TBR Jar: Hype

I meant to read a different book for this but best laid plans and all that. I originally wasn’t sure if I should review this because I don’t have anything nice to say. Josh Malerman wrote a phenomenal horror book with Bird Box. He has yet to recapture that magic.

Unbury Carol was sold as a Sleeping Beauty retelling where she is aware but comatose. No one knows about her condition except her husband who plans to bury her alive. This was the hype that got me excited. The book did not hold up.

First off, it’s a western with vague horror elements. The trail, outlaws, and tall tales are huge parts of the story. Whoever decided to not sell it as a western was a fool. It’s like selling Snakes on a Plane as a comedy instead of the monster horror it was.


At 50 pages in, Carol still wasn’t buried alive. For a big selling point of the book, this plot point took ages to happen. And the ‘no one but her husband knows’ thing? Alternative fact. She kind of tells someone else and her first love knows. Thank goodness someone tells him so he can immediately jumps into action to save the day. Bye-bye sense of urgency.

There was a supernatural horror element with Rot personified that did not make sense and wasn’t fully dealt with. Rot finally wants to claim what’s his with Carol. K. He didn’t this time so how about the next go around? FFS, he came alive and impersonated a doctor. The whole thing was confusing and unnecessary. Either give us more of WTF that was meant to be or skip it.

Once Carol finally does get buried alive (over 200 pages in), Malerman pulls a dues ex machina that fixes everything. The dramatic tension he tried to create didn’t need to exist because a magic casket saved the day. Magic casket has been a thing for years so let’s save the day and make the whole book unnecessary in one plot point.


The whole thing was a tedious, hot mess that I might expect from a first novel, not a third. I seriously don’t know how Bird Box and Unbury Carol are by the same man. I honestly think this would have been a 3 star read had it been described honestly. As it stands, 2/5.

If you skipped the spoilers, what Unbury Carol is really about is a woman who falls comatose and is aware of her surroundings. The only people who know are her first love and her husband. The latter wants to bury her alive. Can the former get to her in time? If that sounds interesting, go for it.

Media Monday: Sounds Like

Alice Merton has a song that got a good bit of radio play last winter. I enjoy No Roots because there aren’t enough alternative songs with a catchy beat.

Her sound reminded me of Laura Welsh, whose song Break the Fall got some TV play.

Laura Welsh has a voice and overall sound that reminds me a bit of Florence + the Machine. You can hear it in songs like What Kind of Man.

Trauma Has Many Forms

I dipped my toe in a few different books while attempting to conquer War & Peace. I finally committed to going in deeper with Can’t Help Myself by Meredith Goldstein. I just finished a section of her memoir that really resonated with me.

At one point, Goldstein spends a lot of time talking about her mother’s cancer and what that meant for her. Her mother endured something awful but Goldstein had to watch her mother endure that awful thing and sometimes, that is its own trauma.

I know someone who was at the Vegas shooting. This person told me that those who were shot and survived have less psychological trauma than those who were ‘uninjured.’ When I read this chapter, this parallel really struck me. When your body is fighting to survive, your mind hangs on to less. If you’re on the proverbial sidelines of that fight, you’re able to remember it all.

Last year I endured some ugly emotional abuse from my mother and some impressive apathy and betrayals from ‘friends.’ It was the worst time of my life. I wonder how it was for my husband. He came from a loving family while I was seeing a roided out version of some Cluster B BS I’d dealt with all my life. He was thrown into a chaos he didn’t understand and we emerged stronger for it.

In all of the above cases, everyone has adhered to the ‘support in, dump out’ method. You are allowed whatever feelings you need but never put your burden on someone carrying the heavier load.

Watching someone you love go through hell is hard. If you’re going through something like that, respect your pain. Someone, somewhere, will always be fighting a harder battle. Don’t let it stop you from seeking the help you need.

Media Mondays: YouTube Channels

I don’t just watch BookTube. During the NHL Playoffs, I suspended Netflix. When hockey wasn’t happening, I watched several of these with my husband.

BuzzFeed Unsolved (part of BuzzFeed Blue)

Two dudes investigate cold crimes and the paranormal.

Cinema Sins

I took too many film classes in college to not I see some mistakes. I love that there’s an entire channel devoted to snarking about them. To counterpoint, another guy does the same movies for CinemaWins and movies can be awesome to gets sins removed so it’s not all hate.

Film Theory

You’re familiar with crazy fan theories about pop culture? MatPat takes it to another level and it’s fascinating.

