YOU HAD ME AT HOLA by Alexis Daria

After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez. 

Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy

After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had. 

Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars.

With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.


Title : You Had Me at Hola
Author : Alexis Daria
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 283
Genre : romance
Publisher : Avon
Release Date : August 4, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2.5 (rounded up) star review

Show of hands, who thought this was YA? Oh, just me? Elle oh elle.

Well just incase there’s any lingering confusion from my fellow #TeamNoBlurb’ers? This is adult. In fact, the romance happens between a thirty year old and a love interest pushing forty, so, yeah. Definitely not YA. But also extra points for raising the age bracket a little higher for those of us who are no longer twenty five!

That said, I do have sorta mixed feelings on this. I mostly liked Jasmine; both because she was very self-aware of her failings (not really failings, actually, but her tendencies) in the romance department but also because even when vulnerable, even when she didn’t feel totally supported by family, she was still pretty focused without letting in any self-doubt. Not that she was totally on her own; she has a hype squad made up of her two closest cousins and I absolutely loved their dynamic and how each of the women were very clearly their own person. Where she fell short for me was in her behaviour during a pretty critical conflict moment and her total short-sightedness and self-centered behaviour.. which I won’t detail any further as it spoils things.

In the positives column, I did really adore the unabashed representation. Daria didn’t just give her characters mixed heritage, throw them onto a Latinx telenovela reboot and call it a day, no. Between the Spanish on page, sometimes even without a direct translation, but helped along by context cues, and all the different backgrounds for characters, even the mix within Jasmine’s family alone, it felt full and rich and wonderful. Even better, I loved that the author didn’t include any kind of outsider (or white) character into the story who would then need explanations or to insert themselves into anything or, heaven forbid, rescue our lead or be the voice of reason. And I say that as a white person.

That said, another area where this didn’t quite win for me was the love interest. I could understand and even respect a lot of his choices, his omissions, his behaviours but.. I don’t know. I liked the build-up between our leads, I liked that we started with something like a friendship first, albeit a friendship with a heavy dose of immediate attraction, and while reading about their chemistry I could kinda see where the author was trying to make things happen.. I just didn’t believe it, if that makes sense. That said, the chapters that pulled scenes of their acting onto the page? I thought I would hate that, because I’ve disliked similar things in the past, but during those moments, the fiction within the fiction? I felt the chemistry there for sure. And I liked the behind the scenes staging and choreography of it all. Not sure I’ve seen that done in a book featuring actors before.

So, yeah, a bunch of this I was pretty into. Other bits, not so much. But this is a pretty quick read, with a lot of representation, though there was definitely some stupid drama for the sake of drama which frustrated me, particularly when being created by thirty to forty year successful adults.. eye roll, and a healthy dose of steam. While it won’t make a favourites list for me, I would definitely still recommend it.

BLOODY ROSE by Nicholas Eames

Live fast, die young.

Tam Hashford is tired of working at her local pub, slinging drinks for world-famous mercenaries and listening to the bards sing of adventure and glory in the world beyond her sleepy hometown.

When the biggest mercenary band of all rolls into town, led by the infamous Bloody Rose, Tam jumps at the chance to sign on as their bard. It’s adventure she wants – and adventure she gets as the crew embark on a quest that will end in one of two ways: glory or death.

It’s time to take a walk on the wyld side. 


Title : Bloody Rose
Author : Nicholas Eames
Series : The Band (book two)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 479
Genre : fantasy
Publisher : Orbit
Release Date : August 28, 2018

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

This is a hard review to write because there’s so much of what I adored about KINGS OF THE WYLD in here, not to mention some great writing by the author, and yet I feel like the magic wasn’t as present? This just didn’t draw me in, or keep me entralled, the same way.

Maybe it has to do with how much more serious this installment feels. Gone are the heroes of old, aged and out and shape, and here is the new generation; still fighting monsters but not for the same reasons. There is a sense of manufactured fame and glory to this new crop of mercenaries, to the new world order where monsters are caged and fought in arenas, as opposed to out on the road, and I love how Eames explored that — how he gave us Tam’s point of view where the glow and awe of the legends one grew up with faded into something more like sadness, shame, and disillusionment. It was a fascinating element. I just wish I had loved everything else as much as I loved that.

