Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

Sleeping Beauties

(Caidyn)

1/5 – DNF at 52%

TW: sexual assault, mentions of sexual assault, rape culture, drugs and drug use, mental illness, jail, and probably more that I forgot

After reading this since February, I’ve finally given up on this book.

This isn’t the first King book that I’ve given up on, but it was just so dull that I couldn’t help myself from it. I was over halfway through the book and nothing had happened. Just men being idiots (as usual, but worse than usual) and women falling asleep.

I wish I was joking.

I really wanted to like this book, too. I was set to enjoy it because it sounded so interesting.

But it’s one of those books where the premise is better than the carry-out.

None of the characters were super interesting. The random character dramas — both plot related and subplot things — didn’t interest me. I never related to what was going on. And then it was just getting worse with how men are. It’s a statement about how men need to change their ways before all women get fed up and leave them. Yet, it was dull as rocks when it could have been so interesting.

Definitely not for me. I think I’ll go back and read a tried and true book by him.

Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

Our Kind of Cruelty

(Caidyn)

4.5/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for a copy! This did not affect my rating.

When I finished this, my first thought was: “Wow. What a book.”

These days, I don’t read as much mystery as I’d like because of Gone Girl. All the books seem to be around the same thing. Unfaithful (or supposedly unfaithful) spouse, an unreliable narrator, and some sort of drama. All of the books bleed together.

This one, however, was more like You. Everyone has heard of that book by now, but I’ll do a quick recap. The main character of You is deranged but you love him… despite all that he does. You root for him. And that’s how it was in this book. Despite everything, you rooted for something good to happen for Mike, even though you knew that shit had gone down already.

Mike is a good guy who did a bad thing, who had a bad childhood, and who had mental disorders that prevented him from completely realizing what he was doing. He wasn’t a nice guy, yet he was at the same time because of his portrayal. Yet, he was a guy you could understand and like, even if you didn’t support what he was doing. And, he did a lot of bad shit. He did a whole lot of bad shit. Murder is the big one in this story (which isn’t a spoiler because it’s in the description).

Most of this book takes place after everything happened. It’s setting the stage, making us fully understand the situation. It goes to the storyline that pertains the aforementioned murder and also before that so you get to know Verity, Mike’s ex-girlfriend and, in some ways, the catalyst for all of this.

And, I have to say, it was a compelling read. I typically make ARCs my at work lunch read because I always have them on my phone. No bringing hulking books to work with me and keep track of it all. I didn’t want to read it just on the days I work, but I wanted to read it every day. I found myself reading it most days, too.

I really loved the way the story was told. Not all books can handle the constant back and forth in time, going back and then further back, all to finally reach the future. It impressed me.

What impressed me even more was the way Hall made me get attached to all of the characters involved and see where they were at fault, as well as see where they were in the right. I loved how Hall was able to do that without feeling as if my emotions were being manipulated, like I was being forced to sympathize with them.

Sure, this book might be like other books that have come out, but it felt very unique to me and that it was a story well-told. I’d highly suggest it to all mystery lovers.

First Lines Friday

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in purple.


The rules of the Crave were simple. V and I went to a nightclub in a predetermined place a good way from where we lived. We traveled there together but entered separately. We made our way to the bar and stood far enough apart for it to seem like we weren’t together but close enough that I could always keep her in my vision. Then we waited. It never took long, but why would it when V shone as brightly as she did?


I know, I cut it off. If I had gone further, then it would have been a whole, long thing. And, technically, I’m not supposed to be showing this anyways. This is from an ARC that I’m reading, one that I’m really enjoying a whole lot.

It is…

Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

Our Kind of Cruelty

As I said, this is an ARC. I’m kind of surprised that it has a month to its release date and I haven’t heard people raving about it much. Sure, it sounds a lot like all of the other mysteries coming out these days — unreliable narrator, volatile relationship, something bad comes from it all — but it feels so unique. It borders on feeling like You by Caroline Kepnes from time to time, just without a narrator like Joe. Mike is completely unaware of how he sounds and who he is, which makes him an interesting (and dangerous) read.


