WHITE WOLF by Lauren Gilley

NYPD homicide detective Trina Baskin is having nightmares. Vivid ones. Full of blood, and snow, dead wolves…and a young man with pale hair who howls like an animal. She chalks them up to stress and an overactive imagination, too many Old Country stories from her Russian father who, when he’s had too much vodka, starts to rave about dark forces and things that look like men…but aren’t. 

But then a case hits her desk that can’t be explained. A young man found outside a club with a nasty bite mark on his neck – and not a drop of blood left in his body. With no leads, no theories that bear exploring, too little sleep, and a partner who seems to be willfully throwing his career down the toilet, the last thing Trina needs is a full-on out of body experience…in which her family’s past is revealed to her, and everything starts making a whole lot of terrifying sense.

In 1942, Trina’s great-grandfather, Nikita, is a captain of the Cheka, the Soviet political police – or so it seems. He and his men are sent to Siberia to retrieve a “volunteer,” the boy who’s going to win the war against the Nazis – and potentially unleash hell on earth. 

The world’s immortal population has been living quietly, secretly, hiding from the wars of men, hoping the past can stay buried. But what happens on the Eastern Front in the winter of 1942 will change everything.

In 2017, Trina is about to come face-to-face with her own past in a way she never thought possible. It turns out monsters are real – and they might be the only hope for survival. 


Title : White Wolf
Author : Lauren Gilley
Series : Sons of Rome (book one)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 558
Genre : paranormal (contemporary & historical)
Publisher : HP Press
Release Date : October 29, 2017

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

So, as usual I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started WHITE WOLF. I knew it featured a detective but I figured she would be solving mysteries that would be paranormal in nature and.. I mean, it’s not not that, but it’s so much more.

Nikita caught one last glance of Sasha’s falsely brave smile and thought this is why men cave to tyrants. To make brave smiles worthwhile.

As you might have noticed by the page count, this is not a short book. I believe this is an epic series and boy does it feel that way. That being said, I did not expect to be transported to World War II era Russia after only, like, two chapters. But more than that, I didn’t expect to spend 85% of the book in that time period once we got there. And I certainly didn’t expect to love it so much. I actually resented transitioning back to the contemporary timeline because I was so invested in the characters I had come to love (like, seriously, Nikita and Sasha? I adore. but in general I’m such a sucker for an ensemble).

He was a good man! A holy man. He–
Was probably fucking your mother.

Time will tell if I come to appreciate these modern characters as much as the others but there are spoilery things I can’t mention that have me very satisfied with the shift back to 2017 now that we’re likely to stay there. Though who knows where book two (and beyond) will take us.

For wolves — werewolves — it’s unnatural to take a true mate.”
Please. Everybody fucks. That’s the most atural thing in the world.”
For mortal humans, yes, of course. But Familiars aren’t entirely human, and the laws of nature don’t apply the same way.”
You’re telling me superpowered people who live forever don’t fuck? What’s the point of living forever if you can’t get laid?

If you like the paranormal but also like historical fiction, or very detailed mythology twisted up with real historical figures, you should definitely look into starting this series. I’m loathe to recommend it too hard as I’m only just getting started but this definitely surprised me — and in a good way. There is definitely a bit of something here for everyone; romantic elements (though this is not a romance so don’t expect too much page time or focus), comedic elements (unless I’m just warped but I did laugh out loud quite a few times), and darker elements (hello vampires and werewolves and also war time events). I know this won’t be for everyone, some readers may not want so much history, so much time spent on backstory, but this worked for me. It took a few days to get through but each time I picked it up I couldn’t tear myself away.

I’m so keen to dive into book two.

THE VANISHING by Jayne Ann Krentz

From New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz comes a gripping new romantic suspense trilogy fraught with danger and enigma.

Decades ago in the small town of Fogg Lake, The Incident occurred: an explosion in the cave system that released unknown gases. The residents slept for two days. When they woke up they discovered that things had changed-they had changed. Some started having visions. Others heard ominous voices. And then, scientists from a mysterious government agency arrived. Determined not to become research subjects of strange experiments, the residents of Fogg Lake blamed their “hallucinations” on food poisoning, and the story worked. But now it has become apparent that the eerie effects of The Incident are showing up in the descendants of Fogg Lake…

Catalina Lark and Olivia LeClair, best friends and co-owners of an investigation firm in Seattle, use what they call their “other sight” to help solve cases. When Olivia suddenly vanishes one night, Cat frantically begins the search for her friend. No one takes the disappearance seriously except Slater Arganbright, an agent from a shadowy organization known only as the Foundation, who shows up at her firm with a cryptic warning.

