Something Great by Jeanette Bradley Book Tour Post

Book Description

Author/illustrator: Jeanette Bradley

ISBN: 9781646141715

Publisher: Levine Querido

Publication Date: September 20. 2022

Preorder: Bookshop, signed copies at Books on the Square

Voila! Quinn spent the morning in their workshop, and they emerged with Something Great! But what is it? 

No one seemed to understand that Something Great isn’t supposed to be anything. It was just itself… Something Great. 

Quietly profound, this sweet tale and its mixed-media illustrations are a delightful combination of elements blending STEM activities (for those inclined to catch them!) with casual nonconformity in a picture book that is, well, Something Great!

Review

Thoughts: Something Great is an easy-to-read picture book with images that will capture its audience. I love the way that this book is able to capture STEM topics without being too dense so that younger children wouldn’t understand. I love how just like something great in this story, this book can be about so many things depending on who is reading and who your audience is. I love that our main character is non-binary without that being the focus of this book, you just learn about this because Quinn uses they/them pronouns.

Author Information

Jeanette Bradley has been an urban planner, an apprentice pastry chef, and the artist-in-residence for a traveling art museum on a train. Now she writes, draws, and makes books for kids. Her books include Something Great;, No Voice Too Small; No World Too Big; Love, Mama; and When the Babies Came to Stay. Jeanette lives in Rhode Island with her wife and kids. jeanettebradley.com

Omega Morales and the Legend of La Lechuza by Laekan Zea Kemp

Book Description

Omega Morales and the Legend of La Lechuza by Laekan Zea Kemp

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Publishing Date: September 27, 2022

Synopsis:

Fans of The Girl Who Drank the MoonPaola Santiago and the River of Tears, and Disney’s Encanto will be captivated by this fantastical novel about a girl who must learn to trust her ancestral powers when she comes face-to-face with the Mexican legend La Lechuza. 

Omega Morales’s family has been practicing magic for centuries in Noche Buena. But over the years, the town’s reputation for the supernatural is no longer one the people carry with pride. So Omega’s family keeps to themselves, and in private, they’re Empaths—diviners who can read and manipulate the emotions of people and objects around them. But Omega’s powers don’t quite work, and it leaves her feeling like an outsider in her own family.

When a witch with the power to transform herself into an owl—known in Mexican folklore as La Lechuza—shows up unannounced, Omega, her best friend Clau (who happens to be a ghost), and her cousin Carlitos must conduct a séance under a full moon in order to unravel the mystery of the legend.

Suddenly Omega’s magic begins to change, and the key to understanding her powers is more complicated than she thought. Omega will have to decide what’s more important—trusting the instincts of others or learning to trust in herself.

Content Warning: bullying and grief

Book Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60021190-omega-morales-and-the-legend-of-la-lechuza

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316304166/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/omega-morales-and-the-legend-of-la-lechuza-laekan-zea-kemp/1140835397

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Omega-Morales-Legend-La-Lechuza-Laekan-Z-Kemp/9780316304160

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/omega-morales-and-the-legend/9780316304160-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316304160

Review

Thoughts and Themes: My first thought is that I keep reading Lechuza as Lechuga and was really confused about there being a legend regarding lettuce that I hadn’t heard about. I am glad to tell you all that this story is not about lettuce at all but that would have been funny. But also prior to this thought, I was so happy to see that the author had now written a middle grade book since I loved her two young adult books so much.

I am happy to say that I loved this book as much as the young adult books if not more. This is a perfect read for second graders and up especially during this spooky season. I love that this book is spooky but not too scary to frighten the younger audience. I loved the references to Mexican folklore that this book includes because so much of these tales were things that I grew up hearing about.

Something that I really enjoy about this book is the added images within chapters. I like how these images bring the story to life and it works really well for me since I have a hard time picturing what I am reading.

Characters: In this story you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Omega. You get to meet her family, her best friend Carlitos, and a ghost that lives alongside them, Clau. Right off the bat it is hard not to fall in love with each of the characters that you are introduced to in this story.

I really loved the relationship that each of the characters that are introduce have with our main character, Omega. I love how supportive each of the characters are of her and how they are supportive regardless of her differences. I love that you can feel the amount of love everyone has for each other seeping out of this book.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of our main character, Omega. I really enjoyed the story being told through her perspective as it makes you remember the age of our main character. The voice of our narrator really made it hard to put down this book because I just wanted to hear more about the magic and everything going on in her world.

