ANTICIPATED MARCH 2020 RELEASES

Each month, we’ll be putting together a list of our top most anticipated releases; from romance, to sci-fi, to fantasy, and everything in between. These releases might be ones we’re counting down the days for or ones we’ve already read and want you to read (and love!), too.

What you do need to bear in mind is that living on different continents we have different release dates. So as a general rule there might be some repeats from one month to the next.. it’s not that we’re just being weird. Though we can’t dismiss that totally out of turn.


For March, our hotly anticipated titles, in chronological order, are :


The fourth book in Charlie Adhara’s Big Bad Wolf series, WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING, is out March 2, 2020. This is an m/m paranormal shifter detective series and one that definitely needs more love.

ONLY MOSTLY DEVASTATED by Sophie Gonzales is a highly anticipated debut. This YA is pitched as a queer Grease retelling, with shades of Clueless thrown in to the mix, and an adorable cover, to boot, and is out March 3, 2020.

We’re sure we don’t need to tell you that March 3, 2020, is the day HOUSE OF EARTH AND BLOOD, the first in Sarah J Maas’ new adult series, releases. Or do we? No, probably not.

Another huge release we probably don’t need to remind you of is CHAIN OF GOLD by Cassandra Clare. This is the first in a new trilogy set in Edwardian London, following the events of the Infernal Devices series, and this is also out March 3, 2020.

And yet another exciting release for March 3, 2020, is THE MIDNIGHT LIE by Marie Rutkoski. Not only is this a spinoff series set in the same world as The Winner’s Curse but it’s the author’s first release since the end of the aforementioned series.

With a strapline of standalone paranormal romance, KISS OF VENGEANCE by Samantha Young is actually the second in a series but is clearly only interconnected to book one rather than a continuation. Expect wolves, vampires and immortality on its release date of March 3, 2020.

AND THE STARS WERE SHINING BRIGHTLY by Danielle Jawando is a highly anticipated debut from a British YA voice. Dealing with tough subjects of suicide and bullying this novel sounds hopeful and rich. It is out on March 5, 2020 and Micky wants to scream from the rooftops about this one.

THE RICH BOY by Kylie Scott is a standalone contemporary romance out on March 9, 2020. The blurb sounds appealing with a work place situation, a guy who loves Austen and complications of the rich. Sign us up!

UNDERCOVER BROMANCE is the second in Lyssa Kay Adam’s Bromance Book Club series about men who read romance to woo, or win back, their lady loves. This one features a character who I think got a lot of love from readers in book one. UNDERCOVER BROMANCE is out March 10, 2020.

THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA by T.J. Klune is enchanting, melancholy, heartbreaking, wonderful, delightful.. honestly, Hollis could go on just rattling off words to describe it, but this queer fantasy needs to be on your TBR for sure. You’ll be able to get your hands on it as of March 17, 2020.

THE ELECTRIC HEIR is the follow up to Victoria Lee’s THE FEVER KING and you can get it March 17, 2020.

IF I NEVER MET YOU by Mhairi McFarlane, author of one of Hollis’ top reads of 2019, is out March 24, 2020. This is an opposites attract/fake dating/office romance and yeah, that sounds amazing, but honestly, no matter what the topic, this author should be on everyone’s radar.

THORN by Intisar Khanani is a retelling inspired by the Brothers Grimm Goose Girl. This story sounds like a mix of royalty, power struggles and switched identity. With that blurb and gorgeous cover, there will be no resistane on its release on March 24, 2020.


What titles are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments below!

THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US by Tricia Levenseller – double review!

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen? 


Title : The Shadows Between Us
Author : Tricia Levenseller
Format : eARC
Page Count : 336
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Feiwel & Friends
Release Date : February 25, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis/Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 3 star review

I requested this one because, I mean, did you read that synopsis? Girl wants the King because she plans to kill him and rule in his stead? The song Cold As Ice was echoing through my head. It sounded delicious and different and I was keen to dive in.

And this is delicious and different but I never quite fell in love with it. Though I love that this not only features dialogue around empowering women and giving them agency over their bodies, but that it’s also centered around two not-so-easy to pin down leads. They aren’t quite antiheroes but they are far from pure snowflakes. These are definitely shades of grey characters that aren’t out to convince you that their way is better, or that it’s wrong for them to do what they do. They just exist.

Also this is a fantasy standalone, can I get a whoop whoop?

