A COURT OF SILVER FLAMES by Sarah J. Mass

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.


Title : A Court of Silver Flames
Author : Sarah J. Maas
Series : ACOTAR #4
Format : e-book
Page Count : 757
Genre : Fantasy Romance
Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date : February 16, 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

Headlines:
Prickly characters
Fighting for yourself
Sisterhood in found family form

In no suprise to anyone, I adored this book from front to back. In complete surprise to me, no-one, not one person on SM spoiled this book and considering the significant cross-series storylines that were key in this, I am shocked and delighted.

In some ways, Nesta and Cassian brought something that Feyre and Rhysand didn’t bring (even though I do love that pairing). Nesta was a prickly as a cactus and that wasn’t an easy fix. Cassian was an overall less problematic male character, more supportive, less alpha and an overall good guy without hidden issues.

Nesta made this story but what enhanced this story was the beautiful found family in Emerie and Gwyn. This threesome and what they strived to achieve and why, was such a fabulous storyline. I wasn’t once bored, I didn’t once skim a line, on full reading engagement.

There’s probably not much I can add to the many reviews of this book out there, only to say that I am fulfilled, I will re-read and Maas can bring me more anyday.

TOTALLY FOLKED by Penny Reid – double review!

One unforgettable night leads to an unlikely shared connection, and unlikely connections never go unnoticed by the good folks in Green Valley, Tennessee…

Jackson James follows the rules. He has to. He’s a sheriff’s deputy in a super small town with a super big personality. However, strict adherence to the law during the day has been enjoyably balanced by rakish rules at night. Jackson, typically happy to protect and serve (and serve, and serve), starts questioning the value of wayward evenings when getting laid starts to feel more like being waylaid. Could it be that Green Valley’s most eligible—and notorious—bachelor longs for something (and someone) real?

Mega movie star Raquel Ezra follows only one rule: always leave them wanting more. Studio execs, reporters, audiences, fans, lovers—no one can get enough of the smart, savvy, and sexy bombshell. But when “generous offers” begin to feel more like excessive demands, years of always leaving has the elusive starlet longing for something (and perhaps someone) lasting.

When Raquel abruptly returns to the quirky Tennessee hamlet, her path crosses with the delectable deputy with whom she spent one unforgettable night. Unfortunately, scandal and intrigue soon follow. Raquel and Jackson must decide which is more important: following their rules? Or, at long last, finding something real.


Title : Totally Folked
Author : Penny Reid
Series : Good Folk – Modern Folktales (book one)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 400
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Cipher-Naught
Release Date : July 20, 2021

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


Hollis’ 3 star review

First of all, I just want to say, how nice it was to have no real big drama in this one. No motorcycle gang stuff or kidnapping or shoot outs or blackmail or betrayals.. just small down romance. I think Reid is shaking off the themes of her Winston Brothers series, even though this is the same world and same characters, and going for something a little more every day, more wholesome. I mean, this is only book one, but that’s the vibe I’m getting. I appreciated it and appreciated the break in the over the top action, too.

Surprisingly — and I say that because inevitably after a long wait for a certain character’s book, it doesn’t always live up to what you wished or wanted — I really liked Jackson in this one. It’s been so long since the first time he showed up on the page, where we only knew so much about him, that I didn’t quite expect this to be where he ended up. I mean, sure, and over time his character was fleshed out a bit, we saw he wasn’t quite the douche canoe he first appeared to be, but I liked finally getting his side of things.

Having said that, his romantic interest, was.. fine? Okay? Honestly I’m not left with much. Rae had personality and hangups, sure, she was a fully drawn and even coloured in character but honestly all I’ll probably remember about her, after time, is that she was an actress, like Sienna. The particulars won’t hold space in my memory. She didn’t stand out.

Which also kind of applies to every other character, too, except maybe newcomer (at least I don’t recall her in the other series..) Charlotte. I liked Charlotte. Beyond, ultimately, being bestie to both Jackson and Rae she doesn’t do a whole lot but she does her role well.

I realize I’m probably not singing a lot of praises for this one but alongside the lack of drama the overall feelings are perhaps a bit muted as a result. But not in a bad way. I enjoyed my time back in Green Valley. I do think I’ve said this before and that I’ve maybe outgrown this world, if not the author, and I’m more interested to see new things from her, but I’ll probably keep reading these until said new things show up.

If you’re a fan of this author, and this world, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by this one at all.

