NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – FEBRUARY 9, 2021

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.


Parousia by Laura Lascarso is the final book in the Mortal and Divine trilogy! It came out on the seventh.

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle gets its UK paperback release and if you haven’t read this war of the roses take, it’s time!


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

THE WIFE UPSTAIRS by Rachel Hawkins – double review!

A delicious twist on a Gothic classic, The Wife Upstairs pairs Southern charm with atmospheric domestic suspense, perfect for fans of B.A. Paris and Megan Miranda.

Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.

But her luck changes when she meets Eddie­ Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for.

Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?

With delicious suspense, incisive wit, and a fresh, feminist sensibility, The Wife Upstairs flips the script on a timeless tale of forbidden romance, ill-advised attraction, and a wife who just won’t stay buried. In this vivid reimagining of one of literature’s most twisted love triangles, which Mrs. Rochester will get her happy ending?


Title : The Wife Upstairs
Author : Rachel Hawkins
Narrators : Emily Shaffer, Kirby Heyborne, Lauren Fortgant
Format : Audiobook / eBook (overdrive)
Length : 8 hours 39 minutes / 277 pages
Genre : Thriller
Publisher : MacMillan Audio / St. Martin’s Press
Release Date : January 5, 2021

Reviewer : Micky / Hollis
Rating  : ★ ★ ★.5 / ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3.5 star review

Headlines:
Morally grey characters in every direction
Unreliable narrators
Twists in unexpected ways
A side order of Big Little Lies feeling

I heard the words Jane Eyre re-telling and I ran pretty fast to this audiobook. The Wife Upstairs mostly had the atmosphere I was seeking and I totally enjoyed seeing a contemporary envisoning of the familiar characters of Jane Eyre, especially Eddie, Jane, Blanche and B. Adele was a treat too.

As you would imagine, the focus started on Jane and I liked that Jane was not the angel she was in the original book, this made me feel more invested because I knew this was going to be different. Jane was a plotter, a climber and she had goals, so much so that I thought I knew where this would lead; I was wrong.

Blanche and B ‘Bertha’ were like the ugly sisters or mean girls all rolled into one. Blanche being a more fleshed out character was a very welcome element to the story. Eddie was never really likeable and that crushed my Rochester-loving heart a little but then this wasn’t a romance.

The storyline was pretty clever and this audiobook kept me guessing and invested. I did sometimes get confused with Bee (or B) and Blanche and the two female narrators didn’t sound that different to me, even with their different accents, so I had to really concentrate at times.

The culmination was good, if quick wrap up. The Wife Upstairs was an addictive and enjoyable listen. I would love to see some more classic re-envisioning as thrillers. Such a great idea.

Thank you to LibroFM and MacMillan Audio for the review copy.


Hollis’ 3 star review

I’m pretty sure I’ve read everything Rachel Hawkins has released (notably mostly YA stuff but hey!) so this was on my radar even before I knew it was a Jane Eyre-inspired retelling; and not only that but a thriller/mystery to boot. Lots of boxes were being checked here.

I’ll admit this was kind of a slowburn for me that never really built the blazing inferno I might’ve expected.. or at least wanted. But at the same time it dragged me away from other distractions throughout the day and I chewed through it pretty quick. So maybe it was less of a build and more just a steady solitary flame?

Either way, if you’re a fan of the original classic or just know the bare bones this’ll definitely appeal to both kind of reader. There’s enough that sticks true to the story but so much, too, that differs; and I was particularly interested in which characters Hawkins decided to flesh out, and how.

If you’re looking for a Southern Gothic vibe kind of mystery, with twists and homages, you should give this one a try.

PAROUSIA by Laura Lascarso

After months of imprisonment, Vincent is struggling to adapt to the outside world. His body and mind are strangers to him, and Henri, his one constant his entire life, doesn’t understand the man he’s become.

Henri wants Vincent to take time to heal, but the revolution is rapidly unfolding with the thirteen tribes amassing at their doorstep to plot the Imperium—and Azrael’s—demise. Vincent gets swept up in the conflict and in doing so, puts himself in harm’s way. Parousia be damned, Henri will not to allow Vincent to become a martyr for the cause.

