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THE BLOOD TRAITOR by Lynette Noni

She’d failed them. All of them. And now she was paying the price.

Kiva thought she knew what she wanted-revenge. But feelings change, people change . . . everything has changed.

After what happened at the palace, Kiva is desperate to know if her friends and family are safe, and whether those she wronged can ever forgive her. But with the kingdoms closer to the brink of war than they’ve ever been, and Kiva far away from the conflict, more is at stake than her own broken heart.

A fresh start will mean a perilous quest, forcing mortal enemies and uneasy allies together in a race against the clock to save not just Evalon, but all of Wenderall. With her loyalties now set, Kiva can no longer just survive-she must fight for what she believes in. For who she believes in. But with danger coming from every side, and the lives of everyone she loves at risk, does she have what it takes to stand, or will she fall?


Title : The Blood Traitor
Author : Lynette Noni
Series : The Prison Healer #3
Format : eARC
Page Count : 482
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Hodderscape
Release Date : June 14, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

Headlines:
Trope check goodness
Unforgiveable?
Page-turner

I am so incredibly sad this series is over but then I couldn’t help race-reading this because it was so unputdownable. Picking up immediately where we were so cruelly left at the end of The Gilded Cage, this installment rushed at my brain like a whirlwind, grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.

Jaren, Jaren, Jaren, Kiva, Kiva, Kiva. Oh the longings, the emotions, the hurt, it was a lot of everything and at this point, I was so invested in this couple that I had to let out the breath I didn’t know I was holding (I’m just messing with you) when they were on the page. The plot was so rich with found family goodness, I simply adored the cast of characters that found themselves on a quest. Tripp was a little more in the background but he still brought light when he was there.

It was so good to finally see the Corentine-Vallentis and other royal family stories go full circle, finding answers to series plot points and Noni delivered so well on these elements. Nothing was rushed, everything was carefully crafted and the journey readers have been taken on felt so worthy of these three books.

Also that last line of the book…precious.

I could definitely read a novella epilogue for these characters, pretty please?

Thank you to Hodder Books for the eARc and the ride!

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – JUNE 14, 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.


The Blood Traitor by Lynette Noni is a stupendous series finale, bringing a superb plot with all the characters on a quest.

The Seawomen by Chloe Timms is a dystopian, gothic, feminist tale that promises to grip you.



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

LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY by Bonnie Garmus

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing.

But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans, the lonely, brilliant, Nobel-prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with – of all things – her mind. True chemistry results.

Like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later, Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show, Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (‘combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride’) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.


Title : Lessons in Chemistry
Author : Bonnie Garmus
Format : ebook
Page Count : 392
Genre : Historical Fiction
Publisher : Transworld Digital
Release Date : April 5, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 


Micky’s 4.5-5 star review

Headlines:
Here for Six Thirty
Raging misogyny
Gratitude to all the feminists before me

What an utterly brilliant read Lessons in Chemistry was. It was funny, with so many lines making me laugh out loud, it hurt my heart in numerous parts, it made me feel angry but it was overall wonderful. A read for all genders who are feminst.

This era of feminism (1950s) isn’t one I’ve reflected on much but life was damn difficult for those crossing very set boundaries. Elizabeth Zott, chemist, feminist and one prone to bold, frank speech had her work cut out. The tale took us through her life in a male-dominated academic profession, falling in love, family and fighting to find her place again. It was sweeping, captivating and full of immense hope. Zott never meant to be funny but she was.

This read was equally challenging as it was amusing. Elizabeth Zott experienced things one never should, as did other women in this piece. I want to say nothing about the other character in this book that sold the story one chapter at a time, because if you read this, you need to discover this character as it arises (sorry for the mystery).

I finished the final pages in utter tears. I’ve been thinking ever since about how I have strode on in academia, yes facing misogyny, but nothing like Zott did. I was able to apply for and complete a PhD and be respected for my work and contribution to knowledge without thinkng there’s a man behind it. I am grateful to every women that has strode before me on this journey.

What a book, a total must-read.

Thank you to Transworld books for the review copy.

NETGALLEY CHECK IN, WARTS AND ALL

We thought it would be fun to do a NetGalley check in, find some receipts for what some might call crazy clicking (Micky) and others might call the Marie Kondo method of NetGalley (Hollis).

