester was trying to fit in here. Between all the messages and how they were combined, it just caused them to be jumbled for me. 

DeMeester really wove in the difficulties of being a woman in a patriarchal society throughout the story in a number of different ways. It was refreshing to read as she hit on points that I don’t think all books hit on and I do think that ties in well. 

Overview

Overall, this is a hard book for me to really rate and review. While I do feel like it had themes that were done well, I also feel like they got a little jumbled. I loved the underlying themes and the horror vibes that it had, but with the plot there was just something lacking. 

With the themes this book has, I do feel like a number of people could find themselves enjoying this. 

Book Review: Queerly Beloved by Susie Dumond

Summary

Amy has always done her best to blend in because after all being gay in mid-2010s Oklahoma isn’t easy. When she is outed at her job, she’s fired and scrambling to figure out what to do next. After what was supposed to be a one-time bridesmaid for hire situation, Amy realizes that maybe she could make a whole business of it and sets out to do just that. 

I went into this thrilled to read a sapphic romance set in mid-2010s Oklahoma. I quickly began to realize that this book was not really a sapphic romance. In fact, it was something completely different with the romance as something far far in the background. I do think I was able to look past it, but that was a disappointing pill to swallow.

Plot

The plot focuses on Amy. Queerly Beloved gives her the space to breathe and grow. Readers get to see a lot of her as she navigates the waters of her bridesmaid business. The ups and downs of it, the reader gets to see it all. I did like seeing this. Amy was so uncertain about it at first, but really grew into the job and found something she really loved after losing her baking job she loved. 

Now her development was nice. She really learned to be confident with herself and who she is even if everyone around her isn’t comfortable with that and that was nice to see. 

Characters

Since the focus is solely on Amy and her growth, the side characters do fall short. They are underdeveloped and really feel like they are there solely to help further develop Amy. I didn’t feel the connection between any of them. Even Joel and Amy who were supposed to be incredibly close, I didn’t feel that connection with them. Their interactions were bare minimum, so there is no seeing it. Readers are simply told that they are close. 

The romance falls under that too for me. Readers do get the chance to see Charley and Amy go on a few dates, so they do have more interaction than I feel like some of her friends do, but then Charley is missing throughout half the novel, so it still feels unbalanced. It’s a roller coaster of a ride and not really in a good way. 

Overview

While I think the side characters are pushed out of the way and the romance is a second thought, I do feel like if someone goes into this book knowing that they might be able to enjoy it as Amy does have decent character development.

Monthly Wrap-Up – May 2022

Wow. May is now gone and we are in June now. Where did the time go? I’m not sure, but happy Pride Month everyone!! I’m so excited and ready to dive into a whole new bunch of books this month. I am hoping for most of the books to be LGBTQIA+ or at least by LGBTQIA+ authors. I have a list of books ready to go, but for now, let’s see how I did last month.

Throughout the month of May, I managed to read 21 books! For just getting back into reading, this really feels like a huge jump and I gotta admit, I’m proud of myself for it. Best fact of it all, a lot of them were backlogged ARCs. Not proud of how many backlogged ARCs I have, but I’m working on it and making good progress which I am proud of!

How did your May go? Are you happy with the ready you were able to do? What are you hoping for from June?

Goodreads Monday

I’m here again with another Goodreads Monday! This weekly meme was started by Lauren’s Page Turners and is now being hosted by Budget Tales Book Blog. To participate all you have to do is choose a book from your TBR and show it off.

The randomizer this week has led me to find The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta. The summary on Goodreads is as follows:


MEET KIRANMALA: INTERDIMENSIONAL DEMON SLAYER
(Only she doesn’t know it yet.)

On the morning of her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey… until her parents mysteriously vanish and a drooling rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Turns out there might be some truth to her parents’ fantastical stories-like how Kiranmala is a real Indian princess and how she comes from a secret place not of this world.

To complicate matters, two crush-worthy princes ring her doorbell, insisting they’ve come to rescue her. Suddenly, Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. There she must solve riddles and battle demons all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld and the Rakkhoshi Queen in order to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it…


When I saw this one, I really had completely forgotten about it. Had no idea this was on my list and I’m a little angry about it. This sounds like such a fun middle grade adventure! I’m eager to dive into this one and see if it’s as good as it sounds! I have two friends who have enjoyed it, so my hopes are high!

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? If you haven’t read it, is it one that is on your radar? Let me know!

Weekly Wrap-Up – May 29th

Hello, everyone!

This was certainly one of those weeks that went by fast and incredibly slow at the same time. I ended up with a cold that drained me for a day, but I’m feeling better now! Not to mention, it is basically summer! The weather is warmer, the sun has been out… more-ish. It rained a lot, but that doesn’t make me any less excited for summer! I’m really hoping to enjoy the sun while reading!

What I read

This was a good week for reading! I finished a few books I had been reading for a while as well as some audios. Best part was, I really enjoyed these finished reads!

Currently Reading

When was the last time I was only reading one book? I can’t even remember, but this is the one I’m focusing on right now. I’m not very far into it, but having love Kasie West’s work before I’m sure I’ll end up loving this one too.

Blog Posts

Shows I Watched

  • Stranger Things – New season came out Friday, so of course I watched. They really upped the horror this season. It was all so good! The acting was incredible! Everyone really blew it out of the park. I’m eagerly awaiting part 2.

Music I Listened To

I didn’t really have any music that I listened to this week unfortunately.

That’s it for this week. How did your week go? What are you reading now or hoping to get read this week? Remember to take care of yourself this week. Be kind to yourself.