Review: Ask Again, Yes

Ask Agian, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Genre: Fiction
Maturity Level: 5-
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, two rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne—sets the stage for the explosive events to come.

Ask Again, Yes is a deeply affecting exploration of the lifelong friendship and love that blossoms between Francis and Lena’s daughter, Kate, and Brian and Anne’s son, Peter. Luminous, heartbreaking, and redemptive, Ask Again, Yes reveals the way childhood memories change when viewed from the distance of adulthood—villains lose their menace and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story, while tested by echoes from the past, is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace.


I was surprised by how different Ask Again, Yes, was from anything I had ever read before. I was equally surprised halfway through to find that I was enjoying the book. It was such a low-key enjoyment that I thought I was bored, but eventually I discovered that I was quite attached to the characters.

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Review: Heroine Complex

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

Series: Heroine Complex
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Evie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, her childhood best friend and San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine. She’s great at her job—blending into the background, handling her boss’s epic diva tantrums, and getting demon blood out of leather pants.

Unfortunately, she’s not nearly as together when it comes to running her own life, standing up for herself, or raising her tempestuous teenage sister, Bea.

But everything changes when Evie’s forced to pose as her glamorous boss for one night, and her darkest secret comes out: she has powers, too. Now it’s up to her to contend with murderous cupcakes, nosy gossip bloggers, and supernatural karaoke battles—all while juggling unexpected romance and Aveda’s increasingly outrageous demands. And when a larger threat emerges, Evie must finally take charge and become a superheroine in her own right… or see her city fall to a full-on demonic invasion.


Heroine Complex was completely different from what I was expecting, but still everything I was hoping for. It was exciting, funny, sexy, and full of heart.

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Review: American Royals

American Royals by Katharine McGee

Series: American Royals
Genres: Young Adult, Alternate History, Romance
Maturity Level: 3+
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling.

Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her.

And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.


American Royals was almost exactly what I was expecting, a YA romance with plenty of soap opera style drama. It was fun, escapist, and an enjoyable read despite being a little insipid.

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Review: Supernova

Supernova by Marissa Meyer

Series: Renegades
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Maturity Level: 3
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆

The Renegades’ worst enemy is back among them, threatening to reclaim Gatlon City. Nova and Adrian must brave lies and betrayal to protect those they love. Their greatest fears are about to come to life, and unless they can bridge the divide between heroes and villains, they stand to lose everything. Including each other.

Intrigue and action will leave readers on edge until the final, shocking secrets are revealed.


Supernova definitely improved from the second-book-slump of Arch-Enemies but didn’t quite manage to live up to the series opener of Renegades. Meyer’s writing is engrossing and entertaining, but residual plot problems from the second book prevented this one from knocking it out of the park.

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Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Genre: Fantasy
Maturity Level: 3+
Content Warnings: asylums, self-harm, harm to animals
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own. 


It seems like I’ve read a lot of books about Doors in the past few years, but The Ten Thousand Doors of January has definitely been my favorite.

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Middle Grade Review: Roller Girl

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Genres: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade
Maturity Level: 2+
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

Twelve-year-old Astrid has always done everything with her best friend Nicole. So when Astrid signs up for roller derby camp, she assumes Nicole will too. But Nicole signs up for dance camp with a new friend instead, and so begins the toughest summer of Astrid’s life. There are bumps and bruises as Astrid learns who she is without Nicole…and what it takes to be a strong, tough roller girl. 


I started reading middle grade as an adult a little more than a year ago, and this is the first book I’ve read that I’m really disappointed didn’t exist when I was a young person. I think 10-year-old me would have loved it so much, and adult-me sure as heck did. Definitely one of my new favorite graphic novels!

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Review: We Hunt the Flame

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Series: Sands of Arawiya
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Maturity Level: 4-
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.


We Hunt the Flame was incredibly entertaining, and in that way completely lived up to my expectations. But it was also super trope-y, which I personally found a little disappointing.

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Middle Grade Review: Front Desk

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Series: Front Desk
Genre: Middle Grade
Maturity Level: 3 (Content warnings: Violence against women, racism, unjust policing policies)
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.

Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.

Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.

Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?

It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?


I picked up this book because on my very first day as a librarian an extremely passionate, well-spoken young lady told me this was her favorite book and asked if I’d read it. She told me she liked to read it over and over again. And, on the one hand, I see why because WOW. But on the other hand, what kind of ten year old enjoys reading something so difficult? I mean, most of the other kids still think Goosebumps is the height of literary achievement.

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Review: This is How You Lose the Time War

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Genres: Science Fiction, Novella
Maturity Level: 4
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.


At this point, This is How You Lose the Time War has won every major science fiction award there is to win. Every reviewer, bookseller, blogger, and book personality has talked about why this book is so good. I’m not sure there’s anything I can contribute to this conversation, other than to say I cosign ALL OF THAT.

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Middle Grade Review: The Rhino in Right Field

The Rhino in Right Field by Stacy DeKeyser

Genres: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction
Maturity Level: 1
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Nick wants to change his life. For twelve years, he’s done what his hard-working, immigrant parents want him to do. Now he’s looking for his own American dream and he thinks he’s found it. The local baseball team is having a batboy contest, and Nick wants to win.

But the contest is on a Saturday—the day Nick has to work in his father’s shop. There’s one other tiny—well, not so tiny—problem. A 2,000-pound rhinoceros named Tank. Nick and his friends play ball in the city zoo—and Tank lives just beyond the right field fence. Nick’s experience getting the ball out of Tank’s pen has left him frozen with fear whenever a fly ball comes his way. How’s a lousy fielder going to win the contest?

Nick practices every day with his best friend, Ace, and a new girl who has an impressive throwing arm! But that’s not enough—to get to the contest, Nick has to lie to his parents and blackmail his uncle. All while dodging the school bully, who’s determined to win even by playing dirty. Nick will need to keep his eye on the ball in this fast, funny story about a game that can throw you some curveballs—just like life!


What a fun book! I think kids are really going to enjoy it, though struggling readers and English Language Learners may be confused by the antique slang.

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