Another bit that didn’t quite measure up to book one was the characters. I feel like I enjoyed the group, the band, the pack’s, dynamic and even some of them individually. But as a whole I didn’t quite feel as much chemistry as I would’ve expected. And I mean that both platonically and also romantically, for those who were. Something was just missing and I again go back to that bit of magic, that wonder, I felt in book one. It just wasn’t really here.

But this world, this writing? I really love it, I do. It’s creative, it’s weird, it’s wonderful. I would still recommend you pick this up, particularly if you loved the first installment, and if there’s anything more to come? I will definitely read on (GR has a third title listed but no plot or date, so, who knows! fingers crossed).

BROTHERSONG by TJ Klune

In the ruins of Caswell, Maine, Carter Bennett learned the truth of what had been right in front of him the entire time. And then it—he—was gone. 

Desperate for answers, Carter takes to the road, leaving family and the safety of his pack behind, all in the name of a man he only knows as a feral wolf. But therein lies the danger: wolves are pack animals, and the longer Carter is on his own, the more his mind slips toward the endless void of Omega insanity. 

But he pushes on, following the trail left by Gavin. 

Gavin, the son of Robert Livingstone. The half-brother of Gordo Livingstone. 

What Carter finds will change the course of the wolves forever. Because Gavin’s history with the Bennett pack goes back further than anyone knows, a secret kept hidden by Carter’s father, Thomas Bennett. 

And with this knowledge comes a price: the sins of the fathers now rest upon the shoulders of their sons. 


Title : Brothersong
Author : TJ Klune
Series : Green Creek (book four)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 522
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy/paranormal
Publisher : BOATK Books
Release Date : October 13, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 5 star review

When I tell you this book made me cry a lot.. I don’t think that is going to come across in a way that you’ll understand until you read this book. I shed tears, I wept, I held back sobs. Over and over again. I don’t know what it is about this author and his ability to wreck me (us) with his words but oh god. Prepare youself for devastation, for beauty, for heartbreak, for healing, for sadness, for quiet moments.. everything.

We weren’t Ox and Joe. Or Kelly and Robbie. Or even Gordo and Mark, though the fuck you vibe was apparently a family trait.

I can’t really say anything about this beyond that. Not only is BROTHERSONG a sequel but it’s an end. For us. Whether something new might begin? Who is to say. So many songs have been sung along the way; from wolves, to ravens, to hearts, and brothers. This series is about bonds, formed out of blood or built out of friendship, connection, and the fact that I’m tearing up as I write this, when I should long have run out of tears, says it all.

Three years. One month. Twenty-six days. I lived through that. I lived through the thirteen months it took for us to get [spoiler for book three] back. I saw firsthand what happened with Mark and Gordo. And then you decided to.. what? Be wholly original and leave, too?
Whoa. That was a bitchy thing to say. Go Ox.”

I reread the books leading up to this, thinking I needed it all fresh in my mind, needed to once again be close to these characters before I could say goodbye, and while I’m sure many Klunatics are doing so? It’s not needed. So much of this book hashes out previous events, prior wrongs, in an attempt to come together, to finally do more than just apply bandages on still lingering wounds, so they can let go and face this big conflict that might be the end of them. This family, this pack (packpack), has so much baggage and Klune makes them work through it. It can be agonizing at times, to go through it over and over again, to see the same choices lead to the same mistakes, but it’s utterly human; for all that these characters are mostly not.

Will, sit your ass down and leave my customers alone.”
I’m his constituent. I have a right to know what’s going on in my local government, especially when it involves shape-shifters. Huh. Of all the sentences that have ever come out of my mouth, that one was the strangest.”

Is it perfect? If I were to reread it, would I award it full marks, or would I downgrade like I did on my WOLFSONG revisit? Hard to say. But right now? It gets everything. Not just because I cried an ocean but because I couldn’t tear myself away. In a time when even when I’m loving a book I’m still occasionally distracted, reaching for my phone, I didn’t do that once. The only moments I stepped away were to blow my nose (seriously, the crying, it was ridiculous) so, I mean, there were a lot of those moments. But it was impossible to look away for anything else.

Don’t take the chance that he’ll always be there. We must remember to say what’s in our hearts aloud because we can never know if it’ll be the last time we’ll ever get the chance.

