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I’M GLAD MY MOM DIED by Jennette McCurdy 🎧

A heartbreaking and hilarious memoir by iCarly and Sam & Cat star Jennette McCurdy about her struggles as a former child actor—including eating disorders, addiction, and a complicated relationship with her overbearing mother—and how she retook control of her life.

Jennette McCurdy was six years old when she had her first acting audition. Her mother’s dream was for her only daughter to become a star, and Jennette would do anything to make her mother happy. So she went along with what Mom called “calorie restriction,” eating little and weighing herself five times a day. She endured extensive at-home makeovers while Mom chided, “Your eyelashes are invisible, okay? You think Dakota Fanning doesn’t tint hers?” She was even showered by Mom until age sixteen while sharing her diaries, email, and all her income.

In I’m Glad My Mom Died, Jennette recounts all this in unflinching detail—just as she chronicles what happens when the dream finally comes true. Cast in a new Nickelodeon series called iCarly, she is thrust into fame. Though Mom is ecstatic, emailing fan club moderators and getting on a first-name basis with the paparazzi (“Hi Gale!”), Jennette is riddled with anxiety, shame, and self-loathing, which manifest into eating disorders, addiction, and a series of unhealthy relationships. These issues only get worse when, soon after taking the lead in the iCarly spinoff Sam & Cat alongside Ariana Grande, her mother dies of cancer. Finally, after discovering therapy and quitting acting, Jennette embarks on recovery and decides for the first time in her life what she really wants.

Told with refreshing candor and dark humor, I’m Glad My Mom Died is an inspiring story of resilience, independence, and the joy of shampooing your own hair.


Title : I’m Glad My Mom Died
Author/Narrator : Jennette McCurdy
Format : Audio
Page Count : 6 hours, 25 minutes
Genre : Memoir
Publisher : Simon & Schuster Audio
Release Date : August 9, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

I feel weird rating this memoir as if I’m rating the life of Jenette McCurdy. I’m not rating her life but if I was, to date, I’d give it one star. However, this was such as well written memoir, engaging, sad, frustrating and witty. McCurdy is a sharp writer, intelligent and (now) insightful.

This book was a tough read in many moments. It focused on abuse and eating disorders. The nature of parental abuse had me shocked quite frankly, it was odd and very damaging. The insight into showbiz kids was incredibly eye opening.

All kudos to McCurdy for her journey, her hard work to overcome some of the damage and courage on leaving acting behind; I have a lot of admiration for her.

I listened to this book on audio and I have to say, narrated by the author, it brings something extra to the piece. Thank you to LibroFM for the audio review copy.

Content warnings: disordered eating, physical, sexual, emotional abuse, alcohol abuse

https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781797147949

ALONE WITH YOU IN THE ETHER by Olivie Blake

Chicago, sometime. Two people meet in the armory of the Art Institute by chance. Prior to their encounter, he is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. After their meeting, those things do not change.

Everything else, however, is slightly different.

Both obsessive, eccentric personalities, Aldo Damiani and Charlotte Regan struggle to be without each other from the moment they meet. The truth – that he is a clinically depressed, anti-social theoretician and she is a manipulative liar with a history of self-sabotage – means the deeper they fall in love, the more troubling their reliance on each other becomes.


Title : Alone With You In The Ether
Author : Olivie Blake
Format : Physical
Page Count : 288
Genre : Contemporary Fiction
Publisher : Tor Books
Release Date : November 29, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3.5 – 4 star review

I’m finding this a difficult story to rate and I’m not convinced by my rating stil.

This story was a sweeping example of messy love. These characters of Aldo and Regan are consuming their complexity and problems. Both characters had diagnoses of mental illness, those illnesses while sometimes overwhelming, were not the sum of them. Regan by far was the most complex of the two and her chaotic take on life, sex, relationships and ethics had me reading through my fingers at times and gritting my teeth for the impending implosion but…(here is where you read the book for yourself).

Aldo seemed a little more grounded while still off in his world of theoretical mathematics and time. I liked him more than Regan even though I feel like this story reveals more of Regan. I totally got why these two worked at times and why they didn’t at others. It is hard to like or love these characters though.