A ruthless killer is hunting the only witnesses to a murder that occurred in the Fogg Lake caves fifteen years ago-Catalina and Olivia. And someone intends to make both women vanish.


Title : The Vanishing
Author : Jayne Ann Krentz
Series : Fogg Lake #1
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 294
Genre : Romantic Suspense/Thriller
Publisher : Piatkus
Release Date : July 2, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 3.5 star review

A very readable suspense/thriller with a romance that wasn’t overly convincing but it wasn’t the main stage at all, so it didn’t spoil the show. Set around a town called Fogg Lake, known for its strange folks, this story was shrouded in mystery as well as fog.

The story started with great traction, in the city and two private investigators who were ex-Fogg Lake residents. The whole legacy of that small town was interesting and in some ways, I wanted a bit more about the town and less about the caves and lab. Maybe some of that is going to come later in the series.

Catalina was on the hunt for her kidnapped partner and someone was sent from ‘The Foundation’ to assist. Some of the secret world underpinnig the psychics took a bit of getting hold of but I got there. Slater from who arrived to assist, quickly became relationship potential but I didn’t feel the connection or the speed of their romance but I did like them both as characters.

The killer on the loose was the usual suspenseful reading and overall a solid, enjoyable experience. Jayne Ann Krentz is easy to read, reliable and I’ll definitely indulge in more from this series.

WHAT YOU WISH FOR by Katherine Center


From Katherine Center, the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel full of heart and hope.

Samantha Casey loves everything about her job as an elementary school librarian on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school suddenly loses its beloved principal, it turns out his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before.

When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety. Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—and turn it into nothing short of a prison—Sam has to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.


Title : What You Wish For
Author : Katherine Center
Format : eARC
Page Count : 320
Genre : Women’s Fiction
Publisher : St Martin’s Press
Release Date : July 14, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

WHAT YOU WISH FOR was a quirky story, injected with good people and goals. Centered around school life, with teachers, pupils and other staff, this book reeled you in to feeling part of that family. This was a great character-driven story and it felt like something I hadn’t really read before.

The protagonist Sam, was a librarian in a school she loved, with staff that were like family. The death of her beloved mentor and head of school brought an old crush Duncan to the school. This was not a happy reunion and it turned into a semi-hate relationship.

One: Duncan Carpenter was really here, in my school, about to become the guy in charge. Two: I was not immune to the sight of him in any microscopic way. And three: he had no idea who I was. That last one smarted, I’m not going to lie.

It was quickly apparant that Duncan was not the guy she’d previously known. The Duncan in this story was a hard-skinned robotic type headteacher, immune to persuasion and with one goal. Sam tried and tried, but he was impermeable.

I couldn’t think of a polite way to tell her that her brother was a mural murderer-and that I had just decided he was my mortal enemy forever.

Actually what happened was an unraveling of Duncan’s character and it was delicious reading. There were a bunch of superb side characters in this book, especially Max, Babette, Clay and Chuck Norris.

The story included some well written elements representing living with mild epilepsy, I appreciated some of the insightful research that went into that perspective. Added to that, the story also dealt with some psychological trauma. The author did not shy away from inclusion of these areas and it enhanced the book.

Katherine Center always manages to leave you on a wow and with a case of the warm fuzzies. WHAT YOU WISH FOR has done just that, warmed me and entertained me. This is an ideal summer read.

Thank you to St Martin’s Press for the early review copy.

ENGAGEMENT AND ESPIONAGE by Penny Reid – double review!

Jennifer Sylvester made her deal with the devil . . . and now they’re engaged!

But all is not well in Green Valley. A chicken choker is on the loose, 61 dead birds most “fowl” need plucking, and no time remains for Jennifer and her devilish fiancé. Desperate to find a spare moment together, Jenn and Cletus’s attempts to reconnect are thwarted by one seemingly coincidental disaster after another. It’s not long before Cletus and Jenn see a pattern emerge and the truth becomes clear.
Sabotage!
Will an undercover mission unmask the culprit? Or are these love-birds totally plucked?

