NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – MARCH 31, 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 part of the summary for PROVIDENCE by Max Barry that could not be ignored was the following, “In this near future, our world is at war with another, and humanity is haunted by its one catastrophic loss—a nightmarish engagement that left a handful of survivors drifting home through space, wracked with PTSD. Public support for the war plummeted, and the military-industrial complex set its sights on a new goal: zero-casualty warfare, made possible by gleaming new ships called Providences, powered by AI.” How could you pass that up?

DEAR ENEMY by Kristen Callihan brings a dose of hateful love or is that loveful hate? Whatever you call it, this is a second chance at being something more than enemies for the main characters and there’s cooking involved. Ready to click?

THE INFINITE ONION is a new standalone m/m contemporary romance from Alice Archer. What caught Hollis’ attention was this bit of the blurb : “Amid the buzz of high summer, unwelcome attraction blooms on a playing field of barbs, defenses, and secrets.”


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

PROVIDENCE by Max Barry

Gilly, Talia, Anders, and Jackson are astronauts captaining a new and supposedly indestructible ship in humanity’s war against an alien race. Confined to the ship for years, each of them holding their own secrets, they are about to learn there are threats beyond the reach of human ingenuity—and that the true nature of reality might be the universe’s greatest mystery.

In this near future, our world is at war with another, and humanity is haunted by its one catastrophic loss—a nightmarish engagement that left a handful of survivors drifting home through space, wracked with PTSD. Public support for the war plummeted, and the military-industrial complex set its sights on a new goal: zero-casualty warfare, made possible by gleaming new ships called Providences, powered by AI.

But when the latest-launched Providence suffers a surprising attack and contact with home is severed, Gilly, Talia, Anders, and Jackson must confront the truth of the war they’re fighting, the ship that brought them there, and the cosmos beyond.


Title : Providence
Author : Max Barry
Format : eARC
Page Count : 320
Genre : science-fiction
Publisher : G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date : March 31, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ .5


Hollis’ 1.5 star review

This might be a case of “this reader is too dumb for this book” because I have no idea what I just read.

This is a story almost completely set in space, featuring four humans who are responsible for an AI ship as it travels through space to eradicate an alien species that had previously attacked one of their exploratory crews. This story really does feel like being in a bubble because for all that they spend two years in space, traveling and manning the ship that is killing these hives of alien things, you feel very removed from it. In that sense, Barry did well at expressing the lack of need of human involvement in the war. The crew, Life, Intel, Weapons, etc, are all just there to monitor what the ship is doing. The ship, as we hear often, is smarter than them. They just have to let it do what it does best.

Throughout their time on board, we do learn about the strange personalities aboard the ship, each unique, but also, like.. I never liked any of them? Maybe we weren’t supposed to. Maybe they were just meant to exist. But I think I kept waiting for more. I wanted, or rather expected, something to happen and it never did. Maybe that is what makes this unique, that lack of something, or maybe it doesn’t. I don’t know. Again, maybe I’m just too dumb for this.

There were a few discussions built into this story, about war propaganda, our society’s reliance on technology, and more, and I’ve come to expect that from Barry, but in a more satirical, clever, or even funny, way. This didn’t feel like any of that. Ultimately this wasn’t engaging, it was just kind of.. rote. This doesn’t feel like anything special or typical of the author’s brand and I guess that’s fine. I just wouldn’t have requested it had I known that.

This is a military/space adventure story set in the near future that definitely has unique elements, and I’m sure some readers will enjoy, but for me it will ultimately be forgettable. And I’m just glad it didn’t take too long to get through. Can’t say I would recommend.

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

THE RICH BOY by Kylie Scott

I’m the type of girl who’s given up on fairy tales. So when Beck – the hot new busboy at work – starts flirting with me, I know better than to get my hopes up. Happily ever afters aren’t for the average. I learned that the hard way.

But how can I be expected to resist a man who can quote Austen, loves making me laugh, and seems to be everything hot and good in this world?

Only there’s so much more to him than that.
Billionaire playboy? Check.
Troubled soul? Check.
The owner of my heart, the man I’ve moved halfway across the country to be with, who’s laying the world at my feet in order to convince me to never leave? Check. Check. Check.

But nobody does complicated like the one percent.

This is not your everyday rags-to-riches, knight-in-shining armor whisking the poor girl off her feet kind of story. No, this is much messier.


