A Day With No Words by Tiffany Hammond Book Tour Post

Book Description

A must-read that belongs in every home and classroom, “A Day With No Words” invites readers into the life of an Autism Family who communicates just as the child does, without spoken language.

This colorful and engaging picture book for young readers shares what life can look like for families who communicate in a nonverbal way, utilizing tools (like tablets) to embrace their unique method of “speaking.”

This story highlights the bond between mother and child and follows them on a day where they use a tablet to communicate with others.


When I read the description of this book I knew I wanted to read it and have the chance to share it with you all. I have rarely seen books that show AAC being used, even more so children’s books. I really liked the way that this book describes what voices sound like for someone who is autistic and how different those voices sound when they are coming from people who are important to them. I also really liked how this shows the kid feeling like no one can hear him because he isn’t using spoken words, and how his mother supports him. I like how we see the whole family using AAC to communicate with each other as well as with other people they encounter. I also love that we get to see the things that make the kid happy and people’s responses to that, and the way those words still hurt even as these people think he doesn’t understand their words.

Author Information

Tiffany Hammond is the voice behind the popular social media account Fidgets and Fries. She is an Autistic mother and advocate. Tiffany is a storyteller, using her own personal experiences with Autism and parenting two teen boys with the same diagnosis to guide others on their journey. Her activism is rooted in challenging the current perception of Autism as being a lifelong burden, cultivating a community that explores the concept of Intersectionality and Autism, and inspiring thought leaders through storytelling, education, and critical discourse. She has a Masters in Developmental Psychology from Liberty University.

Tiffany is an Autistic Speaker and Autistic Consultant who currently uses her lived experiences to inform her audiences of the issues that matter most to this community, with emphasis on the Black Autistic experience.

Tiffany is a dreamer by day and writer by night. She doesn’t care to write about herself in the third person but can be easily persuaded to do so every once in a while. She lives in Texas with her husband, Alonzo, and their two boys, Aidan and Josiah. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.

Ay, Mija! By Christine Suggs Book Tour Post

Book Info

¡Ay, Mija! (A Graphic Novel): My Bilingual Summer in Mexico by Christine Suggs

Genre: Young Adult Graphic Novel

Publishing Date: January 1, 2023


“An absolutely heartwarming and vibrant story of belonging, family, and the meaning of home. This book is a treasure.” – Julie Murphy, New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’

In this bilingual, inventive, and heartfelt debut, graphic novel talent Christine Suggs explores a trip they took to Mexico to visit family, embracing and rebelling against their heritage and finding a sense of belonging.

Sixteen-year-old Christine takes their first solo trip to Mexico to spend a few weeks with their grandparents and tía. At first, Christine struggles to connect with family they don’t yet share a language with. Seeing the places their mom grew up—the school she went to, the café where she had her first date with their father—Christine becomes more and more aware of the generational differences in their family.

Soon Christine settles into life in Mexico, eating pan dulce, drawing what they see, and growing more comfortable with Spanish. But when Mom joins their trip, Christine’s two worlds collide. They feel homesick for Texas, struggle against traditions, and miss being able to speak to their mom without translating. Eventually, through exploring the impacts of colonialism in both Mexico and themselves, they find their place in their family and start to feel comfortable with their mixed identity.

Content Warning: body issues, colonialism, family trauma, diaspora

Book Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58132759-ay-mija-a-graphic-novel

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/%C2%A1Ay-Mija-Graphic-Novel-Bilingual/dp/0316591920

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ay-mija-christine-suggs/1141978625

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Ay-Mija-Graphic-Novel-Christine-Suggs/9780316591966

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/ay-mija-a-graphic-novel/9780316591966-item.html?

IndieBound: https://bookshop.org/p/books/ay-mija-a-graphic-novel-my-bilingual-summer-in-mexico-christine-suggs/18727732


Thoughts and Themes: The minute that I read the description of this book I knew that it was something that I had to read. I am so glad that I got the chance to read this book and also to share it with you all. This book spoke to so many pieces of me especially a younger me and it felt so healing. I hadn’t even realized that this book was Christine’s memoir because of how relatable so many of the moments were.

