[Review] Brave Face by Shaun David Hutchinson

Brave Face

Shaun David Hutchinson

What rating would you give it?
♥ 5 of 5 Stars ♥

Give us a summary.

(Goodreads Description)
Critically acclaimed author of We Are the Ants—described as having “hints of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five” (School Library Journal)—opens up about what led to an attempted suicide in his teens, and his path back from the experience.

“I wasn’t depressed because I was gay. I was depressed and gay.”

Shaun David Hutchinson was nineteen. Confused. Struggling to find the vocabulary to understand and accept who he was and how he fit into a community in which he couldn’t see himself. The voice of depression told him that he would never be loved or wanted, while powerful and hurtful messages from society told him that being gay meant love and happiness weren’t for him.

A million moments large and small over the years all came together to convince Shaun that he couldn’t keep going, that he had no future. And so he followed through on trying to make that a reality.

Thankfully Shaun survived, and over time, came to embrace how grateful he is and how to find self-acceptance. In this courageous and deeply honest memoir, Shaun takes readers through the journey of what brought him to the edge, and what has helped him truly believe that it does get better.

What did you think of the book?

And this is how you get a person who HATES MEMOIRS to read a memoir.


First off, this is one of the books I featured on W2RO2 (Want To Read Or Own) AND I managed to find it at my local library last month to read for my N.E.W.T.S.

Secondly… I said this before, and I’ll most certainly say it again: TBH, I’m actually NOT the biggest fan of memoirs, autobiographies, and biographies. I have nothing against them, I just tend not to wast–EHEM–spend my money on them. XD EVEN IF THEY’RE AMAZING. That being said…


I knew I’d love this book from it’s catch line:

“I wasn’t depressed because I was gay. I was depressed and gay.”

Because I can SO relate.

What a fantastic, emotionally charged read. I’m still feeling that IN MY BONES.

Holy cow. There was so many relatable moments in there for me. You just would NOT believe. I felt his isolation, his pain, his struggles, his desolation, his despair, and inevitably his acceptance of self (even if it came at the expense of deciding he that acceptance came in the form of hating oneself until he finally learned to stop doing that and ACTUALLY live with who he is).

Listen. Anyone like me who honestly can’t understand why someone else would wanna read a memoir (Like, whhhhyyy??), you NEED to read this. It will change your life and your perspective of why memoirs (NOT ALL, BTW) are really, REALLY important and need to exist and continue to exist for generations to come.

This is one of those types of memoirs. I’m SHOOK.

Any warnings you wish to make for your readers?

Well… this IS a memoir about some pretty heavy topics, so go in understanding that.

Brave Face delves into life with depression, suicide, as well as what life is like being gay and not having a strong sense of self and acceptance, in part because the world around us offers none of the role models we deserve to see. Whether you are gay, lesbian, biThe author is raw and honest about his life, including many of the poor decisions he made and behaviors he engages in that shine in him a negative light. He keeps it real to the very end and I greatly appreciate that (because we all make stupid mistakes and I cannot stress enough that we NEED to own them and not simply hide them away, never to see the light of day, or deny them when they DO come to light because someone unearthed a “dirty little secret”).

Does it count towards any reading challenges?

Would you recommend this book?

are you kidding me




Reviewed by AMS (amomentsilence)

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 2019
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 369
Genre & Themes: Nonfiction, Memoir, Autobiography,
Age: Adult
Reviewer: AMS (amomentsilence)
Source: Borrowed from local library
Challenge:  Goodreads 2019 ReadingChallenge, 2019 N.E.W.T.S.,

[Review] My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

My Sister, The Serial Killer

Oyinkan Braithwaite

What rating would you give it?
5 of 5 Stars

Give us a summary.

(Goodreads Description)

My Sister, the Serial Killer is a blackly comic novel about how blood is thicker – and more difficult to get out of the carpet – than water…

When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defense and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…

What did you think of the book?

