Thursday, September 21

10 Attention-Catching Opening Lines

Hello lovelies! Today - as you've undoubtedly guessed from the title - I'm going to share 10 opening lines with you that instantly caught my attention. I've done a post like this before (you can find it here) which wasn't only fun to make, but also was well-received by y'all, so I'm really excited to share these following first lines with you! 

Tuesday, September 19

Ten Classic Books I *WILL* Tackle This Fall

When the year started I had this huge aspiration - to read at least one classic after every 5th non-classic novel. Based on how many novels I usually read/year, I expected to read around 30 classics in 2017, but oh WELL, THAT'S NOT REALLY WORKING OUT. There are just so many exciting new releases and the blogs I follow mostly post about modern titles, which results in me being pumped for those.

BUT this fall, to catch up a tad bit, I want to read at least 10 classic novels, and, as today's Top Ten Tuesday (weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) post is dedicated to our fall TBRs, I figured, this is the perfect time to share these ten books with you.

Thursday, September 14

Badassery, Schoolwork and Chinese Legends in The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee

"This is so wrong," he said, his words slightly muffled as I bit him in the mouth. "It's like King Arthur having feelings for Excalibur."

The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo's every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.

Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.

Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…

Tuesday, September 12

Would I Still Enjoy These Books I Loved Three Years Ago? Let's See!

Original photo by Scott Webb

Hello everyone!! After a bit of thinking, I decided to put a small twist on today's Top Ten Tuesday (weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) topic. First, as the topics suggests I will go back and write down the first ten books I reviewed on the blog that I rated 4 or 5 stars. I will tell you how I felt about these books, even share quotes from my reviews.

Step 2 - and this is the part that has me excited! - will be me telling y'all if I still feel the same way about these books or no. I mean, nostalgia is nice and all, but let's be honest, it is very likely that some of the books I gushed over around three years ago will make me cringe real hard today.

Let's get started. 

Sunday, September 10

YA Series With Sucky Last Books

Photo by Aziz Acharki

Hello loves! Today I'm here with a bit of a negative post about series finals that left a lot to be desired. No, like, A LOT. These series have one thing in common besides the let down of the last book - they were among my favorites once upon a time, heck, I love two of these so much that, to this day, they are some of my favorites despite the disappointing finals. SO THAT SHOULD GIVE YOU AN IDEA ABOUT JUST HOW DISAPPOINTED I WAS BY THESE LESS THAN PERFECT FINALS. Gah, there's nothing worse in a bookworms life then being let down by our favorite series/authors. *curls up and cries*

I definitely think this is something we all go through once in a while, which is why I decided to create this post, rant away and then you can do the same in the comments and we can cry together. 

Thursday, September 7

Mini Review To Three Incredible Diverse Novels

Original picture by Brenda Godinez

I feel like I've been an absolutely sucky blogger lately, presenting tons of mini reviews posts and such, BUT I CAN EXPLAIN. In the past two months I've read tons and tons of amazing books and I want to talk about ALL of them, especially the more underrated ones like the following three novels, so it's been hard to concentrate on full reviews. 

I also know damn well I'll never have the time to write full reviews to all the books I want y'all to hear about, so mini reviews it is for today's three beauties. I brought you these three books in particular, because a) they were fantastic (duh), b) I only ever heard about one of these outside of twitter, so the rest might be new for those who aren't really active there and c) THEY ARE SO UNDERRATED AND THEY DESERVE ALL THE LOVE.

Tuesday, September 5

Books That Were HARD To Get Through

Hello darlings! Today the creators of Top Ten Tuesday (a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) presented a negative topic to us, and because I love to rant, I, obviously, loved making this list. I was actually surprised to see how easily I found ten books that were hard to get through, yet I finished them. Some of the books on this list showcase perfectly why I should DNF more. 

Saturday, September 2

OMG This Song Book Tag - Where Music + Books Equal PERFECTION

Photo by Samuel Zeller

Hello everyone! I don't talk tons about music on The Regal Critiques, but still, you all probably know that music and books are two of my most favorite things in the world. Thus, when I saw the OMG This Song Book Tag for the first time, I knew I had to do it. I mean, it mixes music and books together??? What's not to like??

In the following, you'll find nine different topics and for each there are two "questions" - one you have to answer with a song, the other with a book. DOES THAT NOT SCREAM FUN? (Hint: the making of this tag really was awesome.)

Credits for creating this cool tag go to Katesbookdate!

