Book Review: Mayhem by Estelle Laure (2020)

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

“This can be really fun if you aren’t a drip about it.”

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Netgalley. Content warning for suicide, addiction, and violence against women, including domestic violence, child abuse, and rape.)

Brayburn lady coming for you
Take your man and curse you, too.
Brayburn lady knows your sins
Reads your mind and kills your friends …

I don’t know how to explain in words the feeling I have now, about how a person’s history affects their standing with themselves camtasia studio 8 kostenlos vollversion downloaden. About how in Taylor my mother and I were peculiar and nonsensical, but here we have the strength of all the Brayburns behind us and it runs like a current under our feet. Makes us stand taller.

Don’t deny evil, Billie. Crush it. That is your duty.

Seventeen-year-old Mayhem Brayburn has always felt like a square peg in a round hole. (I did an ’80s reference!) She and her babe of a mom, Roxy, live in West Texas, home of giant hair, fatty casseroles, and judgey conservative Christians amigos babylon kostenlosen. Mayhem is lonely and “weird” and her only real friend is Roxy.

But it wasn’t always this way: like her mother (and grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother before her), May was born in Santa Maria, California, the land of sun, surf, and endless beach parties. Mayhem is drawn to the water (Taylor is sadly landlocked), is a little bit punk – and her biracial heritage (she’s Brazilian on her father’s side) probably doesn’t endear her to the suburban bleached blondes in her neighborhood.

Roxy up and fled Santa Maria after the (allegedly) accidental death of May’s father, Lucas Machado, when Mayhem was just a toddler. She hopped in the car and drove until they ran out of money, and wound up in a shelter – which is where Mayhem’s now-stepfather found them excel 2010 gratis downloaden. It wasn’t long into the relationship that Taylor’s golden boy Lyle – a pastor, no less – started abusing his wife. He also got her hooked on painkillers and alcohol, and was no doubt thrilled to maintain Roxy’s isolation from her family. (Patterns, people.) When the abuse escalates to Mayhem, Roxy throws May and a bunch of random stuff in the car and books it.

With a little bit of cajoling and a lot of good/bad luck (read: no monies), Mayhem is able to convince Roxy to return to the family home, Brayburn Farm, now run by Roxy’s twin sister, Elle, and Elle’s adopted kids Neve, Jason, and Kidd. Here, Mayhem hopes to find some answers: about what happened to her father, why Roxy cut ties so suddenly and completely, and who she comes from. What she finds is so much more: a home, her people, a purpose kfz werkstatt software kostenlos downloaden. A voice and the power to wield it.

When she gets to Santa Maria, Mayhem is shocked to find that the Brayburns are celebrities of a sort (a really weird sort).

[T]his place was build by Brayburns, and here Brayburns matter. I know because the whole road is named after us and because flowers and ribbons and baskets of fruit sat at the entrance, a gift from the people in town, Roxy said. They leave offerings. She said it like it’s normal to be treated like some kind of low-rent goddess.

It’s clear from the get-go that Elle and the kids are keeping secrets – BIG SECRETS – from her, but it’s hard to concentrate when you’re worried about your stepdad tracking you down and dragging you back to a literal hellhole, kicking and screaming lustige video kostenlos herunterladen. When there’s a serial killer called the Sand Snatcher hunting the Santa Maria beaches – YOUR beaches – for girls who look like you, who could maybe even be you. When your mom is an addict trying to detox after a life spent running from her demons. When she’s maybe trying to escape by having sexy fun times with a dude nicknamed Boner (or, alternately, Officer Biceps). When your soon-to-be-adopted cousin is super hot and sexy and has a mouth made for kissing (I feel like I should be more grossed out by this last than I was, but idk, I shipped it) herunterladen.

Mayhem is billed as “A YA feminist mash up inspired by The Lost Boys and The Craft” – which is accurate but also doesn’t quite cover it. The Lost Boys is 110% accurate, for reasons I’ll dive into later. I can see The Craft for sure, but a better comparison is Mindy McGinnis’s The Female of the Species (possibly my favorite feminist revenge/female serial killer story of all time…not that there are nearly enough to choose from!). It’s a little softer and fuzzier than Female, to be sure, and a lot more magical, but Neve and to a lesser extent May definitely send off some low-key Alex Croft vibes herunterladen.

Elsewhere I saw references to Rory Power’s debut novel Wilder Girls – which is kind of funny-serendipitous, as I read Mayhem immediately after Burn Our Bodies Down, and felt some similarities in the foundations of each story. (Misfit teenage girl lives in Nowhere, USA with only her mom for company. She longs to know more about her extended family, which – as it just so happens – is matriarchal, occupies a supernatural/magical/sentient estate, and is longing for its wayward daughters to return home.) But Mayhem proved infinitely more enjoyable.

Laure’s writing is, in a word, exquisite. As in, the lady knows how to turn a phrase; there are so many quotable bits to be found here. But it’s not all flowery prose; the meat of the tale is delicious and satisfying as well soundcloud downloaden pc. This is a story brimming with ferocity, anger, compassion, and heart. Mayhem is about justice: what it looks like, where we might find it, and who’s responsible for meting it out. It’s about losing your way, and finding it again. About family: that bound by blood, as well as the family we choose for ourselves. About what we owe to each other, and to our truest selves.

