A Little Light Mischief (The Turner Series #3.5) by Cat Sebastian

Novella after the 3rd book. F/F. Adult Historical Romance.

Goodreads

What is it? A novella in the Turner Series after the 3rd book. After being disowned by her father because of a certain incident, Alice comes to live with a Lady where she tries her best to resist her attraction to the maid Molly.

Recommended for: a quick and good read, novella with fleshed out characters

Not recommended for: those that want a more emotional read, those that prefer a layered plotline

General thoughts: Warnings for referenced sexual harassment.

I liked this a lot. In such a short novel, Sebastian was able to make pretty fleshed out characters with clear motivations. They also established right away the pining from both sides and why one is attracted to the other. You also see them spending time in getting to know each other more and by the end of it, it’s more of like giving the relationship a chance, rather than a default happily ever after. Really enjoyed this one and I hope to read the series some time!

Say Yes to the Marquess (Castles Ever After #2) by Tessa Dare

2nd book. M/F. ASD-coded side-character. Adult Historical Romance.

Goodreads

What is it? 2nd book in the Castles Ever After series. Clio has been long engaged to the marquess for 8 years and she has finally decided she wants out. She tries to get his brother Rafe, a fighter who has long resented the aristocracy, to sign the dissolution papers while her fiancee is out of the country but he resists and tries to convince Clio to proceed with the wedding.

Recommended for: Tessa Dare fans, those that like childhood friends to lovers, those that like a push-and-pull couple

Not recommended for: those that want somewhat predictable story plotlines, those that want more fleshed out side characters

General thoughts: Warnings for discrimination against neurodivergent-coded characters

My favorite Tessa Dare up to date. I love her humour and her over-the-top-ness situations. I really loved our heroine Clio. Even at a position without much agency, she held onto the agency she did get. She understood that she deserved better than the treatment Piers had given her and thought of a large plan on how to sustain herself. She isn’t all just talk either – she used what she learned from her ‘wife of a marquess training’ and used it to her own advantage.

Rafe is a classic sort of broody hero who does have a soft side that he doesn’t like having others see but I appreciated the way he was sort of a foil to Clio. Rafe claims to be detached to his family and has his own freedom but is still tied heavily to his past. I also appreciate how the story isn’t about Clio trying to change Rafe with us learning why fighting means so much to him.

Their connection to their pasts and the values they held (that aren’t necessary in conflict but explains why their actions are against each other) really upped the tension between them and there were so many times when you thought that it was finally the moment they were about to break.

I do know that some people don’t like this because unlike Tessa Dare’s other books, it has very little focus on the side characters who usually add a lot more nuance to the main characters. Even with that, I did like Clio’s youngest sister a lot. I am not on the autistic spectrum so I cannot speak for the representation but I thought it was handled in a positive light? I also think that this book is more predictable in its story structure compared to the others but I personally liked seeing Tessa Dare hit those beats and put little twists on them

Overall, another great work by Tessa Dare.

Continue reading “Say Yes to the Marquess (Castles Ever After #2) by Tessa Dare”

Update

Hi, hello, hope you’re doing well during these worrisome times.

I still have a few scheduled posts that are out to go but I wanted to try something new with my reviews.

I know that people generally like non-spoilery reviews but personally, if I have a lot of feelings, I like to talk about a lot of specific things. However, sometimes, even if I really liked a book, I don’t have as much as I want to say that falls under ‘spoilery’. Because of that, I’m thinking of changing my reviews a bit where there’ll only be a read more if I have spoilery thoughts but otherwise, I won’t put any. I’ll probably be rewriting some reviews to accommodate this so here’s a heads-up just in case. I’ll also be clearly stating whether I recommend a book or not by the end of the general thoughts portion, just so it’s easier to navigate. This might delay my scheduling post, but hopefully, it doesn’t.

