[Review] The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert

A quick read with engaging, interesting characters and story elements, The Revolution of Birdie Randolph is sure to be a new favorite.



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Published: 20 August 2019

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre(s): Young Adult/Contemporary/LGBT+

Perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and Nicola Yoon comes a novel about first love and family secrets from Stonewall Book Award winner Brandy Colbert.

Dove “Birdie” Randolph works hard to be the perfect daughter and follow the path her parents have laid out for her: She quit playing her beloved soccer, she keeps her nose buried in textbooks, and she’s on track to finish high school at the top of her class. But then Birdie falls hard for Booker, a sweet boy with a troubled past…whom she knows her parents will never approve of.

When her estranged aunt Carlene returns to Chicago and moves into the family’s apartment above their hair salon, Birdie notices the tension building at home. Carlene is sweet, friendly, and open-minded–she’s also spent decades in and out of treatment facilities for addiction. As Birdie becomes closer to both Booker and Carlene, she yearns to spread her wings. But when long-buried secrets rise to the surface, everything she’s known to be true is turned upside down.






Representation: bisexual SC, lesbian SC, majority Black cast



content warnings - Copy



Parental death (off page – cancer related), underage drinking, minor drug use (vaping weed), bullying by an adult (off page – recalled in a story), racially toned police interaction



what i enjoyed



The book talking about a variety of subjects in an accessible way: parental expectations, like those that Birdie’s mom had for her daughters and, further on, where the intensity of those expectations came from; Birdie’s rebelling against those expectations in order to discover her own identity; Booker’s history as it related to his time in juvenile detention and how there was more to it than some people (like Birdie’s mom) might have thought i.e. being bullied by a football coach & his mother’s terminal illness; Birdie’s aunt Carlene and her struggle with staying sober over the years after being in and out of rehab. There was a lot to unpack in The Revolution of Birdie Randolph and while one might think that these would be too many things, Brandy Colbert handled them superbly.

I was happy that therapy was talked about, even if it was looked at from two angles. Booker’s Booker’s dad is from the old school South side and it just isn’t “him” to go to therapy, even if it would help his kid, but he gets help for his son because he knows it’s going to help Booker. Birdie’s mom on the other hand would never attend family sessions she’d be worried about what people would think about them, about giving off a less than perfect appearance.

The narrative woven as Birdie figures out who is in relation to her mother, her aunt, in relation to the family she’s a part of (even taking into account the secrets buried in the past) was really engaging. I didn’t want to put this book down because Birdie, trying to figure out how to be a person, a growing teenager, and not just someone’s daughter, pulled me in.



what i didn't enjoy - Copy



I was saddened by how little Birdie’s mom seemed to listen to her, whether it was in regards to Birdie wanting to play soccer, something she enjoyed and allowed her to blow off steam from the immense pressure of academics, or in regards to her relationship with Mitchell, Birdie’s ex at the time of the story. Even after it ended, Birdie’s mom (who is friends with Mitchell’s mom) acted like it was a matter of time before Birdie and he got back together. She didn’t listen or pay attention to her daughter, it felt like, just thought about the best cast scenario in her mind, never mind what Birdie felt or wanted.



to sum it up - Copy



The Revolution of Birdie Randolph packs a punch of engaging characters, story lines that tackle different, relatable topics, and a story you just won’t want to put down.






I received a copy of this book from the Amazon Vine Program in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.


Trick or Treat Readathon TBR

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October is looking to be another busy readathon month for me. lol First and foremost among them is the Trick or Treat Readathon aka ToTAThon 2019. Taking place October 1-31st, it’s celebrating the spooky, the creepy, and the haunted, plus any other book you can think of that fits the prompts for your team.

Created by Melissa (@meoples92), you can follow the main account on Twitter here: @ToT_athon.

There are three teams: Ghost, Vampire, and Witch/Wizard. I am one of the co-hosts for Team Witch/Wizard along with @NeverlandIngrid.

Each team has a Treat and a Trick they’ll have to abide by. *shocked horror movie face* For Team Witch/Wizard, our Treat is that we can read a non-prompt book in place of one prompt. Our Trick is that we have to read a 500+ page book (how do I always end up on those teams? lol).

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I’m so excited with the selections I made for my TBR for ToTAThon2019. Hopefully some of y’all will want to join as well when you see the prompts and my selections. 🙂

Costume Party (Read the Group Book)


The group book is Coraline by Neil Gaiman. I’ve read this book a couple of times in multiple formats. This time around, I’ll be going with the audiobook which is narrated by the author himself. Neil Gaiman is the perfect narrator, especially for a spooky tale.