I can’t wait for this book to be out in the world, I can’t wait for all the longtime fans to get their paws on it, I feel so lucky to have read this early, particularly as I’m rather new to this world, but I promise you it’s worth the wait. You know the drill by now; you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll do both at the same time, you’ll break apart only to be stitched back together. Again and again. Because that’s how it goes.

Packpackpack 4ever.

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

HEARTSONG by TJ Klune

All Robbie Fontaine ever wanted was a place to belong. After the death of his mother, he bounces around from pack to pack, forming temporary bonds to keep from turning feral. It’s enough—until he receives a summons from the wolf stronghold in Caswell, Maine. 

Life as the trusted second to Michelle Hughes—the Alpha of all—and the cherished friend of a gentle old witch teaches Robbie what it means to be pack, to have a home. 

But when a mission from Michelle sends Robbie into the field, he finds himself questioning where he belongs and everything he’s been told. Whispers of traitorous wolves and wild magic abound—but who are the traitors and who the betrayed? 

More than anything, Robbie hungers for answers, because one of those alleged traitors is Kelly Bennett—the wolf who may be his mate.

The truth has a way of coming out. And when it does, everything will shatter.


Title : Heartsong
Author : TJ Klune
Series : Green Creek (book three)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 464
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy/paranormal
Publisher : BOATK Books
Release Date : October 22, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 5 star review

I think it’s official. I think this might be my favourite of the bunch (so far!). And while I admitted to downgrading book one from a full five to a four and a half.. this one goes the other way. My original GR rating was four but I’m rounding right up to top marks.

Memories are funny things. I carried them like scars.

Overall this story is the one with the most surprises, in all manner of speaking, and it’s also the most.. tender. It’s both quieter but also more devastating. Which won’t make sense when you get to the big showdown, as it’s anything but quiet, but it makes an interesting contrast.

I swear to god, witches and wolves are the most dramatic bitches I’ve ever known in my life. Like for once can we just have a norma day without stupid shit happening?

I also just feel like Klune really hit his stride with this book. Sure, he’s gearing up to the end, he’s laying out some cards, but by now we’re so in love with these characters, this world, and he’s still treating them with care as opposed to tossing them around into positions he needs them to be in for everything to make sense. You know what I mean? Maybe not. But it’s there anyway. It could also be because he did something very different with this one, both in the telling and with the couple, and I absolutely love a break in formula.

Instagram. You want me to look at your Instagram.
Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever heard so much disdain in such few words.”

There may have been a few less laugh out louds than there were in book two (though there was one rather casual exchange that had me, no pun intended, howling) but I think this is the one that made me cry the most. And for me that’s an upside.

Last time I read these books there was only one novella/short post-book three. This time there are two. I’m preparing for more tears because I cried my way through 2.5. And oh yeah, hey, if you didn’t know.. Klune has these extras available for free on his site. Definitely go check them out. That said, next time we talk (aka I talk at you, reader) I’ll have read BROTHERSONG. Eep.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SKY by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Prince North’s home is in the sky, in a gleaming city held aloft by intricate engines, powered by technology. Nimh is the living goddess of her people on the Surface, responsible for providing answers, direction—hope.

North’s and Nimh’s lives are entwined—though their hearts can never be. Linked by a terrifying prophecy and caught between duty and fate, they must choose between saving their people or succumbing to the bond that is forbidden between them. 


Title : The Other Side of the Sky
Author : Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Series : The Other Side of the Sky (book one)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 480
Genre : YA fantasy / science fiction
Publisher : HarperTeen
Release Date : September 8, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

So, I don’t know why I’m surprised by how much I liked this, because I requested it solely as a result of the author names, without knowing (or caring) about what the plot would be, but oh wow did I really really like this. Also, yes, I went in to this totally unaware of the summary even after I was approved for the ARC, no one is surprised.

This is nothing like either of the authors’ work before as solo writers or partners and I actually found everything about the story, in general, to be so interesting and unique. There is a definite worlds divide feeling about THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SKY both in current day living and mythology as well as belief. We spend more time in one world than the other but knowing how this ended I’m sure we’ll get a deeper look at the opposite in book two and I can’t wait for that. But the world of the Below was so.. rich, so interesting, such a fascinating blend of faith and magic whereas the world Above we know is the complete opposite. Just like our protagonists.