I’m also sorry for not keeping up with the housekeeping of updating the reviews list or my recommendations page found in tumblr. I have read a lot of books recently and I’ll get to that after I get all of those scheduled. Thank you for bearing with me and I hope you all stay safe 🙂

American Sweethearts (Dreamers #4) by Adriana Herrera Advance Reader’s Copy Review

ARC from netgalley provided by HARLEQUIN in exchange for an honest review.

RELEASE DATE: March 30, 2020

Goodreads | Pre-order

4th book. M/F. Queer MC. Mostly queer cast. Afro-Caribbean cast. Adult Contemporary Romance | Dominican author

What is it? The 4th book in the Dreamers series. Priscilla and Juan Pablo have been childhood sweethearts in an on-and-off relationship for the past 13 years. Two years after their last break-up where it looked like it really was the last time, they find themselves reconnecting during the wedding of one of their friends with Juan Pablo seeming like a new man…

Recommended for: those that want a book where communities come together, those that want a very sex-positive book

Not recommended for: reading as a stand alone

General thoughts: Warnings for references to child sexual abuse, racism, microaggressions, and misogyny. A highlight people might enjoy though is that there is pegging in this novel.

I want to make it clear that at the time of this review, I have not read the other books from the Dreamers series and my opinions on this piece may change when I read them.

I really wanted to love this book and I thought it would have a high chance considering that second chance romance is one of my favorite romance tropes. Don’t get me wrong, this book does do a lot of great things and has a lot of good social commentary that I think was pretty well done, but the romance itself didn’t quite hook me.

I cannot speak for the representation as I am not Afro-Carribean or Afro-Latinx but I did like the discussions about immigration and culture as a whole.

I had felt like there wasn’t any early establishment of the two protagonists separate from each other? Like the focus on other aspects of their life beyond their relationship were sort of minimal at the start and like the only major thing we handled was Priscilla’s career path but that came way later? What was Juanpa like before? I felt like all we knew about was the ‘reformed’ Juanpa so we couldn’t super appreciate the growth that Priscilla was seeing? I felt like I was missing context.

Like okay, you establish that they were childhood sweethearts that were on and off but their past doesn’t get dug deep? Like what happened last time that made it the last straw? Why was it only then that Juanpa changed? What were their problems beyond Priscilla’s job? Maybe these were more explained in the other books and that’s why I felt a big disconnect from both of them and their relationship. There were bits and pieces but I felt like we never got the big picture? This may also just be my taste in SCR didn’t fit with the book specifically.

I also wished we saw more interactions of the protagonists with their friends that wasn’t about the main relationship? I felt a lot of them were there just to get the two together.

Now to move on to the parts I did like: I like that we have a fiercely supportive community here and they show that there’s strength in helping out each other and doing what you can. I also really loved how sex-positive this was. It wasn’t just Priscilla’s passion being supported but the workshop she held had attendees that were mostly over 60! I feel like there’s also a sort of bias against the elderly having sex? Or maybe I feel this from my community as someone from a conservative country,,,

I also loved the whole wedding scene where they celebrated being together in the country they loved even though they couldn’t be wedded there. It just made my lil queer heart happy.

Another theme I really liked was the exploration of how people change over time and in turn, that you have to change the way your relationship is handled. People mature over the years and you will never be exactly the same as the person the other had fallen in love with. You have to work with each other (or one another if poly) to keep the relationship going. Love alone won’t keep you together.

And they showed that you can change, even if it can take years to do so. I liked the fact that Juanpa was a reformed fuccboi even if I really did wish we could have seen what he was like more in the past that would have made us root for how much he’d become better than his past self.

So overall, I think my issue here was I felt like a lot of things about the actual romance was told to me rather than shown? It may be a personal thing because I do think that the writing itself was quite good. I’d recommend this book to those that have read the rest of the series, but not as a starting point.

I will not be doing a spoilery review anymore as I don’t really have any spoilery thoughts? Also, I think we are close enough to the release date.

Better at Weddings than You (Chic Manila #9) by Mina V. Esguerra

9th book. M/F. Filipino cast. Adult Contemporary Romance | Filipino author.

