5 Stars to “SWEPT OFF MY FEET” by Ines Bautista-Yao

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Why my life sucks
by Geri Lazaro

1. My dad left when I was a kid.
2. My mom is in love (insert eye roll).
3. With a guy who is like 10 years younger than her!
4. My friends think he’s hot. (Gross)
5. I love ballet but our dance studio has a leak and we have to dance in this smelly studio that doubles as an aikido dojo.
6. There’s this Dojo guy who thinks the studio belongs to him.
7. Friends think Dojo guy is cute. (Ew.) (Okay, objectively maybe but still, ew.)
8. I’m failing algebra.
9. Need to quit either basketball or ballet. Or both.
10. Dojo guy keeps showing up! (Fine, he does aikido in the same building but whatever.)
11. Dojo guy is asking me to dance with him. And maybe he is as cute as my friends say.
12. I don’t know what to do anymore!

 

Where to begin on the list of why I loved this book? Ines Bautista-Yao’s sweet teen romances are so much more than hormones and angst. She captures the inner struggles that emerging adulthood brings. In this case, Geri Lazaro has to come to terms with the ever-roiling anger within her, its cause, and how to cope. Along comes the aggravating yet attractive dojo guy, Bas Mercado who has been through some tough times of his own. Their worlds are nothing alike on the outside, but their hearts have been through similar journeys. Bas is a few steps ahead on the path to healing and is there to guide Geri along. This love story has all the right ups and downs, sighs and sobs.

5 Stars to “THE CASE OF THE DEATH BOOK” by Michael Pickford

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Samuel Hickson moved from Chicago to Tennessee to attend college. He sought a new roommate after suffering through living with three party animals. Samuel’s neighbor introduced him to a strange young man named Zeblon Jack. Zeblon was a child prodigy who by the age of 18 had completed law school and passed the bar. He was also a loose cannon who had no qualms about breaking the law to bring out the truth. On their first meeting, Zeblon was able to dictate the details of Samuel’s morning with precise accuracy by simply noticing a few minor details about Samuel’s appearance. Samuel learned about the murder of his Hebrew professor. He also learned the police had arrested one of his good friends for the murder. Zeblon got involved and led the straight-laced Samuel into risky and exciting adventures as they worked together to solve the crime.

 

Samuel just wanted a college roomie who cleaned up after himself and didn’t party all night. He never expected to bunk in luxury with a boy genius who had already graduated from Law School and passed the bar. Zeblon might not remember to wear socks to trial, and he has next to no social graces, but his powers of observation and keen mind hearken back to the gent from Baker Street in London all those mysteries ago.

This was a charming little mystery, well-written and reminiscent of the movie Young Sherlock Holmes that came out in the 80’s. I very much enjoyed the banter between the two young men and the quirkiness of Zeblon. The author dropped enough clues that I could guess at some of the solutions, but still left a plausible twist or two for the surprise we all need at the end of a mystery.

If this is the start of a new series, I’m going to follow it, because my only complaint about the book was that it was over too soon.