Posts Tagged ‘books’

Bite Me (The Puritan Coven Series Book 1)
Baker Thief Bite Me (The Puritan Coven Series Book 1) by Louise Cypress

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Content Warnings: death, heterosexual romance, violence, gore, mentions of torture, mentions of diets, internal organs outside of bodies, veiled reference to smuggling of said organs

I received an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This was an interesting take on the vampire genre. We’ve got vampires that don’t feed on humans and that can be in the sunlight but garlic doesn’t affect them. There’s two religious type groups that watch over the vampires that don’t feed on humans. There’s also ones that do feed on humans that are the dangerous ones. And with that we have the male equivalent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and I’m not kidding when I say that I was thinking that through at least half the book). And the non blood drinking vampires follow a Paleo diet. And that pretty much sums up the book. Oh and none of the vampires sparkle but if a female gets bitten by a vampire then she suddenly becomes *super* hot and irresistible. Vampirism also corrects your vision.

I’m not a fan of the “get bit by vampire become instantaneously attractive” trope. That does seem to dominate the genre though so I put up with it. The writing was good. The ending wasn’t too much of a deus ex machina which was nice because I’ve read a lot of vampire books that were.

It was interesting enough to catch my interest and to read all the way through. Not sure I’d buy it immediately but if I saw it on a decent sale (and had the money which is my bigger issue) I’d probably get it. If you like vampire books and don’t mind the young adult genre it’s a good book. If you don’t like one or the other you might not like the book.

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Song of Blood & Stone
Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Content warnings: racism heavily implied (and at some points outright stated), heterosexual relationships, microaggressions, attempted rape, death, violence, blood mentions for magic use

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Ok yes, second time reviewing this book. But the first it was self published and this time it’s through a publishing house. My first review will stay up in it’s own post. This is going to be a different review.

Things that aren’t different from my initial review: I still adore the hell out of the cover because it’s absolutely gorgeous and I enjoyed the story.

Having read this once and this being my second read through of it didn’t change my love of it. However, I did notice more. Mostly because I wasn’t partly reading this at a party like the last time I read it (I don’t like people for the most part but it was a housewarming party and I like the person throwing it so I went for them….shush). There were definitely things that changed in it. Particularly around the ending. I remember the original ending very different from this time around. But it’s a great set up for the next book.

One of the things that particularly hit me was this quote

“Don’t I have the right to be in a temper when unarmed children are being shot? When this entire country seems to have fallen victim to lunacy? At what point, I ask you, am I permitted to be upset?”

which was said by the prince of the book. It hit me hard enough that I had a mini conversation on twitter with the author about it. It also might’ve hit me harder than it normally would have because I literally finished 4 YA books that literally have similar-ish themes only they aren’t in the fantasy genre. And it’s a serious thing that we need to continue to have conversations about because it’s been going on way too long (literally I went through my last year of middle school and all of high school -ok fine that was my 10th grade year- with shit like this going on…for chrissakes there’s a freaking wikipedia page about school shootings alone).

Anyways though, if you enjoy fantasy novels with a pretty good imagry for scenery/setting (I’m not talking Tolkien levels, I promise) and the content warnings don’t put you off of it, then I definitely recommend this. If you’re looking for a black female led fantasy book, I definitely recommend this.

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Baker Thief_cover

Adèle has only one goal: catch the purple-haired thief who broke into her home and stole her exocore, thus proving herself to her new police team. Little does she know, her thief is also the local baker.

Claire owns the Croissant-toi, but while her days are filled with pastries and customers, her nights are dedicated to stealing exocores. These new red gems are heralded as the energy of the future, but she knows the truth: they are made of witches’ souls.

When her twin—a powerful witch and prime exocore material—disappears, Claire redoubles in her efforts to investigate. She keeps running into Adèle, however, and whether or not she can save her sister might depend on their conflicted, unstable, but deepening relationship.
—————

BAKER THIEF is the first in a fantasy series which centers non-romantic relationships and stars a bigender aromantic protagonist. Those who love enemies-to-“lovers” and superheroes will love this story!

