Belladonna – ARC review

Author: Adalyn Grace
Publication date: August 30, 2022
Genre: Gothic YA fantasy/romance
My rating: 3.5/5 stars

A murder mystery featuring Gothic vibes and a romance with Death himself. A beautiful cover (seriously, look up what is under the dust jacket on the US versions of this one). An author with an impressive resume (including a stint interning on The Legend of Korra). This book is perfect in theory. And while it certainly delivered on all the vibes and atmosphere, I must confess that the book as a whole was just…okay. It wasn’t bad; it just didn’t live* up to its full potential.

*pun about living (since this book deals with death so much) was not intentional, but now that I’ve noticed, I have to leave it in.

Continue reading

Flip Turns – blog tour (ARC review)

Author: Catherine Arguelles
Publication date: September 12, 2022
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary/Mystery

My rating: 3.75/5 stars

Summer may be over, but that’s no reason we can’t enjoy a middle-grade summer swim team mystery! Flip Turns is an easy read, replete with humor, the casual bluntness of young teenagers, and the trappings of a classic whodunnit, but also deals with serious topics (including stalking-like behavior and anxiety) in a context that’s approachable for younger audiences. I’m so glad to have been a part of TBR and Beyond’s tour for this book–read on for my thoughts on the book!

Continue reading

Only Mostly Devastated – ARC review

Author: Sophie Gonzales
Publication date: March 3, 2020
Genre: young adult, contemporary, romance, LGBTQ+
My rating: 5/5 stars

Cute, queer, and oh-so-diverse, this might be my favorite book I’ve read this year thus far. Only Mostly Devastated is essentially a gay retelling of Grease, only with more humor (and emotions), broader social awareness, healthier relationships, and none of the “change the most fundamental aspects of your personality just to please a boy” nonsense that fills the end of the original musical. In other words, it is everything the world of light, contemporary YA thrives on, and I am so here for it.

Continue reading

What Kind of Girl – ARC review

Author: Alyssa Sheinmel
Publication date: February 1, 2020
Genre: young adult, contemporary
My rating: 4/5 stars

What Kind of Girl is one of those books that, regardless of your opinions on its execution, you have to acknowledge is vitally important for its willingness to openly address difficult social phenomena that society likes to sweep under the rug. It is a heavy read, but in a necessary way, not the maudlin sort of sob-story that is an inherent risk of writing about so many serious issues that teens face today.

“Doing something when you’re scared is braver than doing something when you’re not.”

Continue reading

The God Game – ARC review

Author: Danny Tobey
Publication date: January 7, 2020
Genre: science fiction, thriller
My rating: 4/5 stars

Welcome to The God Game! This book, and the game within it, feels like something straight out of a Black Mirror episode–“Shut Up and Dance” (the one with the blackmail text messages) especially comes to mind. Prepare yourself for moral dilemmas, the horrors of technology, the complexities of teenage friendship and high school life, and above all, a riveting plot that makes this book’s 450+ pages absolutely fly past. Just remember, even as you read this review: G.O.D. is always watching.

Continue reading

Nameless Queen – ARC review

Author: Rebecca McLaughlin
Publication date: January 7, 2020
Genre: young adult, fantasy
My rating: 2.5/5 stars

When broken down to its fundamental components, Nameless Queen has a lot of things that tend to make me automatically love a book: a protagonist who is a thief, hidden royalty, and commentary on classism and rigid social structures. But when taken as a whole, the novel failed to breathe much life or originality into those tropes. The result was a lukewarm story–not bad, but wholly unremarkable.

Continue reading

It’s My Life – ARC review

Author: Stacie Ramey
Publication date: January 1, 2020
Genre: young adult contemporary, romance
My rating: 4/5 stars

A timely narrative about disability, sense of self, and first love, It’s My Life deftly navigates the difficulties–physical, emotional, and social–that accompany serious disability, through the eyes of a smart, likable, and relatable narrator. Though it does get a bit cheesy and/or implausible at times, the story itself is an important one, specifically targeting the younger end of the YA spectrum with a solid message of hope.

Continue reading

A Very Scalzi Christmas – ARC review

Author: John Scalzi
Publication date: December 1, 2019
Genre: short stories, humor
My rating: 4/5 stars

If you want a stocking-stuffer guaranteed to produce roughly an hour or two of amusement and giggles for any of your family members, this book is for you. At just 144 pages, this is a quick read that will feel even quicker because you’re just enjoying it so much. Because this is a mini book, I think it’s fitting to give it just a mini-review, so here’s what you need to know:

Continue reading

Reverie – ARC review

Author: Ryan La Sala
Publication date: December 3, 2019
Genre: young adult, fantasy, LGBTQ+
My rating: 2.5/5

“Kane shoved down his curiosity, knowing it was useless to expect a drag queen to do anything other than exactly what she wanted.”

When I heard that a book existed where the “evil queen” trope has been transfigured into “drag queen sorceress,” I just knew I had to read it. And it’s a YA fantasy being compared to Inception and full of fabulously queer characters? It sounded like such an exciting idea. But you know those books that you have so hyped up in your mind because they sound so fresh and original, but then you find out that “fresh” is just a euphemism for “unpolished and awkward”? Yeah, that’s how this one ended up.

Continue reading

November Book Haul – Part 2 (feat. pictures that are even MORE extra)

To my US friends: Happy Thanksgiving! To everyone else: happy Thursday! And to all of you: I’m so thankful for books and this community surrounding them, and especially for all of you who take time to write about books, read my ramblings about them, and leave likes and comments. Much love to you all πŸ’œ

Anyway, this is a continuation of my book haul for this month, which has been way larger than anticipated, courtesy of several giveaways I’ve managed to win (no clue how…). If you missed Part 1, you can check it out here. Otherwise, here are a few more pretty pictures. Enjoy!

Continue reading