Title : The Rich Boy
Author : Kylie Scott
Format : eARC
Page Count :
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : March 9, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★


Micky’s 2-2.5 star review

Yes, that is my sad face you can see as I am a big Kylie Scott fan. I’ve read all her contemporary books and I love her work. There are a number of reasons THE RICH BOY didn’t work for me and I will try and constructively explain.

The story started out strong, after a short while there was a need to suspend a bit of reality to go with the storyline as the heroine, Alice gave up her life to go and be with Beck after a few days. Even so, I was still invested in these two at this point. However, what I found was a very ’50 shades’ storyline (I’m not going into detail because spoilers), too many coincidental similarities occured but without the sex. It was a slow burn, but I wasn’t invested nor did I understand the need for the slow burn with these two.

Beck was something of a Mal (Stage Dive) character but with some facets I didn’t like. As the story progressed, I struggled with the subtle control Beck had over Alice and her being kept at home. Alarm bells rang in my head a number of times. Even when Alice seemed to revolt, it wasn’t followed through enough for me. There were insta-feelings and insta-more and that just wrecked my investment.

I know this is short and not so sweet and once again, I am sorry about that. I have great love for Kylie Scott’s work but I couldn’t find the heart or soul in this story and I didn’t believe in it. I hope this works for other readers more than it did for me.

Thank you to the author and Social Butterfly PR for the early review copy.

DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST by Juliet Marillier – rereading a favourite!

Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, they are determined that she know only contentment.

But Sorcha’s joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift – by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.

When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all..


Title : Daughter of the Forest
Author : Juliet Marillier
Series : Sevenwaters (book one)
Format : physical
Page Count : 544
Genre : fantasy / historical fiction / retellings
Publisher : TorBooks
Release Date : March 14, 2001

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 5 star review

We’ve talked on this blog before of rereading, and what inspires us to do so, and when we reach for favourites. I remember mentioning how my rereads tend to be done over the holidays, for nostalgia and comfort, but, yikes. This is no holiday, quite the opposite, but definitely a time for comfort and self-care. Even if this book put me through the wringer.

Most people can’t choose a favourite book; and rightly so. With so much choice, so much to love, it’s akin to picking a favourite child (though we all know those exist.. I see you, parents). But if you asked me? I would say DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST by Juliet Marillier. All of the original Sevenwaters books, actually, as it’s really just one long story.

If I were telling this tale, and it were not my own, I would give it a neat, satisfying ending. [..] In such stories, there are no loose ends. There are no unraveled edges and crooked threads. [..] But this was my own story.

There is something so magical about slipping into a favourite, particularly one you haven’t read in some time, and when the story itself is magical? The experience is so much more. This story is deeply moving. It’s a story of family, of loss, of tragedy and violence, healing and love, sacrifice and hope, and magic and wonder. It’s also one of the most perfect (in my opinion, obviously) portrayals of the complexity of dealing with the Fair Folk, who demand much of the mortals they encounter, who make bargains and promises, all in an effort to guide events and people to a desired end. No matter who gets hurt, or how, in the process.

This story isn’t always easy. The road Sorcha walks is treacherous, the task she must complete to reunite her family is unimaginable, and she is young and alone. Until she isn’t. At which point she’s among her enemies, far from home, and still darkness dogs her steps. But it’s her strength, her perseverance, even when faced with more tragedy, with uncertainty, even when tormented by her own doubt and despair, that is truly incredible.

Marillier’s prose is enchanting, resonating with emotion, and gorgeously descriptive. There are characters to love, and characters to hate, and though I’ve read this story countless times (seriously, I couldn’t even guess), I still dreaded certain events, I still wept; everything hit just as hard. And if that isn’t a sign of a great book, I don’t know what is. What made this particular reread even more special was being joined by a friend who experienced it all for the first time.

I have never tried to review this, all my reads predate the blog or my reviewing on GR, and I know I haven’t done this book any justice at all. It’s impossible to express my love for this book because it’s honestly so deeply embedded in my soul. I read this as a young human and it’s been with me, and I’ve relived it, over and over throughout the years, and we are irrevocably entwined. Some books you lose the love for other the years, as your taste or perspective or style as a reader changes. This book, this series, isn’t one of those.

Would I recommend? Absolutely. This story has something for everyone. Particularly if you’re a fan of fantasy, folklore, and retellings. Because this is all of that and more. And if you discover you don’t like it? That’s fine, we just can’t be friends — kidding.

