Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Whose Occupations I'd Like to Try

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book blog meme now hosted by Jana over at The Artsy Reader Girl!

This week's topic is:  Characters Whose Occupations I'd Like to Try

This topic really made me realize how many books I read about people who aren't exactly traditional employed, but that's okay because it just made me get more creative. There are also a lot of jobs that I vehemently do not want, but I ended up finding more than I expected (and even had to leave some out) and had a lot of fun thinking about different characters' jobs. Let's check out some of the interesting jobs I found (in no particular order)!

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)The Puppetmaster’s ApprenticeThe CouncillorThe Terror

1. Character: Lazlo Strange 
Occupation: Junior Librarian at The Great Library of Zosma, from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Why: I'm assuming the 'why' here is probably obvious, but I'd love to be a library at the The Great Library of Zosma because books--and it'd also be pretty neat is Lazlo could be my supervisor or something.

2. Character: Pirouette 
Occupation: Puppetmaster's Apprentice, from The Puppetmaster's Apprentice by Lisa DeSelm
Why: I love crafting things by hand and I think it would be so neat to create some of the gorgeous pieces that Pirouette and her father make (or rather attempt to, at least). 

3. Character: Lysande Prior
Occupation: (Former) Palace Scholar, from The Councillor by E.J. Beaton
Why: I'm not sure if I'd necessarily want to be involved in royal politics, but I do enjoy the general concept of getting to devote my time to research and historical inquiry. And to get to do that as my job? Yes, please!

4. Character: Frances Crozier 
Occupation: Ship's Captain, from The Terror by Dan Simmons
Why: As long as I don't have to be a Captain of the Terror or Erebus during the Franklin Expedition, then I am on board to be a Captain of another ship!

Among the Beasts & BriarsThe Hollow PlacesThe Forever Sea (The Forever Sea, #1)Brightstorm

5. Character: Cerys (and father)
Occupation: Royal Gardener, from Among the Beasts and Briar by Ashley Poston
Why: I love plants and gardening and being outdoors, so this sounds pretty ideal, plus these gardens sound particularly lovely.

6. Character: Kara 
Occupation: Employee at The Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosities and Taxidermy in Hog Chapel, from The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher
Why: I love museums! I also love the quirkiness of this museum and I think it'd be a ton of fun. 

7. Character: Kindred Greyreach
Occupation: Hearthfire keeper/Harvester, from The Forever Sea by Joshua Philip Johnson
Why:  I don't necessarily really want to be a hearthfire keeper, but I do think it sounds like really interesting work and magic, and I'd love to be an important part of sailing those ships across the Forever Sea. I also think being a harvester--people who go into the grasses to harvest them--would be neat as a chance to see a bit of the Sea. The aftereffects of doing so aren't quite as attractive, though.

8. Character: Mr. Brightstorm/Arthur & Maudie Brightstorm
Occupation: Explorers, from Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy
Why: This one is easy--because I love exploring! I honestly would love nothing more than to get to go on any sort of exploring expedition.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #1)Torn (The Unraveled Kingdom, #1)

9. Character: Jupiter North 
Occupation: Hotel Deucalion owner, Member of the Wondrous Society, Member of the League of Explorers, etc., from Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
Why: I don't know exactly what Jupiter does half the time, but he always seems to be doing something important or interesting, and I would love to be privy to even half the information he has.

10. Character: Sophie
Occupation: Magical Seamstress, from Torn by Rowenna Miller
Why: I don't really sew much these days, but I really enjoyed it when my mom taught me and I used to and I'd love to create clothing for people. I'd especially love imbuing the clothes I make with various magical charms to help whoever is wearing them.

