MONTHLY WRAP UP – MARCH 2022

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

Lore Olympus Volume 1 by Rachel Smythe — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen — see Micky’s review here
The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake — see Micky’s review here (!)
Gallant by V.E. Schwab — see Micky’s review here (!)
Heartstopper Volume Four by Alice Oseman — see Hollis’ review here
House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas — see Micky’s review here
A Brush With Love by Mazey Eddings — see Micky’s review here
Only A Monster by Vanessa Len — see Micky’s review here
Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey — see Hollis’ review here
Run, Rose, Run by Dolly Parton and James Patterson — see Micky’s review here
A Slice Of Heaven by Sherryl Woods — see Micky’s review here
Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

Gallant by V.E. Schwab — see Hollis’ review here (!)
Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye — see Hollis’ review here
The Atlas Six by Olivia Blake — see Hollis’ review here (!)
Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashely Herring-Blake — see Micky’s review here
The Last Legacy by Adrienne Young — see Micky’s review here
Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle — see Micky’s review here
Pennyblade by J.L. Worrad — see Micky’s tour post here
Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning — see Hollis’ review here
Running Wild by K.A. Tucker — see Hollis’ review here

☆ ☆ star reads

In a New York Minute by Kate Spencer — see Hollis’ review here
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning — see Hollis’ review here
Electric Idol by Katee Robert — see Hollis’ review here

star reads

Dating Dr. Dill by Nisha Sharma — see Hollis’ review here

u n r a t e d

DNF


total reads by Micky : fourteen and a truckload not reviewed for the blog!
favourite read of the month : Lore Olympus #1 by Rachel Smythe
least favourite read of the month : Pennyblade by JL Worrad
most read genre : fantasy

total reviews by Hollis : eleven
favourite read of the month : Heartstopper Volume Four by Alice Oseman
least favourite read of the month : Dating Dr. Dill by Nisha Sharma
most read genre : contemporary

ANTICIPATED APRIL 2022 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 :


Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel | April 5, 2022

The award-winning, best-selling author of Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel returns with a novel of art, time, love, and plague that takes the reader from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a dark colony on the moon three hundred years later, unfurling a story of humanity across centuries and space.

Edwin St. Andrew is eighteen years old when he crosses the Atlantic by steamship, exiled from polite society following an ill-conceived diatribe at a dinner party. He enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal–an experience that shocks him to his core.

Two centuries later a famous writer named Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour. She’s traveling all over Earth, but her home is the second moon colony, a place of white stone, spired towers, and artificial beauty. Within the text of Olive’s bestselling pandemic novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.

When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.

A virtuoso performance that is as human and tender as it is intellectually playful, Sea of Tranquility is a novel of time travel and metaphysics that precisely captures the reality of our current moment.

Father Complex by Gregory Ashe | April 8, 2022

This is a sequel so read the synopsis at your own peril!

Having a father can be hard. Being a good one might be even harder.

The call-out for the double homicide, when it comes, is a strange one: two men gunned down in a motel room, no witnesses, no real clues. Even stranger, the men were enemies, and no one seems to know why they were in that motel room together. And stranger still, people won’t stop calling John-Henry Somerset, telling him he needs to find some answers—preferably nice, easy ones—fast.

Hazard and Somers set out to learn what happened, but they quickly find themselves mired in shifting factions: the ultraconservative political machine of the Ozark Volunteers; a liberal activist group protesting the local gun show; a reclusive fundamentalist church; even a hint of Mexican drug cartels. The further they press their investigation, the clearer it becomes that the killer—or killers—wants something, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it.

As Hazard and Somers struggle to find the truth, they face trouble at home as well. Their foster-son, Colt, has received a letter from his estranged father, the same man who attacked Colt and Somers in their home. Worse, Colt seems open to more communication, which leaves Hazard grappling with his fears for Colt and his helplessness against a world that seems to be conspiring to take his foster-son away.

But when a pair of gunmen come after Hazard at home, two things are crystal clear: he’s going to get to the bottom of these murders, and he’ll do anything to keep his family together.

Nobody But Us by Laure Van Resburg | April 12, 2022 (US/CAN), April 14, 2022 (UK)

In this locked room, high‑concept thriller that’s part The Guest List, part The Girl Before, a couple’s romantic weekend‑getaway is not what it seems.

When Ellie and her boyfriend Steven take their first trip together, what starts as an idyllic weekend soon takes a darker turn, as it quickly becomes apparent that each of them harbors secrets—and that one of those secrets is deadly.