 Baker Thief Pre-Order Campaign

Gumroad: https://gumroad.com/l/bakerthief / All other retailers: https://books2read.com/bakerthief/

About the author:

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Claudie Arseneault is an asexual and aromantic spectrum writer hailfing from Quebec City. Her love for sprawling casts invariably turns her novels into multi-storylined wonders centered on aromantic and asexual characters. Her high fantasy series, City of Spires, started in February 2017. Her next book, Baker Thief, features a bigender aromantic baker and is full of delicious bread, French puns, and magic. Claudie is a founding member of The Kraken Collective and is well-known for her involvement in solarpunk, her database of aro and ace characters in speculative fiction, and her unending love of squids. Find out more on her website!


Trans Voices: Becoming Who You Are by Declan Henry, Stephen Whittle (Foreword), Jane Fae (Afterword)

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

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Content warnings: bad science, transphobic rhetoric

I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I had to DNF this book. Just in the first chapter there was SO MUCH wrong with it. It is a HARMFUL book. This book needs a few rounds of sensitivity reads and should never have been published as is. I put it down at 15%. It incorrectly quotes from the DSM 5 (of which I *DO* own a copy and was able to cross reference as well as check with friends who do work as licensed psychiatrists and psychologists) and incorrectly talks about Native Americans with regards to two spirit identities. It’s like the author did the barest glance of what this identity is and then made wild leaps of assumptions and published the book. I reached out to a wide variety of people across a wide variety of tribes across North America (in the US and Canada) just on what I read in this book and ALL of them told me how wrong this book was in it’s assumptions. And then there was the study about how trans men are more likely to be autistic. Which wasn’t really true. It was one study that didn’t really prove anything. Except for maybe bias in researching. It’s been a year, literally a year, since I put the book down and have not picked it back up because I’ve been researching all of this stuff. As a genderfluid person myself, this book hurt me since my identity falls under the trans identity umbrella (whether I choose to claim that identity or not it still technically does). More importantly though, if the vast majority of my friends read this book, it would deeply hurt THEM. As the vast majority of my friends are trans identifying people. And I care more about them and people like them who might pick this book up.

I sincerely hope that no trans person picks this person up and hopes that this book is for them. And that no trans ally picks this up hoping that it will help them. It is a harmful trash pile.

I can not recommend picking this book up. EVER.

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Portraits of a Faerie Queen by Tay LaRoi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Content warnings: lesbian relationships, body horror, magic usage, magical coercion, death, magical insanity, kidnapping

I received a free copy in exchange for a fair and honest review from the publisher.

I was definitely not expecting the book that I read when I read this book. I mean, I wasn’t expecting some happy go-lucky happily ever after fairy tale type story but it definitely wasn’t this. And it’s a good I wasn’t expecting this type of story. I really don’t know what I was expecting. It just wasn’t this. More I was kind of expecting more along the lines of it to be either a mediocre to slightly above mediocre story (because honestly I’ve read a lot of fae-type stories and a lot have been REALLY bad despite having good premise and very few have fallen above slightly above mediocre that my hopes just don’t ever go above that anymore). I was happy to be surprised. It’s been a while since that’s happened.

I enjoyed the fact that this book took from fae mythology instead of the typical things most people tend to think of when they hear fairy/faerie. It wasn’t just “let’s make everything pretty and glamourous” it was “we’ll show glitz and glamour but we’ll also show the gruesome and the gore and the horror and the not pretty aspects of fae as well”. I’m all about the dichotomy when it comes to faerie lore. Too often do writers just show the beauty but don’t show the horror and don’t show that horror can have beauty as well.

I liked the whole needing to choose words carefully and needing to both trust and not trust faeries. Having to weigh your options carefully as to which faeries you actually can trust and knowing that you needed to not spend much time in faerie and not eat or drink anything there. And that looking too carefully at certain faeries or certain things in faerie can drive you out of your mind.