Monster Mash: Read a book that has your team mascot in it


Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson is likened to The Craft meets Veronica Mars and as I loved both those things, I couldn’t resist the urge to read this, especially with the new cover for the paperback release.

Fall Foliage: Read a book with fall colors on the cover (red, orange, yellow, or brown)


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern audiobook has been on my TBR for ages because Jim Dale narrates it and I think it will be well worth it to hear the man that narrates Harry Potter say some of the iconic lines from this book.

This is the book I’ll be reading for my team’s Trick challenge. The paperback edition of this book has 516 pages, so it fits our 500+ Trick. The Red fits for Fall, plus I think the Black adds an extra element as a Halloween color.

Alternate Book: Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older. The cover is a brilliant combination of colors, half of which fit this prompt. It’s chock full of magic, so it’ll be a good October story.

Spooky Hayride: Read a book that involves a trip or quest


This is a classic series of wizardry and I can’t wait to dive back in. So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane was a childhood staple and I still remember key scenes. It’ll be a great time of year to revisit it and the epic adventure Nita and Kit go on to fight the Lone One.

Alternate Book: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova – Alexa is a bruja who must go on a quest to rescue her family when her Deathday spell backfires.

Corn Maze: Read a book where someone gets lost and/or finds themselves


Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw looks quite spooky. Whether it’s Nora Walker or Oliver Hunstman that’s going to be the one finding themselves in this book, I’m not sure, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a multi-level story. Shea’s books look very atmospheric, if the covers are anything to go by.

Black Cat: Read a book with an animal on the cover


xxxHolic by CLAMP is one of my favorite series. Butterflies are a huge theme throughout the series, as they’re a symbol of Yuko the Time Space Witch (featured here on the cover). I think I finished this series, but I can’t remember so hey, time to start again!

Spider Webs: Read a book that gives you the heebie jeebies


I started watching the Netflix adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson when it came out. If that is anything to go back, even taking into account the sure changes I can gather by the synopsis of the book, I’m sure this is going to give me the heebie jeebies for sure.

Read a book and watch the movie/tv show adaptation


Practical Magic is one of my favorite Halloween movies but I’ve never read the book Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. I figure it’s finally time to read the source material and see what that’s like.

And those are all the challenges for Team Witch/Wizard! There will also be social media challenges to complete for some extra points, so be sure to check those out once the readathon starts. 🙂

If you’d like to signup, you can do so here: Trick or Treat Readathon Signup

I look forward to reading with Team Witch/Wizard and with everyone else too!

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

[Review & Favorite Quotes] FFBC Tour: A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth

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Violet Sterling has grown up knowing she would be Caretaker of Burleigh House. When that destiny is twisted from her grasp, when the King attempts to warp her future and Burleigh itself is in danger, she must find a way to save itself and the Western Country form the magic that is overflowing and poisoning the land.

Betrayal, sacrifice, heartbreak.

Burleigh House encompasses everything. Welcome home.

_ _ _ _ _

I fell in love with Laura E. Weymouth’s writing and the way she can draw you into the natural world with her debut The Light Between Worlds. In that moment she became an auto-read author and when I read the description for her sophomore novel about a sentient house, I knew it would be another adventure of epic proportions.

The depths of commitment, what it means to be loyal, to be chosen, and what destiny means…these questions and more are put to the characters of A Treason of Thorns, Violet Sterling most of all as she grapples with trying to save not only her beloved House, but all those it affects with its monumental power.



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Published: 10 September 2019

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre(s): Fantasy/Young Adult/Historical FIction

Violet Sterling has spent the last seven years in exile, longing to return to Burleigh House. One of the six great houses of England, Burleigh’s magic always kept the countryside well. And as a child, this magic kept Violet happy, draping her in flowers while she slept, fashioning secret hiding places for her, and lighting fires on the coldest nights to keep her warm.

Everything shattered, though, when her father committed high treason trying to free Burleigh from the king’s oppressive control. He was killed, and Vi was forced into hiding.

When she’s given a chance to go back, she discovers Burleigh has run wild with grief. Vines and briars are crumbling the walls. Magic that once enriched the surrounding countryside has turned dark and deadly, twisting lush blooms into thorns, poisoning livestock and destroying crops. Burleigh’s very soul is crying out in pain.