LET ME START BY SAYING: THIS IS NOT A THRILLER, NOR A MYSTERY, NOR A COMEDY, NOR A HORROR, NOR EVEN ALL THAT “DISTURBING” (at least not in the context of the bloody title reading “My sister, the SERIAL KILLER“). At most, I’d call this simple contemporary fiction showcasing mildly disturbing content.

That being said, I still ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS BOOK, but I DO believe it has been mislabeled and falsely advertised, which is why it’s getting some low star or “bad” reviews. People are going into this book looking for a thriller or murder mystery and getting… a confession? A “this is what happened – take it or leave it” sort of book, and it’s not what they expected??? If they could separate themselves from their initial disappointment (maybe even put the book down, walk away, and come back when they’re in the mood to read a different kind of book and not a nail-biting thriller-mystery) they’d realize the the book itself is GREAT. The hints of humor amidst a darkly cast scenario of two sisters struggling to keep it together and take control of their lives in world where women can be bought and sold into marriage no different than selling cattle to the highest bidder, is wonderful.

But is it thriller or nail-biting or have-you-at-the-edge-of-your-seat? Absolutely not.

This book reads almost like a “fictional” memoir than anything else. (Which is, I think, what it should have ACTUALLY been marketed as, jus’ sayin’…)

It’s a quick-paced, easy read that I finished in a single midday sitting. My three favourite aspects of this novel were (1) the message of strong family ties between the sisters, (2) Korode (the older sister)’s dry, almost sarcastic humor, and (3) the wholly entertaining interactions between the sisters: their bickering, their compromising, and their love. The characters are wonderfully developed, and the plot — though relatively predictable — was clear, well-thought, and still had a few surprises throughout, with insightful and illuminating flashbacks to the sisters’ childhood that 100% shaped them into the… *ehem*… killer women they are today.

I absolutely LOVE books that showcase strong bonds between siblings, and this book definitely fits the bill. It goes up there as a newly minted-five star favourite and I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a quick read novella or cozy thrillers/fictional memoirs/literary fiction with strong themes in: family, women supporting women, and African culture.

Any warnings you wish to make for your readers?

Nothing particularly out of the ordinary.

There’s blood, killing, some mildly sociopathic behavior, and more killing (and cleaning up the murder scene), but I mean… with a title like that, what else did you expect?? xD

Does it count towards any reading challenges?

Three, this time!

Thaaat’s right, folks! This was the book I decided to read in honor of Hannigram Day 2019 xD It actually came across much milder than I thought, but it was still a good choice.

Would you recommend this book?

Definitely, definitely, definitely!


Just heed my warning and don’t be misled by all the crap advertising.


THIS IS NOT A THRILLER, NOR A MYSTERY, NOR A COMEDY, NOR A HORROR, NOR EVEN ALL THAT “DISTURBING”. At most, I’d call this simple literary fiction showcasing mildly disturbing content.

Reviewed by AMS (amomentsilence)

Publisher: Doubleday Books
Publication Date: Nov 2018
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 226
Genre & Themes: Fiction, Contemporary, Cultural > Africa, Mystery > Crime, Thriller
Age: Adult (??) I mean, as a teen I’d definitely read it no problem…
Reviewer: AMS (amomentsilence)
Source: Borrowed from local library
Challenge: Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge, 2019 N.E.W.T.S., Hannigram Day 2019

IT’S DONE! The N.E.W.T.S. Readathon 2019 is OVER

I don’t know whether to be crying or thanking the heavens or upset or just grateful it’s over. XD

Although I really wish I could have finished my ridiculously long TBR schedule — no matter how impractical it was from the get-go — I’m super proud of myself for actually getting REALLY, REALLY close to finishing it! (I was le shock when I started crossing off titles from my list.)