With his demoness mother at the helm of their campaign, Vincent must battle Lena’s ambitions and the other tribes’ gambits to usurp power if their revolution is to be successful. But he’ll never succeed with Henri obstructing him at every turn.

Both men are in love and at war with each other, but only one of them can rule.

Parousia is the final installment of the Mortal and Divine trilogy. Revenge never tasted so sweet, or so bloody.


Title : Parousia
Author : Laura Lascarso
Series : Mortal and Divine (book three)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 390
Genre : paranormal romance / LGBTQIA+ romance
Publisher : indie
Release Date : February 7, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

Listen. I am hella privileged to be one of the beta-ish readers for these books so it’s impossible to say that I am totally unbiased about this world after being in it for so long.

This series, in general, is delightful because it feels different from so many other paranormal romances out there, queer or otherwise, and because it’s just dark enough to thrill you without leaning too hard on any particular buttons. This finale I think maybe dialed it up a notch or two from book two but book one definitely takes the cake for darkest. So hopefully that reassures anyone who starts into this world but wonders where it might go.

That said, seeing as this is a finale, am I going to spoil anything? Hahah nope. Will I tease? Yes. The steam will have you reaching for a fan, the soft moments will have you melting, the stakes will have you clutching for a hand hold, and the snark will definitely inspire a laugh or three.

Lascarso has created a complex mythology and many an intrigue and this final book in the Mortal and Divine world really fleshes out the bigger picture of the whole conflict that has been building since the start.

But at it’s core this really is just about two souls and the lengths they would go for each other — the sacrifices, yes, but also promises they break, thinking only to protect. These two are such a perfect fit but not seamless, very much their own part of the tapestry, and their battles on the grand scale never precludes them from battling each other, and sometimes that means crossing lines, making mistakes.. and it’s such a real evolution, a give and take, and I loved the dynamic, especially when it wasn’t perfect.

This has been such a great ride and while I’m sad it’s over I can’t wait to see where Lascarso will go next.

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

MONTHLY WRAP UP – JANUARY 2021

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

A Crown of Talons by Katherine & Elizabeth Corr — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

Tales From The Hinterland by Melissa Albert — see Hollis’ review here
You Have a Match by Emma Lord — see Hollis’ review here
This Is Not The End by Sidney Bell — see Hollis’ review here
Cry Wolf by Charlie Adhara — see Hollis’ review here
Graceling by Kristin Cashore — see Hollis & Micky’s reviews here
Fire by Kristin Cashore — see Hollis’ & Micky’s review here
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore — see Hollis’ review here (!)
Forever Wild by K.A. Tucker — see Hollis’ review here (!)
The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon — see Hollis’ review here
Memento by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff — see Hollis’ & Micky’s review here
One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite — see Hollis’ review here
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender — see Hollis’ review here
Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore — see Micky’s review here (!)

☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner — see Hollis’ review here
Secrets of the Starcrossed by Clara O’Connor — see Micky’s review here
Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer — see Micky’s review here
Forever Wild by K.A. Tucker — see Micky’s review here (!)
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore — see Micky’s review here (!)
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson — see Hollis’ review here
Evergreen by Cari Z. — see Hollis’ review here
When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ star reads

The Push by Ashley Audrain — see Micky’s review here
Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore — see Hollis’ review here (!)

star reads

u n r a t e d

DNF


additional reads not reviewed for blog : two
total reads by Micky : fourteen
favourite read of the month : A Crown of Talons and everything Graceling
least favourite read of the month : The ‘freakin’ Push
most read genre : fantasy

total reviews by Hollis : sixteen.
favourite read of the month : Memento and the Graceling Realm reread.
least favourite read of the month : ironically, the new book for the Graceling Realm series.
most read genre : fantasy.

MUCH ADO ABOUT YOU by Samantha Young

The cozy comforts of an English village bookstore open up a world of new possibilities for Evie Starling in this charming new romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young.

