Showing posts from October, 2020

Charming as a Verb / Ben Philippe / Book Review

CHARMING AS A VERB Henri Haltiwanger, high school senior and son of Haitian immigrants, has wrangled all of the pieces into place: great grades, a stellar social life, and a thriving dog-walking business run out of his NYC apartment. Eyes on the prize, Henri wants nothing more than to achieve his dream of attending Columbia University for undergraduate, the launching point for his bright future. With a trademarked Smile always up his sleeve, charming has never been a problem for Henri, and on top of grades and test scores, he knows he has Columbia in the bag. But when his standoffish classmate and neighbor Corinne Troy discovers the less-than-honest practices behind Henri's dog-walking business and threatens to expose him to Columbia and everybody else, Henri has no choice but to help her achieve her own goal: transform social pariah to social butterfly. PROS Lighthearted & Sweet 2020 h

A Phoenix First Must Burn / Patrice Caldwell, Editor / Review

A PHOENIX FIRST MUST BURN In order to rise from the ashes, a phoenix first must burn.  ~Octavia Butler Orcs from space, a sexy vampire in a library, contaminated water that causes super powers: in sixteen short stories, editor Patrice Caldwell brings together a powerful collection of tales for a new generation. At the center of each story is color, femininity, and pride. Fantasy, history, mythology, and sci-fi meet in the pages of this collection, and the young women of these stories rise from the ashes of their worlds to create new narratives and new futures: a collection of hope for a better world. PROS Everything Under the Sun This collection encompasses it all. It starts with a space-faring sci-fi adventure. Later, there are mermaids and dragons. All manner of witches express their power in these pages, and even vampires lurk in the shadows. Superheroes are born from toxic sludge, slaves lead a r

Infinity Son / Adam Silvera / Review

INFINITY SON Brothers Emil and Brighton live in a time of turmoil. As a new constellation rises overhead, the magical Celestials of New York City face discrimination and violence at the ruthless hands of the city's Enforcers. Gangs smuggle magical creatures so alchemists can use the blood to imbue non-Celestials with magic powers, creating evil specters--and causing tension to rise all the more. Caught in the middle of it all, Emil and Brighton are just two kids seeking justice. Brighton wants to humanize the Celestials and their vigilante defenders, the Spell Walkers. Emil wants to support his brother and stay out of the spotlight. When an interview goes wrong, the brothers get attacked on the subway, and suddenly, Emil manifests powers he didn't know he possessed: the gray and gold fire of a phoenix-blood specter. A video of Emil shooting flames goes viral, and the brothers find their lives changed forever, caught in the middle of

Burn Our Bodies Down / Rory Power / Review

BURN OUR BODIES DOWN Don't let the fire go out. For as long as Margot can remember, it has been just the two of them. Just Margot and her mother. No father, no family--and no questions about the past. Margot's mother is secretive, always on edge, and Margot has been more or less on her own for years. With nowhere to look for answers, Margot feels lost and alone, but when she discovers a photograph tucked between the pages of her mother's old Bible, she finds a new connection to the past: her grandmother's phone number. Suddenly, Margot finds herself running from the home she knows to the one she doesn't, to a new life with a new family. But when Margot arrives in Phalene, Nebraska in search of her grandmother, she finds her grandmother's fields burning instead, and in the midst of the flames lies a dead girl who looks just like Margot. PROS Writing Style In creating the compelli

Where Dreams Descend / Janella Angeles / Review

WHERE DREAMS DESCEND In a world where female magicians end up disappearing into thin air, Kallia is a rising star. As the headlining act at Hellfire House, Kallia spends her nights dazzling gamblers and drunks with her magic, hidden behind her stage presence and her very literal mask. But Kallia longs for a life outside of Hellfire House, the life of a true stage magician. Everyone will know her name. Everyone will know her face. When Kallia learns that the famous and mysterious Conquering Circus is coming to neighboring city and hosting a competition to find the next great magician, she is tempted to leave her home at Hellfire House behind. When she finds that the master of the house has been keeping secrets--and that her existence at Hellfire House has been a lie all along--Kallia makes up her mind: flee into the dangerous woods, enter the foreign city, and try her hand at the competition of a lifetime.