I Like Me Better by Robby Weber #bookreview #YA #romcom #LGBTQ #TuesdayBookBlog

This is not how soccer-star Zack Martin thought his summer would go. When the captain’s prank means trouble for the whole squad, Zack’s left with no choice but to take one for the team and cover for him.

Now he’s trading parties and beach days for community service at a seaside conservation center—fair enough. But thanks to his new reputation, the cute intern, Chip, won’t even give him a shot. Still, Zack finds himself falling for Chip between dolphin encounters and shark costume disasters, which means he suddenly has way more on the line than he ever expected.

Zack may be good at winning on the field, but can he keep up the lie without losing himself? 

I’d just finished reading a couple of lengthy, heavy fantasies when I came across this book. It was the perfect light-hearted, romcom book I needed.

Zack is a soccer player ending his junior year and is up for captain of the team. Things are looking good for him until he takes the blame for a prank he didn’t commit and is assigned community service over the summer. But his punishment turns out to have a silver lining. When he’s assigned to a seaside conservation center, he discovers interests he never realized he had. He also meets Chip, a cute intern who supervises the volunteers. It turns into a summer of learned lessons from bad choices, taking responsibility for mistakes, pining over Chip, and epiphanies about the future.

I loved the focus on the environment in this novel – always a good thing in my opinion. I also enjoyed the setting of the aquarium and marine institute. Zack’s scenes with the young students and his unfortunate experience in a shark costume gave me plenty of laughs. His strong friendships with Beckett and Meyers are also a high point, and I liked how no one blinked twice that Zack was crushing on another guy. His relationships with his divorced parents and how they still remained a family unit is also a plus and written well. Shout out to Zack’s dog Odin – he’s a perfect wing man.

This is partially a coming of age story, and Zack certainly undergoes some character growth. If you’re looking for a summer read with a charming cast of characters and a little romance, add I Like Me Better to your list.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune #bookreview #fantasy #LGBTQ #TuesdayBookBlog

In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees, live three robots–fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They’re a family, hidden and safe.

The day Vic salvages and repairs an unfamiliar android labelled “HAP,” he learns of a shared dark past between Hap and Gio-a past spent hunting humans.

When Hap unwittingly alerts robots from Gio’s former life to their whereabouts, the family is no longer hidden and safe. Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory in the City of Electric Dreams. So together, the rest of Vic’s assembled family must journey across an unforgiving and otherworldly country to rescue Gio from decommission, or worse, reprogramming.

Along the way to save Gio, amid conflicted feelings of betrayal and affection for Hap, Vic must decide for himself: Can he accept love with strings attached?

Author TJ Klune invites you deep into the heart of a peculiar forest and on the extraordinary journey of a family assembled from spare parts.

Found family is my favorite trope, and I have yet to come across anyone who does it better than Klune. He put me through the whole gamut of emotions – again – and I don’t know if I should punch him or hug him for it.

Most of these characters are robots and machines, but the primary theme of the book is humanity and having the free will to choose who you want to be. I loved all of them, but Rambo (he’s a Roomba vacuum whose markings were faded and unclear, but they’re pretty sure they got the letters in the right order) and Nurse Ratched, a nursing machine that is a Registered Automaton To Care, Heal, Educate and Drill, will always be with me. Nurse Ratched’s snark and eagerness to drill people who threaten her family immediately won me over. Rambo may be small, but he’s full of unconditional love and bravery. They, Gio, and Victor are composed of more metal than blood, but make no mistake – they’re a family with the strongest of bonds.

They’ve lived hidden and safe in the woods for many years until Vic salvages and repairs HAP (hysterically angry puppet). Hap unknowingly alerts the City of Electric Dreams to their whereabouts, and Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory. His family won’t stand for losing one of their own, and what follows is an adventure filled with danger, new experiences, and a world they never knew existed. Before embarking on this journey or entering any dangerous situation, the rules are always recited: Stick together. Run if we have to. No dallying. No drilling (unless Nurse Ratched decides it’s necessary). Above all else, be brave.

