Friday, August 17, 2018

Review: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage


TitleBaby Teeth
Author: Zoje Stage - Check out her blog here!
Genre: Suspense; Thriller; Romance

I was lucky enough to meet Zoje in-person at my local indie bookstore, Riverstone Books, for a signing of and discussion on Baby Teeth! It was wonderful to hear the author speak about all the little tidbits she had to offer!

Summary (from Goodreads):

"Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good. 

Meet Suzette. 

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette's husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all."

My thoughts:

Ooooooooohhhh this one was creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepy! Loved it. Loved It. LOVED IT! Reading this book, I had more audible gasps, wide-eyed looks, and shocked faces than with anything I think I have ever read. 

IMPORTANT! There are 3 very specific reasons why this book was one I had to have:

  1. Zoje Stage is a local Pittsburgh author (where I live), and the book is based in my wonderful city.
  2. The whole mother vs. daughter struggle - I have a 1-year-old daughter, so anything about this subject intrigues me.
  3. Suzette suffers from Crohn's disease - I suffer from ulcerative colitis, which was diagnosed during my pregnancy and I came disturbingly close to dying because of it. Colitis is quite similar to Crohn's, so I identified with this very strongly.

Hanna is by far one of the most disturbing little characters I have ever been introduced to. What a little mental case! She's way too smart for her own good, cunning, extremely creative, manipulative, and just plain evil. (The ending of the book truly seals the deal about her, but I am giving no spoilers away on this one!)

Suzette...I love her and I think she's a creep, too. On one hand, her 7-year-old daughter is literally attempting to kill her throughout the entire book, so I feel for her. She's afraid of and resentful towards her daughter, and rightfully so. But, she also has these weird, creepy mommy moments where she just screams and swears at Hanna, but totally out of context. I dunno, that was my take on some of those moments.

ALSO, Suzette describes her Crohn's in painful detail, and I ate up every word of it. (At the book discussion, Zoje confirmed that she suffers from Crohn's, and Suzette's Crohn's story is, in fact, her Crohn's story - except for the "during pregnancy" part). The specific points that resonated deeply with me: she talked about how much worse the condition got while she was pregnant; the fear of leaving the house for too long because of a flare-up or sudden need for a bathroom in an unfamiliar place; how it makes her feel weak, damaged, and less capable of being a strong mother, wife, career woman, and person in general. I'm there, girl. Totally with you. LOVED this part of the book, weird and graphic as it is.

Without revealing a single word more, I leave you with this: Go buy this damn book and devour it/let it devour you - because yes, both happen! It's creepy, twisted, haunting, and yet somehow plausible. And it is now a personal treasure of mine, because my copy is signed by the author woo woo!!

☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️ = Phenomenal! Highly recommended!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Check It Out! Unboxing: August

August Check It out! Unboxing

I was lucky enough to receive an individually-curated August box from Check It Out! to unbox and review on my blog! The amount of thought that goes into this box, plus the killer items, make it a new favorite for me!

You do get to pick your genre with this box (a must for me, as I am somewhat picky about genre), so of course I picked Mystery 😊.

To sign up for a subscription to Check It Out, please click HERE (this box is available for subscription via CrateJoy). It is only available in the U.S. at this time.

Each item comes individually wrapped, which meant way more fun opening up! I felt like a kid on Christmas!
**Each gift corresponds to one of the books in some way, so the packages are labeled for what gift goes with which book - even cooler!

The Goods:
  1. THE BOOKS: This awesome box comes with not 1, not 2, but 3 books! They are described as "gently used", and to be honest, my copies are barely that. I truly think they may have been read once, maybe twice. And I shop at discount book stores a lot, so this doesn't bother me in the slightest. (If you are only interested in new-release, hardcover, brand-new copies, this is NOT the box for you, but it is for me!) The 3 books are: 
  2. Sornean beach bag to accompany The Beach House Mystery. Heavy-duty, sturdy, waterproof, rope handles, and has a great pineapple design on it. LOVE IT!
  3. AMAZING pink boots to accompany Girl Last Seen. I have an obsession with boots, and these are amazing. I am unsure of how the curator would determine size for the individual subscriber, but I imagine if you are a paying customer, this is a question that would be asked of you previous to apparel being sent. Lucky for me, these are a size 7 (I wear a 6, but with some boot socks, I'll be good!) Very interested to see how this ties in to the plot of the book! 
  4. Teacup, saucer, and spoon to accompany The Silver Needle Murder (my teacup, though packaged very well, did show up cracked. However, I let the curator know and, even though I was sent this box at no cost, she is sending me a new teacup! Wonderful customer service. I can attest personally that, if you should ever encounter an issue with your items, the curator will fix the problem!)
Truthfully, this is probably going to be my new gift to myself. Loved this box 100%. I think the beach bag and teacup gifts are somewhat obvious for how they tie into the stories (which is fine!), but I am very intrigued about the boots with Girl Last Seen. All gifts are new, and each box is different per subscriber, as they are individually-curated. Truly is a one-of-a-kind gift. And only $24.95/month for great quality gifts AND 3 books?! Sorry, but that is a no-brainer, friends!

Thank you again to Check It Out! for providing me with a box at no cost to unbox and review here!

Murder, She Sent Unboxing: June

June Murder, She Sent Unboxing

I was lucky enough to receive the June box from Murder, She Sent to unbox and review on my blog! If you are into cozy mysteries and adorable goods, this is THE box for you!

To sign up for a subscription to Murder, She Sent, please click HERE (this box is available for subscription via CrateJoy).

The Goods:
  1. THE BOOK: Death of a Bachelorette by Laura Levine - it sounds funny, mysterious, and definitely goes with the theme of the box - Life's a Beach! I like to read cozy mysteries between the heavy thrillers to lighten the mood but still keep to my favorite genre, so this is the perfect addition to my bookshelf.
  2. 3 bookmarks - including one specific to the book that is signed by the author! 
  3. Gorgeous seahorse coaster, it's really solid and heavy too!
  4. Gray and white striped Turkish towel that I love.
  5. Custom-made wristband with the book title/author. Honestly, don't see a need for this at all, but it is the only item in the box I was uninterested in!
  6. Sea urchin planter with air plant - I adore this, and it is absolutely going on my shelf at work.
  7. Crocheted beach bag - great item to take your books to the beach with you!
  8. Inflatable watermelon mini beach ball - this actually wasn't included on the "What's in your box?" card, so I think the curator threw in a little freebie! My daughter will love this little ball.
  9. "What's in your box" card (complete with information about who made each item, etc.), hint card for the next box's theme, & business card about Murder She Sent. These items really made the box feel genuine to me, and showed that the curator put a LOT of thought into what goes into each box, and tries to help other small businesses thrive, too.
Overall, stellar box! Everything kept to the "Life's A Beach" theme very well, and other than the wrist band, I think everything in here is excellent, and something I will use. Thank you again to Murder She Sent for sending me a box to review free of charge! This is a great gift for someone who loves to read - what a cute, themed surprise!