Monday, September 18, 2023

REVIEW: Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

COURT: Around here, we've been fans of Rebecca Yarros for a really long time...and her books are always deep in plot and heavy on emotion, and give me a great hangover but I was very curious to see how this epic fantasy would go since it was pretty different from her usual novels. SHEL: 
Yes! Court told me I absolutely had to read this book and knowing it was Rebecca Yarros, I put aside any hesitancy about it being something outside of my norm and jumped in. I'm so glad I did. 

COURT: And I am so glad that it lived up...and dare I say exceeded... every expectation that I had! I made Shelley stop what she was doing and read it immediately! SHEL: She did. Very insistent. So glad she bossed me around.

COURT: So the general premise is that Violet is ready to be a student at Basgiath War College, and her mother is the general. She has lived her entire life to be a scribe like her father, but last minute her mother decides that she will volunteer to be a Dragon Rider, and in this book you either become a rider or you die! So I was so on the edge of my seat to see how that would go since she's described as being weaker than her peers and small, and fragile. 

COURT: This brings happiness in my nurse heart with several friends who have Ehlers Danlos syndrome will absolutely love this book! It take something that is sometimes an invisible struggle for people, until it very much isn't (hello, random dislocation of joints) and gives a voice to something that might not be something most people know about or understand and I love it so much. Violet's journey is incredible because we see her character development grow her into who she is meant to be, and every little bump along the way is realistic for the rest of us in this epic fantasy. SHEL: 'Seeing' her transformation was so invigorating--you were pulling for her the whole time, especially because she was perceived as so weak. To see her excel and succeed was so gratifying.

COURT: THEN...dun, dun, dun, the dragons. I came for the dragons, let's be real, and I stayed for everything else. I LOVED the dragons. SHEL: ME TOO! Who'd a thunk it?! I really did! COURT: I loved the tone of the book being more modern language, and their internal dialogue was hilarious and I also really loved an aspect of the novel that they really had to train and learn their abilities and it wasn't just instant fierceness. They worked for it with every blood, sweat and tear, and it added so much depth to the book. SHEL: Their tenacity and desire to overcome was inspiring, but seeing how they handled their failures was too. And let's not forget the romance--that was a nice addition too!

COURT: I cannot stress enough that this is a must read, and you will miss out if you do not give it a shot! SHEL: I agree. It wasn't my norm and I'm so glad I got it and am so very eager for the rest of the series to come out!

Buy the Book:  


528 pages, Hardcover

First published May 2, 2023

Enter the brutal and elite world of a war college for dragon riders from USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Yarros

Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general—also known as her tough-as-talons mother—has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders.

But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away...because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them.

With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter—like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant.

She’ll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise.

Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom's protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.

Friends, enemies, lovers. Everyone at Basgiath War College has an agenda—because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

REVIEW: Salt Kiss by Sierra Simone


Release Date: September 12th   
  Prepare to Be Seduced by Salt Kiss by Sierra Simone! 
The First Sizzling Installment in the Captivating Lyonesse Series!   
 Welcome to a world of desire, temptation, and irresistible attraction in this scintillating MMF romance that will leave you breathless.   
  Get your copy now and experience a romance that's as forbidden as it is irresistible:


Before you read the next sentence, make sure that you know that you really really really should read the prequel, Salt in the Wound, before you read Salt Kiss. Now that we've got that out of the way, let's chat. 

In Salt in the Wound we see everything through Isolde's point of view, whereas in Salt Kiss it's from Tristan's point of view. As you'll come to know via synopsis or reading, Tristan is Mark's nephew-in-law and his newly hired bodyguard. From the beginning, we come to know Tristan as honorable and smart and kind, loyal, and haunted from his recent military duty. We see him trying to process that while processing exactly what his new job entails: the kinky-f***kery that is Lyonesse. And we see him begin to discover more and more about himself and his wants and desires. And of course, because Sierra Simone loves to torture her darlings, she has him fall in love with the person he really shouldn't: Mark. The conflict he feels about his feelings only deepen when he finds out about Isolde and the further intensify when he gets to know her and fall in love with her too. This poor boy. Only Sierra Simone could cook up something this delicious, and yet so wrong, and have us all know that we should just go with it because, while she'll torture us all a lot more, eventually she'll make it all better in a really wonderful and twisted way.

I really appreciated that we got to see Tristan in almost equal parts with Mark and Isolde-nothing felt rushed or slow. I loved seeing a different side of Mark (I won't lie--he really pisses me off sometimes, especially when I think about how he treated Isolde versus how he's treating Tristan) and I know he's up to things and I can't wait to see what those things are. I still have many questions about Isolde and Rome so I'm looking forward to more of that, too. And now with the incident that happened at Lyonesse, I really am eager to see where that goes.

Definitely a 5/5 read for me and as eager as I am to have book 2, I'm okay with waiting because I know that it'll be well worth it. 