This book touched my heart in so many ways, and I can’t recommend it enough. You’ll laugh and maybe even cry a little, but you’ll be so glad you read it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Wicked Bargain by Gabe Cole Novoa #bookreview #YA #fantasy #pirates #LGBTQ #TuesdayBookBlog

El Diablo is in the details in this Latinx pirate fantasy starring a transmasculine nonbinary teen with a mission of revenge, redemption, and revolution.

On Mar León-de la Rosa’s 16th birthday, el Diablo comes calling. Mar is a transmasculine nonbinary teen pirate hiding a magical ability to manipulate fire and ice. But their magic isn’t enough to reverse a wicked bargain made by their father and now el Diablo has come to collect his payment: the soul of Mar’s father and the entire crew of their ship.

When Mar is miraculously rescued by the sole remaining pirate crew in the Caribbean, el Diablo returns to give them a choice: give up your soul to save your father by the Harvest Moon or never see him again. The task is impossible–Mar refuses to make a bargain and there’s no way their magic is any match for el Diablo. Then, Mar finds the most unlikely allies: Bas, an infuriatingly arrogant and handsome pirate — and the captain’s son; and Dami, a genderfluid demonio whose motives are never quite clear. For the first time in their life, Mar may have the courage to use their magic. It could be their only redemption — or it could mean certain death. 

I love a good pirate story. Throw in some magic, deals with the devil, adventure on the high seas and you’ve got yourself a thrilling read.

Mar is such an easy character to root for. They possess powerful magic and struggle to control it, but after accidentally hurting people several years ago, they consider themselves a monster. Despite Mar’s power, they’re unable to save their father and crew when the devil comes to collect payment for a deal Mar’s father made years ago. Subsequently, Mar loses their entire family, but when they’re rescued by the last remaining pirate ship in the Caribbean, Mar has the opportunity to join another one. Found family is my favorite trope, so the emphasis on that aspect made me happy.

The crew from Mar’s ship are gone, but el Diablo holds Mar’s father in a kind of limbo. He gives Mar two moons to save their father – if Mar accepts a bargain from el Diablo. They refuse, but Mar is still determined to find a way to save Papa. Demonio Dami offers to help Mar, but also has an agenda of their own. Throughout the story, there’s a brewing romance between Mar and Bas, the captain’s son. It’s a sweet relationship, but I felt more vibes between Mar and Dami. It would have been interesting to explore.

The settings are so vivid and descriptive I felt like I was there on the ship and nearly needed to wipe salt water from my face. Pacing was a little slow for my taste at the beginning, but around 60% it took off, and I didn’t want to put down the book. The author’s note mentioned that while none of the pirates are real, they were loosely inspired by real-life Latinx pirates, a detail I thought added a degree of authenticity.

Pirates, a narcissistic demon, el Diablo, magic – they all form a perfect storm of an adventurous read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Spell Bound by F.T. Lukens #bookreview #YA #fantasy #LGBTQ #TuesdayBookBlog

Two rival apprentice sorcerers must team up to save their teachers and protect their own magic in this lively young adult romantic adventure from the New York Times bestselling author of In Deeper Waters and So This Is Ever After.

Edison Rooker isn’t sure what to expect when he enters the office of Antonia Hex, the powerful sorceress who runs a call center for magical emergencies. He doesn’t have much experience with hexes or curses. Heck, he doesn’t even have magic. But he does have a plan—to regain the access to the magical world he lost when his grandmother passed.

Antonia is…intimidating, but she gives him a job and a new name—Rook—both of which he’s happy to accept. Now all Rook has to do is keep his Spell Binder, an illegal magical detection device, hidden from the Magical Consortium. And contend with Sun, the grumpy and annoyingly cute apprentice to Antonia’s rival colleague, Fable. But dealing with competition isn’t so bad; as Sun seems to pop up more and more, and Rook minds less and less.

But when the Consortium gets wind of Rook’s Spell Binder, they come for Antonia. All alone, Rook runs to the only other magical person he knows: Sun. Except Fable has also been attacked, and now Rook and Sun have no choice but to work together to get their mentors back…or face losing their magic forever.

I read So This Is Ever After by this author last year and laughed my way through it – I adored those characters. When I saw their new title on NetGalley, I immediately requested it.