Friday, September 1

New Releases - September 2017

Hello everyone! It's the first day of September which means that my next semester is starting in 10 days. *curls up in a ball* I am devastated, I tell you. This summer flew by incredibly fast and I can't believe it's over! Boy, how I hate the winter. *shivers*

THANKFULLY, September promises to be an excellent month book-wise, there are tons of new releases that we are both super-excited for, 
so that makes up for uni starting for me... at least somewhat, and for Ruzi, who's dying with uni stuff already. 

Tuesday, August 29

Hella Underrated Historical Novels

Hello everyone! Today it's time for yet another Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) topic - this time we all could pick a genre and recommend 10 underrated, hidden gem novels. In the past few years, I've been getting more and more into Historical Fiction - both the Adult and YA sections of it - and so I decided to list 10 of my favorite HF novels that deserve more buzz. 

To make the list more interesting, I'll go from most to least well-known (according to the #of Goodreads ratings), so you'll probably know less and less novels as the post progresses - and doesn't everyone love to find new recommendations!? I sure do, even if my TBR is close to tackling me to the ground, because these books as impatient as fuck.

I'll include the cover, goodreads link and blurb of each book mentioned, so expect to be convinced to read them all. ;)

Sunday, August 27

3 Reasons Why The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli Worked for Me

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back. 

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

Thursday, August 24

Magical & Adventurous Sisters in Odd & True by Cat Winters

"In the world of grown-ups, you see, practical thinking is king; dreamers are fools and madmen. How ridiculous that is. I've decided I'd rather be foolish than ordinary."

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

Tuesday, August 22

Characters I'd NOT Like To Hang Out With At School

Hello you beautiful people! Today's Top Ten Tuesday (weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) - and I'm dreading writing this yikes - is a school freebie, because school is starting very soon. *cries all the tears* I am HEARTBROKEN, you all. 

BUT, I do want to make this list as fun as possible to cheer everyone on who a) has to go back to school/uni soon, b) already had to go back to school, in which case, I'm sorry, that sucks, c) those who work all year around, because y'all rock and it's ALWAYS about school, which you might not be able to relate to all that much anymore.

So, obviously, I'm going to make a list of characters I would not want to be friends, because, hey, who doesn't love to see their faves being dragged!? I'm kidding, there'll be no dragging, only some #real reasons why these characters would make horrible friends. Let's get right onto them.

Saturday, August 19

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu Brings ALL the Girl Power

Moxie Girls Fight Back!

It's time to fight like a girl!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her high school teachers who think the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv's mum was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the '90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother's past and creates Moxie, a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She's just blowing off steam, but other girls respond and spread the Moxie message. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realises that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Thursday, August 17

Suspenseful, Riveting and Harrowing - After the Fire by Will Hill

The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade.

Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming.

Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out.

What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?

Tuesday, August 15

Chilling Novels for Those Who Like 'Em Dark

Hello everyone! I'm so so SO glad Top Ten Tuesday is back, because, as a lover of lists, I've been missing it so much. I broke my brain trying to think of a cool topic for today, something that maybe not a lot of people would be doing, and finally decided next to dark books with truly disturbed characters that will surely make you sit tight with nerves until - or even after - you finish the book. 

Now, these aren't necessary horror novels, many are mysteries, but they all contain some dark shit, be that the characters or certain scenarios. I'll tell you in a few words why each is worth reading and even share some quotes to make you all really feel the dark, chilling atmosphere of these books. 

Saturday, August 12

The Regal Critiques Review Final Girls by Riley Sager

Photo by Allef Vinicius

"But somehow we screamed louder, ran faster, fought harder. We survived."

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout's knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media's attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy's doorstep. Blowing through Quincy's life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa's death come to light, Quincy's life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam's truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Thursday, August 10

Magical Realism, Small Town Vibes and Complex Characters in The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murpy

“But really, aren't there bits of magic everywhere we look? We've just stopped seeing it that way.” 

What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?

Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home--and the place where Juliet grew up.

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together--scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream--vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible--and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.

As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone's secrets for long before it starts giving them up.

Thursday, August 3

A Grand Tour, Flirting With Trouble and Fun awaits you in The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

“We are not broken things, neither of us. We are cracked pottery mended with lacquer and flakes of gold, whole as we are, complete unto each other. Complete and worthy and so very loved.” 

