WILDER GIRLS by Rory Power

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.


Title : Wilder Girls
Author : Rory Power
Format : ARC
Page Count : 368
Genre : YA LGBTQ+ dystopian horror
Publisher : Delacorte Press
Release Date : July 9, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 3.5 star review

WILDER GIRLS has left me with oh so many questions. I want so much more from this world. So there better be a second book on the horizon.. and, because I’m not sure there is, that’s why I’m hesitant to round this up to a full four. Because if this is just the end? Part of me is going to be maaaaad.

But on to the story.

There is such a stark, almost hopeless, beauty to this world. A casual kind of horror. A strange, uncertain, weirdness that you just can’t look away from. Oh, and, if any kind of unnatural physical deformations trigger or weird you out, you may not want to read this one.

WILDER GIRLS is a story about this school full of girls quarantined for their own safety — or maybe the safety of the rest of the world, more accurately. It’s been two years since the outbreak and no one has answers. They are barely surviving on the delivery of food they receive and the girls continue to die from Tox flare ups which seem to happen seasonally. But they continue on, they endure. Until Hetty’s best friend disappears.

I knew going into this that the story would have a sapphic romance and I both love and hated it; I loved it because it was complicated and a little messy and I hated it because there wasn’t enough of it because it was complicated and kind of messy. But it was beautiful, too. I wish we had had a bit more character development in Hetty; she was our main POV and I felt I understood her the least, in some ways. But I think, too, we maybe aren’t supposed to know too much about these characters. Not for who they are, but maybe for what they represent?

This is a weird world that feels only half formed, which makes sense because we know so little, but the bits we do discover by the end were really interesting. I just need more because.. where do we go from here? What happens to Hetty and Reese and Byatt? What happens to the world around them? 

And then I wonder.. should we just take this story as something more allegorical and focus less on the specifics, and wanting more, and instead just appreciate what this author wants us to take from the story? I suppose that’s up for interpretation, like all things. But I choose to do both. Look at the bigger picture and still want more.

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

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – JULY 9, 2019

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.


WILDER GIRLS by Rory Power is sapphic dystopian horror that intrigued me from the plot and I was sold on after the cover reveal (because do you SEE that cover!!). If you’re looking for a book that checks your LGBTQIA+ boxes as well as creeps you out? Look no further. Hollis’ three star review will be up tomorrow.

THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL by Abby Waxman is a women’s fiction book about a woman who works in a bookstore, plays trivia, has a cat named Phil, and did I mention she works in a bookstore? Look for Hollis’ and Micky’s three star reviews later this week.

SPIN THE DAWN by Elizabeth Lim is Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars. Need we even say more?

THE SHORTEST DISTANCE BETWEEN LOVE & HATE by Sandy Hall is pitched as a YA comtemporary romance but the blurb indicates this is a NA college setting. Nevertheless, I’m still interested in this reemerging of an old middle-school enemy in college who sparks hatred and chemistry.

ONLY EVER YOU by C.D. Reiss seems to be a sweeter contemporary romance than Reiss’ normal releases. This story has all the promise of a strong friends to something more trope and I can get on board with that. Life seems to have gone pear-shaped for the 30-year old heroine and the nerd and friend across the street seems to be the love interest; I’m intrigued.


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

THE SHAMER’S DAUGHTER by Lena Kaaberbol

Up on the blog today is Micky’s review of The Shamer’s Daughter, a MG-YA fantasy

Dina has unwillingly inherited her mother’s gift: the ability to elicit shamed confessions simply by looking into someone’s eyes. To Dina, however, these powers are not a gift but a curse. Surrounded by fear and hostility, she longs for simple friendship.

But when her mother is called to Dunark Castle to uncover the truth about a bloody triple murder, Dina must come to terms with her power–or let her mother fall prey to the vicious and revolting dragons of Dunark. 


Title : The Shamer’s Daughter
Author :  Lena Kaaberbol
Series : The Shamer Chronicles
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 202
Genre : MG/YA
Publisher : Pushkin Press
Release Date : July 4, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


THE SHAMER’S DAUGHTER leans more towards middle grade reading than YA but it is an engaging story with an unusual special-power characteristic that I’ve not come across before in fantasy literature.

Dina was the daughter of a shamer and in this fantastical kingdom, shamers were used to get a confession for heinous crimes. So while people were frightened of shamers, they were also respected from a distance. Dina had inherited her mother’s gift.

What started off as 11 year old Dina making sense of her young life and altered friendships since her gift had manifested, quickly merged into an intruiging tale that put her family at risk. There were dragons, prisons, friendships and deceit. Dina’s gift was put to the test and she showed a tenacious ability to problem-solve and survive.

This is a fast-paced read, quite exciting and definitely appealing to a younger YA market and middle grade readers. This is a series starter that is likely to leave readers ready to jump into the next books. With books 2&3 being published imminently and book 4 on it’s way, there won’t be a long wait for the story to evolve. THE SHAMER’S DAUGHTER has a visually catching cover that has a theme caught by the following books.

Thank you Puskin Press for the finished copy to review.

THE AU PAIR by Emma Rous

Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.

Who is the child and what really happened that day?

One person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her.


Title : The Au Pair
Author : Emma Rous
Format : e-ARC
Page Count : 360 pages
Genre : Suspense
Publisher : Piatkus, Little Brown Book UK
Release Date : 11 July 2019

Reviewer :  Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

They say lies make for a tangled web but I don’t think I was prepared for the knotted mess that this story played out to be. This tale was carefullly plotted out with a cluster of circumstances that were crazy good reading.

