February Monthly Wrap-Up

Surreal to be sitting at home wrapping up February given the current state of the world but also it’s a way to hold onto some normalcy. At the top of February I took a trip to Bear Mountain as well as Philly with my boyfriend to get away from city life & I’m SO thankful that we did! Surprisingly I didn’t get much movie/Netflix downtime but I still managed the 1 Netflix movie many of us were HIGHLY anticipating (see end of this post) 🤗 My appetite for reading did skyrocket in February with 8 books read. This is high for me because of how hectic work/mom life was (it’s even more nanas now lol) but I also embraced audiobooks which really came in handy during #Contemporaryathon. I do hope you’re all keeping safe & whether you find yourself with more free time or no free time at all, you are not alone. This Bookworm is feeling it but coping & finding new ways keep anxiety at bay, sending virtual hugs & well wishes to you all 💓

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH BY. ADALYN GRACE  ✨5 STARS ✨ 

THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL BY MAUREEN GOO ✨4 STARS ✨ 

ASHLORDS BY SCOTT REINTGEN ✨4 STARS ✨ 

HEROINE BY MINDY MCGINNIS ✨4 STARS ✨ 

DARK AND DEEPEST RED BY ANNA-MARIE MCLEMORE ✨5 STARS ✨ 

GET A LIFE CHLOE BROWN BY TALIA HIBBERT ✨5 STARS ✨

WILD AT HEART BY K.A. TUCKER (RTC) ✨5 STARS ✨

HEARTSTOPPER VOL. 1 BY ALICE OSEMAN (RTC) ✨4 STARS ✨ 

TO ALL THE BOYS P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU

This was a pretty solid follow-up to the first act however this time around I found myself rooting hard for John Ambrose. Still love Peter but I won’t lie, he definitely grated my last nerve here  that I was surprised to see him win me back. Anywho, I’m ready for the 3rd installment & hope to see more Netflix Original movie adaptations of YA books 💓


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FEBRUARY 2020 BOOK HAUL

Hello Bookworms! I honestly am looking for ways to occupy my mind away from the very grim reality we are all facing. That means I may actually get some more reading & reviewing done, glass half full amiright? I read some really good books in February that I’ll break down in my Wrap-up which should be up early this week. I’m still keeping to my 2020 goal of buying only my favorites OR titles I know I’ve been eager to get to. I also happened to take a trip to Philadelphia & stopped by one of my favorite Comic Book shops on South Street Atomic City Comics. This comic book shop has such a chill vibe with AMAZING staff that really go out of their way to talk to their customers & make some dope recommendations. I LOVE their spotlight table where you can find titles featuring LGBTQIA+ and POC, Abbott (Pictured down below) is one of the titles I scooped up from their shop 🤗

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LADY MECHANIKA VOLUME 1 | ABBOTT | THE SIMPLE WILD (WILD #1) | WILD AT HEART (WILD #2)| THE LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN (HELL’S LIBRARY #1) | LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI (LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI #1) | WHERE DREAMS DESCEND (ARC) | STARSIGHT (SKYWARD #2)

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ANNA K | THINGS IN JARS | WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT

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ALL THE STARS AND TEETH


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Spoiler Free Review: Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams

Title: Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2)

Author:Lyssa Kay Adams

Pub. Date: March 10th 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Berkley

Pages: 320 Pages/9 hours & 7 minutes

GOODEADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

Isn’t it awesome how we didn’t have to wait long for more of our fave characters? In The Bromance Book Club we met Mack & Liv who are probably two of the unlikeliest characters you’d imagine shipping & yet their banter made the chemistry undeniable. Mack has always been charming, women find him attractive and easy to talk to. He had yet to find the one who’d stir in him feelings of wanting to settle down but always eyed married life/kids with admiration & keen interest. He’s the member of the Bromance Book Club dishing out advice and now he finds himself on the opposite side of the fence. Liv has moved out of her sister Thea’s home & is working at her dream job in Nashville as a Sous Chef. The only/last interaction she had with Mack was when finding out he’d helped himself to her leftover Chinese food at Thea’s. Liv is a feminist who views Mack as a self appointed Romance expert. She knows all about the book club & isn’t interested in being the next female he can rescue. When Liv discovers that the Chef aka her boss has been sexually harassing one of the other Sous Chefs, she sets out to expose him.

