2022 LGBT+ Reads We Are Excited For

New Books, New Beginnings, New Year Blog Hop!

This month’s post is all about new beginnings for the new year! I decided that making a list of some YA LGBT+ reads I am excited for would be a great start of the new year! I am glad I did, because I found some super cool finds! And don’t forget to check the bottom of the post for links to everyone else’s blog posts and to enter the giveaway!

For fans of Vampire Diaries and dark academia, two queer teen bloodsuckers at an elite vampire-only boarding school must go up against all of Vampirdom when they uncover a frightening conspiracy on campus.

Kat Finn and her mother can barely make ends meet living among humans. Like all vampires, they must drink Hema, an expensive synthetic blood substitute, to survive, as nearly all of humanity has been infected by a virus that’s fatal to vampires. Kat isn’t looking forward to an immortal life of barely scraping by, but when she learns she’s been accepted to the Harcote School, a prestigious prep school that’s secretly vampires-only, she knows her fortune is about to change.
 
Taylor Sanger has grown up in the wealthy vampire world, but she’s tired of its backward, conservative values—especially when it comes to sexuality, since she’s an out-and-proud lesbian. She only has to suffer through a two more years of Harcote before she’s free. But when she discovers her new roommate is Kat Finn, she’s horrified. Because she and Kat used to be best friends, a long time ago, and it didn’t end well.
 
When Taylor stumbles upon the dead body of a vampire, and Kat makes a shocking discovery in the school’s archives, the two realize that there are deep secrets at Harcote—secrets that link them to the most powerful figures in Vampirdom and to the synthetic blood they all rely on.

OMG! I am so excited for this one!!! Dark academia, vampires, and F/F??? I’m sooooo excited for this one! I’m excited for all of them, but this is my jam right here! We don’t get enough F/F rep, so I am glad we are seeing more in publishing. I am going to devour (pun intended) this book when it comes out.

PREORDER HERE

The Haunting of Hill House meets Knives Out in a bid for an inheritance that will leave Helen Vaughan either rich…or dead.

Helen Vaughan doesn’t know why she and her mother left their ancestral home at Harrowstone Hall, called Harrow, or why they haven’t spoken to their extended family since. So when her grandfather dies, she’s shocked to learn that he has left everything—the house, the grounds, and the money—to her. The inheritance comes with one condition: she must stay on the grounds of Harrow for one full year, or she’ll be left with nothing.

There is more at stake than money. For as long as she can remember, Harrow has haunted Helen’s dreams—and now those dreams have become a waking nightmare. Helen knows that if she is going to survive the year, she needs to uncover the secrets of Harrow. Why is the house built like a labyrinth? What is digging the holes that appear in the woods each night?And why does the house itself seem to be making her sick?

With each twisted revelation, Helen questions what she knows about Harrow, her family, and even herself. She no longer wonders if she wants to leave…but if she can.

Another dark mystery, this one also sounds really fun and dark. I am a big fan of Knives Out and I read The Haunting of Hill House when I was very little (need to read it again because I do not remember it). So if you are a fan of horror and mystery, this one sounds eerie! Be sure to add it to your list!

PREORDER HERE

A witchy, atmospheric lesbian contemporary romance set in Salem—from the acclaimed author of Fans of the Impossible Life. Perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and Becky Albertalli.

Seventeen-year-old Eleanor is the last person in Salem to believe in witchcraft—or think that her life could be transformed by mysterious forces. After losing her best friend and first love, Chloe, Eleanor has spent the past year in a haze, vowing to stay away from anything resembling romance.

But when a handwritten guide to tarot arrives in the mail at the witchy souvenir store where Eleanor works, it seems to bring with it the message that magic is about to enter her life. Cynical Eleanor is quick to dismiss this promise, until real-life witch Pix shows up with an unusual invitation. Inspired by the magic and mystery of the tarot, Eleanor decides to open herself up to Pix and her coven of witches, and even to the possibility of a new romance.

But Eleanor’s complicated history continues to haunt her. She will have to reckon with the old ghosts that threaten to destroy everything, even her chance at new love.

Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches is a romantic coming-of-age about learning to make peace with the past in order to accept the beauty of the present.

Another F/F that sounds beautiful and magical! This one caught my eye as someone who is of the witchy vibe and loves cute coming of age stories. I think this one will be a magical ride and heartwarming.

PREORDER HERE

For as long as Sigrid could remember, she’s wanted to become a mighty, fearless valkyrie. But without a winged mare, she’s a mere stable hand, left wondering who her parents were and why she’s so different. So when the Eye shows her a vision where she’s leading a valkyrie charge on the legendary eight-legged horse Sleipnir, she grabs the possibility of this greater destiny with both hands, refusing to let go. 

Too bad that the only one who can help her get there is Mariam, an enemy valkyrie who begrudgingly agrees to lead her to Helheim but who certainly can’t be trusted―even if she does make Sigrid more than a little flustered. As they cross the nine worlds, battling night elves, riding sea serpents, and hurtling into fire to learn the truth about Sigrid’s birthright, an unexpected but powerful bond forms. 

As her feelings for Mariam deepen into something fiery and undeniable, Fate has other plans for Sigrid. What happens when the one thing you think you were meant to do might end the nine worlds?

Can’t say no to anything Norse Mythology! I am hoping with more Loki franchise, that there will be a surge of Norse Mythology-based YA like this (and that an agent will pick up my own manuscript based on Norse Mythology). If you love all things valkyrie, Norse, and F/F, be sure to grab a copy!

PREORDER HERE

In Rosiee Thor’s lavish fantasy novel with a Jazz Age spark, a politically savvy teen must weigh her desire to climb the social ladder against her heart in a world where magic buys votes.

Flare is power.