I do think this’ll appeal to many readers who want something different out of their fantasy, particularly YA, and there are a lot of topics dealt with that keep everything from feeling too one note. Additionally we aren’t bogged down with any world building, the setting has a mix of a lot of elements, though I’ll admit the shadow element of the Shadow King’s backstory was.. I don’t want to say weak, but it did stick out a bit. Which might be why we don’t spend much time on it.

But, again, I just never quite hit “I love this” levels of enjoyment. Definite moments of intrigue and interest but I’m not sure it’ll be a memorable experience in a few months time. Not that every book has to be! So here we are.

** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


Micky’s 3 star review

I’ve been eager to read this book since it released over six month ago, I loved the cover and premise (from what I can remember, I don’t re-read blurbs). So colour me surprised with that start of the story and finding myself faced with a villain-protagonist of shady ethics.

The story had a great start, a duller middle and a more exciting finale. I liked it, I think but I was definitely disappointed in my own hype I’d built up. The characters in general were not my cuppa, The Shadow King was all intrigue for a while and then he was just so run-of-the-mill. Alessandra herself was a bit of a despicable character, not much to endear herself to the reader but you had to admire her cheek and courage.

The story was a little predictable, I guessed the twist but I did find this easy reading and paced fairly well. There was a feminist thread throughout the story and I liked that but found the issues a little too easily resolved. I didn’t always enjoy the peppy-quippy tone of narrative.

This was my first Tricia Levenseller and I liked her idea of writing something different, I just didn’t particuarly like these characters. I have her other books and I’m hoping to like those more.

RED HOOD by Elana K. Arnold

You are alone in the woods, seen only by the unblinking yellow moon. Your hands are empty. You are nearly naked.

And the wolf is angry.

Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself. She’s been good. But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her. A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions. About the blood in Bisou’s past and on her hands as she stumbles home. About broken boys and vicious wolves. About girls lost in the woods—frightened, but not alone.

Elana K. Arnold, National Book Award finalist and author of the Printz Honor book Damsel, returns with a dark, engrossing, blood-drenched tale of the familiar threats to female power—and one girl’s journey to regain it. 


Title : Red Hood
Author : Elana K. Arnold
Format : eARC
Page Count : 368
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Balzer + Bray
Release Date : February 25, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★


Hollis’ 2 star review

I requested this book for one reason only : because of DAMSEL. It’s a book a lot of people hate, or dislike, or just feel uncomfortable about. And I don’t begrudge anyone their feelings. But somehow it just worked for me. So when I saw yet another feminist sorta-retelling by the same author? I wanted it.

While this saying a lot of things, and unpacking all the societal gender issues, it just didn’t quite work as a story. It felt very literal, the good girls killed by the wolves aren’t good girls at all, it’s whispered, and yet no one questions the motives of the wolf. And this leaned very heavily on menstruation and dealing with those changes, all of which is great, and not often touched on. We also had a very strong female friendship that develops, between girls who wouldn’t normally have found each other, or maybe given each other a chance to be friends, in addition to a very sweet, very genuine, romance, but.

But.

I don’t know, it was a push to get through this, I wasn’t feeling motivated to read it, despite all the good in the story and what it was saying.

I think people who disliked DAMSEL will enjoy this because it’s a little less wild, a little less out there, and again, the dialogue is relevant and strong. So if you were put off by the author’s other works, but want to explore this kind of story, I would suggest giving this a try.

** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – FEBRUARY 25, 2020

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!

As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US by Tricia Levenseller’s summary starts with, “Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power: 1) Woo the Shadow King. 2) Marry him. 3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.” If that doesn’t intrigue you, what would? Look out for Hollis’ review later this week.


Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below!

SHINIGAMI by Xia Xia Lake

A coming-of-age love story between an orphan and the heir of the richest family in the Land of Yamato. The human world meets the yōkai in a power struggle for the fate of Fujiwara no Hirotsugu. 

While he battles to find his own path, Hirotsugu finds solace in a boy who will become his secret friend, then his salvation, and then as they become adults together, the love of his life.