I enjoyed the sense of responsibility that Jocelyn has. She reads true to me at her age, especially if I had started driving then and hadn’t been delayed in my driving like I had and reads true to a lot of teens that I know who feel that kind of responsibility. Overall, this was a well written and good read that I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys magic and faeries in their books.

Buy it here:

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Beyond Forever (O’Kane for Life, #2) by Kit Rocha

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Content warnings: sex, mentions of attempted theft, theft and then return of stolen goods, alcohol use, alcohol abuse, mentions of death, underage drinking, gambling, fighting, mentions of prostitution, mentions of sex slavery, mentions of children being sold as prostitutes/sex slaves,

I received an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

So if you wanted to read the story on how Dallas and Lex met and got together, this is the book for you. It’s told in both present day and in flashbacks. Like, this is literally them meeting.

All of his warm feelings fizzled. His safe was open. And a thief had her fucking arm elbow deep in it. She froze, then slowly turned to face him. “Well. This is awkward.” It was sure the fuck something, but he didn’t know if awkward covered it. He hit the light switch next to the door and squinted at his intruder through the sudden brightness. The woman looked all of twenty-five—probably not even that—and woefully out of place in his shitty little bedroom. Because she was stunning. Not pretty, not hot, not even of this fucking world. Her dark brown eyes watched him with amusement, like he was a curiosity in some traveling circus, and her full, perfect lips looked poised to smile. He’d bet men had killed each other to earn that smile. Yeah, no doubt about it. This one made men stupid. Dallas refused to fall for it. “It’d probably get less awkward if you took your damn hand out of my safe.”

I really enjoyed reading about them meeting. Truly I did. But my favourite part? Wasn’t even about them. It was the bit with Lex and Nessa. Nessa has always been one of my favourites of the girls though. And not just because she makes the hard liquors.

There’s so much in this book that I want to talk about but everything I want to talk about would wind up being quoting half the book and spoiling it for those who want to read it and I try so hard not to do that and be sparing with my quotes (unless I’m tearing a book to shreds for being terrible and that’s completely not the case for this book it was great and I loved it). Like this review is one of the harder ones to write because of that. In addition to family shit that’s been going on that delayed this review.

Dallas and Lex are like what people’s relationships should aspire to be (the end result not the beginning mess that it started out as). Because they respect each other and love each other. And they show it to each other constantly. All while staying true to each other. They give in to what they want and come back to each other and it’s a wonderful thing.

Buy it here:

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The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Content warnings: police brutality, heterosexual relationships, violence, death, institutionalized racism, racial profiling, racial micro aggressions, gang violence, dealings with socioeconomic status, dealings with poverty, trauma related flashbacks, drugs

(This book is important though and everyone should read it. I even have my mother reading it right now and she’s enjoying it so much that she told me I had to make sure to buy it (since she’s reading the copy I have checked out from the library). So, for now, read it. Especially if you still aren’t sure what the deal is with the Black Lives Matter folks. Because this book? Is happening. EVERY day. And I need all of my white friends to read this book before jumping into conversations with ill informed opinions.)

I’m going to leave what’s in the parenthesis up. For my own reasons.

T.H.U.G. is a very powerful and VERY important book. For a variety of reasons. And I am *NOT* the one who will be able to do a review of this book justice. This is a book that everyone should read. Especially white people. Especially people who don’t understand the Black Lives Matter Movement. This book was born from the movement. And explains it better than I could ever hope to explain it with more nuance.

To date, Aimal, has the best review I’ve read of this book. Seriously. You should all read their review. It’s fantastic and says all the things I wish I could say better than I could ever say them.

This is a fantastic book that I highly recommend.

Buy it here:

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Word Play
Word Play by Amalie Silver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Content warnings: alcohol use, heterosexual romance, sex

I’m honestly being generous with the 4 star rating. It’s more of 3.5 stars. Had I read instead of listened to it, probably would have been more of 2.5 stars. Really, I enjoyed listening to it. But knowing what I like reading vs what I like listening to and knowing that they aren’t always the same thing…..This would have definitely gotten lower star rating had I read it.