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


Micky’s 3.5 star review

Headlines:
Endearing characters
Gentle and steady hero
Found Green Valley family

You get the prequel novella as part of this series starter for the Modern Folktales and you need that splash of electric chemisty before you launch into Totally Folked. You can find my review for the prequel novella Just Folking Around here.

The reconnection of Jackson and Raquel (Rae) was a gradual process with moments of I can’t help myself. The chemistry between these two was ever present, but the foundation for more for any kind of relationship needed time and work.

Rae’s life was a hot mess of intrusion. Her time in Green Valley was a sweet interlude, whereas Jackson lived the steady, good guy life. I really enjoyed Jackson’s character, his imposed slow burn with occasional thoughts of pushing him along. Rae and Jackson were totally suited.

The found family alongside natual family was an eclectic mix but it worked. I enjoyed seeing Rae drawn into a community of genuine people. Jackson’s dad gave some beautiful advice.

“Admitting a vulnerability to someone you love and who loves you in return usually brings you closer, it doesn’t push you apart.”

This was a good series starter and I will be reading on. Thank you to the author for the early review copy.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – JULY 20, 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.


Totally Folked by Penny Reid is the first in a new series spinning off from the Winston Brothers world (which is also part of the Knitting in the City world) and this new book tackles Jackson James’ romance.

Isn’t it Bromantic by Lyssa Kay Adams is the fourth in the Bromance Book Club series. Some of us are behind in this series (whoops) but still keen to read on.

False Witness by Karin Slaughter is a standalone thriller from this prolific author and we are excited for this release as it’ll make the wait for the next Will Trent instalment easier to bear.

These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan is a fantasy fae tale with lots of twists and turns that should keep you glued to the page.



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

THESE HOLLOW VOWS by Lexi Ryan

From New York Times best-selling author Lexi Ryan, Cruel Prince meets A Court of Thorns and Roses in this sexy, action-packed fantasy about a girl who is caught between two treacherous faerie courts and their dangerously seductive princes.

Brie hates the Fae and refuses to have anything to do with them, even if that means starving on the street. But when her sister is sold to the sadistic king of the Unseelie court to pay a debt, she’ll do whatever it takes to get her back—including making a deal with the king himself to steal three magical relics from the Seelie court.

Gaining unfettered access to the Seelie court is easier said than done. Brie’s only choice is to pose as a potential bride for Prince Ronan, and she soon finds herself falling for him. Unwilling to let her heart distract her, she accepts help from a band of Unseelie misfits with their own secret agenda. As Brie spends time with their mysterious leader, Finn, she struggles to resist his seductive charm.

Caught between two dangerous courts, Brie must decide who to trust with her loyalty. And with her heart.


Title : These Hollow Vows
Author : Lexi Ryan
Format : eARC
Page Count : 448
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher : Hodder Books
Release Date : July 20, 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3.5 – 4 star review

Headlines:
Familiar tropes
Seelie-unseelie good and bad
Un-trustworthiness

My, my, that was some knotted up mess of character disaffection veiled as loyalty. This story keeps you spinning in terms of who to set your hopes on, who is trustworthy and who is downright sneaky. I have to say that I called it totally wrong and ended up surprised by the final twists in this story.

This book took a little while to really capture my attention but when life changed for Brie and Jas, that was when I got fully on board. This story had some very familiar tropes and I did see those parallels I’ve heard mentioned with The Cruel Prince and ACOTAR characters. If they’re not your bag, this probably won’t be either.

The only characters I really liked in this story were Brie (although she did occasionally frustrate me), Jas and Lark. The rest of the characters, including the love interests just garnered my suspicion and I felt like I was looking over my shoulder throughout the read. Even so, I was gripped.

I loved the creatures like the banshee, barghest and sluarg that invaded the story and although they weren’t pleasant, they added colour and excitement.

This book leaves you with a gasp, a bucket-load of questions and a burning read to know more. This story definitely builds as it goes and it you can take the angst, the back and forth and some of the relationship tropes, then this could be a favourite.

Thank you to Hodder Books for the early review copy.

THE GILDED KING by Josie Jaffrey

In the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.

Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, who believes in fairytales that her world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.

But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.
Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.

One way or another, the walls of the Blue are going to come down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do.