Which character's occupations would you like to try?? Have you read any of these books? Let me know!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Review: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

We Begin at the End
We Begin At the End by Chris Whitaker
Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: March 2nd, 2021
Hardcover. 384 pages

About We Begin at the End:

"There are two kinds of families: the ones we are born into and the ones we create.
Walk has never left the coastal California town where he grew up. He may have become the chief of police, but he’s still trying to heal the old wound of having given the testimony that sent his best friend, Vincent King, to prison decades before. Now, thirty years later, Vincent is being released.
Duchess is a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed outlaw. Her mother, Star, grew up with Walk and Vincent. Walk is in overdrive trying to protect them, but Vincent and Star seem bent on sliding deeper into self-destruction. Star always burned bright, but recently that light has dimmed, leaving Duchess to parent not only her mother but her five-year-old brother. At school the other kids make fun of Duchess―her clothes are torn, her hair a mess. But let them throw their sticks, because she’ll throw stones. Rules are for other people. She’s just trying to survive and keep her family together.
A fortysomething-year-old sheriff and a thirteen-year-old girl may not seem to have a lot in common. But they both have come to expect that people will disappoint you, loved ones will leave you, and if you open your heart it will be broken. So when trouble arrives with Vincent King, Walk and Duchess find they will be unable to do anything but usher it in, arms wide closed.
Chris Whitaker has written an extraordinary novel about people who deserve so much more than life serves them. At times devastating, with flashes of humor and hope throughout, it is ultimately an inspiring tale of how the human spirit prevails and how, in the end, love―in all its different guises―wins."

We Begin at the End is an unexpectedly intense and unforgettable story of family, loss, and hope. I've seen this classified as crime fiction a couple times since reading it, and although there is technically a crime in this book that needs to be solved, I wouldn't go into this expecting a regular crime novel. Whitaker's storytelling is deliberate and eloquent and I am so glad I had a chance to go on this journey, even if it did completely break my heart at multiple turns.

We Begin at the End follows the thirteen-year old self-proclaimed "outlaw" Duchess Day Radley and sheriff Walker--more commonly known simply as 'Walk'--as they both try to navigate their own individually difficult lives that occasionally intersect due to Duchess' mother, Star. Our story takes place in a small coastal town in California that is lowly but surely being overhauled from the quiet town it was into something more modern and developed. The people living in this town are largely resistant to the changes, which reflects well with the general sluggish atmosphere of its residents and the difficult, complicated lives they all seem to lead. The story kicks off when Vincent King, a man who has been in prison for the last thirty years, returns to town and some unexpected events occur.

Duchess, the first POV we follow, is an incredibly well-developed character that is both utterly compelling to follow and similarly difficult to follow throughout the many tragedies that occur in both her and her younger brother Robin's lives. Her anger at the world is entirely justified, in my opinion, and it was heartbreaking to watch her attempts to protect Robin and keep her family together as best as she can. Her character undergoes so much change and development that I couldn't help but feel impressed at Whitaker's writing. She is an incredibly complex character dealing with a myriad of trauma, grief, and the taking on of parental roles she shouldn't have to at her age. Everything about her is a closed off wall of anger, but the way she manages to navigate the world and learn to maybe trust or accept others was beautiful to watch.

The sheriff, Walk, is our second perspective and was someone that I found similarly compelling to follow, but in a different way, as his life stage is one completely different from Duchess' (understandably, given their ages and life situations) yet is just as difficult and melancholy as Duchess'. His story is a quieter one than Duchess' as he struggles with feeling physically and mentally unwell, as well as his rather mundane day-to-day life as sheriff. His change and development is much more subtle than Duchess', but it's unavoidably there and brings so much depth to his story and character. His relationships with Star and Vincent are both so complicated, but the ways in which Whitaker brings those out and showcases them is deftly done and adds many layers of nuance to everything.

We Begin at the End is a slow burn of anger, dejection, loss, and hope all rolled into one extraordinarily moving story. This is a story that with a slow, steady pacing that kept me hooked on the lives of each character and unable to turn away from the pages. This was a deceptively difficult story to read, and i Mean that in the sense that I didn't expect to hit as hard as it did or to make me feel as sorrowful and sad as I did for these characters stuck in these lives. I wanted for nothing more than happiness for each one, but because this book is so unfortunately real and raw, things didn't always end up as I'd hoped. And even though the ending is technically probably considered to be an uplifting one, it still made me feel a quiet sadness at how everything resolved. It's the sort of ending that you understand and that may be best as a result of everything that's happened, but it's not a satisfying one that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. But that's okay, because I feel like that's just what life is--things happen, and all we can do is learn to make the best of everything in whatever way we can. 