The thick, briny scent of sweat-soaked leather seeped through my cloth mask. A guarded carriage rattled down the road upwind of me. I leaned out of my tree and caught a flicker of light from a carriage lamp. The carriage’s blue paint shone, gilded and mud-splattered. 

I groaned. “Nobles.” 

The branches beneath me creaked as footsteps scraped along the bark. I flipped a knife into my palm. The sentence for robbing nobles was hanging. 

But only if they caught you. 


There are a lot of fantasy novels out there about thieves and the like and while it’s never been my favorite trope, I’m trying to read more fantasy. Queer fantasy specifically because queer books makes me happy. I highly anticipated this book’s release last year because it had something I had never heard of in a fantasy novel and it was explicit in the blurb. I didn’t have to sift through the comments to find out if the book was queer, it was right there and obvious. 

This week I chose…

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Mask of Shadows cover

This book has a genderfluid main character and for me that’s exciting. I’ll admit that the mixed reviews I had seen put me off for a bit, but that hasn’t stopped me before when it comes to queer books. I’m not saying having a genderqueer character can make up for any faults I think the book might have, but I want to support the fact that genderqueer characters are extremely rare. I hope the representation is good because I want more books that portray the parts of the LGBTQIA+ community that don’t often get represented. 

First Lines Friday

Hello everyone! I hope everyone’s week went well. I know I’m happy for it to be over, but let’s get on to the first lines!

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in purple.


As soon as the stranger set the bundle on the floor, Hades could tell it was the body of a child. It was curled on its side and wrapped in a worn blue sheet secured with duct tape around the neck, waist and knees. One tiny pearl-colored foot poked out from the hem, limp on his sticky linoleum.


I’m doing this way early, actually. Since, at this point, I’ll be three days post-surgery, I highly doubt that I’m going to be spry and ready to do anything. Therefore, I’m making it early and doing this early.

In other words, I don’t have any quippy intro to this and I’ll just get on with this. Yeah? Sound good. Good. Thanks for the consensus.

My book is…

Hades by Candice Fox

Hades (Archer & Bennett, #1)

This is a reread for me, actually. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this when it was being published in America (this is Aussie based) and I loved it. Now that the third book is out and I wasn’t able to get it via ARC, I decided to check out all three books and just binge the series while I’m recovering. What I’m most excited for is to see how it measures up to a reread.


Shane is awake, wishing he wasn’t. The alarm clock makes a soft warning click before flooding the room with staticky Top 40. Too loud. Shane reaches an arm out from under the covers and hits snooze for the third time. It feels better in bed. Not good, but better. As long as his door is closed, no one wants anything from him. 


My choice is a book that actually came out this week and I received an ARC for. Unfortunately, I still haven’t posted a review for it. Oops, but it’s a book I want to give as much exposure as possible because I think it’s an important story to tell. 

Without further ado, I present…

Fire Song by Adam Garnet Jones

fire song cover

This book is about a teenage boy who is coming to terms with his sexuality who happens to be an Indigenous person who lives on a reserve in Canada. To me, these are the stories I want to read. I want to read about a culture completely different than mine. A culture that might have a slightly different take on homosexuality and there is a bit of that in there. However, I think this book was well written with characters that were very flawed. The reason I haven’t written my review yet is that it’s difficult to sort out my feelings about the characters and the directions the book took. 

However, I highly recommend it and want to spread the word about it as much as possible, but before going into it there are content warnings for suicide and sexual assault. 

Black Mirror – Season Three (Part 2)

black-mirror-logo

Black Mirror – Season One

Black Mirror – Season Two + Christmas Special

Black Mirror – Season Three (Part 1)

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in purple.


San Junipero

So, Chantel loved this episode. Because it’s gay. Is that a spoiler? I don’t think so since Chantel told me she only watched this episode because she knew something about it, so I assumed it was gay right away.

*taps mic* Ahem, first of all, sexuality isn’t a spoiler. Second of all, yeah this episode is queer as hell with two ladies who end up together and it’s ahmazing. It’s beautiful, the music is fantastic, the setting is fantastic, and it’s unlike any other Black Mirror episode. By that I mean, it’s not about the dangers of technology. It isn’t set in a world that’s some kind of dystopia. It’s just a beautiful love story and my queer heart cannot take it.