Maybe.

WORST OF THE WEEPIES (REALLY THE BEST)

Most of us love a good book that evokes all the emotions; maybe not all of the time, but at least occasionally. A private cry, a good book sob, can leave you a bit wrung out, yet having felt the book deeply is pretty satisfying. BUT it can leave you looking like that pug in picture, are we right? Micky doesn’t cry easily at books but some do just hit that spot, whereas Hollis has her eyes set on leak. We’ve listed some of our favourites by genre.

Some of the books we’ve listed are weepies in part because of the difficult issues tackled within the pages. We have starred the books that we think have triggers for some people and advise you to read the blurb so you know what you are getting into.

CONTEMPORARY YA

FAR FROM THE TREE by Robin Benway
THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas
BIRTHDAY by Meredith Russo *
AND THE STARS WERE BURNING BRIGHTLY by Danielle Jawando *
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green
IF I STAY by Gayle Forman
FORBIDDEN by Tabitha Suzuma *
SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli
LETTERS TO THE LOST by Brigid Kemmerer
DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone
THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END by Adam Silvera
A TRAGIC KIND OF WONDERFUL by Eric Lindstrom
ELIZA AND HER MONSTERS by Francesca Zappia
SHERWOOD by Meagan Spooner
FOOLISH HEARTS by Emma Mills

HISTORICAL YA

THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

53 LETTERS FOR MY LOVER by Leylah Attar
MAKING FACES by Amy Harmon*
MISTS OF THE SERENGETI by Leylah Attar *
UNSEEN MESSAGES by Pepper Winters *
AN EXALTATION OF LARKS by Suanne Laqueur *
A CHARM OF FINCHES by Suanne Laqueur *
THE IDEA OF YOU by Robinne Lee
LONG SHOT by Kennedy Ryan *
STILL by Kennedy Ryan *
THE SIMPLE WILD by KA Tucker *
HEARTBREAK WARFARE by Heather M Orgeron & Kate Stewart
THE FRIEND ZONE by Abby Jimenez *
FIVE YEARS GONE & ONE YEAR HOME by Marie Force
CRASH by Harper Dallas
WAIT FOR IT by Mariana Zapata
ON BROKEN WINGS by Chanel Cleeton*
STEADFAST by Sarina Bowen
THROWN OFF THE ICE by Taylor Fitzpatrick
LUCK OF THE DRAW by Kate Clayborn

WOMEN’S FICTION

THE NOTEBOOK by Nicholas Sparks
PS, I LOVE YOU by Cecelia Ahern *
THE ORPHAN’S TALE by Pam Jenoff
THE BREAK by Marian Keyes
THE GREAT ALONE by Kristin Hannah *
AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE by Tayari Jones
WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens *
THE GIRL HE USED TO KNOW by Tracey Garvis Graves
DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME by Mhairi McFarlane

HISTORICAL (FICTION OR FANTASY)

SONG OF ACHILLES by Madeline Miller
THE GIVER OF STARS by Jojo Moyes


Do you like knowing a book might make you cry before you pick it up? Do you like being taken unawares? And, lastly, give us the book that makes you cry the m o s t.


IF I NEVER MET YOU by Mhairi McFarlane – double review!

If faking love is this easy… how do you know when it’s real? 

When her partner of over a decade suddenly ends things, Laurie is left reeling—not only because they work at the same law firm and she has to see him every day. Her once perfect life is in shambles and the thought of dating again in the age of Tinder is nothing short of horrifying. When news of her ex’s pregnant girlfriend hits the office grapevine, taking the humiliation lying down is not an option. Then a chance encounter in a broken-down elevator with the office playboy opens up a new possibility.

Jamie Carter doesn’t believe in love, but he needs a respectable, steady girlfriend to impress their bosses. Laurie wants a hot new man to give the rumor mill something else to talk about. It’s the perfect proposition: a fauxmance played out on social media, with strategically staged photographs and a specific end date in mind. With the plan hatched, Laurie and Jamie begin to flaunt their new couple status, to the astonishment—and jealousy—of their friends and colleagues. But there’s a fine line between pretending to be in love and actually falling for your charming, handsome fake boyfriend… 


Title : If I Never Met You
Author : Mhairi McFarlane
Format : ARC
Page Count : 432
Genre : women’s fiction
Publisher : William Morrow Paperbacks/Harper Collins
Release Date : March 24, 2020/January 1, 2020

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


Hollis’ 3.75 star review

This is only my second McFarlane, whereas I’ve read a lot of contemporary writing by a lot of authors, but I think I can safely say that no one writes real life quite like her.