Content Warning: Sexual harassment, Domestic Violence, sexual assault, gaslighting, alcoholism

We follow Liv as she attempts to gather evidence to bring to light & stop him from ever taking advantage of his position. Mack gets wind of her cause & asks to join her on the mission to which she begrudgingly accepts. This of course leads the Bromance Book Club’s to their next read…a Romantic Suspense! We get to see the Book Club guys back at the table discussing toxic masculinity, this time helping Mack recognize where he’s going wrong with Liv. Sometimes throwing the script away is necessary in order to win the heart of someone who doesn’t trust easily & has been hurt in the past. We see Mack & the fellas become allies with regards to stopping the sexual degradation of women in the workplace. We also see both Mack and Liv sort through their own personal baggage, emotions tied to their parents and upbringing. It was interesting and at least for me, very relatable to see how toxicity stemming from childhood can have an impact on your own relationships as an adult. My only wish was for there to have been more of the courting aspects of this relationship. This follow-up was definitely more focused on bringing down the villain which I enjoyed but also would’ve loved more of Liv & Macks fun flirtattious interactions. Nonetheless, it was a really good time seeing some of my fave characters back on the page. Also, was anyone else cheesy smiling when we learned “The Russians” real name? 😂🙌🏽 I wouldn’t mind seeing him get a story arc…Jussayin 🤷🏻‍♀️💜


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: THE LAST HOPE (THE RAGING ONES #2) BY KRISTA & Becca Ritchie

Title: The Last Hope (The Raging Ones #2)

Author: Krista & Becca Ritchie

Pub. Date: August 13th 2019

Genre: YA Sci-fi

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 400 Pages/12 hours & 53 minutes

Rating: 3.75 Stars

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

*This is the sequel to The Raging Ones & although it is a spoiler free review for The Last Hope, you will get spoiled for The Raging Ones*

Taking off right where we left off, our three main characters Court, Franny & Mykall have been captured and are accused of being humans and not Salterians. Turns out there is a huge war taking place between Earth & Saltare with Earth being at a huge disadvantage. Saltarians all know their death days from the day they are born & as such have made great strides in winning the war against Earth. The trio are rescued at the very beginning of this story by Stork, a new character in the mix who has sought them out as part of his plan. Stork holds his cards close to his chest, he’s on a mission to even out the playing field between Earth & Saltare. Plotwise, The Last Hope had a lot going on with many twists & turns. Ultimately though, towards the very end it felt as if too much was thrown into the pot which made the story feel off kilter. That being said, the driving force for this book is the bond shared between Court, Mykkel, and Franny. I LIVE for character driven stories which is what made me LOVE The Raging Ones when I picked it up in 2018. Reconnecting with these characters once again makes you feel like you’re experiencing a rare bond that is truly unconditional. This time around Franny gets a love interest which I was full on hoping for. If anything, I only wish we’d had more time for their relationship to be as fleshed out as Court & Mykkels. Connected by taste, touch, and smell these characters EVERYTHING is intertwined. Some steam was brought this time around as these characters explored their passions & tested boundaries.

The Audiobook experience delivered A+ performance, told by way of multiple POV’s we got to experience Mykkel’s accent which for me at least gave me Viking Babe VibeZ haha! Court ever the intellectual is always stuck in his head & trying to put others before his needs. Franny a Fast Tracker who has ditched a life of drugs for the connection she has with Court & Mykkel. The romance between Mykkel & Court will forever go down as one of my favorite ships. These guys are from completely different backgrounds but there’s a deep tenderness in every interaction that will have you rooting for their love. I loved being back in this world but it was our new character Stork that truly gets the award for stealing the show. I LOVED Stork’s sarcasm! He’s someone who was dealt a crummy hand but managed to make the best of it & carries with him a deep appreciation for those who saw to his well being. It’s hard to believe our story has come to an end but it was a satisfying one at the very least. This being my first experience with Krista & Becca Ritchie’s books, it’s safe to say I’ll be looking into their backlist titles throughout the year ahead 🙂