We actually do this on the regular with one another on DMs and it’s always the same patten with us : Micky is the serial offender, a bit behind, requesting too much while the NetGalley shelf bows with weight. Hollis, meanwhile, is more considerate of her click habits — only because she learned her lesson after having overclicked and, subsequently, buried herself in ARCs a few years back. (*Micky interrupts…Excuse me, Hollis…some of us like that buried feeling.) Also, as many of you know, Hollis enjoys almost nothing so that’s also a factor.

Shall we screenshot? Did you say go on?


So, Micky’s oldest unread is from November 2019 – Blood Heir (sorry Harper, you will get my review one day). Currently there are 44 books awaiting feedback but the good news is that my stats are at 92% with feedback given on 552 books. So while I might be an over-clicker, I generally deliver on my reviews and am mostly on time.


Hollis actually cleared her outstanding eARC queue earlier this year (yesss, snuck it in before the bell!) so she has no overdue reviews. As of the writing this blog post she has five (5) eARCs to read and review and her status is at 98% with 310 out of 315 books read and reviewed.


So what does your NetGalley shelf look like? Are you a Micky, a Hollis, or a SomewhereInBetween? Let us know!

CONFESSIONS OF AN ALLEGED GOOD GIRL by Joya Goffney

Monique lives a perfect life – a preacher’s daughter and the girlfriend of the town’s golden boy. But it’s not that simple. She’s torn between her parents who want the pure virginal daughter, and her boyfriend, Dom, who wants to explore the more intimate side of their relationship.

Tired of waiting, her boyfriend breaks up with her, spurring Monique to discover she has a medical condition that makes her far from perfect and she concocts a plan to fix her body and win him back.

With the help of her frenemy, Sasha, the overly zealous church girl Monique’s mum pushes her to hang out with, and Reggie, the town’s bad boy, Monique must go on trips to unknown and uncomfortable places to find the treatment that will help her. But in doing so, she must face some home truths: maybe she shouldn’t be fixing her body to please a boy, maybe Sasha is the friend she needed all along and maybe Reggie isn’t so bad at all.

This is a powerful journey towards loving yourself, about body and sex positivity, with heart, humour, family intrigue and a dynamic and delicious love triangle.

Contains explicit references to sex and sexual health.


Title : Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl
Author : Joya G0ffney
Format : eARC
Page Count : 314
Genre : Contemporary YA
Publisher : Hot Key Books
Release Date : May 3, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Sex positive
Growing up in church
Confidences and friendships

This is one of the best examples of a sex-positive story I’ve ever read and this is hugely important in contemporary YA. Goffney crafting an impactful story that was also threaded with lightness so that it didn’t feel heavy. I blasted through this book in a day and I loved it.

Monique found herself under significant pressure to have sex, while also wanting to, but not being able to. There’s a physical condition afoot that was really good to see amongst these pages and while there were characters that were shady (hello Dom, I did not like you) there were a bunch of great characters in Reggie, Sasha and Aunt Dee. There was a whole layer of complication to this story about being brought up in a straight-laced church household where the parents were hugely unrealistic about life, sex education and natural adolescent development. I couldn’t decide if I really hated these parents but I guess it just diluted to dislike.

Reggie, the man of young men, I loved this guy on the page. His understanding, his humour, his respect were everything. I loved how these two brought great character growth in one another.

Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl was a YA read of the year for me and I highly recommend.

Thank you to Hot Key Books for the early review copy.

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE by Dahlia Adler

In this sweet and funny new f/f romance from the author of Cool for the Summer, a cheerleader and the school’s newest quarterback are playing to win, but might lose their hearts in the process.

Amber McCloud’s dream is to become cheer captain at the end of the year, but it’s an extra-tall order to be joyful and spirited when the quarterback of your team has been killed in a car accident. For both the team and the squad, watching Robbie get replaced by newcomer Jack Walsh is brutal. And when it turns out Jack is actually short for Jaclyn, all hell breaks loose.

The players refuse to be led by a girl, the cheerleaders are mad about the changes to their traditions, and the fact that Robbie’s been not only replaced but outshined by a QB who wears a sports bra has more than a few Atherton Alligators in a rage. Amber tries for some semblance of unity, but it quickly becomes clear that she’s only got a future on the squad and with her friends if she helps them take Jack down.

