It Sounds LIke This by Anna Mariano Book Review

Book Description

A sweet and nerdy contemporary YA novel set in the world of marching band perfect for fans of Late to the Party and Kate in Waiting.

Yasmín Treviño didn’t have much of a freshman year thanks to Hurricane Humphrey, but she’s ready to take sophomore year by storm. That means mastering the marching side of marching band—fast!—so she can outshine her BFF Sofia as top of the flute section, earn first chair, and impress both her future college admission boards and her comfortably unattainable drum major crush Gilberto Reyes.

But Yasmín steps off on the wrong foot when she reports an anonymous gossip Instagram account harassing new band members and accidentally gets the entire low brass section suspended from extracurriculars. With no low brass section, the band is doomed, so Yasmín decides to take things into her own hands, learn to play the tuba, and lead a gaggle of rowdy freshman boys who are just as green to marching and playing as she is. She’ll happily wrestle an ancient school tuba if it means fixing the mess she might have caused.

But when the secret gossip Instagram escalates their campaign of harassment and the end-of-semester band competition grows near, things at school might be too hard to bear. Luckily, the support of Yasmín’s new section—especially new section leader Bloom, a sweet and shy ace boy who might be a better match for her than Gilberto—might just turn things around.

Review

Thoughts and Theme: I really enjoyed reading Anna Meriano’s other book, This is How We Fly, so I was quite excited to get a chance to read this one.

I really like how so many things are all new to Yasmin and how this makes it so that she doesn’t exactly fit in with the rest of the high school band kids. I really liked this because there’s a stereotype of the band kids and you would expect that Yasmin would fit in perfectly with them.

Something that I liked about this book is the ways in which religion is mixed into the story. I like how Yasmin thinks that a lot of her feelings have to do with religion and I like how they include these conversations there. I also really enjoy how this book includes conversations on sexuality throughout.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to a few characters through their interactions with a main character, Yasmin. You get to meet her best friend, Sofia, a few of the kids on the brass team, Sophia’s boyfriend, and Yasmin’s mom.

Something that I really loved about this book was how supportive the brass section is of Yasmin over time. I really like how they try to cheer her up when things go wrong and they all trust her. I like how she slowly starts to let them care about her even if at first she was disappointed in switching to this section.

I really liked getting to see Yasmin’s friendships with several of the band members and how these friendships develop throughout the book. I also like getting to see the shift in her friendship with Sophia and love how that wraps up. I liked that this book wasn’t neat and perfect because it felt real.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of Yasmin. I like things being in her point of view because all we know is how she feels and the things people are telling her. I really liked that we got to see things through only Yasmin’s perspective because we don’t see what others are saying about her. We don’t see her as selfish and mean, and we don’t know things about her that she doesn’t know.

Author Information

From Anna Meriano’s website

I grew up in Houston with an older brother and a younger brother and a large but close-knit network of aunts, uncles, and cousins spreading across the state of Texas. I graduated from Rice University with a degree in English, and earned my MFA in creative writing with an emphasis in writing for children from the New School in New York. There I was lucky to meet CAKE Literary founders Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra, who started me on the

Love Sugar Magic journey.

I live in Houston with my dog Cisco. I have taught creative writing and high school English and currently work as a tutor for students of all ages across Houston. In my free time I love knitting, playing full-contact quidditch, and singing along to songs in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language.

For information about events or school visits, you can contact me at annaemeriano@gmail.com

I am represented by Patricia Nelson, Patricia@marsallyonliteraryagency.com 

For information about my YA books, contact my publicist Tessa Meischeid,
tmeischeid@penguinrandomhouse.com

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.

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.

Man O’ War by Cory McCarthy Book Review

Book Description

An achingly honest and frequently hilarious coming-of-age novel about an Arab American trans swimmer fighting to keep their head above water in a landlocked Midwestern town.
River McIntyre has grown up down the street from Sea Planet, an infamous marine life theme park slowly going out of business in small-town Ohio. When a chance encounter with a happy, healthy queer person on the annual field trip lands River literally in the shark tank, they must admit the truth: they don’t know who they are–only what they’ve been told to be. This sets off a wrenching journey of self-discovery, from internalized homophobia and gender dysphoria, through layers of coming out, affirmation surgery, and true freakin’ love.

Review

CWs: Acephobia, Transphobia, Alcohol, Homophobia, Biphobia, bullying, mental illness, outing

This is not an exhaustive list of content warnings, only the ones in which I was able to pick up on. Please see other reviews for more content warnings.

