Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

THE SILVERED SERPENTS by Roshani Chokshi

They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost ― one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumoured to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.


Title : The Silvered Serpents
Author : Roshani Chokshi
Series : The Gilded Wolves (book two)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 416
Genre : YA historical fiction / fantasy
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Release Date : September 22, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

You know the chorus from Paramore’s Decode? How did we get here? I used to know you so well? Well that’s what was running through my head as I finished this book. How did I go from confused tolerance for book one to.. exceedingly enjoying this one? Every now and then this happens to me and it only reinforces my behaviour to read on in series that I maybe didn’t love or had mixed feelings on. Yet when it works in my favour I’m still always surprised.

Be a light in this world, [..], for it can be very dark.

I mean, it could still all go to shit in book three, but right now? Hi hello. We like.

As per usj, this is a sequel, so there’s not much I can or will say. But if you loved book one? I think you’ll love this, too. And for those, like me, who were uncertain or confused or not wholly into it? I might suggest you push on. Everything is still the same, I can’t quite articulate how things have changed (besides the obvious spoilery ways), but I found this one a lot easier to follow.

You rescued us. This almost feels like a fairy tale, and I’m the damsel in distress.
You’re not a damsel.”
I am in distress, though.
But–
Let me have this.”

While I don’t think I ever really got sucker punched in the feels, or felt anything was particularly funny or humourous, I nonetheless felt more connected to these characters and their myriad tragedies, losses, or heartbreaks. It’s weird. I was so disconnected from them in book one but now? I don’t know how it happened.

When she thought of evil, she did not think of mechanical monsters swimming in lake waters, but of people; [..] the people who hid cruelty behind politics.

I will say this was also an easier book to visualize (always my number one problem with this author’s writing) but there were still two scenes that stuck out to me where I was really grasping to understand how things were happening or what it looked like. So, like, literally almost everything I struggled with in book one doesn’t apply to this one. We love that!

My life, and whatever is left of it, will not be what his soul gnaws on to regain its strength. My death is not in service to his character, and I will not be a sacrifice simply for him to find peace of mind. He is not my responsibility to save.

I’m definitely keen to see these characters come back from where they’ve ended up and how this whole story wraps. Bring on 2021 (.. and for more reasons than just this book! all the reasons!).

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

TOOLS OF ENGAGEMENT by Tessa Bailey – double review!

In Tessa Bailey’s latest rom-com, two enemies team up to flip a house… and the sparks between them might burn the place down or ignite a passion that neither can ignore!

Hair, makeup, clothing, decor… everything in Bethany Castle’s world is organized, planned, and styled to perfection. Which is why the homes she designs for her family’s real estate business are the most coveted in town. The only thing not perfect? Her track record with men. She’s on a dating hiatus and after helping her friends achieve their dreams, Bethany finally has time to focus on her own: flip a house, from framework to furnishings, all by herself. Except her older brother runs the company and refuses to take her seriously.

When a television producer gets wind of the Castle sibling rivalry, they’re invited on Flip Off, a competition to see who can do the best renovation. Bethany wants bragging rights, but she needs a crew and the only member of her brother’s construction team willing to jump ship is Wes Daniels, the new guy in town. His Texas drawl and handsome face got under Bethany’s skin on day one, but the last thing she needs is some cocky young cowboy in her way.

As the race to renovate heats up, Wes and Bethany are forced into close quarters, trading barbs and biting banter as they remodel the ugliest house on the block. It’s a labor of love, hate, and everything in between, and soon sparks are flying. But Bethany’s perfectly structured life is one kiss away from going up in smoke and she knows falling for a guy like Wes would be a flipping disaster.


Title : Tools of Engagement
Author : Tessa Bailey
Series : Hot & Hammered (book three)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 368
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Avon
Release Date : September 22, 2020

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


Hollis’ 4 star review

Possibly my favourite of the series?

We love a hate-to-love in this house, or at least a somewhat antagonistic dynamic hiding attraction, particularly when the pair are opposites, but throw in an age gap and a single dad-situation, too? I mean, c’mon. Catnip.

I like being referred to as your foreman. It’s got a nice ring.”
Especially compared to what I usually call you.”
Truth. It’s a definite improvement from dickhead.”

