The One Where I Really Liked The Unbroken (Magic of the Lost #1) by C. L. Clark #BookReview #Adult #Fantasy #LGBTQIA+ #BookBuzz ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.

Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.

Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

I see a lot of people are going to fall in love with this harsh, queernorm, absolutely wonderfully built world.

I just, it can be hard to get into. It could drag at times. There is so much tragedy and unfairness and sadness… and I have plenty of that in the real world. I wanted escapism, but I got grounded real quick. But that is on me–this book explores colonialism in multiple facets, giving us a very deep and detailed view of the unfairness of the world, the damage colonialism has through the generations, and how hard it is to break the chains that bind. Set in a rich setting, with multiple queer characters (in fact, sexuality and identity is a non issue and very fluid I would say with the entire cast), there is a lot to love.

As I read it I thought The Unbroken reminded me of The Winner’s Curse, only for adults. It has some romance, but not a lot. The romance is full of tension, and it is uncomfortable to read at times because of the power difference between the characters (it feels intentional though, it fits well within the narrative). The Unbroken tackled colonialism and what it does to everybody involved, internalized racism as well as just racism in general, cultural appropriation, the melding of two cultures, religion and the lack of… I really think it does so in a wonderful way. Just be in the correct state of mind before you throw yourself head deep.

I did find some of the side character’s behavior (mainly Pruett’s) to be questionable and off putting (overall I hated Pruett’s character–she was not a very good friend). I felt the MC had a lot of responsibilities on her shoulders, and nobody really got her struggles. Not her friends, not the person she is supposedly falling for her. Touraine makes a ton of mistakes throughout the novel, ones she is able to come back from, others not so much… Her relationship with her mother is also one full of struggles and heartache. Her relationship with Luca is very slow burning, and I felt like we needed a few more scenes with them giving into their emotions in order for us to really be shipping them. Then again, this is just the first book in the series so there is room to grow.

Touraine has to fall again and again in order to learn–she was taken by her colonizers from a young age, and indoctrinated into their way of life. She struggles with coming to terms that maybe her way of looking at the world is just flawed and puts her people down. It makes me ache for her, as she feels like she doesn’t really belong in either group.

On the other hand sympathizing with Luca is hard, even though inherently she is not a bad character–she is the future queen of the country that colonized Touraine’s home land. Luca both wants to have her cake and eat it too–she wants to rule this foreign land, while at the same time have them thank her for it. She does work towards helping the citizens by addressing worker’s laws, compensation, and overall trying to give them better circumstances, but she also wants to take that last part of them they hold close to their hearts and identities, their magic. Luca’s home land is often hit with plagues and she thinks the only way to help her people is to learn magic. Luca is complicated–she is also a character that deals with chronic pain, as when she was a young girl she suffered a very bad fall and her legs were compromised. She can still walk, but always with a cane. C. L. Clark does a fantastic job of building the character in a realistic way, not once using rose tinted glasses while portraying the greed that drives the conquerors, even if Luca’s intentions at the base are mostly to protect her people.

The Unbroken is complicated, and harsh. You need to be in the right state of mind to dive deep into it, but at the end of the day it is a rewarding experience. I am looking forward to the sequel. 

PS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!

The One Where I liked Reading The Mask Falling (Bone Season #4) by Samantha Shannon #BookReview #Adult #Fantasy ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dreamwalker Paige Mahoney has eluded death again. Snatched from the jaws of captivity and consigned to a safe house in the Scion Citadel of Paris, she finds herself caught between those factions that seek Scion’s downfall and those who would kill to protect the Rephaim’s puppet empire.

The mysterious Domino Program has plans for Paige, but she has ambitions of her own in this new citadel. With Arcturus Mesarthim-her former enemy-at her side, she embarks on an adventure that will lead her from the catacombs of Paris to the glittering hallways of Versailles. Her risks promise high reward: the Parisian underworld could yield the means to escalate her rebellion to outright war.

As Scion widens its bounds and the free world trembles in its shadow, Paige must fight her own memories after her ordeal at the hands of Scion. Meanwhile, she strives to understand her bond with Arcturus, which grows stronger by the day. But there are those who know the revolution began with them-and could end with them…


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。


I liked it, it just dragged for me a little. At times it felt slow and chock full of description; however it sets up the field for future books as it is the middle book of the series.

