Heat Wave (The Extraordinaries 3) by TJ Klune Book Review

Book Description

Nick, Seth, Gibby, and Jazz are back in action bringing justice, protection, and disaster energy to the people of Nova City.

An unexpected hero returns to Nova City and crash lands into Nick’s home, upturning his life, his family, and his understanding of what it means to be a hero in the explosive finale of the thrilling and hilarious Extraordinaries trilogy by New York Times bestselling author TJ Klune.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I really enjoyed the first book in this series but the second one let me down. I was a bit worried about this one because of that and the reviews that I saw of this book. I’m glad I decided to listen to it on audio though since I don’t think I could’ve gotten through it otherwise. It isn’t because its bad but the second hand embarrassment is a lot.

There were moments in which I wanted to throw this book across the room or hide it under a pillow because of the terrible second hand embarrassment. These were moments that I thought were way too much but then I remembered being a teenager and a lot were just accurate. There were also moments in which I had to pause the book because I was laughing and not paying attention to what was being said. Books rarely make me laugh out loud especially when I am in public so this made for some fun moments.

I would skip this series if you are not a fan of second hand embarrassment, and a lot of mention about sex. There is also pro-cop sentiments in the first two books and the third book doesn’t really do a good job of handling the shift from pro-cop to anti-cop. It kind of attempts to make the reader give a pat on the back to Nick’s dad for quitting the force without addressing his prior actions as a cop or why this shift needed to happen.

One thing that I didn’t like about the book is the way in which it ends. I won’t give spoilers but it seemed rushed to me which is why I wasn’t a big fan of it. I also found it a little hard to follow and had to listen to it more than once to follow what was happening and why.

Characters: In this book, you continue following Nick and his group of friends, Seth, Gibby, and Jazz as they try to keep their city safe. You also get to continue learning about their families, mostly their dads, along with a new person, Burrito Jerry.

Just as I did in previous books, I will always love the relationship and support that Nick gets from each of his friends. I actually like the friendships much more than the relationship in this book. I love Nick and Seth as a couple but I value their friendship a lot more. I also really enjoyed the Dad squad in this book and how supportive they are in their own ways.

Writing Style: This story is told in third person through the perspective of Nick. I like that things are told through his perspective because we get a lot of his inner thoughts. I like that his thoughts aren’t linear because of his ADHD and how we get to see the way this affects him.

Author Information

TJ KLUNE is a Lambda Literary Award-winning author (Into This River I Drown) and an ex-claims examiner for an insurance company. His novels include The House in the Cerulean Sea and The Extraordinaries. Being queer himself, TJ believes it’s important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive, queer representation in stories.

Devil’s Chew Toy by Rob Osler Book Review

Book Description

Seattle teacher and part-time blogger Hayden McCall wakes up in a stranger’s bed alone, half-naked and sporting one hell of a shiner. Then the police come knocking on the door. It seems that Latino dancer Camilo Rodriguez has gone missing and they suspect foul play. What happened the night before? And where is Camilo?

Determined to find answers, Hayden seeks out two of Camilo’s friends–Hollister and Burley–both lesbians and both fiercely devoted to their friend. From them, Hayden learns that Camilo is a “Dreamer” whose parents had been deported years earlier, and whose sister, Daniela, is presumed to have returned to Venezuela with them. Convinced that the cops won’t take a brown boy’s disappearance seriously, the girls join Hayden’s hunt for Camilo.

The first clues turn up at Barkingham Palace, a pet store where Camilo had taken a part-time job. The store’s owner, Della Rupert, claims ignorance, but Hayden knows something is up. And then there’s Camilo’s ex-boyfriend, Ryan, who’s suddenly grown inexplicably wealthy. When Hayden and Hollister follow Ryan to a secure airport warehouse, they make a shocking connection between him and Della–and uncover the twisted scheme that’s made both of them rich.