The build-up for this match up has been bubbling away in the background of this series for a while and, for this reader, it was definitely worth the wait. Pretty much everything about this just worked for me (maybe also helped by a bit of a dry spell in the contemporary romance genre?). Besides the delightful tease and torment, the peeling back of layers, I just really appreciated all the situations navigated. Bethany’s insecurities, Wes’ impermanence, and the fact that as they tear down a structure to rebuild, and do it together, they realize how well the fit. How one has a house — though it isn’t a home — much less one filled with joy, while the other is only ever a guest, never asked to stay. Never needed or wanted.

Can you tell this book made me cry?

Don’t worry, though, it’s also sexy and hot af, as one expects from a Bailey.

I’m not interested in a fling — and even if I was, you’ve wisely removed sex from the equation–
Deepest regret of my life.”
Yeah, pretty shortsighted of you.

I’ll admit the introduction of the reality show element wasn’t my favourite, though it worked as the spark to kick things off and ramp up the intensity and the stakes. And I didn’t love the big reconciliation moment (I think I said the same about book one? I’m just not always into these big showy expressions, I think). But I appreciated that things ended happily though not with every bit tied off in a bow; and but that I mean with the characters and their journeys, too. It helps shave off a bit of cheese from the whole HEA and makes it much more palateable.

That was poetic.
Your epitagh is going to be poetic once I strangle you.”
Having your hands on me is the ideal way to go.”

If you’ve enjoyed the books in this series, I think you’ll definitely like this one, too.

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


Micky’s 3.5 star review

This was another fun instalment in the series and what I’ve loved about the series, are the characters Tessa Bailey creates. Bethany and Wes were no exception and probably the most endearing characters so far. Bethany was a perfectionist with sometimes crippling anxiety and Wes was an ex-bullrider, trying to parent his niece. Said niece was funny and adorable. I love flawed (normal) characters so I found this set up appealing.

This was a bit of an age-gap romance (7 years) however at 23 and 30, it didn’t feel that much of an issue to me, but it was to Bethany. I was glad to see Bethany in close focus in this book and she was much more than the perfect house and event stylist I’d seen from other books. The tension between her and Wes was pretty hot-banterish with a side of snarky fake-hate. The dialogue was extremely fun.

Wes was adorable, parenting his niece, making it up as he went along but he was such a good guy despite the innuendo towards Bethany. He was protective to them both without being overly alpha-ish , which I really appreciated. The story was predictable but fun.

I don’t exactly know why this book didn’t hit the 4 stars having said all the above but I did keep putting the book down and it didn’t hold my attention on holiday, with no outside stressors. By 70% I wanted to get to the end, the predictability had won over and I knew there would be a hurdle then smooth. However, it left me with all the good feels with a strong ending.

This was a good instalment in the series, but book 2 remains my favourite.

Thank you to Avon for the early review copy.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – SEPTEMBER 22, 2020

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.


TOOLS OF ENGAGEMENT by Tessa Bailey is the final (?) in her Hot and Hammered series and this is the match-up many have been waiting for since book one! This opposites attract/age gap/single parent romance is out September 22, 2020.

If you were won over by WELL MET, the romance set against a Renaissance faire, we’re sure you’re excited to pick up WELL PLAYED by Jen DeLuca. Kilts, wenches, comedy, and that cheerful yellow cover? We needs it. And now, we can have its!

EARLY DEPARTURES by Justin A. Reynolds has such an uniquely strange concept that we’re loathe to spoil it for those that hate spoilers (hi, over here, us too!) but this speculative YA tackles “loss, grief, friendship, and love to form a wholly unique homage to the bonds that bring people together for life—and beyond.”

MISS METEOR by Tehlor Kay Mejia & Anna-Marie McLemore is a lovely, heartfelt, and heartwarming story about friendship, about accepting who you are even in the face of judgment and ridicule, about taking risks, about friendship blossoming into more..? You need this book. We’ll have a review very soon!


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

COMMON GOAL by Rachel Reid

New York Admirals goalie Eric never thought his friends-with-benefits arrangement with much-younger Kyle would leave them both wanting more…

Veteran goaltender Eric Bennett has faced down some of the toughest shooters on the ice, but nothing prepared him for his latest challenge—life after hockey. It’s time to make some big changes, starting with finally dating men for the first time.