My heart went out to Rook. Declared nonmagical, he lost access to the magical world when his grandmother passed away, and he was cast out of the only home he’d ever known by the Consortium. With no other family or friends to speak of, he’s lived alone for the past year and is desperately lonely. The day after he graduates high school, he pleads with powerful sorceress Antonia Hex to give him a job. At least he’ll be on the fringes of the magical world he misses so dreadfully. Antonia may be intimidating, but underneath – way deep down – lies a squishy heart, and she hires him.

Both main characters are polar opposites – which made them perfect for each other. Rook is full of sunshine, friendly, and wears his heart on his sleeve. Sun prefers all black clothing, shuns people in general, and is kind of prickly. Watching the two of them awkwardly stumble into a relationship brings moments of amusement, sadness, and hope – all kinds of cinnamon roll goodness. I also enjoyed the occasionally combative, mutually respectful, and sometimes friendly relationship between Antonia and Fable. They make a good team.

At its core, Spell Bound is about finding your family and your place in this world. It’s full of endearing characters, hexes and curses, a frenemies-to-lovers trope, rival sorcerers (but maybe really friends), a spelled coat rack named Herb, and battles against inequality. A feel good read I highly recommend!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Always the Almost by Edward Underhill #bookreview #YA #LGBTQ #contemporary #TuesdayBookBlog

A trans pianist makes a New Year’s resolution on a frozen Wisconsin night to win regionals and win back his ex, but a new boy complicates things in Edward Underhill’s heartfelt debut YA rom-dram, Always the Almost.

Sixteen-year-old trans boy Miles Jacobson has two New Year’s resolutions: 1) win back his ex-boyfriend (and star of the football team) Shane McIntyre, and 2) finally beat his slimy arch-nemesis at the Midwest’s biggest classical piano competition. But that’s not going to be so easy. For one thing, Shane broke up with Miles two weeks after Miles came out as trans, and now Shane’s stubbornly ignoring him, even when they literally bump into each other. Plus, Miles’ new, slightly terrifying piano teacher keeps telling him that he’s playing like he “doesn’t know who he is”—whatever that means.

Then Miles meets the new boy in town, Eric Mendez, a proudly queer cartoonist from Seattle who asks his pronouns, cares about art as much as he does—and makes his stomach flutter. Not what he needs to be focusing on right now. But after Eric and Miles pretend to date so they can score an invite to a couples-only Valentine’s party, the ruse turns real with a kiss, which is also definitely not in the plan. If only Miles could figure out why Eric likes him so much. After all, it’s not like he’s cool or confident or comfortable in his own skin. He’s not even good enough at piano to get his fellow competitors to respect him, especially now, as Miles. Nothing’s ever been as easy for him as for other people—other boys. He’s only ever been almost enough.

So why, when he’s with Eric, does it feel like the only person he’s ever really not been enough for…is himself? 

This vibrant cover first caught my attention. Then I discovered the MC plays piano (I played years ago), and when I read it was blurbed by Phil Stamper (just finished his Golden Boys duology), I knew I needed to read this novel.

Miles is a trans-boy who’s recently come out, and he has two goals – win back his ex-boyfriend (a school jock who dumped him) and beat his arch nemesis (Miles has lost to him every year) at a classical piano competition. Miles is also experiencing struggles at school – teachers referring to him with the wrong pronouns/name, bathroom dilemmas, and piano competitions – trolls making horrible comments on message boards. Luckily he has some very protective friends to help him out. Every spare moment he has is spent practicing piano, usually in the school auditorium. And that’s where he meets new student Eric who’s working on his comic series.

Eric is laid-back, adorable, and he sees Miles – it’s easy to understand why Miles is attracted to him. I enjoyed seeing their friendship develop and turn into something more. Eric’s scenes with his younger sister are heartwarming and funny and allow the reader to see another side of him.

As for Miles – I wanted to wring his neck at certain points. Initially he’s pretty selfish and ignores what’s happening with his friends. Because of some of his actions, he’s forced to take a closer look at himself and how he’s treated others. It’s a wonderful character arc. I loved Miles’s piano teacher. She’s tough, talented, and nudges him (not gently) into thinking about who he is and why he plays.

