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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.

myreview

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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February 2, 2021 • Cee • Reviews

What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo • February 2, 2021 • FSG
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Eleanor Zarrin has been estranged from her wild family for years. When she flees boarding school after a horrifying incident, she goes to the only place she thinks is safe: the home she left behind. But when she gets there, she struggles to fit in with her monstrous relatives, who prowl the woods around the family estate and read fortunes in the guts of birds.

Eleanor finds herself desperately trying to hold the family together — in order to save them all, Eleanor must learn to embrace her family of monsters and tame the darkness inside her.

Exquisitely terrifying, beautiful, and strange, this fierce gothic fantasy will sink its teeth into you and never let go.

myreview

First sentence: “I opened my eyes, and I was on the train.”

What Big Teeth has the makings of everything I love in books—that gothic atmosphere, a bit of weirdness, and monstrous creatures with The Addams family-esque dynamics trying to reconcile their family while dealing with a major threat that can blow this family apart—but it doesn’t quite live  up to expectations.

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March 14, 2020 • Cee • Reviews

Normal People by Sally Rooney • April 16, 2019 • Hogarth Press
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At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers—one they are determined to conceal.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.!

myreview

First sentence: “Marianne answers the door when Connell rings the bell.”

It’s a bad sign when you start a book—that everybody you knew was raving about how “dark and gritty” and “psychological” it is—and come out of the first few pages knowing that you won’t like this book and no matter how much you push yourself into reading more, it won’t change your mind. Normal People is that book.

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October 21, 2019 • Cee • Reviews

The Goldblum Variations by Helen McClory • October 22, 2019 • Penguin Books
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The essential companion for any fan of Jeff Goldblum, Hollywood’s most beloved and otherworldly icon

You like Jeff Goldblum. We like Jeff Goldblum. Helen McClory really likes Jeff Goldblum.

So lie back, Jurassic Park-style, and prepare to enjoy The Goldblum Variations, a collection of stories, musings, puzzles, and games based on the one and only Jeff Goldblum as he (and alternate versions of himself) travels through the known (and unknown) universe in a mighty celebration of weird and wonderful Goldbluminess.

Maybe he’s cresting the steep bluffs of a mysterious planet on an epic treasure hunt, maybe he’s wearing a nice sweater, maybe he’s reading from this very book. The possibilities are endless. Treat yourself . . . because all that glitters is Goldblum.

myreview

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

First sentence: “The Jeff Goldblum that lathes and sands down a pine table, brushing the grain with the heel of his hand, bends down and takes a spirit level to it, saying gently to the wood, well done, you.”

Jeff Goldblum—beloved actor, meme star, cultural icon—who in the world doesn’t like him?

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August 12, 2019 • Cee • Reviews

Wilder Girls by Rory Power • July 9, 2019 • Delacorte Press
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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.

myreview

First sentence: “Something.”

You do what it takes to survive with the Tox. Every day, life at the Raxter School for Girls is a fight; it’s full of fear and uncertainty about when the next flare-up will be, whether they’re gonna be cured, and who else will go to the infirmary and never come back.

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June 20, 2019 • Cee • Reviews

Aurora Rising (Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff • May 7, 2019 • Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House)
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The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

myreview

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: “I’m gonna miss the Draft.”

Sometimes, it doesn’t pay off to be heroic. Not if your dreams of recruiting the best squad in the universe falls upon you being there for the picking and not out in space following up on a distress call to save someone. That’s what Tyler Jones, star Golden boy of the Aurora Academy, finds out.

But that heroism kickstarts a hell of an adventure—it gets him to Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl whose existence defies time and space, and a ragtag of misfits who are along for this dangerous ride.

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