There’s a definite irreverance for conventionality in this book and I really appreciated that element. There’s nothing linear about this plot or how it begins and ends; that’s its beauty. However, sometimes the chaos was confusing in moments and I didn’t always understand the why of these characters.

The author note at the end is utterly impactful and the more I think about the story and author note as I write this review, the more I think this might be nearer 4 stars than 3.5. Blake’s exposition at the end brings focus to the context and characters in a very real way. I respect her hugely for that.

Thank you to Tor Books and Black Crow PR for the review copy.

GODKILLER by Hannah Kaner

You are not welcome here, godkiller

Kissen’s family were killed by zealots of a fire god. Now, she makes a living killing gods, and enjoys it. That is until she finds a god she cannot kill: Skedi, a god of white lies, has somehow bound himself to a young noble, and they are both on the run from unknown assassins.

Joined by a disillusioned knight on a secret quest, they must travel to the ruined city of Blenraden, where the last of the wild gods reside, to each beg a favour.

Pursued by demons, and in the midst of burgeoning civil war, they will all face a reckoning – something is rotting at the heart of their world, and only they can be the ones to stop it.


Title : Godkiller
Author : Hannah Kaner
Series : Godkiller #1
Format : eARC
Page Count : 296
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher : Harper Voyager
Release Date : January 19, 2023

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★.5


Micky’s 2.5 star review

I’m keeping this a short-ish review with thoughts in the positive and negative.

Positive:
The concept of gods, how they could be created, sustained and killed was so interesting
The characters’ sexuality, fluidity and how that played into this world
Elo was a great character
Great late plot twist

Negative:
Incredibly slow pacing, it was hard to stay invested
The middle section where the characters journey and journey felt lacking in excitement
Skedi was very annoying

I can see this book has worked well for many but for me it generally fell flat and if there’s more to come, I don’t think I’ll be joining in.

Thank you to Harper Voyager for the eARC.

MISTAKES WERE MADE by Meryl Wilsner

From the critically acclaimed author of Something To Talk About comes a sharp and sexy rom-com about a college senior who accidentally hooks up with her best friend’s mom.

When Cassie Klein goes to an off-campus bar to escape her school’s Family Weekend, she isn’t looking for a hookup—it just happens. Buying a drink for a stranger turns into what should be an uncomplicated, amazing one-night stand. But then the next morning rolls around and her friend drags her along to meet her mom—the hot, older woman Cassie slept with.

Erin Bennett came to Family Weekend to get closer to her daughter, not have a one-night stand with a college senior. In her defense, she hadn’t known Cassie was a student when they’d met. To make things worse, Erin’s daughter brings Cassie to breakfast the next morning. And despite Erin’s better judgement—how could sleeping with your daughter’s friend be anything but bad?—she and Cassie get along in the day just as well as they did last night.

What should have been a one-time fling quickly proves impossible to ignore, and soon Cassie and Erin are sneaking around. Worst of all, they start to realize they have something real. But is being honest about the love between them worth the cost?


Title : Mistakes Were Made
Author : Meryl Wilsner
Format : eARC
Page Count : 352
Genre : Romance/LGBTQIAP+
Publisher : Kathering Tegan Books
Release Date : October 11, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

Headlines:
Age-gap and incredibly messy love
Steamy

The characters and the plot of Mistakes Were Made centred on a significant age gap between two bisexual women, in additon, that connection in the form of having a thing with your best friends’s mom…right at the beginning, I thought oh hell. Suffice it to say, the title seems a little understated.

As the situation at the core of the story played out, I wanted to be on board with it but it felt somewhat icky to me from beginning to end. The one night, then affair with your best friend’s mom, got me so uncomfortable. I felt that Parker’s feelings were never really considered as they should have been by the MCs and that made me overall sad at the plot and a reluctant bystander to the ensuing drama. The resolution felt unrealistic to me.

Having read and enjoyed Wilsner’s debut, it was a bit of a suprise how steamy this read was. Her last book really wasn’t. I was mostly on board with that element but the scenes felt a little too frequent at times compared to plot development that might support the steam.