Author Information

Laekan Zea Kemp is a writer living in Austin, Texas. Her debut novel, Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet was a 2021 Pura Belpré Honor Recipient. In addition to writing she’s also the creator and host of the Author Pep Talks podcast, as well as a contributor to the Las Musas podcast. She has three objectives when it comes to storytelling: to make people laugh, cry, and crave Mexican food. Her work celebrates Chicane grit, resilience, creativity, and joy while exploring themes of identity and mental health.

Author Links

Website: http://www.laekanzeakemp.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaekanZeaKemp

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6577467.Laekan_Zea_Kemp

Tour Schedule

Lord of the Fly Fest By Goldy Moldavsky Book Review

Book Description

Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky

Genre: Young Adult Horror

Publishing Date: August 30, 2022

Synopsis:

One of Us Is Lying meets Lord of the Flies meets Fyre Fest in this wickedly addictive and funny YA thriller.

Rafi Francisco needs something really special to put her true crime podcast on the map. She sets her sights on River Stone, the hearthrob musician who rose to stardom after the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend. Rafi lands herself a ticket to the exclusive Fly Fest, where River will be the headliner.

But when Rafi arrives on the Caribbean island location of Fly Fest with hundreds of other influencers and (very minor) celebrities, they quickly discover that the dream trip is more of a nightmare. And it’s not just confronting beauty gurus-gone-wild and spotty WiFi. Soon, Rafi goes from fighting for an interview to fighting for her life. And, as she gets closer to River, she discovers that he might be hiding even darker secrets than she suspected . . .

Content Warning: violence, missing persons, and bodily functions

Book Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54267774-lord-of-the-fly-fest

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1250230128

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lord-of-the-fly-fest-goldy-moldavsky/1139790471

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Lord-Fly-Fest-Goldy-Moldavsky/9781250230126

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/lord-of-the-fly-fest/9781250230126-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250230126

Review

Thoughts and Themes: This one took me quite a while to finish but not because of a lack of interest, I was trying to savor every moment of this book. I wanted to take things slowly because I was enjoying the world-building in this book and the dystopian aspects. I really liked the way the author describes this island and how things slowly build. So once I finished this book I read some reviews and they all mentioned this being a satirical telling of Lord of the Flies I got this from the title but because I haven’t read that book I wasn’t able to make the connection myself.

I was skeptical about reading this one because I had recently read books similar to it and didn’t really care for them. I am glad that I decided to read this anyway because of how much I enjoyed the book. I liked how this story plays out and how we begin to see our main character as a bad guy because she put them in this situation longer than they had to be. I really like the way this book pokes fun at influencer culture and the people who feed into this. I liked that this book made commentary on our current lives.

Characters: In this book, you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Rafi. You get to meet several people who are on the Island with Rafi, such as Peggy, River, Jack, Ryan and Paul, and much more.

I really liked reading as the relationship between River and Rafi develops and how this shifts throughout the book. I liked seeing them both when they are together and seeing how River trusts Rafi but this also makes you skeptical of River just like Rafi is. I like that we never know who the bad person is in this story and that the narrator is removed adds to this mystery.

Writing Style: This story is told in the third person with a narrator who follows different characters around yet it is told mostly from Rafi’s perspective. I really enjoy that this story was told in the third person because we seem to know everything going on with each of the characters. What I really like is that this isn’t an all-knowing narrator though so the mysteries aren’t automatically solved.

This book also includes snippets of the podcast Rafi is recording, which I really enjoyed. I liked getting to see a different side of Rafi through the recording of the podcast and I liked to see the other’s responses to this podcast. I thought the podcast episodes being included added a good portion to the book because it shows us what Rafi is thinking about everything that we are reading.

Author Information

Goldy Moldavsky was born in Lima, Peru, and grew up in Brooklyn, where she still lives. Her novels include the New York Times bestseller, KILL THE BOY BAND, NO GOOD DEED (Scholastic), and THE MARY SHELLEY CLUB (Henry Holt). Her books have appeared on numerous Best-Books lists and have been translated to other languages. Her love of 80s movies, 90s boy bands, and horror flicks hugely influences her work. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @goldywrites.

She is represented by Jenny Bent at the Bent Agency.