With only a drop of flare, one can light the night sky with fireworks . . . or burn a building to the ground — and seventeen-year-old Ingrid Ellis wants her fair share.

Ingrid doesn’t have a family fortune, monetary or magical, but at least she has a plan: Rise to the top on the arm of Linden Holt, heir to a hefty political legacy and the largest fortune of flare in all of Candesce. Her only obstacle is Linden’s father who refuses to acknowledge her.

So when Senator Holt announces his run for president, Ingrid uses the situation to her advantage. She strikes a deal to spy on the senator’s opposition in exchange for his approval and the status she so desperately craves. But the longer Ingrid wears two masks, the more she questions where her true allegiances lie.

Will she stand with the Holts, or will she forge her own path?

Rosiee Thor is an amazing author! I’m excited for this book as it has some ace rep, which doesn’t get much rep often. It sounds beautiful and having read some of Thor’s work, I know it is going to spark!

PREORDER HERE

A ragtag band of misfits gets swept up in Holy Land politics in Travelers Along the Way by Aminah Mae Safi, a thrilling YA remix of the classic legend of Robin Hood.

Jerusalem, 1192.
 The Third Crusade rages on. Rahma al-Hud loyally followed her elder sister Zeena into the war over the Holy Land, but now that the Faranji invaders have gotten reinforcements from Richard the Lionheart, all she wants to do is get herself and her sister home alive.

But Zeena, a soldier of honor at heart, refuses to give up the fight while Jerusalem remains in danger of falling back into the hands of the false Queen Isabella. And so, Rahma has no choice but to take on one final mission with her sister.

On their journey to Jerusalem, Rahma and Zeena come across a motley collection of fellow travelers—including a kind-hearted Mongolian warrior, an eccentric Andalusian scientist, a frustratingly handsome spy with a connection to Rahma’s childhood, and an unfortunate English chaplain abandoned behind enemy lines. The teens all find solace, purpose and camaraderie—as well as a healthy bit of mischief—in each other’s company.

But their travels soon bring them into the orbit of Queen Isabella herself, whose plans to re-seize power in Jerusalem would only guarantee further war and strife in the Holy Land for years to come. And so it falls to the merry band of misfits to use every scrap of cunning and wit (and not a small amount of thievery) to foil the usurper queen and perhaps finally restore peace to the land.

As someone who loves Robin Hood, this remix sounds amazing! Another LGBT that sounds wonderful, with a great rep, and a fun cast of characters. I still need to read A CLASH OF STEEL, which is part of this classic remix series.

PREORDER HERE

A fascinating historical novel about Hilde, a former orphan, who experiences Berlin on the cusp of World War II and discovers her own voice and sexuality and finds a family when she gets a job at a cabaret, by award-winning author Kip Wilson

After her eighteenth birthday, Hilde, a former orphan in 1930s Berlin, goes out into the world to discover her place in it. But finding a job is hard, at least until she stumbles into Café Lila, a vibrant cabaret full of expressive customers—and Rosa, the club’s waitress and performer. As the café and all who work there embrace Hilde, and she embraces them in turn, she discovers her voice and her own blossoming feelings for Rosa. 

But Berlin is in turmoil. Between the elections, protests in the streets, and the beginning seeds of unrest in Café Lila itself, Hilde will have to decide what’s best for her future . . . and what it means to love a place on the cusp of war.

I saw this book when the cover was revealed and I am so excited that it will finally be coming out! I loved the series Babylon Berlin on Netflix (not for anyone under 18) and this book reminded me of one of the main characters. I think it is going to be a heart-wrenching read, and as any reader, I can’t wait!

PREORDER HERE

In this voice-driven young adult debut by Andrea Mosqueda, Maggie Gonzalez needs a date to her sister’s quinceañera – and fast.  

Growing up in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, Maggie Gonzalez has always been a little messy, but she’s okay with that. After all, she has a great family, a goofy group of friends, a rocky romantic history, and dreams of being a music photographer. Tasked with picking an escort for her little sister’s quinceañera, Maggie has to face the truth: that her feelings about her friends—and her future—aren’t as simple as she’d once believed.

As Maggie’s search for the perfect escort continues, she’s forced to confront new (and old) feelings for three of her friends: Amanda, her best friend and first-ever crush; Matthew, her ex-boyfriend twice-over who refuses to stop flirting with her, and Dani, the new girl who has romantic baggage of her own. On top of this romantic disaster, she can’t stop thinking about the uncertainty of her own plans for the future and what that means for the people she loves.

As the weeks wind down and the boundaries between friendship and love become hazy, Maggie finds herself more and more confused with each photo. When her tried-and-true medium causes more chaos than calm, Maggie needs to figure out how to avoid certain disaster—or be brave enough to dive right into it, in Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster.

So glad to see some bisexual rep! This book sounds fun, full of love, coming of age, and a lot of real world feels. High school brings a lot of new feelings, and when feelings for friends change, it is always a hard decision. I am looking forward to this book!

PREORDER HERE

Max Remus couldn’t care less about finding his mate-unlike the rest of his fate-obsessed pack. He totally prefers hanging with his bestie, eating his dad’s steak sandwiches, and drawing in his trusty sketchbook.

But all that is about to change at the Blue Moon Festival-a summer camp where Elite Pack wolves go to find their mates. The festival is a right of passage for every teen werewolf, and this year’s festival will be one to howl home about. The alpha’s son, Jasper Apollo, is attending for the first time. 

When Max finds himself inexplicably linked with the exceptionally handsome but totally jerk-faced heir, he’s forced to grapple with the unexpected feelings clawing at his soul. 

If Max rejects his destiny, will fate’s bite be worse than its bark?