The trail of clues leads them to the grounds of a magnificent estate on an island in Puget Sound, where they’ll finally learn the truth about Camilo’s disappearance–and the fate of his family.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: When I was given the chance to read this book I decided I had to read it because I love LGBTQ+ books and this one has a mystery component to it. From the start of this book, I love that it opens with the main plot of the story and doesn’t take long to delve right into the story. I also really enjoyed that each of the chapters vary in length but they are all short and quick.

Something else that I really enjoyed about the book was the balance between dialogue and narration. I like that the majority of this story is told through dialogue between all of our characters and rarely is there narration. I also like that the story doesn’t spend a lot of time in Hayden’s head as things are playing out.

Something else that I liked about this book was how it pointed out why Camillo wouldn’t be the police’s first priority. I liked how it jsut got even more layered as we learn more about Camillo and why his friends believe that the police aren’t really searching for him.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Hayden. You get to meet some of the people who work at the club where Camillo was employed, his best friends, Hollister, and more.

I really liked the friendship that develops between Hayden and Hollister as they are looking for Camillo. I liked the dialogue that occurs between them and how funny moments are slipped in seamlessly.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person through the perspective of our main character, Hayden. Something that I really enjoyed about Hayden telling the story is that he is just as knowledgeable about Camillo as we are. I like that Hayden doesn’t know much and he finds out things as he interacts with the different people that run in Camillo’s circle.

This book also includes snippets from Hayden’s blog which is something that I really enjoyed. I like how we get to learn pieces about Hayden and his feelings about several different topics through these blog pieces. I also like that the blog allows for a different voice than what we get throughout the rest of the story.

Author Information

Rob’s debut mystery DEVIL’S CHEW TOY is the first book in the Hayden & Friends Series–traditional mysteries featuring a rainbow cast of amateur sleuths.

Rob’s debut mystery short story, ANALOGUE, published in 2021 in ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE won the Mystery Writers of America 2022 Robert L Fish Award for best debut short story by an American Author.

After many years of living in Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco, he resides in southern California with his long-time partner and a tall, gray cat. Discover more at www.robosler.com 

Melt With Me by Jennifer Dugan Book Review

Book Description

Fallon and Chloe used to be best friends, but last summer they hooked up right before Chloe left for college, and after a series of misunderstandings they are now not speaking to one another. A year later, Chloe’s back home from school, and Fallon is doing everything in her power to avoid her–which is especially difficult because their moms own a business together, a gourmet ice cream truck where both girls work.

When their moms have the opportunity to make a presentation to some venture capitalists in Texas–something that could seriously expand their business and solve all their money problems to boot–it’s up to Fallon to work a series of food truck festivals across the country. But she can’t do it alone, and Chloe is the only one available to help. As tensions heat up again between the two, will Fallon be able to keep her cool?

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I have such mixed feelings with miscommunication as a trope because I get frustrated that they just don’t talk but then when its YA it reminds me that this is really what its like to be that age. The miscommunication trope is done well when it is with teenagers because it reminds me of what it was like to just keep everything to yourself rather than ruin anything between friends. But then again the whole time I am yelling at both characters because they both knew that a conversation needed to happen.

I’m glad that I listened to this one on audiobook because I don’t think I would have gotten through it otherwise. I really enjoy the moment these two finally have the conversation that they needed to have. I thought this part was done well and I love the honest response we get from the both of them. I like that they both were thinking of the worst when it came to the other but they both had different responses to this.

As this book carried on I was so worried that I was going to end up hating the book the closer we got to the ending of this book. I was quite surprised that we don’t get a generic ending which is what I was so worried about. I really enjoyed the way that this story wraps up and how things aren’t just great between everyone who was involved.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Fallon. You get to meet her ex best friend, Chloe, her friends, her mom and several people they meet on their road trip.

I really like the relationship that we get to see between Fallon and Chloe and how confusing it is for the both of them. I like that we get to see slices of their friendship through Fallon’s perspective before things fell apart. I also like that we get to see Chloe trying to fix this friendship even though she doesn’t know why Fallon is being cold to her.

