My Fancast/Dreamcast: All For the Game Trilogy by Nora Sakavic

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A popular trilogy for fans of LGBT sports fiction, these books are definitely not like a lot of other stories you will read: there’s running from the mob, the found family aesthetic amongst a group of outcasts, drugs and alcohol, setting bodies on fire then burying them in the beach, there’s drugging without consent, queer romance, diverse cast, and possibly 1st degree murder! It’s truly a lot, and thats not even all of it! They may not be for everyone to read, but fans of extra-dramatic shows like Teen Wolf, Riverdale, Elite, and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will really catch the appeal of this trilogy.

Here’s the official blurb:

Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He’s short, he’s fast, he’s got a ton of potential—and he’s the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.

Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn’t need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.

But Neil’s not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil’s new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can’t walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he’s finally found someone and something worth fighting for.

To see my review of The Foxhole Court (All for the Game #1) – Click HERE

To see my review of The Raven King (All for the Game #2) – Click HERE

My third and final review is coming soon!


Here’s my official Fancast/Dreamcast:


Neil Josten: Froy Gutierrez, Jake Cooper, or Ronen Rubenstein

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Image courtesy of the model’s Facebook page
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The first two names have been incredibly popular castings from other fans of the books, and so completely agree with them, so I included them on here, but Ronen is my personal choice to throw into the mix! He’s on ABC’s 9-1-1: Lone Star and his character TK in some instances give me heavy Neil vibes, so I know he’d be an excellent choice.

Andrew/ Aaron Minyard: Matthew Noszka, Austin Butler, or Michael Provost

Image courtesy of the model/actor’s Twitter account
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I’m honestly not all that big of a fan of ANY castings for the Minyward twins…but to everyone’s credit, Andrew and Aaron have really specific details about them, so I don’t think there is actually any one person who’s a unanimous choice for them.

Kevin Day: Brant Daugherty, Laurence Coke, or Matthew Daddario

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Brant was my first choice, but he may be too old by this point to be playing a college student. Laurence seems to be the popular choice around the board with other fancasters, and Matthew is another choice who I think would be able to play the part.

Riko Moriyama: Charles Melton, or Darren Barnet

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Image courtesy of the actor’s IMDB profile

Charles plays Reggie Mantle on the CW’s Riverdale, and Darren is becoming more well known from being in Mindy Kaling’s Netflix comedy, Never Have I Ever!

Nicky Hemmick: Steven Krueger, or Drew Ray Tanner

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Image courtesy of the actor’s IMDB profile

Both actors were discovered by me on two separate CW shows: Steven was on The Originals and Drew is currently on Riverdale.

Coach David Wymack: Skeet Ulrich, Henry Ian Cusick, or Benjamin Bratt

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Skeet Ulrich may not exactly look the part in terms of ethnicity, but he has been a name thrown in based solely off the vibes he gives off, which match the unorthodox ways of Coach Wymack. The other two have been mentioned that maybe follow the character’s background more accurately

Dan Wilds: Sierra Aylina McClain

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As soon as I saw her in 9-1-1: Lonestar, I instantly got Dan vibes from her. She has a strong, subtle powerful presence that isn’t intimidating in her role on the hit show!

Renee Walker: Erika Bowes

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So no joke, but Renee was another hard character to cast. No one really pops up when you look into what she’s described as looking like; the only person I could come up with initially was Dua Lipa, but she doesn’t have the “cute as a button” aesthetic that Renee is supposed to have. This model’s name came up, so I’m going with it!

Allison Reynolds: Gianna Jene Daddio, or Samara Weaving

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Gianna is not as well known, I’m following my habit of having at least one WWE wrestler in my fancasts, and she’s a gorgeous blonde who goes under the name “Liv Morgan” when she steps foot inside the squared circle. Samara is a more well known name; the australian bombshell who could be Margot Robbie’s younger sister was just in the Netflix mini-series Hollywood, and has been in thrillers like The Babysitter and Ready or Not.

Abby Winfield: Candace Cameron Bure

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I think this casting was because I was watching Fuller House on Netflix around the same time I was reading The Foxhole Court, so I put the two together like that.

Matt Boyd: Jacob Artist, or Michael Evans Behling

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For some reason, I originally casted Robbie Amell for the role, but as soon as I started seing other fancasts that told me how off that was, I switched it to it being either of these two actors.

Seth Gordon: Drew Roy

Image courtesy of the actor’s IMDB profile

Honestly, this one was kind of a toss up…

Jean Moreau: Julian Haig, or Dominic Sherwood

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Julian is Australian while Dom is English, but other castings have put actors with medium-toned skin, so I’m not sure about these choices too much…

Betsy Dodson: Rochelle Aytes

Image courtesy of the actress’s IMDB profile

Does anyone remember the gorgeous reporter, Denise Porter, from the classic comedy, White Chicks? Now that you’re refreshed, Rochelle has that unnerving, welcoming face that anyone could unload and open up to, don’t you think?


Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Mystery/Thriller, YA Contemporary Fiction

My Review: Two Can Keep a Secret: by Karen McManus

Publish Date: January 8th, 2019
Number of Pages: 329 Pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre(s): YA Mystery, Suspense/Thriller

Total Star Rating: 2 Stars

Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Okay lesbehonest…who else is shook that the quote we hear so much now is actually missing someone from the original quote? Maybe one of them really is dead?…

One thing we do know is that secrets never fully stay buried for long, they always have a way of revealing themselves, whether or not we want them to be or not. Like insects, they like to find a way to sneak through the cracks and infest themselves…But I can’t lie; they sure do make things interesting…

When I’d read Karen McManus’s debut novel, One of Us is Lying (see my other book review by clicking the link in the text), I was kind of impressed that someone had stepped up to give YA readers something different, which was a Mystery/Thriller genre title. The section is filled to the brim on either Contemporary Romance or Fantasy (usually with romance too), and I’ve got to admit, they all are starting to bleed together…they’re just becoming spinoffs of each other, and less and less titles are beginning to feel original. One of Us is Lying felt different! It was something semi new to the table, and sure, it had the stereotypical characters that we’d all seen before…but that was only a base that she profusely deviated from in a fun and entertaining fashion! They developed and changed and completely turned around on their original expectations and it was enjoyable to grow with them as I read the mystery surrounding their story!

I’ve heard that while the debut novel of an author can be a huge success, it’s the sophomore novel that can be more of a challenge in terms of a good story or whether the author learned from their first and can keep up the momentum, but I admit that the former may be called into question because I regret to inform you guys that I wasn’t all that impressed with this title. The author’s craft continues to improve, there’s no doubt about that, but this book just wasn’t as much fun as her previous work for me. It was unpredictable and left me guessing who was behind it, but it never got me too excited or fully invested.

To sum it all up: it wasn’t terrible, but it was just an okay read.

It explores the idea of a seemingly pristine town that is riddled with a violent and mysterious history, and is infected with many dark secrets underneath the surface. It’s people on the outside appear darn-near perfect, but we all know things are never as they seem.

What It’s About:

When their mother is sent to rehab after a brutal car accident, Ellery and her twin Ezra are sent to live with their grandmother in the town that their mother grew up in but has the dark history of not one, but two missing girls were mysteriously murdered: Echo Ridge. The twins are used to not drawing too much attention to themselves along with taking care of each other with because of their troubled mother, but they learn the night they get into town that they’re connected to the towns troubled and murky history more than they’d ever expected.

Haunted by the past, their grandmother reveals to them one of the murdered girls was actually their mother’s twin sister, the aunt they never got to meet. Ellery becomes engrossed into what really happened all those years ago, and as a self-professed true crime aficionado, she’s up to the case and starts digging, despite not entirely sure she’ll like what she finds.

But like secrets, past events never stay fully buried, and the very night they arrive and learn the startling family reveal, a body is discovered in the road. A beloved teacher is found dead after a hit and run with no known suspect. More mysterious occurrences begin to happen, and threatening notes are found all over town, threatening the girls on the Homecoming Court and that they will all soon be dead. It’s exactly like what happened with the other girls many years prior, and the town is put into a terrified uproar over the past coming back to haunt them, history doomed to repeat itself.

To make matters worse, before anyone can do anything about it, a girl does go missing.

Ellery must work faster than ever to save a fellow classmate, and must work with local fellow high school student, Malcom (who’s family also has a bad history involved with the murders), in order to solve the mystery and rid the town of a possible killer on the loose.

What I liked:

  1. It’s Unpredictable! The author can really craft a great mystery, anyone who reads her novels I hope can see that! She expertly weaves red herrings, scapegoats, and other subplots together in order to keep you guessing and not have a clue as to who the killer could possibly be. I admit I had no idea who it was until the climactic final showdown.
  2. Great Minority Representation! The main character is Latina with a gay male twin, and there’s two asian side characters with one of them being bisexual! Instead of sticking with stereotypical characters as a basis for her main cast, Karen mixed it up and made the characters for this title much more diverse, which is a huge plus for the YA market. If not Game of Thrones-esque Fantasy, representation has been a huge selling point for contemporary titles, which is so great to see in recent years!
  3. The Final Line of the Book! The only thing that made me feel something was the very final line of the book as it left quite a chilling impression. It was a great way to end a suspense/mystery!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Title Sounds Like A Sequel…I feel like it’s confusing that this was titled Two Can Keep a Secret when her first novel was titled One of Us Is Lying, and yet they’re completely unrelated to each other. This isn’t the sequel even though the title suggests otherwise; it’s a complete standalone…Something about that feels disappointing to me.
  2. There’s Less Points of View…One aspect of One of Us Is Lying that I loved was how we heard from four different characters as you read that book. I love to get inside the minds of completely different characters and see how they operate with a different perspective, but we only got two characters for this title, much to my disappointment. I was also bummed that among the voices we heard the most of, none of the cast really stuck with me. They were fine, but nothing too special or memorable.
  3. This Was Too Character Driven…It sounds odd for a mystery, but a lot of the novel moves based off the characters and how they react to stuff that happens, which is what made this a slower read than I liked. I know it contradicts what I usually say about that style of story, but I think a murder mystery shouldn’t be so character driven. What’s also lacking is that the characters didn’t really develop or change all that much as time went on. They just learned more secrets and reacted to them.


It wasn’t a terrible book by any means, but I must say that for me, it was a lackluster sophomore murder mystery novel. Other readers, maybe younger and/or newer ones, can immensely enjoy this title. I blame the personal hype I gave this book from how much I did enjoy her first book, along with how many other books I’ve read which has raised my standards over the years. I recommend this title to anyone who’s a fan of teen thriller TV shows Riverdale and Pretty Little Liars (Karen can certainly write content better than both of those comparisons)!

Luckily, Karen has shared on her Twitter that she will have 2 books come out in 2020, including the actual sequel to OOUIL, One of Us is Next, which is expected to come out January 7th, 2020! I can say I’m still a fan of hers, so ya know I will check her other titles out and see what she comes up with next. Her craft can only go up from here!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell