Mini Reviews: Complicated Relationships

Today’s mini reviews are a very rough grouping under this “complicated relationships” heading. One book follows a friendship falling apart, one is filled with original fairytales with some very suspect (and killer) family members, and one is about a family who’s moved into a haunted house so they, and the ghost, have to figure out their new arrangement. It mostly works!

I felt mixed on these books but there is a lot to love in each and I think it really came down to my expectations before reading them. Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what your thoughts were!

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Review: Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe

Book cover for Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe. Illustration of a teenage Black boy and girl crossing a street at a crosswalk while walking a dog.

Title: Charming as a Verb
Author: Ben Philippe
Genre: YA Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Publication date: October 13, 2020
Format / source: paperback / ARC from publisher
Purchase: HarperCollins
Own voices: Haitian-American
Rating: ★★★★☆

I originally listed this one as an honourable mention in my 2020 top reads but it’s such a great read and it’s been sticking in my mind since reading it, so in retrospect this totally makes the top 10, maybe even the top 5.

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Author Interview: Sameer Garach

It’s time for an author interview! Very happy to have Sameer Garach join me on the blog today and share all his journey to writing and all about his latest book. Read on for more about his take on the American Dream and some great ice cream recommendations!

1600x2400 Dakota and the American DreamDakota and the American Dream by Sameer Garach
Genre: Literary Satire
Purchase: Amazon

When ten-year-old Dakota becomes bored sitting next to his mother on a park bench, he drifts off into a dream in which he follows a squirrel down a game of hopscotch until he finds himself in an urban fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.

To define the charm of the Dakota book—with those wonderful eccentric characters the Greenback Squirrel, the White Mouse, the Black Rat, the Bigwig, the Chairman, the Big Boss, the Westchester Whelp, the 800-pound Gorilla, etc.—as merely an adolescent arousal would convey a lack of proper understanding, for it really comprises a satire on language, a corporate allegory, a reflection of contemporary history, and a parody of twenty-first-century children’s literature.


Sam/Spines: Let’s start off with a little game to learn more about you: what are two truths and a lie about yourself?

Sameer Garach: I’m a vegetarian. I live in Russia. I can do the splits. (The truth is I can’t do the splits.)

S: How did you get started in writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer?

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