A LOT happened–a lot of truths were revealed. A lot of friends/enemies made. Still don’t know what to do about Jaxon, but at least we don’t get as many repetitive “Oh my lovely” phrases. The thing about the characters in The Bone Season series (and I just re-read the entire series in anticipation of The Mask Falling) is that the books feel a lot more plot driven than character driven; I don’t feel a close connection to any of the characters aside from Paige and Warden. If any of them died I wouldn’t bat an eye, but don’t you get your grubby hands on Arcturus or we going to war.

It took me a long time to get through-the book is a beast! A lot of times I felt like we were relying too much on things that have already been done (Paige being captured for example), and a lot of others things seemed too convenient. Paige’s powers fluctuate in effectiveness; She should be a power house but most of the time she still feels like Paige from book one in how her powers aren’t reliable.

The addition of the “spy” network felt weird, but I got used to it. I hope in future novels we branch out into different scenarios–I have no idea what is going to happen in this series that can fill up three more books, but kind of curious to see how it develops.

PS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!

The One Where I liked Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell #Adult #Romance #Sci-fi #EarlyReviewBUZZ ☆☆☆

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Ancillary Justice meets Red, White & Royal Blue in Everina Maxwell’s exciting debut.

While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

Like, I love the characters and the romance but couldn’t give two shits about the space politics? That’s my vibe.

But then again, that is what this book is. A space opera romance, with a convoluted plot and uninteresting political drama. The world building was lacking, the sci-fi aspects (like gadgets and entities) were confusing–I still don’t know exactly what a Remnant is– but if you push that all aside there is a shining romance in between the pages.

What Winter’s Orbit has in abundance is inclusion. In the Iskat Empire anybody can feel free to be their authentic self, if you wish for others to know what gender you identify with you need only illustrate it by using the right kind of accessories. Seems superficial, but it works in a pinch. There are high ranking officers who identify as “they” as well.

The characters really breathed life into the book. I loved Prince Kiem, his self deprecation, his genuine drive to do the right thing even if he goes against his family, his willingness to really listen to his partners needs and even learn his culture… Kiem is a national treasure. At the beginning of the novel he was a little sheltered, by his own choice. Politics was not his thing and he seldom paid attention. Instead he volunteered in charities and tried to rehabilitate his image from troublemaker #1. By the end he grows up so much, taking charge and using his charisma for the greater good.

Jainan! T_T oh my goodness. I knew from the first interactions between him and Kiem that something wasn’t right. He seemed too guarded, always trying to anticipate Kiem’s needs in a very fight or flight way, always holding his tongue… He broke my heart. There is a lot of miscommunication between Jainan and Kiem, mainly because Kiem lives in a world where Domestic Violence isn’t a thing (he has no experience with it) and Jainan assumes all royalty will expect the same kind of treatment. Again, it is heartbreaking, and the moment these two finally get close enough to trust in each other what they are really thinking/feeling I shouted HALLELUYAH! It does drag along in some scenes, the same misunderstanding, but it builds in a realistic way.

While I don’t think Winter’s Orbit does a great job in the sci-fi aspect, I do think it shines when it comes to the romance and the respectful way it treats domestic abuse within a queer relationship. I felt close to the characters, both the main ones and the side characters, and wish we could maybe have another novel with Bel (Kiem/Jainan’s aide) as the MC.

The Bright and Breaking Sea (Captain Kit Brightling #1) by Chloe Neill #BookReview #Adult #AltHistorical #Sea #Magic ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Chloe Neill brings her trademark wit and wild sense of adventure to a stunning seafaring fantasy starring a dauntless heroine in a world of magic and treachery.

Kit Brightling, rescued as a foundling and raised in a home for talented girls, has worked hard to rise through the ranks of the Isles’ Crown Command and become one of the few female captains in Queen Charlotte’s fleet. Her ship is small, but she’s fast–in part because of Kit’s magical affinity to the sea. But the waters become perilous when the queen sends Kit on a special mission with a partner she never asked for.

Rian Grant, Viscount Queenscliffe, may be a veteran of the Continental war, but Kit doesn’t know him or his motives–and she’s dealt with one too many members of the Beau Monde. But Kit has her orders, and the queen has commanded they journey to a dangerous pirate quay and rescue a spy who’s been gathering intelligence on the exiled emperor of Gallia.

Kit can lead her ship and clever crew on her own, but with the fate of queen and country at stake, Kit and Rian must learn to trust each other, or else the Isles will fall…


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。


An intriguing start to a brand new series by Chloe Neill full of sailors, captains, strange new magic, the sea, and roguish yet fancy love interests.