I know there’s always a dialogue regarding YA feeling too YA and adults who read YA getting some criticism for picking up those books and then being disappointed by them because of their target audience. But my rebuttal is always that there are ways to write for an audience while still satisfying those outside of it. Or just writing so well that it trancends age groups. That’s what some authors can do well and others can’t and generally that’s where my criticisms come from. Sure, you can still write well but nonetheless have characters that read too young for you, or find themselves in situations that adult readers can be frustrated by. That’s still valid. I’m sure I’m guilty of it. But. These authors? I doubt I’ll ever have a problem with them and I’m so happy, after all these years, they are still writing YA. Though, hey, if they dropped an adult title? I’d be first in line.

But that tangent has nothing to do with this story or why you should read it. It doesn’t go into detail about the complexities of the world, the characters, how things connect or how they circumvent a path you think you’re on.. and surprise you with something else. This story does all that and more all whilst immersing you into a world I wasn’t really expecting to love so much.

If this book isn’t already on your radar, it absolutely should be.

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

RAVENSONG by TJ Klune

Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack who left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing never again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves.

It should have been enough.

And it was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. In the end, they faced the beast together as a pack… and won.

Now, a year later, Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them.

But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s crawling from within.

Some bonds, no matter how strong, were made to be broken.


Title : Ravensong
Author : TJ Klune
Series : Green Creek (book two)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 480
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy/paranormal
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (originally, now BOATK Books)
Release Date : July 31, 2018 (re-released September 26, 2019)

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

My first time around with RAVENSONG I wrote maybe one of the most negative four star (though apparently I equated it more to 3.5) reviews I’ve probably ever written. I don’t necessarily disagree with my previous thoughts (it’s on GR if you’re curious!) but maybe knowing what is to come, maybe loving these characters a little more, I just feel less.. critical? To me this definitely is a solid four, no question.

You could have become the villain, Gordo. And it would have been within your rights. Instead you just chose to be an asshole.
Are you.. complimenting me? Because if you are, you’re doing a really bad job of it.”

Overwhelmingly the themes of family, both blood and found, of friendship, of love, of forgiveness.. everything is strong. Everything is lovely and wonderful even when it aches and breaks you apart. For me, at least, that is the standout beyond anything else I could be nitpicky about. However I’ll still break some of those down for you because.. of course I will.

They were all so different, these lost boys. But they did have one thing in common. All three were assholes who didn’t know when to shut the fuck up. And I was stuck with them.

There are elements to this installment that do feel a little samey to book one in build up but for very different reaons; so that makes it both the same and very much not, I guess. But some elements manage to stand out, too. Team Human? The best. That bar scene? Pure gold. There are very moving moments (tears, they were shed), exchanges of utter hilarity (my house echoed with the sound of my cackling), and this one might have some surprises for new readers who might not see certain things coming, might not pick up on the foreshadowing. Which, by the way, was fun to see this time around. Klune is tricksy.

Does she live in a broken-down cabin in the middle of the woods? Like, eating children and shit? Is that offensive to witches? Are you offended? I’m sorry if you’re offended.
[she] lives in an apartment in Minneapolis.
Oh. That’s.. disappointing.”

Thankfully book two doesn’t lean into that one particular annoying mantra from book one as much, though it does make a few appearances, but my biggest gripe the first time I read this (and stays true!) were.. the monologues. So long. So many. So much nope. But it’s fine, we’re moving on.

Other than finally getting to read BROTHERSONG (I hear you calling my name!), I might be most excited about book three, actually. I think they might be my favourite couple (which might get revised after book four!) and I just remember certain things.. breaking me. So, yes, it with both much anticipation and a healthy heaping of dread that I gear up for the next installment.

WOLFSONG by TJ Klune

lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them. 


Title : Wolfsong
Author : TJ Klune
Series : Green Creek (book one)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 494
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy/paranormal
Publisher : Dreamspinner (originally, now BOATK Books)
Release Date : June 20, 2016 (re-released September 24, 2019)

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

As we approach the final countdown towards BROTHERSONG, the final book in the Green Creek series, I’m sure I’m not alone in rereading this series; I didn’t think I would, having read them for the first time back in January — so fairly recently — but I knew to do justice to this finale it would be best to revisit all the events, all the couples, all the f e e l s, that brought us to what awaits us as the end.