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: HEROINE BY MINDY MCGINNIS

Title: HEROINE

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Pub. Date: March 12th 2019

Genre: YA Contemporary

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 419 Pages

🖤ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review🖤

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

Mickey Catalan is a star player for the High School Softball team and on the fast track to making history. Her prospects for college softball are looking promising but that all changes as a result of a car crash that brings her dreams to a halt. Given Oxycodone for painkillers & a lengthy period of recovery from her life threatening injuries, Mickey is left feeling desperate for a quick fix. Her encounter with someone who offers her more of the drug that is quickly sinking its teeth into her is only the start of a downward spiral.  We see Mickey distance herself from her loved ones, making friends with others who like her have developed a co-dependent relationship with the drug. It starts with pain killers & escalates to other drugs, ultimately taking Mickey and leaving her a different version of the girl before the accident. 

Whenever I pick up a Mindy McGinnis book its safe to say I know what I’m signing up for. I’ve come to deeply appreciate this author for taking on such tough real themes and handling them so well. There is no shying away from the dark & ugly truths here, instead we get a raw accurate portrayal of what it’s like to fall into addiction. Whether we’ve experienced it first hand or not, we’ve all known someone or had a close loved one experience this battle. Here we see a young teen who has a promising future & loved ones she finds herself lying to in order to continue to feed her addiction. While reading this book I felt despair & a sense of loss of control that I’m sure only scratches the surface. Every time I thought she was close to being exposed & wasn’t I worried for Mickey because I knew it only drove her further to push the limits. The book almost feels as its written in the stages of addiction one experiences. Denial was a tough one because the desperation comes through as well as the lying, stealing, and cover ups. The only reason I didn’t 5 star it was simply because although the addiction itself was deeply fleshed out, Mickey could’ve used more depth. Besides knowledge of her place in the softball team, we don’t get much on her life prior to the accident which didn’t allow for me to connect with her character. Despite this however, I feel this book absolutely carries importance & most of all hope.

Content Warning: Detailed drug addiction, overdose, withdrawals, death, car accidents, separation, infertility 


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: AN ANONYMOUS GIRL BY GREER HENDRICKS & Sarah Pekkanen

Title: An Anonymous Girl

Author: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Pub. Date: January 8th 2019

Genre: Thriller Suspense

Format: Audiobook 

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 375 Pages/11 Hours; 40 minutes

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

“You’re Invited: Seeking women aged 18 to 32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality conducted by a preeminent NYC psychiatrist. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed. Call for more details.”

We meet Jessica who is stressed beyond measure & feeling a bit over burdened with a sense of duty to her family. Self appointed financial care taker of her sisters medical bills, Jessica is struggling to make ends meet. Her job as a on the go makeup artist is barely allowing for her to make a living let alone supplement her struggling parents income. When she catches word of a study that’s being held by a University Professor she seizes the opportunity. Things get weird rather quickly during the initial survey questions…

“Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?”

Nevertheless, Jessica was dead set on earning a bit of extra cash & answering some questions for a reputable doctor seemed harmless no matter how odd these morality/ethical questions seemed. As I listened to the audiobook which btw had excellent narration, I started to feel as if our MC was legit a spider caught in a web. I honestly got stalker vibes all the way through & wondered how the MC who was super inquisitive still managed to get lured in deeper. This was a very narcissistic read & our MC formed a co-dependent relationship from the very beginning. I can’t say I was honestly shocked by the twists & turns that were taken. However, the vibe of this book was so unsettling that it grabbed a hold of me & wouldn’t let go. If you’re looking for a suspenseful novel featuring some very toxic relationships then this would be the book to pick up. There were times I didn’t know for sure who was in the know vs. who was being drawn into a corner. Overall I enjoyed An Anonymous Girl & will most definitely be picking up this duo’s current title You Are Not Alone.

