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samara

sammara@bookwyrm.social

Joined 1 year ago

interests: community care, cultural work, healing, learning, singing, painting, doodling, theatre, disruptions, video games, subversive queerness, decolonizing, eating, cooking, sharing, and pleasure

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The Many Deaths of Laila Starr (Paperback, 2022, Boom! Studios) 4 stars

Humanity is on the verge of discovering immortality, which means the avatar of Death is …

Read on recommendation from a friend. A short series in 5-parts that follows the Goddess of Death after she loses her job due to a human on Earth discovering the secret to immortality. She is sent down to live in the body of Laila Starr, a recently deceased human, and through experiencing the circle of mortality herself many times learns the joys, sorrows, and realities of life on Earth. Loved the art-style, the scenery set in the busyness of Mumbai, and the melancholic tone the entire series takes. The bureaucracy of the afterlife was fun to revisit after having recently re-watched The Good Place.

A Minor Chorus (Paperback, 2022, W. W. Norton & Company) 5 stars

Vulnerable, emotional, poignant, and meta-textual, I loved this novel by Billy-Ray. As always, he has such a way of taking in all the complexities of daily life and painting a picture that highlights the shit that's normally so difficult to look directly at. I want to reread this again sometime later this year. I especially felt for Jack and Mary's stories, reminding me of some ongoing personal things in my family. Blessed and grateful for this person's work.

The members of the Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service discover a far darker business than their …

Psychic Buddhists with deadpan humor investigate grotestque murders

4 stars

An eclectic group of Buddhist college students come together to fulfill the last wishes of their clients– corpses of the recently deceased! The main characters really make this series for me, with their go-lucky demeanor juxtaposing some gory murder scenes. Their investigations through the use of their collective psychic abilities lead them to uncover some truly fucked up situations. The chapters end in usually satisfying ways, but some of the endings felt a little too convenient. The illustrations are great too, setting a spooky tone with rich environments, although since it's a series written in Japan in the early 2000s, there are definitely more questionable depictions of women's bodies than I'd like. Overall I'll probably pick this series back up when I need a good creepy graphic novel.

Elatsoe (EBook, 2020, Levine Querido) 4 stars

A Gripping Supernatural Murder Mystery

5 stars

Ellie is a 17-year-old senior blessed with a family secret passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache ancestors. When a tragedy strikes her family, she uses both her otherworldly powers and her web of friends and family to get to the bottom of her cousin's sudden passing. The danger amps up with a climax that involves vampires, ghosts, fairies, and a basketball squad-- by the latter half, I could not put this book down! With short chapters, fun characters, a touch of magic in the everyday, and wonderful storytelling passages, this was a fast and fantastical read.

My favorite parts of the novel were the storytelling passages in which elders and family members shared stories of Ellie's ancestors, imparting necessary wisdom for Ellie's increasingly dangerous encounters: "That's why some stories are particularly important. They're more than entertainment. They're knowledge." (p.245) Although this novel was set in a stranger America, …

Esperanza rising (2000) No rating

Esperanza Rising is a young adult historical fiction novel written by Mexican-American author Pam Muñoz …

My Abuelita gave me this book when I was in 2nd grade, and since learning more about her father's upbringing I'm wondering how much of the story she saw in her own life. Esperanza leaves a wealthy home full of servants and parties and becomes just another campesina living in a worker's camp in Southern California. A highlight for me was reading about Esperanza, her mother, and their former maid Hortensia making an intimate connection with a stranger named Carmen on the train. Carmen is generous and happy: "I am poor, but I am rich. I have my children, I have a garden with roses, and I have my faith and the memories of those who have gone before me. What more is there?" By the end, Esperanza learns this lesson too– that her life full of material things may have made her happy before, but her simple life with …

reviewed The Deep by Rivers Solomon

The Deep (Hardcover, 2019, Simon & Schuster Audio and Blackstone Audio) 4 stars

Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard …

The tension between individual and communal survival

5 stars

Content warning Minor discussion of the end