Graduate student Kyle Swift moved to New York nursing a broken heart. He’d sworn to find someone his own age to crush on (for once). Until he meets a gorgeous, distinguished silver fox hockey player. Despite their intense physical attraction, Kyle has no intention of getting emotionally involved. He’ll teach Eric a few tricks, have some mutually consensual fun, then walk away.

Eric is more than happy to learn anything Kyle brings to the table. And Kyle never expected their friends-with-benefits arrangement to leave him wanting more. Happily-ever-after might be staring them in the face, but it won’t happen if they’re too stubborn to come clean about their feelings.

Everything they both want is within reach… They just have to be brave enough to grab it.


Title : Common Goal
Author : Rachel Reid
Series : Game Changers (book four)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 282
Genre : LGBTQIA+ sports romance
Publisher : CarinaPress
Release Date : September 21, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

Do you continue to pick up books in the Game Changers series because you want Ilya cameos? Because hi, it me.

Ilya Rozanov wants to hang out with you tonight? At a gar bar?
Apparently.”
That guy is so weird.

Just kidding. I’m also here for the hockey and the romance. And surprising no one, in a series of hockey romances, we had both here.

Dating a much younger man would pretty much make him a walking midlife crisis, and Eric really didn’t want that kind of attention. He couldn’t stomach the idea of being a recently divorced man rebounding with a pretty young thing. And then there was the fact that Kyle was a man.

This was definitely the strongest in this series post, and pre, HEATED RIVALRY, and I’m so relieved about that. The dynamic of this couple, the age gap and the fact that it’s the older man needing guidance as he explores his hitherto unexplored attraction to men, was so sweet without ever getting into book one levels of sucrose. I think what really helped this romance for me was that I believed in the friendship that was the foundation for what later bloomed. And, honestly, the first kiss? Heart eyes. Pure heart eyes. This is actually one of those romances where I was less into the hot and heavy scenes and more into the burgeoning affection between the leads.

Not that I’m not happy for Scott, but I’ve been thinking about my own wedding, I guess.”
You can remember back that far?
Shut it.”
I forget. Was Holly a war bride? Was she your nurse after the Germans shot you?
All right, I’m going home.

As I’m forever saying, I’m a sucker for an ensemble, particularly when it’s a sports team ensemble. These players? I adore them. There were so many hilarious little moments and yes, as I teased above, Ilya was at the center of a lot of those funnies. Getting those moments with him, particularly when sharing page time with Hollander, and knowing we’re finally getting a sequel? I’m trying to cram my expectations into a small box but it’s hard, yo.

Who knew Rozanov had such a big heart?
I had a hunch. I think he might secretly be a big softy.”
He does a damn good job of hiding it.

Back to COMMON GOAL, I want to mention how awesome it was to see dialogue about consent and expectations about intimacy between two men because even in m/m romances I don’t think that’s really talked about. Safety, protection? Sure. But feeling obligated to put out, or return the favour, especially if you aren’t comfortable or as enthusiastic as you might have been? We love to see that. Also the discourse around the validity of bisexuality even if you haven’t explored part of that spectrum? Fabulous.

Toronto was a team of weirdos. <– this quote isn’t included for any context, it just made me laugh

Overall, I had a really good time with this read and would definitely recommend fans of this series who may (or may not) have been a little less enthusiastic about book three, particularly in the wake of Ilya and Hollander, to give it a go. I was also about to suggest those missing hockey to dive face first into this to get your fix but hockey is, like, back now? But weird? In August? 2020 man, it keeps on keepin’ on.

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

THE STONE SKY by N. K. Jemisin

This is the way the world ends… for the last time. 

The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.

Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.

For Nassun, her mother’s mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.


Title : The Stone Sky
Author : N. K. Jemisin
Series : The Broken Earth (book three)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 324
Genre : fantasy / science fiction / dystopia
Publisher : Orbit
Release Date : August 15, 2017

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3.75 star review

Despite the fact that there were some truly lovely bits in this final installment, overwhelmingly this doesn’t rate as high as the rest of the series — particularly book one. And that’s due to many factors. Not the least being that this just felt like.. too much for my brain to grasp. And it was already trying to handle a lot; there was just so much extra info that just buried us (me). I feel like for every two things I could absorb, I was missing three more things. Maybe. I don’t know. I feel overwhelmed right now. Maybe it’s just because it’s one AM and I’m tired. But beyond that, another factor, was also because I’m not sure I ever connected as much to what become a critical second (third, fourth?) POV in this race to the end.