Title : The Gilded King
Author : Josie Jaffrey
Series : Soverign #1
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 285
Genre : Dystopian YA
Publisher : Silver Sun Books
Release Date : June 25, 2018

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s star review

Headlines:
Humans ‘v’ vampires ‘v’ zombies
Parallel stories
Dystopia meets historical

I feel like I’ve possibly done this series starter a disservice on the one hand because this is a story that builds on a previous series. I think I would have understood quite a bit more if I’d read that previous series but with this being a book one of a series, I thought I would be okay. Overall, I found the world building confusing at times and I was jarred by my lack of understanding.

Those aspects said, this was a very character-driven story and some of these characters were ones to get behind. This was a tale with two stories running in parallel where Julia and Lucas were at the fore of the story in the Blue and Cam was at the fore of the story in the Red. It took a long time for these stories to intersect but I wasn’t bothered by that.

While this was a dystopian tale that occasionally harkened back to our contemporary times, life in the Blue felt somewhat historical, ancient Grecian or Roman with nobles, servitude and a basic standard of living. I was most interested in Julia and Lucas in the Blue for these reasons, but still, there was a lot to get your head around.

The story did pull the threads together towards the end but I’m left with many unanswered questions that I’ll have to read on for.

Thank you to the author for the review copy.

LOBIZONA by Romina Garber

Some people ARE illegal.

Lobizonas do NOT exist.

Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.


Title : Lobizona
Author : Romina Garber
Series : Wolves of No World (book one)
Format : physical
Page Count : 400
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Release Date : August 4, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 3.5 star review

Right off the bat, I have to say, I absolutely love and respect what Garber is both saying and doing with this story. Between the very real-world fear about being undocumented, illegal, deported, the author has also transported that same fear into their fantasy setting where the origins of our MCs birth make her just as illegal but with the added bonus of her existence also being punishable by death. That said, the real-world scenes with ICE were scarier.

Despite the creativity of the fantasy portion of this world, I rather wish we hadn’t been in it. And not just because of the constant references to a certain Wizarding World and school (which, hey, warning! now you know). I almost wish all the fantasy bits had happened within the real world setting somehow and this had been more urban fantasy than what it was. Because I did like parts of the magical side of things, even if, brujas and lobizones (witches and werewolves) the whole society, was stuck in binary gender roles — though at least with more open-mindedness at the possibility of being other.. for reasons.

If you hadn’t noticed, this book tackles Lots Of Things.

Sometimes I liked the descriptions but I could feel myself glazing over a bit, skimming, until a certain reveal was revealed (clever). But even in the lead up to a certain confrontation I just felt lost in this other world. We definitely hit a point near the end where it’s just a frenetic rush to get some action in before the end and I was definitely feeling checked out.

I like, though don’t love, the characters but totally appreciate the slight deviation of formula in regards to the romance. But ultimately it does get a similar YA fantasy treatment, snowflake and all, and is saved by all the important dialogue happening around the fantastic elements (I stupidly didn’t keep track of any quotes but man there were some really great lines in here). And, again, not only what Manu represents but all the who she represents.

I’m interested to see where book two goes, and thankfully have an ARC I can dive into soon. I can totally see why so many people love this and hope I come around to those same feels in the sequel.

THE OTHER BLACK GIRL by Zakiya Dalila Harris 🎧

Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and the micro-aggressions, she’s thrilled when Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events cause Nella to become Public Enemy Number One and Hazel, the Office Darling. 

Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: Leave Wagner. Now.

It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realises that there is a lot more at stake than her career. 

A whip-smart and dynamic thriller and sly social commentary, The Other Black Girl will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist.


Title : The Other Black Girl
Author : Zakiya Dalila Harris
Narrators : Aja Naomi King, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Bahni Turpin, Heather Alicia Sims
Format : Audiobook
Length : 13 hours, 33 minutes
Genre : Thriller
Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date : June 1, 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

Headlines:
Office politics
Undertones and rumblings
Allies or enemies

The Other Black Girl was an incredibly unusual thriller in terms of plot. It was an office-based story about the relationhip and power dynamics between the bosses and those wanting to move up the ranks, twinned with the inequality of people of colour in the workplace. All that led to a blend of competition, underhandedness and suspicion.

I’d seen this book heralded as a ‘Devil Wears Prada’ thriller but there was little I could equate to that story. There was zero humour or levity, but a lot of looking over the MC’s shoulder. It was hard to see who was friend or foe.

This was a fast-paced read with mulitple POVs and to be honest, I wanted to stay with Nella’s perspective most of the time. I got lost at points when the story moved back to a drama in office from some time ago with an black editor and author.

