Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category


September 14, 2021 • Cee • Reviews

The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl • September 14, 2021 • Page Street Kids
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Getting over Your Vampire Ex is as Easy as Killing Him and Stealing His Girlfriend

Holly Liddell has been stuck with crimped hair since 1987 when she agreed to let her boyfriend, Elton, turn her into a vampire. But when he ditches her at a gas station a few decades into their eternity together, she realizes that being young forever actually means working graveyard shifts at Taco Bell, sleeping in seedy motels, and being supernaturally compelled to follow your ex from town to town—at least until Holly meets Elton’s other exes.

It seems that Holly isn’t the only girl Elton seduced into this wretched existence. He turned Ida in 1921, then Rose in 1954, and he abandoned them both before Holly was even born. Now Rose and Ida want to kill him before he can trick another girl into eternal adolescence, and they’ll need Holly’s help to do it. And once Holly starts falling for Elton’s vulnerable new conquest, Parker, she’ll do anything to save her.

To kill Elton for good, Holly and her friends will have to dig up their pasts, rob a bank, and reconcile with the people they’ve hurt in their search for eternal love. And to win the girl, Holly will have to convince Parker that she’s more than just Elton’s crazy ex—even though she is trying to kill him.


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

First sentence: “Welcome to Taco Bell. Order when ready.”

When your vampire ex breaks up with you and tries to turn other teenage girls, it’s time for him to die.

Immortality sucks when you’re a sixteen year old vampire trying to get over your shitty ex and working at Taco Bell to make ends meet. It isn’t the fairytale ending that Holly Liddell envisioned when Elton Irving promised her eternal love. But here she is now with forever ‘80s crimped hair, nursing a broken heart. And when she meets Rose and Ida—two girls who had also been turned and discarded decades ago—well, Elton’s gotta die.

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August 25, 2021 • Cee • Reviews

All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue • June 8, 2021 • Walker Books
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Maeve’s strangely astute tarot readings make her the talk of the school, until a classmate draws a chilling and unfamiliar card—and then disappears.

After Maeve finds a pack of tarot cards while cleaning out a closet during her in-school suspension, she quickly becomes the most sought-after diviner at St. Bernadette’s Catholic school. But when Maeve’s ex–best friend, Lily, draws an unsettling card called The Housekeeper that Maeve has never seen before, the session devolves into a heated argument that ends with Maeve wishing aloud that Lily would disappear. When Lily isn’t at school the next Monday, Maeve learns her ex-friend has vanished without a trace.

Shunned by her classmates and struggling to preserve a fledgling romance with Lily’s gender-fluid sibling, Roe, Maeve must dig deep into her connection with the cards to search for clues the police cannot find—even if they lead to the terrifying Housekeeper herself. Set in an Irish town where the church’s tight hold has loosened and new freedoms are trying to take root, this sharply contemporary story is witty, gripping, and tinged with mysticism.


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

First sentence: “The story of how I ended up with the Chokey Card Tarot Consultancy can be told in four detentions, three notes sent home, two bad report cards, and one Tuesday afternoon that ended with me locked in a cupboard. “

Be careful of the power that tarot cards can bring.

For Irish teenager Maeve Chambers, she doesn’t know that. All that she knows is that she was cleaning out the Chokey—a long cupboard akin to a closet in the basement of her school—as punishment and left with tarot cards in her hands. Thus begins her foray into the tarot card business, where Maeve gains the attention from her peers. It’s all great until she does a reading for her ex-best friend Lily, and the next day, said ex-best friend disappears. Did Maeve have a hand at Lily’s disappearance or is there more at foot? Something more sinister and supernatural?

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July 19, 2021 • Cee • Reviews

Aquicorn Cove by K. O’Neill • October 16, 2018 • Oni Press

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Unable to rely on the adults in her storm-ravaged seaside town, a young girl must protect a colony of magical seahorse-like creatures she discovers in the coral reef.

From the Eisner Award-winning author of The Tea Dragon Society and Princess Princess Ever After comes AQUICORN COVE, a heartfelt story about learning to be a guardian to yourself and those you love..

When Lana and her father return to their seaside hometown to help clear the debris of a big storm, Lana remembers how much she’s missed the ocean—and the strong, reassuring presence of her aunt. As Lana explores the familiar beach, she discovers something incredible: a colony of Aquicorns, small magical seahorse-like creatures that live in the coral reef. Lana rescues an injured Aquicorn and cares for it with the help of her aunt, who may know more about these strange creatures than she’s willing to admit. But when a second storm threatens to reach the town, choices made many years ago about how to coexist with the sea start to rise to the surface. Lana realizes she will need to find the strength to stand on her own, even when it means standing up to the people who she has always relied on to protect her.


First sentence: This book is for everyone who protects the sea, and for those who will inherit the responsibility. Thank you for taking care of our beautiful world.

Two words: adorable + educational.

Aquicorn Cove is a magical tale about Lana (and her father) returning to their seaside hometown to help the town after a big storm destroyed it, and learning about how everybody’s actions has affected these magical seahorse-like creatures called Aquicorns that she discovers when she rescues one. 