I would always choose you. I don’t care if it’s a biological imperative. I don’t care if it’s some destiny. I don’t care if you were made specifically for me. It doesn’t matter. I would choose you regardless.

And oh boy were there feels.

I’ll admit I maybe didn’t feel “omg uber five stars!” this time around but I still got weepy, I still laughed, I still outright cried (not a lot but mine eyes did spillage over), I found even more to highlight, and I was still just as annoyed about a certain repetition used as touchstone within this story. But at least this time I knew about that last one.

Oh my god, Ox, your life is like those shitty sparkly vampire movies. That I’ve never seen and don’t like at all, shut up.”

If you’re one of the ten people still in the world who haven’t read this? Maybe I should actually review the book in order to convince you to do so, ahem. Well it’s a paranormal world full of werewolves and witches! It’s set in a small town, with a lot of magic and history, and there is a family of soft boys, mostly loveable idiots, and a sweet budding romance.. and then some terrible heartbreaking stuff happens. Violence, devastation, betrayal, abandonment. Angst ensues. And then.. spoilery things I won’t even hint at. But it’s good. You’d like it.

She pretty, papi?
There’s no girl.
Oh? A boy, then? We don’t discriminate here at the Casa de Gordo.”

Oh, did I mention it’s queer?

You should read this.

RED ROOSTER by Lauren Gilley

n New York City, a string of increasingly-grisly murders leads Detective Trina Baskin, and her newly-immortal partner, Lanny, to a frightening facility with designs on studying all the immortals they can get their hands on. When one of their own is abducted, they’ll have to rely on dangerous new allies, plunged into a world they can barely believe exists…much less survive. 

In a tiny town in Wyoming, a girl on the run and her self-appointed protector can’t afford to sit still for too long, and they definitely can’t accept the help of kind strangers. Ruby Russell has the kind of talent that turns heads, and draws powerful enemies. Her gifts are not her own, and the people who made her want her back. 

In the second subbasement of a manor house outside Roanoke, a centuries-old Wallachian prince goes walking in his dreams. Guardian angel? Or beautiful liar? The people he visits will soon learn, because like it or not, they’re being drawn to his prison. 

All roads lead to Virginia in the second novel of Lauren Gilley’s Sons of Rome series. Dark paranormal fantasy brimming with richly-drawn characters, and steeped in history, Red Rooster continues the adventure that began in book one, White Wolf.


Title : Red Rooster
Author : Lauren Gilley
Series : Sons of Rome (book two)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 466
Genre : paranormal
Publisher : HP Press
Release Date : March 29, 2018

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★.5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

So, I want to say that RED ROOSTER was everything I loved about WHITE WOLF but better but that would sort’ve be a lie as what I loved, or fell in love with, in book one was mostly due to the WWII era setting and history. And we have none of that in book two. We were pretty much all contemporary instead of past, with everyone having caught up to current events (in this world, I think it’s 2017? which makes sense based on publication) and all the chaos that is ensuing as a result of what came before.

Is everybody gonna turn into [a vampire]? Is this like the plague or something? Shit — is this I Am Legend? Fuck, I knew it.

I’ll admit, the one couple I wasn’t liking in book one, I’m still not loving, but there are plenty of others, and even more characters in general, that it’s not a big deal. And when I say more characters, like.. there’s a bunch. And we had a whole host of new introductions in this installment that had me immediately texting the friends who recommended this series to me and.. (not so) quietly losing my mind. There are even more familiar names popping up in this world and oh man was it hysterical and weird and amazing.

I’m super disappointed about [this]. All the vampire movies make it out like you get all sparkly, and irresistible and shit. Women just throw themselves at you, you know? And here I am, same old chump with a broken nose.”

Despite some grittier elements, I feel like this might not have been as dark an installment. But it was definitely just as fun and just as funny, and at times hella heartbreaking, and yeah I’m so trash for the characters and for a few of the couples. And one that I’m still waiting on to happen! Like.. it’s so good, so sweet, so pure, as it is but.. I want more.

