Anne Z.'s blog

This Week's Review at Inklings


Yes & I Love You by Roni Loren

It is always nice when a book surprises you. Yes & I Love You was more than the title suggests. Yes, it is certainly a romance novel, but it also deals with things most of us don't think about when talking about inclusion in books. The main female character, Hollyn, has tourette syndrome and suffers panic attacks. The disease affected the character's daily life but didn't define who she was. The author, Roni Loren, holds a master’s degree in social work and spent years as a mental health counselor, and it is clear her experiences helped her here. She represented the illness well and did a great job at demonstrating how anxiety and other daily things we take for granted made things harder for Hollyn.

Hollyn is very successful in her field. She runs a popular blog and her word is the law. If she recommends your business or entertainment it is certain it will be successful. But because of her tourettes she hides behind the screen and no one knows what the popular reviewer "Miss Poppy'' looks like. With the growth of youtube videos, tiktoks, etc., her boss wants Miss Poppy to come out of hiding. She doesn't own the Miss Poppy brand, so her choices are to evolve and face her fears or lose her dream job.

It is around this time that her life crosses paths with the new barista at work, who instantly thinks she dislikes him because of the faces she makes whenever she sees him. The new office coffee guy also happens to be an improv actor at night. With his help (after a number of misunderstandings) Hollyn might just be able to face her fears and face a camera. And with her help, Japer might get the attention he needs for his improv group to succeed. He will help her, and she will in turn watch his group and review them. 

Although this is a solid plan that will benefit them both, they didn't count on liking each other so much and their past baggage and life struggles does not make giving a relationship between them a shot easy.

If you are looking for an easy to read book this summer, that is lighthearted while also touching on something substantial that is a struggle to many, give this little romance novel a try!

This Week's Review at Inklings

Spring Bestsellers at Inklings

Can you believe Spring is almost over? Time is definitely flying by.

Spring at Inklings has been good, and we are so very grateful for all our wonderful customers. Our local authors got a lot of love and our top sellers were once again Cascade Killer & Cascade Vengeance by Robert Phillips, and Murer and Mayhem in Central Washington & The Hidden History of Yakima by Ellen Allmendinger.  Another title that has been on our bestselling list and sold well again this spring was The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. 

But if you have already read these wonderful titles, here are a few other bestselling titles at Inklings this spring:

- The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country by Amanda Gorman, Viking $15.99 - Audio Book on Here

Amanda Gorman was the youngest poet to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. Her inaugural poem is now available in a little collectible gift edition and it has been a favorite this spring.  

- Little Blue Truck's Springtime by Alice Schertle - Audio Book on Here for the original Little Blue Truck Story 

Why not celebrate the beauty of springtime with another title from the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Little Blue Truck!?

In this springtime edition Little Blue Truck goes out for a ride with his good friend Toad. The sun is shining and the flowers are blooming, it's a beautiful spring day! Who will Little Blue Truck and Toad see along the way? By opening the flaps you will meet all of the sweet baby animals just born on the farm. A super cute read for the little ones.

- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, Ecco Press $16.99 - Audio Book on Here

"A beautiful and heartbreaking story based on Greek Mythology. I could not put it down and read it in two days" (Rachel Fowler, Inklings Bookseller)

"Patroclus, an awkward young prince, follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate. Set during the Trojan War." (Publisher's Marketing)

- The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, Viking $26 Audio Book on Here

"Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better? In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig's enchanting blockbuster novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision." (Publisher's Marketing)

- The Rose Code by Kate Quinn, William Morrow $17.99 - Audio Book on Here

"Kate Quinn is a master storyteller, and this book is a must read.  I recommend it to readers who enjoy historical novels set in London during the war and are interested in the codebreaking that helped end the war." (Lisa Martin, Inklings Bookseller) This story is based on facts and follows three female codebreakers at Bletchley Park and the spy they must root out after the war is over.

- Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo, MacMillan $10.99

It isn't surprising that this title made the list, currently a must watch on Netflix it is selling well. Fans of fantasy and young adult novels are bound to love this series. The story follows Alina, an orphan girl and soldier who unleashes a powerful magic within her when her regiment is attacked. Such a display of power gets the attention of the army leader, and he is not all he seems. 

- Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir, Ballantine $28.99

"Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission--and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn't know that. He can't even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it...

An irresistible interstellar adventure as only Andy Weir could deliver, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian--while taking us to places it never dreamed of going." (Publisher's Marketing)

- From Blood and Ash by Jennifer Armentrout, Blue Box Press $19.99

Jennifer Armentrout is a bestselling author and you might recognize her name from some of her other titles like The Problem with Forever (a personal favorite of mine). From Blood and Ash is an action-packed fantasy with plenty of romance and twists and turns, it is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Laura Thalassa.

- Dog Man: Mothering Heights by Dav Pilkey  (Dog Man #10), Graphix $12.99

"Dog Man and Petey face their biggest challenges yet in the tenth Dog Man book from worldwide bestselling author and illustrator Dav Pilkey. Dog Man is down on his luck, Petey confronts his not so purr-fect past, and Grampa is up to no good. The world is spinning out of control as new villains spill into town. Everything seems dark and full of despair. But hope is not lost. Can the incredible power of love save the day?" (Publisher's Marketing)

Have Fun Reading!