This is a heart-warming, joyful novel with messy, flawed characters and an incredible debut. This author is definitely on my watchlist, and I’m anxious to see what he does next.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Afterglow (Golden Boys #2) by Phil Stamper #bookreview #contemporary #LGBTQ

After a summer of life-changing, these four friends are finally ready for senior year.

Gabriel is thrilled to create his school’s first LGBTQ+ advocacy group, but his long-distance relationship is fading from summer love to something else…

Heath feels secure for the first time in years, but with his future riding on a baseball scholarship, each pitch triggers his anxiety…

Reese is set on pursuing a career in fashion design, but his creativity takes him in an unexpected direction he isn’t yet ready to share…

Sal wants to be in politics, specifically local politics. After a chat with his aunt, he is ready for an unlikely path…

As graduation nears and the boys prepare to enter the real world, it’s clear their friendship will never be the same. Can they find a way to stay connected and pursue their dreams?

When I saw this book up for request on NetGalley, I didn’t even read the description. I loved these boys so much from the first book in the duology that I had to see what happened to them.

First I have to comment on the cover. It’s perfect. Each graduation cap represents one of the characters and their interests. In Golden Boys, the characters were headed in different directions the summer before their senior year of high school and were worried about what the distance would do to their friendships. It was a life-changing summer for each of them, and they all grew and made decisions about their future. Now in their senior year, they have a laundry list of worries: Will we still see each other after graduation? What do I want to do with my life? How do I tell my mom I don’t want to go to college? Will I get my scholarship? Is our relationship strong enough to survive long distance? How will I afford college? Teens today experience more stress and anxiety that we think.

Each character has dreams for their future and, despite their individual plates full of problems, all are unconditionally supportive of each other. We all need friends like that. Reese and Heath are in a relationship together and, although they’re not sure what the future holds for them, neither wants the other to sacrifice their plans. A very mature outlook for high school seniors. Gabriel is busy with his LGBTQ+ advocacy group and getting to the bottom of why certain books have gone missing from the library shelves, while also trying to maintain a long distance relationship with the guy he met last summer. Sal’s mother has been planning for his college career since the day he was born – but he has to find a way to tell her he doesn’t want to attend college and has alternate life plans for himself.

I’d love to see what happens to these boys, but the author indicated this is a duology. I’ll sure miss them. A nostalgic, bittersweet, hopeful, and humorous read focused on the bonds of friendship and family.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

A Ruinous Fate (Heartless Fates #1) by Kaylie Smith #bookreview #YA #fantasy #magic #LGBTQ

Fate does not choose the weak. Fate chooses the ready.

Calliope Rosewood is a witch with a long streak of bad luck. Like all witches in Illustros, her fate is directly tied to Witch’s Dice—powerful artifacts that have blessed her kind with limitless magic but also set them on a path toward destruction. Cursed with unspeakable powers that terrify even the most dangerous witches and fae, Calla deserted her coven four years ago and has been in hiding with her two best friends since. But Calla is also hiding a grave secret: She is only three Rolls away from becoming the last Blood Warrior and starting the Final War that will decimate her people and eradicate their magic.

After a betrayal from her ex leads her one step closer to fulfilling that age-old prophecy, Calla is desperate to do whatever it takes to reset her fate . . . even if that means journeying into the deadly Neverending Forest with said ex and his enticing, yet enigmatic older brother to find the one being who can help her forge her own path. As Calla ventures farther into the enchanted woods, she finds her heart torn between her past desires and the alluring new possibilities of her future and learns that choosing your own destiny may come with deadly consequences.

Can you outrun your fate? Calla sure hopes so. That’s what she’s been doing for the past four years to avoid becoming the last Blood Warrior, a person prophesied to start the Final War that will decimate her people and eradicate their magic. Through a series of unfortunate events that nearly results in her being sold at auction, Calla and her two best friends find themselves on a quest with her ex, his brother, and a couple of soldiers. In hopes of changing her fate as well as that of another character, the group enter the deadly Neverending Forest. Here, nothing is as it seems, and the forest is filled with dangerous creatures – and you don’t want to get on their wrong side if you value your life.

