Review: A haunting look at a young man's descent into madness and the friend trying to hold all the pieces of him together.
August runs in the misfit crowd at school, and hides a small pyro habit, while also secretly being best friends with a popular jock, Jack. They have known each other since childhood and have grown an unhealthy attachment towards each other. They rely on each other heavily and, due to parental neglect on both sides, become each others stability, comfort and the only really reliable person in each others lives.
This book is written in mixed media, from letters, to CD cases, reports, photos, etc. This adds to the fragmented nature of the narrative, helping to spin the story into darkness.
Review: Yumeko, a half-human, half-kitsune orphan, has been raised in isolation at the Silent Winds Temple since she was left as a baby on the doorstep. The monks are her only family, and they have taught her to hide her yokai (demon) nature. However, she comes to rely greatly on her skills of deception and illusion when her home is destroyed and her adoptive family slaughtered. With the help of Tatsumi, a shadow clan assassin (passing for a Samurai), she must find her way to another temple with a hidden secret (a scroll that many are desperate to get their hands on). She is hiding many secrets from her companion Tatsumi, but he is hiding his owen secrets from her as well.
This book involves lots of folklore and a found family/gang of unlikely friends/heroes.
Rating: Hazel and Josh met in college then lost touch. Years later, through Josh's sister (Hazel's now best friend) they meet again. Hazel intends to be Josh's best friend, but Josh is going through a rough breakup. Cue the double dates from hell, laughter, and realizing that sometimes the perfect person for you is your complete opposite.
I adored Hazel. Unapologetic, spunky, speaker of truth. She has no filter, which rubs a lot of people the wrong way, especially boyfriends who want her to calm down, be quiet, and look pretty. She knows she will not settle for anyone who does not understand and love her for who she is. She is funny, loves animals, and wrangles kids in her Grade 3 class. When she decides to be your friend, she becomes obsessed and wraps around your heart. But under all that, when it comes to those she truly loves, she is fragile.
Review: Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the President of the United States of America, has a rivalry with Henry, Prince of England. One unfortunate incident leads to a fake friendship, which leads to a real friendship, and on to something more.
This book was fantastic! The chemistry between Alex and Henry sparks off the page and their relationship so believable and wonderful. I am a huge fan of hate-to-love relationships, feeling that hate is often just a cover for deep emotions someone is trying desperately to hide.
I really like that this book hits hard with how realistic it is, and how much it highlights how the United States might have been had the last Presidential election had a different outcome.
Review: A year after Rem witnessed a horrendous crime by Franklin Kettle, he comes in contact with him again. This time, through an experimental procedure at Rem's mother's company. This procedure is meant to reverse Franklin's sociopath/murderous impulses. New killings are occurring and Rem finds himself smack in the middle of the mystery, sure that Franklin has changed, but fearful of the truth.
This story was very interesting, a new take on technology and the roll it plays in society and on youth. How easily people with power can misuse their trust and funds to try to gain more. It is also about loss and how people deal with death and grief. Some people cope by surrounding themselves with friends, some seclude themselves, and some throw themselves into work to try to find ways their work can heal their sadness.
Review: This graphic novel acts as a prequel to The Wicked & The Divine series, with exception to the Christmas Special (which features missing scenes from around the time of the first graphic novel in the series). The first four stories in this graphic novel shed light on past Pantheons, specifically ones that involved a reincarnated Lucifer (as the one God who seems to drive change and doubt about the Pantheon). Each episode is illustrated by a different artist, with each chosen illustrator perfectly reflecting the tone of that specific time period.
It begins with the downfall of Rome, followed by the plague, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein weekend and an Agatha Christie-esque And Then There Were None plot. All are well written and revealed quite a lot about the history and how Ananke went about her tasks. I enjoyed that Lucifer plays a key role in each iteration, similar to the role Lucifer plays in the bible. Lucifer questions Ananke, the Pantheon, and the God's own mortality.
Review: Freddy Riley is a normal teenager, going through high school with her close group of friends. Her only issue seems to be her girlfriend, Laura Dean, who keeps breaking up with her around major holidays. Freddy's friends are sick of Laura and how she treats Freddy, but they are more frustrated that Freddy finds herself continuously falling into this toxic relationship the moment Laura makes a move.
This book is poignantly beautiful. It touches on the topics of toxic love and friendship. Specifically, how a toxic relationship affects an individual, but also all those within that individuals life. Friendship plays a key role, as we see Freddy slowly fall away from the strength of support of her close group of friends, and becomes isolated and an object in Laura's world.
Review: This novel takes place in the span of one day, a day when destinies change. Adam Thorn is gay, only he is the son of Big Brian Thorn, a preacher for The House Upon the Rock (an evangelical church). His families stance on the LGBTQ community is very clear, therefore Adam hides who he is, his love, his personality. Luckily, he has his best friend, Angela, and his boyfriend, Linus, to keep him from breaking down under the weight of what Adam calls 'The Yoke'. 'The Yoke' is the stipulations, rules, laws his parent's place on him, in order for him to deserve their love. This day is meant to end with a goodbye party for Adam's ex, Enzo. He is unsure whether he still loves Enzo, so his seeing Enzo at the end of this very life changing day holds a lot of possibility and meaning.
This novel had a very compelling premise, with lots of twists and emotions. Sometimes the reader was as gutted as Adam, and sometimes as angry.
Review: Ari works at his parent's bakery, but is an aspiring musician. He hopes to move to the city with his friends/bandmates in pursuit of fame. So, he decides to hire a replacement, who he will train over the summer. Hector's Nana just passed away, he is in town preparing her home for sale. He loves cooking, in fact he is a culinary student, but to distract himself from his loss he takes a job at Kyrkos (Ari's family bakery).
I loved this cute romance story, from the breaks throughout that highlight food and the connection it forges between people, to the subtle, soft tale of love between Ari and Hector. Both are at a loss, searching for something. Ari is searching for who he wants to be, what dreams he wants to pursue, and Hector is searching for his roots after the loss of his Nana and a bad breakup.
Review: This anthology is full of short stories based on classic novels/stories that impacted the authors. Authors, such as Neil Gaiman, boiled their favourite tales down to their basic components and then rebuilt them anew. The book is worth having just for Gaiman's 'The Sleeper and the Spindle', my favourite of the whole bunch. In fact, I had recently listened to the audiobook, as this story has been turned into a graphic novel. I was immediately immersed in the magic of this Sleeping Beauty retelling. Gaiman masterfully refashioned the fairytale into a work of female empowerment, ambition, tradition, and breaking the mould of the princess/queen/witch/hag stereotype.
A few of the stories were ho-hum and left me rather disappointed. However, the majority captured the essence of their borrowed work and refreshed the story to keep the reader intrigued.