At any rate… I did a pretty good job considering! And I only had to rearrange maybe two books? Although I did have to do a LOT of replacing of some titles to fit different prompts xD Whoops



(You can also see the archive here)


I was really thrown off by the MC’s name “Malik” (It’s the name of one of my own characters so I just couldn’t get past that while reading the book :/) This one had promise, too! And had I a few more days, I might have been able to power through it regardless of my own quirk regarding the name. Oh well…


Just couldn’t seem to get into or even WANT to pick it up. This was a impulse grab from my local library because the synopsis sounded good, but since I’ve never read the first book, I guess I was just at a loss to even WANT to pick it up again once I got it home since I figured it’d just be too much work and waste too much time trying to figure out what the hell’s happening in it. :/ On a side note, I might pick this title up again later once I get my hands on the first book.



Based on this, my career path has been chosen…

I’m a Author-Librarian Astronomer with interests in Magizoology striving to one day apply for and be accepted to a position in the Department of Mysteries.

Ambitious little wizard, aren’t I? xD

Guess that’s why I’m both Ravenclaw AND Slytherin. My thirst for knowledge, creativity, and individuality can only be matched by my drive to accomplish my goals in (almost) whatever means necessary.


How did everyone else fair? What illustrious careers did you strive for? Did you reach your goals? Did you fall short like me (ughhhhhh) but still feel satisfied with the end result? Or did you come nowhere close and want to try again next year when the O.W.L.S. come around?

Leave a comment and let’s chat about our many triumphs and woes as August comes to a close and September begins!

Archive of books I’ve read for #NEWTSREADATHON2019

Click on the covers for more info on each book title I read, including: DATE COMPLETED and the SUBJECT, PASSING GRADE, CAREER, & READING PROMPT each title applied towards.

I also (eventually) plan to add a little review to each title or simply link to any review I’ve already made of the title if it’s a re-read and I’ve already reviewed it here on Reckless Indulgence!

Also check out these posts for more on my N.E.W.T.S. journey:


Because of how ungodly long my previous post was, I figured a separate post might be in order to keep track of everything.



  • E in History (2)
  • A in Muggle Studies (1)
  • A in 1 more subject of my picking (1) — Transfiguration


  • O in Ancient Runes (3)
  • E in DADA (2)
  • E in History (2)


  • O in Care of Magical Creatures (3)
  • E in Charms (2)
  • E in Herbology (2)

Dept. of Mysteries

  • O in Charms (3)
  • O in DADA (3)
  • O in Potions (3)
  • O in Transfiguration (3)


  • O in Astronomy (3)
  • O in Arithmancy (3)
  • A in History (1)


As previously mentioned, the books selected in this list as… tentative. Meaning if I end up reading something else that works for one of these categories, BY GOD I’M GONNA USE IT INSTEAD. xD








  • A: an audiobook or green cover [IDFK] [Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (Hogwarts Library) by Newt Scamander] ♥ READ ♥ 
  • E: a book between 350-390 pages long [NO CLUE YET ahahahah 8D Maybe when I check my copy later I’ll see about either “The Dispossessed” or “The Left Hand of Darkness” by Ursula K. Le Guin or maybe “The Martian” by Andy Weir….. I’m pretty sure one of those are within range (hopefully) Okay, so technically ANY of those can work because they all fall within that 350-390 range (Go me!!) so yeah… I’ll probably go with… one of Ursula’s because she’s mah fav <3] ♥ READ ♥  





Another Not-So-Quick Announcement! “Shhh!! N.E.W.T.S. Are In Session!” #NEWTSREADATHON2019

I won’t go into too, too much detail about this one, but as you can see something… magical… is afoot!

I recently came across a post by @yvo about these really cool Harry Potter themed readathons called O.W.L.S. and N.E.W.T.S. which takes place in April (for the O.W.L.S.) and August (for the N.E.W.T.S.). This is the second year it’s being run and apparently it’s got quite a following!

Now, typically you’d have to have completed your O.W.L.S. before you can take your N.E.W.T.S. and the same is true for this readathon, but since I LITERALLY ONLY FOUND OUT ABOUT THIS A WEEK AGO, there’s just NO WAY I could try doing my O.W.L.S. first before starting this month’s N.E.W.T.S.

There’s a lot of rules to this readathon, so for those interested, all the information is linked below, but honestly all you need to do is watch this delightful video by the very creator of this magical readathon, Book Roast herself!