Goodreads

What is it? The 9th book in the Chic Manila series. Daphne is a well-known wedding planner who takes over a job one month before the wedding as a favor for her long-time friend who worries that his bride is still in love with the planner she hired…

Recommended for: those that want refreshing takes on marriage and weddings

Not recommended for: who want a super emotional read

General thoughts: I really liked this. I thought that the romance was realistic and I appreciated that by the end of this book, it was a HFN sort of situation considering they hadn’t known each other for too long. By the end, it’s more like giving their relationship a chance to happen and blossom with no instant “I love you”s or the like. I also like the discussion here about marriage and indirectly of amatonormativity. I really enjoyed reading and I hope to read more from this author!

Continue reading “Better at Weddings than You (Chic Manila #9) by Mina V. Esguerra”

The Extraordinaries (The Extraordinaries #1) by T. J. Klune Advance Reader's Copy Review

ARC from netgalley provided by Macmillan-Tor/Forge for an honest review.

RELEASE DATE: July 14, 2020

Goodreads | Pre-Order

1st book. M/M. Neurodiverse (ADHD) MC. Queer and racially diverse main cast. YA Fantasy (Superhero story)

I know I said I’d be on break but I got approved for this ARC and just had to get this out as soon as I could.

What is it? Nick Bell has the biggest crush, borderline obsession, on Shadow Star, a superhero, or as they call it in the book, an Extraordinary who protects Nova City from his archnemesis Pyro Storm. When he has a chance encounter with his hero, he decides right then and there that he wants to become an Extraordinary and fight side-by-side with Shadow Star. And he’ll find a way to do it, even with the drama of his best friend since forever.

Recommended for: Klunatics, those that want a flawed MC, those that want an astoundingly hilarious book, those that wanna see responsible adults that make mistakes and apologizes for them, those that want to see kickass lady best friends that are ride or die, those that wanna see train-wreck misunderstandings that everyone can see through except the MC

Not recommended for: those that don’t want any of those above, those that want large arcs for the side characters (this is only book 1 so this may change)

General thoughts: One thing to note that may be a point of concern is that this has a lot of adult jokes. They’re not exactly explicit most of the time and I think that those near the MC’s age (16) do definitely joke like that but I don’t recommend this to the younger YA audience. Warnings for discrimination against the neurodiverse and of anxiety attacks (2 instances, short parts)

We’re still weeks away from this book’s release so I’ll be updating this review as we get closer. For now, I’ll be doing a general review about the highlights of this book and what you might not enjoy about it if ever. A week before release (RELEASE IS ON JULY 14), I’ll be doing a more in-depth non-spoiler review about the themes of this book and on release day, I will be linking a spoilery review up on both my tumblr and wordpress. Now to get on with the actual review–>

I absolutely loved this. If you’re a Klunatic, odds are you will love this book. It’s ridiculously funny and I think I laughed my way through the whole thing. If you are an adult reading this, please be prepared for the hardcore secondhand embarrassment whilst remembering your own teenage self. The fanfiction Nick creates is a lot like something I would have written at his age. I also love how the way it was written is obviously by a more amateur writer (I don’t want to say younger since age is not an indication of craft level) and you especially see that from the stark contrast of the use of language in the actual narrative. This is actually only a pretty minor part of the story (the fanfiction parts, not the theme of fanfiction) but I really appreciate this detail.

This book also had a lot of moments that brought me to tears. There were a lot of emotional moments and you really feel for both the main character and what the other characters are going through.

I’ll say this outright, not everyone is going to like the main character. Nick is a good kid generally but he can be pretty selfish and self-centered. I think Klune does a great job of showing just how Nick can put blinders to his surroundings without meaning to. A great lot of things are made obvious right away to the reader but the protagonist we follow does not notice a thing because he’s a bit too caught up with himself. He’s also very immature and holds grudges easily (though he lets go quite as easily as well). And even with all those flaws, I absolutely loved him. He makes so many mistakes and he is going through things but his support system does not put up with the not-so-great stuff he ends up doing and pushes him to be better. And he does want to be better and he tries. He tries really hard even though things just sort of happen to go very differently.