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Tuesday, August 1

August New Releases To Die For

Photo by Prasanna Kumar

Hello everyone! As it's the first day of August we're here with all the upcoming new releases of the month that Ruzi and I are excited about, and let me tell you, there are quite a lot! I was actually very surprised to see just how many books I'm looking forward to this month, at least one of which is one of my most awaited releases of the whole year (yeah, it is Wonder Woman: Warbringer, you guessed it right). So, on one hand, I'm really sad it's already August, because that signals the end of summer (and I love summer), but I'm also really glad, because FINALLY, I CAN GET ALL THESE BOOKS. Let's take a look at what "all these books" are, shall we? 

To get to the books' GR page, just click on their covers. 

Monday, July 31

Claire Barker - Knitbone Pepper Ghost Dog and a Horse Called Moon (Knitbone Pepper #3)

"You always think books are very helpful."

One starry night, Knitbone and his friends find a ghost horse hiding in the garden. Her name is Moon, and she is searching for her long-lost owner.

But Moon has a spooky secret, which is sure to spell trouble.

Saturday, July 29

Rodman Philbrick - Freak the Mighty

“...remembering is a great invention of the mind, and if you try hard enough you can remember anything, whether it really happened or not.”

Max is used to being called stupid.

And he is used to everyone being scared of him. On account of his size and looking like his dad.

Kevin is used to being called dwarf.

On account of his size and being some cripple kid.

But greatness comes in all shapes and sizes, and together Max and Kevin become FREAK THE MIGHTY and walk high above the world.

An inspiring, heartbreaking, multi-award winning international bestseller.

Tuesday, July 25

24 in 48 Readathon Recap (I DID IT, I DID IT!!)

photo by Nick Hillier

As a lot of you know this past weekend I took part in the 24 in 48 hours readathon which takes place twice a year and the goal is to read for 24 hours in 48 hours. AND I DID IT, I READ FOR 24+ HOURS!! I still can't believe that I was able to do that, because back when I was making my TBR post it seemed VERY hard, near impossible, to tell you the truth. I'm so satisfied and proud of myself right now. 

Today, I'm here with a recap of the 9 books + 1 short story that I read this past weekend, and I'm very happy to say that most of these books were great. Even the two that I rated 3 stars were fairly enjoyable, so yay.

Friday, July 21

24 in 48 Readathon TBR (Let's cheer each other on!)

Hello everyone! I'm here with an update/announcement today about a readathon starting this very day, in just about two hours. It's called the 24 in 48 Readathon (find out more here), and the participants' aim is to read at least 24 out of 48 hours. I KNOW, SOUNDS BRUTAL, buuuut I did the maths (literally anyone who knows me would go through those numbers VERY carefully, because I'm bad with numbers, but I swear this will be correct!!) and it seems totally doable if you think about it. 

What I'm personally aiming to do is to read approx the same amount of time on both days, which would mean around 12 hours each day. Sounds hard, BUT not if you look at it this way: if I sleep six hours, which is perfectly enough for me as long as I don't do that for days and days, I'll have 18 hours left of each day. That means that if I can keep up the 12 hours/day schedule, I'll have 6 hours left of each day to eat, update on my progress etc. SEE? I just made the impossible look possible. Thank me later. 

On a side note, this is actually my second time participating, and the last time I was in a smaller reading slump, so I failed spectacularly, but this time around I'm a lot more prepared, which means that I have a whole TBR ready, full of books I'm super-duper excited for. 

I picked 5 copies I own in physical form and 5 that I own in ebook form. I contemplated adding review copies to my list, but I like to write my reviews soon after finishing a book, and that obviously wouldn't be possible here. Also, I'm not sure if ten books is too much or no (pretty sure it is), but I'd rather have more than less. 

To be honest, knowing myself there's a huge chance I won't read the majority of these, but rather pick up other novels.. yeah, I'm that much of a mood reader. But still, let's take a look at them together!

Thursday, July 20

Popular Books That Did NOT Work For Me

Hello everyone! *waves* These past few days I haven't felt like writing reviews... well, actually, I haven't felt like doing much of anything, so whining about making a list of books that disappointed me seemed like a splendid idea. After all, who doesn't want to hear me complain about their possible faves!? (Shh, don't contradict me on that, I know you're dying to read my list.)

I brought you 8 books that are/were incredibly popular and well-loved... but didn't work for me. WHICH SUCKS, TBH. Do you know that feeling when you pick something up that everyone loves, and then... you just don't? Sometime you have NO ONE to talk to about your feelings, because, hey, you're the black sheep here, YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN. But maybe you aren't! Maybe you'll find YOUR disappointments on this list, and so we can cry together over them (I hope?).