The world’s broken a thousand times. [..] It always breaks, and stupid people always die trying to keep it from breaking, and it always mends itself in the end. I can live through that. I have. But I won’t live without him.”

This is a series that I feel needs a lot more attention and while I was reluctant to recommend it after book one, I think as a result of being more than satisfied by book two that I need to start pushing this on more friends. So, hey, if you’re not afraid of long books, love paranormal universes, and ensemble casts, you should take a look-see at this series. Particularly as the kindle prices are dirt cheap. You really can’t lose here. Huge page counts, tons of excitement, less than the cost of a coffee? Get on it!

CHECK, PLEASE! BOOK 1 : #HOCKEY by Ngozi Ukazu

Helloooo, Internet Land. Bitty here!

Y’all… I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking. And then, there is Jack—our very attractive but moody captain.

A collection of the first half of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.


Title : Check, Please! Book One : #Hockey
Author : Ngozi Ukazu
Series : Check, Please! (book one/volumes one & two)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 288
Genre : YA LGBTQIA+ sports graphic novel
Publisher : First Second
Release Date : September 18, 2018

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 5 star review

This rating isn’t much of a surprise for me, and maybe not for those who follow me on GR, as this was a reread and I already gushed about this back in 2018. I had initially read this via the author’s website, as it was (is?) being posted as a webcomic, but decided to reread this one as I prepare to read the most recent bundle/release now that my library has it.

And okay am I as gushy the second time around? Maybe not quite. But this is still the sweetest, purest, funniest, most adorable, graphic novel.. ever. This is everything hockey, everything pure and soft, but also very realistic, and watching Bitty become more of himself as he starts college, as he bakes, belts out Beyoncé, and maybe harbors a bit of a crush? Just a delight. The whole cast is, really.

If you want a fun feel good experience, look no further.

WHERE DREAMS DESCEND by Janella Angeles

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.


Title : Where Dreams Descend
Author : Janella Angeles
Series : Kingdom of Cards (book one)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 464
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Release Date : August 25, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

Wow, so, like. I’m really mad at myself. I’ve had a copy of this ARC for so long and even before the release date was pushed back I just kept putting off reading it. I don’t know why. So I’m here to encourage you to not do what I did. Because this book? Fabulous.

It may have taken me about two and a half, maybe three, weeks to read because I’m (as most of us are) slumpy or just living that pandemic lyfe, but nonetheless every little bit I would read? Was great. The story stuck with me, enthralled me, even when I put it down to be distracted by my phone or Netflix or staring at the walls.

I don’t have to prove a single thing to them. What matters most is what I prove to myself. Giving up would be an insult to everything I know I’m capable of.

I am completely stunned this is a debut because though the story is fascinating and mysterious and compelling, the writing? It’s solid. It’s magical. It’s polished. And it’s all that while also having a very relevant dialogue about the double standards in society and the inequalities within most, if not all, fields, without feeling like it’s trying to force the topic to be relevant, y’know?

Magician or not, we’ve always lived in a series of boys’ clubs we’re not allowed to enter. We’re told we’re simply lucky to be in the room, as long as we stay quiet. Make even a little murmur, and it’s like we’ve disturbed the order of life itself.”

As an added bonus, I could never quite see exactly where things were going. The teases were given, the little reveals, what you thought was true.. this was one story that was laced with the tiniest of breadcrumbs as opposed to smacking you in the face with what was coming next. I loved that.

If the comparisons to Moulin Rouge and Phantom of the Opera put you off because you worried it wouldn’t live up to one or the other or both; if you’ve been disillusioned by YA fantasies, particularly from debut authors one too many times; if you thought maybe would be just another NIGHT CIRCUS (even if you liked it, but especially if you didn’t!), I’m here to tell you.. yes. Just.. yes.

For too long she’d envisioned only herself on the stage, an image that always kept her going : basking in the spotlight, hearing her name and cheers over everything else. Strange how applause was just noise, when you were all alone.

My one complaint, even though it isn’t really, is that while I felt the mystery surrounding the setting of this book did a great job of sucking you in, the little glimpses we were given of the world outside just didn’t feel quite as fleshed out or real. Maybe that was to keep the focus on what was happening in the moment, which it did very well, but I would definitely like to know more of the world outside this pocket of events, too.

Either way, I can’t wait for more and I’m so excited for book two.

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