Content Warnings: Violence, blood/gore, murder, racism, classism, oppression, drug use, loss of loved ones, and police brutality. Mention of forced sterilization and abandonment.
A few years ago, when I first joined Booktok, I saw a lot of people hyping this book up. And yet, like so many books I’ve bought, I placed it on my shelves and forgot about it. Having joined the #ReadYourOwnAdventure Tiktok readathon I’ve been looking through my bookshelves to see what books would fit the prompt I have. As this book is a Nigerian-influenced fantasy…it fit my “Non-Western Inspired World” prompt perfectly.
I found the lore in this book completely fascinating. Imagine a world where any sin you had could be extracted and taken into someone else. Instead of being constantly weighed down by the guilt of your own sins, you could simply have it removed and placed on a complete stranger. Or imagine being that aki [sin-eater] and as soon as signs appeared that you possessed the power of a sin-eater you were cast out of your home and community and forced to take on the sins of strangers in order to have money to survive?
While I loved the lore within this book I had trouble believing in the romantic subplot that was introduced between Taj and the princess. Can feelings develop after merely seeing someone you find attractive or having a short conversation with them? Of course, but the level and speed at which Taj develops feelings for the princess just didn’t fit for me. I also felt like they introduced a lot of characters, to Taj, but didn’t really give them any depth or story for us to feel a true connection to them.
Although the lore was fascinating, and I would love to read more about it, the way the rest of the story felt very flat to me…I’m not sure if I’ll pick up the next book to read. The beginning of this book felt like it had a good speed, introducing us to Taj as well as the lore, but the romance subplot didn’t feel fully fleshed out and the ending felt extremely rushed and forced. I feel like if they’d allowed this book to be 100-200 pages longer they could have fleshed out so much more of the story and perhaps then it all would have fit well together.
Self-harm, suicidal ideations, and suicide attempt [on page]
In this final installment, though we mostly see things through Adelina’s eyes, we bounce between six different perspectives as they face a new challenge, that will require them to work together. What will it take for the different Elite to put their past behind them as they head towards a threat that affects them all?
Having loved seeing Adelina grow from a broken and scared young girl to a conquering Queen…I was extremely nervous to read this book. Fantasy series are notorious for emotionally destroying me in their final installment…but I needed to see how this story ended. I found myself cuddled in bed as this book repeatedly had me crying.
There were a few things that happened, in book two, that I thought would be explained further in this book but sadly weren’t mentioned. I’m wondering if they were meant to be explored more but were forgotten? Although I LOVED having most of the story about Adelina I do wish all of the books would have given us a little more history and story to each of the other characters we follow.
Of course, I had a completely unrealistic hope for how this book would end…which didn’t come to pass but I was left still happy with how Lu decided to end it. I feel like I’m still processing so I may have more to add later, you know how those “late-night about to fall asleep” thoughts hit, but for now I’ll that’s all I’ve got. A YA trilogy with interesting world-building and complex characters…I’ll definitely be re-reading this series in the future.
Content Warnings: Detailed sex scenes and death of loved ones [some characters have lost parents, some spouses, and some have lost children]. Mention of slavery and infidelity [not by the main couple but a side character].
In the first book, of the Desperately Seeking Duke series, we find out that the current Duke of Carlyle is over 60, unmarried, and unable to have children so his mother found two potential, distant, relatives that could take up the mantle of Duke when her son passes. Captain Andrew St. James has the most claim, between his cousin [whom we meet in book one] and him, and having served in the military for over a decade the Duchess believes he’ll be the easiest, of the two cousins, to mold into a future Duke.
Andrew, understandably shocked, is happy to follow the Duchess’ instructions if it means he’ll be able to provide a good life for his mother and three sisters. With his new elevated status, and the yearly allowance the Duchess plans to send, he’ll now be able to move his family to London and ensure his sisters all get a season and have dowries.
After years of following her father’s rule and then her husband, Isla is finally free to do as she pleases. From her late husband’s investments, Isla can live comfortably as she explores new hobbies and exploring who she wants to be going forward. Isla is having fun making friends and going where she wants, when she wants, without needing to check in with anyone.