These characters. They’re messy, chaotic, competitive, overprotective – and I adored them. Even though only two are actually related, they all act like a large, dysfunctional family who have love/hate relationships with each other. You also may need a flowchart to keep up with their love lives – many are interconnected. Talk about weird dynamics. Despite all that, the bonds between them are strong even though some have only know each other a few days.

Illustros is a vibrant, colorful world inhabited by diverse people and magical beings that engaged me immediately. The plot is complex and full of action, surprising revelations, heartache, and humor. This is a remarkable debut, and the sequel is high on my list of anticipated reads.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

#BlogTour A Tale of Two Princes by Eric Geron #bookreview #romcom #LGBTQ

Will these long-lost twin princes be able to take on high school, coming out, and coronations together—or will this royal reunion quickly become a royal mess?
Edward Dinnissen, Crown Prince of Canada, loves getting the royal treatment at his exclusive Manhattan private school and living in a fancy mansion on Park Avenue. But despite living a royal life of luxury, Edward is unsure how to tell his parents, his expectant country, and his adoring fans that he’s gay.

Billy Boone couldn’t be happier: he loves small-town life and his family’s Montana ranch, and his boyfriend is the cutest guy at Little Timber High. But this out-and-proud cowboy is finally admitting to himself that he feels destined for more . . .

When Edward and Billy meet by chance in New York City and discover that they are long-lost twins, their lives are forever changed. Will the twin princes—“twinces”— be able to take on high school, coming out, and coronations together? Or will this royal reunion quickly become a royal disaster? 

This description sounded like a blend of Red, White, and Royal Blue (a pure delight) and The Parent Trap. Royal twins separated at birth? A Canadian monarchy? I was intrigued.

Raised since birth to become King of Canada, Edward lives a life of luxury, attends private school, and is accustomed to the royal treatment. Billy enjoys a more rugged lifestyle. He lives and works on a ranch in rural Montana, has been out-and-proud for years, and plans to stay on the ranch after high school graduation. When the two of them accidentally meet in NYC, worlds collide and lives are forever changed. As the older twin by one minute, Billy is the rightful crown prince. He’s pulled in different directions and struggles to meet the expectations placed on him. Edward is bitter about losing the crown and schemes with friends to undermine Billy so the crown will once again be his. Honestly, Edward was hard to like for a large part of the book, but he was all but pushed to the sidelines by his parents.

If you can suspend your disbelief over the situation and not ask detailed questions about how Canada came to have a monarchy, this is a fun and occasionally touching read. Billy is truly a fish out of water in Canada, and the news reports about his unfortunate antics with related headlines between chapters are pretty amusing. Pax is loyal, over the top, and completely fabulous as a supporting character, and Billy’s little sister Mack is a joy.

With themes of strong friendships, supportive families, and being your true self, this is a novel I’d recommend for the younger end of the YA spectrum.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

On Sale Date: January 10, 2023



$18.99 USD

Ages 13 And Up

448 pages


Eric Geron (pronounced: jur-ON) is the New York Times bestselling author of The Hocus Pocus Spell BookPoultrygeist, and Bye Bye, Binary, along with numerous other titles, including the New York Times bestselling Descendants novelization under the name Rico Green. He earned his creative writing degree from the University of Miami and spent many years at Disney as an editor of New York Times bestselling books. He currently resides in New York City. You can find him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok @EricGeron and on his website at ericgeron.com.


Author Website: http://www.ericgeron.com/

Twitter: @ericgeron

Instagram: @ericgeron


Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/p/books/a-tale-of-two-princes-eric-geron/17303731?ean=9781335425928

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335425928

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-tale-of-two-princes-eric-geron/1139818443?ean=9781335425928

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tale-Two-Princes-Eric-Geron/dp/1335425926/ref=sr_1_1?crid=UZDE2OJQW6AF&keywords=a+tale+of+two+princes&qid=1672864767&sprefix=a+tale+of+two+princes%2Caps%2C98&sr=8-1

#BadMoonRising Broken World (Perfect World #3) by Shari Sakurai #thriller #LGBTQ

Today’s author is here with her newest release, the third in her Perfect World series. She’s also written a vampire series (I’ve read one of the books and it’s fabulous) if that’s your beverage of choice (I’m not implying blood). She’s no stranger to shadow people, but just wishes they’d give her more notice before showing up. Welcome Shari Sakurai!

Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

I would say it is the death of Rey Rivera, which was featured on Unsolved Mysteries. The police said it was suicide, but I honestly don’t know how they came to that conclusion as there were so many strange things about that case and to me all of them pointed to murder! I really hope that one day the truth comes out to give his poor family the closure they need.

Do you believe in any ‘mythical’ monsters like chupacabras or shadow people?

Definitely! I have seen shadow people before. None of my encounters have been frightening but they always make me jump as they appear when I am least expecting them too!

If you could have a spooky Halloween pet (black cat, owl, bat, rat, wolf, etc.), which would you choose?

I have a black (and white) cat so I kind of already do have a spooky pet! I’ve had a black rat before too!

Have you ever traveled as research for any of your books? 

When I went to Japan in 2015 part of this was research for Demon’s Life. I went to a castle in Kyoto and learned a lot for reference when writing. I am also using this knowledge for my current WIP Demon’s Past too.

Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing? 

Tash doesn’t really get in the way, but she loves to be close to me when I am writing. She will often sleep on top of my laptop case, so it is permanently covered in cat hair!

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on Demon’s Past, which is the next installment in my Demon’s Blood universe. Demon’s Past is set in the 1800s and explores how Taku and Thane met as well as Thane’s path to becoming a vampire.

Eric Rawlins has made the people of England a promise. That he will stand for them against Ivan Williams and the L.S.A, but with politics and agendas threatening to dictate his every move, Eric struggles to find allies that he can trust.

When a daring mission to rescue Adam’s staff goes awry, Eric finds that he is starting to question himself in ways that shake him to the very core. Whilst grappling with his inner turmoil, Eric can also see that Adam is struggling against his own demons.

As the pressure begins to build, Eric takes the fight to Williams. However, Adam’s dangerous obsession with revenge threatens to not only put the entire operation in jeopardy, but his relationship with Eric too.

Purchase Link


Author Bio and Social Media

Shari Sakurai is a British author of paranormal, horror, science fiction and fantasy novels that almost always feature a LGBTQ protagonist and/or antagonist. She has always loved to write and it is her escape from the sometimes stressful modern life!

Aside from writing, Shari enjoys reading, watching movies, listening to (loud!) music, going to rock concerts and learning more about other societies and cultures. Japanese culture is of particular interest to her and she often incorporates Japanese themes and influences into her work.

Shari loves a challenge and has taken part and won the National Novel Writing Month challenge thirteen times!

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShariSakurai

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/sharisakurai

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shari_sakurai/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7756989.Shari_Sakurai

Website: http://www.sharisakurai.com

Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco and Daphne by Josh Malerman #bookreview #horror #asianmyth #vampires #LGBTQ

I know I’ve been featuring more reviews than usual lately (and you’re probably getting a little tired of them), but I’ve been trying to get the September releases posted before Bad Moon Rising takes over the month of October. The fun starts tomorrow with the preview of BMR authors!

Full of court intrigue, queer romance, and terrifying monsters—this gothic epic fantasy will appeal to fans of Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of the Orange Tree and the adult animated series Castlevania.

Remy Pendergast is many things: the only son of the Duke of Valenbonne (though his father might wish otherwise), an elite bounty hunter of rogue vampires, and an outcast among his fellow Reapers. His mother was the subject of gossip even before she eloped with a vampire, giving rise to the rumors that Remy is half-vampire himself. Though the kingdom of Aluria barely tolerates him, Remy’s father has been shaping him into a weapon to fight for the kingdom at any cost.

When a terrifying new breed of vampire is sighted outside of the city, Remy prepares to investigate alone. But then he encounters the shockingly warmhearted vampire heiress Xiaodan Song and her infuriatingly arrogant fiancé, vampire lord Zidan Malekh, who may hold the key to defeating the creatures—though he knows associating with them won’t do his reputation any favors. When he’s offered a spot alongside them to find the truth about the mutating virus Rot that’s plaguing the kingdom, Remy faces a choice.

