After gaining a major success as a creator of the award-winning podcast, The Bright Sessions, Lauren Shippen is ready to bring you back the thrilling story and twisted universe featuring your favorite Atypicals through her debut novel, The Infinite Noise.
Caleb Michaels is a sixteen-year-old champion running back. Other than that his life is pretty normal. But when Caleb starts experiencing mood swings that are out of the ordinary for even a teenager, his life moves beyond “typical.”
Caleb is an Atypical, an individual with enhanced abilities. Which sounds pretty cool except Caleb’s ability is extreme empathy—he feels the emotions of everyone around him. Being an empath in high school would be hard enough, but Caleb’s life becomes even more complicated when he keeps getting pulled into the emotional orbit of one of his classmates, Adam. Adam’s feelings are big and all-consuming, but they fit together with Caleb’s feelings in a way that he can’t quite understand.
Caleb’s therapist, Dr. Bright, encourages Caleb to explore this connection by befriending Adam. As he and Adam grow closer, Caleb learns more about his ability, himself, his therapist—who seems to know a lot more than she lets on—and just how dangerous being an Atypical can be.
Thank you Tor Teen and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. The Infinite Noise will be published on September 24, 2019 and will be available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.
The Infinite Noise follows the story of Caleb Michaels, who had a pretty normal life as a high school footballer, until one day he discovered himself as an empath, an Atypical who could sense people’s feelings, and suddenly, life was not so normal anymore. Enter Adam Hayes, the bright yet quiet classmate of Caleb, who’s feeling was too big and deep, making Caleb overwhelmed as he found himself helplessly drowning in it. This is a story of self-discovery, a coming-of-age love journey, and maybe, one or two sessions of superhero-only therapy.
I discovered the glorious universe of The Bright Sessions last month, right after reading the synopsis of Shippen’s debut. Looking at all of the exciting commentaries about this upcoming release which coming from fans of the original podcats, of course, I started listening to the first episode right that second. I’m glad to tell you that surprisingly, although it was my very first storytelling podcast, I truly had a great time. My initial intention was to listen to the whole podcast before I jump into this book, but unfortunately, I couldn’t do it in time. So, I ended up in the middle of season three when I started reading this book and here how it goes…
Obviously, after listening to the podcast and memorize the voice of the characters by heart now, reading them on paper was so much easier and exciting. The book was following the exact plotline of the podcast, but don’t let this intimidate you, because you totally don’t have to listen to the podcast to enjoy this story! However, I’d say listening to the podcast will help you to dissolve quicker in these characters’ inner monologues and struggles.
Unfortunately, as much as I enjoyed the podcast, I couldn’t get the same feeling from this book. Don’t get me wrong. Caleb and Adam were my favorite characters in the podcast and it was exciting to be able to read more of their thoughts in this story, something that does not exist in the podcast.
During the first encounters of both of their point-of-view, it was thrilling. For Caleb, I enjoyed how he grows into his superpower. His narrative was fun to read, especially the way he used visualization to make more sense of how his power works. Meanwhile, for Adam, I’m grateful to see more of his personality through the reflection of his struggles and thoughts. But after the endless back and forth POV’s changes between these two, they started to sound almost similar and even the pace started to feel dragging, especially from the middle towards the end. It was understandable that since both of them are still teenagers and they were having difficulties to communicate with each other, they will need some time to figure things out. Yet, I personally found that it took too long for them to resolve their issues and the sole reason for their conflict was because Caleb keeps shutting his mouth in the middle of a sentence to keep his secret and Adam keep asking stubborn oblivious series of questions that stressing out Caleb.
And remember when I said that the pace started to feel dragging? It was especially because from the beginning until around 80% of the story, it only focused on three main characters (aside from family members and other classmates), and suddenly, it delivers other ‘important’ characters out of nowhere, that also brings other crucial plots along with their appearance. Which of course, will not be a big problem if you’re listening to the podcast already, but even as the podcast listener, I found this addition as too rushed and sudden. It was as if Shippen didn’t consider that there are readers who’re not aware of the podcast and just delivered chunk on important information without a proper warm-up.