I didn’t care for the derision of the male author toward erotica/romance authors. We get enough of that IRL we DON’T need that shit in books. SERIOUSLY. That was my least favourite part of this book. That and the whole “writing romance/erotica will make my writing less valid as a mystery writer” bullshit. Because once you write romance and/or erotica you’re now not a valid writer of anything else…or some other stupid sexist bullshit like that. Because we all know that romance and erotica authors are just vapid and shallow and can’t write anything that makes us think
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But I digress.

The Monica’s Musings stuff was kind of unnecessary and didn’t really add much to the story. I felt like that could have been cut out and nothing would have been lost from the story. The main character was borderline alcoholic. And overall it was a decent story with a lot of fluff for filler. Some of which felt like it was there just to pad out the word count (ie: Monica’s Musings). Decent story.

Buy it here:

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Girls Like Me
Girls Like Me by Lola St.Vil

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Content warnings: heterosexual relationships, divorce, death mentions, bullying, fat shaming, homophobia

I wanted to like this book. I really did. But I couldn’t. Part of why I couldn’t is how it was written. Sometimes I couldn’t tell WHO was talking. Which is a huge problem. I like prose. I like books written in prose. But I need to know who is talking and not be confused as to who is talking.

The author is good. I just think this book needed possibly another round of editing where someone went “hey, maybe make it a little clearer on WHO is talking at all times because it’s really vague at times”. Also, punctuation. There was no punctuation, no quotation marks (which goes back to people talking) so internal monologues vs people talking vs reading letters was hard to differentiate at times. Re-reading at times was necessary.

I liked the cover. I did. Honestly. It’s minimal enough that it can catch your attention but tells you enough about the book that you can figure out if it’s for you to even bother reading the blurb.

I almost didn’t like her (the main character’s) friends. Because they felt a bit like stereotypes. The girl who’s dying of a cancerous tumor. The gay boy with a homophobic father who gets sent to military school because of it. I feel like I’ve seen both those SO. MANY. TIMES. And her stepmother who is always trying to put her on a diet (I think to help her try to feel better about herself or something like that). Then you had the girl who bullied her for whatever unknown reason that was never really delved into. And I know that is a common thing that girls bully other girls for no reason (or seemingly no reason) I had it happen to me when I was in school. But it still bothers me to see it happen so frequently in books.

I felt the blurb could have done a better job in not spoiling one of the plot points of the book as well. Which I know authors typically have not a lot of control over. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. But whoever had control over that, shouldn’t have spoiled a plot point.

Overall, it’s a pretty decent book. Your typical girl falls for boy she thinks she’ll never have and boy is secretly falling for girl and has to convince girl that they should date book.

Buy it here:

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Of All the Stupid Things
Of All the Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Content warnings: lesbian relationships, cheating, heterosexual relationships, homophobia, possible gay relationships, possible bisexual representation, sex, alcohol use, deals with loss of parent

I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Though, the book on Netgalley is listed as When We Were. Which made finding this on Goodreads and Amazon a little difficult as I had to bring up all the books by the author and read the descriptions until I found them (luckily the author doesn’t have many). And depending on the version it’s either listed as When We Were or Of All The Stupid Things.

There were things I liked about this book. But overwhelmingly, there was so much I DIDN’T like that I *COULDN’T* rate it higher than 2 stars.

The few things I liked:

The fact that the main character wasn’t perfect and wasn’t beloved by all. She was flawed, she fucked up, she made amends…well she made some amends. She was also a hypocrite in some aspects but I’ll get to that in my dislikes.

The fact that one of the main character’s best friends realises that though she’s lost a parent she’s also gained one with her step parent. And that she may be the glue that holds the trio together but that she doesn’t *WANT* to be that anymore and she wants to stop being in that position in her friendships. And she goes and starts working on her own friendships. And that the main character starts realising what a shitty position she’s put her in and apologise to her.

The main character’s mother initially having a bit of homophobia but realising she wants her daughter happy above all else and working to get over it and see her daughter happy above all else was nice. It wasn’t perfect. But she tried. She made the effort. She didn’t forbid her from seeing the girl who made her happy. She encouraged her.