Title : Shinigami
Author : Xia Xia Lake
Series : Takamagahara Monogatari (book two)
Format : paperback
Page Count : 352
Genre : LGBTQIA+ historical fiction/fantasy
Publisher : indie
Release Date : October 1, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 3.75 (rounded up) star review

I’m going to be honest. I have very different feelings for the first half of this book vs the latter half. The first half details the life and experiences of Hirotsugu as he grows up as the heir to one of the wealthiest, and respected, families. In contrast to those around him, particularly his family, he’s very aware, and almost ashamed, of the divide that separates him from the poor, and this is reinforced by a chance encounter with a young beggar. A chance encounter that happens not just a second time, but a third, thus sparking a friendship that would turn into a great love.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The first half of this journey is very heavy on the historical elements, the traditions, the myths; if you love world-building, if you love losing yourself in cultural descriptions, you will be overjoyed with the author’s research and attention to detail. I’ll admit that while I did follow along (and had a handy glossary, along with chapter header definitions to help out), I wasn’t as engrossed by the history as I was the characters. So while I wasn’t bored, I wasn’t fully immersed or on the edge of my seat in the early chapters. It was easy to put down, even with the magical elements and the mystery surrounding this presence that ran parallel to the narrative.

Also I made the mistake of speculating a theory or two to a friend who had read this already and boy was I wrong. But hey, I’m owning up to it. I recommend you try and throw some guesses around, too! Ahem, anyway..

And then the second half of the story happened and it was sweet and lovely and all of a sudden I was punched in the gut with feels and this time I was putting down the book so I could finish crying. Which I did.. twice. I definitely felt the strength of these characters near the end, the events felt more high stakes, with the added element of some melodrama to really get those emotions flowing. As a bonus, much is revealed that is only teased throughout, and while some subsequent actions felt rushed or maybe a little unrealistic, you still feel it. It still hurts. And you’re still blown away.

Readers who pick up the book one, KOGITSUNE, might be surprised, and confused, when they follow it up with SHINIGAMI only to realize it isn’t a direct continuation. And does, in fact, happen long after the events of book two. But by the time you get to the end of this book, you’ll understand why it’s important, and necessary, to read first. So go do that now.

Overall, this is an experience unlike one I’ve read before. It’s detailed, rich in history, magic and myth and folklore, it’s about a forever love between two young men, and so much more. And it’s not over! There’s more to come. I cannot wait to see how these stories progress in book three.

DARKDAWN by Jay Kristoff – double review!

We’re reblogging DARKDAWN as it’s now a double review and we’re twinning on the rating!

A Take from Two Cities

A ruthless young assassin’s journey for revenge comes to a stunning end in the conclusion of this acclaimed epic fantasy trilogy.

The Republic of Itreya is in chaos. Mia Corvere has assassinated Cardinal Duomo and rumors of Consul Scaeva’s death ripple through the street of Godsgrave like wildfire. But buried beneath those same streets, deep in the ancient city’s bones, lies a secret that will change the Republic forever.

Mia and her brother Jonnen must journey through the depths of the ancient metropolis. Their quest will take them through the Godsgrave underdark, across the Sea of Swords, back to the library of the Quiet Mountain and the poisoned blades of Mia’s old mentors, and at last the fabled Crown of the Moon. There, Mia will at last discover the origins of the darkin, and learn the destiny that lies in store for her and her world. But with the three…

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DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE TRILOGY WRAP UP by Laini Taylor

  1. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE – 4.5 stars
  2. DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT – 4 stars
  3. DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS – 4.5 stars

    This is a Micky post but it is fuelled by Hollis suggesting that I read this story FOR YEARS. We nearly had a disrailment early on reading book one when I realised this was a book about angels and beasts, my blog review is here if you need a refresher on what nearly went wrong for me. However, I came out of book one realising there wasn’t really a Christian connection to this story and that this was a other-worldly yet this-worldly story. There was a lot of action in this book but once it got to the half-way mark, a love story started to build in the form of Akiva and Karou. I was disconcerted for a bit by what I thought was a love triangle but really it wasn’t. There was one of the best gal-pal storylines that began in this book and continues throughout the series. I adored Zuzana and Zuzana with Karou are friendship goals. I loved book one and gave it a 4.5 star review.

Book two, DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT was a great action-packed read but it was steeped in sadness, disconnection between the two MCs and that was hard to swallow. I wanted them together but I understood the rift. This was a story to learn more about the world of Eretz but also of the different species that inhabited it. Into this story entered a younger Kiran man called Ziri who pretty much stole my heart. Zuzana and her guy, Mik were very much crucial in this story. I rated this book 4 stars and my review is here.

Book three, DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS was about journeys, battle and strategy. It was about foes becoming friends and reconnections but oh my word, the tension, the mind-blowing tension between Akiva and Karou. I was glued to the page and wishing for them to kiss. I said numerous times ‘just kiss already’ to myself and them.