Pop Culture Detective

Smart video essays about popular culture

SciShow, SciShow Psych, SciShow Space

Short video essays about science and the world.


Like SciShow but affiliated with the Discovery Channel.

Ask a Mortician

All the question about death you didn’t know you had.

Jonathan Young

He does amazing metal covers. My favorite are his Disney covers.

Alex Boyè

An African singer who does beautiful covers and fun originals.

Outside Xbox and Outside Xtra

I’m not a gamer but I really love some of their lists or competitions. It’s silly and fun.

Steve Hofstetter

I discovered his comedy when one of his heckler take downs went viral. I’ve been a fan ever since

TBR Jar: Indie book

I finally finished Biketopia edited by Ellie Blue. Like her previous collection, it was full of compelling and tightly written short fiction. Unlike zombies in the last anthology, this one focuses on dystopias.

I’ve been keeping up with rating individual stories in anthologies to see if my average matches my overall rating.

  • Riding in Place – 5/5
  • Taming the Beast – 3.5/5
  • Meet Cute – 4/5
  • Signal Lost – 5/5
  • Portlandtown – 4/5
  • Fast Learner – 4/5
  • Day 3658 – 4/5
  • Shelter – 5/5
  • Questions with the First – 4/5
  • The Future Of Flirtation – 3/5
  • Maaike’s Aquatic Center for Bicycles Raised by Fishes – 5/5
  • Book Reviews – 3/5

My overall rating would be a 4 out of 5 and my average was 4.13. I really love these collections and highly recommend them.

Media Monday: BookTubers

These are the BookTubers that always make it to the top of my watch list.

Books and Pieces

A cheery Brit who loves sci-fi, fantasy, and strong female characters.

Getting Hygge with It

A Canadian woman who likes historical fiction, horror, and thrillers.


A young woman who enjoys thrillers, horror, and fiction.

Sophie Carlon

A feisty Aussie who loves the Tudors, strong women, magical realism, and anything a bit weird.

Books with Emily Fox

A French Canadian with a love of fantasy, sci-fi, and the occasional classic.

A Book Olive

An American woman who loves nonfiction, books on birds, and Russian literature.

Rincey Reads

A Chicago contributor to Book Riot who likes fiction, history, and reading diversely.

Insert Literary Pun Here

A woman who loves literary fiction and has very intelligent and critical reviews.

Mercy’s Bookish Musings

A British woman who likes literary fiction, magical realism, and hard hitting nonfiction.

Jen Campbell

An author, editor, literary prize judge, and reader, this Brit adores poetry, magical realism, literary fiction, and most things to do with fairy tales.

Deadpool 2 Review/Rant

I saw Deadpool 2 recently and I’m a big fan of the merc with a mouth. The first movie was pitch perfect so I knew it was going to be hard to live up to. I knew this yet I’m still disappointed.

What follows is a rant about what I think needed tweaking with Deadpool 2. SPOILERS abound.

Too many meta jokes

We all enjoy Deadpool’s fourth wall breaking but they overdid it here. We did not need a Hulk, Thanos, and Winter Soldier joke. These meta cracks were at a 12 when they should have been at a 7 or 8. This is not the only thing that makes Pool Pool.

Undoing a happy ending

The previous movie ended happily so let’s undo that. I hated it when Infinity War did it, I hated it when Deadpool does it. I’m not sure why Vanessa dying was necessary. I get why the decision was made story-wise but I don’t have to like it. There has got to be a better way for character growth beyond torturing the protagonist.


The team lasted around 5 minutes. The Vanisher was a fun joke, Zeitgeist’s death was close to cannon, and Shatterstar was never a BFD in the comics but I am genuinely offended at how they wasted Terry Cruz. In my head cannon, he is resuscitated and back for the third film.

More Final Boss

For all the foreshadowing and buildup to the final mutant boss, I’m still pretty ignorant about movie Juggernaut. What’s his deal? Who is his brother? Why is he a bad guy? Who are we dealing with? It wasn’t clear why I was supposed to care as much as I should. He’s tough to beat but you can and should do better.


Domino is awesome, Cable is very interesting, Negasonic and Yukio brought some representation, and Blind Al is always fun. There’s excellent fight scenes, higher stakes, and more interpersonal drama. Despite my complaints, it’s not a bad movie.


If the first Deadpool was 5 stars, this was a 3.5. Entertaining but it almost felt like it was trying too hard at times. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it but I loved the first one. It was hard to live up to and 2 had a misleading trailer. I’m hoping the Blu-Ray will bring deleted scenes that will add to the story.