ONCE BROKEN FAITH by Seanan McGuire

Politics have never been October “Toby” Daye’s strong suit. When she traveled to the Kingdom of Silences to prevent them from going to war with her home, the Kingdom of the Mists, she wasn’t expecting to return with a cure for elf-shot and a whole new set of political headaches. 

Now the events she unwittingly set in motion could change the balance of modern Faerie forever, and she has been ordered to appear before a historic convocation of monarchs, hosted by Queen Windermere in the Mists and overseen by the High King and Queen themselves. 

Naturally, things have barely gotten underway when the first dead body shows up. As the only changeling in attendance, Toby is already the target of suspicion and hostility. Now she needs to find a killer before they can strike again—and with the doors locked to keep the guilty from escaping, no one is safe. 

As danger draws ever closer to her allies and the people she loves best, Toby will have to race against time to prevent the total political destabilization of the West Coast and to get the convocation back on track…and if she fails, the cure for elf-shot may be buried forever, along with the victims she was too slow to save. 

Because there are worse fates than sleeping for a hundred years.


Title : Once Broken Faith
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book ten)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 418
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 6, 2016

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

Sometimes it’s gratifying to see a thing you’ve complained about, or had issues with, in a story or world, actually get resolved.

I had a really hard time keeping my eyes open while reading this, whether from existential exhaustion or just being tired of this universe and the politics, but what didn’t exhaust me was that we finally saw a dialogue open up about elfshot, a poison often used via arrowhead (elf is shot, haha, get it) to send a faerie to sleep for a hundred years. It was a way of removing, or defeating, an opponent without breaking the only real law in this world : you don’t kill purebloods. But you can remove them from the chessboard for a time. However it wouldn’t be as kind to changelings, being lesser, as they would die.

This is more plot-recounting I’ve done in a while but it’s not spoilery, this is all talked about in book one, I’m pretty sure. It’s part of the world.

But anyway, in my review for book nine I talked about the stakes, the frustrations of this universe that had so many “rules”, though only one real one, and all the loopholes people used to get around it. And this book confronts that. I thought it did a great job of showing the pros and cons, even from perspectives that should’ve wanted the cure, and why it might also cause a new set of problems. So, points for that! I liked feeling validated about the wrongness.

What bored me were the politics, the posturing, and etiquette, blah blah. The actual particulars of the villain of this book, causing the murder and mayhem ironically amongst a gathering hoping to prevent further murder, was actually pretty interesting. There was a sense of unknown and mystery about it and the reveal was good, if sad.

But overall? I was definitely checked out of this story on the whole but I appreciate the strides it took towards the society and world of the fae. 

This series is far from over but I’m getting closer and closer to catching up to the most recent release and that makes me happy. It’s the only thing keeping me going right now.

HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR BUDDY HATING A BOOK YOU LOVE

this was the gif Hollis chose in response to Micky’s dislike of her recommendation, and yes, Micky laughed

We’ve all been there. You recommend a book to a friend, or family member, and then they don’t like it. Or, worse, hate it. Hi, Hollis here. I had the idea for this post while reading through a book series much beloved by friends of mine. What made me decide to actually write it was when blog buddy, Micky, picked up one of my favourites and wasn’t liking that, either. As of the writing of this, she’s even put the book down. Talk about karma. Edit : since drafting this, she’s finished the book and disliked it greatly, elle oh elle.

Jokes aside, though, the best part about reading, and talking about books, is the discussion. Whether that’s coming from the same side of the page or opposite sides of it. I’ve never been bothered by it, though I’ll definitely feel a little guilty when I’m the perpetrator of the indifference or dislike, but though I might pout or put on a little bit of a show, I’m not bothered if people dislike what I love.

Micky here, I feel pretty much the same as Hollis now, a mild disappointment when someone doesn’t like a beloved book, probably because I wanted to gush with them. I have to say I never feel offended, even if it’s hate of a book I loved. One of my favourite ever conversations with Hollis back in the day was over my long time love and her full on hate for REAL by Katy Evans. Hollis, our friend Jess and I had full on hilarity hearing Hollis’ take on this book.

I do think I have evolved to this position of chill, however. Once upon a time, I might have thought but whyyyyyyy don’t you love what I love? I’ve moved on from this and just because Hollis’ hates something I love, doesn’t mean it’s not a good book, just not her kind of book and vice versa.

