Review: Leaf by Sandra Dieckmann

I was looking for something comforting and light to read when I couldn’t fall asleep in the middle of the night, and then I see the completely stunning cover of this picture book and was instantly enchanted…Leaf-- bookspoils

When a polar bear arrives unexpectedly in the woods, the animals fear and avoid him, suspecting him to be dangerous – and his habit of collecting leaves only adds to their distrust. Then one day, they watch as he attempts to fly over the water with wings made of colorful leaves…just trying to go home.

Maybe he needs some help?

This tale of acceptance gently highlighting the plight of polar bears in today’s changing climate had me enraptured from start to finish.

I genuinely can’t stop thinking of the utterly vibrant illustrations in here. Like, I tried to close my eyes after reading and all I could see were the lively colors springing up in my mind over and over. Here’s a handful of examples of said occurrence:Leaf 1-- bookspoils

Leaf 2-- bookspoils

Leaf 3-- bookspoils

Leaf 4-- bookspoils

Sandra Dieckmann’s debut picture book about helping outsiders is one heart-warming tale I’d highly recommend.

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: October 10th, 2017

4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Leaf, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: This Is Really Happening by Erin Chack

I’ve been waiting for this particular collection of essays to come out ever since I read the very first essay about a month ago in this preview. And This Is Really Happening really lived up to the hype I’d created in my mind. The writing was just as laid-back, wise, heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny as I’d remembered.

In this book Erin Chack recounts everything from meeting her soulmate at age 14 to her first chemotherapy session at age 19 to what really goes on behind the scenes at a major Internet media company.

She authentically captures the agony and the ecstasy of the millennial experience, whether it’s her first kiss (“Sean’s tongue! In my mouth! Slippery and wet like a slug in the rain.”) or her struggles with anxiety (“When people throw caution to the wind, I am stuck imagining the poor soul who has to break his back sweeping caution into a dustpan”).

And my favorite essays remain to be the first one, where she recounts the story of telling her friends she has cancer. It was so damn poignant yet Chack still managed to insert some of her whip-smart humor. And In “BURY ME WITH POISON IVY,” when she tells the story of how she met her boyfriend, Sean, in school over a decade ago. It was quiet and intimate and so similar to an actual YA novel because the author excels at creating an authentic teen voice. I loved it.

But my attention was held in particular by the sharp insights on every page. We have a broad range of essays in this collection: from going on a ten-thousand-mile trip and getting nearly attacked by a bear towards the end, crappy jobs at the age of ten and then the privilege of working at BuzzFeed, losing her hair because of chemotherapy, meeting her best friend while studying abroad in London, the stress of high school, getting pranked as hell on April Fools, “being frustrated with the version of cancer we see in books and movies” (!!!!) and The Fault in Our Stars, on periods and switching to menstrual cups, and a healthy dose of mortality discussion to top it all off.

The innovative and self-aware remarks had me enchanted from start to finish. And I also loved those inside scoops we got on her workplace:

“I saw John Green once when he came to BuzzFeed to be interviewed for a profile. I can always tell how beloved a celebrity guest is by counting how many BuzzFeed employees pretend to make coffee when he or she visits. The way the office is set up, it’s easiest to catch a glimpse of the person by taking a long, ambling route to the canteen. A lot of people made coffee that day.”

But the piece that stuck with me most was this next one on Chack’s anxiety throughout high school:

“There were so, so many rules about where I was allowed to be and at what time. I was a compulsively good student, but the stress of keeping my grades up ate away at me until I started having panic attacks so violent it felt like I was leaving my body and watching myself drown from across the room. When I finally got to leave the physical confines of school at the end of the day, I went home to mountains of homework. On the weekends, there were projects and reading assignments and studying. There was always studying. That whole year I felt like someone was holding my nostrils to the surface of a murky pond and I could only breathe when I concentrated very hard. One false move and my lungs would fill with water.”

I think about this a lot.

Overall, the essays in This Is Really Happening were everything I’d hoped for: smart, conversational and powerful… Exactly what I look for in nonfiction collections.

4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying This Is Really Happening, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: Giant Days, Vol. 5 by John Allison

I was in a really foul mood today and was more than ready for it to change, when I decided to read the latest volume of Giant Days, and lo and behold it worked like magic.Giant Days Vol. 5 2-- bookspoils

Freshman year is finally coming to a close and Daisy, Susan, and Esther say goodbye to Catterick Hall forever. Literally forever. It’s being bulldozed and re-purposed as a luxury dorm next semester. But as one door closes, another opens and between end of semester hookups, music festivals, and moving into their first home together, the life experiences are just getting started.Giant Days Vol. 5 3-- bookspoilsI’ve been following the adventures of the Giant Days group for over a year now, so I felt like a proud mother when I got to see the ending of Daisy, Susan, and Esther’s freshman year. They’ve been through quite a lot together, and I’m beyond ecstatic that I got to tag along.

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite moments the group went through in this volume (with a few subtle spoilers ahead):

  • Esther finding a way to make money with the help of Ed, but then it turns out to be a shifty kind of business deal.Giant Days Vol. 5 5-- bookspoilsThe Saul-Goodman-type lawyer that helped them out made it all the more laugh-out-loud worthy.
  • Susan is still mournful about McGraw moving on with new his girlfriend, Emilia Martinez.Giant Days Vol. 5 1-- bookspoilsThe mention of the song More Than Words made me crack a smile thanks to Noora Sætre.
  • Speaking of music, getting to see the girls at the Avon Valley festival was exciting as hell. Especially having Daisy – my favorite- out and about enjoying the fresh air and the songs.Giant Days Vol. 5 6-- bookspoils
  • Also, shoutout to this subtle shoutout given to the Steven Universe characters in the background:Giant Days Vol. 5 7-- bookspoils
  • I was over the moon when both Daisy and Esther wanted to be the mom-friend:Giant Days Vol. 5 8-- bookspoils
  • And another wave of proudness fled over me (I can’t help it) when the girls went furniture shopping at IKEA for their new home:Giant Days Vol. 5 9-- bookspoils#relatable.

All in all: I’m excited to see what the start of year two will hold in stores for us. I cannot wait!!

4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Giant Days Vol. 5, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!