THE STARS WE STEAL by Alexa Donne

Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself failing for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.


Title : The Stars We Steal
Author : Alexa Donne
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 400
Genre : YA Sci-fi/Retelling
Publisher : Titan Books
Release Date : February 4, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

THE STARS WE STEAL had the ingredients for Micky kryptonite with space, sci-fi and YA…that was before I even heard it was a retelling of Persuasion, so I was truly sold at that point. The execution didn’t let me down and won’t let fans of the original down if they have an open mind about the age of the characters and an in-the-future interpretation.

Leo was a likeable heroine from early on. She was a feisty, curvy feminist with a little more confidence than the original ‘Ann’. The premise for this world, included an ice-age on Earth, a huge fleet of ships and a royalty system. There was a context of haves and have-nots. I enjoyed the politics, corrupt as they were and nepotism was the flavour of the month. Leo navigated this world, the fleet of ships with quiet insight, courage and snark.

I was a commodity in a pretty dress, on display for all to see.

Captain-to-be Elliot Wentworth returned to Leo’s life in unexpected way and they were not fast friends. Old hurts, jealousies and feelings were a roller coaster for these two. I struggled to really like Elliot, there was nothing essentially wrong with him but he didn’t give me the feels that the character he’s based upon demanded. However, when they were together, the chemistry was catchy.

Great side characters, both good and downright nasty, aiding this book along. There were family, friends and acquaintences that offered a rich tapestry. I liked Daniel and Evgenia a lot but Leo’s close family were hard to fathom until they weren’t.

The fast-paced story that ensued had me glued to my book, I found it difficult to put down and there were some mysteries along the way. This was truly a cast of YA characters, so lovers of Persuasion have to be ready accept this different age range and some of the decisions and behaviours that come with that age. I loved the conceptualisation in space and in YA, I appreciated the fun that they had on their ships and I enjoyed the ‘vlag’ season.

I highly recommend this fun, dynamic retelling of a classic in space. I think readers will engage with the fun characters and setting.

Thank you to Titan books for the gorgeous finished copy for review.

ALONE IN THE WILD by Kelley Armstrong

In #1 New York Times bestseller Kelley Armstrong’s latest thriller, the hidden town of Rockton is about to face a challenge none of them saw coming: a baby.

Every season in Rockton seems to bring a new challenge. At least that’s what Detective Casey Duncan has felt since she decided to call this place home. Between all the secretive residents, the sometimes-hostile settlers outside, and the surrounding wilderness, there’s always something to worry about.

While on a much needed camping vacation with her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, Casey hears a baby crying in the woods. The sound leads them to a tragic scene: a woman buried under the snow, murdered, a baby still alive in her arms.

A town that doesn’t let anyone in under the age of eighteen, Rockton must take care of its youngest resident yet while solving another murder and finding out where the baby came from – and whether she’s better off where she is.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong again delivers an engaging, tense thriller set in perhaps the most interesting town in all of contemporary crime fiction.


Title : Alone in the Wild
Author : Kelley Armstrong
Series : Rockton (book five)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 368
Genre : mystery/thriller
Publisher : Doubleday Canada
Release Date : February 4, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 3 star review

I’m sad about this “low” rating because I had hoped book four was a fluke and this new book would recapture the magic of the first three installments. This is such a unique premise, with interesting characters, who have plenty of unlikeable and challenging personalities to bounce off of, along with the complicated situation of their living conditions, and it all just makes for fun and exciting and thrilling stories. But these last two..

This series is about an off-the-grid town in the Yukon, called Rockton. Rockton being a town populated by people who have escaped horrors, are on the run from something in their pasts, and have found a place where they can disappear for a few years. Sometimes, too, they are the ones who caused the horrors and just paid enough to a particular group in order to be admitted in order to lay low. Our lead protagonist is Casey Duncan, who arrived to this town to help her friend escape her ex, and has become one of the three detectives who help to police the outlaw-esque locals and keep the peace.

In this particular story, Casey discovers a baby in the woods, along with the body of a dead woman.. and discovers she was not the baby’s mother. It’s through communicating with the two local settlements, plus in speaking with a recluse, and a former hostile (someone who was once part of one of the nomad-esque tribes of.. well, hostile people), to track down who this woman is, where the baby’s parents are, and.. well, lots of that, really. There’s the politics of dealing with the settlements, trade negotiations, and just general complexities in navigating all that plus the wildlife and plus the harsh weather.

What I like about this series continues to be the characters, though some are forever a frustration, and again the setting is just so different. It’s great to read a contemporary where detectives can’t just google shit, there’s no conveniences of the kind we’re used to living with, and it’s a very hard life but not without lots of positive things, too. This particular mystery forced Casey and her Sheriff pseudo-husband to talk about the possibility of children, and the complications therein, and it got a little emotional there at the end. But while I also appreciate that Armstrong uses her cast of characters, most who have never lived within a modern society or any place other than the wilderness, to explore particular discussions, ie, bias, prejudice, toxic masculinity, etc, this one felt really.. preachy. I don’t know. Sometimes people who are too self-aware just get side eye from me.

So, yeah. Not my favourite. But the series itself is still one I enjoy. I do wonder if the particulars of some of what was brought up in this one means there’s an end date coming for the series but who knows. This is the same author who had a thirteen book series, so. Anything goes.