I didn’t like where the story ended up and that factor definitely brought the rating down for me. However, the journey through the story was tense and entertaining, so I would be eager to read Zakiya Dalila Harris again.

The narration of the audio was strong. Nella’s POV was pitched well, with that kind of suspicious tension that set the tone. There were other POVs that again were a little confusing at times but well narrated.

Thank you to Bloomsbury for the audio and physical copies.

THE MAIDENS by Alex Michaelides 🎧

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.

Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.


Title : The Maidens
Author : Alex Michaelides
Narrators : Louise Brealey, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
Format : Audiobook
Length : 10 hours
Genre : Thriller
Publisher : Macmillan Audio
Release Date : June 15, 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

Headlines:
Creepy men galore
Power imbalance
Great plot with some fading

I felt really excited about this one, the Grecian historical connection, university, students and with a murder at the centre; this audio did deliver on those aspects. The setting conjured that academia feel but with an encroaching darkness of these ongoing murders.

Mariana as a MC had my empathy to some extent for her recent past but I wouldn’t describe her as brilliant (as per the blurb), in fact I found her to be completely stupid making accusations left, right and centre while running headlong into obvious danger. After a while, she annoyed me.

The Maidens had a complex plot at the heart and I really liked the depth and intracacies. It really kept me guessing, that is, until it didn’t as it faded towards the end. I felt somewhat disappointed in the final culmination. I’m not sure what the point of Fred was in the plot.

I was interested in how Sebastian could be such an important character and creepy from the grave, I thought there was some clever writing there.

The narration was dual POV which was 95% Mariana and 5% someone else. The narration was strong throughout.

Thank you to LibroFM and Macmillan Audio for the audio review copy.

THE TAKING OF JAKE LIVINGSTON by Ryan Douglass

Get Out meets Danielle Vega in this YA social thriller where survival is not a guarantee.

Jake Livingston is one of the only black kids at St. Clair Prep, one of the others being his infinitely more popular older brother. It’s hard enough fitting in but to make matters worse and definitely more complicated, Jake can see the dead. In fact he sees the dead around him all the time. Most are harmless. Stuck in their death loops as they relive their deaths over and over again, they don’t interact often with people. But then Jake meets Sawyer. A troubled teen who shot and killed sixteen kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life. Now a powerful, vengeful ghost, he has plans for his afterlife–plans that include Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about ghosts and the rules to life itself go out the window as Sawyer begins haunting him and bodies turn up in his neighborhood. High school soon becomes a survival game–one Jake is not sure he’s going to win. 


Title : The Taking of Jake Livingston
Author : Ryan Douglass
Format : eARC
Page Count : 256
Genre : YA LGBTQIAP+ fantasy/thriller
Publisher : G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date : July 13, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : unrated


Hollis’ unrated review

Hm. I’m leaving this unrated for now (for good?) because my thoughts are kind of all over the place.

I think, when you’re neck deep in the spooky thrilling creepiness of this story, you’re in it. You’re having a good scary time. The problem is when you pause, put the book down, and start wondering.. why. Why are these things happening, what is this world, what is the history.. and, the biggest most perplexing thing, why did the author choose to go in this direction with the villain.

I honestly think this would make a great movie because the atmosphere and the ambience, though hella confusing, still did a great job at creeping me out. Some of the visuals were, again, sometimes confusing but somehow still managed to be translated into my brain. But so much of this needs more. Yes, the story is short, so I guess a lot of this surface level non-explanation could be blamed on that but.. why was it short? Why wasn’t this longer, more fleshed out, given context? So much could’ve been improved, including the romance.

If you want a short spooky dose of a novel that brushes up against topics of racism and homophobia, without making them the central theme, and that will likely keep you on the edge of your seat, you could probably do worse. I just wish it could’ve done.. not better, maybe, but more.

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

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – JULY 13, 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.


What Are We Doing About Zoya by Anisha Bhatia is a story about an imperfect Indian daughter bucking societal and cultural norms.

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey is being comp’d as a Schitts Creek romcom and yeah, we need.

Exposed by Kristen Callihan is the much anticipated fourth instalment in the author’s VIP series. Do we need a synopsis? Nope. We are reading this.

A Psalm For The Wild Built by Becky Chambers is the start of a new sci-fi series about how a world evolved and learnt, then things come full circle.



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