‘Engagement and Espionage’ is the first book in the Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries series, is a full-length cozy mystery, and is a spin-off of Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers series. This novel is best read after ‘Beard Science,’ Winston Brothers #3. 


Title : Engagement and Espionage
Author : Penny Reid
Series : Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries Series #1
Format : eARC
Page Count : 350
Genre : Cosy Mystery
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : July 14, 2020

Reviewer : Micky / Hollis
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★.5


Micky’s 4 star review

What a delight it was to be back with Cletus and Jenn in ENGAGEMENT & ESPIONAGE. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the idea of a mystery series but it felt all the Winston familiarity I desired alongside a compelling set of circumstances. These characters (okay Cletus) had all the quirkiness and oddities you would expect, wrapped up in funny shennanigans. I was fully entertained from start to finish.

I love that Penny Reid has the confidence to drop you in a timeline you don’t expect and it 100% works. Cletus and Jenn weren’t that long past their origin story and I loved being able to pick back up with them there and see how they fared with the challenges that came. I hope you’re ready for the frustration and ancitipation of a sloooooowww burn.

This story had chickens as you might expect but it went from ooh to arghhh as the tale took some sinister turns. Cletus and Jenn made a great team, not quite in tune, not quite communicating brilliantly but with a connection that grounded them to a common goal…their bedroom. Jenn’s mother and father were central to events and they took some figuring out. The Winston brothers’ were ever present and I was pretty happy when they were on-page.

There were some fantastic moments involving emergency lasagna, rings, mistaken identities and bottoms. I laughed out loud many times and this was just ideal entertainment for my weekend.

“Bakers is one vowel away from being ‘bikers’.”

Penny Reid’s brand of humour, intelligent, odd and unusual totally floats my boat and I cannot wait for more from this series.

Thank you to the author for the early review copy




Hollis’ 3.5 star review

BEARD SCIENCE is one of my favourite Winston Brothers books so I was thrilled to hear that Reid was bringing Cletus and Jenn back into the forefront (though lets be honest, Cletus steals the show in pretty much all the books) for their own spinoff that bridges some of the time jumps in the main series.

Getting even was a waste of time. Why would I get even when I could get the advantage?

I think what I loved most, beyond being reunited with this family (even if it’s back in time and not everything is in the HEA-state that we’ve already seen), was the realism in the post-BEARD SCIENCE reality that just because the couple ended up together, doesn’t mean everything is magically perfect after the book closes. Jenn and Cletus are still working through some things, both individually and as a couple, and they are struggling to find time for each other, to keep to their commitments, to keep their promises. I liked that.

What I didn’t like? Jenn’s mother. Her father. The fact that the population of this town is 90% lunatic. Seriously, is there something in the water in Green Valley?

What’s the difference between the Emergency Lasagna and the Lasagna Emergency?
One fixes an emergency, the other causes an emergency.”

Everything not related to shitty parents and the mystery itself were great. I loved seeing old faces, the games Cletus plays, and I loved every page that featured Shelly (because of course I do). I also loved all the literal cock blocking, even the non-literal cocks that blocked, that set us on the road for a slow build to finally getting this couple to, well, couple.

Cletus, don’t you realize? You already have me. Stop being so careful.
And if I make a mistake?
Trust me to forgive you.

Overall this was a great way to spend a sunday and I have no doubt this will delight Jenntus fans and general Winston Brothers fans alike.

** I received an ARC from the author (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – JULY 14, 2020

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!

As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.

THE EXTRAORDINARIES is TJ Klune’s first YA and features superheroes, fanfiction, and an MC with ADHD. You can see our review here.

WHAT YOU WISH FOR by Katherine Center was a read with a serendipitous feel to it that built and built into a story to cheer for. Set in a school, the characters were rich and a little quirky. It was a great read and we have a review coming this week.

Penny Reid has responded to the Cletus love (her Winston Brothers series) and awarded him and Jenn their own mystery series. The first of these is ENGAGEMENT AND ESPIONAGE and we cannot wait to see how this seires rolls out.



Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below!

THE EXTRAORDINARIES by TJ Klune

Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra. TJ Klune’s YA debut, The Extraordinaries, is a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.

Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?

After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).

Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Marissa Meyer’s Renegades in TJ Klune’s YA debut.


