Review Round Up: Damsel, My Favorite Half Night Stand, Every Heart a Doorway *Stephanie’s Reviews*


I really did not care for this book at all. I saw a lot of reviews on GoodReads call this a feminist fairy tale. I think that does feminism a disservice. Clearly the lesson here was men ruin women. That is all they exist for and not one of them can be a good human being. Arnold beats you over the head with that. There was not literally one good man in the whole story unless you count the glassblower who tolerated her and then sold her work for his own personal gain.

When Arnold isn’t explaining all the ways men suck she’s using every descriptor for genitalia she can think of: yard, turkey leg, horn, tusk, “his measure”; I think everything except penis. Oh and one female character described her own lady parts as “a lump of warm, moist dough” post-sex. Gag!

The most troubling aspect of this entire book is the fact that it is being marketed to young adults. I was horrified. Yes, I do understand that teens can handle much more than we give them credit for. The thing that got me was if Damsel was picked up by a 12 year old and that 12 year old was served up all these issues in a book that doesn’t really address them all that well. A well meaning librarian and/or parent wouldn’t realize everything loaded into this slim novel based on either the cover or the synopsis. I can’t emphasize this enough: this book is meant for the older crowd of “young adult” at best.

I only finished Damsel by Elana Arnold because I had borrowed the audio version on Hoopla and it was a very quick listen/read. I have to say I kind of regret finishing it but I won’t be picking up her books again. I am SO glad I had canceled my pre-order for this book and borrowed it from the library instead. I would have been really unhappy with the waste of $10.

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My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren was my first ever Christina Lauren book! It certainly won’t be the last time I read them. This book was JUST the right blend of light hearted rom-com and serious relationship hurdles.

I can’t imagine anything more terrifying than putting one of you closest friendships on the line to see if there’s something more. I think Lauren did a fantastic job of offering Millie and Reed a safe space to begin to explore that possibility even if only half of them knew it.

Millie and Reed’s reactions seemed pretty realistic and grounded. That’s what I really loved about this book: it wasn’t far fetched and I could see it happening. I loved this group of friends and I really wanted to spend more time with them.

I may have had a huge cheesy smile on my face but I was pretty bummed when it ended. I’m kinda hoping the rest of the guys will get their stories as well!

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I picked up Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire after seeing it pop up in a few BookTube videos. Once I saw how short the book was I decided to give the series a try. I wasn’t disappointed! I found McGuire’s concept of portal worlds fascinating. I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the series. As this was the introductory book there was a lot to learn.

Every Heart a Doorway told Nancy’s story and as Nancy learns things so does the reader. Every character we meet is just a little “not normal”. Time in a completely different world has altered them forever.

Nancy spent time in The Halls of the Dead. This book really explored the ways in which the kids would work to try to get back to their portal worlds. I did have suspicions about the mysteries occurring around the school. They turned out to be right but I couldn’t pin a motive.

I’ll be curious to see how the series continues. While the story was finished for Nancy I still wanted more. I suppose that means it was a great book!

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