Netflix’s Young Royals meets Teen Wolf meets Twilight–the first instalment in a thrilling new series, The Alpha’s Son is a heart-wrenching Young Adult, Boys Love, wolf shifter romance; full of yearning, comedy, and adventure.

I guess we got to give werewolves some love too 😛 If you love werewolves, or wolves in general, and some M/M rep, this sounds like your type of book! I am pretty excited for this books as it sounds very heartwarming, a little different than most werewolf books, and a great read.

PREORDER HERE

Sixteen-year-old Dylan Highmark thought his winter was going to be full of boring shifts at the Dairy Queen, until he finds himself in love with a boy who’s literally too hot to handle.


Dylan has always wanted a boyfriend, but the suburbs surrounding Philadelphia do not have a lot in the way of options. Then, in walks Jordan, a completely normal (and undeniably cute) boy who also happens to run at a cool 110 degrees Fahrenheit. When the boys start spending time together, Dylan begins feeling all kinds of ways, and when he spikes a fever for two weeks and is suddenly coughing flames, he thinks he might be suffering from something more than just a crush. Jordan forces Dylan to keep his symptoms a secret. But as the pressure mounts and Dylan becomes distant with his closest friends and family, he pushes Jordan for answers. Jordan’s revelations of why he’s like this, where he came from, and who’s after him leaves Dylan realizing how much first love is truly out of this world. And if Earth supports life that breathes oxygen, then love can only keep Jordan and Dylan together for so long. 


THE TEMPERATURE OF ME AND YOU is the story of first love, and the lengths we’ll go to figure out our hearts. What starts as an electric, chance encounter at a Dairy Queen quickly evolves into a heated romance, a journey of trust and identity, and a ticking clock for survival.

I’m excited to see what surprises are in this book! It sounds a little like Superman (or maybe his son :P) in high school trying to keep his powers a secret. Is this going to be superheroes? Or will it be aliens? I don’t know, but I really want to find out!

PREORDER HERE

Sleeping Beauty meets Indiana Jones in this thrilling fairytale retelling for fans of Sorcery of Thornsand The Cruel Prince.

Fi is a bookish treasure hunter with a knack for ruins and riddles, who definitely doesn’t believe in true love.

Shane is a tough-as-dirt girl warrior from the north who likes cracking skulls, pretty girls, and doing things her own way.

Briar Rose is a prince under a sleeping curse, who’s been waiting a hundred years for the kiss that will wake him.

Cursed princes are nothing but ancient history to Fi—until she pricks her finger on a bone spindle while exploring a long-lost ruin. Now she’s stuck with the spirit of Briar Rose until she and Shane can break the century-old curse on his kingdom.

Dark magic, Witch Hunters, and bad exes all stand in her way—not to mention a mysterious witch who might wind up stealing Shane’s heart, along with whatever else she’s after. But nothing scares Fi more than the possibility of falling in love with Briar Rose.

Set in a lush world inspired by beloved fairytales, The Bone Spindle is a fast-paced young adult fantasy full of adventure, romance, found family, and snark.

Sleeping Beauty and Indiana Jones? Hello! This sounds like another great mix of legends with some bada** female characters! I am not sure who I am in book crush love with more yet, Fi or Shane… Can’t wait for this read and find out!

PREORDER HERE

Carry On meets Arthurian legend in this funny, subversive young adult fantasy about what happens after the chosen one wins the kingdom and has to get married to keep it…and to stay alive.

Arek hadn’t thought much about what would happen after he completed the prophecy that said he was destined to save the Kingdom of Ere from its evil ruler. So now that he’s finally managed to (somewhat clumsily) behead the evil king (turns out magical swords yanked from bogs don’t come pre-sharpened), he and his rag-tag group of quest companions are at a bit of a loss for what to do next. 

As a temporary safeguard, Arek’s best friend and mage, Matt, convinces him to assume the throne until the true heir can be rescued from her tower. Except that she’s dead. Now Arek is stuck as king, a role that comes with a magical catch: choose a spouse by your eighteenth birthday, or wither away into nothing.

With his eighteenth birthday only three months away, and only Matt in on the secret, Arek embarks on a desperate bid to find a spouse to save his life—starting with his quest companions. But his attempts at wooing his friends go painfully and hilariously wrong…until he discovers that love might have been in front of him all along.

As a fan of Carry On, and a lover of Arthurian Legends, this book also looks like a fun read! It sounds like a cute read and I can’t wait to see if he finds true love, and what fiascos will happen on the way.

PREORDER HERE

Check Out The Other Blog Posts For The New Year!

New Young Adult Books: What’s Coming in 2022? 

Resolutions and Reviews

New Year’s in the Slytherin Common Room: Celebrating the Most Ruthless & Ambitious Characters in YA

2022 LGBT Books We Are Excited For

New Beginnings No Matter the Season

New Year, New Reading Goals!

Bookish New Year Resolutions

Non-Resolutions (Unless You Were Born in January)

Eos: Goddess of New Beginnings

Spring Cleaning Your TBR Pile

My 2022 Reading Journal

The Best Fantasy & Sci-Fi Debut Books (YA & Adult)

YA characters who made their dreams come true

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Tea Pairings & Winter Themed Books

Christmas is coming! I am happy to be a part of the 12 Bookish Days of Christmas blog tour! Below are the links and dates of all the posts! Also, don’t forget to check out the end of the post for an amazing giveaway!

12 Days of Christmas

Day 1 – YA Christmas Reads + Sweets

Day 1 Bonus – Hosting a Secret Santa Gift Exchange with Your Bookish Friends

Day 2 – Gift Ideas for Friends who Read

Day 3 –  Found Family Trope Reads

Day 4 – White Stag Review + Decadent Vegan Hot Cocoa Recipe

Day 5 – Book Room Christmas Decor + Favorite Christmas Reads

Day 6 – 12 Favorite Fantasy Books of the Year

Day 7 – A Christmas Playlist to Read To

Day 7 Bonus – Christmas Traditions + Favorite Holiday Reads

Day 8 – Tamales and Books!