I am not diagnosed as ADHD and I am not AMAB so I cannot speak for the rep given here but I did think that we were able to see how being neurodivergent affected Nick in both big and small aspects in his life, and wasn’t made out to be the only aspect of him that defined him.

I think this is also a fun sort of take on superheroes. It explores the tropes associated with superheroes from the perspective of a bystander that hero-worships (heh, get it) them. And most of the book doesn’t even involve interacting with Shadow Star and Pyro Storm directly. This makes for an interesting position where you as the reader have a good idea what’s going on but nothing is really revealed for sure because Nick is the civilian being protected and hidden from.

I’d say overall, if you made Vicious by V.E. Schwab lighter, mixed it with The Incredibles, made it from the perspective of the onlooker, and added peak millennial + gen z humour, you would get this gem of a book.

Anyway, please, please, PLEASE read this book. I was planning of pacing myself through T. J. Klune’s backlist but now I’m off to buy more of his books.

Beauty and the Blacksmith (Spindle Cove #3.5) by Tessa Dare

Novella b/n 3rd and 4th book. M/F. Adult Historical Romance.

Goodreads

What is it? A novella in the Spindle Cove series set between the events of the 3rd and 4th books. Diana is known as the pretty but sheltered sickly eldest daughter of her family, nudged greatly by her mother to marry rich. The thing is, she’s actually been infatuated with the local blacksmith for the past 2 years, and she wants to rid herself of the chains that keep her…

Recommended for: those who have read the Spindle Cove books

Not recommended for: those who haven’t read the Spindle Cove series, those that want a fully fleshed out relationship, those that don’t like insta-love

General thoughts: I think that this is mostly enjoyable if you’ve read the other books. This focuses on Diana who we have known and loved from the other books. We know how sheltered she is because of her mother and how much she is pushed into marrying rich, like her very being exists for it. I relate to Diana in some ways as a sickly person, sheltered most of my life and I understood her want for freedom and rebellion. It was cathartic to see her being independent and standing up for her choices. While this had a lot of prior pining before the story starts, I felt like the main pair were only starting to really know each other on a deeper level and everything happened so fast that we skipped to the I love yous and all. Cute novella but I think it’s perfectly okay to skip it.

Continue reading “Beauty and the Blacksmith (Spindle Cove #3.5) by Tessa Dare”

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

Stand Alone. Mystery/Thriller.

Goodreads

What is it? Years ago, Mal made a list about the eight perfect murders from thriller/mystery books. Now, he’s faced with an FBI agent who thinks that a string of murders is connected to his list…

Recommended for: those who like meta sort of mysteries, those who like classic mysteries, those who want a quick page-turner, those who like stories with bookish MCs.

Not recommended for: those who don’t wanna get spoiled by some classic mysteries (And Then There Were None, The A. B. C. Murders, and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie, The Drowner by John D. Macdonald, Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith, A Secret History by Donna Tartt, Death Trap by Ira Levin, Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne, Malice Afterthought by Anthony Berkely Cox, and Double Indemnity by James M. Cain), those who want a very thrilling mystery where you have no idea who the killer is, those who don’t want a predictable twist

General thoughts: Warnings for genre-typical violence and behaviors.

I had a lot of fun reading this. It put me out of my reading slump and was quite a page turner. It was very meta and I liked how it incorporated the books into the story. The twists were predictable for me but the point of the book wasn’t really to surprise you but to pay homage to the classic mysteries. I do however, prefer thrillers with a more intriguing sort of mystery where you can still be surprised even if you have an idea of where it’s all going. Overall, I liked it and would recommend it but I did not love it.

Continue reading “Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson”

Update

I hope you’ll bear with me. Due to the pandemic, my mental health is not the greatest. I /am/ still reading but I can’t find it in me to write the reviews and all. I’m just in the worst mood. My current last scheduled post will be a week from now but after that, I cannot be sure if there will be content for those next few days. This is a heads up on a hiatus, just in case that happens.

I hope you are all well and can stay safe.

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