Books

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

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...

Bookishly Ever After Is the Fluffy Romance We All Need Right Now

I’m a self-proclaimed book nerd. I currently have well over 2,300 titles on my Goodreads account, and about 85 percent of those are on my “To Read” list. In high school and college, I devoted hours to immersing myself in my favorite fandoms and writing fanfiction in which I’d be romanced by my favorite characters. While I do enjoy my share of fantasy stories and the occasional sci-fi epic, my absolute favorite stories to read are, not surprisingly, ones...

My Own Devices Explores Dessa’s Relationship with Love, Heartache, Science, and Music

Dessa’s book My Own Devices has been towards the top of my list of books I have been most excited for this year. Dessa is best known as a rapper and a singer. Not only did she grow up in Minneapolis, she started her music career with Doomtree, a hip-hop collective based out of Minneapolis. My Own Devices: True Stories from the Road on Music, Science, and Senseless Love is Dessa’s memoir. Stylistically, her memoir is compiled as a group...

Marissa Meyer’s Archenemies Favors Romance and Secrets Over Action

I was unbelievably excited for Archenemies. I read the first book in the series, Renegades, back in January and fell in love. I was looking forward to another book that would continue the stories of Adrian Everhart and Nova Artino, and I hoped that all of my burning questions would finally be answered after over half a year of waiting. Archenemies, unfortunately, was a bit of a letdown. Maybe I had psyched myself up too much. Maybe, because I was reading...

City of Ghosts Is a Perfect October Ghost Story

In October, I often get in the mood for a ghost story. City of Ghosts, a spooky middle grade fiction book by Victoria Schwab, fit the bill for me. It is the story of Cassidy Blake, who has the ability to see ghosts and to visit the realm of spirits. Her parents are paranormal investigators who relocate to Edinburgh, Scotland, to film a television show about haunted cities. Her best friend happens to be a ghost named Jacob. Once they...
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