There are none so frightened, or so strange in their fear, as conquerors. They conjure phantoms endlessly, terrified that their victms will someday do back what was done to them.

And yet it’s clear this story, the whole shape of it, couldn’t exist without those things, so that’s why I’m likely to round this up. Because it is complex, it is unbelievable, it is lovely, it is heartbreaking, it is terrible.

[..] for a society built on exploitation, there is no greater threat than having no one left to oppress.

This might be one of the most true, most relevant, SFF stories I’ve ever read. Because so much of our world is built into this, even if it’s made up to be fantastical. And that’s equal parts frightening and hard to swallow. But it’s also so worth your time.

THE OBELISK GATE by N. K. Jemisin

THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS… FOR THE LAST TIME. 

The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring — madman, world-crusher, savior — has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.

It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.

It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.

The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.


Title : The Obelisk Gate
Author : 
Series : The Broken Earth (book two)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 321
Genre :  fantasy / science fiction / dystopia
Publisher : Orbit
Release Date : August 16, 2016

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

I have no idea how to even attempt to review this book, this world, or where this series has gone upto this point, both in the storytelling or the characters. I feel like everything is so complex, so alien, all because of something so impossibly huge but also very simple, and that makes for a hard thing to explain.

There is such a thing as too much loss. Too much has been taken from you both — taken and taken and taken, until there’s nothing but hope, and you’ve given that up because it hurts too much.

I will say that this second installment was a whole lot less heartbreaking to read. The events in book one, the devastations, the tragedies, were a lot. This one is less of that but those events, and the impacts they’ve made, still do linger.

[..] just because you can’t see or understand a thing doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you.

The telling of this story, though? Much like in book one, where it did become obvious how things were woven together, this did something similar but.. not. And I did finally clue in to that, too, but I still loved it.

This author? Masterful.

I had to wait for my hold of book two to pop up, which is why it took a month for me to continue this series (trust me, I would’ve binged had I the option) but the good news is I also have book three available, so. I guess I’m still getting a semi-binge. And I cannot wait. Stopping to write this review is as much as I’m willing to delay at this point.

SERPENT & DOVE | BLOOD & HONEY by Shelby Mahurin

This is a double review of book one and two, which I read pretty much back to back. First up, SERPENT & DOVE.



Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.


Title : Serpent & Dove
Author : Shelby Mahurin
Series : Serpent & Dove #1
Format : Ebook
Page Count : 518
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Harper Teen
Release Date : September 3, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3.5 – 4 star review

Serpent & Dove has been topping the backlog pile for a while and with a lot of booksta friends being huge fans, I had to see what the fuss was about. This was another book that started slow for me but by half way I got what the fuss was about, so I’d call this one a ‘builder’.

I love a ‘marriage of convenience’ trope and the union between Lou and Reid (Lou Reid?!) was from such polar opposites – a witch and a witch hunter. Lou was such a snarky free spirit that she was easy to like. She had little cares to give, no filter and so her dialogue was fun. Reid was definitely more buttoned up and hard to like initally.

My husband was still the most pompous ass in an entire tower of pompous asses.

Lou and Reid together however, were a couple to cheer for and it transformed how I felt about Reid and in fact, this was what made the book for me. So at times, when I wasn’t sure about the flow of the story, I was sure about my affection for this couple. All that said, I think I needed a little more time to see the love grow between the MCs than we got, there was enough but I wanted a bit more credibility.

It was a layered story, complex at times. There were some great ‘baddies’, some twists and reveals that made you stop for a minute. My favourite character outside of the MCs was Ansel. I adored him as a character, his loyalty and more.

I’m just going to add here that I am surprised this is categorised as YA/teen because of the sexual content and detail.

So, this was a good fantasy read, a little fresh on story and lot to offer in terms of romance. I am looking forward to the next book which I have primed and ready!


Now for the highly anticipated BLOOD & HONEY…


After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.