This blog chat was framed as a ‘how to’ but honestly we don’t have anything to recommend to you. We could suggest you get over your sadness by watching cat videos (Hollis recommends the Dodo twitter account), or eating your feelings (mint chocolate chip never lets you down), or watching Disney movies. But we’re probably all doing those things right now anyway because #pandemic.

Instead, we want you to think back, if you can, and try and recall the first book that you loved but someone else didn’t. Can you remember? What was the book? Have you moved on? Still in therapy? Will we ever stop asking questions that no one will probably answer? Tune in next time..

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – MAY 19, 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.


BEACH READ by Emily Henry is a book you absolutely have to pick up or put on your radar now that it’s out. Two authors of very different genres duke it out, both professionally and romantically, in this lighthearted but emotional, hilarious but sweet, romance. If you need further convincing, check out our review here! The UK release is coming a little later in July.

THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES by Suzanne Collins.. I mean, need we even say more? This is a prequel, it’s Snow’s story, and you probably already knew that. Are you going to be reading it?


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

BEACH READ by Emily Henry

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.


Title : Beach Read
Author : Emily Henry
Format : eARC
Page Count : 384
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Berkley
Release Date : May 19, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4.75 star review

Oh man. I have a bad feeling this book is going to confuse and mislead some readers because the vibe from the cover, and my understanding of the plot from the skimming I did of the summary when I requested it (#TeamMostlyBlurbFree), gives you a very different idea of what the whole of this experience is going to be. I’m not saying the book, or the marketing of said book, is a lie but that it’s so much more than what you think it’ll be. Also, like, I don’t think this book is a book you would actually take to read on the beach. But the title is still very relevant to the story.

With that said, though, I totally loved this? Sure, I picked it up thinking it would be the fluffy frothy happy delight I needed after some not-remotely-those-things reads, plus, like, I needed a break from the dystopian nightmare world we’re living in right now and instinctively reached for some brightness, but instead I got that and more.

You never told me what you write, Everett. I’m sure it’s something really groundbreaking and important. Totally new and fresh. Like a story about a disillusioned white guy, wandering the world, misunderstood and coldly horny.”
‘Coldly horny’? As opposed to the very artfully handled sexual proclivities of your genre? Tell me, which do you find more fascinating to write : love-struck pirates or love-struck werewolves?

This is definitely filled with banter, as these two writers of very different subject matter duel with words and perspectives and challenge each other to swap genres. It’s full of that delicious tension where amidst that challenge there’s even a promise they won’t fall in love with each other (a throwback reference to a popular romantic movie because this book has lots of references, but also, heyoooo). Equally (nay, more?) delicious were the makeout scenes leading up to fireworks because, uh, hi, hello. Have I been skimping on romance lately or is Henry just hella good at this because wowza.

But there was also an edge to this story, both in one of the subplots and in the characters. Each are dealing with things they’ve either carried with them throughout their lives or that have just sent them reeling and reevaluating so much of what they thought was true. There’s loss, grief, betrayal, abandonment.. there’s a lot to deal with. We also do have some bits of miscommunication between the leads but, delightfully (how many more times will I use this word, you might be wondering..), things are dealt with in a fairly timely manner. Like the summary says, these two are polar opposites. Gus is wrapped in layers, January wears everything on her skin, and while they fall into a headlong intense connection, full of that hot excited desperation to be around each other, it isn’t without work to stay together. To understand.

As different as I’d thought we were, it felt a little bit like Gus and I were two aliens who’d stumbled into each other on Earth only to discover we shared a native language.

Beyond the romance, though, we also have an amazing female friendship. Which is made more amazing by the fact that the friend gets hardly any page time beyond some text communications and yet I still felt the love. Don’t believe me? The first time I cried was during a scene where they are together on page. Friendships for the win.

Oh, yes, probably should’ve mentioned. I cried a few times. Or rather the same cry on and off near the end. You’ve been warned.