Overall, I could have got on board with the age gap much easily without the triangular connection. I’ll definitely seek out Wilsner’s next book and hope for a less messy context.

Thank you to Piatkus Books for the eARC.

SAINT by Adrienne Young

As a boy, Elias learned the hard way what happens when you don’t heed the old tales.

Nine years after his lack of superstition got his father killed, he’s grown into a young man of piety, with a deep reverence for the hallowed sea and her fickle favor. As stories of the fisherman’s son who has managed to escape the most deadly of storms spreads from port to port, his devotion to the myths and creeds has given him the reputation of the luckiest bastard to sail the Narrows.

Now, he’s mere days away from getting everything his father ever dreamed for him: a ship of his own, a crew, and a license that names him as one of the first Narrows-born traders. But when a young dredger from the Unnamed Sea with more than one secret crosses his path, Elias’ faith will be tested like never before. The greater the pull he feels toward her, the farther he drifts from the things he’s spent the last three years working for.

He is dangerously close to repeating his mistakes and he’s seen first hand how vicious the jealous sea can be. If he’s going to survive her retribution, he will have to decide which he wants more, the love of the girl who could change their shifting world, or the sacred beliefs that earned him the name that he’s known for―Saint.


Title : Saint
Author : Adrienne Young
Series : Fable 0.5
Format : Physical
Page Count : 352
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Titan Books
Release Date : December 16, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Still read after Fable/Namesake
Quietly brooding Saint

As a self confessed fan of the Fable series, the addition of Saint’s book just brings a 360 degree feeling to the series. I have come away from this feeling that even though its a prequel, it’s best read after Fable and Namesake. I think going into this book with the whole history of Saint good and bad is great, but more importantly, how you perceive Saint in the next books would be skewed if read first.

Saint was dark, brooding, quiet and contemplative. He was a fierce figure, quite severe in some ways but there was a slightly softer centred that slowly revealed itself. I enjoyed seeing the start of his and Clove’s sketchy sea life, the rye trade and that family. In addition, seeing Holland in earlier days sealed my negative thoughts of her. Isolde was a understandably secretive but she was honest and open in other ways.

The connection between these two I would describe as gentle, bourne of distrust but building into more. I wanted to see a bit more of that on the page but that’s probably just my love of the series and characters coming through.

I just loved this reading journey, being back in the world, the peril, adventures, allegiances and enemies. The series truly feels complete now.

Thank you to Titan Books for the review copy.

A FAMILIAR STRANGER by AR Torre

Such a quiet and ordinary wife and mother. Who will even notice what she’s done?

Lillian Smith leads an unexceptional life, writing obituaries and killing time with her inattentive husband and disconnected son. Then she meets David, a handsome stranger, in a coffee shop. Lured into an affair, she invents a new persona, one without strings, deadlines, or brooding husbands.

Lillian has never felt so reckless, unpredictable, or wanted. But as her affair with David intensifies, she withdraws from everything that’s real, even her closest friend. When evidence of her life as a secret lover finds its way onto her son’s social media, she risks ruining much more than her marriage or reputation.

As lies beget lies, Lillian’s two worlds spiral dangerously out of control. And betrayals run deeper than she imagines. Because Lillian isn’t the only one leading a double life.


Title : A Familiar Stranger
Author : AR Torre
Format : eARC
Page Count : 275
Genre : Thriller
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer Books
Release Date : September 27, 2023

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Double lives
Stale relationships
Who dunnit?

A Familiar Stranger was a joy of an easy thriller. AR Torre serves up unlikeable characters as ever and as a reader, you suck it up like a delicious feast. This dysfunctional family at the centre, their cold connection but reluctance to make change made for early investment. As things got wilder, I couldn’t put it down.

There were a number of POVs but they weren’t overused, nor were they confusing. Mostly this was told from Lillian’s seemingly (but not) mundane perspective with the occasional Mike thrown in. Mike was a character who seemed without feeling, calculating and unfathomable in ways. Jacob was the sad victim of circumstances.