Title : Blood & Honey
Author : Shelby Mahurin
Series : Serpent & Dove #2
Format : eARC
Page Count : 528
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Harper Teen/Harper 360
Release Date : September 17, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 2.5 star review

2.5 stars

I’m gutted to find myself at this rating but here we are. I’m new to this series and had the advantage of reading book one and two back to back, so I had all the detail of book one fresh in my mind. I’ve seen a few reviews recommending a re-read of SERPENT & DOVE first, so I’m glad the intracacies of the plot were fresh.

What went wrong with BLOOD AND HONEY was the lack of story and the demise of coupledom. The whole plot was the crew of friends wandering the countryside looking for allies until a handful of pages until the end. I can’t describe my disappointment at this. I wanted more action, more coherence, all the things I found were present in book one.

What anchored me to SERPENT & DOVE when I was wavering were Lou and Reid. They were mere shadows of themselves both individually but also as a couple. Their faith in one another was constantly wavering and there was little chemistry or connection. Reid’s attitude to magic really annoyed me as the book progressed. The best things about this book were Coco and Ansel who kept me going when I wanted to put the book down.

I’m not going to labour this with a long review and I hope others enjoy this highly anticipated sequel. I’m sad to say I’m unsure if I’ll bother with book three.

Thank you to Harper 360 for the early review copy.


And here are the UK buy links!

BLOG TOUR: NOTES FROM SMALL PLANETS by Nate Crowley

Journey from fantasy mountains to super-cities, through piratical seas and up into space without missing any must-see sights – or putting a foot wrong with the locals! Whether you’re Lord of the shoestring-budget or Luxe Skywalker – Notes from Small Planets is your pastiche passport through the best worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Your ultimate travel guide to all the must-see locations in the worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

The perfect gift for self-professed geeks and fans of all things genre – from classic genre listeners to new young disciples of nerdery. From misty mountains to wizarding schools, from the homes of superheroes to lairs of infamous villains – visit your favourite worlds and discover new ones – all without ever missing a single landmark or traditional dish. What’s orc for ‘bon voyage’? 


Title : Notes From Small Planets
Author : Nate Crowley
Format : Hardback
Page Count : 253
Genre : Sci-fi/Fantasy
Publisher : Harper Voyager
Release Date : September 17, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

This book makes me think that it needs its own genre – Sci-fi-fantasy-com (as in comedy). This book is formatted like a traditional travel guide. The hardback is smaller than your normal book and inside it’s all travel destination-orientated, what you need to know before you visit. For example, you get people, creatures, sights, entertainment, wildlife, outings, currency and more.

Hilariously, space itself had its own chapter, with lots of imagination and fun. The illustrations, maps, pictures and formatting were well thought out and made the book have that travel-guide appeal. What’s enjoyable about this book is that you don’t have to devour front to back, you can go a chapter at a time, a destination at a time. If I wasn’t rushing to read for review, I would have taken it slower.

I feel like you have to be at least a part-time geek to enjoy this book but many like me will fit into this defintion and find this book wildly entertaining. The travel guide narrator is humerous and there are editorial comments as footnotes which I was less keen on.

This was fun concept, easy to read and a great addition to the shelf for any SFF fan. Thank you to Harper Voyager for the gifted copy.

Please check out the other tour hosts on the graphic below!

YOU HAD ME AT HOLA by Alexis Daria

After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez. 

Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy

After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had. 

Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars.

With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.


Title : You Had Me at Hola
Author : Alexis Daria
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 283
Genre : romance
Publisher : Avon
Release Date : August 4, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2.5 (rounded up) star review

Show of hands, who thought this was YA? Oh, just me? Elle oh elle.

Well just incase there’s any lingering confusion from my fellow #TeamNoBlurb’ers? This is adult. In fact, the romance happens between a thirty year old and a love interest pushing forty, so, yeah. Definitely not YA. But also extra points for raising the age bracket a little higher for those of us who are no longer twenty five!

That said, I do have sorta mixed feelings on this. I mostly liked Jasmine; both because she was very self-aware of her failings (not really failings, actually, but her tendencies) in the romance department but also because even when vulnerable, even when she didn’t feel totally supported by family, she was still pretty focused without letting in any self-doubt. Not that she was totally on her own; she has a hype squad made up of her two closest cousins and I absolutely loved their dynamic and how each of the women were very clearly their own person. Where she fell short for me was in her behaviour during a pretty critical conflict moment and her total short-sightedness and self-centered behaviour.. which I won’t detail any further as it spoils things.