Title : The Extraordinaries
Author : TJ Klune
Series : The Extraordinaries (book one)
Format : ARC
Page Count : 400
Genre : LGBTQIA+ YA fantasy
Publisher : Tor Teen
Release Date : July 14, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

I feel like my feelings on this book went up and down as the story went along. There were some pretty great highs (and I mean that not necessarily limited to light hearted delight but also momentsof pure emotion and sadness) and also some middling.. not lows but, like, middles. 

Are you both all right?
Aside from the emotional trauma that will probably rear its head when I’m thirty-seven and working at my cubicle in a dead-end job that I hate, just fine.
I’m fine. Any trauma I might have had is being washed away by the tragic comedy occurring right in front of me.

If you’re a fan of Klune’s humour, you’ll absolutely have a good time. Some passages had me in stitches. If you’re a fan of Klune’s angst, you probably won’t be super satisfied but you’ll be content. This is a YA with comedic leanings, so, it’s got sufficient heartache but isn’t quite on par with the torment the author inflicts in his adult stories. And we also have a story that looks fairly typical on the onset and maybe doesn’t go in every typical direction. There’s still some predictable paths taken but less than you might think. I don’t know if some of that predictability comes from the fairly standard superhero/comic tropes or it was done to showcase just how stunningly oblivious our main character was, but.. I mean, it could be both. 

He felt badly for all the generation that had come before him, unable to access queries immediately such as if it was okat for boys to give other boys flowers. Two minutes later, he was somehow reading a Wikipedia article on the Women’s Cricket World Cut, unsure of how he got there.

I’ll admit said main character, Nick, was maybe my least favourite character of the bunch, which had nothing to do with his ADHD, or how extra of a stan he was about his love for his heroes, though maybe was influenced by his self-centeredness, but was really more to do with how fabulous Klune’s supporting cast was. Gibby and Jazz were just exceptional. And Seth was the soft geeky cinnamon roll we all love to love. But where Nick was his best was in every father-son scene. His relationship with his father was complex and hard but their devotion, their love for each other was just wonderful. And I can’t wait to see more of that in future books and how, maybe, that might change. Or won’t. You know. Depending on.. things. Which, yes, again, maybe a little predictable. But it’s fine.

I’m not fragile.”
I know. I figured that out the first time I dropped you on your head and it made a little dent. You didn’t even cry.”
What do you mean, the first time? There was more than once?
Being a parent is hard. Kids are slippery.”

So, yes, this is a like not a love but I think many readers will love this one. And I will definitely read on in the series.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

THE VANISHING HALF by Brit Bennett

From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise. 


Title : The Vanishing Half
Author : Brit Bennett
Format : Hardback
Page Count : 343
Genre : Literary Fiction
Publisher : Dialogue Books
Release Date : June 25, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★.5


Micky’s 4.5 star review

A powerful read that was a little slow to get going but hard to put down pretty quickly. This was a story told across generations, with different characters at the fore at different times. Reading the blurb, I thought this was just about the twin sisters, Desiree and Stella and while all the stories branch out from them, there were other characters at the fore at different times. The other characters in the story were such a rich tapestry of interest to me.

I found it took me a good few chapters to get into THE VANISHING HALF but once I had a feel for Mallard, the sisters and their life, I was on board. Initially, my focus was all on Desiree as she seemed to be the brave and bold one, with Stella being quiet. Stella later blew my expectations out of the water, bringing a difficult to read narrative but also one so powerful. I struggled with the thoughts of should I or shouldn’t I empathsise with her situation but as a white woman, how could I possibly judge her? The life she chose for herself was still hard, I cannot imagine a life of such secrecy.

The sisters’ story gave way to their progeny and the characters that stole the show were Jude and Reece. Their story had an evolving beauty that swept across the page, totally absorbed me and made me long for their success and good outcomes. Early was another character that I really loved, the way he subtly emerged into the story, with kindness, was everything. I didn’t particularly like Kennedy but she had a important part to play.

This was an epic story, grand over time and impressionable to readers. It left a melancholy feeling for me at the end but I was completely satisfied with the conclusion. It has a message for contemporary times, I read this thinking, how much has actually changed with regards to some attitutdes? The writing was powerful and I am going to seek out Brit Bennett’s other book immediately.

Thank you to Dialogue Books and Tandem Collective for this gifted copy.