Laurie knew that most people were murdered by someone they knew; she’d stood up in court and argued or the killers’ bail applications while they wept not only about their fate, but about their loss. In this moment, she understood why.

IF I NEVER MET YOU is a women’s fiction title, much like the other one I read by her, DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME, but this one does have a higher romance-content than the latter. That isn’t to say you’re going to get any page time detailing swoony kisses or hot and heavies between the sheets, but instead you’re going to read a romance (fake romance, did I mention the fake dating trope?) that is heavily reliant upon friendship. And while I love me some romance, I love when the characters are friends, too.

Laurie noticed that someone “finishing” with someone else was such a savage language. They canceled you. You are over. Your use has been exhausted.

That said, I am finding it hard to nail down my feelings on this one. There is so much intelligence, strength, and emotion in McFarlane’s writing. This one deals with the emotional devastation and grief in the post-breakdown of an almost two decades long relationship, and where one goes after surviving that; particularly when one’s ex is a total cad. Throw in some maybe-not-so-healthy desire for revenge, the perfect playboy to get it with, and you have a fake dating meets office romance meets friends to real lovers story. But there’s even more than that, too.

“Oh, for fu– I’m sick of this perception of me as the greatest man slag of the northwest.”
Then be less man slag. Be the unslaggy man you want to see in the world.
Pfft. I’m selective.
Then select fewer of them.”

Complicated family dynamics, guilt and grief, enduring female friendships, and, of course, hilarity. And a cat named Colin Fur.

Are you girls ready to order? Need me to explain anything?
We’re not girls. So you can explain your mode of address.”
Hey, y’all look pretty young to me.
Oh, you dear sweet fool, she will now verbally decapitate you.”

I think part of why I find this one harder to rate than the other, which was such a no-brainer, is that for all the emotions, I didn’t quite get caught up in any of them. I very much liked both of these characters, each with their stories that made them so much more than what they were perceived to be, and also deserved so much more for themselves, and I quite liked their respective besties, but.. yeah, just not quite the same charm or outright love. But it’s still such a great story, and so well written, whilst balancing that very real ‘life is messy and sometimes imperfect’ dose of reality, and I’m still a thousand percent keen to dive into the author’s backlist that I’ve yet to explore.

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


Micky’s 3.5 – 4 star review

It’s been a long while since I’ve read Mhairi McFarlane and I’m glad to be reacquainted. IF I NEVER MET YOU was a read of phases for me, one of difficult angst for the first part and then a slow relax into a great story for the rest. I think I was expecting lightness from the start and that early heavy context took me by surprise initially. On reflection, that start made this a deeper story which I really appreciate.

Laurie was an incredibly likeable heroine from the start and it was not at all difficult to get on her side when she was wronged. I hated that sitution, the perpetrator and the demise of things. I loved the strong, successful women that Laurie was and her ability to keep her professional head throughout; I honestly thought that was completely realistic of so many women.

The ensuing story of Laurie and Jamie was pretty damn fun, full of tension and banter. So many lines were highlighted and I loved being the fly on the wall, stalking their dates and plotting. Jamie was a deeper character than I expected but I still think I’d have liked to have known him a little better.

This book was a Mancunian’s gift, set in the city and even more fun for me, visiting places around my work setting. I loved every single Manchester bit.

This was delightful Saturday read, I powered through it in a day, reluctant to put it down. It had some shades of predictability but that made it no less fun. Highly recommended for the kind of romantic read that has you laughing out loud.

THORN by Intisar Khanani

Princess Alyrra has never enjoyed the security or power of her rank. Between her family’s cruelty and the court’s contempt, she has spent her life in the shadows. Forced to marry a powerful foreign prince, Alyrra embarks on a journey to meet her betrothed with little hope for a better future. But powerful men have powerful enemies – and now, so does Alyrra.

Betrayed during a magical attack, her identity is switched with another woman’s, giving Alyrra the first choice she’s ever had: to start a new life for herself or fight for a prince she’s never met. But Alyrra soon finds that Prince Kestrin is not at all what she expected. While walking away will cost Kestrin his life, returning to the court may cost Alyrra her own. As Alyrra is coming to realise, sometime the hardest choice means learning to trust herself.