In the positives column, I did really adore the unabashed representation. Daria didn’t just give her characters mixed heritage, throw them onto a Latinx telenovela reboot and call it a day, no. Between the Spanish on page, sometimes even without a direct translation, but helped along by context cues, and all the different backgrounds for characters, even the mix within Jasmine’s family alone, it felt full and rich and wonderful. Even better, I loved that the author didn’t include any kind of outsider (or white) character into the story who would then need explanations or to insert themselves into anything or, heaven forbid, rescue our lead or be the voice of reason. And I say that as a white person.

That said, another area where this didn’t quite win for me was the love interest. I could understand and even respect a lot of his choices, his omissions, his behaviours but.. I don’t know. I liked the build-up between our leads, I liked that we started with something like a friendship first, albeit a friendship with a heavy dose of immediate attraction, and while reading about their chemistry I could kinda see where the author was trying to make things happen.. I just didn’t believe it, if that makes sense. That said, the chapters that pulled scenes of their acting onto the page? I thought I would hate that, because I’ve disliked similar things in the past, but during those moments, the fiction within the fiction? I felt the chemistry there for sure. And I liked the behind the scenes staging and choreography of it all. Not sure I’ve seen that done in a book featuring actors before.

So, yeah, a bunch of this I was pretty into. Other bits, not so much. But this is a pretty quick read, with a lot of representation, though there was definitely some stupid drama for the sake of drama which frustrated me, particularly when being created by thirty to forty year successful adults.. eye roll, and a healthy dose of steam. While it won’t make a favourites list for me, I would definitely still recommend it.

CHARLOTTE by Helen Moffett


Everybody thinks that Charlotte Lucas has no prospects. She is twenty-seven years old, unmarried, plain, and seemingly without ambition. When she stuns the neighbourhood by accepting the proposal of buffoonish clergyman Mr Collins, her best friend Lizzy Bennet is angry at her for undervaluing herself. Yet the decision is the only way Charlotte knows to provide for her future, and marriage will propel her into a new world, of duty, marriage, children, grief and ultimately illicit love, and a kind of freedom.

Jane Austen cared deeply about the constraints of women in Regency England. This powerful reimagining takes up where Austen left off, showing us a woman determined to carve a place for herself in the world. Charlotte offers a fresh, feminist addition to the post-Austen canon, beautifully imagined, and brimming with passion and intelligence.


Title : Charlotte
Author : Helen Moffett
Narrator : Isabella Inchbald
Format : ebook/audiobook
Page Count : 368/8 hours 17 minutes
Genre : Historical/Retelling
Publisher : Bonnier Books/Manilla Press
Release Date : September 3, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3.5 -4 star review

This continuation story of Charlotte’s character in a full book was surprising, it was unexpected in terms of the story direction and wholly enjoyable overall. Charlotte is a character who has always had my attention every time I’ve read or watched Pride & Prejudice. I think we’ve all struggled to understand her decision over Mr Collins, at least initially. This book explored her as a person but also their relationship as a couple. However this book is all Charlotte as a women in all her facets.

The book joined Charlotte seven years into her marriage to Mr Collins with three children, but tragedy was around the corner. This book navigated Charlotte’s journey through life’s hurdles, difficulties and grief. How Charlotte got through her emotions, anger and desire sometimes made by eyebrows raise but it felt tangible and good storytelling.

The cast of characters in the background of this book were rich and familiar. Lizzy, Anne de Bourgh and Catherine de Bourgh brought some excellent reading and some surprising elements. I enjoyed the friendship and confidence between Anne and Charlotte and Charlotte had also won the respect of Anne’s mother.

“But what really has my admiration is that my mother considers this an excellent plan of action. This leads me to all but suspect witchcraft on your part, Mrs Collins. Did our gypsy friends weave a spell, perhaps?”

Some of Charlotte’s experiences were heart-aching and on the flip side, her passionate nature was surprising. I liked where the story ended up in terms of her passions and I will say no more.

I had both an ebook ARC and an advance audio copy. I listened mostly and read some by ebook. The narration was perfect for the book and really conveyed Charlotte as a character.

Thank you to Bonnier Books for the early review copies.