Drew plans on allowing the Duchess to introduce him to “proper” English ladies, from which he’ll select a respectable wife who’ll be able to assist him when/if he takes over the responsibilities of a Duke. He’s completely unprepared for his instant attraction to a fiery Scottish woman who lives by her own rules, a woman he’s sure the Duchess would not approve of. Yet since their first meeting, Drew can’t seem to get Isla off his mind.
Isla has no intention of ever saddling herself with another husband, now that she’s tasted freedom she has zero intention of ever feeling beholden to another man…no matter how attractive he may be. Drew may be on her mind constantly but there’s no way they’re compatible especially with the responsibilities he’s preparing for.
I adore romance novels where the couple tries so hard to convince everyone, including themselves, that they aren’t attracted to the other person and that there’s no possible way they could ever be together. Watching the tension build and all their reasoning, for staying apart, fly out the window gives me immense joy. The characters are always so convinced that they can fight the mutual attraction and continue on even though every second the other person is on their mind. That moment when they finally give in and realize they’ll do whatever it takes to fight for their love…brings me immense joy.
I hope, if this is only meant to be a trilogy there’s a spin-off series focusing on Drew’s sisters so we can see what people they end up falling for. Having now read the first two books I still can’t figure out exactly what connection, the gentleman in book three, will have to the family but I’m excited to dive in and find out!
I received a digital ARC of this book from Tor, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Content Warnings: Murder, death of loved ones, stalking, and mention of an eating disorder.
When I received an email from Tor marketing, letting me know about this ARC on Netgalley, they had me at: “the jagged feelings in Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw.” Having read NBBT ahead of its release and loving the short horror story I decided to give LUCKY GIRL a try.
This morning, when I was looking through my e-books/ARCs, and saw LUCKY GIRL I decided to start my day with a short horror novella…and it did not disappoint. Still new to reading horror, and though I’ve watched countless movies since I was a child, I still get nervous and like to read horror during the day. Think of me what you will but I like to dip my toes in while the sun is high in the sky. 😅
From start to finish this book took maybe an hour and a half to read and I enjoyed every minute of it. I desperately wish it was a full-length novel, there are so many things I’d like to learn about the characters we meet, and so much history I would love to explore further. Overall a very fun read to start my day and I look forward to picking up more books, written by M. Rickert, to dive into.
I received an ARC, ahead of the June release, from Avon Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Content Warnings: Detailed sex scenes, murder, violence, blood/gore, confinement, gun violence, and loved one with dementia. Mention of: a difficult and life-threatening pregnancy, bigamy, implied marital rape, and emotional abuse.
When I first read the summary of this book I knew I needed to read it, so when I found out I could get an ARC through Avon, for being part of their influencer program, I jumped at the chance. Having read THE QUEER PRINCIPLES OF KIT WEBB right before I was excited to see Rob and Marian’s journey unfold.
From a young age, Marian has done what it takes to protect those closest to her, no matter the cost, even if it means potentially living a life on the run…if anyone were to reveal that she, not a highway robber, was the one to shoot her husband. Never having committed such a crime before Marian is unsure of what to do so she elicits the help of the highwayman that’s been blackmailing her, really it’s the least he could do.
Having been gone a year, letting his closest friends and family believe him dead, Rob found himself looking forward to each and every correspondence with Marian, though it started as blackmail he feels a connection to Marian even before meeting her face to face. Normally a Robin Hoodesque highway robber Rob feels a lot of guilt for blackmailing Marian so when she appears, covered in her husband’s blood, Rob is determined to help her in any way he can.
I absolutely adored both of these characters so much. Between their inner thoughts and dialogue with each other, I found myself laughing so much. The way Rob pays so much attention to Marian’s body language, whether to alleviate her stress by changing the subject of their conversation or to ensure she feels safe and comfortable during more intimate moments…I just loved how much he genuinely cared about her feelings.
Marian is able to see how much Rob missed his friends and family, by reading between the lines of his letters and urges him to return to them before Marian even met him. She’s in awe of how easy it is for Rob to turn strangers into friends as fast as he does and how happy he seems to be no matter what he’s doing. Marian hasn’t trusted anyone, aside from Percy, in a very long time but the more she gets to know Rob she realizes maybe she can add one more person to the list.
Between the sweet romance developing between Marian and Rob and the shenanigans, they get themselves into over the course of the book, I absolutely adored every second! This couple will definitely be one that stays with me for a long time. I’m not sure if Cat plans on writing more books within this universe but I desperately hope that she does.
