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FRONTIER by Grace Curtis

A heartfelt queer romance in a high noon standoff with Earth’s uncertain future, full of love, loss, and laser guns. Perfect for fans of Becky Chambers and Mary Robinette Kowal.

In the distant future, climate change has reduced Earth to a hard-scrabble wasteland. Saints and sinners, lawmakers and sheriffs, gunslingers and horse thieves abound. Folk are as diverse and divided as they’ve ever been – except in their shared suspicions when a stranger comes to town.

One night a ship falls from the sky, bringing the planet’s first visitor in three hundred years.

She’s armed, she’s scared . . . and she’s looking for someone.

Title : Frontier
Author : Grace Curtis
Format : Physical
Page Count : 256
Genre : Sci-Fi/LGBTQIAP+
Publisher : Hodder Books
Release Date : March 6, 2023

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 3 star review

Gunslinging planetary standoffs
Sapphic connections
Technology evils

This was a quick read with western vibes in a sci-fi setting. Earth was a slightly recognisable wasteland in a dystopian future of suspicion and survival. All that said, the tone of this book had a lightness to it at times.

The MC was somewhat elusive and the story was told in looping POVs that circled back to the MC. It was an unusual approach to storytelling but it mostly worked for me once I realised how it was structured.

The civilisation on Earth was interesting with a religious zealotry related to the evils of technology; guns were okay though… The stories that connected to the overall story presented an eclectic bunch of characters but I really enjoyed getting the juice on the MC and their search for their beloved.

An interesting concept with a fresh feel. Thank you to Pride Book Tours and Hodder Books for the review copy.


In the aftermath of the Ritual of Night, everything has changed.

The Eight Immortals have catastrophically failed to stop Kihrin’s enemies, who are moving forward with their plans to free Vol Karoth, the King of Demons. Kihrin has his own ideas about how to fight back, but even if he’s willing to sacrifice everything for victory, the cost may prove too high for his allies.

Now they face a choice: can they save the world while saving Kihrin, too? Or will they be forced to watch as he becomes the very evil they have all sworn to destroy.

Title : The House of Always
Author : Jenn Lyons
Series : A Chorus of Dragons (book four)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 523
Genre : fantasy
Publisher : Tor Books
Release Date : May 11, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★.5

Hollis’ 2.5 star review

Welp, just when I had come to terms with the storytelling formula, Lyons shifted the method a bit. We’re still reliving and piecing things together but at least they aren’t sitting around reading to each other. No, they’re just all experiencing snippets of events from each other’s perspectives. I don’t know if this is better or worse. Maybe it just is.

But after just having been pleased that I’d been having a good time with the characters again? Well, we brought back a whole bunch who had been having adventures off-page (hence the memory catch-up game) and unfortunately some of those are ones I would’ve preferred never see again. These names obviously won’t mean anything to anyone who hasn’t read but : Qown. I hate you so much you dramatic coward (yes, it’s a thing). And Kalindra you were a pain. Dramatic in your own way but mostly just a bitch. You both exhausted me.

Bonus though? The thing I had anticipated not happening for a while romantic dynamics-wise based on how book three ended? Well, something allowed for some of that to happen in book four and.. I’m not mad at it.

Beyond that, the only fun part of this was how most of the story felt like a spooky locked room haunted house horror show with a ticking clock counting down the seconds until they were all.. well, killed. And the way some people were taken away was clever, too. I enjoyed that. The downside is some of the filler during the less tense scenes, between memory sharing flashbacks, was spent debating everyone’s horribleness. As in, who had done the most awful things and why. Who deserved what. Who had the most blood on their hands. Who deserved to feel guilt and shame and who didn’t deserve happiness. Who deserved to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. Who would then get mad about it all. It got tired pretty quick because this isn’t a new dialogue for this series, we just had a lot of people who had betrayed a lot of the same people, who had all or were still working against each other whilst convinced it was for the greater good, in one space for an extended time.

Also, for a book about the end of end of end of end of days (IYKYK), only 1% of people die. And even then, half of them still manage to come back to life. Talk about taking the wind out of your sails stakes and tension-wise. Either we have to assume literally everyone important will survive book five for the happiest of HEAs ever or the author is going to pull something where everyone dies. Maybe not surprisingly, I’m finding my preference is for option two.

