Book Review: Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White

Publication Date: June 7th 2022

Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him—the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. Desperately, he searches for a place where the cult can’t get their hands on him, or more importantly, on the bioweapon they infected him with.

But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.

Still, Nick offers Benji shelter among his ragtag group of queer teens, as long as Benji can control the monster and use its power to defend the ALC. Eager to belong, Benji accepts Nick’s terms…until he discovers the ALC’s mysterious leader has a hidden agenda, and more than a few secrets of his own.

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Book Review: Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Publication Date: August 30th 2022

Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular. But by the time she retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Grand Slam titles. And if you ask Carrie, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father, Javier, as her coach. A former champion himself, Javier has trained her since the age of two.

But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning player named Nicki Chan.

At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked “the Battle-Axe” anyway. Even if her body doesn’t move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever.

In spite of it all, Carrie Soto is back, for one epic final season. In this riveting and unforgettable novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid tells her most vulnerable, emotional story yet. 

My thoughts & feelings …

Carrie Soto was first introduced to us in Taylor Jenkins Reid’s 2021 release, Malibu Rising. I’m going to be honest with you and say that I did not like Carrie in that novel. I thought she was stone cold and unlikeable. After reading Carrie Soto is Back I can confirm that this is exactly what she is … but that’s only one of many layers to who she is.

Carrie Soto is the epitome of what women are constantly told: that they need to be thankful and grateful for things that they’ve sacrificed and worked for tooth and nail. Being proud and aware of your own talent and worth is something to be looked down on and any of your successes should be taken as a surprise. This book really encapsulated the mysogny that existed, and still does exist, in sports and what effect that had on Carrie.

I loved the slow but steady character development of Carrie. For the most part she is at the end of the novel, exactly who she was at the beginning – proud, determined, stand-offish – and that doesn’t change. What does change, however, is her finding peace within herself and opening herstel up to the possibility of love instead of immediately running from it.

At it’s heart, I feel like this was really was a love story. A love story between Carrie and her father, Carrie and tennis, Carrie and romantic love, Carrie and herself, even.

Speaking about her father, I thought I was going to hate Javier Soto. I thought he was going to be pushy and overbearing, jsut like my dad was that one weekend when I was 12 as he tried (and failed) to teach me maths which lead to me full on sobbing. Thankfully, Javier ended up being like how my dad is every other weekend of my life. Javier was so sweet and caring. The father/daughter relationship was one of my favourite elements throughout this novel. He made a point to own up to the mistakes he made as a parent and truly tried to rectify them while also trying to coach Carrie to not only be the best tennis player, but the best version of herself.

I’ve never really been interested in tennis before. It’s the sport Serena Williams and Andy Murray play that my dad watches when there’s no football on. But after reading this book and feeling the passion from these characters, I’m genuinly interested. Sure, this new interest may only last until the high of this book has worn off, I’m going to make the most of it and watch King Richard in the next few days, the movie about the William’s sisters father and childhood.

Finally, this is a historical fiction novel but I kept forgetting that because I was so lost in what was happening that I didn’t really care about when or where it took place. It’s not until the little mentions of people listening to Walkmans and Princess Diana being at Wimdledon that I remembered this was set in the 90s. (I’m a 2002 girl so anything before the turn of the millenia counts as historical fiction to me. Sorry not sorry).

I’m not going to need Taylor Jenkins Reid to write one more “Hollywood-verse” novel set in the early 2000s just to fully wrap things up. Like we started in the 50s with Evelyn, 70s-80’s with Daisy, 90’s with Carrie, so it stands to reason we need to spend the Y2J years with maybe a realisty star reminiscent of Paris Hilton.

I fully expected to love this book, just as I loved every other TJR book I read last year. Now that I’ve completed the “Hollywood-verse” novels of TJRS recent releases, I’m so excited to work my way back to older books.


Book Review: How to Excavate a Heart by Jake Maia Arlo

Publication Date: November 1st 2022

It all starts when Shani runs into May. Like, literally. With her mom’s Subaru.

Attempted vehicular manslaughter was not part of Shani’s plan. She was supposed to be focusing on her monthlong paleoichthyology internship. She was going to spend all her time thinking about dead fish and not at all about how she was unceremoniously dumped days before winter break.

It could be going better.

But when a dog-walking gig puts her back in May’s path, the fossils she’s meant to be diligently studying are pushed to the side—along with the breakup.