Content Warning: Suicide, Death, Sexual Assault, Adultery


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL BY MAUREEN GOO

Title: The Way You Make Me Feel

Author: Maureen Goo

Pub. Date: May 8th 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Pages: 336 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

This book will forever go down in my little corner of the universe as THE book that snuck up & delivered such a beautiful message of finding yourself and the connections we make along the way. Our MC Clara Shin is known as the school prankster & she sort of thrives on being disruptive. When one of her pranks goes a bit too far, she comes face to face with her archenemy. Rose Carver is the polar opposite of Clara, she’s very rigid and serious about her academic journey. Rose has made it very clear to Clara that she can’t stand her chill laid back approach to school. This last confrontation ends up getting a bit physical and both girls get heir parents called. Clara’s dad is a single parent trying to run a successful food truck in hopes of one day opening his own restaurant. It’s his idea to have the girls hash out their issues by working together at the food truck. The Way You Make Me Feel serves up delicious Korean-Brazilian dishes, teenage drama, cute romance, new found friendships, and parent/child relationships. 

At first glance I thought I was getting into a cute light hearted Contemporary & to some extent it is but at a further glance, it’s so much more. Clara doesn’t know why she’s never taken school all that seriously however in her efforts to maintain a relationship with her mother, she discovers some truths about herself. I loved seeing the teens & parents in this story take on the hard task of introspection, facing that which drives them to behave a certain way. There’s discussion of the after effects of separation, academic pressures, anxiety, as well as the challenges of parenting for a single dad. My favorite aspect of this book revolved around the father/daughter relationship, Adrian gets all my love for being a rockstar Dad. Those that have been around my blog long enough know I have a weakness for father/daughter bonds as I had an amazing one with my own. Adrian doesn’t pretend to be perfect, he’s just a single dad trying to get back on track with providing some structure for his teen daughter. He’s known as the cool, fun, handsome dad & that worked for some time but he has a what I call “get real” moment. Finding a balance between Cool Dad vs. Tough Love Dad which he handles so well! On the topic of writing I will say there were times where Clara’s attempts at sarcasm felt a bit awkward. I don’t think the humor hit home with me & at times I sort of just looked past it. Instead I took away the bigger message and that’s that the road to self discovery is a journey worth making.


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: ASHLORDS BY SCOTT REINTGEN

42281865Title: ASHLORDS

Author: Scott Reintgen

Pub. Date: January 14th 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

Format: Audiobook 

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 368 Pages/10 Hours

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

.

There was a time where the Gods gifted their people Pheonix horses to battle in war, now those same horses are used for sport. What is required to become a Pheonix rider? Knowledge of Alchemy, fighting, and riding. A Pheonix is created by way of combinations in Alchemy & by Sunset that Pheonix bursts into flames. Each rider has the opportunity during a rebirth to create a Pheonix with specific skill sets/defenses. We follow three characters from very different backgrounds with a whole lot invested in winning this race & securing the bag aka Money & lots of it. It’s been a long time since there’s been an uprising & the Ashlords who are considered the elite in this word have been sitting pretty. Unchallenged since the last rebellion they quelled, the last thing they’d expect is for the people to turn against them. Many lives were lost as a repercussion of the last rebellion as a way to punish the people & ensure they never rise up again, many were ordered to be killed. This race is only the start of a war that’s been brewing & our MC’s have a stake in it all.

Imelda aka The Alchemist –Comes from a humble family who don’t have much funds but are rich in the love they have for one another. Imelda is a skilled Alchemist who has gained some notoriety with the help of her friend who records her creations with Pheonix horses & livestreams them. Imelda has no idea she is recruited as a pawn to divert the attention away from someone with elite status caught in a less than favorable position. Imelda is my favorite character simply because she is proving to be someone who may just flip the script *fingers crossed*

Pippa aka The Favorite –Comes from a family of Ashlords & famous Pheonix riders. The pressure is real for Pippa to make it big but her current relationship with another major Pheonix Rider is making her question a whole lot. Can her boyfriend handle her winning the race? or will that be too much for his ego? Pippa is very intelligent, competitive, and knows how to look out for her best interest. A worthy opponent she does make.

Adrian aka The Longhand – Son of the past rebellion leader, Adrian has been groomed all his life to one day lead their people against the Ashlords who have kept them oppressed. Adrian is described as being very strong & knowledgeable in these races. He’s studied them & has been mentored to recognize his competitors strengths & weaknesses. For Adrian this is about retribution.