Although it was an enjoyable ride, The Infinite Noise was a high-anticipated debut that doesn’t really meet its expectations. Aside from its extraordinary superhero concept and detailed worldbuilding, the character development and their genuine relationship captivated me to keep reading this story until the very last page.
pin this post!
Do you listen to The Bright Sessions? Are you thinking about adding The Infinite Noise to your next reading list?
Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love, loss, and letting go
Naima Rodriguez doesn’t want your patronizing sympathy as she grieves her father, her hero—a fallen Marine. She’ll hate you forever if you ask her to open up and remember him “as he was,” though that’s all her loving family wants her to do in order to manage her complex OCD and GAD. She’d rather everyone back the-eff off while she separates her Lucky Charms marshmallows into six, always six, Ziploc bags, while she avoids friends and people and living the life her father so desperately wanted for her.
Dew respectfully requests a little more time to process the sudden loss of his parents. It’s causing an avalanche of secret anxieties, so he counts on his trusty voice recorder to convey the things he can’t otherwise say aloud. He could really use a friend to navigate a life swimming with pain and loss and all the lovely moments in between. And then he meets Naima and everything’s changed—just not in the way he, or she, expects.
Candace Ganger’s Six Goodbyes We Never Said is no love story. If you ask Naima, it’s not even a like story. But it is a story about love and fear and how sometimes you need a little help to be brave enough to say goodbye.
Thank you Wednesday Books (Sarah!) for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review and joining this tour. Six Goodbyes We Never Said will be published on September 24, 2019 and will be available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.
Six Goodbyes We Never Said follows the story of Naima and Dew, two teens who were grieving and healing after a tragedy that caused them to lose their loved ones. Although their first encounter was not all sunshine and butterfly, it soon evolves into something deeper, and maybe, just exactly what both of them needed to heal each other, and also themselves.
I was really intrigued when I first got the offer to read the early copy of this book. Reading its synopsis, I knew this story is going to be challenging and hard-hitting.Six Goodbyes We Never Said started with a genuine note from the author herself, Candace, explaining why she wrote this story in the first place. Candace also used this note to include a list of potential trigger warnings. I really appreciated this gesture of her and hence, from its very first page, Six Goodbyes We Never Said feels incredibly raw and sincere.
There were so many important issues that highlighted throughout this story. The representation of multiple mental illnesses, bi-racial characters, body positivity, feminism, and the truth of adopting and getting adopted (which is something that I rarely read, but perhaps it’s just my lack of reading). A lot of these issues are already heavy on their own, and I must applaud Candace to combine them all into a single story.
You can never know someone’s pain or happiness until you’ve stepped inside their shoes
As much as I’m aware how important this book is, not just for the readers but also for the author herself, it seems like I couldn’t manage to fully devour into this universe of Naima and Dew due to its formatting and writing style. It started confusing, especially during the first 10% of the book. I had no idea who’s POV that I was reading since there was no title with POV’s name like how a dual POV story usually was written. Instead, there were one of the POV’s names used as a chapter title and mid-way through the chapter, there will be a voicemail transcript, email drafts, and a recorder transcript from other character and that’s how I’d know that the POV is changing. Although I wouldn’t complaint so much since Candace was amazing at making differences between these two characters and how contrast they sounded.
And lastly, something that bothers me ‘til the end of the story is Naima’s attitude. After reading so many thoughts of her and her perspective in life, I was hoping that at the end, I’ll be able to relate to her emotions or grasp her reasons in making certain decisions. But sadly, it didn’t happen even until I finished this book. I have so many unanswered questions about her. I completely understand that she was suffering from anxiety, OCD, and PTSD but I still don’t understand her aggressive behaviors towards others, even to those who don’t mean harm to her. I’m also still questioning about the history of six tappings, six flickings, six balloons, and basically six everything that Naima used to calm herself as I believe there was no explanation on how it originally started in the first place.