Inspired by The Goose Girl fairytale by the Brothers Grimm.


Title : Thorn
Author : Intisar Khanani
Format : Paperback ARC
Page Count :
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Hot Key Books
Release Date : March 24, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4-4.5 star review

THORN by Intisar Khanani has actually been on my radar for a number of years, previously released as an indie book but has now very rightfully found publishers in the UK and US. I’m really glad I waited as this is Thorn’s moment and just look at that gorgeous cover.

This is a loose retelling of the Brother Grimm’s goose girl, which I didn’t recall but being a lesser-known tale, the storyline was all good and unexpected things. It is a story construted around royalty and magic but it very much moves into the world of the ordinary and I loved that element of the context so much. Thorn had a number of identities but essentially who she was at the core was the kind of quiet heroine you could only feel connected to. Her integrity made me love her; she felt very real in her plain life and royal connections.

Thorn’s family were vile, no beating around the bush here. Thorn was scarred in a number of ways; this particular narrative was addressed sensitively. I liked how she worked through some issues as she adapted to life outside of her family. Thorn also acquired some unconventional friendships with a horse, the wind, thieves and street kids. This tale was just full of richness.

Kestrin, was a prince amongst other things and he grew on me. The story travelled from one world to another and magic forces were at work on the way. This wasn’t an all-consuming romance but a tentative friendship and the potential promise of something more with roots. I appreciated the subtlety of the relationship between these two and I would love to read more in what seems to be a series.

Intisar Khanani’s writing was inviting and her ability to tell a story was full of richness and depth. This is a great YA fantasy that could standalone as it is but it also looks like there is more to come and I am cheering for that.

Thank you to Hot Key books for the early review copy.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – MARCH 24, 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 HONEY-DON’T LIST reads like Christina Lauren’s answer to the Netflix movie Set It Up. Mix in some home improvement shows from the TLC network, and some Real Housewives drama, and that’s pretty much how things go. We are sure this is on many readers’ TBR but it wasn’t Hollis’ favourite. Her thoughts can be found here.

One of Hollis’ favourite reads of 2019 was DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME by Mhairi McFarlane. So naturally she was all over the author’s next release, IF I NEVER MET YOU, which is out today. This is an opposites attract/office romance and really that’s all she needed to know. If this author isn’t on your radar yet, she should be.

THORN by Intisar Khanani is an unputdownable YA fantasy with a regal setting and exciting world. It’s inspired by Brother Grimm’s Goose Girl and Micky has been eyeing this for years in its indie form. It’s exciting to see this book get a traditional publisher in the US and UK.


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

THE HONEY-DON'T LIST by Christina Lauren – double review!

Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.

James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.

Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…


Title : The Honey-Don’t List
Author : Christina Lauren
Format : eARC
Page Count : 320
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Gallery Books
Release Date : March 24, 2020

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


Hollis’ 2 star review

I know, I know, you might be saying to yourself, but Hollis, didn’t you say in your last CLo read that you were no longer going to be requesting their advanced copies after so many disappointments? And yes, you would be correct. And this time I swear I mean it.

The concept of THE HONEY-DON’T LIST feels like a CLo take on the Netflix movie Set It Up and honestly that’s why I grabbed at this one, all excited, despite my best intentions. Because I loved that movie and wanted this duo’s twist to make it, possibly, even better. But sadly, for me, it wasn’t.

This book centers on the results of a once great working relationship — turned pseudo-family dynamic — between a young employee and her married bosses; a relationship that has become hella toxic and abusive and manipulative and with downright thievery. The marriage between her bosses is falling apart behind the scenes whilst they are trying to run a business, promote their brand of happiness and love and success, and also launch a new home decor show — and she and the male counterpart’s assistant are (for some reason) held responsible for making things seem like there’s nothing amiss as they go on a book tour for their (oh irony) successful marriage memoir.

Said other assistant is only two months into the job, apparently brought in to help rein in the husband (which in a continuity aspect, in relation to something that comes up, doesn’t make sense..) and as the MCs are thrown into direct proximity to each other, instead of a vague awareness of each other, and a general dislike, they get to know each other, grow to rely on each other, and boom, romance. Apparently.

I’ll admit, unlike the last one, at least they don’t fall in love in the span of a handful of days — I think the tour is a few weeks? — but still. I don’t know. I really liked Carey, I felt for her, but her situation literally hurt my stomach. It was awful. Her sudden desire to grow a backbone, stand up for herself, seems to come so late in the game, and definitely flickers in and out, until finally she owns it. Part of me wonders if it would’ve ever happened without James’ presence and that makes me sad. And it’s not like James was terrible but.. shrug.