Writing Style: This book is told in the first person through the perspective of our main character, Fallon. I really like that everything is told through her perspective because we have to wait until she talks to Chloe to know both sides. I also like that Fallon does occasionally break the fourth wall to let the reader know what she is thinking.

Author Information

Jennifer Dugan is a writer, geek, and romantic who writes the kinds of stories she wishes she had growing up. In addition to being a young adult novelist, she is also the writer/creator of two indie comics. She lives in New York with her family, dogs, and an evil cat that is no doubt planning to take over the world.

The Meg (Movie and Book Comparison)

As soon as I saw The Meg movie and found out that it was a book first I knew I had to get my hands on the copy of the book. I wound up getting a copy and then it set on my shelf for a few years before I got a hold of the audiobook. I am so glad that I listened to the audiobook because now I have to get my hands on the rest of the books in this series.

It has been a while since I have watched this movie but it is one of my favorites and I used to watch it all the time when it came out. This is one in which I couldn’t decide whether the book or movie was better because they were both good in their own ways. I highly recommend reading the book if you have seen the movie, watching the movie if you have read the book, and if you haven’t done either what are you waiting for go watch the movie and read the book.

The pacing of the audiobook matched the pacing of the movie and what I really enjoyed was that you felt like you were watching the movie take place as you listened to the story. I wonder if this would be a similar experience if you were reading the book rather than listening. Something else that was great about this book was that it built up the story about The Meg by giving you history and science but it fit in to the story so it didn’t feel like it was info dumping.

Something else that the movie does really well that I felt the book was lacking in was eliciting emotions in you. I felt that the pacing of the book didn’t allow me to get invested in the characters so I didn’t really care for things that happened to them. The only reason that I cared for some of them was due to understanding from the movie of who was who.

I wanna hear what you all think.

I Let you Fall by Sara Downing Book Review

Book Description

Publisher

On a summer night in London, art teacher Eve Chapman finds herself in a hospital emergency room. She watches surgeons desperately operate on a young woman with a terrible head injury. But when the bandages are removed, Eve is horrified to find her own body on the operating table.

Trapped in a coma, Eve struggles to cope with the fact that no matter how hard she tries, her family and friends cannot see or hear her. But then she meets Luca Diaz, a handsome and comatose lawyer who can see her. He takes Eve under his wing and teaches her how to use her new abilities to help the living.

As the weeks pass, Eve struggles to find a way back to her body and to Nathan, the man she loves. But the more time she spends with Luca, the more she wonders if her old life is worth going back to at all. 

Purchase Here

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I was a bit weary when I decided to read this book and provide a review since it was out of my comfort zone. I am glad that I decided to give it a try anyway since I wound up really enjoying this book. It is difficult to talk about this book without giving you all any spoilers so be warned, there may be spoilers in my review.

I really enjoyed the way things come full circle in this book and how it shows that things happen for a reason. I also like how this book shows grief occurring for multiple people throughout different stages. I like how you get to see Eve grieve over different things, her family grieve, people in Luca’s life grieve, and more.

Characters: You are introduced to a few characters throughout this book through their interactions with our main character, Eve. You get to meet someone else who is also in this in-between space with her who is the love interest, Luca. You get to meet her current boyfriend, Nathan, as well as some of her family members. You also get to meet the person that Eve is responsible for watching over, Jimmy, and some students that Eve was working with.

I really enjoyed the relationship that occurs between Eve and Luca and how this slowly develops. I found that even if you go into this knowing that there will be a relationship between the two of them, it still comes surprisingly and is sweet.

Writing Style: This book is told in the third person through the perspective of Eve but it also jumps around and gives us the story from the perspective of Will’s family, and Jimmy. At first, I was quite confused as to how these other people fit into the story so I advise you to pay attention to everyone that is introduced. I really liked how we slowly find out the role that each of these people plays in Eve’s life and how she has impacted each of them.

Author Information

Author’s Site

Sara Downing is the author of the popular Head Over Heels contemporary romance series, plus a further romance, Stage Fright, and a historical novel, Urban Venus.