At thirty-three-years old Evangeline Starling’s life in Chicago is missing that special something. And when she’s passed over for promotion at work, Evie realizes she needs to make a change. Some time away to regain perspective might be just the thing. In a burst of impulsivity, she plans a holiday in a quaint English village. The holiday package comes with a temporary position at Much Ado About Books, the bookstore located beneath her rental apartment. There’s no better dream vacation for the bookish Evie, a life-long Shakespeare lover.

Not only is Evie swept up in running the delightful store as soon as she arrives, she’s drawn into the lives, loves and drama of the friendly villagers. Including Roane Robson, the charismatic and sexy farmer who tempts Evie every day with his friendly flirtations. Evie is determined to keep him at bay because a holiday romance can only end in heartbreak, right? But Evie can’t deny their connection and longs to trust in her handsome farmer that their whirlwind romance could turn in to the forever kind of love.


Title : Much Ado About You
Author : Samantha Young
Format : eARC
Page Count : 384
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Piatkus, Little Brown UK/Berkley
Release Date : February 2, 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★. 5


Micky’s 4.5 star review

Headlines:
American meets Brit on north-east coast of England
Small village
Farmer Roane
Chem-is-try
Bookshop & books
Shakespearean side-plot line
No dramarama

Reading Much Ado About You was one of those easy delights that your mind sinks into and wishes it to last. The writing was witty, started with a hilarious car-crash dating experience and featured a 30-something heroine (Evie) who was pretty relatable.

Evie’s story was about taking stock of her life, her work situation, love life and coming to terms with single-dom. On a whim, she travelled and rented out a bookshop for a month’s holiday which is just about every bookworm’s dream. She quickly bumped into Roane’s dog, Shadow and was embraced into village life. The people around Evie and Roane, local farmer, were rich, colourful and had lots of character. Roane himself was genuine and that kind good guy that I like reading about.

Becoming friends with an English farmer was definitely a new experience. Who cared if he could grace the front cover of “The World’s Hottest Farmers” calender?

This book had a great, low drama story and I really appreciated the lack of predictability in that aspect and not being dragged through a roller coaster relationship; still, it wasn’t plain sailing.

The story was told over a number of months and for some that might seem quick for a relationship to develop, but this was a relationship based on a genuine friendship connection. The way the relationship was told made me truly believe in the time frame for more to develop. I loved these two together, I wanted them to work and I enjoyed the slow burn of their attachment.

I can see myself re-reading this and recommending it for a great easy romance that delivers on plot and characterisation. Go check it out!

Thank you to the author for the early review copy.

THE GILDED ONES by Namina Forna

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.



Title : The Gilded Ones
Author : Namina Forna
Series : Deathless #1
Format : Paperback ARC
Page Count : 400
Genre : YA Fantasy, BIPOC
Publisher : Usbourne Publishing
Release Date : February 4, 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★



Micky’s 4 star review

When I read a YA fantasy, I have certain expectations and some of that is that I will see familiar tropes, storylines and features to the story. The Gilded Ones bucked the trends and delivered on what felt to be a particularly unique story.

Deka the main character, was a young woman who was oppressed and as her inital true nature was revealed, her kind was reviled, a demon of these lands. There were so many more reveals to come but the idea of a race that was tortured and persecuted made for a compelling story.

The Gilded Ones was a story mainly about women and it was a story steeped in misogyny. Otera was a land that favoured male roles and oppressed women and girls. There were themes that were difficult to read and witness but there were hopeful and empowering elements woven through this story. There were also some great twists to the story as characters were revealed. I appreciate a storyline that makes you question what you initally thought.

This was a complex world but the world-building was layered in a way that didn’t confuse and brought you along the journey at a pace that worked. I will definitely be continuing with this series and I am impressed by Namina Forna’s debut.

Thank you to Usbourne Publishing for the early review copy.

WHAT BIG TEETH by Rose Szabo

MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN MEETS THE ADDAMS FAMILY IN THIS HAUNTING STORY OF ONE GIRL’S ATTEMPT TO RECONNECT WITH HER MONSTROUS FAMILY.