Overall, I've given We Begin at the End five stars. This is a beautiful and heartbreaking book that I would absolutely recommend to anyone interested in following the lives of some truly captivating characters.

 *I received an ARC of We Begin at the End courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*   

Buy the book: Amazon | IndieBound

Friday, February 26, 2021

Anticipated March 2021 Releases!

And once again, it's time for a new month of releases! March seems especially stacked, and I feel like that's only going to be an indicator of what to expect this year. Thus far, I've read The Councillor, All the Murmuring Bones, We Begin at the End at the End, Ladies of the Secret Circus, and Machinehood, all of which I've thoroughly enjoyed (the first three were even all five star reads!), and I've just started The Lost Village, an ARC that I feel like I've been hanging onto for ages now. I am really looking to all these March releases, and I'm sure even more that I've just forgotten to list. It looks like a great month!

Are you looking forward to any of these books? Have you had a chance to read any yet? Let me know!

The CouncillorThe Fall of Koli (Rampart Trilogy #3)The Lost VillageAll the Murmuring BonesThe Unbroken (Magic of the Lost, #1)The VinesA Desolation Called Peace (Teixcalaan, #2)The Stolen KingdomMachinehoodWings of Fury (Wings of Fury, #1)Unsettled GroundOur Last EchoesThe House Uptown: A NovelRaft of StarsThe ConductorsThe Ladies of the Secret CircusIn the QuickFirekeeper's DaughterThe CommittedKlara and the SunWe Begin at the EndThe Descent of the Drowned (The Descent of the Drowned, #1)The Phone Booth at the Edge of the WorldThe Bright and the Pale (The Bright & the Pale Duology, #1)

The Councillor by E.J. Beaton || March 2nd -- Amazon | Indiebound

The Fall of Koli by M.R. Carey || March 23rd -- Amazon | Indiebound

The Lost Village by Camilla Sten || March 23rd -- Amazon | Indiebound

All the Murmuring Bones by A.G. Slatter || March 9th -- Amazon | Indiebound
The Unbroken by C.L. Clark || March 23rd -- Amazon | Indiebound

The Vines by Shelley Nolden || March 23rd -- Amazon | Indiebound
A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine || March 2nd -- Amazon | Indiebound
The Stolen Kingdom by Jillian Boehme || March 2nd -- Amazon | Indiebound

Machinehood by S.B. Divya || March 2nd -- Amazon | Indiebound

Wings of Fury by Emily R. King || March 1st -- Amazon | Indiebound
Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller || March 25th -- Amazon | Indiebound
Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall || March 16th -- Amazon | Indiebound
The House Uptown by Melissa Ginsberg || March 16th -- Amazon | Indiebound
Raft of Stars by Andrew J. Graff || March 23rd -- Amazon | Indiebound
The Conductors by Nicole Glover || March 2nd -- Amazon | Indiebound

Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers || March 23rd -- Amazon | Indiebound
In the Quick by Kate Hope Day || March 2nd -- Amazon | Indiebound
Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley || March 16th -- Amazon | Indiebound

The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen || March 2nd -- Amazon | Indiebound
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro || March 2nd -- Amazon | Indiebound

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker || March 2nd -- Amazon | Indiebound

The Descent of the Drowned by Ana Lal Din || March 15th -- Amazon | Indiebound

The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina, trans. Lucy Rand || March nd -- Amazon | Indiebound

The Bright and the Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski || March 2nd -- Amazon | Indiebound
What are your anticipated March releases?

