Review: Lucien, 'Luc', is the son of two former rock stars, and due to this he has always been on the periphery of fame. Which leads to him being in the tabloids and his life being continuously misconstrued. Unfortunately, the latest piece lands him in hot water at his job and the only, or best, solution seems to be to find himself a decent, respectable boyfriend. So, with the help of his best friend Bridget, he starts a fake relationship with uptight, criminal lawyer Oliver.
The dry British humour in this novel had me in stitches. Few books actually make me burst out laughing, but there were a couple of moments in Boyfriend Material where I just could not stop myself. Honestly, the humour added a lot of needed levity to what turned out to be a very emotionally heavy novel. I was glad to laugh after being confronted with the pain that both Luc and Oliver endure due to their families.
Review: Nicholas is trying to prove to Seiji that he is an equal, a rival, a worthy opponent. Both Nicholas and Seiji are freshman vying for a spot on the Kings Row fencing team. There are only three starter positions available, and the competition is fierce. Seiji has been training his whole life and is near impossible to beat. Nicholas has very little formal training, but has natural ability and determination.
Both of these boys are trying to defeat someone else, someone they perceive to treat them as less than they are. Nicholas vies to prove his worth to Seiji, after being defeated. Seiji appears to be battling the countries #1 ranked fencer, Jesse Coste.
Review: This is the second book in a duology, the first book was Between the Sea and Stars (see my review of the first book here: BTS&S).
******Spoilers for the first book are below******
Book 2 begins where book one left off, with Lena on the run from Lord Jarl. Lena is a merrow who found a magic shell that allowed her to become human, but at great cost. Lord Jarl wants this shell, as it has the power to control the sea, and he is the former lover of the Queen of the merrows. Lena has lost one friend to the influence of Lord Jarl's money and another to murder. Now, she seeks refuge with Soren Emil, the bookshop owner (who Lena knows will protect her, as his mother was a merrow). Together, they must escape Lord Jarl and find a way to destroy the magiske skal (the shell).
Review: A beautifully illustrated retelling of the ancient Breton folktale The Daughters of Ys. Queen Malgven came upon King Gradlon dying on a floating ship. She promised to spare his life if he agreed to murder her husband, the Wizard Duke of Wened. He agrees, and, after they kill her husband, the two decide to wed and build a new city by the sea, Ys. Malgven uses her fairy magic to make the most opulent city ever seen, creating every whim Gradlon asks of her, aging herself until she eventually dies. She leaves behind two young daughters, Rozenn and Dahut. After only one week of mourning Malgven's death, Rozenn and Dahut catch their father sleeping with two women. Dahut is so furious she uses one of her mother's old magical objects to destroy a statue of her father, but accidentally injures a bird in the process. Rozenn takes the bird to the wild to heal and Dahut cloisters herself in the palace, alone and sad.
Review: A novel in verse about a Black teenager incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. One night, while heading to the skate park in his neighbourhood, Amal gets mixed up in a fight between kids from his neighbourhood and some white boys from the gentrified neighbourhood a few streets over. Amal may have thrown the first punch, but he did not throw the last, the one that landed one of the white boys in a coma and Amal on trial for assaulting him.
I had to sit for a while with my emotions after listening to this audiobook. I was so angry, so disgusted with this system that weighs the lives of Black children against the lives of white children, and finds Black children to have less worth. In this completely broken society, Black children are never seen as children, they are always older, they are always dangerous, they are always guilty.
Review: Kezi Smith went to a protest, after the police murdered a Black man, and at the rally she was wrongfully arrested (for stating her rights and the rights of a man who was being harassed by the police). Kezi did not make it out of the police station alive. Three months later, her older sister Genny, her younger sister Happi, and Kezi's two friends Ximena and Derek are taking a road trip, which Kezi had been planning for months. They are doing it to honour her memory and to post to Kezi's social justice Youtube channel (the one she was filming for the day she was arrested and killed).
This book was not at all what I was expecting, but in the best way possible. This is not just a straight social justice novel, it is an intricate look at the history of violence against the Black community.
Review: Brandt is surprised to find a man and a baby at his door. Turns out a one night fling from the year before resulted in this baby, and the baby's uncle is desperate for help after his sister abandoned her with him. Brandt agrees to take them in, deciding to do a paternity test and then, depending on the results, begin the process of custody. Shane, the uncle, decides to stay as a second care giver, since Brandt works as a smoke jumper and Shane's career as a country musician is currently on hold. Plus, Shane loves his niece, Jewel, and wants to be sure Brandt is the best place to leave her. What Brandt and Shane did not expect was to fall for each other, while caring for the little baby.
Review: A group of elderly people living in a retirement village decide to form a murder club to solve crimes. The novel begins with Joyce being recruited into the club by Elizabeth, due to Joyce's knowledge of medicine from her years of nursing. After befriending a new police officer in town, the group is excited to try their hand at solving a new murder, instead of cold cases. A local builder has been bludgeoned and his former business partner is suspect #1. The Thursday Murder Club makes sure to find a way to involve themselves in the investigation.
This was a fun and funny book. The amount of people who discount the elderly is hilarious, especially with the wealth of knowledge this club has.
Review: Michael is a mixed-race teen, coming-of-age in London and discovering his sexuality. He is sure he is gay, but he also feels there is more to himself that he is still trying to figure out. The novel starts when he is young, but follows Michael up until he is in University.
This is a novel in verse and was so realistic, poignant, emotional and powerful. The reader follows Michael as he grows up and grows into himself, into acceptance and love, loving himself in the face of adversity, racism, and homophobia. Michael continuously discovers new parts of himself as he traverses life with a single mother, a religious school, and new love.
Review: Mary has just been informed by her parents that her experimental school, at their University campus, has been officially closed and she will be moving to the public high school for sophomore year. Having learned all her social skills from a small school, professor parents and classic novels, Mary is worried about fitting in to the high school hierarchy. However, when she warns off a group of popular girls from a boy she believes to be a lothario, they welcome Mary into their friend group and begin their own "season" (classic novel experiences turned modern).
However, as Mary gets to know the cad, Alex, a bit better, she realizes she may be wrong about comparing real life boys to fictional book characters.