DISCLAIMER: I do not intend to hurt anyone's feelings by criticizing their faves, that is in no way my intention with this post. These are my opinions only, I don't expect anyone to bow to my judgement - I mean, would be cool, but.. god, just concentrate - so don't take my dislike for these books to heart. :) 

Tuesday, July 18

A Curated List of Diverse Books Releasing in the Second Half of 2017

Hi lovelies! Today we're here with a post that we hope will be both enjoyable and helpful, as it's a list containing all the diverse novels that are being released in the second half of 2017. You can find the first part of it by clicking here.

Our purpose with this list is to make finding diverse new releases easier, as some of them, especially the non-hyped and/self-published ones, can be super-hard to tackle down. To create a truly helpful post, just like the previous time, we listed down all the diverse elements we could hunt down, and linked in the Goodreads pages, so you may be able to add it to your tbr and find some early-reviews there. 

As per usual, we did our very best to find out everything about each book, including which of these are #ownvoices novels, but we may have missed things. More than that, we may have made mistakes, so let us know if there's anything we should change! Also, if you've read any of these novels feel free to tell us & our readers in the comments if the representation was any good. Leave a link to your review(s) if you have one!

Now without further ado, let's jump into this thorough list of diverse titles releasing in the second half of 2017. 

Saturday, July 15

Claire Barker - Knitbone Pepper and the Last Circus Tiger (Knitbone Pepper #2)

"Everyone should have a circus in the garden."

Roll up! Roll up! The circus is coming to Starcross, and Knitbone Pepper and his ghostly animal friends can't wait! But amidst the magicians, the acrobats and clowns, Knitbone senses something beastly in the big top...

A wonderfully warm, whimsical series, jam-packed with mayhem, chuckles and woofs!

Monday, July 10

Eight Fantastic Diverse Novels You Probably Haven't Read But 100% Should

Hello everyone!! A few days ago I was browsing through what I've read so far this year and found that many-many titles that I absolutely adored are quite underrated. I thought back to how perfect each of these books were, how complex and diverse the characters are and how freaking well-written the story is, and I got so damn mad, because less than 5000 Goodreads ratings is NOT what they deserve. No way. Nuh-huh.

I figured, as a book blogger/reviewer, the least I can do is try to convince you all to give these titles a chance, because they and their authors sure as hell deserve to be supported. So, without further ado - let me present the 8 most underrated DIVERSE books I've read in 2017 so far. 

This post contains heavy fangirling and flailing. Expect to be convinced to pick up all these titles. Read at your own risk.

Saturday, July 8

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out 2017

We were tagged by the lovely Clare & Ann from Dual Reads to do this tag and since we definitely need to do some freaking out over the books we've read the past year, we're taking the plunge. 

Vera has had a marvelous reading year (as always) while mine has been kinda meh, to be honest. I've only read 30 books so far, so I've had a decidedly hard time with these, so do forgive me for the repetition of the same books- but they really did blow me away, so I don't really mind. 

Anyhoo, without further ado- let's have a look at the books that deserve the limelight the most so far this year, and more!

Thursday, July 6

One Heck of a Mystery Awaits You in The Leaf Reader by Emily Arsenault

"Maybe, occasionally, some of the pictures I saw in teacups were not for the tea drinkers."

Marnie Wells knows that she creeps people out. It's not really her fault; her brother is always in trouble, and her grandmother, who's been their guardian since Mom took off is... eccentric. So no one even bats an eye when Marnie finds an old tea-leaf-reading book and starts telling fortunes. The ceremony and symbols are weirdly soothing, but she knows and hopes everyone else does too that none of it's real.

Then basketball star Matt Cotrell asks for a reading. He s been getting emails from someone claiming to be his best friend, Andrea Quinley, who disappeared and is presumed dead. Rumor has it Matt and Andrea were romantically involved, though they'd always denied it. A faint cloud of suspicion still hangs over Matt. But Marnie sees a kindred spirit: someone who, like her, is damaged by association. 

Suddenly the readings seem real. And they're telling Marnie things about Matt that make him seem increasingly dangerous. But she can't shake her initial attraction to him. In fact, it's getting stronger. And that could turn out to be deadly.