Author Links

Website: https://goldymoldavsky.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/goldywrites

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13682584.Goldy_Moldavsky

Tour Schedule

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

August 2022 Wrap Up

I was wondering why I didn’t read as much last month and why I am now in a reading slump. Now that I am looking back at my August reading I can see why this is. I didn’t really enjoy what I read last month and a lot of what I read was due to being on book tours. I really need to get back to reading what I want to read and sticking to the genres that I enjoy. This tends to happen when I attempt to read adult fiction so maybe I read less of that.

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.

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.

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

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?

Melt With You by Jennifer Dugan

From the author of Hot Dog Girl comes a sweet and salty queer YA rom-com about two girls on a summer road trip in an ice cream truck.

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?

Let it Rain by Marcela Mariz

The funniest and most charming novel about finding yourself you’ll read this year.

Mandy Olsen lives and breathes the Eighties: an era of great music, questionable fashion choices, and endless possibilities. It was also the only time Mandy was truly happy in her life.

Now working at the school she used to attend, Mandy’s fixation with the past is starting to attract attention. Jessy, the office mean girl, whispers that “Mental Mandy” is going off the deep end. Principal Weber prefers to call her confused. And to make matters worse, the mysterious hot new teacher has developed a knack for popping up at the most embarrassing moments possible.

If Mandy wants to keep her job, she knows she needs to face the grief that turned her world upside down. But can you grasp at a second chance if your best years are behind you?

Perfect for fans of Beth O’Leary and Sophie Kinsella, Let it Rain is a bittersweet coming-of-age story about friendship, rebellion, and finding the courage to love and laugh again.

Devil’s Chew Toy by Rob Osler

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.

The Extraordinaries #3 Heat Wave by T.J. Klune

Heat Wave is the explosive finale to the thrilling and uproariously funny Extraordinaries trilogy by USA Today bestselling author TJ Klune.

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.

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis comes a new STEMinist rom-com in which a scientist is forced to work on a project with her nemesis—with explosive results.

Bee Königswasser lives by a simple code: What would Marie Curie do? If NASA offered her the lead on a neuroengineering project – a literal dream come true – Marie would accept without hesitation. Duh. But the mother of modern physics never had to co-lead with Levi Ward.

Sure, Levi is attractive in a tall, dark, and piercing-eyes kind of way. But Levi made his feelings toward Bee very clear in grad school – archenemies work best employed in their own galaxies far, far away.

But when her equipment starts to go missing and the staff ignore her, Bee could swear she sees Levi softening into an ally, backing her plays, seconding her ideas… devouring her with those eyes. The possibilities have all her neurons firing.

But when it comes time to actually make a move and put her heart on the line, there’s only one question that matters: What will Bee Königswasser do?

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood Book Review

Book Description

Bee Königswasser lives by a simple code: What would Marie Curie do? If NASA offered her the lead on a neuroengineering project – a literal dream come true – Marie would accept without hesitation. Duh. But the mother of modern physics never had to co-lead with Levi Ward.

Sure, Levi is attractive in a tall, dark, and piercing-eyes kind of way. But Levi made his feelings toward Bee very clear in grad school – archenemies work best employed in their own galaxies far, far away.

But when her equipment starts to go missing and the staff ignore her, Bee could swear she sees Levi softening into an ally, backing her plays, seconding her ideas… devouring her with those eyes. The possibilities have all her neurons firing.

But when it comes time to actually make a move and put her heart on the line, there’s only one question that matters: What will Bee Königswasser do? 

Review

First things first, let me mention that there is an HP mention in the first chapter of the book and that was quite disappointing. I haven’t seen anyone bring this up and for me, this is a big thing because I would rather that book not be mentioned in any of the things I read.

Thoughts and Themes: I was a bit skeptical going into this book because I had seen people dislike it. I wound up listening to this one on audio because that was how I read The Love Hypothesis so I figured this would be good on audio as well. I did enjoy the narrator of this book and the voices given to both Bee and Levi.

I didn’t love this one as much as The Love Hypothesis but there were definitely portions of this book that I enjoyed. Something that I did enjoy was the awkwardness of all of our characters and how this reminded me of people in STEM that I have interacted with. I also really liked

Someone else mentioned the kiss and the sex scenes and I really should’ve listened to their review and skipped that. The kiss already was just so uncomfortable to listen to that I should’ve just fast-forwarded through any other intimate moments.

Something else that I do like about this book was the relationship that we see between Bee and her sister, as well as her research assistant. I actually liked both of these characters and what they add to the story. I liked how supportive these people are in Bee’s life and how it doesn’t seem like these are forced relationships.