Yes, yes. No need to remind about your most famous Goodreads update where you ranted about how it’s not a spoiler or whatever. I get that, obviously. I want to know if a character is ace or trans, so yeah.

I did love the music because IT IS SET IN THE 80S. And it was a very tame episode compared to the one we had just come off of, something I appreciated personally. It was a very sweet episode, a lot like “Be Right Back”.

That’s correct, I am an internet sensation. Bullshit. You just jealous.

bullshit gif.gif

Yo, I don’t need your attitude.

As soon as I heard this episode had two women falling in love, my interest went from non-existent to 1000. That happens frequently in my life. It’s just a scale of meh to YAS.

Anyway, this episode is set in the 80’s and I’d like to talk about that for a moment. Neither of us grew up in the 80’s we are too young for that, but whenever I see the 80s portrayed in any kind of media it’s very nostalgic. Stranger Things, anyone? We remember the music, the clothes, the hair. These are things that defined the 80s and they are symbols we recognize from the 80s, but I think there are a lot of things that are glossed over. Like Reagan, like the AIDS crisis, and a lot of other things that aren’t coming to me. Instead, we always get a version of the 80s that has a bit of sheen to it. While this make sense in this episode, I think that’s safe to say without giving too much away, but it was just something I thought about. Sometimes when we look back at something, we see the good and not the bad that came with it.

Anything straight is meh. Queer is YAS. Especially queer women. Your little homosexual heart.

Oh, I love 80s music and the setting of this was mostly in that period, along with some others. I don’t want to go too far into the plot since it gets a bit spoilery when we start going further, but it’s a really sweet episode. No twists that will slaughter you or anything like that. Two women deciding to start a relationship against, literally, all odds.

I think the thing I appreciate the most about this episode is how smartly they paired it with the last episode. I don’t think I could have handled another episode that fucked with me like that one.

That is my motto. Queer is YAS. Learn it, memorize it, commit it to your memory.

It was one of the sweetest episodes of TV I’ve seen. If someone could just do an anthology tv series about queer people that would be the fucking dream. Anyone? Any takers? I NEED this in my life. Pretty sure that Ryan Murphy is doing that with his new series about 80s dancers. I already know about that and cannot wait. 

When I originally watched Shut Up and Dance, I was so devastated and wanted to curl up into a ball. However, I watched San Junipero and it warmed my heart and made everything better. It was a sweet dream after a nightmare and I agree, the placement was brilliant.

OH, before I forget, can I just say Yorkie is the cutest fucking person to ever walk on this Earth. That is all.

yorkie and kelly.gif
Yorkie is on the right

They are pretty cute.

They are both cute. Not to mention, it’s an interracial relationship which gives me so much life.

An interracial, queer relationship that passes all bounds of age, too.

I’ma let you speak but San Junipero was the best episode of all time. *drops mic*

Kanye Shrug.gif

Shut up, Chanye and let’s move on.

If we must.

Men Against Fire

This one sucked. Least favorite. So boring despite the premise being super interesting.

I hate to say it, but this episode was very White Bear-ish. It presented an interesting premise and then spent the next hour being boring as all shit. The twist while interesting, didn’t seem to have any impact at all. It was revealed to us and I understood what was going on. It just was poorly executed. This show has so many great episodes and then we get duds like this and fucking WHITE BEAR.

Hades on Fire.gif

It really was White Bear-ish. Boring and then had a big point about it, like White Bear had. White Bear focused on crime and punishment whereas this focused on the morality of war and genocide. Because, this is focused on a basic genocide, where they see these horrific things they call roaches that are human… but not. But, are they really human? Is it okay to kill them off without even trying to communicate with them? However, the way it was told felt like a ton of info-dumping and it was like old school dystopians where the protagonist somehow gets to the head of things and the head tells them everything about the society they’re in.

The premise is interesting. How much do you have to dehumanize someone in order to kill them without remorse? What would you do if it was your life or theirs? It’s an interesting idea with interesting questions, but the main character/actor was as interesting as a bag of rocks. I didn’t care about him. The main female character was extremely masculine in her behavior was incredibly annoying and by the time the twist was revealed, it didn’t matter. It wouldn’t salvage the episode for me. I know the ending was supposed to be so meaningful and it didn’t hit me at all. Bummer, but they can’t all be perfect.