I really liked how there were portions of the story told in Spanish and those moments were not translated. This allowed me to feel the way that Christine feels in this story as they are trying to keep up with conversations going on around them. I like how Christine explains what it means for them to not be fluent in Spanish but also want to feel like a part of that family.

I rarely get to read books in which the main character is Latinx and queer so that was really refreshing and something else that stood out to me in this book was the integration of the religion. I really liked the way you can see aspect of their religion peeking through in different moments throughout the book and how Christine is grappling with that.

Something else that stood out to me about the book was how the main character looks like me, I think this piece was the most important part of this story. This was why I kept forgetting it was a memoir because I was like this could be a younger me and relating so much. I remember throwing this book across the room because of how frustrated I was in moments because of that relatability but then also hugging the book because of what it meant to me.

About the Author

Christine’s pronouns are they/them/theirs

Christine Suggs is a comic artist and designer living in Dallas, TX with their wonderful partner, 1 dog, and 2 cats. They’re currently working on a YA graphic novel about spending their summers in Mexico as a teen, set to release in 2023 from Little Brown Young Readers. Christine’s work explores the intersection of their identities, namely being a queer, fat, Latinx leftist who loves all things cute. Bonus facts: their day job is in app design, they are an avid Dungeons & Dragons player, and they’re quite obsessed with their cats.

Author Links

Website: http://christinesuggs.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/csuggsillustration/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20379067.Christine_Suggs

Tour Schedule

An Appetite for Miracles by Laekan Zea Kemp Book Tour Post

Book Information

Abstract Illustration

Danna Mendoza Villarreal’s grandfather is slowly losing himself as his memories fade, and Danna’s not sure her plan to help him remember through the foods he once reviewed will be enough to bring him back. Especially when her own love of food makes her complicated relationship with her mother even more difficult.

Raúl Santos has been lost ever since his mother was wrongly incarcerated two years ago. Playing guitar for the elderly has been his only escape, to help them remember and him forget. But when his mom unexpectedly comes back into his life, what is he supposed to do when she isn’t the same person who left?

When Danna and Raúl meet, sparks fly immediately and they embark on a mission to heal her grandfather…and themselves. Because healing is something best done together—even if it doesn’t always look the way we want it to.


Thoughts and Themes: This book was one that I had a hard time putting down and when I finished it I wanted to read it again. I have loved each and every one of Laekan Zea Kemp’s books so I was so happy to get to read this one and talk to you all about it.

There were so many moments in this book that I was highlighting both in yellow because they stood out to me and in blue to figure out how to capture those words in an image for the mood board. The poetry in this book was captivating and there were so many lines that spoke to me.

Characters: In this book, you get to meet Danna and Raul, along with a few of the people that are in their lives. You get to meet Danna’s mom, dad, and grandfather, along with Raul’s uncle and mom. I really enjoyed each of the characters that you meet throughout this book along with the relationships that they have and develop with each other.

I loved the relationship that Danna has with her grandfather and how she explains why he is so important to her. I love that she explains how it’s all about the way he sees her and this portion of the book spoke to me especially as we see how Danna views herself based on her mother’s ideas of her.

I really liked the relationship that develops between Danna and Raul and how worried she is that he will like her cousin over her. I love how he points out often that she is the prettiest girl to him even if he doesn’t directly say this to her. I just thought their relationship was just so pure and honest, and I liked how genuine they were with each other.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person going back and forth from Danna and Raul’s perspectives. I really enjoyed that this book gave you both of their perspectives because you get a chance to see how both of their lives are going apart from each other. I also like that through both their perspectives you get to see what brings them together and how they slowly are starting to understand one another.

Author Information

Laekan Zea Kemp is a writer living in Austin, TX. She received her B.A. in English from Texas Tech University in her hometown of Lubbock, TX, and her M.A. in Teaching from the University of North Texas in Denton. She was a high school ESL teacher for several years and had the privilege of teaching students from all over the world. From 2012 to 2017 she self-published several novels, including a paranormal romance series, The Girl in Between, before writing what would be her traditionally published debut, SOMEWHERE BETWEEN BITTER & SWEET, out from Little Brown Young Readers on April 6th, 2021.