Then they’re snowed in together on Christmas Eve. As things start to feel more serious, though, Shani’s hurt over her ex-girlfriend’s rejection comes rushing back. Is she ready to try a committed relationship again, or is she okay with this just being a passing winter fling?

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ARC Review: Belladonna by Adalyn Grace

Publication Date: August 23rd

Orphaned as a baby, nineteen-year-old Signa has been raised by a string of guardians, each more interested in her wealth than her well-being – and each has met an untimely end. Her remaining relatives are the elusive Hawthornes, an eccentric family living at Thorn Grove, an estate both glittering and gloomy.

Its patriarch mourns his late wife through wild parties, while his son grapples for control of the family’s waning reputation and his daughter suffers from a mysterious illness. But when their mother’s restless spirit appears claiming she was poisoned, Signa realizes that the family she depends on could be in grave danger, and enlists the help of a surly stable boy to hunt down the killer.

Signa’s best chance of uncovering the murderer, though, is an alliance with Death himself, a fascinating, dangerous shadow who has never been far from her side. Though he’s made her life a living hell, Death shows Signa that their growing connection may be more powerful – and more irresistible – than she ever dared imagine.

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ARC Review: Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl by Joya Goffney

*ARC courtesy of Netgalley*

Publication Date: May 3rd 2022

Monique lives a perfect life – a preacher’s daughter and the girlfriend of the town’s golden boy. But it’s not that simple. She’s torn between her parents who want the pure virginal daughter, and her boyfriend, Dom, who wants to explore the more intimate side of their relationship.

Tired of waiting, her boyfriend breaks up with her, spurring Monique to discover she has a medical condition that makes her far from perfect and she concocts a plan to fix her body and win him back.

With the help of her frenemy, Sasha, the overly zealous church girl Monique’s mum pushes her to hang out with, and Reggie, the town’s not-so-good boy, Monique must go on trips to unknown and uncomfortable places to find the treatment that will help her. But in doing so, she must face some home truths: maybe she shouldn’t be fixing her body to please a boy, maybe Sasha is the friend she needed all along and maybe Reggie isn’t so bad at all.

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Book to movie adaptations coming in 2022

Hi👋 My eyeballs hurt.

After multiple days of stressing because I can’t figure out what I’m doing for my final essay, I finally had a breakthrough today! I think the relief of knwing what I’m doing has just sapped the energy out of me. My brain exerted itself wayyy too or something and now it’s dead.

What I’m trying to say is that I should be working on this essay I’ve finally figured out, but instead I’m sprawled on my couch because I’m tired. I need to recharge and that’s okay. I’ll get back to it tomorrow.

In the mean time, I thought I’d talk a bit about some book-to-movie adaptations … or book-to-tv I suppose.

I got all my information from this website so if it’s wrong blame them, not me.

Hearstopper by Alice Oseman

I don’t think you understand just how excited I am for this TV show. I hope to God it comes out over the holidays: Easter or summer I don’t care. I will be dedicating my life to this show. (I swear to God if this isn’t out by summer I’ll revolt).

Very grateful this is being released through Netflix. What’s up with streaming services releasing an episode a week? No. I want to binge this shit!! Thank you!!

Hand in hand with that excitement also comes fear. Charlie Spring is a precious bean but he has his problems and it breaks my heart. Am I mentally prepared to watch that?

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My favourite authors are releasing new books in 2022. Yay!

Howdy, happy Monday.

Question: you ever have days where you just don’t feel much? Like you’re not exactly happy but you’re not sad either. You’re just floating on a cloud of “meh”. Anyone??

Well that’s how I’m feeling today so I figured I’d try and inject some positivety in my life by talking about new books coming out in 2022 by some of my favourite authors!!

Casey Mcquiston – I Kissed Sara Wheeler

Sure Casey McQuiston is the only author on this list where I’ve only read one of their books but we’re just going to ignore that. While I might not have yet read One Last Stop I just know I’m going to love it as much as Red, White and Royal Blue.

In 2022 McQuiston is not only releasing another book but she’s releasing her YA debut: I Kissed Sara Wheeler! This seems different to her previous novels not only because it’s YA obviously, but it also seems to have a mystery element to it.

It follows a girl called Chloe who’s running for valedictorian with her only real competition being prom queen Sara Wheeler. When a month before graduation Sara kisses Chloe and then vanishes, Chloe follows the clues to find her.

Continue reading “My favourite authors are releasing new books in 2022. Yay!”