Posts By: Layla

Deeper: Review

Deeper: Review

If you’re a reader whose interests tend towards (angsty, challenging, occasionally sweet) romance, I can’t recommend Robin York’s Deeper enough. To be clear, this is absolutely not a book for young readers. Deeper definitely falls into the New Adult genre, and as such, is one of the best New Adult novels that I’ve read in the past year. (My favorite of the year is probably Leah Raeder’s Unteachable, which Wendy reviewed a few months ago.) Although I’m still trying to find my bearings in NA lit in general, I like Robin York’s work quite a bit. (This is probably because she is also romance writer Ruthie Knox, who is a person you should read if you like contemporary romances.) Anyway. Here’s what I liked about Deeper (despite what seems to me to be an awful-ish title, and not just because it’s also the title of a lesbian romance novel that is crazy bad). If you’re interested in NA and… Read more »

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Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

Assassin nuns! Who doesn’t love assassin nuns? (All of the people who get assassinated by them, probably.) If you aren’t a threat to 15th-century Brittany, though, you’re probably safe. That said, if you haven’t read any of the books in the His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers, GO READ THEM NOW. That is an order. The second book, Dark Triumph, is one of the best books I’ve read in the past year, and I think the series as a whole is pretty awesomesauce. The premise is as follows: the books follow the adventures (murder adventures) of three initiates – Ismae, Sybella, and Annith – of the Convent of Saint Mortain, the god of Death. All of the convent’s novitiates are also supposed to be the daughters of Mortain and have the creepy birth stories to prove it (with the exception of Annith whose birth is mysterious and unknown). They have all… Read more »

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Layla at NCTE / ALAN: Event Recap

Layla at NCTE / ALAN: Event Recap

Happy December! So I had a book adventure / conference adventure right before Thanksgiving, which was appropriate because as a Layla, I am perpetually thankful for books. Two weeks ago, I attended the annual meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English (as well as the workshop on YA Lit that followed the conference, ALAN). This year’s conference was held in Washington, D.C., which is close-ish to where I live in North Carolina, so it seemed like a good year to go. An added bonus – I had a group of friends who were already going, one of whom was a seasoned ALAN veteran who promised to show me the ropes. Road trips! Learning! D.C.! Count me in. Although I went to NCTE for professional reasons, it turned out to be unexpectedly and delightfully relevant to my work as a reader and blogger. Conferences in my field primarily consist of different panels… Read more »

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Her Dark Curiosity: Review

Her Dark Curiosity: Review

Ah, I am seriously so interested and excited by this book. For folks who are unfamiliar with The Madman’s Daughter series by Megan Shepherd, the basic premise is as follows: what if Dr. Moreau (island, animal-human hybrids, H.G. Wells) had a daughter with the same scientific bent? The first book (Wendy has a positive review of that book here; Tonya liked it less) follows Juliet Moreau from London – where she’s been living and working, cleaning university laboratories and the like after her father disappeared following a scandal that besmirched their family name – to the fabled island her father’s currently set up shop on. Juliet’s anxious and excited about reuniting with her father, but her feelings become more troubled when she discovers that the rumors are true: not only is her father a vivisectionist, but he is crafting human beings from the parts of different animals. (Whom he names after characters from Shakespeare, because… Read more »

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Otherbound: Review

Otherbound: Review

Otherbound is super interesting, you all. If you like incredibly original fantasy, detailed world-building, and diversity to the max in your reading, you should go pick up Otherbound. Here’s the premise: whenever Nolan blinks (or sleeps, or closes his eyes for any period of time whatsoever), he becomes trapped in Amara’s mind. He’s been diagnosed with epilepsy, but no medication seems to have much of an effect on his blackouts. These blackouts have been pervasive since he was a little kid, and have had real physical, emotional, and social consequences for him: he was hit by a car during one blackout and now wears a prosthetic leg; he feels helpless at his lack of control over his blackouts; he also can’t spend time with family and friends without worrying about whether he’s going to get pulled into Amara’s mind. Amara lives in a totally different world – the Dunelands – and has no… Read more »

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The Body Electric: Review

The Body Electric: Review

Raise your hands if you enjoy any of the following: Conspiracy theories! Fighting the man! Technology in the future! Androids! What it means to be a human! …or embodied! …or an individual subject! Playing “catch that allusion” re: sci-fi as a genre! Because The Body Electric thinks about all of these things, and if these are things you are also interested in thinking about, you’re in for a good time, I promise. While I wasn’t totally in love with everything in this book (and I’ll get to that), the book does a lot of things right: it entertains many interesting questions, features solid world-building, and is written beautifully. And those aspects were enough to make my readerly experience a positive one. Here’s the premise: our heroine, Ella Shepherd, lives in postwar Malta in the new city of New Venice, the site of a new global government. Shortly after Ella discovers that she… Read more »

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Love Is the Drug: Review

Love Is the Drug: Review

I’ve had my eye on Love Is the Drug since I first heard of it. I haven’t read Alaya Dawn Johnson’s first young adult novel, The Summer Prince – a post-apocalyptic novel set in Brazil that features queer relationships – but it’s been on my to-read list for awhile. (Peyton, however, has a great review of The Summer Prince here on GoodReads. Check it out!) Anyway, I figured Love Is the Drug would be catnip for me. I love post-(or almost-but-not-quite) apocalyptic fiction. I love fiction about bioterrorism. And I love YA fiction that features diverse characters. Also also, I will happily read anything that is sold as “such and such meets Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain.” Thank you, I will take two of those. And on that front, Love Is the Drug did not disappoint. Refer to the blurb once again; it is absolutely all of these things. It is def fiction about… Read more »

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