This Week's Review at Inklings

The Children’s Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin

Review by Luanne Clark

Melanie Benjamin writes excellent, well-researched  historical fiction. Usually she takes a well-known person and fictionalizes plausible events around the character. This is what she did in The Swans of Fifth Avenue (Truman Capote), Alice I Have Been (Lewis Carroll), and The Aviator’s Wife (Anne Morrow Lindbergh). This time around, her editor gave her a challenge: start with an historical event and fictionalize the  characters who will experience that event. Benjamin chose a freak snowstorm that hit the plains in 1888.

The Children’s Blizzard, so named because of the great number of children that perished, hit Nebraska and the Dakota territory on January 12, 1888. After several weeks of bitterly cold winter weather, the day dawned mild and sunny. The immigrant children and farmers of the plains started their day with light jackets and a hope of spring in the future. About 3:00, just the time when teachers were sending the children home from school, the blizzard struck. Within 30 minutes, the snow was so thick that travel was impossible. Some sources stated that the temperature dropped 100 degrees in the next 24 hours!

Our Favorite Reads in May!

And here is the link to our favorites, in paperback/hardcover from us, and audio from

- The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse Physical Copy- Audio Book

- One Last Stop Physical Copy- Audio Book

- The Peacemaker: Growing as an Enneagram 9 Physical Copy

- The Nine Physical Copy- Audio Book

- An Absolutely Remarkable Thing Physical Copy- Audio Book

- World War Z Physical Copy- Audio Book

- Yes & I Love You Physical Copy- Audio Book

- Klara and The Sun Physical Copy- Audio Book

This Week's Review at Inklings

June marks the beginning of Pride Month for the LGBTQ+ community, and what better way to celebrate Pride than to read! Raymond and I (Samwise) wanted to share some LGBTQ+ books that we are in love with.

Juliet Takes a Breath: The Graphic Novel by Gabby Rivera, Boom Box, $14.99

An adorable, colorful graphic novel about a coming-of-age Puerto Rican, lesbian. Our main character, Juliet, decides to do an internship in Portland with her favorite author, Harlowe Brisbane. When Harlowe’s friends warn Juliet that Harlowe is not as kind as she seems Juliet starts to notice little things that put her on edge. When the dam finally breaks, she has to rethink who she is and what she wants out of her life. She finds comfort in her new friends and finds support from her family. A heart-warming read for anyone who understands the pain of growing up.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, Swoon Reads, $17.99

Yadriel is a Latinx, trans boy who is trying to prove himself as a brujo to gain acceptance from his family. In trying to prove himself, he decides to summon the ghost of his murdered relative. However, things do not go as he had planned, and he accidentally summons his school’s resident bad boy, Julian. Julian is not about to go quietly back to death as he wants to tie up some loose ends. This leaves Yadriel no choice but to help him. In helping each other out, some heavy emotional topics are touched on in a way that pulls at your heartstrings. Julian had a rough upbringing, Yadriel yearns for acceptance from others. Along the way, Yadriel realizes he is in love with this ghost boy, who will have to go back to the other side eventually.

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman, Graphix, $14.99

Heartstopper is an adorable comic by writer and illustrator Alice Oseman, that follows best friends Nick and Charlie as their relationship blossoms into something more. This series is a great read for anyone interested in a refreshing, modern, gay romance--and the captivating artwork only serves as a bonus!

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee, Quill Tree Books, $17.99

Noah Ramirez, a newly out trans boy, runs a blog about transgender people making romantic connections. The only problem is, none of the stories are true. When an internet troll forces Noah to provide proof that he’s not making the Diary up, Drew, a cisgender boy, steps in and offers to pretend to date Noah for the sake of his blog. As Noah and Drew’s relationship progresses, Noah realizes that true love might not be as simple as the stories he’s put down in the Diary.

This Week's Review at Inklings

What to get the teen in your life to read this Summer!

Samwise McGinn and Anne Zastrow


It is hard to choose books for teens, but we are here to help! Below are some of our favorite Young Adult titles, both old and new, for the teen in your life.

- Fable and Namesake by Adrienne Young, Ages 12 and up (Wednesday Books - $18.99 each)

"Trader. Fighter. Survivor." That is the tagline for this duology and it describes it perfectly. Fable is the daughter of one of the most dangerous traders in the Narrows, the sea is all she knows. Abandoned by her father she needs to use her skills to somehow get back in a ship, find her father, and demand her rightful place by his side running his crew. Once she finds a trader willing to get her across the Narrows things get even more complicated. He is not all he seems and her father's enemies have all grown in number.

- Crave, Crush, Covet, and Court by Tracy Wolf, Ages 14 and up (Entangled Publishing - $19.99 each. Court releases 09/28/2021)

Crave is the new vampire book for teens. This series is 4 books long and the last one comes out at the end of the year. It is very reminiscent of the popular Twilight series but it has a little more humour. The chapter headers alone had me laughing: "Knock, Knock, Knocking on Death's Door" & "Turns Out the Devil Wears Gucci". Grace's life changed after her parents died in a car accident, she moves from hot California to be with a family she barely knows in frozen Alaska. The cold however is the least of her problems as her new school has some very 'different' students... 

