MONTHLY WRAP UP – MARCH 2020

To close out each month, we’ll be posting a break down of everything we reviewed, beginning with the reads we loved.. and ending with the reads we didn’t. Not only does this compile all our reviews in one handy summary for you to peruse, or catch up on, it also gives us an interesting birds eye view of the month and our reads. And maybe, even, our moods.


☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

BREAK YOUR GLASS SLIPPERS by Amanda Lovelace — see Micky’s review here
THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA by TJ Klune — see Hollis’ review here
AND THE STARS WERE BURNING BRIGHTLY by Danielle Jawando — see Micky’s review here
DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST by Juliet Marillier — see Hollis’ review here

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING by Charlie Adhara — see Hollis’ review here
THE MIDNIGHT LIE by Marie Rutkoski — see Hollis and Micky’s review here
IF I NEVER MET YOU by Mhairi McFarlane — see Hollis and Micky’s reviews here
ONLY MOSTLY DEVASTATED by Sophie Gonzales — see Micky’s review here (!)
GLOVES OFF by Louisa Reid — see Micky’s review here
DISPEL ILLUSION by Mark Lawrence — see Hollis’ review here
THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE by Samantha Shannon — see Micky’s review here
NVK by Temple Drake — see Micky’s review here
THORN by Intisar Khanani — see Micky’s review here
THE HONEY DON’T LIST by Christina Lauren — see Micky’s review here (!)

☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

ONLY MOSTLY DEVASTATED by Sophie Gonzales — see Hollis’ review here (!)
GRIEF ANGELS by David Owen — see Micky’s review here
KISS OF VENGEANCE by S. Young — see Micky’s review here
UNDERCOVER BROMANCE by Lyssa Kay Adams — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ star reads

THE HONEY-DON’T LIST by Christina Lauren — see Hollis’ review here (!)
A MURDEROUS RELATION by Deanna Raybourn — see Hollis’ review here
WICKED AS YOU WISH by Rin Chupeco — see Hollis’ review here
PROVIDENCE by Max Barry — see Hollis’ review here
THE FEVER KING by Victoria Lee — see Hollis’ review here
THE RICH BOY by Kylie Scott — see Micky’s review here
THE ELECTRIC HEIR by Victoria Lee — see Hollis’ review here

star reads

u n r a t e d

DOCILE by K.M. Szpara — see Hollis’ review here

DNFs


additional reads not reviewed for blog : six
total reads by Micky : twenty
favourite read of the month : AND THE STARS WERE BURNING BRIGHTLY by Danielle Jawando
least favourite read of the month : THE RICH BOY by Kylie Scott
most read genre : fantasy/contemporary

total reviews by Hollis : fourteen
favourite read of the month : THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA by TJ Klune
least favourite read of the month : didn’t hate anything, just lots of meh
most read genre : fantasy/sci-fi

ANTICIPATED APRIL 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 April, our hotly anticipated titles, in chronological order, are :


If you like the chosen one trope, the CHOSEN ONES by Veronica Roth takes a flawed slant on this idea. This is an adult fantasy and the characters were a bunch of chosen ones after saving the world. It is out on April 7, 2020

RULES FOR BEING A GIRL by Candace Bushell & Katie Contungo is out on April 7, 2020. Through a high school story, this book explores the experience of grooming and sexual exploitation in a way that is not for the feint of heart. It isn’t graphic but the perpetrators and characters surrounding the protagonist are infuriating. An important read for young adults.

EMPIRE OF DREAMS by Rae Carson is a highly anticipated, though mostly unexpected, addition to the Girl of Fire and Thorns series. This is a standalone that I don’t think anyone expected and you can dive face first back into this world on April 7, 2020.

RUTHLESS GODS by Emily A Duncan is the sequel to the dark bloody WICKED SAINTS and continues being dark and bloody and twisty. You can get your hands on this one on April 7, 2020.

YOU DESERVE EACH OTHER by Sarah Hogle is a strange twist on a hate to love featuring a couple that is already engaged to be married. Say what? You can find out all about it on April 7, 2020.

THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST by Abby Jimenez is a book we’re sure everyone who read THE FRIEND ZONE is going to pick up. This book follows one of the side characters from the author’s debut and, if you know what happened, you know it’ll feature a heaping portion of emotions and feels and.. more. Find out how much more, and what that means, on April 14, 2020.

TIME OF OUR LIVES by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka is “a reflective, romantic coming-of-age novel that explores life after high school–perfect for fans of Fangirl and Emergency Contact.” Out April 21, 2020.

GIRL GONE VIRAL by Alisha Rai was a cute, second in the series. This book focuses on Katrina who lays low in life generally but a supposed meet-cute goes viral and exposes her to nefarious interest. There’s a bodyguard Jas and its a fun story. This one is out on April 21, 2020

THE GIRL AND THE STARS by Mark Lawrence releases on April 21, 2020. It is the first in a new series but set in the world of The Book of the Ancestor series (yet different environment). Micky will be reviewing this one.