There was a superb main plot in this book and so many great sub plots apart from one that I disliked (that’s what has taken the rating down from heart eyes to love). Fake grandma was a highlight, Zuz and Mik shenanigans of course and all things Thiago, Ziri and Liraz. The bad guys were epically gross but I loved to read about them.

This is the book of final fulfilment and three books in, binged from start to finish, I needed the sweetness of completion. The culmination did not let me down. These characters became fast book friends and beloved favourites; I think I’ll remember this series for a long time. DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS got a whopping 4.5 stars.

Shout out to Hollis for nagging/pushing me to read this for a few years and for listening to my many ravings along the way. Second shoutout to bookstagram friend Steph for her devoted cooing over my reading of one of her favourite series.

The morals of this reading wrap are as follows:

  1. Do not prejudge tropes, sometimes open your mind and start to read a trope that isn’t your jam, you might have a refreshing surprise like I did.
  2. Series from 5/6 years ago or more should not get brushed under the carpet, keep those recs and positions on your tbr and work your way around to them. I’ve acquired a favourite series from this one.

Book v film – P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU by Jenny Han (To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before II)

So, it being February, Valentines Day and also a day off for me (Micky), I decided to fritter my day away with smushy Netflix feelings and I have no regrets. I’m one of these people who read the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy after watching the first film. If you haven’t read them, the first film encompasses all of book one and a little of book two.

So, the first film for me was all mushy, vicarious heart-eyed perfection. I would rate it on the book scale as 5 stars for the characters, the acting, the emotion and how it made me feel. I’m not always a fan of fake dating tropes but this pretty much epitomised the right length to carry on a fake relationship without dragging on. This book and film were sweet without being too cutesy. I rated the book 4 stars.

So how did my viewing go today? I cannot deny that I was somewhat anxious about the storyline after having seen the trailer. I didn’t know how I felt about a love triangle and it did unsettle me watching it. BUT this was a viewing success overall, I still love the characters and their dynamics. Without spoilers, I’m going to tell you my likes and a few wanted more thoughts.

I liked Lara Jean’s insecurity and journey. I adore her outfits (does that make me shallow). I liked John Ambrose’s smile very much. I liked the side Jen bits. The story was interesting and kept my attention throughout, I enjoyed the mild humour, Kitty and Covey life.

I wanted more Peter Kavinsky time with Lara Jean. I felt that their dynamic was a little diluted and he had less dialogue and screen time. I will believe in the fact that the third film might bring me what I need in this. I wanted more Dad Covey time, big fan of him and his minor storyline, also more Kitty.

So, for a rating of the film – 4 stars which is exactly what I rated the book. Winner! What did you think of the second film?

ONE WORD KILL by Mark Lawrence – double review!

We’re reblogging this crazy science-y time travel fiction because it’s now a double review!

A Take from Two Cities

Ready Player One meets Stranger Things in this thrilling new novel by bestselling author Mark Lawrence.

In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange—yet curiously familiar—man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help—now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding…

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KOGITSUNE by Xia Xia Lake

A coming of age story set in medieval Japan. A friendship between a young fox god and his human childhood friend is built on deception, but grows stronger and purer as it’s driven by common purpose. However, the vast differences of the worlds they live in can’t be ignored, as their relationship is frowned upon by both humans and spirits.

As Kogitsune’s feelings for his human friend turn from friendship to something deeper, he will learn that love can be all consuming and heartbreaking. 

‘Kogitsune’ is a retelling of the famous Noh theater play ‘Kokaji’, a story about a swordsmith who requests the help of the Inari god to build a sword for emperor Ichijo (980-1011).


Title : Kogitsune
Author : Xia Xia Lake
Series : Takamagahara Monogatari (book 1)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 62
Genre : LGBTQIA+ historical fiction/fantasy
Publisher : indie
Release Date : September 10, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 3.5 (rounded up) star review

This is such a sweet, magical, little story of the birth, and early years, of a kitsune; a fox god. As he discovers the world around him, he also meets a human boy, and they develop a sweet friendship that, over time and after reuniting after a separation where they each grow into their own, becomes a romance.

Despite how short this story is, Lake nonetheless manages to perfectly set the scene, delving into Japanese folklore and myth, all through the eyes of a curious and adorable protagonist, who is both naive and wise and, like mortals, just as susceptible to heartbreak, remorse, and love.

This is the first in a series and I can’t wait to read on.