Thoughts and Themes: When I saw this book I was so excited to get a chance to read it since there is a Trans MC. I decided to listen to this one and follow along with the e-book which was a great choice. I really enjoyed the narrator in this story and felt that this was something I could listen to more than once.

As I listened to this book there were many times in which I had to pause the book so I could go to the e-book and highlight the portions that really spoke to me. There also were defintely moments in which I has to pause the book to highlight portions that made me angry because of the amount of Acephobia, Transphobia, and Homophobia are included.

I really enjoyed how we get to see River before they figure out who they are and how a lot of their thoughts and beliefs are in place due to the person that they are dating. I really enjoyed the role that Indy plays in this whole story as they introduce River to the concept of gender as a spectrum and help River learn about themselves.

I like how River’s journey to discovering themselves isn’t neat nor is it linear. I felt that their journey to find themselves was quite relatable and it reminded me of myself as a teenager figuring out gender and sexuality. I liked the way that emotions are portrayed in this book and how you get a range of emotions from each of the characters.

Characters: In this book you get to meet several characters through their interactions with our main character, River. You get to meet their girlfriend/ex-girlfriend, their brother, their mom, Indy who is a new friend, and more.

I really enjoyed all of the characters that you get to meet throughout this story and each of their relationships with River. I really liked the relationship that River has with their brother and how you get to see more of this when their mom responds negatively to their brother coming out as Ace.

I also liked getting to see River’s relationship with their mother and how that impacts a lot of their journey. I also liked how we get to see Rivers mom’s relationship with being an Arab American and how she tries to get as close to whiteness as she can. I thought it was a good thing to point out when River talks about being in that in-between space when it comes to a lot of their identities.

I liked getting a chance to see River and Indy’s relationship change over the course of the book. I thought it was great to see how their first interaction years ago really informed their second meeting. I also liked how we get a chance to see how many of the things that River did and said in the past were all due to the people around them and how they had influenced River.

Writing Style: This story is written in first person through the perspective of River. I liked that everything was told in River’s perspective because we don’t get an image of how others feel about certain things. I also liked that we get to see River struggle through figuring things out for themselves since we are in their head throughout the whole story.

Author Information

CORY (previously Cori)
…earned degrees in poetry and screenwriting before falling in love with writing for children and young adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. They have authored four acclaimed YA novels, with a middle grade series, young adult contemporary, and nonfiction picture book forthcoming. Cory coauthored the bestselling ONCE & FUTURE, a finalist for the New England Book Award, with their spouse A.R. Capetta. They live in the mountains of Vermont where they champion queer teens and raise a young maverick.

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

You, Me, and Our Heartstrings By Melissa See Book Tour Post

Book Description

Title: You, Me, and Our Heartstrings

Author: Melissa See

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Publication Date: August 2nd, 2022 

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance 

Synopsis:

Daisy and Noah have the same plan: use the holiday concert to land a Julliard audition. But when they’re chosen to play a duet for the concert, they worry that their differences will sink their chances.

Noah, a cello prodigy from a long line of musicians, wants to stick to tradition. Daisy, a fiercely independent disabled violinist, is used to fighting for what she wants and likes to take risks. But the two surprise each other when they play. They fall perfectly in tune.

After their performance goes viral, the rest of the country falls for them just as surely as they’re falling for each other. But viral fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. No one seems to care about their talent or their music at all. People have rewritten their love story into one where Daisy is an inspiration for overcoming her cerebral palsy and Noah is a saint for seeing past it.

Daisy is tired of her disability being the only thing people see about her, and all of the attention sends Noah’s anxiety disorder into high speed. They can see their dream coming closer than it’s ever been before. But is the cost suddenly too high? 

Book links  

Goodreads ~ Blackwells ~Amazon ~ Book Depository ~ Barnes & Noble

Review

Thoughts and Themes: When I first saw this book I knew that I wanted to read it because of how rarely I find books with disabled characters that have romance involved. There was so much about this book that I loved even when I was worried that certain things wouldn’t be discussed.

I felt that as I read this book I was just waiting for Noah to make a mistake because of the way he was with Daisy about her disability. Throughout the book, you can see that he didn’t really understand that he couldn’t just erase this important piece of who she is. I was pleased with the moment that he did slip up and say something wrong and the way that this book handled that situation.

