Book Review: Love at First Fight


Mary Jayne Baker

Rating: 2 out of 5.

published: 5th August 2021
spoilers? yes

Goodreads

Love cynic Bridie Morgan is staging a last hurrah to the ‘dating’ stage of her life: she’s going on twenty dates in twenty days. If this ‘love’ thing really is a numbers game, then surely she’ll find The One. And if not? Well, at least the memory of her date with the Spice Girls’ biggest fan will be enough to put her off for life. She’ll never again wonder what she was missing.

But being love’s biggest sceptic is a challenge in the face of best friend Hattie’s upcoming nuptials. And as maid of honour, she really has to give it a chance.

Then Bridie’s lifelong nemesis Ben Kemp returns home to join the wedding party. Ben, who left her waiting outside their leavers’ prom in a brand-new dress, alone. Ben, who triggered the sorry state of affairs that has been Bridie’s love life ever since. Ben, the best man to her maid of honour.

As old enemies reunite, sparks fly – in ways Bridie could never have seen coming…

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Wrap-up: July 2021

I don’t have that much to say for this opening. It was July. It was a month. I read a bit, I watched a fair bit more than I usually do. Sent off some job applications (to no response yet). Yeah. Much of a muchness.

The key:
🐝 = favourite
🕊️ = reread/rewatch/relisten
☀️ = 4 or 5 stars, highly recommend
☁️ = 3 or 4 stars, enjoyed/had fun reading
🌧️ = 2 or 3 stars, was alright/not for me but someone else might enjoy
🌩️ = 1 or 2 stars, bored out of my mind/it was awful

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Book Review: You’ve Reached Sam


Dustin Thao

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

published: 2nd November 2021
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes.

Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail.

And Sam picks up the phone.

In a miraculous turn of events, Julie’s been given a second chance at goodbye. The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam’s voice makes her fall for him all over again, and with each call it becomes harder to let him go. However, keeping her otherworldly calls with Sam a secret isn’t easy, especially when Julie witnesses the suffering Sam’s family is going through. Unable to stand by the sidelines and watch their shared loved ones in pain, Julie is torn between spilling the truth about her calls with Sam and risking their connection and losing him forever.

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Book Review: After You Died


Dea Poirier

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

published: 27th July 2021
spoilers? probably

Goodreads

Bisexual teen, Asher remembers nothing from the night in 1968 that the police found him covered in his girlfriend’s blood. He knows he’d never hurt anyone, least of all her. But the only person who believes him is his twin sister. He’s sentenced to five years at the Dozier Reform School. And like Asher’s memory, Dozier hides violent secrets of its own.

Juvenile boys serving time for everything from truancy to murder are hidden away in the sinister School for Boys. Those who manage to escape its bounds with broken bones and scars are the lucky ones. Asher’s afraid he may end up like many of the other students buried beneath unmarked graves. Worse, his fellow inmates may become his next victims.

In hopes of recovering the events from the night of the murder, Asher visits the school’s psychiatrist. But when the memories return, he finds many aren’t his own. Thoughts, feelings, and visions from another life, and another time, slip into his mind. And each new memory brings consequences. First days disappear, then weeks. As the weeks slip away, students follow. He starts seeing his murdered girlfriend Olivia in the woods around the school. One morning, after following her ghost into the forest the night before, he wakes up outside covered in blood with no memory, and fears he’s killed someone else.

On top of that, he learns that his sister―who had feared she was being stalked by a boy from their school―has disappeared. Could Asher himself somehow be responsible?

As Asher’s possible body count grows, he knows the answers he needs are trapped within his own mind, and in ghosts from the past. He needs to find out who he is and prove the murders aren’t connected to him or risk losing his sanity and freedom forever.

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Book Review: The Sisters of Reckoning


Charlotte Nicole Davis

Rating: 4 out of 5.

published: 10th August 2021
spoilers? vague ones

Goodreads

The Sisters of Reckoning is the blockbuster sequel to Charlotte Nicole Davis’s alternate Old West-set commercial fantasy adventure.

The Good Luck Girls are free. Aster’s sister and friends have new lives across the border in Ferron, while Aster remains in Arketta, helping more girls escape. But news of a new welcome house opening fills Aster with a need to do more than just help individual girls. And an unexpected reunion gives her an idea of how to do it. From there, grows a wildly ambitious plan to free all dustbloods, who live as prisoners to Arketta’s landmasters and debt slavery.

