The Veil: Heidi Wyrick’s Story by Joyce S. Cathey and Rebecca S. Harrington

The Veil: Heidi Wyrick’s Story by Joyce S. Cathey and Rebecca S. Harrington
Publisher/Year: iUniverse, 2007
Format: Paperback
Pages: 154
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


Three-year-old Heidi Wyrick is born with the ability to communicate with the dead and to gain personal knowledge, identify, and actually befriend spirits from beyond the grave. But these supernatural abilities make her life and the lives of her family a living hell.

Fear becomes tangible when Heidi’s mother, Lisa Wyrick, uncovers hard evidence that her daughter has befriended a man who has been dead for thirty years. To Lisa’s horror, every detail she learns from Heidi proves to be true. But after being threatened by a dark figure, Heidi is thrown into a state of intense fear. The dark figure is different–he is not her friend–and she senses that he means to harm her and her family.

Paranormal experts test Heidi, and exorcisms of the home and readings from well-known psychics become routine. The Veil takes you on a chilling journey through the Wyrick family’s seventeen-year nightmare.

What I thought

There really isn’t a whole lot for me to say about this little book beyond the fact that I enjoyed it (as much as one can “enjoy” a book about horrific events). Some grammar issues and a few typos aside, I did find this to be a disquieting account of one family’s experiences with the paranormal. Told in a prose format, I kind of expected this to feel less like a true story, but truth be told, there were several occasions where I got chills as I read. I can’t even begin to fathom what I would do in their shoes. It took a little bit of searching to get my hands on a copy of this (thanks, AbeBooks!), but I’m glad I did. Being simply a telling of one family’s experiences, it may not offer new perspective or research or anything, but if you are interested in the paranormal, I’d recommend searching this one out, even if just as a supplement to the documentary, A Haunting in Georgia, which had some slightly different details.

Frankly in Love by David Yoon

Frankly in Love by David Yoon
Publisher/Year: Putnam, 2019
Format: Paperback (ARC)
Pages: 406
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2


Frank Li has two names. There’s Frank Li, his American name. Then there’s Sung-Min Li, his Korean name, which no one uses, not even his parents. Frank barely speaks any Korean. He was born and raised in Southern California.

Even so, his parents still expect him to end up with a nice Korean girl–which is a problem, since Frank is finally dating the girl of his dreams: Brit Means. Brit, who is funny and nerdy just like him. Brit, who makes him laugh like no one else. Brit…who is white.

As Frank falls in love for the very first time, he’s forced to confront the fact that while his parents sacrificed everything to raise him in the land of opportunity, their traditional expectations don’t leave a lot of room for him to be a regular American teen. Desperate to be with Brit without his parents finding out, Frank turns to his family friend Joy Song, who is in a similar bind. Together, they come up with a plan to help each other and keep their parents off their backs. Frank thinks he’s found the solution to all his problems, but when life throws him a curveball, he’s left wondering whether he ever really knew anything about love–or himself–at all.

In this moving novel, debut author David Yoon takes on the question of who am I? with a result that is humorous, heartfelt, and ultimately unforgettable.

What I thought

Thank you to Putnam and Penguin Random House for the free ARC of this book! This does not affect my opinion presented here in this review.

It has taken me three full days to decide on a rating for this one. On one hand, I loved Frank’s dorky self, and in many ways, this book took me back to my own high school days as an Apey. On the other hand, I’m not quite sure I understood all the hype, and at times, I had a hard time remaining objective about some of Frank’s less admirable moments. I just keep going back and forth (damn you, Goodreads and your lack of half stars!)

To name some of the things I enjoyed, I’ll start with how much of an unabashed dork Frank was, and as someone who used to struggle with her own dorkiness, I wish I could go back and shove this book into my long-ago teenage hands. I also feel like this really was a solid YA debut. Written in a genre that many tend to dismiss, Frankly in Love proves that there is more to this genre than people think. David Yoon tackles racism, cultural identity, parental/family issues, sickness, friendship, sexuality, and unexpressed feelings, among other topics. And he handles it all in a way that feels very natural, instead of pointed or preachy.

Where I struggled with this book was, as I mentioned above, in trying to remain objective. I had to keep, reminding myself that this is a story told from the perspective of a teenage boy, and teenage boys (hell, all teenagers, really) are not always likeable. If anything, that should be a nod to David Yoon–he wrote a very realistic teenage boy. And the thing of it is, anyone who has ever seen a single rom-com could tell you what was going to happen here upon reading the synopsis of this book. It’s just that I wasn’t a big fan of Frank’s actions, realistic though they may have been, and it tainted my feelings about the relationship he ended up having. As a reviewer, I tried to remain impartial about it all, but as a reader, I couldn’t help but feel icky about it.

All things considered, I did think this was a great book, and it’s one I’d certainly recommend. Be advised, while yes, there are rom-com elements to this story, this is actually a multi-faceted book that deals with a lot of heavy stuff, too. This book is for those going through the throes of teenage life and all that comes with it, but also those looking back and remembering those teenage years for all their awkward, mind-boggling, exhilarating worth.

Ninth House (Alex Stern #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher/Year: Flatiron Books, 2019
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 480
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


The mesmerizing adult debut from Leigh Bardugo, a tale of power, privilege, dark magic, and murder set among the Ivy League elite.

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Their eight windowless “tombs” are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street’s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.

What I thought

Leigh Bardugo’s name is not unknown to me. Previous to this novel, she had taken the YA world by storm. Honestly, I have no idea why I hadn’t read any of her books before this other than my inherent aversion to hyped books (so hipster, I know). And although I was interested in Ninth House, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up now if it hadn’t been for B&N Book Club.

What the hell is wrong with me?!

Hyped books are usually hyped for a reason, and every. single. time. I get to them years too late and fall in love anyway. ::facepalm::

Anyway. On to the book.


Talk about the perfect October read! It was dark and gritty and horrifying and spooky and kickass. And I felt like I should be reading this in my housecoat and slippers by the fire in my dark, wood-paneled library with a pipe and a glass of Scotch on ice.

I don’t even know what Scotch tastes like.

Needless to say, I fell in love with how atmospheric this story was. I’ve never been to Yale, but Leigh Bardugo took me there.

I fell in love with just about everything else in this novel, too. The secret societies and the different magic they used were SO COOL. Alex was an INCREDIBLE heroine. I was rooting for her from page one. She is strong, witty, wily, stubborn, flawed, and so damned smart. At times, I fist pumped for her, and at others, I just wanted to wrap her up in the tightest hug. And Darlington–don’t even get me started on him. How do I love him? Let me count the ways. The banter between the two of them killed me. Other characters I adored included Dawes, Turner, and of course, Lethe House. I mean, I NEED that library!

Leigh Bardugo has expertly combined multiple elements to create one hell of a book. And while there are many moments that are difficult to read, I also appreciated what she was trying to say about many modern issues. And that “just about everything” I mentioned earlier? The ONLY downfall to loving this book so hard is that with that ending, I have ZERO IDEA what I’m supposed to do with myself until Book #2 arrives.