So, is this a book you might want to pack for the beach after release? And by beach I mean the towel you spread on your living room floor in front of your computer’s screensaver showing some tropical location in the effort to remain socially distant? Maybe not. But if you love banter or an opposites attract situation; if you love books about books; if you like some emotional backstory and good realistic, complicated, backbones to your fiction, you’ll love this. For me, this is like biting into a shortbread cookie and finding out the inside is stuffed with brownie. It was going to be good as it was, and instead it ended up even better, more substantial, and delightfully (!) delicious in an unexpected way.

Read this book.

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

THE HUNTING PARTY by Lucy Foley

Everyone’s invited…everyone’s a suspect…

For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.

All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.

The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.

Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.

Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?


Title : The Hunting Party
Author : Lucy Foley
Format : ebook
Page Count : 406
Genre : Thriller
Publisher : Harper Collins UK
Release Date : January 29, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ 


Micky’s 2 star review

The book club I’m in is pretty awesome and we have been trying to navigate different genres each month. We decided on this thriller and while it isn’t my happy reading place genre-wise, I sometimes really love them, so I am always ready to be surprised. This read was an epic fail, not because of the genre but because of the writing of the characters.

THE HUNTING PARTY had about 13 characters in it, isolated in the highlands of Scotland and it had almost as many POVs. I spent the first 30% of the book, thinking ‘who’s that’, ‘which one is that, again’, ‘who is her husband’. So it was confusing from the off, that did settle somewhat as the story evolved. It was told over about three days and moved back and forth in that timeline, which did work for me.

One of my main issues that led to my dislike of this book was that it focused on a long -term friendship group who went away for NYE and this friendship group were pretty despicable to one another almost across the board. I found it unrealistic that most of the characters were horrible and they had been ‘friends’ for so long and still got together. None of them liked one another, they treated each other so badly and I found it intangible and annoying. I also found the friendship dramarama boring.

I pushed through the book, through the events to the big finale and found that I didn’t care whatsoever about ‘who dunnit’ or these characters. This is one thriller that wasn’t for me. Whatever the genre, I want to relate to and find realism in the characters I’m reading about.

A RED-ROSE CHAIN by Seanan McGuire

Things are looking up.

For the first time in what feels like years, October “Toby” Daye has been able to pause long enough to take a breath and look at her life—and she likes what she sees. She has friends. She has allies. She has a squire to train and a King of Cats to love, and maybe, just maybe, she can let her guard down for a change.

Or not. When Queen Windermere’s seneschal is elf-shot and thrown into an enchanted sleep by agents from the neighboring Kingdom of Silences, Toby finds herself in a role she never expected to play: that of a diplomat. She must travel to Portland, Oregon, to convince King Rhys of Silences not to go to war against the Mists. But nothing is that simple, and what October finds in Silences is worse than she would ever have imagined.

How far will Toby go when lives are on the line, and when allies both old and new are threatened by a force she had never expected to face again? How much is October willing to give up, and how much is she willing to change? In Faerie, what’s past is never really gone.

It’s just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.


Title : A Red-Rose Chain
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book nine)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 367
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : January 1, 2012

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

I was clearly as burnt out from reading these books as you probably are from reading my reviews because I started this and didn’t finish it until four days later. I mostly blame a rewatch of Doctor Who but still. I was able to be distracted because too soon into this ninth installment, after the big broohaha from the book before, we were reunited with a villain I knew we’d see again.. just didn’t expect to see so soon after temporarily vanquishing her. And we got a new nasty piece of work as per counterpart in this one, too.

I don’t know, man. I find it really difficult to deal with some of the extremes of this world where there are so many rules, or maybe just a few really important ones, and how so many of the fae just let all these loopholes happen; these nasty loopholes that do so much damage and no one bothers with it. It’s pretty tiresome. This one went in pretty extreme places, too, and I just found it hard to take. Particularly when held up against the same old same old when it comes to Toby & co. Not that they don’t take things seriously when required but it’s just.. again, the stakes. 

Case in point : this elfshot poison that is the pureblood way around murder and instead sends them to sleep for a hundred years. Unless said poisoner has tinkered with the alchemy and it does horrible things while you dream, or slowly kills you over time. Or, if you’re a changeling, kills you dead. But who cares, they don’t count in the eyes of the do-not-kill law. It’s this loophole that I hate (because we’re supposed to, I get it) and just find frustrating to deal with.

I definitely know the problem is me because if I liked, or cared about, the characters, I would find it funny they joke about Toby not being covered in blood during one whole investigation or Tybalt being afraid to leave her side because inevitably something terrible will happen, etc etc. So, yeah. I wish I had quit reviewing this series six books ago because now I feel obligated to see out the last few (thank god only a few more left..) for consistency’s sake. Sorry about that. 

THE WINTER LONG by Seanan McGuire

For once, it seems like the Kingdom of the Mists has reached a point of, if not perfection, at least relative peace. Queen Arden Windermere is getting settled on her family’s throne; no one’s going to war with anyone else; it’s almost like everything is going to be okay. Even October “Toby” Daye is starting to relax her constant vigilance, allowing herself to think about the future, and what it might entail.

And then Simon Torquill comes back, and everything begins to fall apart. In Faerie, nothing stays buried forever. No matter how much you might want it to. 


Title : The Winter Long
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book eight)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 368
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 2, 2014

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 2.5 star review

I’ll give McGuire credit with this one. The long game she played to set this up? That deserves a round of applause. And I’m not just saying that because we had some questions answered. The villain of the week? Unexpected. The way so much was foretold and yet, like Toby, the reader was made oblivious? Well done. As for some of the reveals? I’m not surprised things are more complex than they appeared. But I’m surprised by almost everything we learned.

Are all the cards on the table? Hahaha of course not.

I really hope we see some consequences play out in the next book in the sense that some relationships were badly damaged in this one. We have been watching them fray for some time now, and in general I thought one of the two people in question were hella incompetent and I’ve been wanting Toby to break away from that sense of duty she’s been clinging to. As for the other, well. Like so many characters in this world, she’s only been concerned for herself, and I’ve never understand the dynamic, and I think it’s not surprising that if relationships are going to change, they will happen at the same time as they are part and parcel of the same issue. I know, this is so vague, I guarantee if I ever have to refer to this review again even I won’t know what I’m talking about.. but I’m wary of spoilers.

As usual, though, the sea witch as just a serious badass and I love her.

I’m still not rounding up on this book, though, because even though I just can’t stop reading this series, and I enjoy an aspect or two of the experience, overall I just don’t love cast and there is so much repetition (made worse by the binge, I’m sure). For all the good of some of the overall plotting, everything is really hard earned, few things are followed up on by the characters even when they are strung along with breadcrumbs, and that is forever frustrating; particularly when this is a common occurence, number one, but made even worse by a character who was once a private investigator and, like, investigates shit. Again, I mentioned before in one review or another, it’s hard to root for a character who is made to be woefully unintelligent in a lot of ways. Sure, she usually figures things out in the nick of time when she’s in the mess, but on the whole? Nope. 

Additionally, this series would be greatly improved by some sexytimes. I’m just putting it out there.

My last note? For those keeping track, we had an August added to the months-as-names list. No one is surprised, though, are they?

THE LONELY FAJITA by Abigail Mann

Lonely Fajita: a person who is suddenly and unwillingly single.

It’s Elissa’s birthday, but her boyfriend doesn’t seem to care much – and she’s accidentally scheduled herself a cervical smear instead of birthday drinks.

Then there’s her borderline-psychotic boss, the fact she’s not making but losing money at her internship, and her sinking feeling she might not really be in love.

At least you can’t be lonely if you’re not alone. Right?

But Elissa’s just-good-enough existence is about to change, with single life, redundancy and homelessness all on the horizon. Signing up to live with an elderly person in return for free bed and board suddenly looks like her best option.

Elissa has no idea that Annie will turn out to be a woman of secrets and swearwords, and that living with her is about to shake up everything Elissa thought her twenties should be…


Title : The Lonely Fajita
Author : Abigail Mann
Format : eARC
Page Count :
Genre : Romantic Comedy
Publisher : One More Chapter
Release Date : May 14, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

THE LONELY FAJITA was just the real world (pre-pandemic) lighter read that I was seeking and it had a narrative banter-style that I really appreciated. Elissa, the protagonist was a bit of a disaster, navigating life without a real rudder and struggling to find her way.

It took things in her life going south to give Elissa the kick she needed to take her life by the scruff of it’s neck and make things happen. However, Elissa’s idea of taking control, was not mine. The best thing to come out of this storyline was the Elder Care element and I loved Annie; especially Elissa and Annie together. They were gold on the page.