In 2016, Sara published The Lost Boy, her first foray into the world of the supernatural. Her latest novel, I Let You Fall, is now on pre-order and will be available from June 20, 2022.

Sara lives in rural Worcestershire with her husband, three almost grown-up children, a Labrador and a cat. Before children she was a Chartered Accountant, but always knew her dream career lay elsewhere. She started writing in 2009 and hasn’t since yearned to return to the world of accountancy.

August 2022 To Be Read

Sorry that this is getting to you all a bit late but it took a while to come up with my list for this month. I also haven’t been reading as much or as into my book social media as I was before. I needed to take a short break from Instagram and just a few days away from the blog. I have started reading the first three of these books and have been enjoying them so far.

I Let You Fall by Sara Downing 

On a summer night in London, art teacher Eve Chapman finds herself in a hospital emergency room. She watches surgeons desperately operate on a young woman with a terrible head injury. But when the bandages are removed, Eve is horrified to find her own body on the operating table.

Trapped in a coma, Eve struggles to cope with the fact that no matter how hard she tries, her family and friends cannot see or hear her. But then she meets Luca Diaz, a handsome and comatose lawyer who can see her. He takes Eve under his wing and teaches her how to use her new abilities to help the living.

As the weeks pass, Eve struggles to find a way back to her body and to Nathan, the man she loves. But the more time she spends with Luca, the more she wonders if her old life is worth going back to at all. 

Go Hunt Me by Kelly deVos 

For Dracula lovers and fans of Diana Urban’s All Your Twisted Secrets, this spine-tingling thriller follows seven horror buffs as their dream trip to a remote Romanian castle turns into a nightmare when they begin to be killed one by one.

Alex Rush is ready for the trip of a lifetime.

She and her friends have made some creepily awesome films together throughout high school, so with only a few months left before they go their separate ways for college, they’re determined to make the best one yet: an epic short film that reimagines the story of Dracula, filmed on location at a remote castle in Romania.

But when they get there, it’s not quite the majestic setting they planned for. Menacing weapons line the walls, the twisted halls are easy to get lost in, and with no connection to the outside world, the group is unexpectedly off the grid. After just a few hours spent under its roof, Alex and her friends have no trouble imagining how this dark, terrifying castle inspired one of the most enduring horror novels of all time.

Only soon they no longer have to use their imaginations to understand the location’s terrifying history—just as they get the film’s first shot rolling, one of Alex’s friends disappears, and she’s nearly certain she saw a cloaked stranger lurking in the shadows. As more members of the group begin to meet an untimely demise, Alex is desperate to stop the bloodshed, even if it means facing a monster she never thought would be let loose.

Roll Red Roll: Rape, Power, and Football in the American Heartland by Nancy Schwartzman

An incisive narrative about a teen rape case that divided a Rust Belt town, exposing the hostile and systemic undercurrents that enable sexual violence, and spotlighting ways to make change.

In football-obsessed Steubenville, Ohio, on a summer night in 2012, an incapacitated sixteen-year-old girl was repeatedly assaulted by members of the “Big Red” high school football team. They took turns documenting the crime and sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The victim, Jane Doe, learned the details via social media at a time when teens didn’t yet understand the lasting trail of their digital breadcrumbs. Crime blogger Alexandria Goddard, along with hacker collective Anonymous, exposed the photos, Tweets, and videos, making this the first rape case ever to go viral and catapulting Steubenville onto the national stage.

Filmmaker Nancy Schwartzman spent four years embedded in the town, documenting the case and its reverberations. Ten years after the assault, Roll Red Roll is the culmination of that research, weaving in new interviews and personal reflections to take readers beyond Steubenville to examine rape culture in everything from sports to teen dynamics. Roll Red Roll explores the factors that normalize  sexual assault in our communities. Through inter-views with sportswriter David Zirin, victim’s rights attorney Gloria Allred and more, Schwartzman untangles the societal norms in which we too often sacrifice our daughters to protect our sons. With the Steubenville case as a flashpoint that helped spark the #MeToo movement, a decade later, Roll Red Roll focuses on the perpetrators and asks, can our society truly change? 

