Review: House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

Seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats.

Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar. But when her eldest sister, Grey, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Iris learns just how weird her life can get: horned men start shadowing her, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and ugly, impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind.

As Iris retraces Grey’s last known footsteps and follows the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs she left behind, it becomes apparent that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children.

The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to understanding that the answer is dark and dangerous – and that Grey has been keeping a terrible secret from her for years.

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Spotlight: Caitlyn’s Favorite Shakespeare Plays

Well, with April coming to a close as does my William Shakespeare month (though am I ever not talking about Shakespeare?). I’ve really loved focusing on Shakespeare and his works this month. As I said at the beginning of the month, Shakespeare’s works have been so influential to so many, so it’s been awesome to check out works that have been modeled after his as well as reading his works.


Originally my goal was to read all 39 of Shakespeare’s plays by the end of this month, but alas due to just life in general that has not happened. As of now, I’ve read 11 plays, so my goal is to now finish them by June. We’ll see how that goes. While I haven’t read/reread all of his works before writing this post, I do know which plays are my favorites because they’re the ones I always gravitate to and ones that mean a lot to me.

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Review: Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George

Six teenagers’ lives intertwine during one thrilling summer full of romantic misunderstandings and dangerous deals in this sparkling retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

After she gets kicked out of boarding school, seventeen-year-old Beatrice goes to her uncle’s estate on Long Island. But Hey Nonny Nonny is more than just a rundown old mansion. Beatrice’s cousin, Hero, runs a struggling speakeasy out of the basement—one that might not survive the summer. Along with Prince, a poor young man determined to prove his worth; his brother John, a dark and dangerous agent of the local mob; Benedick, a handsome trust-fund kid trying to become a writer; and Maggie, a beautiful and talented singer; Beatrice and Hero throw all their efforts into planning a massive party to save the speakeasy. Despite all their worries, the summer is beautiful, love is in the air, and Beatrice and Benedick are caught up in a romantic battle of wits that their friends might be quietly orchestrating in the background.

Hilariously clever and utterly charming, McKelle George’s debut novel is full of intrigue and 1920s charm. For fans of Jenny Han, Stephanie Perkins, and Anna Godbersen.

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Spotlight: If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

As we know, this month I am celebrating all things Shakespeare in honor of the Bard’s birth/death month. Today, I’ll be discussing my favorite book, If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio.

Note that this post does include major spoilers, so if you haven’t read If We Were Villains yet and don’t want to be spoiled, check out the book before you read this post.

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Let’s Talk: Shakespeare

With April being the birth and death month of Shakespeare, I thought it would be a fun idea to dedicate the month to Shakespeare and Shakespeare-related stories!

I don’t think anyone is shocked to hear me say that I love Shakespeare. It’s no secret. In fact, I’m pretty vocal about it. Shakespeare has had a huge impact on the worlds of both literature and theatre. Both things are incredibly important to me and have changed my life in different ways. It just makes sense that I would find myself feeling deeply connected to his works.

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Review: A Pho Love Story by Loan Le

If Bao Nguyen had to describe himself, he’d say he was a rock. Steady and strong, but not particularly interesting. His grades are average, his social status unremarkable. He works at his parents’ pho restaurant, and even there, he is his parents’ fifth favorite employee. Not ideal.

If Linh Mai had to describe herself, she’d say she was a firecracker. Stable when unlit, but full of potential for joy and fire. She loves art and dreams pursuing a career in it. The only problem? Her parents rely on her in ways they’re not willing to admit, including working practically full-time at her family’s pho restaurant.

For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring pho restaurants. Bao and Linh, who’ve avoided each other for most of their lives, both suspect that the feud stems from feelings much deeper than friendly competition.

But then a chance encounter brings Linh and Bao in the same vicinity despite their best efforts and sparks fly, leading them both to wonder what took so long for them to connect. But then, of course, they immediately remember.

Can Linh and Bao find love in the midst of feuding families and complicated histories?

When Dimple Met Rishi meets Ugly Delicious in this funny, smart romantic comedy, in which two Vietnamese-American teens fall in love and must navigate their newfound relationship amid their families’ age-old feud about their competing, neighboring restaurants.