Told in past and present and through two main POVs of Laura and Seraphine who narrated the story. In the past, the story focused on Ruth and Dominic, a married couple, their friend Alex, their au pair, their son, Ruth’s mother….I could go on. The tale in the present focused on Ruth and Dominic’s children, trying to find the truth behind events 25 years ago. It was everything intruiging and the author cleverly drip fed information on a need to know basis.

From early on in the story, I was guessing, this and that. In the long run, I made some good guesses, some that I went on to disregard turned out to be founded in some truth. The story built and built with dramatic but believable turns, culminating in the past and present clashing in a revealing way.

THE AU PAIR was a well-written suspense, leading the reader on in semi-darkness but making it almost impossible to put the book down. I felt satisfied in the culmination and I would definitely read Emma Rous again. Highly recommended.

Thank you to Piatkus and Little Brown Books UK for the review copy.

PAN’S LABYRINTH : THE LABYRINTH OF THE FAUN by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke

Oscar winning writer-director Guillermo del Toro and New York Times bestselling author Cornelia Funke come together to transform del Toro’s hit movie Pan’s Labyrinth into an epic and dark fantasy novel for readers of all ages, complete with gorgeous and haunting illustrations.

This book is not for the faint of heart or weak in spirit. It’s not for skeptics who don’t believe in fairy tales and the powerful forces of good. It’s only for brave and intrepid souls like you, who will stare down evil in all its forms.

Inspired by the critically acclaimed film written and directed by Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro and reimagined by New York Times bestselling author Cornelia Funke, this haunting tale takes readers to a darkly magical and war-torn world filled with richly drawn characters like trickster fauns, murderous men, child-eating monsters, courageous rebels, and a long-lost princess hoping to be reunited with her family.

Perfect for fans of the movie and readers who are new to del Toro’s visionary work, this atmospheric and absorbing novel is a portal to another universe where there is no wall between the real and the imagined. A daring, unforgettable collaboration between two brilliant storytellers.


Title : Pan’s Labyrinth : The Labyrinth of the Faun
Author : Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke
Format : ARC
Page Count : 262
Genre : YA fantasy horror / retelling
Publisher : Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date : July 2, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

So, I totally thought this was an MG story and hahahaha no.

I don’t know about the rest of you but when I think Pan’s Labyrinth I think [insert creepy dude with eyes in the palms of his hands here]. I only saw the movie once, a million years ago, and I thought this was an extension of the story or just inspired by it. But from what I understand (because I sure don’t remember enough to say for certain) is that this is an expanded, additionally layered, version of the movie itself.

Which should tell you who should or should not be reading this.

This is classified as YA I think but it is quite dark, if not considered outright horror, but it’s not just the fantastical elements that are dark. It’s the human elements, too. The brutalities done not only by bad men during times of war but bad men, period, who need no excuse.

There is melancholy and bitterness and grief and loneliness and yet the enduring belief in magic, in fairytales, in hope, too. The story is both bleak and yet also whimsical, captivatingly creative and cringey creepy, and the illustrations were just gorgeous.

This book consumed me and I loved every moment.

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

RAZE by Roan Parrish

Sometimes the walls we build to save ourselves have to come tumbling down.

For the last ten years, Huey has built his life around his sobriety. If that means he doesn’t give a damn about finding love or companionship for himself, well, it’s probably better that way. After all, the last thing he wants is to hurt anyone else. Until Felix Rainey walks into his bar, fresh-faced, unbearably sweet–and, for some reason Huey can’t fathom, interested in him.

As the eldest of five kids, Felix Rainey spent his childhood cooking dinner, checking homework, and working after-school jobs. Now in his twenties, he’s still scrambling to make ends meet and wondering what the hell he’s doing with his life. When he meets Huey, he’s intimidated . . . and enamored. Huey’s strong and confident, he owns his own business–hell, he’s friends with rock stars. What could he ever see in Felix?

As Huey and Felix get closer, the spark catches and soon they can’t get enough of each other. But Huey’s worked hard to avoid intimacy, and Felix threatens his carefully constructed defenses. Huey realizes he needs to change if he wants to truly put his past behind him–and build a future with Felix.


Title : Raze
Author: Roan Parrish
Series : Riven (book three)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 316
Genre : contemporary romance, LGBTQIA+
Publisher : Loveswept
Release Date : July 2, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

I forgot you’re not supposed to bring up masturbation at the dinner table on the first date.
Yeah, that’s strictly second-date dinner convo.

Right off the bat, I have to say, this cover does not do Felix justice. I wasn’t really a fan of it to begin with but after seeing how the character was not only described but acted? There’s no match-up here whatsoever. But, having said that, at the end of the day it’s about the content, not the window dressing.

Felix seemed like a map folded up small and perfect that would sprawl when unfurled, and show you everything. And I..fuck, I wanted to see it.

This is easily my favourite series by Parrish and while RAZE didn’t match my love for RIVEN, and nor did REND, each book has been emotional, lovely, heart wrenching, beautiful, tough, real, all the things. Oh and swoony and sexy af. The author devastates with the simplest of things, like a hug, and exposes very real insecurities in her characters that I think everyone can immediately connect with. No matter their size or strength, no matter their fame or success, no matter what they’ve overcome or shouldered, each individual is struggling or hiding or avoiding something. Just like every day humans. And it’s this connection that makes these books, even set as they are around rockstars and the music industry, even only peripherally (at least since book one), so so easy to love. Just as it’s impossible not to love these imminently precious characters who, in some form or another, feel they aren’t worthy or deserving of love; or are just overlooked, maybe even just held back.. by outside forces or themselves. Never seen or pursued by the right person.

The problem with feeling so much pleasure, so much joy, so much contentment — with feeling so much, period — after so long spent feeling very little, was that I instantly craved more of it.

If you’re looking for sweetness and sexiness, with a solid foundation of grit and realness, I would definitely recommend this series.

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