It felt like a parody of military life and the people in the military in conflict zones. It didn’t feel realistic to me. Like, sure, these people are around, but it didn’t strike me as realistic. And, you’re right. The twist had lost me. It didn’t help that I had started figuring it out earlier in the episode and I kind of checked out.

They didn’t give us any indication what they were fighting for and honestly, I don’t think they were fighting anything. Which isn’t compelling at all if you are going to do a story featuring the military.

Shooting and fighting makes things interesting, but it didn’t for this since it had a wafer-thin plot.

Hated in the Nation

I did not like this episode. Granted, it was better than “Men Against Fire” as it was far more interesting and I truly wanted to know what the fuck was happening. The answers I go, however, it didn’t do it for me in the slightest. I thought it was silly and stupid. That’s all I’m going to say about that because I don’t want to give anything away. For me, this episode was trying to do suspense, mystery, and horror. But it came off goofy to me. I will say that the one thing I did like was the badass main female characters. One who was a lead detective and she was awesome. I’ll say that about it, but I think that’s pretty much the only positive I have.

We can’t talk about much because everything in the episode unfolds piece by piece, so it would kind of ruin it if we just went and said everything. I definitely disagree with you. I thought it was tense and interesting. I wondered what would happen and how they would solve the mystery since it could be anyone at all. It also had horror elements that worked for me, and I know it worked for you, too, since you got freaked out by a few things.

I also liked how it had a feel of an evolution of “Shut Up and Dance” to it. The next step for the people who were in charge of blackmailing the people involved in that.

They had my attention and focus up until a certain point. Then I was not into it at all anymore. I think this episode did present some interesting questions, ones we can’t go into and I liked that part of it too, but ultimately I wasn’t a fan. There are so many better episodes of this show and even better episodes that we watched in season three. I think Black Mirror can do plot very well sometimes. In “Shut Up and Dance”I was on the edge of my seat and it was incredibly effective. I found nothing compelling about what was going on in this episode until it was nearly over.

Maybe this comes down to the fact that you don’t like mystery or horror like I do. Those are genres I actively search out while you don’t. That’s not a bad thing, as we know, but mystery holds my attention way better than something queer because I’m naturally attuned to it and have been forever.

And for me, since I was around 13 I always sought out queer content. That’s what I wanted to watch and I soaked in as much of it as I could. It holds a special place in my heart whereas I really don’t like horror and the only time I like mysteries is if there is some kind of queer element. Honestly, throughout the whole episode I wanted Karin and Blue to get together. That is what I was thinking of the whole time.

Uh, and from the age of nine, I dragged my parents to go to London Dungeon, got the shit scared out of me, and loved it. So. I think there is a difference between our tastes and that’s what it comes down to for this episode. I can see how you thought it wasn’t as well done as the past ones (and I agree; my comparison to “Shut Up and Dance” was a weak one) but it was still a solid episode for me.

Although, I could totally get behind Karin and Blue as a couple.

Which is fine. We clearly don’t like the same things and that’s okay. We’ve pretty much agreed up until this point and it’s nice to know that we can disagree and really it all comes down to genre and tone. It just seemed like a weaker episode overall because we had episodes like “Shut Up and Dance” and “San Junipero”. Those two episodes were far superior and while “Shut Up and Dance” was suspenseful and kept you in the dark for a long time it was very focused. This was very broad in its scope. It wasn’t just about one kid, it was about society. I personally will always gravitate toward the stories about individual people rather than society.

YAS! If anyone ever tells you that representation doesn’t matter. They can go fuck themselves because it absolutely does.

Another difference between us. I find meditations on society fascinating. Love stories about individual people, but I also love me a really fucked up society.

Okay but they’re probably already fucking themselves tbh.

Episode Rankings

Caidyn’s rankings

  1. Hated in the Nation
  2. San Junipero
  3. Men Against Fire

Chantel’s rankings

  1. San Junipero (fucking duh)
  2. Hated in the Nation
  3. Men Against Fire