While I can’t speak on the cerebral palsy representation, I really enjoyed how anxiety is depicted throughout this book. Something that I really loved about this book was how we see Noah deal with his anxiety both on his own and then when he decides to get help. I like the way that this story normalizes therapy by showing some of Noah’s sessions and we also get to see Noah’s friend talk about going to therapy too.

Characters: In this book, you get introduced to several characters through their interactions with our two main characters, Noah and Daisy. You get to meet both of their parents, Noah’s brothers, their friend group, Mazhar and Amal, and more.

I really liked the relationship between Noah and Daisy and how different they are from each other. I like the way that they support each other throughout the book but also how Noah feels like he is responsible for solving all of Daisy’s problems. I liked the difference in their social class status and the role that this plays in their relationship. I liked getting to see them both struggle through this difference and how it makes them both feel.

I also love the relationship that each of our main characters has with their families. I love how supportive each of their families is throughout the book. I also like how Daisy feels that she can be honest with her parents and how she does call them out for how they have made her feel.

The friendships that you see throughout this story are also great additions to the romance that we get. I just love getting a chance to see love portrayed through different people throughout this story. We get familial love, romantic love, and friendship love which I thought was a great way to see what support looks like for each of our main characters.

Writing Style: This story is told in the first person through a dual point of view going back and forth between Daisy and Noah telling the story. I really liked getting to hear this story from both Daisy and Noah’s perspectives as we get to see how they both feel about their situations.

Author Information

Melissa See is a disabled author of young adult contemporary romances. When not writing, she can be found reading, baking, or curled up with her cat, most likely watching anime or 90 Day Fiancé. She currently lives in the New York countryside. You, Me, and Our Heartstrings is her debut novel.

Author Links

Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21580287.Melissa_See

Website: https://www.melissasee.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/melissasee 

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

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@melissaseebooks

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.


Visit her website to subscribe to News from the Michif Creamery, an occasional (seasonally or less) newsletter, for a chance to win The Summer of Bitter and Sweet themed prizes!

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July 2022 To Be Read

My reading tends to get a lot slower during the second half of the year and that’s because life gets a lot busier for me. I wanted to make sure that I kept my reading up though this year so I am trying to get through these four at least. I’m about halfway through two of them and have yet to start the other two.

Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson 

Three days. Two girls. One life-changing music festival.

Olivia is an expert at falling in love . . . and at being dumped. But after the fallout from her last breakup has left her an outcast at school and at home, she’s determined to turn over a new leaf. A crush-free weekend at Farmland Music and Arts Festival with her best friend is just what she needs to get her mind off the senior year that awaits her.

Toni is one week away from starting college, and it’s the last place she wants to be. Unsure about who she wants to become and still reeling in the wake of the loss of her musician-turned-roadie father, she’s heading back to the music festival that changed his life in hopes that following in his footsteps will help her find her own way forward.

When the two arrive at Farmland, the last thing they expect is to realize that they’ll need to join forces in order to get what they’re searching for out of the weekend. As they work together, the festival becomes so much more complicated than they bargained for, and Olivia and Toni will find that they need each other, and music, more than they ever could have imagined.

Packed with irresistible romance and irrepressible heart, bestselling author Leah Johnson delivers a stunning and cinematic story about grief, love, and the remarkable power of music to heal and connect us all. 

The Ghosts of War (Tales of the Beneath #1) by Amy Sumida 

I had a bad feeling the day I met the God of War.

As a Water Witch, I trust my feelings implicitly. But I wasn’t prepared for the mess and magnificence that was tossed into my lap. The mess is a haunting that defies all explanation and the magnificence is the Greek God of War. Ares hired me to clear his house of spirits, or whatever was masquerading as spirits, but the longer I investigate the strange occurrences in his villa, the more I realize that neither the haunting nor the god are who I thought them to be. The God War has depths to him that draw me closer by the day, and his ghosts have more power than any mere specter should have. One promises to give me pleasure that I’ve only dreamed of and the other is turning into a nightmare, but my instincts are telling me that both will change my life forever.

Tales of the Beneath is a Gay Paranormal Romance Series set in a world hidden within ours. A world filled with witches, gods, shapeshifters, and all the things that go bump in the night. If you enjoy breathtaking supernatural men and smokin’ hot love, this is the series for you. Welcome to the Beneath.

We Made It All Up by Margot Harrison 

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. 

Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1) by Kerri Maniscalco 

From the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series comes a new blockbuster series…

Two sisters.
One brutal murder.
A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…
And an intoxicating romance.


Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked—princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…