Q is the highly anticipated next offering by Christina Dalcher and it releases on April 30, 2020. It isn’t related to Vox but it tackles another dystopian earth, similar but slightly removed from our own. In this book, it is intellect that is central to everything, the Q (IQ) decides your rank in life and the impact is creepily scary.


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

DEAR ENEMY by Kristen Callihan – double review!

As kids, they hated each other. Macon Saint was beautiful, but despite his name, Delilah knew he was the devil. That he dated her slightly evil sister, Samantha, was no picnic either. When they broke up, it was a dream come true: Delilah never had to see him again.

Ten years later, her old enemy sends a text.

Delilah’s sister has stolen a valuable heirloom from Macon, now a rising Hollywood star, and he intends to collect his due. One problem: Sam has skipped town.

Sparks still sizzle between Macon and Delilah, only this heat feels alarmingly like unwanted attraction. But Delilah is desperate to keep her weak-hearted mother from learning of her sister’s theft. So she proposes a deal: she’ll pay off the debt by being Macon’s personal chef and assistant.

It’s a recipe for disaster, but Macon can’t stop himself from accepting. Even though Delilah clearly hates him, there’s something about her that feels like home. Besides, they’re no longer kids, and what once was a bitter rivalry has the potential to be something sweeter. Something like forever.


Title : Dear Enemy
Author : Kristen Callihan
Format : eARC
Page Count : 386
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Montlake
Release Date : March 31, 2020

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


Hollis’ DNF review

I’m not rating this one, because generally my DNF rule of thumb is, unless the read is heinous, I will only rate if I made it more than halfway into the book. And I tapped out of this one just shy of 40%. But it’s worth noting this is a favourite author and I wanted out after 20%, and had concerns after the first few flashback/past event chapters, so. Be aware of that.

My issue with DEAR ENEMY is more than just in the continuity or inconsistencies (which, fair, could be corrected between now, March third, and the release, March thirty-first). The origin of this pairing begins when they are young, pre-teen or so, and how they meet again ten years after highschool. It’s one of those hate-to-love romances where the premise is setting things up one way at the get-go and we seem to be finding things are maybe not as they may seem later on. Someone has secrets, I imagine we’ll find there were reasons why certain people behaved in certain ways and they will be forgiven for it, and oh hey, there was always this big connection between them, despite the fact that he dated her sister for other reasons, and blah blah.

I honestly didn’t have time for this.

Delilah enters into some BatB-esque servitude to work off her shady sister’s debt with Macon and the homage to the fairytale was pretty loose in some sense and also it felt like one entire scene was lifted from the movie. I’m not against retellings, in fact JT Geissinger’s BURN FOR YOU followed along those lines and worked really well for me, amongst other retellings, but between everything else..? I just can’t get on with the characters. Things seem to be moving along fairly predictably, too, with certain interactions between the main protags and I’m just bored.

I’m used to a lot of complexity from his author, or at least a lot of fun, and this feels very surface level and, if I’m being honest, a little tired. Maybe it would’ve improved along the way, I’ve seen some positive early reviews, but at this point I don’t have the energy to invest in hoping it would turn around.

Based on the first 40%? This would’ve been a 1.5 for me.

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


Micky’s 4 star review

Okay, now wash your mouth out because we’re zinging from dnf to jolly enjoyment! DEAR ENEMY had some of my most favourite tropes all wrapped up in banter and jibes – second chances, hate-to-more and slow burn. It did however, have a trope I’m not keen on, stepping into a relationship with someone who’s been with a friend/family member. That said, I could cope with it because of the circumstances but I think that might alienate some readers. After a difficult to navigate prologue, this book took off well for me.

What was so delicious about this contemporary romance? It was the vulnerability of Macon stepping into feelings unknown but taking a deep breath and getting on with it. Meanwhile, his life was fun-laden barbs, and forced proximity with the heroine, Delilah. Add into that some chef-ing and food which always seems to make for a good story in my book.

She’s all twitchy now, eyeing me like a feral barn cat as if I might try to lash out and catch her.

The banter between these two was pretty entertaining and the chemistry was swoonish. I enjoyed the semi-hate especially as it seems to turn before it got irritating. Delilah was hard to win over and the annoying sister was…very annoying. The sister element was something I didn’t settle with but the circumstances were just about palatable.

The slow burn was spot on and there’s just something about Kristen Callihan’s romances when she’s in the zone that gives me all the feels; this one did just that. DEAR ENEMY was a great entertaining read that I just wanted to get back to when I wasn’t reading. Just the thing for a weekend read.

Thank you to Montlake for the early review copy.