What I love most about this book are:

  • the art work is so pretty. Kay O’Neill does an amazing job illustrating this beautiful seaside town. You can feel how much Lana loves this place and the emotions swirling through this book simply by the colors used in the art.
  • it’s LGBTQ+ friendly.

  • the cute Aquicorns. They are magical creatures and so darn cute!!
  • it discusses the impact of our actions that have a negative effect on our environment. Everybody and everything are just trying to survive, but cannot if people do not change the way they do things (like how they fish and stuff). It’s a lesson that everybody—small and big—needs to learn.

Aquicorn Cove is beautiful heartfelt story about loss that illustrates how a little girl copes with her mother’s death, and the devastation of how human beings’ actions attribute to climate change and the destruction the ocean.

Should you read Aquicorn Cove? Yes!!!!

July 12, 2021 • Cee • Reviews

Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse by Jonathan Stutzman & Heather Fox • May 5, 2020 • Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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In the hilarious follow-up to Llama Destroys the World, author/illustrator team Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox give Llama another shot at saving the world…from himself, in Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse.
Llama’s back and ready to destroy the world AGAIN… this time with his best camelid, Alpaca!
Llama loves cooking. And baking. And, above all, eating.
For breakfast, Llama makes one epic spread…as well as a big mess.
But Llama hates cleaning.
So by lunch, Llama has cooked up something really devious―an idea!―and by second lunch, Llama has cloned his most fastidious friend, Alpaca, to clean his house. And Llama doesn’t stop at just one clone.
By dinner, the alpaca clones threaten to tidy the world into utter destruction―THE ALPACALYPSE* IS HERE! Will Llama be able to fix it all before dessert? *That’s “apocalypse” with an alpaca―get it?


First sentence: By dinner, Llama will unleash a great Alpacalypse upon the world.

This llama is on a path to destroy the world…again. With the unintentional help of alpacas this time! Llama must be stopped!

Llama, llama—he becomes too lazy to clean after his own messes, so what does he do? Create a cloning machine to clone a bunch of alpacas to clean for him. What could go wrong? (Spoiler: Everything goes completely wrong!) You wouldn’t think that these cute animals could bring real destruction into the world, but here they are, doing their best.

This picture book is so cute—from the art work to the crazy antics the llama and the alpaca get into. It’s a fun read everybody will enjoy, and everything that happens is stuff everybody can relate to because who’d want to clean their own mess? It’s a lot of fun!

Should you read Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse? Yes! Share this with all the kids!

April 7, 2021 • Cee • Reviews

Something’s Wrong! by Jory John and Erin Kraan • March 23, 2021 • Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Jeff the bear has definitely forgotten something. He ate his breakfast, he watered his plant, he combed his fur…what could it be? Why does he feel so oddly off? So he asks his friend Anders the rabbit what could possibly be wrong. It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that he’s wearing underwear…over his fur…could it?


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

First sentence: Let’s see…I ate my breakfast. I wrote in my journal. I watered my plant. I took my bath. I tried on the gift from my grandma. And I combed my fur. Hmm. So why do I still feel like I’m forgetting something? SOMETHING’S WRONG!”

What’s more charming than a sweet nervous bear forgetting that he’s wearing underwear outside for the world to see? Everybody goes through that moment when they leave the house but forget something important like your wallet or putting the wrong shoes on. Even these forest creatures.

When Jeff the bear leaves his house, he has a nagging feeling that he’s forgotten something important. He encounters friends along the way and speaks to them pretending that everything is okay as he racks his brain of what he forgot. His friends know—they break the fourth wall asking readers “Why is that bear wearing underwear?” And who finally tells him what the bear forgot? Well, it’s the one creature the bear hopes to always have his back. 

Something’s Wrong is so darn cute. The message—forgetting something you meant to do or bring—is a familiar day to day occurrence for everybody. I love the nervous energy that Jeff the bear imbues. (I’m all about that!) And his friendship with Anders the rabbit is what you’d hope to have with your own friends. The book does a great job of including kids in on the fun by breaking the fourth wall.  I love the art; the way the colors look exactly like printing via the letterpress. It gives the art great textures. 

Should you read Something’s Wrong? Yes! Share this with all the kids!

March 1, 2021 • Cee • Reviews

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna • February 9, 2021 • Delacorte Press
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Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.


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

First sentence: “Today is the Ritual of Purity.”

In a patriarchal society where girls are judged by the blood that runs through them—where abuse, racism, and xenophobia runs rampant—Otera is a brutal world to live in. Deka knows that first hand. As someone who has never felt like she’s belonged in her village, Deka prays for red blood—the color of acceptance and purity. However, when the day comes when she turns sixteen, all the praying she did does not come into fruition; her blood runs gold—the color of impurity.

When Deka is given the choice to stay and be tortured and eventually killed OR leave to fight for the emperor with girls just like her, she chooses the option that will keep her alive. Deka becomes part of an elite team who’s mission is to wipe out Deathshrieks for the Emperor.

That’s when her greatest battle begins.

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