Oh, and okay I guess one other fun part was the twist. I didn’t see it coming.

So, yeah, most of this was a pain. But that kind of tracks if we look back at the pattern of how these instalments have gone. So I guess that means we’re ending on a high note for book five? Maybe? Please.

A LIGHT IN THE FLAME by Jennifer L Armentrout

The only one who can save Sera now is the one she spent her life planning to kill.

The truth about Sera’s plan is out, shattering the fragile trust forged between her and Nyktos. Surrounded by those distrustful of her, all Sera has is her duty. She will do anything to end Kolis, the false King of Gods, and his tyrannical rule of Iliseeum, thus stopping the threat he poses to the mortal realm.

Nyktos has a plan, though, and as they work together, the last thing they need is the undeniable, scorching passion that continues to ignite between them. Sera cannot afford to fall for the tortured Primal, not when a life no longer bound to a destiny she never wanted is more attainable than ever. But memories of their shared pleasure and unrivaled desire are a siren’s call impossible to resist.

And as Sera begins to realize that she wants to be more than a Consort in name only, the danger surrounding them intensifies. The attacks on the Shadowlands are increasing, and when Kolis summons them to Court, a whole new risk becomes apparent. The Primal power of Life is growing inside her, pushing her closer to the end of her Culling. And without Nyktos’s love—an emotion he’s incapable of feeling—she won’t survive her Ascension. That is if she even makes it to her Ascension and Kolis doesn’t get to her first. Because time is running out. For both her and the realms.

Title : A Light In The Flame
Author : Jennifer L Armentrout
Series : Flesh & Fire #2
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 652
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher : Bluebox Press
Release Date : November 15, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 4 star review

I still adore these two MCs
Pacey read
Second half addict

A Light In The Flame didn’t start out as I expected; it was a slow journey to really get to some juicy plot. However, my utter connection to Nyktos and Sera kept me persevering to the good parts. There was plot in the first half, it was just slow turning, although I appreciate there was significant relationship and character development in that portion.

Then we hit halfway and BOOM! The plot took off at speed, a lot happened and I was glued while being much happier with the pacing. The story took us to safe and trechorous places, to loyalty and betrayal (I was shook) and never once did these characters lose my interest.

Meeting Kolis for the first time was an experience but Vetes took the biscuit for me in terms of evil characterisation. I liked Bele, I adored Reaver and Jadis and Nektor was pretty amazing too. Sera had depths, anxiety, hidden mental health issues and the kind of loyalty and selflessness that was admirable. Nyktos cared but that damn kardia, I need to have more from him, I feel he’s almost there.

“I’m always in awe of you. I could keep going, but most of all, what I feel is the closest thing to peace I’ve ever experienced.”

The end of this book was that kind of painful satisfactory cliff of an ending. So much so, how am I going to make it to December to get this next book? I hope the pacing is better, but I’ll be here for it nevertheless.

3.75 stars rounded up.


Now that Relos Var’s plans have been revealed and demons are free to rampage across the empire, the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies—and the end of the world—is closer than ever.

To buy time for humanity, Kihrin needs to convince the king of the Manol vané to perform an ancient ritual which will strip the entire race of their immortality, but it’s a ritual which certain vané will do anything to prevent. Including assassinating the messengers.

Worse, Kihrin must come to terms with the horrifying possibility that his connection to the king of demons, Vol Karoth, is growing steadily in strength.

How can he hope to save anyone when he might turn out to be the greatest threat of them all?

Title : The Memory of Souls
Author : Jenn Lyons
Series : A Chorus of Dragons (book three)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 636
Genre : fantasy
Publisher : Tor Books
Release Date : August 25, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★

Hollis’ 3 star review

Alright, we have yet another book unfolding as bits of story being pieced together so lets just get that commentary out of the way. I guess I have to just resign myself to that being how this series is going to unfold. There, acknowledged and resigned. Moving on!

So obviously, another thing to get out of the way? I clearly liked this one better. And I did. Book two took a hard dip down into no-fun-land but book three has definitely given me hope for how the rest will go.

As far as the everyone-is-reincarnated-and-related-to-everyone-and-going-by-multiple-names-as-they-all-remember-their-past-selves bit? Wellll that’s less fun. And highly confusing. And honestly just seems like drama for drama’s sake. But some of that is at least acknowledged; the confusion, I mean, not the drama, and how one is supposed to behave with all these memories and feelings bombarding them half the time. But that only ever seems to come up when there’s reason to prop up some romantic conflict and angst so.. might be more plot device than real at this stage.

