Books

Reviews of both new release and older books from many different genres including science fiction, fantasy, horror, young adult, and nonfiction.

Serious Moonlight Will Give You Serious Feels

I have a confession to make: I had never read any of Jenn Bennett’s books before picking up Serious Moonlight. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen two of her other contemporary YA novels, Alex, Approximately and Starry Eyes, in the book section of Target or shelved face out at Barnes and Noble, and a quick search on Goodreads confirms that an overwhelming number of people love her writing. It all comes down to the fact that...

The Haunting of Henderson Close Fills the Bill for a Spooky Ghost Story

Because I am a sucker for a plot line with a spooky ghost story, I was drawn to The Haunting of Henderson Close. I was not disappointed at all. Many years ago, a street in Edinburgh named Henderson Close was closed and then built over. Due to the unique nature of the area, it has become a tourist attraction where our protagonist, Hannah, serves as a tour guide, showing people the nooks and crannies of the old street. One...

Since We Last Spoke Is a Story of Loss, Grief, and Guilt

Everyone will experience grief at some point; it’s an inevitable part of being alive. The tricky thing about it is that grief can take many forms, and not everyone grieves the loss of a loved one the same way. Brenda Rufener’s Since We Last Spoke is all about the way two families are mourning the deaths of their eldest children and the many ways they handle the pain—both constructive and destructive. Aggi Frank and Max Granger have lived next...

In Both Book and Movie, Five Feet Apart Keeps Its Side Characters at Arm’s Length

A problem many filmmakers face when adapting a book is fan backlash. Not everything in a novel can make it onto the big screen, whether because of time constraints or production limitations or story changes. Time and time again, fans have voiced their complaints about films they say mangle their beloved books, leaving out important elements or adding in unnecessary filler. So what happens when a book and a film are written by the same people and are nearly...

If You’re Out There Gives Readers a Unique Mystery to Solve

Three years ago, I decided to take a chance on a couple of Internet friends and flew to Texas to live with them. It’s a very long, complicated story, but the gist is that things didn’t work out, and I was back in Minnesota five days later. I had hoped that maybe I could fix things with them, but my attempts to reach out were met with a clear message: they were done with me and never wanted to...

The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project Is a Fun and Witty Look Into YA Tropes

Film critic Nathan Rabin coined the term Manic Pixie Dream Girl in 2007 in a review of the film Elizabethtown. But while the term is relatively young, the type of character it describes is not. In a nutshell, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is (usually) a young woman who is vivacious, quirky, and totally “not like other girls.” She has no depth of character or goals of her own; she exists solely to bring excitement into the life of...

Grim Lovelies Is a Fantasy Quest for Humanity and Justice in Paris

Grim Lovelies is the modern fantasy story of Anouk, an animal enchanted into human form who has been given the sole purpose in life of serving her mistress. She has spent her life in Paris being jealous of human beings called Pretties, who have the freedoms denied to her—from being in romantic relationships to owning nice things. The harsh reality is that she works as a servant and has never had access to the world outside the home that...

Dark of the West Is a Slow-Burn Fantasy Inspired by World War I

We often roll our eyes at the cliché phrase “It’s not you, it’s me,” mostly because it’s used to end one-sided relationships in various forms of media. It’s shorthand for a slew of problems couples face—infidelity, lack of interest, poor communication—and it feels disingenuous because we’ve heard it so many times. But as much as I don’t like using it, I’m going to break my own personal rule today and say this: it’s not you, Dark of the West,...

Pretty in Punxsutawney Is a Fitting Tribute to John Hughes Films in Book Form

If you could do one day over, what would you do differently? Would you spend time with your loved ones and let them know how much they mean to you? Would you get revenge on those who’ve hurt you? Would you use this do-over for selfish purposes, or would you try to change things for the better? That moral dilemma is at the center of Laurie Boyle Crompton’s new book, Pretty in Punxsutawney, a love letter to the iconic John...

A Curse So Dark and Lonely Is a New Take on a Tale as Old as Time

Beauty and the Beast really is a tale as old as time. First published in 1740, it has since spawned numerous adaptations, from the wildly popular Disney film to Beastly, the dark and brooding urban retelling by Alex Flinn. Brigid Kemmerer has added to this list with A Curse So Dark and Lonely. While it introduces new elements to this already familiar tale, the underlying message of inner beauty and love conquering all is still very much present throughout. Disclaimer: I...
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