   Blurb:   After being a soldier, working as a bodyguard should have been simple: Keep the owner of DC’s ultra-secret club safe. Don’t think about his midnight eyes or his devil’s smile. Don’t surrender my body to his wicked desires. But I underestimated Mark Trevena and the power of his dark, seductive world. I underestimated the hold he’d have on me, the way I would do anything for him, anything at all. And so when he asks me to escort his soon-to-be bride home, I can only—miserably, broken-heartedly—say yes. Isolde is nothing like I expect, however. Quiet and lonely and sharp, a girl who likes knives and God, a girl whose nightmares echo my own. One night while sailing under the cold stars, we share a reckless, tear-soaked kiss. I’m doomed. Falling in love with Mark was one thing, but his bride too? Being in love with a husband and wife at the same time? Torture. Misery. A tragedy if tragedies came with bruises, sweat, sighs. But it isn’t enough to merely fall into the forbidden. Because in Mark Trevena’s world, the fall is only the beginning…  
  Read the Lyonesse Prequel, Salt in the Wound, for FREE 
 Tropes: Anti-hero. Age gap. Arranged marriage     About the Author: Sierra Simone is a USA Today Bestselling former librarian (who spent too much time reading romance novels at the information desk.) She lives with her husband and family in Kansas City.

Monday, September 11, 2023

NEW REVIEW: Yellowface by R. F. Kuang


Yellowface is one of those novels you almost hate read; it's kinda of like watching Succession in that I detest all of the characters at any given moment and yet I can't look away from whatever trouble they've managed to get into. 

In Yellowface we follow the story of June Heyward, a young, white mediocre writer who is absolutely insufferable and yet I cannot look away from her. She's insanely (...and well maybe just insane) jealous of a friend/enemy/acquaintance (depends on what part of the book you're in), Athena, because of Athena's popularity and sales in the book world. They both came up through the same writing programs and both sold their debuts but June's flopped and Athena's soared. So for the entirety of the novel, we're in June's head as she justifies one terrible thing she does or thinks after another. She's truly insufferable and yet recognizable because if we don't know someone like her in real life, we've probably seen someone like her on social media or tv. 

The synopsis will tell you that Athena has an unfortunate death that June witnesses and it's from that death that majority of this novel takes place. June steals a manuscript, sells it as her own, and then gets on the rollercoaster of twitter darling to twitter pariah to twitter nobody. She's continually making things worse and then trying to make them better and in her own twisted mind, it's all okay. I've always thought that you can't truly lie to yourself because you know the truth, but boy does June try. 

The one thing I noted as I read is that Yellowface is that it's very much a novel for those who are very online. If you don't really follow book twitter, June's highs and lows due to what's being posted may fall flat for you. But if you do follow book twitter, you'll definitely recognize the drama that seems to follow the publishing world all the damn time.




“Hard to put down, harder to forget.” — Stephen King, #1 New York Times bestselling author

White lies. Dark humor. Deadly consequences… Bestselling sensation Juniper Song is not who she says she is, she didn’t write the book she claims she wrote, and she is most certainly not Asian American—in this chilling and hilariously cutting novel from R.F. Kuang, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Babel. 

Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars. But Athena’s a literary darling. June Hayward is literally nobody. Who wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks.

So when June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena’s just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers during World War I.

So what if June edits Athena’s novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song—complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn’t this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That’s what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.

But June can’t get away from Athena’s shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June’s (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.

With its totally immersive first-person voice, Yellowface grapples with questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation, as well as the terrifying alienation of social media. R.F. Kuang’s novel is timely, razor-sharp, and eminently readable. 

Monday, September 4, 2023

REVIEW: Perfect Together by Kristen Ashley



What can I say, that hasn't already been said about Kristen Ashley and her novels? I don't know but if you figure it out, please share. Without fail, when she releases a new book I've either pre-ordered it or I immediately download it because I know that when I begin reading it, the entire rest of the world fades away and I can disappear into whatever trouble Kristen Ashley has cooked up for her characters. In Perfect Together, Wyn and Remy, a divorced couple, realize that they really shouldn't have been divorced to begin with. They clearly love each other and decide to figure things out. The end, right? I guess so, if you want to skip over the part where they demonstrate the depth of their love and care for each other through various major life events, or if you want to ignore the observations their kids and friends so humorously make. Telling the basic plot of this story is easy; it could be done in a few sentences, but the thing that always draws me back to Kristen Ashley is all of the interactions that make the characters who they are. It's the banter, the inner monologues, and the wisdom and humor that is woven through all of that. It's also the attention to detail-the interiors of the house, the outfits and jewelry, and the quirk of a lip or an eyebrow. It's clear that Kristen Ashley is a student of human nature (and of all things fashionable) and that she strives to create characters who show us the vast range of who we are, why we are, and the potential for what we can be.

As always, I'm glad that I read it, sad that it's over, and eager for the next book.



Wyn and Remy Gastineau were perfect together…

Until, without warning, Remy walks out on their life, their love and their marriage.

Wyn is blindsided and heartbroken. It takes her years to get over the loss of Remy.

Sometime later, their children call a family meeting and Remy is acting strange. Wyn refuses to hope. Remy has moved on. She must do the same.

But she’s wrong.

Remy wants her back and he’s pulling no punches. He’s determined to do the work to piece together the marriage he shattered. Forced by circumstances to tell Wyn things he never wanted her to know, Remy reveals his tragic secrets.

As the family reels from pain long buried now laid bare, Wyn realizes instead of letting go, she has to hold tight to the man and the family they made that’s perfect together.

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