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales 

In Perfect on Paper: a bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates is hired by the hot guy to help him get his ex back.

Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.

Darcy Phillips:
• Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes―for a fee.
• Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
• Really cannot stand Alexander Brougham.
• Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke…who is in love with someone else.
• Does not appreciate being blackmailed.

However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89―out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service―that’s exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach―at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.

Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.

Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong? 

Nate Plus One By Kevin van Whye Book Review

Book Description

Two boys. Two bands. Two worlds colliding.

Nate Hargraves – stage-shy singer-songwriter – is totally stoked for his cousin’s wedding in South Africa, an all-expenses-paid trip of a lifetime. Until he finds out his sleazeball ex-boyfriend is also on the guest list.

Jai Patel – hot-as-hell high school rock-god – has troubles too. His band’s lead singer has quit, just weeks before the gig that was meant to be their big break.

When Nate saves the day by agreeing to sing with Jai’s band, Jai volunteers to be Nate’s plus-one to the wedding, and the stage is set for a summer of music, self-discovery, and simmering romantic tension. What could possibly go wrong . . . ?

Review

Thoughts and Themes: When I first started listening to this book I was quite worried that I wouldn’t enjoy it but I decided to keep listening since it was such a short book and I am so glad that I did. There were several moments in which I was listening to this book that I had to stop to take in what was being said.

This book is a cute rom com but it is so much more than that. I really enjoy how this ook talks about coming out, being a Queer Person of Color, Racism, and more. I like the way that this book puts all these things together and still manages to tell a cute best friends to lovers story. I also really enjoyed how this book takes place in South Africa for the majority of the story and how we get to see this portion of Nate’s family and life.

Characters: In this book you get to meet several characters through their interactions with Nate. You get to meet some of his family members, the love interest, Jai, his ex-boyfriend, Tommy, and more.

I really enjoyed the relationship that Nate has with Ouma Lettie who is his grandmother. I love the way she accepts him for who he is and also how she explains how her past affects her attitudes towards Nate being gay. There are so many moments that Nate has with Ouma Lettie that I highlighted in the book because of how impactful they are to the story.

I also really enjoyed the relationship that Nate has with Jai and how that differs from the relationship that he describes with Tommy. I like how we see Nate describe a relationship in which he was closeted and how that differs from this relationship. I also like how Jai is immediately immersed into Nate’s family and how he just seems to fit in.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of Nate. I really enjoyed that everything was told from Nate’s perspective because there were moments that we needed to be inside of his head. I really enjoyed that we got a chance to hear what Nate thought about everything and then when things fell apart we only get to see his thoughts and actions.

Author Information

Kevin van Whye was born and raised in South Africa, where his love for storytelling started at a young age. Kevin is the author of Date Me, Bryson Keller. He lives in Johannesburg, and when he’s not reading, he’s writing stories that give his characters the happy rom-com endings they deserve. Find him at KevinvanWhye.com.

Santiago by Eduardo Rios Lasso Book Tour Post-Spotlight

Book Description


Fresh out of college, 26-year-old Santiago has always longed to see the world, but his anxiety gets in the way. How can he possibly travel abroad if he feels sometimes heart-pounding pressure by simply riding a bus? But one day, after years of saving, Santiago courageously buys a ticket around the world. His parents think he’s crazy, but he takes a leap of faith and sets out alone. However, the world he had imagined was far from reality.
Meanwhile, Santiago finds out his best friend Laura, who could not join him on the trip, battles a recently diagnosed autoimmune disease. Will he regret his decision to leave her behind? Will their friendship survive or blossom into something more? On his journeys from New York to Lisbon, Paris to Sarajevo, and Istanbul to Bali, Santiago must overcome his shyness and open up his heart despite facing challenges, such as scams, and confronting complex issues like human trafficking. Join Santiago on a journey of self-discovery and adventure like no other.