Just one problem: Amber and Jack are falling for each other, and if Amber can’t stand up for Jack and figure out how to get everyone to fall in line, her dream may come at the cost of her heart.


Title : Home Field Advantage
Author : Dahlia Adler
Format : ARC
Page Count : 304
Genre : YA LGBTQIAP+ romance
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Release Date : June 7, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★


Hollis’ 2 star review

Welp, this wasn’t quite the “sweet and funny” romance I expected it to be. Clearly.

I’ll admit I requested this with the hope that all of what I liked about Adler’s previously queer YA, Cool For the Summer, would be magnified and even more fun in this other queer YA, particularly with the cheerleader/female quarterback angle, but.. it was not. It didn’t even measure up.

Look, it’s expected to navigate hard hitting topics these days, because they are timely, they are important, and they are realities faced by everyone but particularly marginalized peoples. However.. if you promise me sweet and funny, I want sweet and funny. And instead this was relentlessly misogynistic, homophobic, with bullying, and generally an overwhelming vibe of nothing fun or nice. However, Jack, our transplanted-from-another-school quarterback? She deserved to be rooted for. She did deserve her own cheerleader. I just wish she’d gotten a better one. Because Amber only occasionally had her good moments. But that didn’t make her unique. Pretty much right across the board, almost every single character sucked. And those who didn’t were like Amber; with only occasional good or redeeming moments.

So, yeah, maybe you aren’t like me and won’t feel offended or disappointed by all the frustrations in here — or the insta-love, which somehow continued to feel paper thin despite the passing of months — and you’ll appreciate the conflicts and the more or less happily ever after, but.. I’m not. I’m bummed. I’m also trying not to stare at this gorgeously colourful cover and feel like it hasn’t personally victimized and betrayed me.

You might like this; in theory there’s a lot to love. I just didn’t love or like it. As a result, I’m not sure I’ll risk picking up another book by this author.

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

WICKED BEAUTY by Katee Robert

She was the face that launched a thousand ships,
The fierce beauty at the heart of Olympus,
And she was never ours to claim.

*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Helen of Troy, Achilles, and Patroclus that’s as sinful as it is sweet.*

In Olympus, you either have the power to rule…or you are ruled. Achilles Kallis may have been born with nothing, but as a child he vowed he would claw his way into the poisonous city’s inner circle. Now that a coveted role has opened to anyone with the strength to claim it, he and his partner, Patroclus Fotos, plan to compete and double their odds of winning.

Neither expect infamous beauty Helen Kasios to be part of the prize…or for the complicated fire that burns the moment she looks their way.

Zeus may have decided Helen is his to give to away, but she has her own plans. She enters into the competition as a middle finger to the meddling Thirteen rulers, effectively vying for her own hand in marriage. Unfortunately, there are those who would rather see her dead than lead the city. The only people she can trust are the ones she can’t keep her hands off—Achilles and Patroclus. But can she really believe they have her best interests at heart when every stolen kiss is a battlefield?


Title : Wicked Beauty
Author : Katee Robert
Series : Dark Olympus (book three)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 368
Genre : romance / retelling
Publisher : Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date : June 7, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 3 star review

This is easily my favourite of the series so far. I know that maybe isn’t the big statement it might seem considering this is only a three star but this series has been a strange ride because I continually want to enjoy what Robert has created, and occasionally do like elements of things, but I ultimately feel like it’s overruled and spoiled by other things. And that’s not all gone. I still really struggle with comprehending how this world works but for once I was completely distracted by the plot. Because for once we h a d plot.

I had such a good time with the Ares trials and really enjoyed how they were set up. It certainly wasn’t as well thought out or complex as a fantasy might have made them out to be but lest we forget (we cannot) this is a romance first. And we had a good mix of action to move the players forward, romance and sexy times and emotions, and also a subtle little side plot to add some conflict to the world itself and set up something (hopefully) interesting for book four.