Ellie is an NYU grad student, timid but fiercely intelligent, and eager for the perfect weekend away with her boyfriend. Steven is a wealthy and privileged teacher at an elite Manhattan school. His and Ellie’s relationship has stirred up envy among the teachers in his academic circle.

When they head out for their romantic break, they’re both excited to get to know each other better away from prying eyes. But when a snowstorm strands them in the house, they begin to realize that neither of them is quite who they say they are—and that one of them won’t escape the weekend alive. 

With and Without You by Emily Wibberley and Austin Sigemund-Broka | April 19, 2022

If high school seniors Siena and Patrick were a superlative, they’d be the Couple Most Likely to Marry. They’ve been dating for three solid years, and everyone agrees they’re perfect for each other. But with college on the horizon, Siena begins to wonder whether staying together is the best idea. Does she really want to be tied down during possibly the most transformative years of her life? So she makes a decision to break up with Patrick, convincing herself it’s for the best. Before she can say the words, though, he beats her to the punch: his family is moving out of state. Caught off guard by the news, Siena agrees to stay with Patrick, believing their relationship will naturally fizzle out with time and distance. But over a series of visits throughout the school year, Siena begins to see a different side of Patrick–one that has her falling in love with him all over again. 

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez | April 19, 2022

The New York Times bestselling author of Life’s Too Short delivers a refreshingly modern fairy tale perfect for fans of Casey McQuiston and Emily Henry.

After a wild bet, gourmet grilled-cheese sandwich, and cuddle with a baby goat, Alexis Montgomery has had her world turned upside down. The cause: Daniel Grant, a ridiculously hot carpenter who’s ten years younger than her and as casual as they come—the complete opposite of sophisticated city-girl Alexis. And yet their chemistry is undeniable.

While her ultra-wealthy parents want her to carry on the family legacy of world-renowned surgeons, Alexis doesn’t need glory or fame. She’s fine with being a “mere” ER doctor. And every minute she spends with Daniel and the tight-knit town where he lives, she’s discovering just what’s really important. Yet letting their relationship become anything more than a short-term fling would mean turning her back on her family and giving up the opportunity to help thousands of people.

Bringing Daniel into her world is impossible, and yet she can’t just give up the joy she’s found with him either. With so many differences between them, how can Alexis possibly choose between her world and his?

The Long Game by Rachel Reid | April 26, 2022

This is a sequel so read the synopsis at your own peril!

To the world they are rivals, but to each other they are everything.

Ten years.

That’s how long Shane Hollander and Ilya Rozanov have been seeing each other. How long they’ve been keeping their relationship a secret. From friends, from family…from the league. If Shane wants to stay at the top of his game, what he and Ilya share has to remain secret. He loves Ilya, but what if going public ruins everything?

Ilya is sick of secrets. Shane has gotten so good at hiding his feelings, sometimes Ilya questions if they even exist. The closeness, the intimacy, even the risk that would come with being open about their relationship…Ilya wants it all.

It’s time for them to decide what’s most important—hockey or love.

It’s time to make a call.

Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel | April 26, 2022

“Patel’s mesmerizing debut shines a brilliant light on the vilified queen from the Ramayana….This easily earns its place on shelves alongside Madeline Miller’s Circe.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions—much good it did me.”

So begins Kaikeyi’s story. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on tales about the might and benevolence of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharat prospers, and how they offer powerful boons to the devout and the wise. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, listens as her own worth is reduced to how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear.

Desperate for some measure of independence, she turns to the texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. With this power, Kaikeyi transforms herself from an overlooked princess into a warrior, diplomat, and most favored queen, determined to carve a better world for herself and the women around her.

But as the evil from her childhood stories threatens the cosmic order, the path she has forged clashes with the destiny the gods have chosen for her family. And Kaikeyi must decide if resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak—and what legacy she intends to leave behind.

A stunning debut from a powerful new voice, Kaikeyi is a tale of fate, family, courage, and heartbreak—of an extraordinary woman determined to leave her mark in a world where gods and men dictate the shape of things to come.

Elektra by Jennifer Saint | April 28, 2022 (UK), May 3, 2022 (US/CAN)

The House of Atreus is cursed. A bloodline tainted by a generational cycle of violence and vengeance. This is the story of three women, their fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods.

Clytemnestra
The sister of Helen, wife of Agamemnon – her hopes of averting the curse are dashed when her sister is taken to Troy by the feckless Paris. Her husband raises a great army against them, and determines to win, whatever the cost.