And if you want to learn more about the O.W.L.S. in preperation for next year (I presume??), check out the 2019 O.W.L.S. announcement below:


MAGICAL READATHON EXPLAINED https://docs.google.com/document/d/1z…


Magical recommendations of best books from OWLs 2019 https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/…

Smaller file version
In white background:

N.E.W.T.s 2019 letter & prompts!
In white:

Forbidden section book BD link: https://www.bookdepository.com/Spells… * This is the book you can use to replace any other prompt with!

Book tracker for common page count to be used during the NEWTs 2019 https://forms.gle/Y5KV8CEM3i1seJhB9

Magical Readathon playlist:

Magical Twitter

Magical Discord



As for me — I’m super terrible at deciding on a single career, so I ended up just picking the ones I liked most or would most likely want to do, and ended up with this ridiculously massive reading schedule which I’m quite sure I’ll never finish in time for Aug 31st. (But here’s to overachieving and setting impossible goals!! 8DD)

The careers that SPEAK TO ME:

  • Writer
  • Librarian
  • Magizoologist
  • MOM – Dept. of Mysteries
  • Astronomer

What that translates to in terms of books are as follows:

For the Writer career, I need an E in History, A in Muggle Studies, and an A in 1 more subject of my picking = 4 books

For the Librarian career, I need an O in Ancient Runes, an E in DADA, and an E in History = 7 books

For the Magizoologist career, I need an O in Care of Magical Creatures, E in Charms, and E in Herbology = 7 books

For any Ministry Worker position, I would need an A in… Charms, DADA, Potions, and Transfiguration, but to be placed in the Dept. of Mysteries (which is ACTUALLY the only supposed “desk job” I’d be interested in), I need at least 4 O’s at the N.E.W.T. lvl in any class.

(So to make things easier on myself, I’m just striving for O’s in the four classes listed above, bringing the total for this one to a whooping 12!)

And finally, for the Astronomer career, I need O in Astronomy, and O in Arithmancy, and an A in History = 7 books

That all comes up to… lord37 books!!

However, since many of these N.E.W.T.S. overlap with one another (e.g. I need to complete the “History” N.E.W.T.S. for 3 different careers: Astronomer, Librarian, AND Writer), I’m not reading separate books for each career. That means, I’ll read to the highest “grade” needed in each N.E.W.T.S. for ALL careers and then apply those read books to whatever career it falls under.

For instance, I only need an A in History for the Astronomy career, but for Librarian and Writer I need an E.

So I’ll read 2 books for History to be qualified for an “E”, and apply the “A” grade book to Astronomy and the “A” & “E” grade books to both the Librarian and Writer careers.

Make sense?

Which means, in reality, I’ll only be reading 29 books instead of a beastly 37.

(It’s still an awful bloody lot, gods above and below…)


So far, I’m actually doing somewhat okay.

Just, y’know, gotta not think about the fact that I basically have to read 29 books in 31 days! 8DDDDD


(send help)

for this readathon goes as follows:








  • A: an audiobook or green cover [IDFK]
  • E: a book between 350-390 pages long [NO CLUE YET ahahahah 8D Maybe when I check my copy later I’ll see about either “The Dispossessed” or “The Left Hand of Darkness” by Ursula K. Le Guin or maybe “The Martian” by Andy Weir….. I’m pretty sure one of those are within range (hopefully)]






As you can well see, I’m going to have my hands full over the next month. So this is just a notice to all my lovely followers out there that there will less content posted on this blog during that time. I literally cannot be posting every day, or even every other day, if I also want to try getting through 29 books in a single month’s time.

That being said, I will still try to post whenever I can, but I just wanted to let y’all know that I haven’t disappeared again xD I’m just holed up somewhere reading like a true book dragon ought. ❤

Is anyone else doing this AMAZING challenge this month? Comment below and link back to your own posts/blogs/etc. where you’re keeping track of your progress! I’d love to follow you along this journey. :3