But as for said romance! I don’t think I mentioned in my review for book two that I could kind of see where Lyons was going with the main ship; and I likely didn’t bother bringing this up because I didn’t really like either of the love interests. So I wasn’t all that invested. Well I’m still kind of in that stage. Except I did like Janel a little more in this book and I liked that she was so anti-Teraeth (and rightly so, he was being an idiot) until she wasn’t. And I liked that Kihrin was a bit nasty to Teraeth, until he wasn’t. But with how book three ended.. we are definitely unlikely to get any satisfaction out of this dynamic for a while. Which might not be a bad thing. There was so much to keep track of with the other Eight, the gods, the various reincarnations, that one (or two..?) less relationships to keep tabs on will be a nice break.

Especially because amongst all that you have to sort out who is betraying who and why and who is lying and who isn’t and omg insert that gif of the guy in front of the murder board losing his mind.

But really what saved this was the plot. The characters, the main ones we’re along the ride for at least, did feel more like themselves which helped. And once again we have a pretty great ending. I didn’t expect to be back in this world so soon but my library dropped this in my lap early and ran away cackling. Only to then drop book four alongside it, too (with the fifth, and final, only days away). So I guess this is now officially a binge.


Miles Ever After.

The book of magical endings, featuring extended epilogues for the following,

The Stopover
The Takeover
The Casanova
The Do Over

Title : Miles Ever After
Author : TL Swan
Series : The Miles High Club 5
Format : eBook
Page Count : 236
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : March 16, 2023

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 4 star review

Epilogues with depth
Tied up with a bow

Okay, this final installment in the series is for fans. It’s an unapologetic collection of extended HEAs for the four Miles brothers. Did I think Swan could pull off a book full of this? Honestly, I wasn’t sure because I felt we had wrap up on all the stories. But. The book delivered some meaty storylines, happiness and humps in the road that just took you furhter with each couple.

Claire and Tristan were my favourite couple of the series and their extended story didn’t disappoint mostly because of those three boys. I laughed so much at this one.

I shouldn’t have got cosy because next story I blubbed two or three times while Swan extricated my heart from my chest and then administered resuscitation.

I didn’t think I really needed this book but it brings a richness to the end. Yes, you might feel a little full with the sweet on finishing but whatever, fiction can fill me full anytime.

LEGENDS & LATTES by Travis Baldree – double review!

After a lifetime of bounties and bloodshed, Viv is hanging up her sword for the last time.

The battle-weary orc aims to start fresh, opening the first ever coffee shop in the city of Thune. But old and new rivals stand in the way of success — not to mention the fact that no one has the faintest idea what coffee actually is.

If Viv wants to put the blade behind her and make her plans a reality, she won’t be able to go it alone.

But the true rewards of the uncharted path are the travelers you meet along the way. And whether drawn together by ancient magic, flaky pastry, or a freshly brewed cup, they may become partners, family, and something deeper than she ever could have dreamed.

Title : Legends & Lattes
Author : Travis Baldree
Series : Legends & Lattes (book one)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 296
Genre : LGBTQIAP+ fantasy
Publisher : Tor
Release Date : June 7, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis / Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★

Hollis’ 4 star review

Friends, the hype is real with this one! I’ll admit, I was worried. I wondered if there would be enough plot, enough conflict, in this cozy fantasy to actually keep me interested. Sometimes a great ensemble, or just a few good strong characters, can be enough but sometimes they just aren’t. But I’m here to tell you, this has both.

In fact, Thimble? Thimble has my heart. Maybe I’m just a little emotional or something but the moment this character was introduced? I felt gooey. Every time he spoke? I swear, I got teary. Yes, I was crying over a rat. But honestly, almost every character was a standout. Each felt very distinctive, very themselves, very much a persona, and I loved them all. Mostly Thimble. But of course Amity, too.

I think I heard someone pitch this as Dungeons & Dragons meets Animal Crossing and though I’ve never really played the former, and definitely not the latter, just going off vibes? It ain’t wrong. It’s very right.