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Review: Machinehood by S.B. Divya

Machinehood by S.B. Divya
Gallery / Saga Press
Publication Date: March 2nd, 2021
Hardcover. 416 pages

About Machinehood:

"Welga Ramirez, executive bodyguard and ex-special forces, is about to retire early when her client is killed in front of her. It’s 2095 and people don’t usually die from violence. Humanity is entirely dependent on pills that not only help them stay alive, but allow them to compete with artificial intelligence in an increasingly competitive gig economy. Daily doses protect against designer diseases, flow enhances focus, zips and buffs enhance physical strength and speed, and juvers speed the healing process.
All that changes when Welga’s client is killed by The Machinehood, a new and mysterious terrorist group that has simultaneously attacked several major pill funders. The Machinehood operatives seem to be part human, part machine, something the world has never seen. They issue an ultimatum: stop all pill production in one week.
Global panic ensues as pill production slows and many become ill. Thousands destroy their bots in fear of a strong AI takeover. But the US government believes the Machinehood is a cover for an old enemy. One that Welga is uniquely qualified to fight.
Welga, determined to take down the Machinehood, is pulled back into intelligence work by the government that betrayed her. But who are the Machinehood and what do they really want?
A thrilling and thought-provoking novel that asks: if we won’t see machines as human, will we instead see humans as machines?"

Machinehood is a fast-paced futuristic sci-fi with intense world-building and a compelling premise surrounding the role and rights of AI and machines. The story centers around Welga, an ex-military member who now works as a bodyguard, and Nithya, a scientist, two women navigating this world with two very different paths and goals. The story takes off when a rebel group begins violently advocating and demanding that AIs and machines be treated equally to humans with the same rights and privileges. If you, like me, find AI a bit creepy and don't trust it, then this book will be one you might appreciate.

Machinehood is set in a world in which machines and AI have become ubiquitous, and because of this is has become harder and harder for humans to be able to keep up. As a result, people have begun to take pills and other "enhancers" in order to improve their own abilities (better focus, speed, etc.), and the pills are a development that has occurred after already trying to physically alter human bodies cyborg-style, which apparently had terrible consequences. This is also a world in which a magnified form of social media also dominates everyone's lives. People can essentially broadcast their lives 24/7 if they desire and also have "tip jars" in which people can regularly donate. 

 Along with this is the fact that drones of all sizes are just basically...everywhere. I think the thing that most took me by surprise was the fact that the drones can essentially go anywhere and watch anything, so if you want to watch a random couple having sex, you can probably just fly into their room and do so. Apparently this has just become "accepted" and is no longer a big deal because anyone can do it, but it was such a minor yet intriguing aspect of the world-building and current setting that I couldn't get it out of my head. I think it says a lot about the impact of tech in this futuristic setting and what a permanent part of society it has become.

Machinehood is told in alternative perspectives between sisters-in-law Welga and Nithya. Welga's job intertwines a lot with a militant rebel group that actively moves against the usage of pills and other enhancers and takes extreme action and terrorist attacks to demonstrate. I appreciated Welga's confidence and ability to be both extraordinarily cautious and disciplined while at the same time somewhat throw caution to the wind and make some questionable decisisions, as this allowed her to feel like a more realized and developed character. I feel like there were a lot of nuances to her job that took me a little while to understand, but nonetheless it was entertaining to follow her different jobs. 

We also follow Nithya's perspective, and I think I enjoyed Nithya's narrative a bit more than Welga's.  Nithya is a scientist whose work I'm not really sure I could accurately recount in this review, but I was so interested in her research and how she undertook her work. I also appreciated the more personal aspects of her life, such as some of her conflicts with her husband and her difficulties with her daughter and family. Despite my interest in these characters and their works, I never felt overly connected to either one of these characters. I don't need to feel connected to characters to enjoy a book, but in this case there was just a bit too much distance at times, especially with Welga's perspective. There was something about Welga's narrative that prevented me from being able to fully understand or predict her actions throughout the story. 

 I really enjoyed the different themes Machinehood explored in relation to AI, tech in general, future body-related technology, autonomy, and so on. I particularly liked Divya's exploration of these themes because she approached them from some angles I hadn't seen before that felt as though they actually brought something new to the table. There are a lot of sci-fi books out recently that tackle similar ideas of AI and futuristic tech, but it's harder to find one that present new conversations to explore, and Divya did just that. She does this not only through the actions of the AI in the book, but also through her characters' reactions to it and by showing the effects of different tech on the world itself.