This was a gentle, meandering story with many funny moments and great dialogue. However, whilst Elissa was amusing and likeable, I didn’t fully connect with her as a character. I wanted to get deeper into her psyche, I wanted to know why she was so inactive and lacking in confidence but I came away not knowing this, just thinking she was nice but superficial.

THE LONELY FAJITA is perfect for a light afternoon or weekend read and I’m sure many will laugh at moments in this book, just like I did.

Thank you to One More Chapter for the early review copy.

CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT by Seanan McGuire

Things are starting to look up for October “Toby” Daye. She’s training her squire, doing her job, and has finally allowed herself to grow closer to the local King of Cats. It seems like her life may finally be settling down…at least until dead changelings start appearing in the alleys of San Francisco, killed by an overdose of goblin fruit.

Toby’s efforts to take the problem to the Queen of the Mists are met with harsh reprisals, leaving her under sentence of exile from her home and everyone she loves. Now Toby must find a way to reverse the Queens decree, get the goblin fruit off the streets–and, oh, yes, save her own life, since more than a few of her problems have once again followed her home. And then there’s the question of the Queen herself, who seems increasingly unlikely to have a valid claim to the throne….

To find the answers, October and her friends will have to travel from the legendary Library of Stars into the hidden depths of the Kingdom of the Mists–and they’ll have to do it fast, because time is running out. In faerie, some fates are worse than death.

October Daye is about to find out what they are.


Title : Chimes at Midnight
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book seven)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 369
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 3, 2013

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

Plot-wise, this has maybe been the best of the bunch in this series.. so far. In the sense that I am satisfied with the turn things took and the resulting direction we’re now headed in. Does that mean I had a good time, had fun, am excited about this series again? No, nope, and maybe. 

The usual suspects (aka the things that annoy me about this series) were very much still present. But with the magnitude and schemery (it’s a word) going on, we had less time to dwell on them or even encourage them. This, in addition to the plot, make for big pluses.

A few new characters have opened up additional pathways into the ‘mystery of October’s heritage’ journey and I’m maybe into it? She’s achieved Super Special Snowflake status a dozen times over and I’m definitely more interested in her mother’s history, and how that ties in with the sea witch (shoutout to my girl!), but you can’t have one without the other, so. I’ll allow it. <– she says, as if she has any choice

I don’t have much more to say, I think this is the shortest of all my reviews, and the least ranty, but maybe that’s a sign. Maybe the tide is turning where we might see some higher ratings soon. Ever hopeful. Ever stubborn. Ever reading this series..

BLACK TANGLED HEART by Samantha Young

To my siblings, Jane was a friend. A pseudo-sister, the girl we grew up with.
To me? She was everything.
Our passion consumed us.

When our world fell apart, I thought our love would be the thing that held us together.
She was the love of my life. But she abandoned me when I needed her most.
And I’ll never forgive her.

For years I’ve been planning my revenge against the people who took everything from me.
Jane won’t be an exception. I’m coming for her.
She knows it.

She says she wants to help me serve my version of justice on the people who hurt me.
I’ll let her.
She probably thinks it will save her from me.

It won’t.


Title : Black Tangled Heart
Author : Samantha Young
Series : Play On #3
Format : eARC
Page Count :
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : May 14, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★.5


Micky’s 3.5 star review

BLACK TANGLED HEART was a story of two parts and I love it when a book moves through time frames for the characters. The first part of this book gave me Kissing Booth vibes with the two MCs Jane and Jamie. The young love and connection between these two was desperate and passionate but also brushed with the sweetness of first love.

But this was much more than a love story, it was a story of families and their flaws. Jane was an unofficial family member of the McKenna siblings but she loved them and was loved by them. The side stories of Skye and Lorna were both painful to read.

When things went downhill in this story, all the characters were carried with it and life was transformed in a bad way. When time jumped it was fascinating to catch up with the new realities. I didn’t always care for some of the drama, nor was the Hollywood backdrop my favourite but I did like the suspenseful developments of the story.

It was difficult to look away from the intensity of Jamie and Jane’s connection and that carried this story through for me. This was a solid continuation of the Play On series, not my favourite, but I’d still love to read more in this series.

Thank you to the author for an early review copy.