Review: The Seep by Chana Porter

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Trina Goldberg-Oneka is a fifty-year-old trans woman whose life is irreversibly altered in the wake of a gentle—but nonetheless world-changing—invasion by an alien entity called The Seep. Through The Seep, everything is connected. Capitalism falls, hierarchies and barriers are broken down; if something can be imagined, it is possible.

Trina and her wife, Deeba, live blissfully under The Seep’s utopian influence—until Deeba begins to imagine what it might be like to be reborn as a baby, which will give her the chance at an even better life. Using Seeptech to make this dream a reality, Deeba moves on to a new existence, leaving Trina devastated.

Heartbroken and deep into an alcoholic binge, Trina follows a lost boy she encounters, embarking on an unexpected quest. In her attempt to save him from The Seep, she will confront not only one of its most avid devotees, but the terrifying void that Deeba has left behind. A strange new elegy of love and loss, The Seep explores grief, alienation, and the ache of moving on.


RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The novel’s title, I think, is a perfect nod at the tale within: a story that, for the space of a few pages, fills the room like water, seeping into every corner, fluid enough to make its way into the minds and hearts of its readers through all sorts of different angles. Continue reading “Review: The Seep by Chana Porter”

Review: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

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Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. A mother to two small girls, she started out as a blogger and has quickly built herself into a confidence-driven brand. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, a security guard at their local high-end supermarket accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make it right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.


RATING: 🌟🌟🌟

Such a Fun Age is a novel that disheartened me even if it didn’t surprise me. Something akin to relief gusted through my room like a warm front when I finished it: not because Continue reading “Review: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid”

Review: Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold

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You are alone in the woods, seen only by the unblinking yellow moon. Your hands are empty. You are nearly naked.

And the wolf is angry.

Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself. She’s been good. But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her. A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions. About the blood in Bisou’s past and on her hands as she stumbles home. About broken boys and vicious wolves. About girls lost in the woods—frightened, but not alone.

Elana K. Arnold, National Book Award finalist and author of the Printz Honor book Damsel, returns with a dark, engrossing, blood-drenched tale of the familiar threats to female power—and one girl’s journey to regain it.


RATING: 🌟🌟

There’s a great many things hard to fathom immediately after you finish a book that set themselves straight only later, in solitude, in memory. Like removing a pair of smudged-up glasses that fuzzed everything you saw. Red Hood troubled me for days, simmered in the cauldron of my mind. Many things about this novel did not sit well with me, and hung like gun smoke in the air.

I couldn’t put myself into the picture of it. And here, I think, is the reason why. Continue reading “Review: Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold”

Review: Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

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Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.

Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.

With McLemore’s signature lush prose, Dark and Deepest Red pairs the forbidding magic of a fairy tale with a modern story of passion and betrayal.


RATING: 🌟🌟🌟

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’d know that any new release by McLemore pulls me along like a child who has hold of my sleeve. I’ve read all of their books, and was racked by them. Each time I turned the last page, I wanted to hold their stories for a while in the quiet undercurrents of myself, until their edges are worn smooth as creek stones. I thought reading Deep and Darkest Red would feel just as familiar, like slipping into your favorite pair of shoes. But Continue reading “Review: Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore”

Review: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

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Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.


RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Romance is DISGUSTING…drown me in it. Continue reading “Review: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord”

Review: Ninth House (Alex Stern #1) by Leigh Bardugo

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Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.


RATING: 🌟🌟

I picked up this book with a mad feeling of hope flooding my limbs. The premise promised me an entry to what I now consider to be my favorite genre—namely, novels that initiate their readers from the outset into a secret club, hidden from everyone else, the way an oyster conceals the pearl at its heart, which is probably what every good novel should do. I couldn’t imagine anyone in a better position to deliver this story than the author I believe to be one of the finest in her field.

But what a slim hope to rest my heart upon. Continue reading “Review: Ninth House (Alex Stern #1) by Leigh Bardugo”

Review: The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

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The Larkin family isn’t just lucky—they persevere. At least that’s what Violet and her younger brother, Sam, were always told. When the Lyric sank off the coast of Maine, their great-great-great-grandmother didn’t drown like the rest of the passengers. No, Fidelia swam to shore, fell in love, and founded Lyric, Maine, the town Violet and Sam returned to every summer.

But wrecks seem to run in the family. Tall, funny, musical Violet can’t stop partying with the wrong people. And, one beautiful summer day, brilliant, sensitive Sam attempts to take his own life.

Shipped back to Lyric while Sam is in treatment, Violet is haunted by her family’s missing piece – the lost shipwreck she and Sam dreamed of discovering when they were children. Desperate to make amends, Violet embarks on a wildly ambitious mission: locate the Lyric, lain hidden in a watery grave for over a century.

She finds a fellow wreck hunter in Liv Stone, an amateur local historian whose sparkling intelligence and guarded gray eyes make Violet ache in an exhilarating new way. Whether or not they find the Lyric, the journey Violet takes-and the bridges she builds along the way-may be the start of something like survival.


RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Reading The Last Poets of the Sea felt comforting in a way that defies words. It felt like a hug, if a hug were a book. It lingered in the air, like summer thunder, long after I turned the last page, beaming calmly into all my darkest corners, and the thought of it still warms me, like a candle flame held safe against the whipping sea wind.

You don’t wanna miss this book! Continue reading “Review: The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake”