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  • Writer's pictureKristiana Sfirlea

Bite-Size Book Reviews: October, 2020

Are you ready to ship a hero and villain, cheer an unlikely friendship between witch and orphan, visit a magical carnival, and defend against the zombie apocalypse? October's Bite-Size Book Reviews features spectacular stories by Hope Bolinger, Alyssa Roat, Temre Beltz, Laura Segal Stegman, and Michele Israel Harper!

Dear Hero

Food Group: Young Adult

Flavor(s): Superheroes, Chat Fiction, Action/Adventure, Romance

Key Ingredients: Unique storytelling format, flawed and likable characters, a girl who sings to sharks, crisp humor, trope trashing, a thoughtful look at the difference between heroes and villains (if there's really any difference at all), and a hopeful ending

Allergy Warning: Strong violence

Cookie Rating: 🍪 🍪 🍪 🍪 🍪

Taste Test: You can check out Dear Hero on Bookshop (support independent bookstores!), Amazon, or read my full review on Goodreads!

The Tragical Tale of Birdie Bloom

Food Group: Middle Grade

Flavor: Fantasy

Key Ingredients: A sweet-natured heroine with incredible bravery and resilience, laugh-out-loud whimsy and humor, unconventional friendships that bring ALL THE FEELS, meta narration (prepare to have the fourth wall smashed to smithereens!), and beautiful allegories of faith

Cookie Rating: 🍪 🍪 🍪 🍪 🍪

Taste Test: You can check out The Tragical Tale of Birdie Bloom on Bookshop (support independent bookstores!), Amazon, or Goodreads!

Chef's Note: This book is one of my all-time favorite MGs and is featured here with Legend of the Storm Sneezer because if you've read them together, you know they're literary soul sisters! (And those covers look GORGEOUS together, don't they?)

summer of l.u.c.k. book with green and yellow candy

Summer of L.U.C.K.

Food Group: Middle Grade

Flavor: Magical realism

Key Ingredients: Non-cliquey friendships, a magical carnival, summer camp setting (in my beloved Mitten, Michigan!), and wonderful themes of overcoming fears, having compassion, and thinking of others

Cookie Rating: 🍪 🍪 🍪 🍪 🍪

Taste Test: You can check out Summer of L.U.C.K. on Bookshop (support independent bookstores!), Amazon, or read my full review on Goodreads!

book zombie takeover hershey milkyway and cinnamon candy

Zombie Takeover

Food Group: New Adult

Flavor(s): Horror, Christian, Romance

Key Ingredients: Hilarious, relatable protagonist, zombie chases, killer plot twist, humor, and the sudden urge to never pick up a gallon of milk from the grocery store ever again

Allergy Warnings: Questionable romantic relationship and a potentially voyeuristic moment with an unconsenting adult.

Cookie Rating: 🍪 🍪 🍪 🍪

Taste Test: You can check out Zombie Takeover on Bookshop (support independent bookstores!), Amazon, or read my full review on Goodreads!

Chef's Note: During the first part of this book, I thought I was going to have zero qualms about recommending it wholeheartedly. And truly, it is an AWESOME book! But I did end up having major issues with the relationship between the main character Candace and her love interest Gavin. I don't enjoy romance, so I remind myself not to judge it too harshly when it crops up in the books I read, but in this case I have to put out a disclaimer because I do not agree with the message their relationship conveyed throughout the story - especially in light of the plot twist at the end. (You can read my full review on Goodreads for more details.)

Why "Bite-Size" Book Reviews?

These "bite-size" book reviews are a fun way for me to promote authors and provide short, tasty reviews for readers, but they're also a way for me to raise awareness for a debilitating digestive disease called gastroparesis.

People with gastroparesis have paralyzed stomachs. Severe cases (like myself) can only eat a few bites of food at a time, so we have to make those bites count! I hope these "bite-size" book reviews help feed your mind's appetite in the same way. You can learn more about gastroparesis by reading my blog post on  Gastroparesis Awareness Month.

author Kristiana Sfirlea with rose hair pin

Kristiana Sfirlea is the author of the spookily hilarious MG fantasy novel, Legend of the Storm Sneezer. Her flash fiction, featuring clueless zombies, undercover werewolves, and grumpy ghosts, has been published by Havok, and her second MG novel, pitched as Five Nights at Freddy’s meets Inception for kids, is contracted and in the works. Kristiana dreams of the day she can run her own mobile bookstore. Or haunted house attraction. Or a haunted bookmobile! (And this is precisely why writers should never become Uber drivers.) She loves Jesus, her family, and imaginary life with her characters.


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