Mayhem is set in the ’80s (LOVE!: 1978 baby here), and borrows heavily from The Lost Boys. As in: it’s a massive understatement to say it’s “inspired by” The Lost Boys alte java version downloaden. As in: Laure lifts some elements directly from the source material, including the Frog brothers and a half-naked, pied piper-esque musician clearly based on Tim Cappello. (To be fair, I remember the Frog brothers from the film; Tim Cappello, not so much. It has been more than a decade, though; I half considered a rewatch before calling it a day on this review – but, alas, The Lost Boys is sadly absent from Netflix.)

I should probably be more offended by this than I am; after all, it feels a little closer to plagiarism than homage. And what’s weirder is that the presence of the Frog brothers and the hypersexual musician really don’t further the story, or add to it in any way; Mayhem would be just as rad without those elements windows media player 12 free chip. But the story is just so damn good otherwise!

I’m also not terribly happy by May’s desire to work with the police, rather than outside of them, especially considering these times we live in. The legal system doesn’t take violence against women seriously as it is, and I can’t imagine it was any better in the ’80s. Their track record is even worse with women and girls of color; ditto: sex workers, those with disabilities, LGBTQ folks, etc. The occasional Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer aside, most rapists and abusers get away scot-free. Why should we think that Officer Boner will be any better, especially with all that victim blaming nonsense he pulled on Roxy?

On this note, I was downright incensed that Lyle was allowed to live … but I guess his ultimate punishment was even better. idk, maybe we can segue that scene into another entry in The Crows Have Eyes franchise? Kidding! But I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t already fancast Catherine O’Hara as Billie Brayburn.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

Book Review: Sci-Fu by Yehudi Mercado (2018)

Friday, March 30th, 2018

’80s Nostalgia Like Whoah

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through NetGalley.)

Thirteen-year-old Wax wants to be the best DJ in the world – but little does he know that the very fate of “Planet Brooklyn” will rely on his skills herunterladen. It’s 1980-something, and young Wax is recording a song for his crush, the aptly named Pirate Polly, when he inadvertently answers an intergalactic challenge schöne schriftenen kostenlos. Wax, his crew, his entire block – all are transported to a planet called Discopia, where Wax must best a giant robot named Choo Choo and his crew, the Five Deadly Dangers, in order to save everyone he loves apps sony TV.

There’s so much to love here, I don’t even know where to start kann man bei amazon prime filme herunterladen. Sci-Fu is such a fun mashup of all things ’80s: Wax’s training montages with mentor Kabuki Snowman are like the bizarro sci-fi version of The Karate Kid, and the style left me yearning for a Fresh Prince marathon herunterladen. Between Teddy Backspin (read: Ruxpin) and the Transformer-esque Choo Choo, there are a fair number of elements that could feel like rip-offs, at least in lesser-skilled hands audio von websiteen mac. But Mercado walks the line between homage and pinching with ease. If you lived through the ’80s, you’re all but guaranteed to be in on the joke ballerspiele kostenlos herunterladen.

Oh, and there’s an ’80s hip-hop playlist at the end! How cool is that?

And the cast! Wax is adorable and sweet in that way that makes you want to bake him a batch of cookies and pinch his little chipmunk cheeks herunterladen. His little sister D is like the animated version of Diane from Black(ish), which is to say that she’s as smart as she is diabolical, and you most definitely want to keep her happy and on your side microsoft word kostenlosen vollversion. Pirate Polly is rad AF, and I kind of love that Mercado never bothers to explain the eye patch and nickname (which came first? Is the patch functional or decorative herunterladen? Is she a distant relation of One-eyed Willie maybe?) The Ultimate Showdown with the Boom Box of Doom is one of my favorite scenes, for obvious reasons.

I also adored Uncle Rashaad, who owns an ice cream truck and speaks in ice cream flavored expletives. The back story for why Wax and D are living with him is pretty great too. I really hope we meet the ‘rents in a later installment of the series. There’s some serious superhero potential there too.

Sci-Fu is definitely on the bizarre side, but if you can embrace the weirdness, you will have a good time.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

Book Review: The Impossible Fortress, Jason Rekulak (2017)

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Heck no to the plot twist herunterladen.

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley evernote app. This review contains spoilers.)

A dazzling debut novel—at once a charming romance and a moving coming-of-age story—about what happens when a fourteen-year old boy pretends to seduce a girl to steal a copy of Playboy but then discovers she is his computer-loving soulmate wie kann ich von facebook videos herunterladen.

Billy Marvin’s first love was a computer. Then he met Mary Zelinsky.

Do you remember your first love?

The Impossible Fortress begins with a magazine…The year is 1987 and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune herunterladen. For three teenage boys—Billy, Alf, and Clark—who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain lato herunterladen. So, they hatch a plan to steal it.

The heist will be fraught with peril: a locked building, intrepid police officers, rusty fire escapes, leaps across rooftops, electronic alarm systems, and a hyperactive Shih Tzu named Arnold Schwarzenegger herunterladen. Failed attempt after failed attempt leads them to a genius master plan—they’ll swipe the security code to Zelinsky’s convenience store by seducing the owner’s daughter, Mary Zelinsky cad autocad kostenlos download. It becomes Billy’s mission to befriend her and get the information by any means necessary. But Mary isn’t your average teenage girl. She’s a computer loving, expert coder, already strides ahead of Billy in ability, with a wry sense of humor and a hidden, big heart ich kann keine bilder mehren. But what starts as a game to win Mary’s affection leaves Billy with a gut-wrenching choice: deceive the girl who may well be his first love or break a promise to his best friends euro truck simulator 2 free full version.

(Synopsis via Goodreads)

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