This was so wholesome, and lovely, and had just enough grit that you believed some of these characters were capable of darker things, but some had chosen otherwise. And I loved that narrative and the flashes we get of Viv struggling to stick to her new chosen path. I do think maybe Tandri deserved a tiny bit more fleshing out, and I maybe would’ve liked a little bit more overt lead-up to build the foundation of the romance, but really those are my only complaints, I think.

This really felt like a comforting coffee shop AU fanfic spliced with a baking show and if that isn’t a warm cup of deliciousness for the soul I don’t know what is. If you haven’t yet given this one a go, I would suggest you do! Especially now that we know there’s more to come in this world. I can’t wait.

Micky’s 3 star review

I’m a little unsure on why this book is hyped.

I liked:
Coffee type things
The friendships
A sense of cuteness

I disliked:
The pacing
Feeling bored at times (and this is a short book)

It’s totally on me that I ordered a special edition, but hey, I can sell it!

THE WORLD GIVES WAY by Marissa Levien

In a near-future world on the brink of collapse, a young woman born into servitude must seize her own freedom in this glittering debut with a brilliant twist; perfect for fans of Station Eleven, Karen Thompson Walker, and Naomi Alderman.

In fifty years, Myrra will be free.

Until then, she’s a contract worker. Ever since she was five, her life and labor have belonged to the highest bidder on her contract–butchers, laundries, and now the powerful, secretive Carlyles.

But when one night finds the Carlyles dead, Myrra is suddenly free a lot sooner than she anticipated–and at a cost she never could have imagined. Burdened with the Carlyles’ orphaned daughter and the terrible secret they died to escape, she runs. With time running out, Myrra must come face to face with the truth about her world–and embrace what’s left before it’s too late.

A sweeping novel with a darkly glimmering heart, The World Gives Way is an unforgettable portrait of a world in freefall, and the fierce drive to live even at the end of it all.

Title : The World Gives Way
Author : Marissa Levien
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 380
Genre : sci-fi / mystery / dystopian
Publisher : Redhook
Release Date : May 1, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★.5

Hollis’ 4.5 star review

This probably won’t be a long review because I’m still kind of absorbing this read but.. wow. This surprised me in so many ways and I’m definitely feeling some aftershocks about the impact of the whole experience.

A lot of moving parts go into making a world work. It is a monstrous, exquisite machine.

I went into this expecting a cat-and-mouse mystery thriller set in space but while that’s not a wrong description, it’s very much only one small part. And not the best way to indicate the vibe of this book, either, which is less of a thriller and more of a slow moving collision of characters and themes. Because in so many ways this is haunting, introspective, enraging, stunning, and sad. Levien’s writing was so compelling, so lovely, and somehow she put all these different things into this book (which is a d e b u t, by the way) and made it work. And then gave us that ending. Which, I mean, yeah, of course I cried. Pretty sure I was getting the weepies by 91% and that was before I even knew the final line of the book.

The world owes me nothing, he thought, certainly not a perfect ending.

Even though this isn’t getting a five star, it has some of those qualities. Again, the writing? Wow. The little interludes? Devastating in their matter of factness. And the world? It reminded me of something from Interstellar, helped by the fact that this is sci-fi, but the mythology around it, what they had forgotten, or lost the context for, it was all just so clever, so seamless, and I could envision it so well. Not the least because of the dystopian societal structure was so familiar and, well, sadly typical. But the feel of it all? Still felt new, and fresh, and.. yeah, I might be jumping the gun here after only one book but Levien might be jumping right onto my auto-read author list.

Highly recommend.


An unusual girl. An enigmatic man. An ancient castle. What could go wrong?

An outcast her entire life, Corvina Clemm is left adrift after losing her mother. When she receives the admission letter from the mysterious University of Verenmore, she accepts it as a sign from the universe. The last thing she expects though is an olden, secluded castle on top of a mountain riddled with secrets, deceit, and death.

An enigma his entire life, Vad Deverell likes being a closed book but knowing exactly everything that happens in the university. A part-time professor working on his thesis, Vad has been around long enough to know the dangers the castle possesses.
And he knows the moment his paths cross with Corvina, she’s dangerous to everything that he is.

They shouldn’t have caught each other’s eye. They cannot be. But a chill-inducing century-old mystery forces them to collide. People have disappeared every five years for over a hundred years, and Corvina is getting clues to unraveling it all, and Vad needs to keep an eye on her.

