May 26, 2016 • Cee • Reviews

Monsters A Love Story

Monsters: A Love Story by Liz Kay • June 7, 2016 • Putnam Books (Penguin)
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Stacey Lane feels like a monster. Tommy DeMarco might be one.

Since her husband died eight months ago, Stacey’s been a certified mess—a poet who can’t write anymore, a good mother who feels like she’s failing her kids. She’s been trying to redefine herself, to find new boundaries.

Tommy has no respect for boundaries. A surprisingly well-read A-list Hollywood star, Tommy’s fallen in love with Stacey’s novel-in-verse, a feminist reimagining of Frankenstein, no less. His passion for the book, and eventually its author, will set their lives on a collision course. They’ll make a movie, make each other crazy, and make love—but only in secret.

As Stacey travels between her humdrum life in the suburbs of Omaha and the glamorous but fleeting escape Tommy offers, what begins as a distracting affair starts to pick up weight. It’s a weight that unbalances Stacey’s already unsteady life, but offers new depth to Tommy’s. About desire, love, grief, parenthood, sexual politics, and gender, Monsters: A Love Story is a witty portrait of a relationship gone off the rails, and two people who are made for each other—even if they’re not so sure they see it that way.


I received this book for free from Putnam Books for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “The phone rings.”

You say Frankenstein, and my ears will perk up.

But don’t be fooled, Frankenstein plays little part in Monsters: A Love Story; the classic, a feminist reimagining in verse, just happens to bring the two main characters—Stacey Lane, a suburban mom/poet, and Tommy DeMarco, a Hollywood movie star—together to bring Stacey’s book to life, and they develop a very dysfunctional relationship built on assholery and drinking.

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May 24, 2016 • Cee • Reviews

American Girls

American Girls by Alison Umminger • June 7, 2016 • Flatiron Books (Macmillan)
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She was looking for a place to land.

Anna is a fifteen-year-old girl slouching toward adulthood, and she’s had it with her life at home. So Anna “borrows” her stepmom’s credit card and runs away to Los Angeles, where her half-sister takes her in. But LA isn’t quite the glamorous escape Anna had imagined.

As Anna spends her days on TV and movie sets, she engrosses herself in a project researching the murderous Manson girls―and although the violence in her own life isn’t the kind that leaves physical scars, she begins to notice the parallels between herself and the lost girls of LA, and of America, past and present.

In Anna’s singular voice, we glimpse not only a picture of life on the B-list in LA, but also a clear-eyed reflection on being young, vulnerable, lost, and female in America―in short, on the B-list of life. Alison Umminger writes about girls, sex, violence, and which people society deems worthy of caring about, which ones it doesn’t, in a way not often seen in YA fiction.


I received this book for free from Flatiron Books for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “My first Manson girl was Leslie van Houten, the homecoming princess with the movie-star smile.”

When a young teenage girl becomes fed up with her family in Atlanta, what does she do? For Anna, she “borrows” her stepmom’s credit card and runs away to Los Angeles, where her half-sister lives. However, being in the City of Angels is not exactly the out she had hoped for.

American Girls takes you on a ride that explores people who are struggling; the unglamorous life of LA and Hollywood; the darkness that is in everybody; and the fascinating Manson girls. This is not a happy portrayal of teenage girls; it’s a dark coming-of-age story of a girl deep in American culture.

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May 21, 2016 • Cee • Lists

Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West—and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing—down to number four.

Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben’s, including give up sleep and comic books—well, maybe not comic books—but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it’s time to declare a champion once and for all.

The war is Trixie’s for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben’s best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben’s cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie’s best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they’re on—and they might not pick the same side.

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Welcome to a special Essential Reading post! As part of the St. Martin’s Griffin’s The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You blog tour, I wanted Lily to pick books that would be a must read for her characters! And voila!

For those who do not know what Essential Reading is, it is a feature on my blog where I ask authors to share five to seven books (children’s, YA, general fiction, romances, nonfiction, and all) that they or their characters love, or has impacted their lives or their characters’s lives.

Let’s see what Lily picked, shall we?

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May 20, 2016 • Cee • Reviews

Some King of Happiness

Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand • May 17, 2016 • Simon & Schuster BYR • ARC gifted from Alexa <3
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  • Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend like they’re not.)
  • Being sent to her grandparents’ house for the summer.
  • Never having met said grandparents.
  • Her blue days—when life feels overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep her head up. (This happens a lot.)

Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real–and holds more mysteries than she’d ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones.

With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself.


First sentence: “Once there was a great, sprawling forest called the Everwood.”

Finley Hart’s summer is not what she expects it to be.

  • Instead of spending it with her parents, she’s sent to her grandparents’ house, a place she had never been and is full of relatives she had never met before.
  • She finds that her forest kingdom called Everwood lives right behind her grandparent’s house.
  • Her cousins join Finley on her adventures in the forest.
  • She has blue days, and has to try to keep them locked away from herself and her relatives.
  • She finds mysteries and secrets that she wants to uncover.

That is just a taste of what you can expect from Some Kind of Happiness. Everything that Claire Legrand has written will transport you to this magical world that weaves in the real life with Finley’s fantasical stories. You won’t be able to tear your eyes away from it.

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May 18, 2016 • Cee • Blog News


What is this glorious day? May 18th!

Why? Because it’s my birthday! *pops the confetti and dances around*

I pondered about what I should write for this beautiful day. Unlike previous years, I had nothing I wanted to unveil on The Novel Hermit. No new blog design or the like. I didn’t want to get sentimental here because birthdays are just any regular day. All ideas I had for this post were either somewhat depressing to talk about on this joyous day or required work I hadn’t prepared for, so I shrugged off the pressure of the post and decided to not do anything since it’s my day. (I’ll be prepared next year.)

All I wish for today is that everybody in the world (including me) have a fantastic May 18th. I’m eternally grateful for having all you wonderful people in my life. Make the most of your May 18th for me! I demand you treat yo self!

I hope you all have a fabulous May 18th!

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May 14, 2016 • Cee • Comics

You know what they say about college friendships, “the friends you make in college will last you a lifetime.” Nothing bonds people more than being constantly at “war,” and “war” in Giant Days is having to help a friend who is prone to attracting drama and disasters.

Written by webcomic creator John Allison and illustrated by Disney artist Lissa Treiman, Giant Days follows three British university students—Susan Ptolemy, Esther de Groot, and Daisy Wooton—who get into some wacky school adventures such as being prone to drama, flu delirium, complicated love lives, lad culture, and so much more that’s depicted with clever and funny dialogue and gorgeous art.

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