It’s one he’s certain he’ll regret.

But as the three face dangerous hardships during their journey, Remy develops fond and complicated feelings for the couple. He begins to question what he holds true about vampires, as well as the story behind his own family legacy. As the Rot continues to spread across the kingdom, Remy must decide where his loyalties lie: with his father and the kingdom he’s been trained all his life to defend or the vampires who might just be the death of him. 

I’m a fan of Chupeco’s YA books and jumped at the chance to read their first foray into the adult genre. I nearly did a happy dance when I learned the story involves vampires.

Remy’s life hasn’t been an easy one. He’s a vampire hunter but is shunned by other hunters because of rumors his mother ran away with a vampire – and Remy might be half vampire. His father, a human and former hunter, is ambitious, power-hungry, and constantly demeans Remy. He also pimps Remy out to the wives of men who hold strategic positions in society in order to gain information. Trust me, no Father of the Year trophies will ever grace this guy’s mantle. As a result of all this, Remy doesn’t think highly of himself and believes he’s not worthy of kindness from anyone. He’s definitely an easy character to root for.

When a new breed of vampire shows up, Remy finds himself teamed up with an engaged vampire couple, both of them high up in their respective courts. Having read several vampire books, I liked this different take on a mutant strain of vamps. I also enjoyed seeing a human and vampires working alongside each other, encountering plenty of obstacles along the way, in order to discover who’s behind the Rot. What Remy lacks in self-esteem he more than makes up for as a hunter and can hold his own in a fight. And there are plenty of bloody ones in this story. It’s also full of gothic atmosphere, and the polyamorous relationship that develops between the three of them is pretty amusing at times because of differing personalities. Seeing Remy begin to realize he’s worthy of love and kindness also comes with some heartfelt moments.

At over five hundred pages, this is a chunk of a novel that moves at a brisk pace. It’s not listed as a series on Goodreads, but the ending makes me believe a sequel will be coming – and I’ll absolutely be reading it. HIghly recommend to fans of supernatural mystery.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

It’s the last summer for Kit Lamb: The last summer before college. The last summer with her high school basketball team, and with Dana, her best friend. The last summer before her life begins.

But the night before the big game, one of the players tells a ghost story about Daphne, a girl who went to their school many years ago and died under mysterious circumstances. Some say she was murdered, others that she died by her own hand. And some say that Daphne is a murderer herself. They also say that Daphne is still out there, obsessed with revenge, and will appear to kill again anytime someone thinks about her.

After Kit hears the story, her teammates vanish, one by one, and Kit begins to suspect that the stories about Daphne are real . . . and to fear that her own mind is conjuring the killer. Now it’s a race against time as Kit searches for the truth behind the legend and learns to face her own fears—before the summer of her life becomes the last summer of her life.

Mixing a nostalgic coming-of-age story and an instantly iconic female villain with an innovative new vision of classic horror, Daphne is an unforgettable thriller as only Josh Malerman could imagine it.

When you’re told not to think about a certain thing, see how well you do. It’s not easy. At all. In this novel, if you think about Daphne, she comes for you. And you won’t survive the visit.

Daphne is kind of an urban legend in this town. Seven feet tall, the owner of a muscle car, and rumored to be a murderer, she was an outcast in high school, but has been dead for many years. Or has she? When one of the basketball players tells a ghost story about Daphne to the team, the body count begins a couple days later. With her friends dying one by one in horrific ways, Kit is sure it’s only a matter of time before Daphne pays her a visit. Can she be stopped?

If you’re a fan of both basketball and horror, you’ll be thrilled with this book. Basketball isn’t one of my interests, so I skimmed over a good bit of those parts. But when Daphne is on the page? I couldn’t look away. Those scenes are creepy, bloodcurdling, and exactly what I’d hoped. For me, this had the feel of an 80s slasher movie, and it was something I really liked. As a KISS fan, I also appreciated them being mentioned, but chuckled over Kit not knowing who they were.

Daphne is a chilling blend of horror and psychological thriller that may keep you awake at night. Just try not to think about her. Good luck.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.