Cassandra
Princess of Troy, and cursed by Apollo to see the future but never to be believed when she speaks of it. She is powerless in her knowledge that the city will fall.

Elektra
The youngest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, Elektra is horrified by the bloodletting of her kin. But, can she escape the curse, or is her own destiny also bound by violence?


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

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – MARCH 29, 2022

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.


Pennyblade by J.L. Worrad is “a sharp-tongued disgraced-noble-turned-mercenary has to stop the world collapsing into chaos in this gripping, savagely funny epic fantasy packed with unforgettable characters, for fans of Joe Abercrombie.

Always Jane by Jenn Bennett is about “a chauffer’s daughter finds herself in the middle of a love triangle with the sons of her boss’s wealthy next-door neighbors.”

The Dragon’s Bride by Katee Robert is a dragon romance? We think? All we know is that cover catches the eyes..

Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May, out today in the US/CAN and on March 31, 2022, in the UK, is a debut described as “in the aftermath of World War I, [where] a naive woman is swept into a glittering world filled with dark magic, romance, and murder.”

When Our Worlds Collided by Danielle Jawando, the author’s second YA release, is “a powerful coming-of-age story about chance encounters, injustice and how the choices that we make can completely change our future.” You can get it in the UK on March 31, 2022.



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

DATING DR. DILL by Nisha Sharma

Dating Dr. Dil features a love-phobic TV doctor who must convince a love-obsessed homebody they are destined to be together. 

Kareena Mann dreams of having a love story like her parents, but she prefers restoring her classic car to swiping right on dating apps. When her father announces he’s selling her mother’s home, Kareena makes a deal with him: he’ll gift her the house if she can get engaged in four months. Her search for her soulmate becomes impossible when her argument with Dr. Prem Verma, host of The Dr. Dil Show, goes viral. Now the only man in her life is the one she doesn’t want.

Dr. Prem Verma is dedicated to building a local community health center, but he needs to get donors with deep pockets. The Dr. Dil Show was doing just that, until his argument with Kareena went viral, and he’s left short changed. That’s when Kareena’s meddling aunties presented him with a solution: convince Kareena he’s her soulmate and they’ll fund his clinic.  

Even though they have conflicting views on love-matches and arranged-matches, the more time Prem spends with Kareena, the more he begins to believe she’s the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. But for Prem and Kareena to find their happily ever after, they must admit that hate has turned into fate.


Title : Dating Dr. Dill
Author : Nisha Sharma
Series : If Shakespeare Was An Auntie (book one)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 352
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Avon
Release Date : March 15, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★.5


Hollis’ 1.5 star review

I am not a DNF’er and yet I wanted to chuck this book across the room after setting it on fire after only 10%. However, I thought maybe it was just me or my mood. So I logged into GR to see reviews (which I never do before finishing the book myself) and honestly I’m going to link a few of them down below because not only are they excellent, and hilarious, but they’ll do a way better job at expressing my feelings than I ever could. But here goes nothing.

Even with a lacklustre read by this author already under my belt, I was drawn in by the Taming of the Shrew/10 Things I Hate About You retelling because it’s catnip and, yes, the great cover (yeah yeah, I know, we’re always suckers). So if that’s what is bringing you here, too, all I can say is skip this and go watch Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles makeout instead.

I obviously can’t speak for the culture or desi rep but as far as the characters went, the plot, the conflicts, and the story overall? Big nope. 96% of the characters were either full-time terrible or just occasionally awful or ridiculous — but in big devastating ways. The conflict from the male love interest’s side was just totally side-eye worthy and Kareena, our female protagonist, the only one who seemed to have the occasional modicum of sense, was woefully underdeveloped and just shit on constantly.

Also, the “Rina, honey” thing? I hated it so much. Right up there with “baby girl”.

But not as much as I hated the Charlie thing. Vomit.

This is my second read by Sharma and the second set of two stars or under (I considered rounding up but.. not here, maybe on GR I will) that I’m handing out. I think it’s safe to call it : no more for me.

ps, here are some amazing reviews you should definitely read. Please give these fantastic reviewers a follow.



RUNNING WILD by K.A. Tucker

Veterinarian Marie Lehr knows unrequited love all too well after pining for her best friend, only to watch him marry another woman. It’s a mistake she will never make again, especially not when she can practically hear the clock ticking on her childbearing years.

The trouble is, she can’t seem to find anyone who appeals to her even a fraction as much as that burly bush pilot did. Competitive musher Tyler Brady certainly doesn’t, especially not after the heated altercation with the handsome but arrogant, spiteful man.