Characters: In this book, you get to meet a few characters through their interactions with our main characters, Bee and Levi. You get to meet their research assistant, Bee’s ex-fiancee and ex-best friend, and a few others briefly.

I was not a big fan of our main character, there were so many moments in which she annoyed me which made it hard to continue listening. There were just so many moments in which she was having a pity party for herself or just way too clueless for an adult her age.

Okay, so our love interest…I really wanted to love Levi as much as I loved Adam but there was just something about him that I was just eh about. I think a lot of it has to do with how the heck he like Bee and how that makes him an awkward mess. What I do like about Levi is his persistence even when Bee keeps insisting that he hates her. I also like the moments in which we get to see Levi with his cat and when Levi talks about Penny and her family. I like getting to see these moments in which Levi is vulnerable and we learn more about him.

This all being said, I was not sold on the relationship between Bee and Levi. I didn’t care about them as a couple and preferred them both as individuals or friends. I actually liked them when they were friends and how supportive Levi was as Bee was dealing with seeing her ex-fiancee and ex-best friend. I liked those small moments of their friendship developing but I think it should’ve stopped there rather than turned into a romance.

Writing Style: This book is written in the first person from the perspective of Bee. This was quite frustrating because it felt like I was reading her journal entries that hadn’t been filtered. If this was going to be the case then it should’ve been written as we stumbled across Bee’s diary because so much of her internal thoughts are just annoying. There were so many times in which I was yelling at her to just speak to people.

The book also includes Twitter posts as well as some Twitter conversations. This part is kind of annoying though as I keep thinking about how Bee and Levi do not know they are talking to each other. I like seeing things through this perspective though but I do think that they should’ve figured things out a lot sooner.

Author Information

I’m Ali, and I write contemporary romcom novels about women in STEM and academia. I love cats, Nutella, and side ponytails. I’m also currently learning to crochet, so as you can tell I’m a super busy gal with an intense and exciting life!

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 

Let it Rain by Marcela Mariz Book Review

Book Description

The funniest and most charming novel about finding yourself you’ll read this year.

Mandy Olsen lives and breathes the Eighties: an era of great music, questionable fashion choices, and endless possibilities. It was also the only time Mandy was truly happy in her life.

Now working at the school she used to attend, Mandy’s fixation with the past is starting to attract attention. Jessy, the office mean girl, whispers that “Mental Mandy” is going off the deep end. Principal Weber prefers to call her confused. And to make matters worse, the mysterious hot new teacher has developed a knack for popping up at the most embarrassing moments possible.

If Mandy wants to keep her job, she knows she needs to face the grief that turned her world upside down. But can you grasp at a second chance if your best years are behind you?

Perfect for fans of Beth O’Leary and Sophie Kinsella, Let it Rain is a bittersweet coming-of-age story about friendship, rebellion, and finding the courage to love and laugh again.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I was so happy when I started reading this book since there were so many parts of this story that I found relatable. There were so many moments in which I saw myself in our main character.

I really like the way this book deals with grief and how it shows grief affecting our main character, Mandy in a unique way. I liked that we get to see Mandy dealing with social anxiety and how we get to see her visit a therapist and how that helps her through different moments of her life.

I like the way certain things unravel in this book as these were things that I wasn’t expecting. I liked how our main character, has to figure out how to navigate the news that she has now after trying to move past this loss. I liked seeing her try to fit this person back into her new life and the way that those around her embrace her.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Mandy . You get to meet her mother and best friend, who are only visible to her, several work colleagues, and her therapist.

I really like the friendship that develops between our main character, Mandy, Zack, and Kim. I like the things that each of them add into her life and how they each help her deal with difficult emotions and trauma. I also really enjoyed the way that the romance develops between Manday and Zack including the twist and turns that they go through.

I also really liked seeing the relationship that Mandy has with her mother and with her best friend, Joshua. I like how we get to see the way she pictures them in her life and the impact she believes they have as ghosts. I like getting a chance to see how she feels about the relationship that she had with both her mother and Joshua prior to their deaths.

Writing Style: This book is told in first person through the perspective of our main character, Mandy. I liked that this whole story is told through Mandy’s perspective as we are getting a chance to see how things are like for her. I like that we aren’t seeing how anyone else is feeling throughout this book or how things are playing out for others until Mady finds things out.

Author Information

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Marcela Mariz discovered her passion for storytelling on the stage. She produced her first play at sixteen and went on to complete more than twenty theater-commissioned plays.

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.