Having read Scott Reintgen’s Nyxia trilogy, I was pretty confident we’d get a set of characters I’d love & I’m happy to report this proved to be the case. I listened to the audiobook version after learning that it was narrated by a full cast which is my absolute favorite way to listen to multiple POV stories. The voice actors were PHENOMENAL! you can’t go wrong when you’ve recruited Rebecca Soler who is known for voice acting for Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles. We get a good grasp of the Pheonix Riders themselves, I just wish we’d had more on the history of the turmoil as well as the depths of the Gods involvement. Also, as a lover of all things Greek Mythology I really enjoy learning about the myths behind the Gods. I didn’t come away feeling satisfied on my knowledge of the gods in this world but hope we’ll get more of them in the sequel to come. It’s pretty bad a** to have a world where you can create magical horses! also, for all animal lovers the fact that these horses vanish at sunset since they are alchemical creations means they aren’t real horses suffering in this sport & that’s always a plus!<3


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FRIDAY READS & THANGS

WHIMSICAL ILLUSTRATIONS BY ESRA RØISE

It’s Friday Book Lovers & I for one couldn’t be more thankful! last weekend I was in Philadelphia with my boyfriend, a city that’s quickly becoming a favorite for its rich history, food, awesome human beings & of course home of Rocky! 🥊 this weekend however is going to be more chill, staying local with a trip to one of my tiny humans favorite parks that offers up some good waterside scenic paths to ride bikes. I anticipate some down time (perhaps a smidge haha!) where I can squeeze in reading, most likely while meal prepping. I’m trying to get into the habit of always having an audiobook playing while multi-tasking & so far its been fun & productive. This week was pretty big for the YA publishing world with the release of SJ Maas House of Earth and Blood & Cassandra Clare’s Chain of Gold! 🤗 although I can’t partake in the Chain of Gold excitement just yet since I’ve yet to read Lady Midnight, I am wishing all those who are, a great reading experience! 🖤

AN ANONYMOUS GIRL By the time this post goes live I’ll probably have finished listening to this audiobook from Libby. For the most part I enjoy choosing thrillers blindly since Synopsis tend to give away too much. This has been an interesting listen, not at all what I expected & I’m not sure yet if that’s a good or bad thing. This is a heavy on narcissism read where the MC becomes extremely co-dependent in a sick twisted triangle of sorts. Not in a romantic way at all but in a sick twisted spider caught in a web sort of way, my thoughts will be delivered in a spoiler free mini review.

HOUSE OF EARTH AND BLOOD – This beauty is FINALLY out in the world & yes I’ve dropped all other physical reads to dedicate my time to this story. I’m not very far in it at all but I do now have a Kindle copy which will make it easier to read on my down time. This is SJ Maas’ first adult Fantasy & so far I’m getting all of the Urban Fantasy vibeZ I’ve been craving with complex world building for the win. High hopes here Book Lovers! HIGH hopes *fingers crossed*

DOCILE

There is no consent under capitalism

Docile is a science fiction parable about love and sex, wealth and debt, abuse and power, a challenging tour de force that at turns seduces and startles.

To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of your service. To be a Docile is to sell yourself to pay your parents’ debts and buy your children’s future.”  —I’ve heard from a few trusted friends that this is quite the compulsive read & I’ve really been craving my next sci-fi read. I’ve also heard this deals with very murky consensual sex

DEMON SLAYER VOLUME 1 – While In a Philly comic shop I was on my phone looking for some top Manga recommendations when I came across Demon Slayer. Instantly sucked in by the sibling relationship portrayed on the cover I went looking for the 1st volume which was sold out! turns out it’s a hit manga that’s already on Hulu & now I was set on getting my hands on it. I ended up getting a copy at a Barnes & Nobles where I read the first 20 pages & grew attached to the MC Tanjiro. More thoughts to come, I may just review this manga in batches as I go through the volumes which I predict will happen rather quickly 🙂