She participated in DVPit in April of 2019, signed with her agent, Andrea Morrison at Writers House in May of 2019, and sold her debut in June of that same year. She has three objectives when it comes to storytelling: to make people laugh, cry, and crave Mexican food. Her work celebrates Chicanx grit, resilience, creativity, and joy while exploring themes of identity and mental health.

In addition to writing, she is also the host of the Author Pep Talks podcast, featuring interviews with writers who have experience writing through grief, trauma, and heartbreak.

She’s a member of the marketing collective, Las Musas, which began in 2018 as a way to connect women and marginalized people whose gender identity aligns with femininity and who were soon to be traditionally published. What started as a way to uplift marginalized voices evolved to include a mentorship program for aspiring Kidlit authors and illustrators and the first ever Latinx Kidlit book festival. Recently, Laekan along with other Musas, launched the Las Musas podcast aimed at illuminating the traditional publishing experience from a distinctly Latinx perspective.

She invites you to visit her online via her website and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @LaekanZeaKemp. She also has a personal blog, updated weekly, where she writes about creativity and mental health, as well as a monthly newsletter where she shares the details of her publishing journey. You can buy signed copies of her books at BookPeople, her local indie bookstore. She is currently scheduling free virtual school and book club visits.


Laekan’s Website: http://www.laekanzeakemp.com/

Laekan’s Blog: https://laekanzeakemp.wordpress.com/ 

Laekan’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaekanZeaKemp

Laekan’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laekanzeakemp/

Laekan’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaekanZeaKemp

Laekan’s Goodreads Profile: https://bit.ly/3qvlzt0 

Laekan’s Newsletter: https://bit.ly/3iuhgv2 

LBYR Landing Page: https://bit.ly/3bTeIFH 

Order signed copies: https://bit.ly/3c1eegH 

Additional Retailers: https://bit.ly/3bTeIFH 

School Visits: http://www.laekanzeakemp.com/school-visits 

Book Club Visits: http://www.laekanzeakemp.com/book-club-visits 

Author Pep Talks podcast: https://www.authorpeptalkspod.com/

Las Musas: https://www.lasmusasbooks.com/

Las Musas podcast: https://spoti.fi/3bU18BW

Brighter than the Sun By Daniel Aleman Book Tour Post

Book Info

Brighter Than the Sun by Daniel Aleman

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Publishing Date: March 21, 2023


From the author of the award-winning debut novel INDIVISIBLE comes an affecting, timely, and thought-provoking story about going after your dreams, making tough choices, and learning that change gives as much as it takes.

Every morning, sixteen-year-old Sol wakes up at the break of dawn in her hometown of Tijuana, Mexico, and makes the trip across the border to go to school in the United States. Though the commute is exhausting, this is the best way to achieve her dream of becoming the first person in her family to go to college.

When her family’s restaurant starts struggling, Sol must find a part-time job in San Diego to help her dad put food on the table and pay the bills. But her complicated school and work schedules on the US side of the border mean moving in with her best friend and leaving her family behind.

With her life divided by an international border, Sol must come to terms with the loneliness she hides, the pressure she feels to succeed for her family, and the fact that the future she once dreamt of is starting to seem unattainable. Mostly, she’ll have to grapple with a secret she’s kept even from herself: that maybe she’s relieved to have escaped her difficult home life, and a part of her may never want to return.

Content Warning: Immigration, class differences, discrimination, separation from family by international border

Book Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44286238-brighter-than-the-sun

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Brighter-Than-Sun-Daniel-Aleman/dp/0316704474/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/brighter-than-the-sun-daniel-aleman/1141725052

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Brighter-Than-Sun-Daniel-Aleman/9780316704472

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316704472


Thoughts and Themes: I was so happy to get a chance to read this book along with being able to be on the book tour for it. After reading the book I was so much happier to talk to all of you about it and recommend that you all read it as well. There was so much to love about this book and most of that was in the characters we get to meet throughout the story.