Vi would do anything to help, and soon she finds herself walking the same deadly path as her father all those years before. Vi must decide how far she’s willing to go to save her house—before her house destroys everything she’s ever known.

Content warnings: The Light Between Worlds portrays characters dealing with depression, self-harm, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation, illness and disordered eating, and the loss of a loved one. It refers to possible suicide, contains scenes of violence and war, and brief mentions may be unsettling to readers with emetophobia. If you have any questions about these warnings, or require more details, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the contact page on the author’s website.




Rep: SCs central to the MC who are Jewish & holidays that are celebrated throughout



content warnings - Copy


Animal injury (not a pet), blood, violence, repeated use of the word “s*v*ge”, gorey imagery



what i enjoyed



Laura E. Weymouth has such a command of her writing when it comes to nature and how it interacts with humanity. Burleigh at the height of its power within the book and even during the worst of its decline is a thing of beauty and heartbreak, a bittersweet monument that loves the hero of the story, Violet, with as much passion as she loves it.

Burleigh isn’t just the house one would think and a reader doesn’t just get descriptions of bedrooms or sitting areas, but the whole of the property and the countryside that is Burleigh, warts and all. Whether it’s the niceties of it or the mortar seeping from it and breaking your heart on the way out, it’s easy to see how Violet, having lived her for the whole of her life, could be faithful to it. Seeing this place, seeing things grow and respond to her, it wasn’t just words, it was a feeling.

Religion is a quiet undercurrent in A Treason of Thorns, but that makes it no less important, either to the reader or to the characters whose faith being read about. Jed and Mira practice their Jewish faith, even while in the road under less than ideal circumstances and concerned about others’ eyes. Violet reminisces about Shabbats she spent with them, the light & the food. She too attends services for her own faith while on the road (Church of England).

The fight about familial duty versus personal destiny that manifested when Violet’s parents were arguing over their daughter and her duty to Burleigh versus what was best for her personally. It was interesting to see a classic argument play out and what it meant: the sacrifices, how Violet chose even as a young child, how Burleigh influenced those around and in it.

Violet was a strong character from the start and I loved her: how she fought for her House, her wants, the destiny she believed in. She didn’t suffer fools, whether they were a curate who wanted her hand in marriage or the King himself. She had her weaknesses, possible in the allowances she made when it came to Burleigh, but these were part of what made her human: she wasn’t wholly angelic or devilish. She was, as she says herself:


I’m not just Violet Sterling, Caretaker of a failing House. I am the sum of everywhere and everything I’ve been.



what i didn't enjoy - Copy



(As this was a 5 Star read, Didn’t Enjoy doesn’t quite apply, so these are more  “hm” things I came across while reading A Treason of Thorns.)


There were hints about other Houses around the world and how the handling of them is different from that of the situation in England, from their control to what happens when one grows out of control. There was an allusion to one in Italy whose magic I’m almost certain cause Mount Vesuvius to erupt. The sheer scope of magic around the world is tantalizing, but it makes me wonder at whether there are more details that we could see in the future. A Treason of Thorns is wholly encapsulated in England with only briefs asides to these other Houses and systems. I would have loved to hear more or even see chapters where someone visited them, even if it couldn’t be Violet or present company for reasons.

Romantically, I wasn’t wholly convinced of the relationship that developed between Violet and Wyn. I understand that a strong relationship could form and probably would, given how long they were together and the things they went through and the strong attachments that Violet formed to the people she took to herself, but I never really felt that romantic aspect of their relationship. Being told it, I kind of shrugged and said “okay, sure.” It’s not bad, so to speak, just “meh” for my part.



to sum it up - Copy



Laura E. Weymouth has done it again and crafted a story that I would like to live in. Seriously, sign me up to take care of an ancient House that may or may not have a portal to the Woodlands somewhere on the property and I will be a happy person.

The magic, the love of a monster/monstrous…thing?, sacrificing…omg, I’m just waiting to read this all over again.



Favorite Quotes


To me, my House always been both more and less than that. Burleigh, like Wyn, is simply this: both family, and a friend.


Because what Uncle Edgar doesn’t notice as he turns his attention back to his pudding is that when I smile at him, it looks like murder.


“I don’t have to be safe,” I tell her. “I have to do my job, as someone who’s meant to be Burleigh’s Caretaker.


I used to look after him, and now things seem to be the other way around. I don’t like it. It makes me feel like a burden, and I’ve always hated to inconvenience anyone else.


Most wicked men are at least straightforward—unwieldy clubs that bludgeon you with their ill will and brute strength. But His Majesty the king is a dagger in the night, wielded with a smile.