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Book Recs: 12 Book Recs for Theatre Fans

In honor of World Theatre Day (March 27th), which is unsurprisingly one of my favorite days of the year, I thought I would post some books that I recommend to anyone who is interested in theatre!

To quote the great Audra Mcdonald (who is also the actor with the most Tony Award, she’s a total badass), “I found the theatre and I found my home.” I started performing when I was 15 and it completely changed the course of my life. In the span of 3 months, I discovered what was missing from my life: Theatre. It completely revitalized me; it gave me passion and drive, and I experienced joy as I’d never experienced it before. 

I (unsurprisingly) read a lot of books about theatre. If any aspect of theatre is mentioned in a book (acting, directing, stage managing, voice performance, dance, etc.) I will definitely be checking it out. With the number of books about theatre that I read, this list could be very long. Additionally this list does not include plays, that’s another list for another time. This list focuses on recommendations for musical theatre and dance, both fiction and non-fiction.

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Review: That Way Madness Lies edited by Dahlia Adler

Fifteen acclaimed YA writers put their modern spin on William Shakespeare’s celebrated classics!

West Side Story. 10 Things I Hate About You. Kiss Me, Kate. Contemporary audiences have always craved reimaginings of Shakespeare’s most beloved works. Now, some of today’s best writers for teens take on the Bard in these 15 whip-smart and original retellings!

Contributors include Dahlia Adler (reimagining The Merchant of Venice), Kayla Ancrum (The Taming of the Shrew), Lily Anderson (All’s Well That Ends Well), Patrice Caldwell (Hamlet), Melissa Bashardoust (A Winter’s Tale), Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy (Much Ado About Nothing), Brittany Cavallaro (Sonnet 147), Joy McCullough (King Lear), Anna-Marie McLemore (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Samantha Mabry (Macbeth), Tochi Onyebuchi (Coriolanus), Mark Oshiro (Twelfth Night), Lindsay Smith (Julius Caesar), Kiersten White (Romeo and Juliet), and Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (The Tempest).

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Let’s Talk: Literary Heroines That Have Inspired Me

I love the month of March. It’s when spring begins, it’s Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day is the 8th, World Theatre Day is the 27th, and my birthday is the 12th. March is a fun month for me. As my birthday approaches, I’ve been thinking a lot about how the stories that we read when we’re young shape us into the people that we become as adults. With that in mind, I thought it would be a great idea to pay homage to some of the brilliant women in literature that have inspired me. 

I’ve been an avid reader my entire life. Reading has always been one of my favorite things to do. I remember being a little kid and begging my mother to take me to the library or to Borders Bookstore (RIP Borders, I miss you) so that I could discover new stories and get lost in worlds that were not my own. I’ve always been a daydreamer and kind of had my head in the clouds (the Pisces energy is honestly very strong here) — even as a kid I wanted to travel and go to new places and meet new people. Reading was a way for me to do those things. I was able to go to all of these incredible places without having to leave my home. Reading has continued to broaden my horizons and provide a safe place to escape when things get hard.

There are literally hundreds of characters that I could’ve put on this list, so narrowing it down was difficult. In the end, I decided to go with characters that really inspired me as a child and teenager, and I think they had the biggest impact on who I am now.

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Blog Tour + Spotlight: Sing Me Forgotten by Jessica S. Olsen

Isda does not exist. At least not beyond the opulent walls of the opera house.

Cast into a well at birth for being one of the magical few who can manipulate memories when people sing, she was saved by Cyril, the opera house’s owner. Since that day, he has given her sanctuary from the murderous world outside. All he asks in return is that she use her power to keep ticket sales high—and that she stay out of sight. For if anyone discovers she survived, Isda and Cyril would pay with their lives.

But Isda breaks Cyril’s cardinal rule when she meets Emeric Rodin, a charming boy who throws her quiet, solitary life out of balance. His voice is unlike any she’s ever heard, but the real shock comes when she finds in his memories hints of a way to finally break free of her gilded prison.

Haunted by this possibility, Isda spends more and more time with Emeric, searching for answers in his music and his past. But the price of freedom is steeper than Isda could ever know. For even as she struggles with her growing feelings for Emeric, she learns that in order to take charge of her own destiny, she must become the monster the world tried to drown in the first place.

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