Now, as for that romance. I definitely wavered in my liking and disliking of the men; initially I was put-off by Achilles — but we’re supposed to be, there’s good reason for it. And then later.. he wins you over and it’s Patroclus who was maybe a little too hesitant, a little too overthink-y. Helen ended up being the perfect solution. Watching these three bounce off each other, resist each other, give in, bend.. it was fun. Sexy, yes, but mostly fun.

I also realllyyyy loved how the main plot point resolved. I had hoped but I wasn’t sure it would go that way. I was pleased.

So, yeah, colour me really surprised with how this one shook out. I am still very shaky on this world and how it all works but clearly I’m just going to have to learn to stow that and turn my brain off and focus on the immediacy of it all.

As for who and what’s next couple-wise, I had no idea until I went to investigate because nothing is set up in this instalment and I already know the Zeus and Callisto match-up is likely to be the last one. So I’m not going to spoil anything but if you’re curious, you can definitely hunt it down!

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

FOR THE THRONE by Hannah Whitten – double review!

THE FIRST DAUGHTER IS FOR THE THRONE
THE SECOND DAUGHTER IS FOR THE WOLF

Hannah Whitten’s debut For the Wolf was an instant New York Times bestseller and word-of-mouth phenomenon. Now, the eagerly awaited sequel, For the Throne, concludes her brilliant dark tale of love, magic and the secrets written in the stars.

Red and the Wolf have finally contained the threat of the Five Kings, but at a steep cost. Red’s beloved sister – Neve, the First Daughter – is lost in the Shadowlands. But Neve has an ally, even if it’s one she’d rather never speak to again – the rogue king Solmir. Together they must journey across a dangerous landscape to find the mysterious Heart Tree – and finally claim the gods’ dark, twisted powers for themselves.


Title : For The Throne
Author : Hannah Whitten
Series : For The Wolf (book two)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 448
Genre : fantasy
Publisher : Orbit Books
Release Date : June 7, 2022

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


Hollis’ 2.5 star review

My thoughts about For The Wolf were a little mixed, which I thought was only due to the delayed and prolonged reading of the book itself, but in hindsight.. maybe was just genuine feelings. Because other than the overall vibes and some character interactions, I felt rather lost by the story.

Well the same is true for the sequel. 

Even though I didn’t do myself a favour by making time to reread book one, I jumped right in and thought the first half was really good. It was slow reading but somehow also easy reading, even if I wasn’t engaged. However in hindsight, having finished the latter part, it was also the best half. Mainly because of Neve’s POV alongside her adventures with Solmir in the Shadowlands. As the story went on and we flipped to POVs for Red, and even Raffe, I was even more detached from things. I might not have been invested in the plot but, again, I was here for the vibes. I was here for the messy and evolving dynamic between Neve and Solmir. 

But where things really went off the rails for me, beyond being checked out during certain chapters, was the climax. I’m just.. I have no words. I don’t understand and I don’t want to understand. It is what it is and I’m not a fan.

I would probably pick the author up again but I could just as easily not. 

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


Micky’s 3 star review

Headlines:
Kings and trees
Souls and keys

I came into this sequel a bit unsure what to expect having really liked Red and Eamonn in For The Wolf and not sure if I was ready for a Neve-centric read. What I found was that Neve (and Solmir) pitched for my attention early on and won it. We got a fair bit of Red and Eamonn in this book, so fans of that couple should feel satisfied.

The Wilderwood evolved into something above and below with creepy feelings pervading. Whitten is particulary good at creating atmosphere with a sense of tension and foreboding. The quest involving keys, kings and souls was something that echoed things we’ve seen along folklore, fairytales and retellings in the past but with a sense of freshness to the plot.

However, some of the issues I had with For The Wolf around the plot complexity and not feeling the flow continued into this second book for me. While the plot was linear, it didn’t always feel linear and I stalled a few times reading this.

I like Whitten’s imagination in world and I especially like her characterisation. I’ll definitely read her again.

Thank you to Orbit Books for the eARC.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – JUNE 7, 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.


Stuck With You by Ali Hazelwood is the next release in the author’s STEMinist novella series.

For the Throne by Hannah Whitten is the final instalment in this woodsy duology featuring old gods and magic.

Final Orders by Gregory Ashe is the fifth instalment in this spin-off of a spin-off m/m contemporary series.