Day 9 – Winter Book Review: Wicked Lovely

Day 10 – Derby Pie and Fond Memories

Day 11 – Mistletoe Myths & Stories

Day 12 – A Soul as Cold as Frost Review + Coffee Recipe

Day 12 Bonus – Tea Pairings & Winter-Themed Books

Wrap-Up – All the Stocking Stuffers + Big Giveaway

Tea & Book Pairing

To start off, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER by Kara McDowell is the perfect YA Christmas read! If you have ever been unable to make a decision and spiral into what-if’s, you will related to Paige. She must make a difficult decision and in a crazy accident, she can see what happens in two of the decisions. This story is cute story that is great to read as a teen or even as an adult! I think it pairs well with a nice herbal tea by Traditional Medicinals. The ginger and chamomile is calming and warming and great this time of year.

BLURB: Sliding Doors meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in a sweet, smart holiday romance about a girl who decides to stop letting her anxiety stand in the way of true love.

The average person makes 35,000 decisions every single day. That’s about 34,999 too many for Paige Collins, who lives in debilitating fear of making the wrong choice. The simple act of picking an art elective is enough to send her into a spiral of what-ifs. What if she’s destined to be a famous ceramicist but wastes her talent in drama club? What if there’s a carbon monoxide leak in the ceramics studio and everyone drops dead? (Grim, but possible!)

That’s why when Paige is presented with two last-minute options for Christmas vacation, she’s paralyzed by indecision. Should she go with her best friend (and longtime crush) Fitz to his family’s romantic mountain cabin? Or should she accompany her mom to New York, a city Paige has spent her whole life dreaming about?

Just when it seems like Paige will crack from the pressure of choosing, fate steps in — in the form of a slippery grocery store floor — and Paige’s life splits into two very different parallel paths. One path leads to New York where Paige falls for the city . . . and the charms of her unexpected tour guide. The other leads to the mountains where Paige might finally get her chance with Fitz . . . until her anxiety threatens to ruin everything.

However, before Paige gets her happy ending in either destiny, she’ll have to face the truth about her struggle with anxiety — and learn that you don’t have to be “perfect” to deserve true love.

BUY HERE

A CASTLE IN THE CLOUDS by Kerstin Gier is a great German novel about an intern that is stuck working at a hotel that is failing. It takes place in the Swiss Mountains, making the read feel like a fun vacation. It is full of mystery, a fun cast, and a great cat that isn’t supposed to live in hotel. I think a great tea pairing is 500 Mile Chai by The Tao of Tea as it is warming, spicy, with the deepness of black tea. It is one of my favorites!

BLURB: Witty and charming, New York Times-bestselling author Kerstin Gier’s contemporary young adult novel A Castle in the Clouds follows a girl as she navigates secrets, romance, and danger in an aging grand hotel.

Way up in the Swiss mountains, there’s an old grand hotel steeped in tradition and faded splendor. Once a year, when the famous New Year’s Eve Ball takes place and guests from all over the world arrive, excitement returns to the vast hallways.

Sophie, who works at the hotel as an intern, is busy making sure that everything goes according to plan. But unexpected problems keep arising, and some of the guests are not who they pretend to be. Very soon, Sophie finds herself right in the middle of a perilous adventure—and at risk of losing not only her job, but also her heart.

BUY HERE

THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE by Cynthia Hand is a great books about learning from mistakes, even after the fact. Holly Chase didn’t listen to the ghosts that warned her and she dies. So she has to work for the Ghost of Christmas Past. It is a great, exciting read that you don’t want to miss! I feel it pairs well with Fox Craft Apothecary’s Krampus tea (which is actually my own company!). It is minty with chocolate, making it both warming but also chilling like ghosts. It is available on my Etsy!

Blurb:

Before I Fall meets “bah, humbug” in this contemporary YA reimagining of A Christmas Carol from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand.

On Christmas Eve five years ago, seventeen-year-old Holly Chase was visited by three Ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways. She didn’t. And then she died.

Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge—as their latest Ghost of Christmas Past. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable. But this year’s Scrooge is different. This year’s Scrooge might change everything…

The Afterlife of Holly Chase is a witty, poignant, and insightful novel about life, love, and seizing second (or third) chances, perfect for readers who loved Before I Fall or Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares.

BUY HERE

GIVEAWAY

ENTER HERE

Discover imaginative indie reads, meet dedicated bookish friends, and win this incredible $750+ bundle for book lovers!

The Facebook group YA Sci-Fi and Fantasy Addicts is here to brighten your winter by giving away a bundle of bookish merch worth more than $750. With one grand prize winner and two runners-up, there’s 3x more chances to win this season!

Grand Prize includes:

Two Runners-Up will also each receive:

  • Indie book swag like bookplates, a signed postcard, bookmarks, and stickers
  • 25 ebooks
  • 3 audiobooks

Don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity to discover, connect, and win!

Terms and Conditions:

This giveaway is open internationally. The nature of certain prizes may vary depending on the shipping location of the winner. Only members of the YA Sci-Fi and Fantasy Addicts Facebook Group will qualify to win.

Please make sure you are joining, liking, and sharing what you say you are. We do verify this information when we pick winners!

By entering this giveaway, you consent to receive emails and correspondence from the YA SFF Newsletter hosted by yasff.com. You may unsubscribe at any time.