Content Warnings: Explicit sexual scenes, blood, violence, loss of loved ones [adults and children], alcoholism, ableism, and homophobia.
I actually hadn’t really heard anything about this book until I saw a summary of the second book [The Perfect Crimes of Marion Hayes] which is due to release in early June. Having been offered an ARC of book two, for being part of Avon’s influencer program, and loving to fully immerse myself in worlds I knew I needed to get my hands on this book and jump in before reading book two.
We first meet Kit, a retired Robin Hoodesque highway robber, as he’s running a coffee shop and leading a lawful life. Having retired, after sustaining an injury that prevents him from being as mobile as he used to be, and reliant on a cane, Kit tries hard to forget the thrill of highway robbery and be happy with his life as a business owner.
Percy desperately needs to have a book stolen from his father, if he ever hopes to ensure the safety of himself and a close friend. Whatever secret the book holds, which he assumes since the book is always on his father’s body, Percy needs and will do whatever it takes to get it…even hiring a retired highway robber and having his father held up at gunpoint.
Kit has had a lot of tragedy in his life and has trouble opening up to, and trusting, new people. He has no idea how Percy found him or knew his highway persona. No longer confident in his ability to rob, which comes from a combination of still adjusting to his disability as well as being afraid of losing anyone in a heist due if he’s not able to perform like he used to, Kit refuses to perform the heist for Percy. Though he refuses to perform the heist himself Kit is happy to train Percy so he’ll be able to pull it off himself, along with some of Kit’s closest friends.
One of the things that made me happiest, while reading, was that although Kit has never been romantically, or sexually, attracted to a man before meeting Percy…he never once questions the attraction they share. There’s never a moment of homophobia or self-hate…he’s just open and accepting that he is attracted to Percy and Percy is attracted to him. Not even a moment of hesitation, from the start he mentally acknowledges his attraction and never denies his attraction to Percy. I loved this so much.
I adored this book and look forward to seeing what all unfolds in book two. If you’re looking for a historical romance with disability and queer rep that involves a highway robbery and a grumpy sunshine romance…I highly recommend giving this book a read!
Content Warnings: Violence, abuse, human trafficking, police brutality, slavery, torture, self-harm, murder, child abuse, blood/gore, and attempts at genocide.
Much like book one, we bounce back and forth between four different perspectives. We get to follow Adelina, Raffaele, and Teren [who we all saw a lot of in book one] along with Maeve [who we met at the very end of book one]. Mostly seeing the story, through Adelina’s POV, we see her grappling with the events of book one and how each event has impacted her actions, throughout book two.
During the first book, we see the Young Elite gather, train, and formulate a plan to take down the King and Queen of Kenettra. We saw a young, somewhat timid, and scared Adelina learn to grow confident in herself, and her powers, during everything she’s experienced. Now in book two we see Adelina strike out on her own, since the Elite cast her out at the end of book one, and try to form her own team of Elite to strike back at the Inquisitors and the crown of Kenettra herself.
I was surprised at how intense and dark this book became. As Adelina’s powers grow so does the darkness within, that Raffaele warned about. This was an incredible read and I can’t wait to jump into book three and see how this series ends.
Content Warnings: Child abuse, self-harm, murder, discrimination, emotional abuse, violence, blood/gore, hate crimes, suicidal ideations, police brutality, and mention of: sex work, human trafficking, sexual harassment, pedophilia, loss of loved ones, and sex work.
I decided to use THE YOUNG ELITES as my Mage prompt 2 book for the #ReadYourOwnAdventure Tiktok readathon. Since it’s been almost a year since I’ve read book one, and I finally have copies of books two and three, and it’s AAPI Heritage Month, I figured it was the perfect time for a re-read!
There’s not much I want to add to my original review other than the fact I completely spaced on the few chapters we get that are from Raffaele’s POV. Since most of the book we get Adelina, Teren, and Enzo’s POV I completely forgot to comment on the few brief chapters we get through Raffaele’s POV.
Another thing that I didn’t really think about, during my first read-through, was how much Adelina’s POV seems to view sex work in a negative light. Even when she’s conversing with Raffaele he makes a comment about how no one would choose the life of a concubine…which just doesn’t sit right with me. I understand this is a Young Adult book but I feel like it could at least have Raffaele say something along the lines of reality that some people do enjoy the work while others might just be biding their time? I don’t know, just felt weird that no one seemed to have a positive thing to say about it.