Something else that I really loved about this book was the emotions that we get to feel along with Sol and being shown what it’s like to suddenly have to be an adult when it wasn’t even your choice. I like that we got to see Sol struggling with leaving her home and feeling that she was needed there but she was also needed elsewhere. I also love the moments in which we get to see Sol not feel so alone and like she found where she belongs.

Characters: In this book, you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Sol. You get to meet her grandma, dad, two brothers, Luis and Diego, her co-worker/love interest, Nick, her best friend, Ari, Ari’s mom, and some other students at school.

Each of the characters that you meet through this story is really well written and I love how much you get to know them. I like that we don’t spend a lot of time with some characters but you still get to know them from what Sol says about them.

I also really love the relationships that Sol has both with her family in Mexico along with the family she has created for herself in San Diego. I liked how we get to see the complexities that are tearing her in two because of how much she loves all of these people.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person through the perspective of Sol. I really like that the book is written from her perspective because we get to be in her feelings. I liked that we got to see only what Sol was feeling and what others told her but not their inside thoughts.

About the Author

Daniel Aleman is the award-winning author of Indivisible. He was born and raised in Mexico City. A graduate of McGill University, he is passionate about books, coffee, and dogs.

After spending time in Montreal and the New York City area, he now lives in Toronto, where he is on a never-ending search for the best tacos in the city.

His second novel, Brighter Than the Sun, will be published on March 21, 2023 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Author Links

Website: https://www.danielaleman.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dan_aleman

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danaleman/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18937469.Daniel_Aleman

Tour Schedule

The Many Fortunes of Maya by Nicole D. Collier Book Tour Post

Book Info

The Many Fortunes of Maya by Nicole D. Collier

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary

Publishing Date: January 24, 2023


In this lyrical novel that will appeal to fans of Meg Medina, Maya turns to her trusty “wheel of fortunes” for guidance on the toughest questions–like why her best friend suddenly feels far away, or when her Daddy will move back home. But can Maya find the courage to write her own fortune?

Maya J. Jenkins is bursting with questions:

Will she get the MVP award at this year’s soccer banquet?Who will win the big grill off between Daddy and Uncle J?When will she pass the swim test and get a green bracelet?For answers and a dose of good luck, 12-year-old Maya turns to her Wheel of Fortunes, a cardboard circle covered with the small slips of wisdom she’s collected from fortune cookies.

But can the fortunes answer her deep-down questions? The ones she’s too scared to ask out loud? Like, where did Mama’s smile go, the real one that lit up everything around her? When will Daddy move back home? And most of all, does she have enough courage to truly listen to the voice in her heart?

Book Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60916518-the-many-fortunes-of-maya

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0358434645/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-many-fortunes-of-maya-nicole-d-collier/1141387926

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Many-Fortunes-Of-Maya-Nicole-D-Collier/9780358434641

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-many-fortunes-of-maya/9780358434641-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780358434641

About the Author

Nicole D. Collier, Ph.D., was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She has spent the past two decades in education. First as a fourth grade teacher, then teacher coach, and now as a partner at Personality Matters, Inc., an executive training, coaching and consulting firm.

Nicole writes for all ages, but her first love is middle grade contemporary fiction. Young people are trying to discern who they are vs. who they want to be, and how to bridge the gap between the two. Nicole’s stories are in that gap. In particular, she writes about the interior lives of Black girls as they seek their authentic selves.

A self-proclaimed ever-victorious woman, Nicole has been known to run, dance, and turn cartwheels on sunny days.  The Georgia peach has recently relocated to Tampa Bay, Florida.

Her forthcoming novel, The Many Fortunes of Maya (HarperCollins/Versify, Jan ’23) has earned two starred reviews (KirkusPublishers Weekly) and is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection.

Author Links

Website: https://nicoledcollier.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EssentialCoco

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/essentialcoco/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16095191.Nicole_D_Collier

Tour Schedule

Friday, I’m in Love by Camryn Garett Book Review

Book Description

Mahalia Harris wants.

She wants a big Sweet Sixteen like her best friend Naomi.
She wants the super cute new girl Siobhan to like her back.
She wants a break from worrying–about money, snide remarks from white classmates, pitying looks from church ladies . . . all of it.

Then inspiration strikes: It’s too late for a Sweet Sixteen, but what if she had a Coming Out Party? A singing, dancing, rainbow-cake-eating celebration of queerness on her own terms.

The idea lights a fire in her, and soon Mahalia is scrimping and saving, taking on extra hours at her afterschool job, trying on dresses, and awkwardly flirting with Siobhan, all in preparation for the Coming Out of her dreams. But it’s not long before she’s buried in a mountain of bills, unfinished schoolwork, and enough drama to make her English Lit teacher blush. With all the responsibility on her shoulders, will Mahalia’s party be over before it’s even begun?

A novel about finding yourself, falling in love, and celebrating what makes you you.


Thoughts and Themes: I will give any LGBTQ+ a try so when I saw this one I was happy to read it. I also have been trying to diversify the LGBTQ+ books that I read which means including more Sapphic books in that mix.

There is so much that happens in this book and I just really enjoy the way the author touches on each of these things. This book talks about socio economic class, queerness, religion, friendship, family, the concept of coming out, and so much more. I really liked the way each of these topics come about but also how much this book shows that it takes a village.

This book is one that I hugged, threw across the room, only to go grad it and hug it some more, this book made me laugh and then cry. This is one that just stuck with me for so many reasons and there was so much relatable material in this book that I just had to sit with it sometimes. This is one that I just wanted to immediately re-read once I finished it because of how much I related to what was going on in this book.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Mahalia. You get to meet her mother, her best friend, Naomi, the love interest, Siobhan, her dad, his new family, and several more characters. I really enjoyed each of the characters that are introduced throughout this book and the relationships that they have with Mahalia and with each other.

I loved the relationship between Mahalia and Siobhan, even if you suspect this is coming there are definitely moments in which you think Mahalia is in love with a straight girl. I loved that this wasn’t the case and how this all unravels and how their relationship comes to be.

I also loved the complexity behind the relationship of Mahalia and her mother. I love that the mom wants to support her and doesn’t always know how to. I love that they don’t always know how to communicate with each other and that this is called out. I also liked how their relationship contrasts with the relationship that Mahalia has with her father. I thought it was great to see that contrast and then also see how Mahalia’s father’s new wife can show up for Mahalia even when he can’t.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person through the perspective of Mahalia. I loved that everything was being told through Mahalia’s perspective because you got to know her feelings instantly. I think that being in her feelings really makes the book hit a lot harder and allows you to feel her pain. I also liked that everything was told in her perspective because there were so many moments that were beautiful because you didn’t see them coming.

Author Information

Camryn Garrett was born and raised in New York. In 2019, she was named one of Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 and a Glamour College Woman of the Year. Her first novel, Full Disclosure, received rave reviews from outlets such as Entertainment Weekly, the Today Show, and The Guardian, which called a “warm, funny and thoughtfully sex-positive, an impressive debut from a writer still in her teens.” Her second novel, Off the Record, will be released May 18, 2021. Camryn is also interested in film and is a student at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. You can find her on Twitter @dancingofpens, tweeting from a laptop named Stevie.

Cool. Awkward. Black. stories edited by Karen Strong

Book Description

A multi-genre YA anthology of bestselling, critically acclaimed Black authors challenging the concept of the geek, featuring contributions from Amerie, Kalynn Bayron, Terry J. Benton-Walker, Roseanne A. Brown, Elise Bryant, Tracy Deonn, Desiree S. Evans, Isaac Fitzsimons, Lamar Giles, Jordan Ifueko, Leah Johnson, Amanda Joy, Kwame Mbalia, Tochi Onyebuchi, Shari B. Pennant, K. Arsenault Rivera, Julian Winters, and Ibi Zoboi.

A girl who believes in UFOs; a boy who might have finally found his Prince Charming; a hopeful performer who dreams of being cast in her school’s production of The Sound of Music; a misunderstood magician of sorts with a power she doesn’t quite understand.

