Six Goodbyes We Never Said: Review and Blog Tour!

Welcome to the blog tour for SIX GOODBYES WE NEVER SAID, a heartbreaking novel about love and loss from author Candace Ganger. I’ll start with the synopsis and go from there. The book releases September 24th 2019. I gave it five stars.

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.

What I love about books like these is the voices are so sharp and poignant that they cannot help but resonate with me. This is not a cookie cutter contemporary. This story deals with mental illness, suicide, and life after loss. We go into both Dew and Naima’s heads as they both cope with their losses in their own ways.

Dew had a way of seeing the good in the world. He was open to therapy and new ideas. Whereas Naima was a little harder to get through to. The author showed us the two spectrum of coping and she did it so well. Both POV’s were gut wrenching. Being a military wife myself, I understand the anger and sadness when a loved one goes away to war, and this is most likely why this book resonated with me the way it did. I am so happy to be part of this tour and that I got to read this amazing book. I cannot wait to see what Candace has for us in the future.

Gangers author note seriously just made me cry:

AUTHOR’S NOTE

Hello, dear reader.

I think it should be known that, while Six Goodbyes is a work of fiction, I share the many characteristics, fears, and pains, in both the delicacy of Dew, and the confused ferocity in Naima. Please let this brief note serve as a trigger warning in regards to mental illness; self-care is of the utmost importance. And while I hope Six Goodbyes provides insight for those who don’t empa- thize, or comfort for those that do, I also understand everyone reacts differently.

Dew’s social anxiety is something I, and many others, struggle with. We carry on with our days and pretend it’s not as hard as it feels inside. Others can’t quite see how much it hurts but we so wish they could. Naima is the most visceral interpretation of all of my diagnosed disorders combined. Her obsessive-compulsive dis- order (OCD) and related tics, her intrusive thoughts, her utterly devastating and isolating depression, her generalized anxiety dis- order (GAD), which makes her so closed off from the world, and her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from losing the biggest portion of her identity—those are all pieces of me. Very big pieces. They don’t define me, but it would be misleading if I didn’t ad- mit they sometimes, mostly do. I’m imperfectly complicated like Naima. And though I’ve written extensively on both my mental illnesses and living biracial, between two worlds—never enough of one or the other; always only half of something and never whole or satiated—I often still feel misunderstood. Hopefully Dew and Naima’s stories will provide a little insight as to what it’s like inside their heads, and inside mine.

Both Dew and Naima want to hold on to the roots that have

grounded them in their familiar, safe spaces. But once their meta- phorical trees are cut, and all the leaves shielding them from their pains have fallen and faded away, not even photosynthesis could bring them back to life. Those roots, Naima and Dew feel, will die off, and everything they had in their lives before will, too. There are many of you out there who feel the exact same way, but I assure you, Dew and Naima will find their way— they will grow new roots that flourish—and you, my darlings, will, too.

Thank you for reading, and may Six Goodbyes serve as per- mission to speak your truths—the good and the painful.

Here’s to another six airplanes for you to wish upon.

About the Author:
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.
Twitter: @candylandgang + @WednesdayBooks
Link to retailers: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250116246

Add it to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43178166-six-goodbyes-we-never-said

Preorder it here: https://www.amazon.com/Six-Goodbyes-We-Never-Said/dp/1250116244/ref=sr_1_1?crid=94BSLK9BKHQQ&keywords=six+goodbyes+we+never+said&qid=1567099084&s=gateway&sprefix=six+goodbyes%2Caps%2C219&sr=8-1

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight: Review

Although there were some things I did not like about the book, I still had a good time reading it. It’s chock-full of discussion topics and would be great for a schoolroom.

The book follows Lena and Campbell, as they escape a football game’s massive fight that has escalated rather quickly. Lena is obsessed with finding her boyfriend, while Campbell switches between waiting for a teacher to give her a ride and hoofing it with Lena. As they do navigate the city, things begin to take a turn for the worse as they encounter danger, prejudices, and devastation at every turn.

The story moves rather quickly, which I love. But I wonder if that was why I had a hard time connecting with the characters. Lena, for one, is the rudest, most self-obsessed person and she’s unapologetic for it. She continuously degrades Campbell, who is timid. Now, the racial tension in the story is evident, but the rift in race between Lena and Campbell seems very one-sided, and I don’t feel the characters truly learned anything from each other.

All in all, it’s a solid YA read

Kingdom of Back: review

Thank you to Edelweiss and publisher for the chance to review this title ahead of its release date. Please note that this may contain slight spoilers.

I resent that it took me so long to finish this despite it being amazing. Life got me by and was nothing to do with the book itself. Moving from Italy back to the States has been a whirlwind. Regardless of all the boxes everywhere, I had this gem of a book to keep me sane.