Six Goodbyes We Never Said was a complex story coming from a talented #OwnVoice author. It explores many important topics which need to be discussed more in today’s literature and highlights the truth behind each one gracefully.
Candace Ganger is the author of Six Goodbyes We Never Said and The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash as well as a contributing writer for HelloGiggles and obsessive marathoner. Aside from having past lives as a singer, nanotechnology website editor, and world’s worst vacuum sales rep, she’s also ghostwritten hundreds of projects for companies, best-selling fiction and award-winning nonfiction authors alike. She lives in Ohio with her family.
pin this post!
What’s the latest hard-hitting book that you read? Are you thinking about adding Six Goodbyes We Never Said to your next reading list?
Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed novel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil.
Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.
And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.
Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?
The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”
Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.
Thank you Kate, Delacorte Press, and The FFBC for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. The Babysitters Coven waspublished on September 17, 2019 and available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.
In my blog stop today, I’m glad to bring you the excerpts of this exciting debut! The excerpts below are taken from Pengun Random House Canada. Click here to read the excerpts on the Penguin’s site or read more below.
read the excerpts!
The devil was an artist. Her medium varied, from crayons to Magic Markers to finger paints, and she had coloring books, construction paper, giant pads of newsprint on a tiny plastic easel. But today she’d ignored it all, in favor of the hallway and a marker. Previously pristine white, the wall was now permanently adorned with black squiggles, dots, shapes, and lines, all drawn at eye level. Well, her eye level–a little less than three feet off the ground.
How did I know this art was permanent and not the water-soluble kind? Because Baby Satan–known by some as Kaitlyn–was still holding the Sharpie in her hand. As I surveyed her work–which was impressive in its own way, because she’d done all of this damage in only the time it had taken me to pee–she smiled sweetly up at me, topless underneath a pair of very dirty OshKosh overalls. She held the Sharpie up to her nose and inhaled deeply, a look of intense contentment on her face. “Give me that,” I said, grabbing it from her. Two years old, and already into graffiti and huffing.
She was on one tonight. It had started with dinner, which was dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and bunny-shaped mac-n-cheese. She wouldn’t eat any of it, not even when I insisted that the nuggets were actually made from real triceratops. When I got up to go get a paper towel, she managed to transfer most of the mac-n-cheese to her seat and sit on it.
She thought this was hilarious and wiggled around, etching orange cheese stains that would probably never come out into the butt of her overalls. “Squishy!” she squealed with delight, and I was sorry that I’d taught her that word last week. After dinner, we played with blocks, which mainly consisted of me building the tallest stack I could and then cheering as she ran at them, full speed, from across the room to knock them down. It was right after this that I made that fateful decision to use the bathroom. I should have known better.
Now I placed the cap back on the Sharpie and put it on the kitchen counter, far back against the wall and safely out of her reach. “All right!” I said. “It’s bedtime.”
Bedtime started with a bath, complete with fizzy dye pods–two blue and one yellow–to make turquoise “mermaid water.” She drank some of it. Teeth were brushed, sorta, and pajamas were donned. I usually allotted the devil three bedtime stories, which was enough to have her nodding off, her chin coming down to her chest, but tonight her blue eyes were still wide open and alert. Each time I’d finish a story, she’d climb out of bed, run across the room, and come back with a new stack. “More!” she’d scream, slamming them into my lap with a surprising, and almost impressive, violence.
In this moment, I saw my future stretching out before me.
Kaitlyn never goes to sleep.
Her mom never comes home.
I read bedtime stories until the world ends.
It was times like these that I wished I could tap out and have another babysitter come in and take over. Baby Satan had a million stuffed animals, and my eyes settled on a floppy dog that was nearly life-sized. Couldn’t he read a story for once?
His ears twitched, as if he were responding to my mental plea.
I blinked and rubbed my eyes.
