Review: The Serpent King (also a talk on small towns, religion, and ambition)

Last night I read a book called The Serpent King, by Jeff Zentner. And it gave me a lot of feelings. I think I loved it, but I’m not totally sure. So I’m going to write it out and figure out what I really think.

(I read it while listening to the Southern Gothic playlist on Spotify. Do it. You won’t be disappointed.)
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Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel BeautyI’ve read a couple of Beauty and the Beast retellings, but Cruel Beauty still manages to stand out. I’m a big Greek/Roman mythology nerd, so that aspect of the book really appealed to me. The basic premise is this: Nyx’s father bargained with the Gentle Lord, the prince of demons, so that he and his wife could have two daughters. The price was one of his daughters once she turned seventeen. Nyx’s father accepted.

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Review: Serafina and the Black Cloak, by Robert Beatty

SerafinaSerafina lives in the basement of the Biltmore with her Pa, who keeps the Biltmore’s machines up and running. Her entire existence is a secret from the “folks upstairs”, for fear they’ll be thrown out if anyone found out. It’s not so bad, though: Serafina naps all day in the sunshine, then prowls the halls at night as the Biltmore’s Chief Rat Catcher. One night, though, she witnesses a sinister man in a black cloak snatch away a young girl. Desperate to know who he is, and to prevent future disappearances, Serafina teams up with Braeden Vanderbilt (one of the aforementioned “folks upstairs”) to track down and stop the man in the black cloak.

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Bruiser, by Neal Shusterman, and Sharing the Pain

BruiserA few days ago I read a book called Bruiser, by Neal Shusterman. The main character, a boy named Brewster, has the involuntary ability to take others’ injuries and pain onto himself… including their emotional pain. (Bruiser, get it??) As if absorbing everybody’s skinned knuckles and twisted ankles wasn’t enough, Brewster also takes on their rage, their grief, their worry. But there’s a defense mechanism: Brewster only absorbs people’s pain if he cares about them. The story follows Brewster as he meets twins Brontë and Tennyson, and begins to let both of them into his heart. Life is suddenly richer and fuller, but also more difficult and more painful.

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Review: Memories of Ash, by Intisar Khanani

Memories of AshI received an early review copy from the author in return for an honest review. This has not in any way influenced my review.

I’m thrilled to be reviewing an advance copy of Memories of Ash! I love Intisar Khanani’s writing so much: I feel like she’s someone similar to me, who got fed up with the clichés and stereotypes plaguing YA. So she up and wrote the book she (we) wanted to read.

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Review: Perdido Street Station, by China Miéville

Perdido Street StationOne of the most astonishing books I’ve ever read, with so much I loved, and a few things that I hated. The worldbuilding was incredible: women with beetles for heads, where the males of the species are just mindless bugs; monsters that steal memories and whose dung allows people to relive those memories; desert bird-people whose only crime is stealing another’s choice; a gigantic, powerful spider who collects scissors… I’m in awe of Miéville. He’s my new writing hero.

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