Eleanor has not seen or spoken with her family in years, not since they sent her away to Saint Brigid’s boarding school. She knows them only as vague memories: her grandfather’s tremendous fanged snout, the barrel full of water her mother always soaked in, and strange hunting trips in a dark wood with her sister and cousins. And she remembers the way they looked at her, like she was the freak. 

When Eleanor finally finds the courage to confront her family and return to their ancestral home on the rainy coast of Maine, she finds them already gathered in wait, seemingly ready to welcome her back with open arms. “I read this in the cards,” her grandmother tells her. However, Grandma Persephone doesn’t see all, for just as Eleanor is beginning to readjust to the life she always longed for, a strange and sudden death rocks the family, leaving Eleanor to manage this difficult new dynamic without help. 

In order to keep the family that abandoned her from falling apart, Eleanor calls upon her mysterious other grandmother, Grandmere, from across the sea. Grandmere brings order to the chaotic household, but that order soon turns to tyranny. If any of them are to survive, Eleanor must embrace her strange family and join forces with the ghost of Grandma Persephone to confront the monstrousness lurking deep within her Grandmere-and herself.


Title : What Big Teeth
Author : Rose Szabo
Format : eARC
Page Count : 226
Genre : YA fantasy/paranormal thriller
Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date : February 2, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 2.5 star review

This wasn’t quite what I was expecting after being hooked by that absolutely incredible cover and then, very quickly after, by the pitch.

I honestly don’t quite know what this was. It’s such a hodge podge of so many things, and almost feels like twelve different stories in one — a bizarre mix of everything in the pantry plus the kitchen sink — and so sometimes I would love a taste, other times I would wonder who thought to mix such things together and why, and then even still I would just be hunting for the other shoe before it could drop.. even though I thought I was already wearing both shoes. Does any of this make sense? Likely not. Probably because of so many mixed metaphors. But it feels fitting.

I was tempted to leave this unrated because I truly don’t know how to feel about this but ultimately even considering the bits I liked, it all just feels like.. not cohesive? Weirdly stitched together? Better yet.. you know that feeling you get when your long sleeved shirt is bunched up high on your arm under your hoodie? The shirt is comfortable, the sweatshirt even moreso, but you are highly uncomfortable anyway. That’s maybe the best I can do. Separately everything about this, on its own, and maybe even in some combinations, are things I like. All together? Bizarre. Strange. Weird. Pick a synonym.

Having said that, there is definitely going to be an audience for this. I read this two months early and I already see a lot of advance praise for it. So take this review, as always, with a grain o’salt.

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

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – FEBRUARY 2, 2021

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.


Much Ado About You by Samantha Young is low drama and fabulous contemporary romance bringing a US heroine to the north east coast of England. It features a fab Shakespearean sub-plot and Micky recommends.

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna is a West-African inspired fantasy with an unlikely heroine and a unique plot. This book is all about the patriarchy and is very female-centric.

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell is pitched as “RWRB meets Ancillary Justice,” and honestly you had us at RWRB.

Beneath the Keep by Erika Johansen is a new addition to the Queen of the Tearling universe but looks to be a prequel? Can’t wait!

All The Tides of Fate by Adalyn Grace is a sequel anticipated by many (including us!).


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

THE GODMOTHERS by Monica McInerney

‘I don’t want two wishy-washy godmothers,’ Jeannie had said that afternoon in the country hospital when Eliza was only a day old. ‘No dolls. No pink dresses. Just lots of adventures. Lots of spoiling. The pair of you like two mighty warriors protecting her at every step.’

Eliza Miller grew up in Australia as the only daughter of a troubled young mother, but with the constant support of two watchful godmothers, Olivia and Maxie. Despite her tricky childhood, she always felt loved and secure. Until, just before her eighteenth birthday, a tragic event changed her life.

Thirteen years on, Eliza is deliberately living as safely as possible, avoiding close relationships and devoting herself to her job. Out of the blue, an enticing invitation from one of her godmothers prompts a leap into the unknown.

Within a fortnight, Eliza finds herself in the middle of a complicated family in Edinburgh. There’s no such thing as an ordinary day any more. Yet, amidst the chaos, Eliza begins to blossom. She finds herself not only hopeful about the future, but ready to explore her past, including the biggest mystery of all – who is her father?

