Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category


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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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.


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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December 27, 2020 • Cee • Reviews

Twas a few days after Christmas that I decide to post something to commemorate my eighth anniversary (which was on December 19).

Can I use the pandemic as an excuse that I forgot The Novel Hermit’s Eighth blogoversary?

Because it’s been a tough year for me. I wasn’t as productive as I hoped I be with most of my focuses going into other parts in my life.

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October 12, 2020 • Cee • Reviews

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik • September 29, 2020 • Del Rey Books
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Uprooted and Spinning Silver comes the story of an unwilling dark sorceress who is destined to rewrite the rules of magic.

I decided that Orion Lake needed to die after the second time he saved my life.

Everyone loves Orion Lake. Everyone else, that is. Far as I’m concerned, he can keep his flashy combat magic to himself. I’m not joining his pack of adoring fans.

I don’t need help surviving the Scholomance, even if they do. Forget the hordes of monsters and cursed artifacts, I’m probably the most dangerous thing in the place. Just give me a chance and I’ll level mountains and kill untold millions, make myself the dark queen of the world.

At least, that’s what the world expects me to do. Most of the other students in here would be delighted if Orion killed me like one more evil thing that’s crawled out of the drains. Sometimes I think they want me to turn into the evil witch they assume I am. The school itself certainly does.

But the Scholomance isn’t getting what it wants from me. And neither is Orion Lake. I may not be anyone’s idea of the shining hero, but I’m going to make it out of this place alive, and I’m not going to slaughter thousands to do it, either.

Although I’m giving serious consideration to just one.

With flawless mastery, Naomi Novik creates a heroine for the ages—a character so sharply realized and so richly nuanced that she will live on in hearts and minds for generations to come.


First sentence: “I decided that Orion needed to die after the second time he saved my life.”

Imagine yourself going to a magic school where there are no teachers and the school is actively trying to kill you. That’s the Scholomance.

Your main goal is to survive until graduation, lest you be food for all the creepy monsters that lurk in the underbelly of the school, picking off unknowing students who don’t have anybody to watch their back in the cafeteria or in the staircase. There’s no teachers, and you learn your magic—whether it’s on the Alchemist track or the language track or wherever—on your own with constant threats to your life if you’re not careful. That sounds intriguing, right?

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October 5, 2020 • Cee • Reviews

Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce • October 6, 2020 • Algonquin Young Readers
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Twelve-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle has a passion for justice and a Highly Unconventional obsession with criminal science. Armed with her father’s law books and her mum’s microscope, Myrtle studies toxicology, keeps abreast of the latest developments in crime scene analysis, and Observes her neighbors in the quiet village of Swinburne, England.

When her next-door neighbor, a wealthy spinster and eccentric breeder of rare flowers, dies under Mysterious Circumstances, Myrtle seizes her chance. With her unflappable governess, Miss Ada Judson, by her side, Myrtle takes it upon herself to prove Miss Wodehouse was murdered and find the killer, even if nobody else believes her — not even her father, the town prosecutor.


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

First sentence: “‘Correct me if I’m wrong.’ My governess, Miss Judson, strolled into the schoolroom, her sharp bootheels clicking like a telegraph.”

Move over Sherlock Holmes, there’s a new detective in town! Twelve-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle is making a run for his money, and she will not let any stones be unturned until she gets to the truth behind the murder! And the the murder she’s investigating? Well, it’s her wealthy elderly neighbor—Miss Wodehouse—who supposedly died in the bath. Did she though, or was there a sinister reason for her death?

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