Saturday, July 1

July 2017 YA Releases We've Been Waiting On Forever

Hi, everyone!! It's July 1st, which means that I (Veronika) am officially back on the blog! I'm so happy I'm over my exams AT LAST. This was my second semester, and it's safe to say that it was much harder than my first one. I had end term tests in 5 classes, and then I had NINE different exams. It honestly blows my mind that I'm over them. To be frank, I'm not over them as of right now, when I'm writing this post, but I'll be over them by the time this post goes live. (UPDATE: yep, over them, and I'm pretty satisfied with my grades)

And if you're wondering where I am the day this post goes live - I'm at or on my way to a music festival to see IMAGINE DRAGONS. I'm so freaking excited omg. Yes, I've seen them once before, but they're hands down one of my favorite artists AND they are freaking fantastic live, SO I CAN'T WAIT. 

Anyhow, this post really isn't about that, but about ALL the exciting as hell new releases that Ruzi and I are super-pumped to pick up, so let's get right onto them.

Saturday, June 24

Colleen Nelson - Blood Brothers

Close as brothers, Jakub’s and Lincoln’s lives diverge when Jakub gets a private school scholarship and Lincoln is lured into a gang.

Fifteen-year-old Jakub Kaminsky is the son of Polish immigrants, a good Catholic boy, and a graffiti artist. While his father sleeps, Jakub and his best friend, Lincoln, sneak out with spray paint to make their mark as Morf and Skar.

When Jakub gets a scholarship to an elite private school, he knows it’s his chance for a better life. But it means leaving Lincoln and the neighbourhood he calls home.

While Jakub’s future is looking bright, Lincoln’s gets shady as he is lured into his brother’s gang. Jakub watches helplessly as Lincoln gets pulled deeper into the violent world of the Red Bloodz. The Red Bloodz find out Jakub knows more than he should about a murder and want him silenced — for good. Lincoln has to either save his friend, or embrace life as one of the Red Bloodz. 

Thursday, June 22

Claire Barker - Knitbone Pepper Ghost Dog: Best Friends Forever

Knitbone has a problem. His beloved owner Winnie and her bonkers parents may be forced to move and leave Knitbone behind! Can the spirits of Starcross, a gigglesome gang of ghostly animals, help Winnie save her home?
A wonderfully whimsical new series, jam-packed with mayhem, chuckles and woofs!

Saturday, June 17

Royal Rantings: Here's How You Write a Problematic AF Book

I recently had the absolute privilege of reading what must be the most problematic (read racist, Islamophobic) pile of shit ever. It certainly is the most appalling book I ever came across, and I knew I just couldn't review it without tearing it to pieces, and I told the author as much- I got it for review even after stating that I was Muslim which somehow makes it all the more terrible. I could have easily DNF-ed it, but I kept waiting for it to redeem itself at least a little bit, and part of me was just morbidly curious as to how things would turn out. Spoiler: not so great.  

What made the author think I would enjoy something like it I'll never know, but today I'm here to help you through writing a problematic af book- with excerpts from the very book I was talking about. I need this- catharsis or whatever you call it, I just need to get it all out of my system after keeping silent about it for so long. 

I'll just be listing down all the things I can think of, in no particular order. Follow just a couple of this (in case one is too mainstream) and you're good. 

Wednesday, June 14

Vicki Covington - Once in a Blue Moon

In Once in a Blue Moon, Vicki Covington’s new novel set during Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, change is in the air. 

Readers follow a diverse community of renters in Southside Birmingham through one transformative year. Abraham Kasir has properties scattered across Birmingham, but the ones on Cullom Street hold a special place in his heart. So does his newest tenant, Landon Cooper, a transplant from one of the city’s ritzier suburbs. 

Landon’s a psychologist managing her own mental illness in the face of divorce and downsizing. Her upstairs neighbor, Abi, is a country girl trying to shake her rural roots even as her father’s illness pulls her back home. Across the street, Jet is a former prostitute reeling from an uncovered truth about her birth mother. Jet has a crush on her neighbor Sam, a weed dealer paying his way through college and wrestling with his dreams for the future. 

Mr. Kasir acts not just as a landlord but as a father figure to each of them—and most of all to his grandson, Jason. Fresh out of high school, Jason is trying to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps while his own father struggles with drug addiction. 

In league with other great Southern novelists including Anne Tyler and Fannie Flagg, Covington writes with tenderness and humor while asking important questions about family, faith, race, class, and—ultimately—hope.