Marie Lu surprised us all with the news that she was publishing a historical YA about none other than the Mozart siblings. I have only ever read the Legend series, and while I was not a fan, this one GOT ME. The writing….omg the writing. Lu has truly shined in this one. I’ve watched the evolution of writers and their works (Leigh Bardugo, for example) and while it makes me happy to see them flourish, THE KINGDOM OF BACK is a masterpiece of the craft. Sorry, Leigh.

KINGDOM OF BACK follows the Mozart children as they tour Europe playing for royalty alike. In a world where it’s forbidden for women to compose, older sibling, Nannerl has to hide her music while their father pays closer attention to the much younger Wolferl. Nannerl feels that she may be forgotten in life. With her brother’s talent nourished by the world, she was born into, she is suddenly vulnerable to a mysterious visitor who claims to be from another land. In exchange for her help regaining his kingdom, he will grant Nannerly wish of never being forgotten by the world. But soon, things take a more sinister turn, and Nannerl begins to wonder how badly the consequences of her actions will affect her family.

Lu character development is strikingly astonishing, but also patient. Nannerl is such an engrossing character, even more so when you remind yourself that she existed in the world. The story is tragic in the sense that Nannerl’s only wish is to be remembered by the world, and as you read, you recognize that not only is she not remembered for her work, but not many many people know she even existed. The tension between the real world and The Kingdom of Back leak into each other making both world frightening, and heartbreaking.

Marie’s writing was a joy to read. I was truly blown away by this one.

Gravemaidens: Review

Thanks to Netgalley for the chance to review this title.

Well, this was a big fat NOPE.

Ok so, the story was unique. Three girls are chosen as maidens for their ruler. In this case, the ruler is dying. Therefore, the three girls will die with him, which is a huge honor apparently. Healer Kammani’s sister is chosen, and Nanaea is all gung ho about it. But sister is like, nah, you aren’t dying today, sis, and takes her father’s place as a healer to keep the ruler from dying, thus saving her sister.

I think what frustrated me the most was that the story started really promising. The premise is unique, and I think I was expecting something creepier than what it was. By the second quarter, it began to turn into your cookie-cutter YA fantasy with an unlikeable protagonist who makes questionable decisions. Kammani did not have a distinct personality. She’s just a typical YA heroine who wants you to think she’s smart but instead makes you roll your eyes at the things she does for plot’s sake. I wasn’t feeling it.

The love interest was another negative aspect for me. As in, there WAS NO LOVE INTEREST. Though the plot set us up for one, maybe two, nothing comes out of it. There is no payoff. Maybe if I felt some tingles, I would have enjoyed this part a bit more. Instead, I felt numb to it every time he came “on screen.”

The writing was fine. Some dialogue was hard to follow, and some phrases seemed out of place. The twist was no so much a twist. I was truly hoping for someone I did not suspect, but alas.

GRAVEMAIDENS could have been the twisted and dark tale I thought it was. Instead, I won’t remember it come tomorrow.

Here There Are Monsters: Review

Thank you Edelweiss and the publisher for the auto-approval. It makes me feel so cool in the book review world.

So, let me first say a few things about this book before getting in the nitty-gritty.

A missing girl
Creepy woods
Secrets
Inner (and outer?) demons

There’s a thin line between what is real, and what is not in this book. When Skye’s little sister Diedre goes missing, her entire family life goes into an uproar. With several small clues, Skye discovers that the imaginary worlds her sister created may have come to life, and with a vengeance. To get her sister back, she must complete specific tasks that include spilling her innermost secrets and coming to terms with her demons. Underneath the missing girl plot is a story of violence and inner demons that are just as scary as real ones. If, you know, demons were real, and you believe in that sort of thing. Or you could only imagine that dude from Legend with the horns. Inner turmoil can be just as horrifying as seeing that guy come around a corner on a dark, abandoned street. I digress.

But with all that, I found myself wondering if I missed something. Much was not explained, and maybe left up to interpretation? I was waiting for some big reveal, maybe Skye as an unreliable narrator would have been sweet.

This was a real creepy, atmospheric read. Amenlinda’s writing is subtle, and not overly flowery, with enough to give you a sense of panic and fear. Skye, as an MC, had her faults, and some of her actions had me scratching my head. That with the sense that nobody learned a damn thing by the end of the story. Maybe I look too deep into things, but I like my stories to at least have something that the MC’s learned. Maybe Skye learned not to take her sister for granted. Perhaps it was something as simple as Diedre just wanting to be in her fantasy world forever, which brings me to the mental illness aspect of this book. It’s treated kinda flippantly with, “Maybe she needs to see a therapist.” Parents don’t seem to care. By the end, they still don’t. I know. It just felt sort of wobbly.

All in all, I did enjoy the book’s first half. I couldn’t put it down. But things took a nosedive after that. The story shifted so quickly and drastically, I felt jarred which made my rating fall. 3.5

Warnings: animal death, violence, and mental illness.