Or so she thinks.

While volunteering at the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, Marie discovers that first impressions may have been false, and her attraction to Tyler is very real. But his heart belongs to someone else, leaving him with nothing to offer but friendship. Marie’s been down this road before and knows how that ends. Yet, no matter how hard she works to keep from falling for Tyler, it seems she’s doomed to follow her own trail once again.


Title : Running Wild
Author : K.A. Tucker
Series : Simple Wild (book three)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 370
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : indie
Release Date : January 25, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

While I absolutely think Tucker’s set-up and conflict for this romance was great — Marie with her imagined love affair, haunted by something that never came to fruition, pitted against a man who can’t let his past go and is, in fact, haunted by a different kind of life unlived — I do think maybe things just got dragged out.. too much. Even though, strangely, I might’ve even appreciated if this had been done in two parts. That third act conflict just comes too late and is resolved too soon. But I was really into this one right up until that point, which is where it all soured for me.

That said, I enjoyed returning to this setting, to this world, and seeing most of these characters again. We had a bevy of frustrating personas to contend with, which was less enjoyable, but it felt very real, too. As for some of those new faces.. Reed and Mabel in a time jump, please? I would definitely read on in this world and this town and would absolutely love returning to a focus on the mushing. I really enjoyed learning about the sport and the community and, as a bonus, there were so many excellent dog and animals characters, helped by Marie being a vet, so that was just constant fun.

I don’t quite know how to end this review so, uh, the end.

BLOODFEVER by Karen Marie Moning

I used to be your average, everyday girl but all that changed one night in Dublin when I saw my first Fae, and got dragged into a world of deadly immortals and ancient secrets…

In her fight to stay alive, MacKayla must find the Sinsar Dubh—a million-year-old book of the blackest magic imaginable, which holds the key to power over the worlds of both the Fae and Man. Pursued by assassins, surrounded by mysterious figures she knows she can’t trust, Mac finds herself torn between two deadly and powerful men: V’lane, the immortal Fae Prince, and Jericho Barrons, a man as irresistible as he is dangerous.

For centuries the shadowy realm of the Fae has coexisted with that of humans. Now the walls between the two are coming down, and Mac is the only thing that stands between them.


Title : Bloodfever
Author : Karen Marie Moning
Series : Fever (book two)
Format : paperback
Page Count : 349
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : Delacorte Press
Release Date : October 16, 2007

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

I can’t tell if this actually deserves to be rounded up or if, after a bit of a reading dry spell, I’m just excited to have finished something — and in one sitting no less.

Listen, I think we all know the deal with this series. It is definitely a product of it’s time. But we are already seeings signs of where Moning pushed her characters, and the series, away from their awkward beginnings.

While Mac is definitely a little too keen and bloodthirsty, not to mention fearlessly scrappy, for this stage of things, I’m willing to give her a bit of a pass. She’s already growing up a bit, dropping the eyerolling fake-swears, starting to find herself in amongst who she used to be and who Barrons was forcing her to act like in the beginning, and I respect that. I also really like how the momentum continued from where we left off with book one. Also, the cast is starting to grow (I forgot we met Dani this early, holy shit! not to mention MacKeltar.. even if I have only the vaguest recollection of the role he plays later on..) and we’re starting to get more on the ever mysterious Barrons and who (what?) he really is.

There was almost nonstop action but the pauses we did have were really.. good pauses. I especially loved the little illusionary experience Mac had in Faery because that was cathartic and also really lovely. In fact, amongst some of the ridiculous (like, seriously, some of the “I’m so pretty” behaviour and constant barrage of attractive people or Mac being recognized as attractive is a bit.. much, but we still haven’t fully left the Shallow Era of things, I guess) there were quite a few stunning lines. Whether it was Barrons dropping some wise truthbomb in the middle of a lecture or a temporary fugue of grief or reflection.. they kind of sneak up on you but they are very appreciated.

I’m sorta sad I can’t binge this (my buddy and I are doing one a month) but at the same time maybe I’ll enjoy the ride a little more by having to wait between each bit. Definitely keen to read on.

WILD AND WICKED THINGS by Francesca May

In the aftermath of World War I, a naive woman is swept into a glittering world filled with dark magic, romance, and murder in this lush and decadent debut.

On Crow Island, people whisper, real magic lurks just below the surface. 

Neither real magic nor faux magic interests Annie Mason. Not after it stole her future. She’s only on the island to settle her late father’s estate and, hopefully, reconnect with her long-absent best friend, Beatrice, who fled their dreary lives for a more glamorous one. 