These plotlines and many more compose the eclectic stories found within the pages of this dynamic, exciting, and expansive collection featuring exclusively Black characters. From contemporary to historical, fantasy to sci-fi, magical to realistic, and with contributions from a powerhouse list of self-proclaimed geeks and bestselling, award-winning authors, this life-affirming anthology celebrates and redefines the many facets of Blackness and geekiness–both in the real world and those imagined.


Thoughts and Themes: This was an anthology of eighteen stories centered around nerdy Black young adult characters. Due to this I am going to do this review a bit differently than provide you with my thoughts on the characters and writing style seperately. I am going to focus on the whole anthology then give you a brief review of my favorite stories in the book.

I really enjoyed each of the stories that are included in this anthology and how they all were connected by the theme of our main characters being nerds. I liked that the stories all varied in genre even if most of them were sci-fi or fantasy. I liked that some of the stories included a romantic subplot for our main characters.

One of the stories that captivated me was Roseanne A. Brown’s “Wolf Tracks” in which the men in a particular family transform into were wolves. What I really enjoyed about this story was how the transformation includes trans men and the brief explanation that is given as to how they are included. I have found most stories in which powers are assigned to a gender, the author tends to give the trans people the powers that would be given based on their sex assigned at birth or it is a battle for the person to get the powers that align with their gender identity. I not only liked this aspect but I also really liked how this story plays out and why we get to see our main character transform into this wolf and the conversation that happens with his dad as a result.

Another short story that I really enjoyed in this anthology is Corner Booth by Leah Johnson. I loved You Should See me in a Crown and Rise to the Sun so I wasn’t surprised that I enjoyed this story by the same author. I really enjoyed the two main characters in this story and the interactions that they have with one another. I like how we slowly get to learn their secrets and what drew them to speak with each other.

I loved that this anthology introduced me to new authors that I haven’t read before and that I also got to read things from authors that I love. I think each of the stories that were included had something to like about them and what is great is that you can skip around and read them in any order that you wish.

Author Information

Karen Strong is the author of critically acclaimed middle grade novels Just South of Home, which was chosen for several Best of Year lists including Kirkus Reviews, and Eden’s Everdark, a Junior Library Guild and BCCB Blue Ribbon selection.

Karen is the editor of the young adult anthology Cool. Awkward. Black. She is also a Star Wars contributor featured in From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back and Stories of Jedi and Sith. Her speculative short fiction appears in the award-winning anthology A Phoenix First Must Burn.

Born and raised in the rural South, Karen is a graduate of the University of Georgia, and an avid lover of strong coffee, yellow flowers, and night skies. You can find her online at karen-strong.com.

The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas Book Review

Book Description

As each new decade begins, the Sun’s power must be replenished so that Sol can keep traveling along the sky and keep the evil Obsidian gods at bay. Ten semidioses between the ages of thirteen and eighteen are selected by Sol himself as the most worthy to compete in The Sunbearer Trials. The winner carries light and life to all the temples of Reino del Sol, but the loser has the greatest honor of all―they will be sacrificed to Sol, their body used to fuel the Sun Stones that will protect the people of Reino del Sol for the next ten years.

Teo, a 17-year-old Jade semidiós and the trans son of Quetzal, goddess of birds, has never worried about the Trials…or rather, he’s only worried for others. His best friend Niya―daughter of Tierra, the god of earth―is one of the strongest heroes of their generation and is much too likely to be chosen this year. He also can’t help but worry (reluctantly, and under protest) for Aurelio, a powerful Gold semidiós and Teo’s friend-turned-rival who is a shoo-in for the Trials. Teo wouldn’t mind taking Aurelio down a notch or two, but a one-in-ten chance of death is a bit too close for Teo’s taste.

But then, for the first time in over a century, Sol chooses a semidiós who isn’t a Gold. In fact, he chooses two: Xio, the 13-year-old child of Mala Suerte, god of bad luck, and…Teo. Now they must compete in five mysterious trials, against opponents who are both more powerful and better trained, for fame, glory, and their own survival.


Thoughts and Themes: This is a book that I knew I wanted to read before it even was on the shelves. Aiden Thomas is one of my must-buy authors since I read Cemetery Boys and each of his books have been amazing. I don’t typically listen to fantasy on audio because I can’t always follow along but I decided to listen to this one and follow along on e-book and that was a great experience.

