When you can’t buy new ones…

Ya read the old ones. That’s where I’m currently at, and I’m sure it’s a place where many of you are far too familiar. Budget constraints (separation will do that do a person) mean that I CAN’T BUY ALL THE BOOKS, and not working at Powell’s anymore means my access to arcs is pretty much nil these days, so…I’m revisiting my not-insubstantial library. The last two titles are newer, but one was a gift, and the other was a gift to myself for my birthday. As will the next title be. But after that? It’ll be titles that I’ve had – some for YEARS – that I’ll finally be making time for. Because this is typically me:

But on the plus side – I’m finally really enjoying reading again. Covid pretty much just…wiped me out. Not personally – I’ve been blessed to not get it (that I’m aware of) and I have gotten my vaccine (GET THE VACCINE, PEOPLE). But I lost my beloved job at Powell’s when they shut down and then closed to store I worked at, had to get another job with good benefits and stability because – separation (which, don’t get me wrong – I do *love* my job and I’m good at it – but it does NOT provide me with ALL THE BOOKS)…homeschool with a teen who was *miserable*…it was just *a lot*. I read very inconsistently, when I read at all, and I missed it. So it’s feeling kinda nice to be back in the reading mindset!

So if you see a review for a book, and you’re all “Jeez, lady. That came out AGES ago.”. Well, yeah. But I was so busy buying and only reading some and then not really reading at all, that I have *a lot to catch up on*! And who knows – maybe someone else will be in the same boat and find a recommendation for something THEY haven’t read either! Because old(er) books still have fabulous tales to be told to SOMEONE.

Review: For the Wolf

When your destiny is already chosen for you, by an action done hundreds of years before you were born, where do you draw the line between giving in – and fighting back? In this twist on the classic Red Riding Hood/Beauty and the Beast tales, nothing is as it seems and the consequences of your actions may just kill you.

This was a book that REALLY IRRITATED ME – because I didn’t know going in that it was only the first one. And now I have to *wait* for the next one. And I *will* be anxiously waiting, because I truly LOVED this book. So you’ve been warned.

Red is the second daughter of the Queen. As such, it is her destiny to be given to the Wolf to – hopefully – release the long-awaited kings and keep back the monsters. Her twin sister, older by just minutes, is destined to rule. But things go awry when both women decide that they should have a say in their own fates.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this book is that both main characters are strong women in their own right. Essentially neglected by their mother, they’ve leaned on each other for love and support, knowing from the time they were little what path their lives would take. When Red is banished to face the Wolf, both women have to face life without their twin – and their refusal to just go along sets them up for some choices that will have life-altering consequences, for them and for those around them.

The writing kept me engrossed – I essentially read this in a day. The worldbuilding is fantastic, particularly when getting into this entire other world that they only *think* they understand. The characters were sympathetic – even those who were doing “bad” things were trying to do them for what they saw as noble reasons. Because isn’t that most of us? We generally don’t start OUT bad – but we make a series of choices that are grey, and then it just gets easier and easier to make more choices that lean more towards wrong than right, with the justifications that we tell ourselves to make it ok.

Even though this is marketed as an adult novel, it truly feels more YA or NA to me. Both girls are only 20, so maybe that’s why? But had I not already known, I would have guessed YA. Honestly, more mature 7th or 8th-graders could read this and love it.

I know some people complained about the characters feeling “flat”, or that they couldn’t get into the story – but I feel so much of that was because this book was compared to The Bear and The Nightingale, so expectations were super high. There are few things – if any – that can truly be compared to that book or its trilogy, so if that’s what people were looking for? I can see why they would find this lacking. I had, quite honestly, forgotten about that comparison when I read this. And I think *because* I had forgotten it? I had no expectations going in. I was able to enjoy the story on its own merits instead.

If I still worked at Powell’s, this would go on a list of my Top 10 Novels thus far for the year, and I would be doing a shelf-talker and sharing with ALL THE PEOPLE. Unfortunately, I don’t – so I’m telling y’all. RUN, do not walk, to get this book. Unless you don’t like waiting for follow-ups. Then, maybe, do it anyway. 😉

Review: Prom House

How well do you know the people around you? As well as you think you do? Might one of them…be a killer? Take a dive into Prom House, by Chelsea Mueller!

Prom Night. You’ve rented a house, with several other of your friends. It’s got a pool, and *you’ve* got a teeny new bikini and a brand-new boyfriend. Nice and secluded so the neighbors can’t complain about the music – or anything else. It ALSO means – they can’t hear you scream.

When people begin disappearing – and then turning up dead – it becomes a race against time and the elements to stay alive. If you’re locked in a house with your best friends and a killer? The question becomes whether your friends are who you’ve always thought they were.

It’s not horribly gory – more suspense than blood, which is personally how I prefer things. My 14 year old does as well, so I’m looking forward to her reading this and letting me know if she guesses who the killer is. 😉

With some definite “Scream” vibes coming off the pages, this was a fun, quick read *perfect* for the pool or the beach. While it’s YA, it wouldn’t be amiss to think of more advanced 7-8 grade kids reading it either.

TW: There is some discussion of teen partner, alcohol, and drug abuse. It’s definitely *not* out of the bounds of reality, and it’s perfectly accurate for a YA title, but just a head’s up for those who may struggle with those topics.