“The Last Witch” follows Lilly Hooper as she steps into a new world—out of her uncle’s basement and into a mansion with other witches. Told she is a monster all her life, beaten and abused in quite literally every way imaginable, Lilly is discovering that the magic in her veins is limitless, and she hasn’t even learned all the powers there are yet. But with great power come lots of men who want to use that power—and her—in order to further their own goals: one wants to return magic to the world while the other wants to eradicate it completely and destroy those who would have magic if it did return in force—and neither is the good guy. Caught between these opposing sides, Lilly also finds love and friendship, and even has her very first Christmas that she can remember. Which all sounds great, honestly! So, what was my problem with this book when the premise sounds so promising? The stereotypical shallowness of the characters, and the overly gratuitous nature of the violence, to be frank.
I’m really late to the party on this book, but hey! At least I got here, right? “Simon vs.” is a cute, contemporary self-discovery book that had me on the verge of tears on occasion. We get a close-up view of Simon who KNOWS he’s gay, but no one else does. When he finds a Tumblr post from his school from another gay boy, he responds, and a whirlwind email pen pal relationship ensues. But there’s one problem: these boys don’t actually know who each other are, and because neither is out to their friends and family, they decide to keep their identities secret. But part of the thrill is getting to know someone without fear of judgment, because they don’t really know you, right? But then these adorable boys catch a case of feels, and suddenly the excitement of anonymity begins to slip away… Except anonymity is only fun with Blue, Simon’s crush, but that secret is important for Simon to keep from the wider school. Now he just has to keep the guy blackmailing him from spilling the beans to everyone… This story was endearing, and fun, and quick, and each time I was CONVINCED I knew who Blue was, the author did the old switcher-roo, which kept this otherwise straight forward story exciting.
So, apparently, “Rhapsodic” is a fan fiction based on “A Court of Thorns and Roses” but, admittedly, I haven’t read that yet so I can’t speak to anything around the similarities of these two books, other than based on what I know of Sarah J. Maas’ series, I can see it. “Rhapsodic” is about a young siren named Callypso (Callie) who first makes a deal with The Bargainer (also the King of the Night in the fae realm) to help her out of a tragic event when she is fifteen, just shy of her sixteenth birthday. The Bargainer agrees to help, but Callie keeps calling him back, making deal after deal because she wants a friend. But the Bargainer is hot. And dangerous. And he “saved” her so of course she has a crush on this much older man (I’m not sure how much older, fae ages are odd, but needless to say, he is a MAN and nowhere near being a teen). Most of the book is about their evolving relationship, but the synopsis wants you to believe it’s also a mystery over who is terrorizing the Bargainer’s people, returning his female warriors in catatonic states with prophetic children clutched in their arms. But this is 80% a romance with some plot sprinkled in. And honestly? The thing that most people seem to like about this book, I could not stand.
I don’t think I’ve read a true reverse harem book before, so “Hidden Magic” was a first for me. Set in a small town, Willow has always considered herself to be a freak, having to grow up too fast because of a mother who talks to herself and swears she’s a witch and their family is cursed. Willow is desperate to have some kind of normal life as she starts college at the local school, but Willow finds out very quickly that nothing will ever be “normal” for her. “Hidden Magic” is an incredibly fast read (maybe too fast?) and just as one question gets answered, a new and devastating mystery takes its place.
It may seem like a bad idea to read a book about a bio-chemical weapon that exhibits like a flu and prompts mass panic during an actual pandemic, but that’s what I did and it was a kind of interesting study in how reality and fiction can blur sometimes. In Myers novel, a bio-chemical is released in a small town, which appears to be done on purpose for "research". When these strange flu-like symptoms prompt the schools to close early, it sparks our main character’s father, who works at the lab that seems to be responsible, to flee with his teenage son and their next door neighbor and his teenage niece. The rest of the novel occurs over the course of 3 to 4 days as the group races from the quarantined zone—now without cell service and a military presence—to get to the family cabin and potential safety. This is an incredibly fast paced young adult, action romance with a unique twist on the “zombie” genre.
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