I’ll definitely read on! But this was not a favourite.

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

YES NO MAYBE SO by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saaed

Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state candidate – as long as he’s behind the scenes. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is cancelled, her parents are separating and now her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing – with some awkward guy she hardly knows …

Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer – and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural crush of the century is another thing entirely.


Title : Yes No Maybe So
Author : Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saaed
Format : Paperback ARC
Page Count : 368
Genre : Contemporary YA
Publisher : Simon & Schuster UK
Release Date : February 4, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 3.5 star review

This is a gift of a contemporary book that bravely tackles the political climate we live in. On top of this, YES NO MAYBE SO is loaded with cuteness. In this way, it balances the serious themes with some lightness very well.

YES NO MAYBE SO had two quirky and endearing characters in Jamie a Jewish teen and Maya a Muslim teen. They were childhood friends but they hadn’t seen one another for a long time. Suddenly, they were coerced into canvasing for a political leader’s election together. Along the way were a bunch of humps in the road, the personal humps were sad but more impactful were the polarising political issues affecting their cultures and faith. The writing was approached in just the right way, it was compelling, it wasn’t preachy and it immersed you in the personal stories of racism, prejudice and ignorance. I can’t speak to the representation of faith or culture in this book but both authors are own voices, that said, please also search out own voices reviews.

There was the sweetest of slow-building connections with these two, it was cutely awkward, especially with Jamie’s knack for saying the wrong thing. There was a lot of cringey, fun moments that made me laugh. I liked that these two were not immediately drawn to one another, at least Maya wasn’t but friendship and camaraderie was a persuasive allure. I did like Maya and Jamie but I didn’t always connect to their wider stories and the side characters. The wider stories were relevant and I think I just wanted something more from the storytelling.

This was a cute, joyful read that didn’t evade real life and politics. There aren’t that many books embracing this kind of context and so I say bravo to Albertali and Saaed for this.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster UK for the review copy.

AN EVERYDAY HERO by Laura Trentham

From award-winning author Laura Trentham comes an emotionally layered novel about redemption, second chances and discovering that life is worth fighting for.

At thirty, Greer Hadley never expected to be forced home to Madison, Tennessee with her life and dreams of being a songwriter up in flames. To make matters worse, a series of bad decisions and even crappier luck lands her community service hours at a nonprofit organization that aids veterans and their families. Greer cannot fathom how she’s supposed to use music to help anyone deal with their trauma and loss when the one thing that brought her joy has failed her.

When Greer meets fifteen-year-old Ally Martinez, her plans to stay detached and do as little as possible get thrown away. New to town and dealing with the death of her father in action, she hides her emotions behind a mask of bitterness and sarcasm, but Greer is able to see past it and recognizes pieces of who she once was in Ally. The raw and obvious talent she possesses could take her to the top and Greer vows to make sure life’s negativities don’t derail Ally’s potential.

After Greer is assigned a veteran to help, she’s not surprised Emmett Lawson, the town’s golden boy, followed his family’s legacy. What leaves her shocked is the shell of a man who believes he doesn’t deserve anyone’s help. A breakthrough with Ally reminds Greer that no one is worth giving up on. So she shows up one day with his old guitar, and meets Emmett’s rage head on with her stubbornness. When a situation with Ally becomes dire, the two of them must become a team to save her—and along the way they might just save themselves too.


Title : An Everyday Hero
Author : Laura Trentham
Series : A Heart of a Hero #2
Format : eARC
Page Count : 336
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : St Martin’s Griffin
Release Date : February 4, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

There was nothing average about this second instalment in Laura Trentham’s A Heart of a Hero series. Book one knocked my socks off and book two solidified my commitment and affection for this series. This is a multi-dimensional read that is small town but big impression.

I was expecting to see a link to the previous book but this is not an interconnected standalone, it is a true standalone, connected in the series by the theme of military heroes. For a quick moment, I was disappointed about this, but I got into the story so quickly that I ended up entranced by the characters and forgot about the series connection.

The protagonist was washed-up muscian Greer, who found herself forced into volunteering at a music centre. Somehow she was put on the case of Emmett, a veteran with one less limb, who had given up on life and people. This was a realistic, quietly impactful story as these two navigated returning to living. Remember how I said it was multi-dimensional? There was a 15 year old Ally, who was a key character in the picture, as well as horses and a kitten that I pretty much want to come and live with me.

Emmett wrapped his arms around the horse’s neck, embarrassing tears pricking his eyes. He hadn’t cried before or after his amputation. He hadn’t cried the first time he tried to walk on the prosthetic. He hadn’t cried the day he received his discharge papers. But with his face buried in the mane of his best childhood friend, tears leaked out.

Suffice it to say, this heartwarming story has all the feels and is almost guarenteed to make your eyes leak. On top of that, Greer was a snarky, no prisoners type of character. I just got on so well with reading about her and her attempts to draw Emmett and Ally out, that I was a complete fan of this book and Laura Trentham’s style of writing.

This isn’t a dramatic, high action military romance, it is the quiet, sneak up on your feelings type and I couldn’t be happier about that.

Thank you to St Martin’s Griffin for the early review copy.