I didn’t like David but I did like the life Lillian found in the marina. I have no words for Sam. The mental illness exploitation was uncomfortable but not unrealistic in this plot; that element saddened me. I didn’t like how Lillian’s POVs turned out but I guess it kept a train of events in a way that would have otherwise been difficult.

Overall, I find AR Torre’s thrillers to be her sweet spot and they almost always work for me.

Thank you to Thomas & Mercer for the eARC.

FAIRYTALE by Stephen King 🎧

Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. 

Then, when Charlie is seventeen, he meets Howard Bowditch, a recluse with a big dog in a big house at the top of a big hill. In the backyard is a locked shed from which strange sounds emerge, as if some creature is trying to escape. When Mr. Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie the house, a massive amount of gold, a cassette tape telling a story that is impossible to believe, and a responsibility far too massive for a boy to shoulder. 

 Because within the shed is a portal to another world—one whose denizens are in peril and whose monstrous leaders may destroy their own world, and ours. In this parallel universe, where two moons race across the sky, and the grand towers of a sprawling palace pierce the clouds, there are exiled princesses and princes who suffer horrific punishments; there are dungeons; there are games in which men and women must fight each other to the death for the amusement of the “Fair One.” And there is a magic sundial that can turn back time. 

 A story as old as myth, and as startling and iconic as the rest of King’s work, Fairy Tale is about an ordinary guy forced into the hero’s role by circumstance, and it is both spectacularly suspenseful and satisfying.


Title : Fairy Tale
Author : Stephen King
Narrator : Seth Numrich
Format : Audio
Page Count : 24 hours, 6 minutes
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher : Hodder Books
Release Date : September 6, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★.5


Micky’s 3.5 star review

Headlines:
This book had phases
A sort-of many retellings
Radar was the star

This book reeled me in quick fast but the goodness promised in that first third didn’t pan out. This is a book with phases, the first third was completely contemporary fiction and surprisingly, that was my favourite part. Seeing Charlie and his struggles, meeting and getting to love the grumpy Mr Bowditch and all that wrapped up with the old fluff of Radar, had me connected.

I knew this story was going to get fantastical, after all, that title says it all. When it did delve into the other worldy place, it was interesting but suprisingly, not as engaging as the first part. However, I was still invested mostly for Radar.

When the book hit the final third, it went really slow. The pacing was off, the plot was unwieldy and my investment waned. The resolution was ultimately satisfying apart from Charlie’s relationships with the Empis people.

Narration wise, this was well narrated. Some of the dialogue had irritating moments but some voices were meant to be annoying.

Overall, if this had been shorter and had more later plot direction, I would have enjoyed it more. This was a bookclub read and a good one for upcoming discussion.

A SHADOW IN THE EMBER by Jennifer L Armentrout

Born shrouded in the veil of the Primals, a Maiden as the Fates promised, Seraphena Mierel’s future has never been hers. Chosen before birth to uphold the desperate deal her ancestor struck to save his people, Sera must leave behind her life and offer herself to the Primal of Death as his Consort.

However, Sera’s real destiny is the most closely guarded secret in all of Lasania—she’s not the well protected Maiden but an assassin with one mission—one target. Make the Primal of Death fall in love, become his weakness, and then…end him. If she fails, she dooms her kingdom to a slow demise at the hands of the Rot.

Sera has always known what she is. Chosen. Consort. Assassin. Weapon. A specter never fully formed yet drenched in blood. A monster. Until him. Until the Primal of Death’s unexpected words and deeds chase away the darkness gathering inside her. And his seductive touch ignites a passion she’s never allowed herself to feel and cannot feel for him. But Sera has never had a choice. Either way, her life is forfeit—it always has been, as she has been forever touched by Life and Death.


Title : A Shadow In The Ember
Authors : Jennifer L Armentrout
Series : Flesh & Fire #1
Format : ebook
Page Count : 695
Genre : Fantasy Romance
Publisher : Blue Box Press
Release Date : October 19, 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Micky’s 5 star review

Headlines:
Finished 2022 with a bang
Off shoot series gold
Dragon alert

Flesh and Fire series started blew From Blood and Ash out of the water for me. I think some of this was because I am comfortable and knowledgable in this world, I know most how it works, who are the good and bad guys, so there was limited world building needed. But more than that, I just adored the two main characters in this book so much.