Yet Crow Island is brimming with temptation, and the biggest one may be her enigmatic new neighbor. 

Mysterious and alluring, Emmeline Delacroix is a figure shadowed by rumors of witchcraft. And when Annie witnesses a confrontation between Bea and Emmeline at one of the island’s extravagant parties, she is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where the boundaries of wickedness are tested, and the cost of illicit magic might be death.


Title : Wild and Wicked Things
Author : Francesca May
Format : Physical
Page Count : 432
Genre : Fantasy/LGBTQIAP+
Publisher : Orbit Books
Release Date : March 31, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Blood, bodies and darkness
Friendships tested
Heritage

This book threw the reader into Annie’s world post WW1, a different version, one with magic but magic that was pretty much outlawed. An inheritance took Annie away from her frugal home on the coast to an island where her father’s property and belongings awaited her. This new place was full of decadence, forbidden things and danger.

Annie’s character had real growth, she moved from obedient young woman, in the shadow of others to an independant thinker and leader in some respects. That part of her she knew was there, the magic, was allowed time to grow. I liked Annie, Emmeline, Nathan and Isobel. I did not like Bea. The sapphic elements were subtle at times but present and important to the story.

To all intents and purposes, this was a historical fantasy thriller. There were many dark moments, some gore, and some real sinister feels at times. It was easy to get swept up then shrink in tension at the dark scenes.

The plot was really curious in terms of the magic, how it worked, how it controlled and I appreciated that the magic in this world was scary in nature. I think many will appreciate the freshness of this story.

Thank you to Orbit Books for the early review copy.

A SLICE OF HEAVEN by Sherryl Woods

Emotions run high when the Sweet Magnolias try to reunite a couple who was meant to be together in this classic from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sherryl Woods

When an eating disorder threatens the life of chef Dana Sue Sullivan’s teenage daughter, she has no choice but to bring Annie’s cheating dad back to Serenity, South Carolina. She tells herself and her friends it’s all about Annie, but the sad truth is she has a boatload of unresolved feelings of her own for Ronnie Sullivan.

From the moment Ronnie hits town, there’s no question about his intentions. He’s there for his daughter, to be sure, but he wants Dana Sue back, and every move he makes is designed to prove he’s a changed man. The one thing that’s never changed, though, are the sparks that fly whenever the two of them are in the same room.

Dana Sue can deny all she wants that Ronnie’s the only man for her, but not a single person in town is buying it. No matter the circumstances, Ronnie’s return is a sweet recipe for a new beginning.


Title : A Slice of Heaven
Author : Sherryl Woods
Series : The Sweet Magnolias #2
Format : eARC
Page Count : 396
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Mills & Boon
Release Date : November 1, 2011

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Second chance for divorcees
Parenting through teen trauma
Going the distance

This second book held far more appeal for me than book one. The book approach (as opposed to the TV series) seems to be particular character focus per book. This book was all about Dana Sue with just a little Maddie and Helen. It was interesting that Helen wasn’t painted in that gracious a light in this installment.

I loved Dana Sue and Ronnie and Dana Sue in the book was an improvement on her depiction in Season Two of the TV series. She was gentler while still being fierce, she had more integrity and I just liked her character. Ronnie was a treat, so aware of his past wrongs, humble, loving and truly determined to be the father and partner he should have been. This whole story arc was such satisfying reading.

Underpinning this whole story was something big going on for Annie that honestly was really scary initially. Parenting Annie through her struggles was a big and meaty issue.

Reading book two has given me the impetous to want to read on in this series when I wasn’t previously sure.

3.75 stars rounded up.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the review copy.

*CW: eating disorder*

LORE OLYMPUS VOL. 1 by Rachel Smythe

Experience the propulsive love story of two Greek gods—Hades and Persephone—brought to life with lavish artwork and an irresistible contemporary voice.

Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love—witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of mythology’s most well-known stories from creator Rachel Smythe. Featuring a brand-new, exclusive short story, Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated web-comic Lore Olympus brings the Greek Pantheon into the modern age with this sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.

This volume collects episodes 1-25 of the #1 WEBTOON comic, Lore Olympus.