Lastly, I'll touch on the pacing and ending. I found that there was a lot of heavy info-dumping in parts throughout the entire book that interrupted the fast-paced flow of the rest of the book. I don't mind getting information about a world and backstory because it helps me to better understand everything going on in the present, but in this case it just felt overwhelming at times. There is a lot of jargon throughout this book, as well as new ideas and systems that we have to quickly figure out in order to be able to follow along and actually enjoy the book. In regards to the ending of Machinehood, it felt just a little too wrapped up overall. I'm fine with some good resolution, but in this case things just felt a bit too 'out there' and I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about it all. 

Overall, I've given Machinehood four stars! Despite the issues I had, when I look back on this book I find myself thinking about how enjoyable and interesting it was to explore. If you like sci-fi, futuristic stories, or AI, then be sure to keep this one on your radar. 

 *I received an ARC of Machinehood courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Buy the book: Amazon | IndieBound

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Councillor by E.J. Beaton, The Descent of the Drowned by Ana Lal Din, & The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constane Sayers

Can't-Wait is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released! This meme is based off of Jill @ Breaking the Spine's Waiting on Wednesday meme.

This week's upcoming book spotlights are: 
The Councillor by E.J. Beaton
Publication: March 2nd, 2021
DAW Books
Hardcover. 448 pages.
Pre-order: AmazonIndieBound

"When the death of Iron Queen Sarelin Brey fractures the realm of Elira, Lysande Prior, the palace scholar and the queen’s closest friend, is appointed Councillor. Publically, Lysande must choose the next monarch from amongst the city-rulers vying for the throne. Privately, she seeks to discover which ruler murdered the queen, suspecting the use of magic.  

Resourceful, analytical, and quiet, Lysande appears to embody the motto she was raised with: everything in its place. Yet while she hides her drug addiction from her new associates, she cannot hide her growing interest in power. She becomes locked in a game of strategy with the city-rulers – especially the erudite prince Luca Fontaine, who seems to shift between ally and rival.  

Further from home, an old enemy is stirring: the magic-wielding White Queen is on the move again, and her alliance with a traitor among the royal milieu poses a danger not just to the peace of the realm, but to the survival of everything that Lysande cares about.  

In a world where the low-born keep their heads down, Lysande must learn to fight an enemy who wears many guises… even as she wages her own battle between ambition and restraint."
I've already read an ARC of this one (and posted my review!), and it was so good and it desperately needs to get more attention! If political intrigue is your thing in fantasy, then this is 100% the book for you. It is thoughtful and amazing, and I can't wait to see the finished copy!

The Descent of the Drowned by Ana Lal Din
Publication: March 15th, 2021
White Tigress Press
Hardcover. 360 pages.
Pre-order: AmazonIndieBound

"She is bound to serve. He is meant to kill. Survival is their prison. Choice is their weapon.  

As the sacred slave of a goddess, Roma is of a lower caste that serves patrons to sustain the balance between gods and men. What she wants is her freedom, but deserters are hunted and hanged, and Roma only knows how to survive in her village where women are vessels without a voice. When her younger brother is condemned to the same wretched fate as hers, Roma must choose between silence and rebellion.  

Leviathan is the bastard son of an immortal tyrant. Raised in a military city where everyone knows of his blood relation to the persecuted clans, Leviathan is considered casteless. Lowest of the low. Graduating as one of the deadliest soldiers, he executes in his father's name, displaying his worth. When he faces judgement from his mother's people—the clans—Leviathan must confront his demons and forge his own path, if he ever hopes to reclaim his soul.  

But in the struggle to protect the people they love and rebuild their identities, Roma's and Leviathan's destinies interlock as the tyrant hunts an ancient treasure that will doom humankind should it come into his possession—a living treasure to which Roma and Leviathan are the ultimate key.  