If you’re wondering about the #ReadYourOwnAdventure Tiktok readathon here are a few videos about it…
I read this book as a part of “The Backlist Book Club” which was created by ChronicallyBookish. From my time on Booktok I’ve heard countless praise for Marie Lu but had yet to pick up any of her books. So when I found out the May selection for “The Backlist Book Club” was one of hers I was excited to jump in!
Adelina, Teren, and Enzo are all emotionally complicated individuals who have all suffered and endured many hardships due to the fever that hit their nation ten years ago. Each has unresolved trauma connected to the fever and each has been shaped by that trauma. For the most part, we see the story through the eyes of Adelina with a few small chapters switching us to Teren or Enzo’s perspectives.
I enjoyed how the Inquisition Axis really felt like the church during the witch hunts. The Inquisition Axis, led by Teren, is hellbent on finding and destroying any and all malfettos, as they feel their powers come from hell and are abominations that should be destroyed. Teren is portrayed as a zealot…fierce in his belief that malfettos are not meant to be and should all be sent to the Underworld.
Enzo seems to be the biggest mystery, out of the three, as we don’t really know much of his inner feelings or emotions. Enzo will do whatever it takes to protect The Young Elite and ensure the proper people are put in positions of power to ensure the slaughtering of malfettos ends.
Adelina, who we get to know the most, is so unsure of her place in the world. When the fever hit her house, ten years ago, it killed her mother and physically altered her. After surviving the fever she was left without an eye and her normally dark hair now shifts between different shades of silver. She was also left to be raised, along with her younger sister, by a father that’s turned cruel to her.
It’s interesting when you realize how cruel treatment by others can affect and color the way you see the world around you. As we get to know more about Adelina, and as she starts to learn more about her powers, she starts to see how her father’s cruelty has colored her memories of the past.
In this first book, we start to see Adelina begin to evolve and see the world differently…we see her starting to not only come into her powers but also come into herself. She is definitely not done with her metamorphosis but I’m excited to see how much she changes and evolves in the other two books.
I really enjoyed this story, it had me invested from the start and I look forward to picking up the other two books to continue the journey!
Content Warning: Slavery, blood/gore, violence, murder, abuse, assault, loss, and death [human and animal].
So I definitely started reading this thinking I’d read a few chapters, watch some TV, and then head to bed. I was not anticipating how much of a chokehold this story would have on me that had me reading it in one sitting. Before I started I was pretty confident that I would enjoy this book, even more than book one, since Hervor would now have a better sense of self.
How is this book 460 pages?! This story is so well written and written in a way that I felt like it flew by. One of those rare books, at least for me, that I could see as a movie playing in my head. I’m not familiar with the Norse saga of Hervarar so I’m enjoying not knowing exactly where we’re going as we continue on the different paths Hervor takes in her journey.
This book has me desperately hoping someone picks up the rights to create a Norse/Viking show that centers on a woman. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE The Last Kingdom and Vikings for the strong and badass Viking women they portray but we’re still following a man as the main character…please someone give us a show following the journey of a Viking woman.
If you’re looking for a historical fantasy that features some badass women, a journey of self-discovery, and Norse lore…I highly encourage you to dive into this well-crafted series!
Content Warning: Slavery, blood/gore, violence, murder, abuse, assault, and mention: of torture, suicide attempt/ideation, and rape.
I stumbled on the summary of this book in my attempt to find an indie/self-published book to read for the #ReadYourOwnAdventure Tiktok challenge [Go team Mage!]. Being a huge fan of The Last Kingdom I knew I wanted to read this book and see Hervor’s journey.
Hervor has grown up being told she’s cursed because of her father and yet no one seems to know or will tell her, just who her father is. All she knows is her amber eyes, which come from her father, enrage her grandfather. Although the only child of the Jarl’s favorite child, Hervor is constantly berated and abused by her grandfather. Although a skilled fighter, and dreams of being a Shield Maiden, her grandfather has forbidden her to ever be a warrior.
In this book, we get a good sense of who Hervor is and who she wants to be. A great introduction though I have a feeling book two will be even better and more action-packed.
If you’re a fan of strong women, Gods who play with fate, and journeys of self-discovery…I highly recommend giving this book a try!