MOST ANTICIPATED READS IN 2020 — JULY TO DECEMBER

Even with half the year behind us, and so many books already read, there are still so many books still to come for 2020!

We would like to preface this with a note that these release dates are, of course, subject to change. Particularly in 2020 when release dates are being bounced back, then brought forward, with little to no notice. Also you’ll note in some cases we have indicated a specific country next to a title. This might mean it’s lagged release, ie, already out in the US but now released in the UK, or available everywhere but the US, and doesn’t make the release date wrong. However we did not duplicate titles to indicate multiple release dates. Just something to keep in mind!

Topping our lists of Most Anticipated Reads in 2020 — July to December (in order of publication) are :

July
THE DAMNED by Renée Ahdieh (7th)
GIRL, SERPENT, THORN by Melissa Bashardoust (7th)
BOYFRIEND MATERIAL by Alexis Hall (7th)
BURN OUR BODIES DOWN by Rory Power (7th)
LOVELESS by Alice Oseman (9th)
WHAT YOU WISH FOR by Katherine Center (14th)

August
HARROW THE NINTH by Tamsyn Muir (4th)
MIDNIGHT SUN by Stephenie Meyer (4th)
SEVEN DEVILS by Laura Lam & Elizabeth May (4th)
THE BLACK KIDS by Christina Hammonds Reed (4th)
BOY QUEEN by George Lester (6th)
EVERY LITTLE PIECE OF MY HEART by Non Pratt (6th)
DEAR EMMIE BLUE by Lia Louis (6th)
STAR DAUGHTER by Shveta Thakrar (11th)
THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY by Matt Haig (13th)
THE FAITHLESS HAWK by Margaret Owen (18th)
EMERALD BLAZE by Ilona Andrews (25th)
THE SUGARED GAME by KJ Charles (26th)

September
A ROGUE OF ONE’S OWN by Evie Dunmore (1st)
NONE SHALL SLEEP by Ellie Marney (1st)
AS THE SHADOW RISES by Katy Rose Pool (1st)
THE LOST BOOK OF THE WHITE by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu (1st)
CHARLOTTE by Helen Moffett (3rd — in UK)
IPPOS KING by Grace Draven (15th)
THE ROOMMATE by Rosie Danan (15th)
GROWN by Tiffany D. Jackson (15th)
TOOLS OF ENGAGEMENT by Tessa Bailey (22nd)
WELL PLAYED by Jen DeLuca (22nd)
EARLY DEPARTURES by Justin A. Reynolds (22nd)
ALL SCOT AND BOTHERED by Kerrgan Byrne (29th)
DEAR JUSTYCE by Nic Stone (29th)
A DEADLY EDUCATION by Naomi Novik (29th)
FURIA by Yamile Saied Méndez (29th)
THE TOWER OF NERO by Rick Riordan (29th)
THE RETURN by Nicholas Sparks (29th)

October
THIS GREEN AND PLEASANT LAND by Ayisha Malik (1st)
THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE by V.E. Schwab (6th)
IN A HOLIDAZE by Christina Lauren
BROTHERSONG by TJ Klune (13th)
THE DEEP BLUE BETWEEN by Ayesha Harruna Attah (15th)

November
CHASING LUCKY by Jenn Bennett (10th)
THE FIRES OF VENGEANCE by Evan Winter (10th)
HOW THE KING OF ELFAME LEARNED TO HATE STORIES by Holly Black (24th)

December
EVERY LAST SECRET by A.R. Torre (1st)
FOREVER WILD by K.A. Tucker (1st)
LAYLA by Colleen Hoover (8th)


What titles are topping your list for most anticipated for the later half of 2020? Let us know!

AURORA TERMINUS by S.E. Fanetti

The end of the world came quietly, in a breathtaking display of light and color, while everyone stopped and watched, entranced.

And then the lights went out, and death and chaos took over.

A woman went up, high above the fray, and tried to build a life alone from what was left of the world that had been.

A man stayed down, in the midst of the turmoil, and tried to find a home in the world that had become.

But neither life nor home is possible until there is family, until love and trust and hope return.

Until then, there is only survival.


Title : Aurora Terminus
Author : S.E. Fanetti
Format : eBook
Page Count : 527
Genre : post-apocayptic
Publisher : indie
Release Date : April 7, 2018

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

AURORA TERMINUS was a book recommended to me ages ago by a friend and one I just kept putting off. Reading friends’ favourites is scary, yo. We all know this. So naturally I felt the best time to pick up a post-apocalyptic event story was during.. now. 2020. Making great choices every day, I am.