Set in a colonised Indo-Persian world and inspired by pre-Islamic Arabian mythology, The Descent of the Drowned is a tale about power, identity, and redemption, and what it takes to hold on to one's humanity in the face of devastation."
This is one where the cover initially hooked me, but the premise kept me intrigued. I always enjoy books where the gods are active characters, and the setting and pre-Islamic Arabian mythology components sound so good--can't wait to check this one out! 


The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers
Publication: March 23rd, 2021
Hardcover. 448 pages.
Pre-order: AmazonIndieBound

"Paris, 1925: To enter the Secret Circus is to enter a world of wonder-a world where women tame magnificent beasts, carousels take you back in time, and trapeze artists float across the sky. But each daring feat has a cost. Bound to her family's strange and magical circus, it's the only world Cecile Cabot knows-until she meets a charismatic young painter and embarks on a passionate love affair that could cost her everything.  

Virginia, 2005: Lara Barnes is on top of the world-until her fiancé disappears on their wedding day. Desperate, her search for answers unexpectedly leads to her great-grandmother's journals and sweeps her into the story of a dark circus and a generational curse that has been claiming payment from the women in her family for generations."
I've also already read this one (interview with Constance Sayers coming soon!), but I still am excited for its release and for everyone else to read it! I also find that cover so eye-catching and definitely the cause of a double-take. 

What do you think about these upcoming releases? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Made Me Laugh Out Loud

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book blog meme now hosted by Jana over at The Artsy Reader Girl!

This week's topic is: Books that Made Me Laugh Out Loud

This topic feels a little tricky since I tend to read books that are on the darker side, but I know that there are still plenty of times when I find myself snorting at something or breaking into some chuckling or even laughing. Most of the books that are on this list are probably not the most humorous books overall and I wouldn't tell you to expect a comedy going into it (except a few, but I'll be sure to point those out!), but I've opted to include them because I recall there being more than a few moments where I found myself laughing at some banter, one-liners, or witty narrative. Some of these might also be more on the dark humor side since that's what I tend to really enjoy. All that being said, let's start the (not in any way exhaustive) list!

Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard, #2)The House in the Cerulean SeaNottinghamSenlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, #1)
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch: Every single book in the Gentleman Bastard series makes me laugh a lot, but I recall Red Seas Under Red Skies having an exceptional number of moments that had me laughing. And then subsequently making me want to cry. But plenty of laughing!
House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune: I don't honestly have any specific instances to cite, but I recall smiling a lot and chuckling quite a bit while reading this and how charming I found the characters and situations. 
Nottingham by Nathan Matharyk: This is definitely mainly on this list because I found the dialogue and narrative a bit tongue in cheek at times, which made me laugh. I still need to read the sequel to this one!
Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft: Bancroft is one of those who has such a strong, witty narrative voice that almost everything feels like it has added meaning. I chuckled a lot reading this book, and the subsequent books were just as enjoyable (and take note--the finale comes out this year!).

Lucky JimShades of Grey (Shades of Grey, #1)Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2)The Satyricon
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis: This one is actually really comedic and I highly recommend it!
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde: Everything by Jasper Fforde has a quirky narrative feel to it, and this one has more than a few moments that made me laugh.
Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff: This is entirely based upon dialogue and banter, I'm not sure I'd call Godsgrave much of a comedy. ;)
The Satyricon by Petronius: Also an actual comedic novel!

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-GlassLysistrataA Tale of Witchcraft... (A Tale of Magic, #2)The Illumination of Ursula Flight
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: This isn't really a comedy, but there are some funny moments and the absurdity can be a bit humorous at times as well (or creepy, but it's all about perspective, right?)
"Lysistrata" by Aristophanes: Another one that's actually a comedy! This is a play, but it's one that is guaranteed to make you laugh at least once. 
A Tale of Witchcraft... by Chris Colfer: This one isn't really a comedy either, but it's a charming middle grade that had some great tongue in cheek moments and comedic elements. 
The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anna-Marie Crowhurst: Our protagonist has such a charming and unique narrative voice, it made me chuckle more than a few times. This is a really delightful book that does get fairly serious, but it made me feel so good to read overall and I highly recommend it!

Have you read any of these books? What books have made you laugh?