Review: Literally Me by Julie Houts

Literally Me is a bizarre and sharp observational collection of darkly comic illustrated essays satirizing modern female identity. However, I was thrown for a loop going into this because I came expecting something along the lines of How to be Alive by Tara Booth, meaning a book full of illustrations with little to no text. So you can only imagine my confusion when I opened up the first essay, thinking it was nonfiction, parodying the unrealistic expectations brides tend to set for their big day, only to read this: “I would recommend doing a colonic an hour before walking down the aisle. I did, and my stomach was so flat it was basically concave.”Literally Me 5-- bookspoils

In the stories following, we have comically wild bits and bobs, including:

-The beauty routine of a deranged bride who aspires to be “truly without flaws” on her wedding day.
-What happens when Kylie Jenner has an existential crisis and can no longer “step out.”
-A journey to Coachella by the Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse.
-The true dating confessions of a fembot.
-The terrifying description for Alice Staunch’s book How to Be a Perfect Feminist. 
-The diary of Fiddle Ficus, a tree that lives inside a CÉLINE store, and much more.

Full disclosure: I thought I would get accustomed over time to the weird nature behind each story, but I never really did with my reading experience… So in the end, I just went ahead and let myself focus on solely soaking in the bold illustrations in Literally Me.

Literally Me 1-- bookspoilsSame, but with those damned off the shoulder tops.

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

Expected publication: October 24th, 2017

2.5/5 stars

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


Review: The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

This long-awaited second collection of poetry by Rupi Kaur made waves; it was a ride brimming with of every kind of emotion imaginable. Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.

Kaur’s voice is as audacious and brave as ever. She nails to perfection the specific intimate details that made her writing so achingly real in milk and honey. We have poems exploring self-love, self-hate, body-image, girls supporting girls, motherly love, feminism, insecurity, sexual assault, and so much more. I read through it in a whirlwind. I barely put it down, and it was so short I didn’t even have to.

The author’s smart, poised, and down-to-earth writing oozes inspiration. And I’m beyond eager to share some of my favorite pieces: The Sun and Her Flowers 1-- bookspoils
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I’ll never grow tired of reading Kaur’s passionate words. And I hope there’s more and more to await in the future, regarding her poetry.

4/5 stars

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

Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Having to wait on the release for this illustrated collection of original fairy tales since the start of the year was nearly excruciating. I even went ahead and read The Too-Clever Fox by Leigh Bardugo a month after the news to calm my eagerness. But here I am finally ready to dive into my long awaited review for this collection!

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

“And what lesson am I to learn from this story?” asked the beast when she was done.
“That there are better things than princes.”

#1: “Ayama and the Thorn Wood.”

The Language of Thorns 1-- bookspoils

An original retelling of a forest that demands to hear only the truth and nothing but the truth, which made for a clever, wordy, high-spirited read. It also delivered a compelling mix of Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White, excelling at capturing the chilling and gleaming atmosphere.

“And can this ugly beast not speak for himself?”
The beast looked upon his father and said, “A man like you is owed no words. I trust Ayama to tell my story.”

#2: “The Witch of Duva.”The Language of Thorns 2-- bookspoils

A twistingly clever take on the wicked stepmother trope. Seriously, that ending couldn’t have messed me up more. Leigh Bardugo was making it quite the challenge to move on seamlessly from story to story while delivering such blows at each end.

“Karina who had given herself to a monster, in the hope of saving just one girl.”

Also, coming to the realization that AURORA’s Runaway fit like a glove for this tale was so fulfilling. From the lyrics to the visuals in the video, I was continuously mesmerized.

“I got no other place to go
But now take me home
Take me home where I belong
I can’t take it anymore.”

#3: “Little Knife.”The Language of Thorns 3-- bookspoilsBardugo once again succeeds to bring about an unexpected turn of events. And I have to note that I came to endlessly appreciate her for sharing the message that our heroine’s story doesn’t have to end with finding romantic love (not specifically talking about one tale here), even going so far as to make that the damn point of it all.

“It was I who built the tower of trees,” said the river.
“And I who earned the mirror from Baba Anezka. It was I who found the magic coin. And now I say to you, Yeva Luchova: Will you remain here with the father who tried to sell you, or the prince who hoped to buy you, or the man too weak to solve his riddles for himself? Or will you come with me and be bride to nothing but the shore?”

“The river carried her all the way to the seashore, and there she stayed. She said her prayers in a tiny chapel where the waves ran right up to the door, and each day she sat by the ocean’s edge and watched the tides come and go. She lived in happy solitude, and grew old, and never worried when her beauty faded, for in her reflection she always saw a free woman.”

Easily the best ending I’ve read in awhile.

Overall, I was enamoured by this deliciously feminist collection of atmospheric folk tales filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

4.5/5 stars

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