This Place Is Still Beautiful by Xixi Tian is a YA contemporary set around a family who are reeling from an unexpected hate crime. A very timely read, for sure.

Wicked Beauty by Katee Robert is book three in the Dark Olympus series and this time we’re navigating a polyamorous relationship between Achilles, Patroclus, and Helen (yes, that Helen).

Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler is a f/f YA contemporary romance between a cheerleader (!) and the quarterback (!!).

The Setup by Lizzy Dent is out today in the US/CAN but not until June 9, 2022 for UKers.



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

THIS PLACE IS STILL BEAUTIFUL by XiXi Tian

Two sisters. A shocking racist incident. The summer that will change both of their lives forever. 

Despite having had near-identical upbringings, sisters Annalie and Margaret agree on only one thing: that they have nothing in common. Nineteen-year-old Margaret is driven, ambitious, and keenly aware of social justice issues. She couldn’t wait to leave their oppressive small-town home and take flight in New York. Meanwhile sweet, popular, seventeen-year-old Annalie couldn’t think of anything worse – she loves their town, and feels safe coasting along in its confines.

That is, until she arrives home one day to find a gut-punching racial slur painted on their garage door.

Outraged, Margaret flies home, expecting to find her family up in arms. Instead, she’s amazed to hear they want to forget about it. Their mom is worried about what it might stir up, and Annalie just wants to have a ‘normal’ summer – which Margaret is determined to ruin, apparently.

Back under each other’s skins, things between Margaret and Annalie get steadily worse – and not even the distraction of first love (for Annalie), or lost love (for Margaret) can bring them together.

Until finally, a crushing secret threatens to tear them apart forever.


Title : This Place Is Still Beautiful
Author : XiXi Tian
Format : eARC
Page Count : 368
Genre : YA contemporary
Publisher : Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
Release Date : June 7, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3.5 (rounded up) star review

You know what else is beautiful? That cover. Hoo boy. Stunning.

I waffled a bit on this rating as of writing this — on whether to round up or not — because while this wasn’t perfect, and I was frustrated and uncomfortable and frustrated some more, I think that’s the whole point. And it’s important to sit with those feelings. And also acknowledge all the complex nuance that this author, and this story, definitely touches on.

They think me talking publicly about racism is more offensive than a actual hate crime. People would rather I just kept my mouth shut and looked sad. Then they could white knight in and express sympathy without feeling uncomfortable. I’m not in the business of keeping people from feeling uncomfortable.”

Not only is this a very timely story, with timely discussion, I think in general it’s just not something we’ve seen a lot of. Racist conflicts, sure. Siblings feeling pitted against each other, while also trying to navigate complicated parental dynamics, yes. Topics surrounding white-passing, more and more. But this tackled so much more while also delving into all the above.

I found Annalie’s POV and storyline the hardest to stomach not only because I was side-eyeing this guy she had been so keen to date for so long. But also because of what comes out about the hate crime and who was involved and how she, also, becomes involved. And it’s in a very different way than Margaret who is, unlike her younger sister, not white-passing and also the kind of person to shout from the rooftops, rattle chains, and make noise; all of which she does.

What are second chances anyway except the ability to screw up a second time?

And despite this, or maybe because of it, I actually preferred Margaret’s POV and I found her, despite how unlikeable she could be, to be more likeable as a result. Also, her own romance plot? Heartbreaking. The whole catalyst behind that is one of the main issues I was hinting at above but I’m not going to mention because spoilers.

I wish I could talk to her the way I want to. I wish I could make her understand my heart, or that I could understand hers, but between us, there is an entire ocean that we will never be able to cross.

This was definitely a more mature-leaning YA, between the subject matter and some of the topics and how they were handled, and I really appreciated that. This definitely had the right tones for the story. I’m sure I could find things to pick apart (some interactions, particularly in the beginning, didn’t quite fit, and there was definitely an inconsistency or two, but this is an ARC, so, I’ll let it slide, because they weren’t littered throughout) but again I think the strength of this outweighs the few weaknesses.

I worried this couldn’t possibly live up to the pitch (I saw the author speak to the nature and inspiration of this story and was totally mesmerized) but I’m glad this turned out to be a win. For so many reasons.

Would definitely recommend if this is already on your radar! This is a debut you don’t want to miss.

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

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