ENTER HERE

Book Review of In the Hall with the Knife by Diana Peterfreund

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Title: In the Hall with the Knife

Author: Diana Peterfreund

Review by: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA Thriller/Mystery/Dark Academia
 

Rating: 4/5

Buy Here

Back cover:

Scarlet. Mustard. Green. Peacock. Plum. Orchid.

One storm will change their lives forever…if they survive the night.

When a killer storm strikes at Blackbrook Academy, an elite prep school nestled in the woods of Maine, a motley crew of students are left stranded at the aristocratic mansion on campus. House later, his lifeless body is discovered in a pool of blood.

Based on the classic board game CLUE, IN THE HALL WITH THE KNIFE kicks off a trilogy of young adult mysteries in which nothing is what it seems, and everyone has a motive for murder.

The Game is On. No One is Safe.

 

IN THE HALL WITH THE KNIFE by Diana Peterfreund is a YA novel based on the board game CLUE. I love the game and, of course, the movie. The cover caught my eye, and the fact that it was based on CLUE. All of the characters are colors, naturally, and it takes place during a story. Everyone is trapped inside the mansion, which is a dorm at their school, and they are stranded. I thought that was a creative twist, along with Mr. Body being the principal, and Mrs. White the dorm caretaker.

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I enjoyed the mystery and how it was in multiple POVs. All of the POVs had different secrets, which is always fun to discover. My only problem is that some of the characters didn’t feel they had much depth; however, since it was a bit of a take on the boardgame, it was still well written and intriguing. It was spooky and I feared for all the characters and what might happen.

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The book does leave on cliffhanger, and I can’t wait to read the next book! It was definitely a cliffhanger that made me want to know what happens next. I highly recommend to anyone who loves CLUE and YA books!

~Dani

 

Book Review of One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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Title: One of Us is Lying

Author: Karen M. McManus

Review by: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA Thriller/Mystery/Dark Academia
 

Rating: 5/5

Buy Here

Back cover:

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
    Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
    Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
    Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
    Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
    And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
 
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen M. McManus is a great murder mystery that left me wanting more. At first, I wasn’t sure how much I would love some of the characters, but found that I loved each and every one of them. There were a lot of secrets revealed for all the characters that kept me reading until late at night. It was a lot like BREAKFAST CLUB, but with a murder.

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The first chapter begins the whirlwind with the murder. It was a really messed up way to kill that actually freaked me out. It was clever and realize later why it was so clever. Then from then on you see what happens to each of the characters and POVs of how they are dealing with being investigated for the murder. Each of them have different motives, and each have different resources, along with their own secrets that are being dug up. It was non-stop action!

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My favorite character was Nate, but they were all amazing. Each one of them had a lot of layers, a lot character development, and I was rooting for each and every one of them. The story brings up a lot of issues high schoolers face, and I liked that there were a lot information provided for anyone that is suffering with the issues these characters faced. I can’t wait to read more from this author! If you love murder mysteries and young adult novels, I highly recommend!

~Dani

PS, I just found out while googling the cover image to put in, that it will also be a series on Peacock! Not sure how close it will be to the book, but check it out here.

 

Book Review of Down with this Ship by Katie Kingman + Q&A!

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Title: Down with this Ship

Author: Katie Kingman

Review by: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA
 

Rating: 5/5

Buy Here

Back cover:

Kole Miller is the best writer at the prestigious Crystal Lake High. But no one knows it—not her creative writing classmates, or even her academic arch nemesis Colin (aka Mr. Valedictorian). That’s because Kole’s best work is a secret fanfic based on The Space Game, her favorite show.

When Kole’s fanfic wins a major contest, her readership skyrockets. Suddenly, Kole finds herself stuck in the heated ship wars, as her new readers pair characters from the show together as romantic couples. Worse yet, Kole’s classmates discover that she’s the fanfic’s author. Now it isn’t just The Space Game everyone is arguing about: they start shipping Kole with her classmates.

With her romantic life in shambles and her anxiety through the roof, Kole must face both her inner demons and the ones at her school. She has one chance to reclaim her fanfic—and the guy that Kole now realizes she’s shipped herself with since episode one of the school year.

*I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review

This book is a great romantic comedy for anyone who loves to write stories or fan fiction. When I was in high school, I liked to write a lot and wrote fanfics, mainly Star Wars, so I really could connect to Kole. I didn’t keep it a secret, since everyone already knew I was a big nerd, but I couldn’t imagine what Kole went through when other people found out and she started getting bullied online with comments when her fanfic won.

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I loved watching Kole figure out her demons and become a stronger person. I also loved the romantic elements and love triangle. Kingman does a great job of making you connect with the MC and rooting for her the entire time. I recommend this to anyone who loves romance, coming of age stories, and people who write fanfics!

 

Check out the Q&A with Katie Kingman below!

~Dani

 

Q&A With Katie Kingman!

To start off, I have to know if you have ever written fan fiction?
I haven’t really written fan fiction before, but I remember being super proud of fanart I drew of Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer back in the 90s. I was a huge David Boreanaz fan — ha! 

If so, what fandom? If not, what fandom would you consider writing fan fiction for?
If I were to write fanfic I would rewrite the entire last season of Penny Dreadful. There were some parts I liked, but there’s no way I would let that ending slide! I’d do Ethan and Vanessa justice, and make the arc of her faith make sense. I would also give the side characters more justice — particularly the creature and Victor. 

What made you want to write this book?
I was fascinated with the idea of a creator coming face to face with their critics — and not being able to shut them down because they’re forced together; in this case, it made sense to make them in classes together. It makes the tension unavoidable, and I love to give my characters a hard time! 

Is this the first book you ever wrote, or do you have another story hidden in a drawer somewhere?
This is the second — the first is actually THE SPACE GAME that Kole is obsessed with, or a space opera that was sitting on my drive called THE SEVEN SKIES. I wasn’t ready to let go of the idea of it, and in that sense, DOWN WITH THIS SHIP is fanfic of that manuscript. The snippets in this novel are from that draft. 