“…folk recognize a devil in fine clothes when they see one.”


I know my duty, but that doesn’t keep all of this from feeling like more than I should have to bear. And it doesn’t make me any less afraid.


Someday, I will die for Burleigh House. It’s only become a matter of when.


“…some people are worth it. They’re worth giving up everything you thought you wanted. And Espie’s not just the princess of Wales to me, or even the girl I love. She’s home.”


“I suppose I never feel as if I should have the luxury. If I’m to be queen someday, I ought to rise when my subjects do, and the fishermen set out to sea an hour ago. The farmers have already milked their cattle. The tin miners are at their pitches. Who am I to lie abed?”


“The world is full of men who want things, and never question their right to go after them.” Esperanza’s eyes spark, and she leans forward in her chair. “Why should we feel any less worthy than they do, so long as what we want does no harm?”





I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.


[BOTM YA] September Selections

Good morning, y’all, and happy September!

It’s a new month and with that comes new Book of the Month Young Adult selections. 😀 As a BOTM YA Affiliate I’ve been sitting on these titles and waiting to talk about them. Now that it’s official that time, let’s have a look at the fabulous books that you can choose from if you join BOTM YA in September.




The Ten Thousands Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow [Historical Fiction] – In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.


Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi [Romance] – After a year of college, Pablo is working at his local twenty-four-hour deli, selling overpriced snacks to brownstone yuppies. He’s dodging calls from the student loan office and he has no idea what his next move is.

Leanna Smart’s life so far has been nothing but success. Age eight: Disney Mouseketeer; Age fifteen: first #1 single on the US pop chart; Age seventeen, *tenth* #1 single; and now, at Age nineteen…life is a queasy blur of private planes, weird hotel rooms, and strangers asking for selfies on the street.

When Leanna and Pab randomly meet at 4:00 a.m. in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn, they both know they can’t be together forever. So, they keep things on the down-low and off Instagram for as long as they can. But it takes about three seconds before the world finds out…


The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young [Fantasy] – The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.


The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus [Contemporary Fiction] – Told in two distinct and irresistible voices, Junauda Petrus’s bold and lyrical debut is the story of two black girls from very different backgrounds finding love and happiness in a world that seems determined to deny them both.

Trinidad. Sixteen-year-old Audre is despondent, having just found out she’s going to be sent to live in America with her father because her strictly religious mother caught her with her secret girlfriend, the pastor’s daughter. Audre’s grandmother Queenie (a former dancer who drives a white convertible Cadillac and who has a few secrets of her own) tries to reassure her granddaughter that she won’t lose her roots, not even in some place called Minneapolis. “America have dey spirits too, believe me,” she tells Audre.

Minneapolis. Sixteen-year-old Mabel is lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to figure out why she feels the way she feels–about her ex Terrell, about her girl Jada and that moment they had in the woods, and about the vague feeling of illness that’s plagued her all summer. Mabel’s reverie is cut short when her father announces that his best friend and his just-arrived-from-Trinidad daughter are coming for dinner.

Mabel quickly falls hard for Audre and is determined to take care of her as she tries to navigate an American high school. But their romance takes a turn when test results reveal exactly why Mabel has been feeling low-key sick all summer and suddenly it’s Audre who is caring for Mabel as she faces a deeply uncertain future.

Junauda Petrus’s debut brilliantly captures the distinctly lush and lyrical voices of Mabel and Audre as they conjure a love that is stronger than hatred, prison, and death and as vast as the blackness between the stars.


Frankly in Love by David Yoon [Romance] – High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all.



Any of these books would make fantastic choices. My personal selection?


September_The Stars and the Blackness Between Them[5289]


The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus! The cover, the description, it all drew me in. It’s not one I’ve heard talked about too much, which seems a shame. Here’s hoping y’all will give it a shot and we can all love on it together. 🙂

Frankl in Love by David Yoon is another great selection. As an affiliate it wasn’t available to me because of a strict street date, but you can be sure I’ll be picking it up one way or the other come September 10th. I’ve heard many good things about it on Twitter and, whether you’ve seen the book trailer or not, it’s well worth reading yourself.

If you want to pick up a copy of this book, or any of the other great BOTM YA picks, as a new member you can use code GROW to get your first box for $9.99 (that’s 33% the regular price!).

September is going to be full of great reads, whatever you choose! New readers, welcome to BOTM YA and don’t forget that code (GROW)!