The things I didn’t like:

The main character after getting out of a relationship with her boyfriend and then getting into a relationship with a girl and then criticizing her ex boyfriend for possibly being with another boy. Constantly. Like through the rest of the book. Every time she thought he was with another boy she was being a hypocritical asshole about it. Like it was ok for her to be with a girl but wasn’t at all ok for him to be with a guy because girls being with girls is completely ok but boys dating boys isn’t ok and that was just…..frustrating as hell.

The gay(?)bi(?) boy being shown as a playboy who will go for anyone regardless of relationship status just because he can and just to fuck with relationships was really frustrating. Especially as he wasn’t really shown as either gay or bi. But it was implied he was one or the other. Especially as bisexual representation in media is really bad. And that plays into really bad bisexual representation (and as a formerly identified bisexual person that really rubs me the wrong way).

The main characters girlfriend and rich best friend being at each other’s throats most of the book just because and for no other reason than that. And a misunderstanding from something overheard in a locker room. Like. The fact that the main character couldn’t be arsed to give her best friend the time of day to even LISTEN to her concerns. Just dismissed them. Granted, in high school, I was also pretty ridiculous in that aspect but if someone came to me with a concern I would at least listen to them (I did have times where people came to me with concerns over people I was crushing HARD on and I did listen to their concerns and didn’t just go “shut up you’re lying they’re beautiful and I can’t be friends with you because you’re just jealous so stop talking”. Like one time I distinctly remember was someone who I was head over heels for but he had apparently raped a few girls and they had actually come up to a few of my friends and told them and my friends told me what they had told them and a week later he actually was arrested because of that so in a way they actually saved me because of that even though that’s not the case in this book. But what I’m saying is LISTEN TO YOUR FRIENDS IF THEY COME TO YOU WITH A CONCERN) and not immediately dismiss them as “you’re just jealous”. I think that was the worst.

Calling your best friend clingy when you’re intentionally avoiding her and making her super insecure. What kind of asshole does that? I wouldn’t want a friend that didn’t worry about me. Everyone shows worry differently. Yeah, it would annoy me if someone called me a bunch and left a bunch of messages, BUT, if they had been doing that since we were kids and that was how they showed they cared and worried and I was going through a tough time? I’d be touched. Annoyed, but touched. And I’d at least text them to let them know I’m ok (or call them to let them know I’m ok and I appreciate their worry and showing they care).

Using your friend who has a bad sense of direction for your own gains. “We’re worried about (friend) running off so let’s look in completely opposite direction she probably ran off in so we can go have fun because she’s probably fine”.  That’s just…..frustrating doesn’t even begin to cover it for me. Infuriating barely scratches the surface.

Also using the guy who is obviously head over heels for you for sex and buying you things and homework/notes but with no intention of being in a relationship with him. I mean, I hate using the term tease but that is essentially what you’re doing is being a tease. By all means, have sex. Use condoms while having sex. Screw up. Drink alcohol. All while in high school. But don’t play with other people’s emotions like that. It’s cruel. And unnecessary. Hormones do that enough to us as it is we don’t need others to do that as well.

I wouldn’t recommend this book. I also wouldn’t stop someone from reading it either. But there’s a LOT of homophobia in it. Like, all of the main character’s friends have SO MUCH homophobia in them. One of them tries her hardest to get over it because she wants her friend to be happy and wants to try to be friends with both her and her girlfriend. And she tries to hide her internal disgust at the public displays of affection between the two girls and the shock of it since her best friend hasn’t been, in the past, one to be up for showing public displays of affection (which the shock thing is a perfectly normal thing to feel when someone goes from not normally showing public displays of affection to suddenly doing so). The girlfriend’s parents are also hugely homophobic as well. Not to mention the main character has her own bits regarding her ex boyfriend potentially being with another guy. Ok being with one guy in particular. Being with the potentially gay/bi boy. There’s also the bit where the main character’s dad who walked out on them comes back for a scene with his new wife and son but it’s so inconsequential that for the unspoken interaction between the main character and the son it could have been left out almost completely.

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