Set in Australia, Scotland, Ireland and England, THE GODMOTHERS is a great big hug of a book that will fill your heart to bursting. It is a moving and perceptive story about love, lies, hope and sorrow, about the families we are born into and the families we make for ourselves.


Title : The Godmothers
Author : Monica McInerney
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 400
Genre : Women’s Fiction
Publisher : Welbeck Publishing
Release Date : January 21. 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

Headlines:
Set in Edinburgh and Ireland
Female strength throughout
Compelling storyline

I just got swept away with The Godmothers and Eliza as the main protagonist. Eliza was the daughter of the rather chaotic Jeannie and god daughter to Maxie and Olivia. This was a story about women, focusing on female relationships but also about these womens’ relationships with the men in their lives.

Eliza was so relatable; she had fears, a lack of confidence and self-belief and yet a determination and strength that made me love her. Her godmothers were special characters too but Eliza did take the stage.

Throughout this book, complex mother-daughter relationships were explored and I thought that was so well written and resonnant. Families are difficult things and this book navigated that context that alongside those ‘family’ you choose yourself. The context of Edinburgh then Ireland made the whole reading of this so welcome. I could visualise the settings and quite frankly, mid-lockdown I needed that.

There were some big reveals in this book, Eliza’s roots, the truth of who her mother really was as a person and finding an unexpected romance. The romance didn’t dominate but it was so well placed.

The Godmothers was an all engrossing read that tackled the grittiness of familial relationships without being depressing. I found this an uplifting read with a fantastic, normal heroine. I’ve already clicked some of Monica McInerney’s back catalogue.

Thank you to Welbeck Publishing and EDPR for the early review copy.

THE PROJECT by Courtney Summers

“The Unity Project saved my life.”

Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying–and failing–to prove it.

“The Unity Project murdered my son.”

When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its charismatic and mysterious leader, Lev Warren, he proposes a deal: if she can prove the worst of her suspicions about The Unity Project, she may expose them. If she can’t, she must finally leave them alone.

But as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members, and spends more time with Lev, it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her–to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.

Welcome to The Unity Project.

The next pulls-no-punches thriller from New York Timesbestselling and Edgar Award-winning author Courtney Summers, about an aspiring young journalist determined to save her sister from a cult. 



Title : The Project
Author : Courtney Summers
Format : eARC
Page Count : 352
Genre : YA thriller/mystery
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Release Date : February 2, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 



Hollis’ 3 star review

It’s probably my fault for expecting The Project to be another Sadie but.. I expected another Sadie.

That said, the way that Summers actually utilized this concept, and your preconceived notions about how exactly that looks like, might end up being different from the reality. Or so was the case for me. And that was definitely to its benefit, I think.

Having a sister is a promise no one ubt the two of you can make — and no one but the two of you can break.

This was definitely on the tamer end of a story featuring a cult, or an organization that looks like one (but is it?), so I would encourage those who are interested but afraid of the potential darkness to not despair. I think you could handle this. That doesn’t mean it’s pure easy going, of course, but it’s far less brutal than I thought it would be. Though not without an edge.

There’s no forgiveness in me, I don’t think. Just a brutal acceptance of all that has been lost and a resigned march forward in the face of no other options.

The plot is what kept me reading for this one. Not the characters. Unfortunately I just couldn’t quite connect to anyone. There was loss and heartbreak and abandonment that I could definitely sympathize with at times but I eventually did hit a wall where I couldn’t go further or parts I was just reading, not really living, if that makes sense. I’m kind of bummed because I definitely wanted an experience like Sadie (which wrecked me) and I didn’t get anywhere near that. But it’s okay.

While I wanted something from this that I didn’t get, though the plot hooked me and kept me going, it didn’t quite follow that expected path, which is definitely in its favour. It’ll be memorable for that.. but not much else.

A good read, and not one that felt very long, with a lot of meat for you to chew but unfortunately, at least for me, not one that left me feeling totally satisfied.

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