Title : Lore Olympus Volume 1
Author : Rachel Smythe
Series : Lore Olympus
Format : Hardcover
Page Count : 384
Genre : Graphic Novel Fantasy
Publisher : DelRey UK
Release Date : Novembeer 2, 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 


Micky’s 5 star review

Headlines:
Beautiful art with a contemporary feel
Fun, then dark and deep
Easy to love

This read was an easy win for me. I love Hades and Persephone retakes, I loved that this one was set in the contemporary. Hades struggled with self-worth issues and so did Persephone to an extent. I loved both these characterisations, the depth to the individuals and most especially their chemistry.

The toxicity of the other gods and goddesses masquerading as friends or mentors/leaders was unreal. Egos were exactly what you would think amongst the powerful of this world. I hated how that reeled out but the Cupid/Psyche side story definitely had an appeal.

There were content warnings at the beginning which I appreciated but I got so caught up in the fun of the story, that when we hit that point, it hit me in the gut. There was a sad depth to this story and I can’t wait to read on.

The art work was exceptional, I loved particularly the shades chosen for the story. Everything about this hard copy edition increases enjoyment.

HOOK, LINE, and SINKER by Tessa Bailey

King crab fisherman Fox Thornton has a reputation as a sexy, carefree flirt. Everyone knows he’s a guaranteed good time–in bed and out–and that’s exactly how he prefers it. Until he meets Hannah Bellinger. She’s immune to his charm and looks, but she seems to enjoy his… personality? And wants to be friends? Bizarre. But he likes her too much to risk a fling, so platonic pals it is.

Now, Hannah’s in town for work, crashing in Fox’s spare bedroom. She knows he’s a notorious ladies’ man, but they’re definitely just friends. In fact, she’s nursing a hopeless crush on a colleague and Fox is just the person to help with her lackluster love life. Armed with a few tips from Westport’s resident Casanova, Hannah sets out to catch her coworker’s eye… yet the more time she spends with Fox, the more she wants him instead. As the line between friendship and flirtation begins to blur, Hannah can’t deny she loves everything about Fox, but she refuses to be another notch on his bedpost.

Living with his best friend should have been easy. Except now she’s walking around in a towel, sleeping right across the hall, and Fox is fantasizing about waking up next to her for the rest of his life and… and… man overboard! He’s fallen for her, hook, line, and sinker. Helping her flirt with another guy is pure torture, but maybe if Fox can tackle his inner demons and show Hannah he’s all in, she’ll choose him instead?


Title : Hook, Line, and Sinker
Author : Tessa Bailey
Series : Bellinger Sisters (book two)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 400
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Avon
Release Date : March 1, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

Even though I rated book one in this series a 3.5, I feel dramatically more positive about this one. Even though it’s only gone up half a point. Ratings, amirite? What even.

This story, following in the footsteps of It Happened One Summer, features the sister of book one’s female lead and the best friend of book one’s love interest. Naturally, of course, book one dude has warned Fox off of Hannah because he is a self-proclaimed, and infamous, manwhore and book one’s couple doesn’t want to deal with the fallout and hurt feelings. I feel like that was a poor way of explaining everything but you get it.

This particular match-up was just (chefs kiss). I loved the solid and fabulous friendship-based foundation to this dynamic. I always forget how much I enjoy friends-to-more because sometimes it isn’t done well. In this case? It is. There’s also the added bonus of a slowburn because friendship. And risks. Not just to those around them but also because there’s a risk to both of them; mostly in the case of Fox. He has to unpack so much of who he was built up to be and who he has become to fit that mold because Hannah challenges him on all of it. Hannah worked with him, saw to the truth of him, and was never run off. The give and take was just lovely. I thought Bailey did such a good job with this.

I’ll admit I was a little frustrated by how many of The Talks (you know, the one that turns the tide, cueing epiphanies and revelations) Fox needed to finally find his way through it all but.. I’ll allow it. Because that’s what we do in this genre.

Less allowed were the sex scenes. I don’t remember as many problems with Bailey’s last series (except for book one and that’s all we’ll say about that) but both books in this particular series just aren’t quite doing it for me. The dirty talk, the scenes themselves, just nope. Thank goodness it was balanced out by the good in every other way.

I also want to give kudos for this being very mental-health and therapy positive, not to mention all the talk about toxic masculinity and over-sexualization, without.. feeling like Bailey was going out of her way to do so. More and more these days it feels like certain hot topics get shoehorned into books for the sake of being PC or relevant and it either completely takes me out of the story or inspires an eyeroll because it feels like just ticking a box. Bailey instead wove it all into the dialogue, and story, so well and it was so natural and, yes, so important.

I don’t know if there’s more stories to be told in this world but I would be down to read on. If not, I’m glad we ended on a high.

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