Have you always wanted to write, or did you decide later on that you wanted to become an author?
I remember saying I wanted to be a writer in high school, but that was because I’d impressed my teacher with a short story I’d written for an assignment. It wasn’t until I was much older and a parent that I found myself needing an escape and writing provided that outlet. 

What is your favorite ship in your favorite fandom? What about your book?
Well, I think the one I was most engrossed in first was Buffy and Angel (sorry Spike fans!), but then it evolved to many, many others. I also loved Luke Skywalker and Callista in the extended universe novels (not so much Mara Jade). My most recent, and most heartbreaking ship, is Bellarke. Unfortunately my ships don’t often get happy endings. In my book, I love the rivals to enemies element, which means I’d have to side with Kole and Colin. But I adore Noah too! 

Do you write with music? If so, do you have any songs from your playlist you would like to share?
Definitely! I’m always writing to film scores. Bear McCreary and James Horner are my favorites, but I love Hans Zimmer as well. I can’t do lyrics when I write as I find them distracting. 

Lastly, do you have any inspiring words for writers who want to be published some day?
Make connections and do not be afraid of critique! It’s truly the best way to get better at the craft, but you have to find critique partners that you trust with your work first. Vet them and do a swap to see if you’re a good match. How do you find them? Join the Pitch Wars and Author Mentor Match communities on Twitter. There’s a ton of writers out there looking for critique partners and you may find the perfect match! Also, be careful about how much you share of your work online. Unfortunately concepts are stolen far too often, but even then your spin will be different from someone else’s, so don’t let it discourage you!

Manga Review of Haru’s Curse

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Series: Haru’s Curse

US Publisher: Kodansha

Mangaka: Yuji Kaku

Genre: Romance

Rating: 5/5

CLICK HERE TO BUY

Description:

After the funeral, Natsumi reluctantly agrees to date her sister’s fiancé Togo. But as their relationship develops with the passing seasons, Haru’s memory lingers over them like a curse.

*I received this manga from Netgalley for an honest review

I definitely love manga, especially ones with a unique story, so I couldn’t pass this up. Although I do read some romance manga, it usually isn’t of this variety, but I couldn’t put it down once I started. This was an interesting tale of the morality of love after death and dating your deceased sister’s fiancé. There is definitely a lot of arguments on this, and I’m not here to talk about that, but how this author wove in how the love blossomed, and why Natsumi feels so burdened by the love she feels was wonderfully written. There were twists and turns and a lot of things that were revealed that I didn’t see coming.

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I really enjoyed all the characters in this story. It felt believable and I wanted to root for them, but I also felt bad for Haru, the deceased sister, once more was revealed. If you like complicated love stories that will pull at your heart strings, this is definitely for you. It felt like a modern day love story with a Victorian feel in how complicated everything was. I had to sit after for a while, trying to gather what my mind and heart were feeling. It definitely all felt complicated.

~Dani

Book Review of Rogue: Untouched by Alisa Kwitney

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Title: Rogue: Untouched: A Marvel Heroines Novel

Author: Alisa Kwitney

Review by: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA Fantasy/X-Men
 

Rating: 5/5

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Back cover:

Rogue’s frightening new mutant powers keep her at arms-length from the world, but two strangers offer a chance to change her life forever, in this exhilarating Marvel Super Hero adventure

Young Rogue’s life is a mess: she’s on her own, working a terrible diner job and hiding from everyone. The powers she has started to develop are terrifying: when your first kiss almost kills the guy, it’s hard to trust anyone – even yourself. Then two people arrive in town who could change her life, and she finally gets a choice: try her luck with the big-haired billionaire who claims to be scouting for gifted interns, or trust the rakish Cajun gambler with the eerie red eyes. But these two aren’t the only ones interested in a mutant just coming into her powers. Rogue will have to master her abilities and decide her own fate – before someone else does.

*I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review

This book made me fall in love with X-Men and Rogue again. I grew up watching X-Men, Wolverine, and X-Men Evolution and got into comics when I was in college. I go in and out of reading comics due to their being so many storylines and they get confusing as to where to start from, but after reading this book, I wanted to start again. This book follows Anna Marie as she begins to develop her powers in a small town in Mississippi. She wants more than anything to get away and go to college—that is, until a dashing young gentleman comes to town. You guessed it—it was Remy aka “Gambit”. I was so excited when he cam in the book as he is one of my favorite characters. Now she is in the middle of whatever disaster he is running from. They figure out her powers together, and, of course, he has to try and kiss her since he can’t.

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I really enjoyed this book as we really got into the mind of Rogue and how she is figuring out her powers. In the comics, she seems very fickle sometimes, but this really dives in to what she is going through and how she is dealing with memories and everything. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves X-Men, Rogue, or Gambit.

~Dani

About Marvel Entertainment

Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media for over eighty years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing, publishing, games, and digital media.

For more information visit marvel.com. © 2020 MARVEL

Book Review of Glimpsed by GF Miller + Q&A & Giveaway!

 

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Title: Glimpsed

Author: GF Miller

Review by: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA Fantasy
 

Rating: 5/5

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Back cover:

Charity is a fairy godmother. She doesn’t wear a poofy dress or go around waving a wand, but she does make sure the deepest desires of the student population at Jack London High School come true. And she knows what they want even better than they do because she can glimpse their perfect futures.

 

But when Charity fulfills a glimpse that gets Vindhya crowned homecoming queen, it ends in disaster. Suddenly, every wish Charity has ever granted is called into question. Has she really been helping people? Where do these glimpses come from, anyway? What if she’s not getting the whole picture?