Author Information

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Eduardo Rios Lasso emerged as a writer during his career as a medical doctor. Born and raised in Panama City, Panama, his journey has taken him around the globe to dozens of countries.
Along the way, he found a passion for travel writing that seeks out positive life experiences while also sharing the common interests and challenges that bring different cultures together. Eduardo currently resides in Germany, where he is completing his training in Internal Medicine.

SANTIAGO – Chronicles of a Young Traveler is his first book.
Website: http://www.zibarna.com
Instagram: http://instagram.com/e.rioslasso

Author Marketing Experts tags for social media:
Twitter: @Bookgal
Instagram: @therealbookgal
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3NTV3pk
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61134991-santiago-chronicles-of-a-young-traveler

We Made it All Up by Margot Harrison Book Tour Post

Book Description

We Made It All Up by Margot Harrison

Genre: Young Adult Mystery Thriller

Publishing Date: July 12, 2022

Synopsis:

Celeste is the talk of the town when she moves to Montana from Montreal, but the only friend she makes is Vivvy, the heir to the town’s name and a social pariah. Inspired by a passion-fueled school incident, they begin writing a love-story fan fic between the popular guy and the school stoner, one that gradually reveals Celeste’s past. While their bond makes Celeste feel safe and alive again, Vivvy keeps prodding Celeste to turn fantasy into reality. When they finally try, one drunken night on a dark mountainside, Celeste is the one who ends up kissing golden boy Joss. And Joss ends up dead.

Celeste doesn’t remember the end of that night and can’t be sure she didn’t deliver the killing blow. Could she still be that scared of getting close to a boy? Secrets are hard to keep in a small town, and even Vivvy seems to suspect her. Exploring the winding passages of the cave where Joss died, Celeste learns he had his own dark secrets, as does Vivvy. The town isn’t as innocent as it appears.

Content Warning: Mentions of past Sexual Assault, Talk of Homophobia (no slurs), Stalking, Slut Shaming

Book Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58363606-we-made-it-all-up

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09L818R2G/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/we-made-it-all-up-margot-harrison/1140500777

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/We-Made-It-All-Up-Margot-Harrison/9780316275767

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/we-made-it-all-up/9780316275767-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316275767

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I wanted to read this story from the minute that I read the synopsis and how fan fiction was going to somehow play a role in the story. Fan fiction was such an important part of my life as a teen so I enjoy books that use it to tell a bigger story. The way that fan fiction is used in this book is similar to the purposes in why I used to write before, sometimes fictional words on paper are easier to deal with than the truth.

Something that I really enjoyed about this book was the way that fan fiction was used to reveal things about Celeste’s past. I liked that she was willing to share pieces of herself through her writing but only if she got to be someone else in that story. I liked how this made it seem like it was detached from Celeste but as we get to know her you learn that this is her story that she is finding a way to tell.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with Celeste and through her memories of them. You get to meet her friend, Vivvy, Seth, Joss, and more. You also get glimpses into the Seth and Joss that are a part of Vivvy and Celeste’s world through their shared fan fictions.

I really enjoyed getting to know more about each of the characters and that some of these characters we only know through the memories that Celeste has of them. I thought the friendship between Celeste and Vivvy was done quite well even if I wouldn’t say it was a good friendship. I liked how we get to see a side of Vivvy that only Celeste can see because the others have been around her too long now.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of Celeste with bits of the fan fiction written by her included. I liked that everything was told through Celeste’s perspective because she was an unreliable narrator since she didn’t recall much of the night in question. I liked that we were learning things alongside her about the incident but that we were also learning about her.

About the Author

Margot Harrison has a lifelong habit of creeping herself out and now attempts to creep others out via her fiction. Her teenage dream was to see as many movies as possible and write about them, which she does as a Tomatometer critic for Vermont media company Seven Days.

She is also a Harvard grad, wrangler of calicos, speaker of French, native of New York City, and lover of horror podcasts and strong black tea.

She loves hearing from readers! Fill in the contact form to send her a message.

Representation: Jessica Sinsheimer, Context Literary Agency

She sometimes tweets, but mostly chronicles all her ways of wasting time on Instagram.

