Friday, January 22, 2021

Spoiler Alert by Oliva Dade

Are you a fan of romances, hidden identities, or nerd culture?  Then you should check out Spoiler Alert, the latest romance novel by Olivia Dade!

April Whittier has kept her nerd love of high fantasy hidden from the rest of her high-powered life for years, but no more.  When she posts a photo cosplaying her favorite character, it goes viral - but not everyone supports her plus-size interpretation.  When the star of her favorite show steps in and asks her on a date to silence her critics, it seems like her life has turned into something straight out of fanfiction.  However, heartthrob Marcus Caster-Rupp has his own fandom secrets.  He spends his free time writing fanfiction anonymously, working out his frustrations on how the showrunners treat his character without getting fired.  Halfway through their date he realizes that April is his closest online friend.  He feels a real connection with her, but with his career on the line can April and Marcus stop hiding and find their epic happy ending? 

On top of being a sweet and witty romance, this book is a love letter to fandom culture.  Fans of epic series like Game of Thrones or Harry Potter will recognize and love a lot of the tropes and experiences Dade draws on.  I would definitely recommend this quick, funny, nerdy read!

Friday, January 15, 2021

Slay by Brittney Morris

Are you a fan of video games, or young adult fiction?  Then you need to check out Slay, Brittney Morris's debut novel.

In real life Kiera Johnson might be a quiet honors student but online she rules over SLAY, a massive game built on African beauty and culture.  No one knows that Kiera is the game developer- not her friends, not her family, not even her boyfriend.  She's happy to keep her worlds separate, but that becomes impossible when a murdered teen who played her game turns SLAY into a global controversy.  Now every news channel has an opinion on her work and one player is threatening to sue her over the game.  Can she protect her game and her secret identity without losing everything she's worked for?

This book is so much fun to read!  It's got the gutsy heart that makes any good YA novel great.  Morris also writes really wonderfully about nerd culture- the good, but also the bad that can come along with being Black and a girl in those spaces.  It's the kind of quick read that will suck you in, so it's perfect if you've made a new year's resolution to read more! 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse


If you are a fan of high fantasy but you're looking for something a little outside the time-honored tropes of the genres, then you definitely need to check out Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse's epic first installment in a new series inspired by pre-Columbian America.

In the holy city Tova, the sun priest and her followers prepare for the celebration of the winter solstice.  A solar eclipse that will coincide with this festival promises to make this year a time of power and rebalancing the world, and forces swarm across the city waiting for a new world to be born.  At the same time a ship sets sail for Tova.  Its captain is a woman who can calm the seas with a song, and her single passenger is a young, blind pilgrim.  This traveler seems harmless, but as he and the eclipse close in on Tova, a dangerous destiny begins to converge as well.

This series has a lot to offer fans of epic fantasy novels, with its prophesies, intersecting character sagas, and innovative systems of magic.  Roanhorse also clearly set out to push at the boundaries of what you'd typically find in this genre.  As an indigenous writer she was very upfront about wanting to set a fantasy novel outside a typical, vaguely-European setting, and the world she created is so much fun to read about.  I liked the feeling of discovering a new place that you get from Black Sun, and each of the three main characters we follow has a story that I loved to bits.  I cannot wait for the sequel, and cannot recommend reading this enough!