Babysitting was making me hallucinate.
I sighed. Kaitlyn was still wide-awake. Not a hint of sleepiness anywhere on her admittedly cute face.
I picked up another book. “Okay,” I said. “This one’s about a bunny who runs away. It’s called The Runaway Bunny.” She smiled, all cherub cheeks and dimples, and something in me softened. “See what they did with the title there?” I said. “The people who wrote this book must be pretty clever, huh? I bet they were geniuses.”
“Smart bunny,” she said.
I nodded, reaching over to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. “A very smart bunny. You ready?”
It took seven stories before she finally fell asleep, her blankie pressed against her cheek. I gave the wall a few half-hearted scrubs, but the thing about permanent markers is that they’re permanent, so I admitted defeat and went into the kitchen. After everything I’d had to endure tonight, I deserved a snack. I mean, the number one perk of babysitting is OPP–other people’s pantries.
I opened the pantry to what could have stocked a vending machine: potato chips, Chex Mix, Cheez-Its (Kaitlyn’s mom, Sharon, had even started buying the white cheddar ones, just for me), pretzels, Doritos, jumbo-sized bags of M&M’s, Twizzlers, gummy bears, you name it. None of this had anything to do with the fact that it was almost Halloween–this was just what Sharon ate all year round.
I grabbed what I wanted, found a big bowl, and poured in a layer of Frosted Flakes. I smashed up a few pretzels and added them, then a handful of Corn Chex, some potato chips, and a generous layer of M&M’s. Then I sprinkled the whole thing with sugar, poured some milk on it, and stood back to admire my specialty: Babysitter’s Crunch, the perfect mixture of salty and sweet. Kellogg’s should market this stuff.
It looked so pretty and delicious that I thought for a second about posting it, then remembered that would just announce to the world (or at least my 398 followers) that I was spending yet another night with Tony the Tiger and a human who thought “potty” was a dirty word. I’m not ashamed of babysitting, but I know it’s not what most people think of as a “cool job.”
I took my crunch and sank into the couch in front of the TV. OPTVs are also serious babysitting perkage, and Sharon had every channel and subscription imaginable. I finally settled on a reality show where a girl with breast implants, hair extensions, acrylic nails, and a spray tan cried to the camera about how she couldn’t stand fake people.
about the author
I’m a YA write or die, originally from Kansas but now living in California.
I’ve written for Cosmopolitan, NYLON and Seventeen, amongst other magazines, and worked with brands including Urban Outfitters, Vans and Calvin Klein.
The Babysitters Coven is my first novel, but fingers crossed it won’t be my last.
Today is the last day of the #UltimateBlogTour for A Different Time by Michael K. Hill and I’m excited to bring you my review of this book! Also, thank you Dave @ TheWriteReads for hosting this exciting tour and give me the opportunity to join the fun!
Keith Nolan falls in love with a remarkable young woman from the past, talking to him on a home video she recorded in 1989. To keep their conversation going, he must find more of her tapes—while forces work against them both, and time is running out.
Thank you Michael and Dave for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.A Different Timepublished on July 2, 2019 and available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.
A Different Time follows the story of 22 years old Keith Nolan, a comic enthusiast who’d rather spend his weekend digging through the flea markets to complete the comic collection that he inherited from his father. It was supposed to be just another normal weekend, until he accidentally found a home videotape, where he can communicate through the screen with a young woman who recorded it thirty years ago, Lindsey. Thrilled with his discovery and a company that he longed for, Keith must find the rest of the tapes to keep their conversation going.
Concept-wise, I applaud Michael for his unique and original idea. Never in a million years, I’d imagine where someone could communicate through a used videotape, not to mention that they were thirty years apart. Although the alternate timelines concept kind of reminds me of Kimi No Nawa (Your Name), but Michael successfully delivered his own twist in this book. I’m also squealing with all of the comic references in this book and how it was explained as a timeless art piece, whether you lived in 1989 or 2019.