- The Promised Neverland by Kaiu Shirai, Ages 14 and up (Manga, Viz Media - $9.99)

Manga was something I discovered through my niece a few years ago. I didn't think anything of it at the time but have grown to love its weird and funky stories with its beautiful graphics. There is something special about reading a book with pictures as an adult! The Promised Neverland is the story of a bunch of kids growing up together at an orphanage under the care of a woman they call "Mom". They have all they need. But kids are curious, and one day two of them discover the dark truth of the outside world they are forbidden from seeing. 

Asylum by Madeleine Roux (HarperCollins, $11.99)

If you are a fan of suspense and the history of insane asylums, you'll fall in love with this book. The main characters are a ragtag group of nerdy high schoolers, attending a summer camp that takes place at a college that renovated an old asylum as a dormitory. Strange things start occurring with students and faculty alike, causing our main character to look for answers in the closed off ward of the building. The answers they find change their understanding of themselves and what is really happening in this old building. 

I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver (Scholastic, $10.99)

Ben is a nonbinary teen, facing the hardest experience they have had to handle before. Their parents kicked them out, they had to start at a new school, and move in with their estranged sister. Learning to trust others with their identity and to allow themself to grieve the loss of their normalcy is the cornerstone of this book. They also slowly find themself falling in love with a boy who has the patience to let them heal and find who they really are. 

This Week's Review at Inklings

Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire

Review by Samwise McGinn

If you enjoyed “The Walking Dead” series, this is the series for you. The story is well paced and leaves you with enough breadcrumbs to come back for more. As questions about the world are answered, there are questions that arise about the main characters.

We follow the tale of hybrid human Gus and his mysterious protector, Jeppard. Jeppard saved Gus from some hunters who were going to kill the boy because of his hybrid status. This is clearly visible since Gus has antlers, which is what makes him the so-called hybrid.

Hybrid-humans started appearing shortly after a mysterious plague killed off most of humanity. Anyone who got pregnant thereafter is guaranteed to have an animal-hybrid child. Most of what is left of humanity is waiting for the plague to take them as it appears inevitable, but the hybrid children are immune to this disease.

This is what makes all of these kids targets of violence. People believe that the cure is within the children and that they can figure out how to save themselves by experimenting and dissecting the children.

This graphic novel is full of violence and action, as well as meaningful dialogue. While the story focuses on Gus, the story does branch off to other perspectives to provide additional world building.

I found that this story was moving and heartwarming in the end, a tale of desperation and friendship as well as knowing when to stand up for yourself. It’s being made into a Netflix series and is expected to be released on June 4.

This Week's Review at Inklings

Looking for a great title to give this Mother's Day? Here are some Inklings recommendations:

The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley, $16.50, Blue Box Press

This is my personal number 1 pick for this Mother's Day!

Family. Family and all its beauty. Family and all its problems, mishaps, and hurts. That is the essence of The Butterfly Room. The book as a whole felt like sitting down with your grandmother (or an old friend) and having her tell you her family's story.   

The story is about Posy, Posy at 7 catching butterflies with her dad and ignorant to the problems between the adults in her life. And it is also about Posy approaching 70, with two sons completely different from each other and each with their own set of life problems, a family home she can no longer upkeep, a man she thought she would never see again, and devastating secrets. 

I was confused at first with all the many characters, but once I got them straight in my head I absolutely loved the book. Posy is a charming and strong minded woman and her son's storylines were, for very different reasons, engaging as well as heartbreaking.

Could be Something Good by Fiona West, $14.99, Tempest and Kite Publishing 

Fiona West is originally from Oregon, not too far from us. Her book, Could be Something Good, is a small town contemporary romance story between an experienced midwife and a dyslexic medical resident. It's a story about why age is really just a number, why family matters, and knowing who you are. Daniel was a delight. Fun and easy going while at the same time responsible and knowledgeable. His struggles to read were portrayed beautifully and his pursuit of Winnie was respectful and smartly written. Winnie was a great character as well. A fantastic midwife with a lot on her plate and an overbearing mother. 

Someday My Duke Will Come by Christina Britton, $8.99, Forever

If your mom/grandmother/wife/etc has fallen in love with the new Netflix show this past December, The Bridgertons, this is a title she might enjoy. Lady Clara was sweet and lovable. The kind of women I would happily have as a best friend and call upon in a time of need. Someone you can rely on and is always brave. Her life changed fifteen years when a rogue took her innocence. Determined to never give into temptation again, she settles into a life as caregiver for her family. Quincy has a heart of gold. I was not prepared for the first few pages of the book and the heartbreak he goes through as a young boy. I wanted to hold him! Due to some unexpected events, they end up agreeing to a fake engagement.  The fake engagement gave them the perfect opportunity to spend time together and get to know each other better. During those days Quincy thought Clara how to have fun and smile freely, to let go of control. And Clara thought him to love and to trust.