The fact that so much isn’t resolved or owned up to by the end is frustrating. In hindsight I’m not sure why we needed the police interview interludes to break up the narrative (yes, this was a thing), I kept hoping a certain something had happened (which I won’t speculate on to keep you guessing) and in the end it was just.. flat. Which is sadly how I felt about the whole story.

So that’s it, it’s really over, no more CLo ARC reads for me.

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


Micky’s 4 star review

I am pretty much everything opposite to Hollis on this book. I was in a moody book slump and by a few pages in, this book had lifted me well and truly out of that with its genuinely unusual story.

I liked that this story centred on a famous couple, but they weren’t the protagonists. The protagonists were the two assistants to this high-maintenance, house-maintenance couple and that context of making shows, travelling on book tours set a really interesting backdrop. Added into the mix was the fact that this famous couple were like a bomb set to explode, this wasn’t happy coupledom but Carey and James had the job of damage-limitation.

The chemistry between Carey and James had a gradual and believable simmer that I enjoyed reading. The growth of their friendship and relationship was gentle and subtle; I don’t always want a big bang! One of my favourite elements to the characters was a disability and how this was written, written very well. This brought out a caring nature in James but not a overly sympathatic one; it was pitched just right.

This is the kind of book I could have read in a day if work hadn’t got in the way. As it was, I read it in two days and I will definitely reach for it for a quick, satisfying re-read. This is light but packed with depth at the same time. I highly recommend.

Thank you to Gallery and Edelweiss for the early review copy.

THE INFINITE ONION by Alice Archer – cover reveal and excerpt!

The Infinite Onion by Alice Archer
Publisher: Shine Even If
Release Date: March 31, 2020
Length (Print & Ebook): 388 pages
Subgenre: Contemporary gay romance
Pre-order now: alicearcher.com/book/the-infinite-onion


The truth is harder to hide when someone sharp starts poking around.

Grant Eastbrook hit the ground crawling after his wife kicked him out. Six months later, in Seattle without a job or a place to live, he escapes to the woods of nearby Vashon Island to consider his options. When he’s found sleeping outdoors by a cheerful man who seems bent on irritating him to death, Grant’s plans to resuscitate his life take a peculiar turn.

Oliver Rossi knows how to keep his fears at bay. He’s had years of practice. As a local eccentric and artist, he works from his funky home in the deep woods, where he thinks he has everything he needs. Then he rescues an angry man from a rainy ditch and discovers a present worth fighting the past for.

Amid the buzz of high summer, unwelcome attraction blooms on a playing field of barbs, defenses, and secrets.


Excerpt :

I looked up at the voice for the first time and discovered my vision had gone monochromatic while I slept. Amused copper eyes in a tanned face surrounded by a reddish-brown beard and moustache. Auburn hair, tendrils fallen from a messy topknot. All against a backdrop of gray clouds.

The man’s mischievous expression pulled me toward something I hadn’t wanted in a long while, not since before I met Laura. He made me want to hold my breath and make a wish.

“Cozy ditch?” The man’s eyes twinkled.

“Ditch?”

“Activate more brain cells, Ophelia. It’s going to pour in two minutes, and we have a bit of a ride. Hop to it.”

A fat plop of rain landed between my eyebrows.

“Oh, that landed right on your third eye. You’ve been anointed. Arise!”

“Do we know each other?” I grumbled, too annoyed to be polite.

The man didn’t answer except to hold out a long arm covered with black tattoos of ferns. I didn’t know what to call the tattoo style—tribal art, prehistoric cave painting, and Renaissance masterpiece, all rolled into one. I couldn’t tear my eyes away.

“Drug hangover?” The man asked. “Lost your meds? Escaped a cult? Whatever it is, your first step to a solution is to get vertical.”

It bothered me that the host of the strange reality I’d woken to seemed to think I needed to be rescued, even if I did.


About Alice Archer:

Alice has questions. Lots of questions. Scheming to put fictional characters through the muck so they can get to a better place helps her heal and find answers. She shares her stories with the hope that others might find some healing too. For decades, Alice has messed about with words professionally, as an editor and writing coach. She also travels a bunch. Her home base is Eugene, Oregon.

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