Showing posts from January, 2021

Don't Tell a Soul / Kirsten Miller / Book Review

DON'T TELL A SOUL When Bram arrives in the sleepy town of Louth in the middle of the night, she simply wants a fresh start away from Manhattan--a place where she's no longer wanted anyhow. Her estranged uncle James welcomes her into his newly-renovated manor with open arms, glad to have someone else in his life after the recent tragedy that saw the north wing of the manor burnt to the ground and James's beloved wife Dahlia put into the ground forever. Bram is happy to start over but soon discovers this isn't the fresh start she wanted. The manor is creepy, and the townsfolk are unfriendly. And, as it turns out, Aunt Dahlia wasn't the only unfortunate woman to lose her life at Louth Manor. The Dead Girls of Louth have long haunted the manor, all the way back to the time of Grace Louth herself, and the townsfolk claim the manor drives young women insane. Will Bram find herself the manor's next victim, or will she be the

Girl on the Ferris Wheel / Julie Halpern & Len Vlahos / Book Review

GIRL ON THE FERRIS WHEEL High school sophomores Eliana and Dmitri have little in common. Eliana is shy and introspective. Dmitri is loud and outgoing. Eliana would rather spend her weekends wrapped up in blankets marathoning Harry Potter one more time. Dmitri spends his weekends as the drummer for a local, up-and-coming punk band. When Dmitri quite literally falls for Eliana in their shared gym class, however, they find themselves suddenly entangled in a realm entirely new: the realm of first love. Exciting and awkward, they wrestle to sort through their relationship, but with so little in common, how long can the butterflies of first love last? PROS Male Romance Narrator This story is not merely told from the female perspective, as is often the case with romance. Dmitri gets a perspective, too, and his voice is really fun. More importantly, Dmitri is written by a male writer, which is necessary

Revenge of the Sluts / Natalie Walton / Book Review

REVENGE OF THE SLUTS When explicit photos of seven high school girls are anonymously forwarded to the entire student body at St. Joseph's High School, Eden Jeong is on the case. An executive editor for the student newspaper The Warrior Weekly and a senior herself, Eden knows this is likely to be the biggest investigation of her entire student career. But the investigation proves tricky. The girls are unwilling to talk, and the administration is less-than-excited about Eden's incriminating exposé. The hands of the police are tied since none of the girls involved are minors. With all this pushback, Eden buckles down for the investigation of a lifetime. PROS Tackling Tough Issues The non-consensual sharing of explicit photos may be a well-known problem, but it is still a problem. This is just the type of problem that we as a society like to push under the rug, especially because it is a pro

Be Dazzled / Ryan La Sala / Book Review

BE DAZZLED Rafael Odom, also known as Crafty Raffy, and his gallery-director mother have very different visions for his future. Evie Odom believes that life is the best teacher. Raffy, on the other hand, has his eyes set on art school. Evie Odom only respects "real" art. Meanwhile, Raffy's secret passion is the less-than-lofty world of cosplay. Without his mother's help, Raffy knows he will need a scholarship to be able to afford art school, and he has a plan to win that money. The biggest convention of the year, Controverse, is right around the corner, and winning the cosplay competition comes with a significant cash prize and sponsorship as well. It's just a bonus that Raffy can use this competition to show up his ex-boyfriend Luca as well. But this year's competition is more cutthroat than usual, and when an unexpected twist means that Raffy and Luca will have to team up on the most ambitious cosplay build Raffy

Best and Worst of 2020

Best                     First Place:             The Shadows Between Us          Tricia Levenseller                                         ⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐ In this intimate second-world fantasy, Alessandra Stathos sets out to woo (and subsequently kill) the infamous Shadow King. Full of courtly scheming and conniving characters, Levenseller creates a world and a cast both witty and captivating. Though her characters may not grow and change throughout the narrative to any great extent, they nonetheless provide an absorbing and entertaining form of escapism.  Runner-Up:         Ruinsong                                                       Julie Ember                                         ⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ In this sweeping second-world fantasy, Cadence must reconcile her position as queen's torturer with the dreams she and her childhood friend Remi had for themselves long ago. With positive LGBTQ+ representation, Ember manages to delicately render a new fantasy world that is as balanced as