The end had come, but quietly, even gracefully.

But I have zero regrets. Except for the regret regarding the fact that I waited this long to read this.

The Sunstorm had torn off the fragile veneer of decency and shown most people to be, at best, insular and suspicious, and at worst, bestial and cruel. Whatever bond of humanity still pulled anyone was only strong enough, and elastic enough, to reach the limits of a small group. At best.

This story is something of a mashup between STATION ELEVEN and 28 Days Later (yes, the zombie movie) and yet it’s also distinctly it’s own. The world ended, not from plague, not from war, or aliens, but from solar flares. Society crumbled with it. And so did humanity; at least for some. The story follows a woman surviving in a cabin off the general radar, on her own, self-sufficient, and a man who has been both a solo wanderer and now finds himself with a group. Their stories play out, then converge, but it’s all about the realities of surviving in a world that has turned against its people, and those people who are just trying to go about the rest of the lives, while also surviving those who prefer to do harm to them just for living or having what they don’t.

As implied, there is some darkness, some violence, in this story but the gory bits aren’t sensationalized and the more targeted harm is pretty much all done off page. 

The world would live on without people. That was the story of the Sunstorm. Not the end of the world. A cataclysm, but not the apocalypse. Simply the end of the human era.

But for all the stark and bleak realities within these pages, it also shines light on hope, on living instead of just surviving, on a possible future. There is healing, love, and dogs. Pretty sure most of my tears spilled over the animals, actually. But the characters of the two legged variety were pretty okay, too. Diana was an absolute force. She’s made me realize I don’t need (or want) a burly creature as my partner when the end of times (or zombies.. or zombies in the end of times) comes. Give me the person who has well researched what might happen in a fictional universe where everything goes to shit and how to navigate it. Proving that nerds are not only the new sexy.. but the secret to survival.

Jokes aside, this read was totally absorbing (I literally devoured it and stayed up past my bedtime because I refused to put it down), and would definitely recommend for fans of the genre — even if you might want to avoid this kind of book in the immediacy of our own circumstances — and I want to say huge thanks to Paula for the recommendation. Sorry it took me so long!

MONDAY’S NOT COMING by Tiffany D. Jackson

Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.

As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone? 


Title : Monday’s Not Coming
Author : Tiffany D. Jackson
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 432
Genre : YA mystery/contemporary
Publisher : Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date : May 22, 2018

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

Oof, man, oof. Jackson does not pull punches with her stories.

Whereas ALLEGEDLY gripped me, sometimes terrified me, twisted me up in knots, MONDAY’S NOT COMING, by contrast, was an equally important story — this time about the children, particularly those of colour, (and in this case, a young Black girl) who go missing — but failed to maintain that same intensity, of suspense. There was definitely some dread to be felt, as a reader, knowing that this would not have a happy ending, but getting to that moment, and wading through all the scenes leading upto it, felt a bit.. arduous. This wasn’t helped by the fact that our protagonist, Claudia, read very young. I mean, she is, I believe she’s fourteen or fifteen at the onset, but her voice felt even younger. Particularly when set against some of the subject matter. But maybe that was a deliberate choice.

This story was heartbreaking to read because for so long only Claudia notices something is wrong. Only Claudia cares. And watching how others were so slow to action, how reluctant people were to pay attention, was just excruciating. The circumstances that Monday (and her siblings) endured? Horrific. That’s where the aforementioned dread came in. You could see it happening, unfurling in slow-mo, as we live through the “before” moments; all the clues that Claudia was just too young to understand, too quick to believe otherwise, it was awful.

Where this particular read failed to land, however, was in the timeline shifting back and forth; yet another unexpected element that definitely makes me think I should be wary of getting the rug pulled out from under me for all of Jackson’s books; and there was a little too much meandering around in-between all the Monday-centric stuff. That said, of the meandering, I did like that we had some focus on Claudia’s struggle with dyslexia and some very positive and helpful moments with teachers towards coping with that.

So, yes, I had some pretty high expectations coming off of reading this author’s debut and this didn’t quite measure up. But it’s still a read touching on some very real and important issues and would recommend you give it a go.