Making this existential crisis way worse is Noah—the adorkable and (in Charity’s opinion) diabolical ex of one of her past clients—who blames her for sabotaging his prom plans and claims her interventions are doing more harm than good. He demands that she stop granting wishes and help him get his girl back. At first, Charity has no choice but to play along. But soon, Noah becomes an unexpected ally in getting to the bottom of the glimpses. Before long, Charity dares to call him her friend…and even starts to wish he were something more. But can the fairy godmother ever get the happily ever after?

GLIMPSED follows Charity who helps others’ wishes come true, but isn’t sure how to deal with her own problems. She pushes people away, thinking that her duty is to others and feels pleasure making their wishes come true. But what if people’s wishes don’t turn out the way they wanted? And what if someone figures out her secret and begins to blackmail her?

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This story was a beautifully written rom-com that I couldn’t put down/stop listening too since I listened to the audiobook. Charity, although clearly flawed and doesn’t know how to let people in, is relatable. Being a teen is hard as there are a bunch of new experiences thrown her way, on top of her finding out she is like a fairy godmother. I enjoyed learning about her and watching her grow as she helps Noah, and Noah helps her.

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I really enjoyed the folklore surrounding Charity and how she is able to “glimpse” people’s wishes. I found it to be very original, but won’t spoil how it works. I liked the tie-ins to different fairy tales and how they were connected.

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All in all, if you like cute rom-coms with a hint of magic, this is a story for you! I can’t wait for GF Miller’s next book and hope she continues writing more! Scroll down to enter the giveaway and check out the Q&A with GF Miller!

~Dani

GIVEAWAY

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Enter for a chance to win the audiobooks GLIMPSED by G.F. Miller and ENDANGERED by Dani Hoots by clicking here! Giveaway ends 5/14/21!

GLIMPSED:

Charity is a high-school fairy godmother keeping her magic on the downlow and granting wishes like a boss. You want the bullies to give it a rest, a kiss from your secret crush, the lead in the school musical? Charity’s got your back. But when Charity sets up one Cindy with an epic prom date, she inadvertently ruins Noah’s life (or at least his prom). With Noah’s… uh… “help” Charity discovers that every wish she’s granted has had unintended consequences. To save everyone’s happily ever afters, Charity will have to figure out what’s gone wrong and reunite Noah with his true love. The problem is, she’s starting to wish she were the one Noah wanted.

ENDANGERED: 

Hidden in the Underworld all her life, Chrys, the daughter of Persephone and Hades, just wants to see what the mortal world is all about. She sneaks out with two of her best friends to have a little fun, but she doesn’t realize that perhaps her father made her stay hidden for a reason. Will she be able to make it back before Zeus and the other gods find her, or will she come face to face with her fate?

*United States & Canada only

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

Q&A With GF Miller!

Is Cinderella your favorite fairy tale, and if not, what is?

Growing up, my family had a gorgeously illustrated fairytale book. It was something from my mom’s childhood, and she was pretty precious with it. Like, we knew that she could have more kids, but she’d never get another copy of that book. Every chance I got, I’d look through it, though. Every page was a full-color work of art. It had the standard stories, like “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty,” but also a couple of more off-beat ones. Like “Toads and Diamonds.” I think my favorite one was “Snow White and Rose Red.” It has nothing to do with the other Snow White… It’s about two sisters—and shockingly they’re both good people—who live with their mom (who’s ALSO not evil, if you can believe it) in a house in the woods. They walk in the woods a lot because I guess there wasn’t much to do for fun back then. And in the woods, they repeatedly help this grouchy dwarf out of sticky situations. But then something happens with a bear mauling the dwarf, but the sisters aren’t afraid of it (stupid or fearless? You be the judge.). Actually, they’re worried that the bear will be cold, so they take it home to live with them for the winter. And their mom is just cool with it. Then in the spring, the bear turns into a prince and—BAM, he has a brother!—and everybody gets married! The end! It’s so random and, I don’t know, I just like it.

 

What made you pick Star Trek for Noah to obsess over? Are you a Trekkie?

I can’t claim to be a hardcore Trekkie like Noah and his family are. But I do enjoy the Star Trek universe, and especially its fandom. Some of my favorite people have been Trekkies. I chose it because a lot of fandom—like Marvel and Star Wars—has become very mainstream. No amount of geeking out about it would really feel that dorky. It was important for Noah to be super dorky. So I wanted something a little more niche, but well-known enough that readers wouldn’t be completely lost.

What made you want to write this book?

Glimpsed was the book I wrote as a mental vacation after writing something very deep and heavy. I was exhausted from pouring myself into this difficult topic. So I said, “Okay, now I’m just going to make myself laugh.” I had so much fun writing Glimpsed. And I loved exploring—in a really whimsical way—the question of “What does it mean to truly help others? How do we engage with people who are struggling without imposing our own will on them or diminishing their dignity?”

 

Is this the first book you ever wrote, or do you have another story hidden in a drawer somewhere?

Glimpsed was my third completed novel-length manuscript. Every so often, I pull those first two out of the trunk and give them a cuddle. But I think if they are ever to be published, I’ll need a whole new pen name, because they aren’t “charming, sparkly rom-coms perfect for fans of Jenn Bennett.” So, my friends, be on the lookout for a searing interrogation of the American Dream by F. G. Mirell and a heart-pounding thriller by Georgina F. Moonmore.

 

Have you always wanted to write, or did you decide later on that you wanted to become an author?

Even though I was a voracious reader growing up, and even though I’ve been writing for fun and as a job for…ever… for some reason it never occurred to me that “author” could be a career path—until I started hanging out with authors and suddenly realized that regular people write books and sell them. As soon as that clicked, getting traditionally published became my goal.

 

What made you want to tell the fairy godmother’s POV instead of a Cindy’s?