When Clementine and the others return from Ferron, they become the heart of a vibrant group of fearless fighters, working to unite the various underclasses and convince them to join in the fight. Along the way, friendships will be forged, lives will be lost, and love will take root even in the harshest of circumstances, between the most unexpected of lovers.

But will Arketta’s dustbloods finally come into power and freedom, or will the resistance just open them up to a new sort of danger?

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Book Review: A Strange and Brilliant Light


Eli Lee

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 22nd July 2021
spoilers? nope

Goodreads

A riveting, thought-provoking speculative literary novel exploring the impact of the AI revolution through the eyes of three very different young women.

Lal, Janetta and Rose are living in a time of flux. Technological advance has brought huge financial rewards to those with power, but large swathes of the population are losing their jobs to artificial intelligence, or auts, as they’re called. Unemployment is high, discontent is rife and rumours are swirling. Many feel robbed – not just of their livelihoods, but of their hopes for the future.

Lal is languishing in her role at a coffee shop and feeling overshadowed by her quietly brilliant sister, Janetta, whose Ph.D. is focused on making auts empathetic. Even Rose, Lal’s best friend, has found a sense of purpose in charismatic up-and-coming politician Alek.

When vigilantes break in to the coffee shop and destroy their new coffee-making aut, it sets in motion a chain of events that will pull the three young women in very different directions.

Change is coming – change that will launch humankind into a new era. If Rose, Lal and Janetta can find a way to combine their burgeoning talents, they might just end up setting the course of history.

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Book Review: Role Model


Rachel Reid

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

published: 10th August 2021
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Troy Barrett has been freshly traded to Ottawa after calling out Dallas Kent during a team practice. He wants to be a better person, and the weird, scrappy energy of the struggling Ottawa team seems like the place to…well. It seems like the only place that will have Troy right now.

Fortunately the Ottawa team includes Ilya Rozanov and Wyatt Hayes, and also includes an adorable social media manager, Harris Drover. Harris is the opposite of Troy in every way: friendly, cheerful, chatty, and goofy with a booming voice, a startlingly loud laugh, and Pride pins all over his denim jacket. Definitely not the sort of person Troy would normally associate with, and yet…

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Book Review: Velvet Was the Night


Silvia Moreno Garcia

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

published: 17th August 2021
spoilers? no

Goodreads

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a riveting noir about a daydreaming secretary, a lonesome enforcer, and the mystery of a missing woman that brings them together.

1970s, Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger.

Her next-door neighbor, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman—and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents.

Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock ’n’ roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he comes to observe Maite from a distance—and grows more and more obsessed with this woman who shares his love of music and the unspoken loneliness of his heart.

Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora’s disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies all aiming to protect Leonora’s secrets—at gunpoint.

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Book Review: The Darkness Outside Us


Eliot Schrefer

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

published: 1st June 2021
spoilers? yes

Goodreads

Two boys, alone in space.

After the first settler on Titan trips her distress signal, neither remaining country on Earth can afford to scramble a rescue of its own, and so two sworn enemies are installed in the same spaceship.

Ambrose wakes up on the Coordinated Endeavor, with no memory of a launch. There’s more that doesn’t add up: Evidence indicates strangers have been on board, the ship’s operating system is voiced by his mother, and his handsome, brooding shipmate has barricaded himself away. But nothing will stop Ambrose from making his mission succeed—not when he’s rescuing his own sister.

In order to survive the ship’s secrets, Ambrose and Kodiak will need to work together and learn to trust one another… especially once they discover what they are truly up against. Love might be the only way to survive.

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Book Review: A War of Swallowed Stars


Sangu Mandanna

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

published: 29th June 2021
spoilers? no

Goodreads

A prince without his kingdom.

A kingdom without its princess.

The destruction of the stars themselves.

War is destroying the galaxy. Esmae has vanished without a trace. A terrifying, ravenous beast is devouring the stars one by one. Titania is offered a gift that may well be a curse. Alexi, the exiled prince, is asked to pay a heavy price for his mistakes. And far, far away, on a dark, mysterious planet, a sleeping god stirs awake.

War or family.

Pride or peace.

As the end of the world draws ever closer, Esmae and Alexi must decide how far they’ll go to win—and who they’ll sacrifice along the way.

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