Kit Brightly is a clever woman who is the captain of her own ship. She deals with misogyny from other captains with style, and is willing to go to the end of the world for her crew. She also has strong ties to the woman who raised her, along with her six other sisters. The Bright and Breaking Sea is set in an alternate reality in which women seem to have a lot more freedom and respect, though misogyny is not entirely gone. It is also a world full of magic, and Kit is very good at toeing the line between overusing the magic (which leads to catastrophe) and gently manipulating it.

There is a lot being set up in The Bright and Breaking Sea, and if this is like Neill’s other series’ then we are in for the long haul. In TBABS we deal with traitors to the crown, a tyrant who wants his power back, the experimentation of magic (and its consequences), the oppression of the people who are aligned (can somehow feel the magic imbued in the sea, the air, or the earth, and sort of manipulate it), and the beginnings of a slow burn courtship. I think there is a lot to like here.

At some parts the story is a bit slower than I would have liked. I want more chapters were the crew come together as an unlikely family. You do have a lot of adventure at sea, but it is a couple of small missions with not a lot of tension. I was missing that goal at the end of the book. I felt the revelation of the spy was also kind of anticlimactic, as I wasn’t hugely invested in the character that was revealed to be the culprit.

Overall it is a great start to a new series! I look forward to the next installment.

PS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!

The One Where I Really Liked SPOILER ALERT by Olivia Dade #BookReview #RomCom #Adult ☆☆☆☆

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Olivia Dade bursts onto the scene in this delightfully fun romantic comedy set in the world of fanfiction, in which a devoted fan goes on an unexpected date with her celebrity crush, who’s secretly posting fanfiction of his own. 

Marcus Caster-Rupp has a secret. While the world knows him as Aeneas, the star of the biggest show on TV, Gods of the Gates, he’s known to fanfiction readers as Book!AeneasWouldNever, an anonymous and popular poster.  Marcus is able to get out his own frustrations with his character through his stories, especially the ones that feature the internet’s favorite couple to ship, Aeneas and Lavinia. But if anyone ever found out about his online persona, he’d be fired. Immediately.

April Whittier has secrets of her own. A hardcore Lavinia fan, she’s hidden her fanfiction and cosplay hobby from her “real life” for years—but not anymore. When she decides to post her latest Lavinia creation on Twitter, her photo goes viral. Trolls and supporters alike are commenting on her plus-size take, but when Marcus, one half of her OTP, sees her pic and asks her out on a date to spite her critics, she realizes life is really stranger than fanfiction.

Even though their first date is a disaster, Marcus quickly realizes that he wants much more from April than a one-time publicity stunt. And when he discovers she’s actually Unapologetic Lavinia Stan, his closest fandom friend, he has one more huge secret to hide from her.

With love and Marcus’s career on the line, can the two of them stop hiding once and for all, or will a match made in fandom end up prematurely cancelled? They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

A darling rom-com! Full of heart, fantastic writing and commentary on…some show… that disappointed us all… I loved living vicariously through April. Marcus was also a great complicated character that lived covered in various layers, which April had to peel off one by one. Marcus on the other hand had to very carefully navigate the land mines that was April’s emotional state. But together they manage to understand each other and support each other through many misunderstandings (because emotions are HARD and feeling vulnerable is HARDER).

My April is Emma Hunton:

description

I loved how from the beginning April decided to just be her best self and F*off what everybody else might think about it. Including internet trolls. April doesn’t stop there however, she also goes on to address fat shaming within her own online fan fic community, letting those she loves and has come to care how sometimes they can hurt her feelings without even knowing. April is super brave, cause the hardest thing is to face those you love and telling them how you really feel about their maybe not even meant to be hurtful comments.

Once she posts her picture online cosplaying one of her favorite characters in the show “Gods of the Gate” she gets a ton of support, but also a ton of backlash because of course internet trolls. Seeing this backlash, and not agreeing with it at all, Marcus, the main star of the show, asks her out on a date. While they are both clear on what the date means for each of them before the date itself, once they meet all bets are off as they find in each other refuge, understanding, and attraction.

My Marcus is either…

description

Or

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Marcus literally lives within a character. He spends his days playing the character of Marcus Caster-Rupp, a pretty dumb movie star, while in reality Marcus is anything but. Feeling like he needs to hide his real self, he only manages to connect via his online community in which he posts fan fics about his show (trying to somehow fix the horrible scripts he keeps getting from the show runners). He also finds refuge in his online friend, Unapologetic Lavinia Stan. They have never met in real life, because if the showrunners were to find out Marcus is writing fan fic about the show they could fire him or sue him, or both. So you can just imagine how shocked he was to find out April is his best friend, only he is unable to tell her unless he is wiling to put his entire career on the line.

I loved the incorporation of the “geek” life. Cosplaying, writing fan fic, attending cons! It is all in there. Also the commentary on Game of Thrones Gods of the Gate was spot on and made me laugh quite often. Poor actors in the shows who can’t exactly say what they really think without losing their careers. I am hoping we are getting a “sequel” involving Alex, because that story line didn’t quite finish in this book as after he leaves we don’t really get a conclusion to his issues. I am all in for Alex and his Cupid pegging fan fics 🤣 They made me lol, and his character brought so much sunshine to all the angst. So ready for his book if it is on the works.

This was a great rom com with complicated characters, with seriously sad backgrounds, but has an empowering message. This book actually made me look at my own biases when it comes to my own body, how we have been “programmed” to think one way by our culture, and I just love that it is out there in the world! Representation is truly important 🖤 can’t wait to see what else this author comes out with.

PS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!

The One Where I Really Enjoyed Reading The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

An outsider who can travel between worlds discovers a secret that threatens her new home and her fragile place in it, in a stunning sci-fi debut that’s both a cross-dimensional adventure and a powerful examination of identity, privilege, and belonging.

Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.

On this Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now she has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security.

But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse. 


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

I found this book fascinating, the characters relatable and easy to get attached to, the science not hard to digest, and the story arc engaging!

Having said this, I am also a huge sucker for inter-dimensional reads. I love the premise of going to other worlds and finding different versions of yourself. In The Space Between Worlds the different personalities of our main character seem at their core to be made from the same stock, but how they develop is vastly different depending on their circumstances. The characters are also only able to access a SMALL amount of dimensions (a little over 300) so they can only access the ones that are more closely mirroring their own dimension (you just have to be dead in that other universe in order to be able to visit). It is a nature vs. nurture debate, in which both aspects make up the being. There is also some philosophical discussions of “is the inter-dimensional travel possible due to science or religion”? Which prevails? Why not both? It also tackles racial prejudices, social-economical issues as both of these tend to play a hand on which people get to travel–the higher the risk in your life (too poor to afford basic needs, maybe living in a place full of danger, being discriminated against) the better chance you are to be able to travel. I found the discussion fascinating, and a nice way to mirror the problems in our own dimension.

I do feel the novel was divided into two parts basically–it felt like there were two overarching plots which could have easily been divided into two books. Both parts of the story got their time to shine, but maybe dividing it into a duology might have given the reader time to adjust and some characters more page time. As it is it still works great, it just felt weird how by the middle we kind of shifted gears in a sense, like if the novel had a “Part II” that wasn’t stated as such. But that was pretty much my biggest hiccup with the novel and it wasn’t such a big deal.

I really liked the romance aspects, though it definitely is a small part of the story we do get some LGBTQIA+ Rep! And their interactions are so juicy and multilayered. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of the relationship, but there is a reason for everything in The Space Between Worlds, so just give Dell a chance.

Overall I greatly enjoyed this story! It is lite sci-fi so it ends up being a great gateway into adult sci-fi, giving teens and those who wouldn’t normally pick up “sci-fi” books a taste into the genre. I love the idea, and I look forward to reading more of Micaiah Johnson.

I was provided an e-ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an HONEST review, which I totally honestly really liked this book and recommend

#ReadabilityOver9000 #KickAssHeroines #MagicShifts #IlonaAndrews #Chapter1

_one doesn't let her fiance fight a horde of ghouls by himself. Some things were just not done.
Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels #8) by Ilona Andrews

Book confession #1: Kate Daniels is virtually all I’ve read this year. I do not regret it as she is fabulous and all I need out of life.

Above is a funny quote from Magic Shifts, which is as non-spoilery as I can get as this is the 8th book in the series.

Will be posting more quotes as I read along because I want to introduce others to the humor and just awesomeness that is Kate Daniels, aka I want you to fangirl alongside me.

Fangirling

PS; I sort of started reading The Valiant by Lesley Livingston, and so far (only like 40 pages in) it is taking twists and turns I was not expecting. I like it.

Taschima Gradient