Sera came from interested progeny but boy, did that evolve. Her life in some ways had similarities to Poppy. She was fierce, wreckless but loyal. I hated her brother and really liked Sir Holland, but wanted to know more.

As to Ash, he was mystery but I knew all along who he really was…that didn’t make it any less delicious in execution. These two together were irreverant, argumentative, quietly caring and literally oozing chemistry. How both their family lines evolved and mapped out their future was brilliant reading.

I’m gutted I don’t have the next two books just to roll straight into because these plots are intricate and I’m pretty obsessed with knowing what happens next.

I loved ending 2022 with five stars!

FORESTFALL by Lyndall Clipstone

The stunning sequel to Lyndall Clipstone’s Lakesedge, for fans of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and Brigid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely

At the lake’s edge, I made my promise. In the forest, I will fall.

The curse that haunted Lakesedge Estate has been broken, but at great cost. Violeta Graceling has sacrificed herself to end the Corruption.

To escape death, Leta makes a desperate bargain with the Lord Under, one that sees her living at his side in the land of the dead. And though he claims to have given her all he promised, Leta knows this world of souls and mists hides many secrets.

When she discovers she is still bound to Rowan, Leta goes to drastic lengths to reforge their connection. But her search for answers, and a path back home, will see her drawn into even more dangerous bargains, and struggling to resist the allure of a new, dark, power.


Title : Forestfall
Author : Lyndall Clipstone
Series : Lakesedge #2
Format : Physical
Page Count : 416
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher : Titan Books
Release Date : October 11, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Micky’s 3 star review

Headlines:
Life under
Unwelcome family
Triangles

This rather dark fantasy du0logy continued with Forestfall and after book one which I enjoyed, I was pretty invested in this story. I don’t know why in retrospect but I really didn’t expect the love triangle we got, partly because I thought I knew where the female MC’s allegiances were; I was wrong.

This story continued in the land of the Lord Under and I did like reading about life there, where Violetta found herself and the family of the Lord Under. I didn’t like the separation between her and Rowan but we were set up for that previously.

Violetta’s conflicted feelings, her actions and the fast-paced journey to resolution didn’t hit the high I felt with book one but I was glad to see this duology to it’s end. I found it less dark than book one, probably because the corruption lost it’s fear in me as a reader.

Overall, this wasn’t as strong as book one for me, but I am glad I followed it to its conclusion.

Thank you to Titan Books for the review copy.

CURSED by Marissa Meyer

It isn’t true, she wanted to whisper. To lean forward and nuzzle her cheek against his temple. To press him against the wall and mold her body to his. I am not his. I will never be his.

Serilda and Gild cannot break the curses that tether their spirits to Adalheid’s haunted castle. There they remain trapped for eternity. On the night of the Endless Moon, the Erlking means to capture one of the seven gods and so be reunited with his lover, Perchta, who has been banished to the underworld.

But it soon becomes clear that the Erlking’s hunger for vengeance won’t be satisfied with a single wish, and his true intentions have the power to alter the mortal realm forever.

Serilda and Gild have no choice but to thwart his plans, all the while solving the mystery of Gild’s forgotten name, and freeing all the ghosts kept in servitude to the dark ones. As the evil forces gather, it seems only their love is strong enough to sustain them . . .


Title : Cursed
Author : Marissa Meyer
Series : Gild #2
Format : eARC
Page Count : 539
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Faber Children’s
Release Date : November 8, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

This is a conflicted opinion again from me regarding this duology and I find myself coming out in the 3’s again, which makes me sad. There’s things I love about this duology and a couple of issues that override the love which I’ve outlined below.

I liked:
The characters, from His Grim to Serilda, Gild, the children and more
The storyline was strong
I liked the darkness and gore that surfaced regularly

I struggled with:
The overly long, convolutions of what is a solid plotline in the main
Deep description
Both of these issues made it a very pacey read

The struggles are exactly what I felt with book one when I was hoping to be lifted into a more steady and straight forward pacing.

Thank you to Faber Childrens for the eARC.