It honestly never even occurred to me that I might want to tell anyone else’s story. Charity, the teen fairy godmother, came to me with her problems, so I started writing. It was fun because she has a lot going on, but in the first draft of the book, I wasn’t even sure if I liked Charity. She is very flawed. She can be so pushy and insensitive sometimes. Thankfully my editor at Simon & Schuster, Jessica Smith, did an incredible job of helping me discover Charity’s softer side and drawing that out. And now I can’t help but love her despite all her questionable decisions. I hope readers feel the same!

 

Do you write with music? If so, do you have any songs from your playlist you would like to share?

I get easily distracted by music, so I usually write in silence. But in-between writing sessions, I had some inspiration songs:

ME TOO by Meghan Trainor – This pretty much feels like it should be Charity’s anthem. The unapologetic self-confidence of the lyrics, the energetic vibe, the feeling that “everything is going my way”…that is totally Charity. She’s at the top of her game as a fairy godmother, and she knows it.

WHITE AND NERDY by Weird Al Yankovic (parody of RIDIN’ by Chamillionaire ft. Krayzie Bone) – Noah deserves an anthem too. And nothing could be more fitting than this comic twist on gangster rap. Noah is a total nerd, and he just owns it.

PROBLEM by Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea – Charity has so many issues to deal with—both her own and other people’s—throughout GLIMPSED. She is constantly hustling and putting out fires on the fly. The last thing this fairy godmother needs is an anti-wish zealot like Noah dogging her every move. If she could just get him off her case, she’d be singing, “I got 99 problems, but you won’t be one.” But, also, if she’s being honest, there’s a little part of her that’s starting to feel that first part of the song too: “Even though I hate ya, I wanna love ya.”

 

Lastly, do you have an inspiring words for writers who want to be published some day?

Yes! Here they are:

Don’t forget to have fun. Sometimes we take ourselves so seriously or get so caught up in the hard parts of the process that we lose the fun and joy of sitting down and creating a thing. If writing’s not joyful, why not become an electrician? There are literally a thousand other things you could do that would pay better. So if you’re going to be a writer, enjoy it. 

Book Review of Into the Heartless Wood by Joanna Ruth Meyer

 

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Title: Into the Heartless Wood

Author: Joanna Ruth Meyer

Review by: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA Fantasy
 

Rating: 5/5

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Back cover:

Epic, heartbreaking, and darkly atmospheric, Into the Heartless Wood is the story of impossible love between a monstrous tree siren and a boy who lives at the edge of her wood.

The forest is a dangerous place, where siren song lures men and women to their deaths. For centuries, a witch has harvested souls to feed the heartless tree, using its power to grow her domain.

When Owen Merrick is lured into the witch’s wood, one of her tree-siren daughters, Seren, saves his life instead of ending it. Every night, he climbs over the garden wall to see her, and every night her longing to become human deepens. But a shift in the stars foretells a dangerous curse, and Seren’s quest to become human will lead them into an ancient war raging between the witch and the king who is trying to stop her.

*I received this book from Netgalley for my honest review*

Joanna Ruth Meyer does it again! She magically crafts a story with enchanting prose, wonderful characters, and a beautiful plot. I fell in love with Owen and how he wanted to help his family, and yet is drawn to Seren, a tree siren who has saved his life. He knows better than to trust her, but he can’t help but wonder what she is truly about.

The prose for Seren is almost like poetry as she grows and learns more about the humans. She constantly is struggling on wanting to help Owen, but also her loyalty to her mother and sisters. Will she break tradition and help her new human friend, or will she succumb to fate?

The first book I read by Meyer was Echo North and I immediately fell in love with her writing style. This books follows the same style of weaving different folklore and fairytales, and yet being something completely different. I recommend it to anyone who loves YA fantasy!

~Dani

 

Book Review of Aspiring and Becoming by Astrid V.J.

 

Title: Aspiring (Book 1)

Author: Astrid VJ

Review by: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA Fantasy
 

Rating: 5/5

Buy Here

 

Title: Becoming (Book 2)

Author: Astrid VJ

Review by: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA Fantasy
 

Rating: 5/5

Buy Here

Back cover:

A coven of witches plots to overthrow a kingdom. One brave woman stands in their way.

At her mother’s death-bed, Elisabeth learns her mother’s illness is no accident and that her own life is in danger. Evil witches are plotting to take over the kingdom of Vendale. All alone, naive, and untrained, Elisabeth’s determination is all she has to confront her mother’s murderers as she discovers love at the same time. While Richard’s behaviour sends distracting mixed messages, Elisabeth finds herself stuck in limbo: she is treated like a child but is forced to make adult decisions. Meanwhile, the witches’ plot spins a fateful web around her.

Can Elisabeth succeed in the face of insurmountable odds?

*I am review book 1 and 2 together

Astrid did great in weaving the feeling of classic fairytales into her story for the modern reader. Elizabeth is a fun character who is relatable for anyone who has fallen in love, but then has to deal with her new powers and is given more responsibility than she ever thought possible. It definitely weaves in a few different class fairy tales from different areas of Europe, and I really liked that about it. Astrid writes very well and has a beautiful pose, although if you are looking for an action-packed story, this one might not be for you. This one is more lyrical and beautiful, versus other books in the genre.

The second book is great as it follows more of of the siblings’ tale. I really liked Edvard and his devotion to his sister, but felt we didn’t get enough of him in the last half of the book. Although the evil step-mother troupe is used a lot, it’s definitely a classic and is relatable to some people *cough-cough*. She was quite evil, but I found her believable as I have seen some pretty messed up families in my life because of step-parents. 

All in all, if you are looking for a beautiful prose that is based on fairy tales, I recommend these two books!

~Dani