Although I’m loving the characters in this story, Keith and Lindsey, unfortunately, I couldn’t engage with their chemistry and romance. It was cute, but it was too instalove-y for my liking and the number of obstacles that Keith would conquer in order to meet the love of his life, was unbelievable to me. Yes, having a crush during your first encounter with someone is totally common, but being ready to give up your everything to fight for them? Seem a bit like a stretch to me.
In conclusion, I’m loving the pitch of this book but I can totally see its huge potential if the pages were longer and the characters were dug deeper.
Are you thinking about adding A Different Time to your next reading list?
I have had nothing bad happen to me except my own doing. I have let this cowardice envelop me, and I can’t shake it off. I will commit the worst thing you can ever do to someone who loves you: killing yourself. The scary thing is, I’m okay with that.
Loss Adjustment by Linda Collins
“I have had nothing bad happen to me except my own doing. I have let this cowardice envelop me, and I can’t shake it off. I will commit the worst thing you can ever do to someone who loves you: killing yourself. The scary thing is, I’m okay with that.” —Victoria McLeod, Laptop journal, March 30, 2014.
Loss Adjustment is a mother’s recount of her 17-year-old daughter’s suicide.
In the wake of Victoria McLeod’s passing, she left behind a remarkable journal in her laptop of the final four months of her life. Linda Collins, her mother, has woven these into her memoir, which is at once cohesive, yet fragmented, reflecting a survivor’s state of mind after devastating loss.
Loss Adjustment involves the endless whys, the journey of Linda Collins and her husband in honouring Victoria, and the impossible question of what drove their daughter to this irretrievable act. A stunningly intimate portrait of loss and grief, Loss Adjustment is a breaking of silence—a book whose face society cannot turn away from.
Trigger warnings: Bullying, depression, loss of loved one, self harm, suicide.
After I finished reading Loss Adjustment, it feels closer as a deep and genuine love letter from Linda to her daughter, Victoria, who died in suicide just at the age of 17. Reading about the incident and exploring Linda’s rawest emotions and deepest thoughts, I feel as if I’m peeking through an intimate mother-daughter scene that I wasn’t supposed to see. It’s just too sacred to be shared with anyone but both of them.
Reading this heartfelt memoir was surely a challenge. Many times, I needed to take a break from reading it because it felt overwhelming and I simply couldn’t keep pushing myself to watch such tragedy. Witnessing how Linda woke up that morning when Victoria died and received the news that changed her life forever. Witnessing how someone like Victoria which described by Linda as someone so cheerful and sweet, but secretly kept all of her darkest feelings and thoughts to herself. Witnessing how heartbroken Linda feels, watching her daughter’s life unfolded layer by layer. Layers that she never knew existed. Witnessing how Linda not simply adjust to her loss, because then it means erasing the fact that Vic existed in this world. Everything was too painful to watch, yet necessary to be shared.
One thing that I’d love to highlight is that ever since it’s earliest pages, this sincere memoir were not forgetful about the beauty of cultural diversity in Singapore. Each ethnics and religions are obviously has their own way in facing dead and grieve and Linda narrated these differences gracefully.
All those claims of building better humans, of being the best you can be, of following your passion, of learning to be inclusive and that everyone has something to offer, are all lies.
Lastly, the most important cause of this incident, the ugly truth of school’s obsession for their students’ good grades, and how these bold expectations often affected students’ mental health and nudged them into a bad direction. I think it’s necessary to call out these institutions, especially their horrid way in handling such matters. I thank Linda for sharing this truth with me and with all of her readers, for it must be torturous for her to recalled all of these painful memories.
Thank you to Ethos Books for sending me an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
This post is supposed to be up yesterday in honor of Victoria and the World Suicide Prevention Day. If you’re thinking about sharing awareness on this matter and picking up this book before September 27, please consider to pre-order through links below to donate $1 to Samaritans of Singapore, in support of mental health advocacy and suicide prevention in Singapore.