Author Links

Website: https://margotharrison.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargotFHarrison/

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14215617.Margot_Harrison

Tour Schedule

The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson Book Review

Book Description

In this complex and emotionally resonant novel, debut author Jen Ferguson serves up a powerful story about rage, secrets, and all the spectrums that make up a person—and the sweetness that can still live alongside the bitterest truth.

Lou has enough confusion in front of her this summer. She’ll be working in her family’s ice cream shack with her newly ex-boyfriend—whose kisses never made her feel desire, only discomfort—and her former best friend, King, who is back in their Canadian prairie town after disappearing three years ago without a word.

But when she gets a letter from her biological father—a man she hoped would stay behind bars for the rest of his life—Lou immediately knows that she cannot meet him, no matter how much he insists.

While King’s friendship makes Lou feel safer and warmer than she would have thought possible, when her family’s business comes under threat, she soon realizes that she can’t ignore her father forever. 

Review

TWs: mentions of sexual harassment and violence, racism, self harm, alcohol, addiction, gaslighting, fire, abortion, rape

This is not an exhaustive list of all the trigger warnings in this book, please see other reviews for things I may not have caught.

Thoughts and Themes: This is one that it took me a little bit to get into and I wonder if I would’ve had a different experience if I had read it instead of listened to it. Once we got to the author’s note and I head more about why the story was written and about some of the choices that were made I enjoyed the story more than when I was reading it.

This book has a lot going on at once which is what made it hard to get into at first but I think that it needed to have everything for the book to wrap up the way that it did. Lou has way too much to deal with for a girl her age but I liked how it all felt real for a teenager. She’s dealing with her dad trying to come back into the picture and take from her, family secrets revealing themselves, and questioning her sexuality.

I have yet to read a book in which the character labels themselves as demisexual on the page. I’ve read books in which it is implied or the character is asexual but never is the term demisexual used which made this book so important to me. I loved that we get to see how Louisa comes to this determination even if it seems to wrap up quickly towards the end of the book. The rest of the book is leading to this decision and we get to see her question her sexuality and wonder if something is wrong with her.

Something else that I found important in this book and that spoke to me both throughout the story and then again when the author spoke about it was the notion of whiteness being safe. Louisa for a while pretends that she is white and has several friends and family members angry at her because of this. This idea of whiteness as safety is something that I understand and also find frustrating. It’s one of those things that yes there is privilege in passing as white but also Louisa is denying her culture and removing herself from the things around her that make up her home.

Characters: Throughout this book you get to meet several characters through their interactions with Louisa. You get to meet her mother, her uncles, several of her friends, her dad, and more.

I really liked several of the characters that you get to meet throughout this book especially King. I liked the relationship between Louisa and King and how he just understood her. I liked how they eased easily back into their friendship and how that gradually changed into a relationship. I really appreciated how everything between them was on Louisa’s terms and how much of a shift that was from her ex.

Something that threw me off with the characters through was Louisa’s relationship with her best friend, Flourence. I really didn’t like the way that this character was treated and how the book seemed to dismiss that she was bipolar. I think that more could have been done with this friendship and also the way that Flourence’s mental health issues were handled. I didn’t like that Louisa seemed to make everything about her even when her best friend needed her.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person through the perspective of the main character, Louisa. I think it is important that the story was told through Louisa’s point of view because we get to see her feelings about each situation as they arise. The story also includes letters from Louisa’s father which are give to her by different people. I think those letters are also important pieces of the story and give you a glimpse into who this man is.

Author Information

Jen Ferguson (she/her/hers) Métis (on her father’s side) and Canadian settler (on her mother’s side) is an activist, a feminist, an auntie, and an accomplice armed with a PhD. She believes writing, teaching and beading are political acts. She is represented by Patricia Nelson at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Her debut young adult novel, THE SUMMER OF BITTER AND SWEET, is forthcoming from Heartdrum / Harper Collins in the summer of 2022. Her first book for adults, Border Markers, a collection of interrelated flash fiction stories, is out now with NeWest Press.

She lives and works in Los Angeles.


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