There were so many aspects about this book that I enjoyed, from the world building, to the characters, and the plot. This book grabs your attention from page one and then it never lets you go even after you finish the book and close it. I can’t wait to know what happens next for all of our characters, and this world that I have grown to love.

I liked that this book takes some time in the beginning to build up the world for us and explain how things came to be and what they are now. I also like the brief conversations that occur about gender identity and being Trans between Teo and Xio and think that this not only makes sense throughout the book but makes certain parts hit harder as you read.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters and don’t worry they all have distinct qualities so that you can tell them apart. You are introduced to our main character, Teo as well as the people that he is competing against in the Sun Bearer Trials, which are Xio, Aurelio, Auristela, Niya, Dezi, Xochi, Marino, and Ocelo.

Throughout the book you get to know some characters a lot more than others but each of them play an important role in moving the story along. I really enjoyed getting to learn about each of the characters but especially love how the website has the character cards so I can keep them separated in my head. It was minor details that I would forget about each character so I did love that each of them had distinct voices and you could tell who was who just by their actions and words.

I love the tension that we get between the characters because of who they are and the rankings that exist in the world. I also like the tension that we see just based on who their parents are and the impressions that they have made because of this. I really enjoy the role that the parents play in this book and how tensions seem to arise more when they are around.

Writing Style: This story is told in third person with a narrator that follows each of the characters with a particular focus on Teo. I liked that the narrator wasn’t first person because there were points that I wanted to know what others were thinking and/or doing and we were allowed those moments. I also did like the focus on Teo as our main character because of the relationships that each character has with him.

Author Information

Aiden Thomas is a New York Times Bestselling author with an MFA in Creative Writing. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, Oregon. As a queer, trans, Latinx, Aiden advocates strongly for diverse representation in all media. Aiden’s special talents include: quoting The Office, finishing sentences with “is my FAVORITE”, and killing spiders. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies, and organizes their bookshelves by color.

Their debut novel, CEMETERY BOYS, was published on September 1st, 2020.

As You Walk on By by Julian Winters Book Review

Book Description

Seventeen-year-old Theo Wright has it all figured out. His plan (well, more like his dad’s plan) is a foolproof strategy that involves exceling at his magnet school, getting scouted by college recruiters, and going to Duke on athletic scholarship. But for now, all Theo wants is a perfect prom night. After his best friend Jay dares Theo to prompose to his crush at Chloe Campbell’s party, Theo’s ready to throw caution to the wind and take his chances.

But when the promposal goes epically wrong, Theo seeks refuge in an empty bedroom while the party rages on downstairs. Having an existential crisis about who he really is with and without his so-called best friend wasn’t on tonight’s agenda. Though, as the night goes on, Theo finds he’s not as alone as he thinks when, one by one, new classmates join him to avoid who they’re supposed be outside the bedroom door. Among them, a familiar acquaintance, a quiet outsider, an old friend, and a new flame . . .


Thoughts and Themes: I really enjoyed reading Right Where I Left You and because of how much I enjoyed that one I really wanted to read this one. I ended up getting through this one really quickly and could’ve sworn I wrote the review but I guess I didn’t I must have written it in my head or something.

There was a lot that I really did enjoy about this book and one of those things is how quickly everything occurs. This book definitely feels like much more than one night where the majority of the story takes place with everything that is unpacked in that one night. I really do like how everything does occur in such a short time span because it just shows how time changes things.

I love the messages this book sends especially about friendship and what that means. I like how Theo needs to learn to share himself with others and how to move forward from the friendships that were causing him harm. I like that we have to first see him struggle with the loss and things aren’t perfect at the end but you see him be surrounded by loved ones because of who he is now.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Theo, as well as their interactions with each other. We get to meet his friend group, Jay and Darren, Theo’s dad, and a few people Theo meets while seeking refuge in a random room at a party, River, Makayla, Luca, and Aleah, his ex-best friend.

I really loved all of the relationships that are shown throughout this book and how complex they all are. I like how we see friends happen out of convenience and then friends happening because you let them into your life. I really liked watching the group from the room bond with each other throughout the night and watch how that all unfolds. I like how that bond strengthens throughout the book and how they know each other’s truth.