Gentefied (Season 1) was mentioned to me by Jessica a Bookstagrammer (Litnoob) I enjoy watching for their stories & in depth bookish thoughts. Gentefied is about three cousins with many differences who come together to save their grandfather’s taco shop (YUM!) which is struggling in a LATINX community faced with gentrification. I was looking for my next Netflix binge & am so very thankful for this recc! ❤


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Spoiler Free Review: Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

Title: Dark and Deepest Red

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore

Pub. Date: January 14th 2020

Genre: YA Historical Fiction/LGBTQIA+

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan

Pages: 309 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON 

*ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review*

“Well-crafted seams and delicate beading gave my family a trade and a living. But red shoes gave us a name. They made us infamous. They made us brazen. Until they came for us. Except that’s not quite true. They didn’t come for us. They came for me.”

I’ve always been intrigued by the Salem Witch trials & the mass hysteria caused by outcries of devil worship. This story however takes place in 1500’s Strasbourg, a time when Romani people were being forced out of France & Germany. Our MC Lala is a Romani girl, she is a person of color, unwed, makes her own living and is in love with a transgender boy. She must give up all Romani traditions & beliefs if she is to pass off as German or French in Strasbourg. Lala has a target on her back when the women are inflicted with dancing fever, a dance they cannot stop & often ends in injury or death. Witchcraft is believed to be at the very heart of these dances as more and more women are touched by the fevered dance. The author gives us Lala’s POV during this time while also jumping ahead to her descendants in current time.

Five centuries later we meet Rosala Oliva & Emil who have ties to Lala & figuring out what those are may help stop the dancing fever from returning. Rosala’s family has been making the red shoes said to deliver a bit of magic to its wearer. Being Romani is something Rosala & Emil have in common, something they know makes them different. Five centuries later their traditions and beliefs aren’t something they’re made to feel they can openly share. When the threat of the Dancing Fever looms over Rosala she turns to Emil who is the only person who can shed some light on the history that binds her both literally & figuratively to her red shoes.

Content Warning: death, religious persecution, racism, homophobia/transphobia, some body horror

We follow two sets of characters, those in 1500’s Strasbourg & those in present day. I personally loved how well fleshed out Lala, Tante, and Alifair are as their part of history is brought to life. Lala knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s made a target of injustice & hate once the dancing fever takes a hold. She knows the odds are well stacked against her even as she falls deeply in love with Alifair who is a transgender boy. Seeking acceptance from those around them is something both Lala & Rosella share in common. They make themselves blend in so as to stay safe. Both learn that embracing that which sets them apart is really the only way to fight back oppression. I admired Alifair’s strength & how protective he is of his found family (Lala & Tante) while also carrying his own secret that if exposed would mean sure death.

Emil & Rosala were also very interesting characters to follow as they navigate relationships with their peers. Their parents have passed down their own knowledge of things that happened during the 1500’s to some of their ancestors. A knowledge that weighs heavy because it’s filled with pain, violence, and persecution for being Romani. These characters know they carry within them a history so rich it’s seeping into their day to day lives. It’s safe to say McLemore has once again delivered an unforgettable cast of characters.

Told in Multiple POV format this is a YA Historical Fantasy in which we follow two sets of characters. Most of the focus however is on Lala & her family in the 1500’s, these characters are well fleshed out vs. the ones we meet in present day. That being said, I felt this worked well since history has a way of repeating itself. Understanding where it all started was emphasized in the way this story was weaved. Although difficult to see, the time I spent reading Lala’s POV was perhaps what I loved most about this book. This may be my bias because I hold a special place in my heart for Historical Fiction but the touch of magical realism McLemore delivers so well is really what draws me in. Scenes with Tante dyeing cloth to sell in rich colors contrasted against the fevered women dancing through the streets till their feet were raw visually stand out. The heavy blanket of anxiety that sits on top of these characters is felt by the reader. Despite the darkness, I am thankful for how McLemore is consistent with delivering a sense of hope with all of their stories. There is a sense of solidarity that comes through at the very end that stirred up some deep emotions within me. I will continue to read all that Anna-Marie McLemore writes for the simple fact that their stories leave a lasting impression in my soul.


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