Writing Style: This book is told through first person through the perspective of Theo which is something that I really enjoyed. I liked this aspect of the story because when bad things happen we only know how Theo feels and not anyone else. We rarely get to know other people’s feelings unless they outwardly express them and I think this adds a layer to the story.

Author Information

Julian Winters is the author of the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Award-winning Running With Lions; the Junior Library Guild Selections How to Be Remy Cameron and The Summer of Everything; and the forthcoming Right Where I Left You. A self-proclaimed comic book geek, Julian currently lives outside of Atlanta, where he can be found reading or watching the only two sports he can follow—volleyball and soccer..



Jackal by Erin E Adams Book Review

Book Description

A young Black girl goes missing in the woods outside her white Rust Belt town. But she’s not the first—and she may not be the last. . . .

It’s watching.

Liz Rocher is coming home . . . reluctantly. As a Black woman, Liz doesn’t exactly have fond memories of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a predominantly white town. But her best friend is getting married, so she braces herself for a weekend of awkward and passive-aggressive reunions. Liz has grown, though; she can handle whatever awaits her. But on the day of the wedding, somewhere between dancing and dessert, the bride’s daughter, Caroline, goes missing—and the only thing left behind is a piece of white fabric covered in blood.

It’s taking.

As a frantic search begins, with the police combing the trees for Caroline, Liz is the only one who notices a pattern: a summer night. A missing girl. A party in the woods. She’s seen this before. Keisha Woodson, the only other Black girl in school, walked into the woods with a mysterious man and was later found with her chest cavity ripped open and her heart missing. Liz shudders at the thought that it could have been her, and now, with Caroline missing, it can’t be a coincidence. As Liz starts to dig through the town’s history, she uncovers a horrifying secret about the place she once called home. Children have been going missing in these woods for years. All of them Black. All of them girls.

It’s your turn.

With the evil in the forest creeping closer, Liz knows what she must do: find Caroline, or be entirely consumed by the darkness.


Thoughts and Themes: When I heard about this book, the description alone intrigued me so I was happy to get a chance to read this one. I am glad that I decided to wait until I could get my hands on the audio book version though since I believe this added to the suspense in the book. I did make a mistake and read other people’s reviews half way through this book but was quite pleased that the reviews didn’t match my feelings about this book.

The reviews that I read didn’t really seem to like the explanation of what was going on throughout the book and how that mystery unfolds. Unlike those reviews, I actually really liked the supernatural element that was added into this book and how that tied into what was going on. I think this book did a great job explaining what jealousy can do to people and how much harm can be done to a community through not only jealousy but in this case racism.

I did feel that a lot of the reviews that I was reading missed the mark about what this story was about and the commentary that it was making. I think this is one of those books that goes beyond a horror or a thriller story so if you are expecting real monsters then this isn’t it. This book takes people’s fears, insecurities, goodness, etc. and turns it into something that monsters are after and explores what happens when the monsters are your neighbors.

I ended up highlighting so much points in this book as I followed along in the e-book as there were passages I wanted to re-visit. These passages were things I wanted to think about more and think about how they played into the conclusion of the story. I can’t spoil things for you so I can’t say much but I do hope you go out and read this book. Its one of those books that would be great for a book club or to discuss amongst your friends because of how much is brought up.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Liz . You get to meet her best friend, Mel, Mel’s daughter, Caroline, some people in town, Nick, Doug, Chris, Lauren, her mother, and the monsters. You also get to know about some of the girls that have gone missing through our monster’s perspective.

Writing Style: This book is told in first person through the perspective of our main character, Liz. There are pieces that are told through the perspective of the person who has been taking the girls, and there are some snipping of news papers or other documents that were released when the girls went missing.

Author Information

Erin E. Adams is a first-generation Haitian American writer and theatre artist. She received her BA with honors in literary arts from Brown University, her MFA in acting from The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program, and her MFA in dramatic writing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. An award-winning playwright and actor, Adams has called New York City home for the last decade. Jackal is her first novel.