And so begins a tale of the mystique, the morbid, the macabre, and a deep love that blossoms in the unlikeliest of places.

Title : Gothikana
Author : RuNyx
Format : Physical ARC
Page Count : 400
Genre : PNR
Publisher : Solaris
Release Date : March 16, 2023

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 5 star review

All the morally grey
Mental illness
Creepy around every corner

This was one of the easiest to read dark academia books I’ve laid my hands on. I was addicted for the whole weekend getting lost in the shadows, woods and electric connections. Gothikana thrived on delivering morally grey characters that you couldn’t but help like even when you were suspicious.

There was a bunch of suspect happenings at Verenmore, a private university, a castle setting on a mountain for those lost and without. It was a dark but friendly place but it felt like ‘things’ were lurking around the corner. Corvina the FMC was as one with her inner subconscious voice and other giftings that meant she was more in tune with shadows, flickerings and voices. It was creepy as heck.

The silvered Ven was forbidden in many ways but he and Corvina drew together in a way that kept me glued to the page. Risk was part of their evolving relationship. I loved the reveals about their lives prior to Verenmore.

Mystery with creep was the plot on offer. Missing students, student deaths, potential serial killers, old graves, dark woods and a possessed lake were all in the mix. I felt on edge while devouring the story and never guessing that late fantastic twist.

Sign me up for more RuNyx; I’m a new fan.

“You stand, I soar. You crack, I crumble.”

The author very helpfully offers up content warnings at the beginning of the book, please do check them out. Much kudos for how RuNyx handled mental illness and its potentials, including how the MMC reacted.

Thank you to Solaris Books for the review copy.


Lydia Chass doesn’t mind living in a small town; she just doesn’t want to die in one. A lifetime of hard work has put her on track to attend a prestigious journalism program and leave Henley behind—until a school error leaves her a credit short of graduating. Undeterred, Lydia has a plan to earn that credit: transform her listener-friendly local history podcast into a truth-telling exposé. She’ll investigate the Long Stretch of Bad Days: a week when Henley was hit by a tornado and a flash food as well as its first—and only—murder, which remains unsolved.

But Lydia needs help to bring grit to the show. Bristal Jamison has a bad reputation and a foul mouth, but she also needs a credit to graduate. The unexpected partnership brings together the Chass family—a pillar of the community—and the rough-and-tumble Jamisons, with Bristal hoping to be the first in her family to graduate. Together, they dig into the town’s worst week, determined to solve the murder.

Their investigation unearths buried secrets: a hidden town brothel, lost family treasure, and a teen girl who disappeared. But the past is never far, and some don’t want it to see the light. As threats escalate, the girls have to uncover the truth before the dark history of Henley catches up with them.

Title : A Long Stretch of Bad Days
Author : Mindy McGinnis
Format : eARC
Page Count : 368
Genre : YA mystery / thriller
Publisher : Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date : March 14, 2023

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★.5

Hollis’ 4.5 star review

Anyone who has read this author before knows that you really don’t know what you’re going to get when dipping into one of her books. But, having said that, this might be her most straight-forward, or dare I say tame?, or maybe just easily-marketable, books in a long long time. I haven’t always loved McGinnis but she always does something different — often bonkers weird — and even if I’ve disliked her previous release, I still pick up the next. And because of the aforementioned tame-ness of this one, I think — hope! — this gets her a slew of new fans.

“.. even when everyone involved has the best intentions [..], sometimes people fall through the cracks.
Funny thing about those cracks. Most of them are teenage-girl shaped.

A Long Stretch of Bad Days gives off shades of Veronica Mars in some ways. Or, if that reference is now a little too old for the YA crowd (urk, my heart), think Sadie. Or A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. While our two characters don’t set out to solve a crime, they end up in the middle of one anyway, complete with viral podcast episodes. But where this differs is.. the stakes. No one sets out to investigate a loss that is deeply personal to them. And no one is intentionally throwing themselves into the line of fire. What starts out as a trip down memory lane to revisit a horrible disaster in their small town, turns into something more.

Aggravated assault? How is that different from regular assault?
It’s the level of intent of harm meant for the victim. But it totally needs to be renamed because I’ve never committed an assault where I wasn’t aggravated first.”

But also? It’s fucking funny. Like, I cannot tell you how many times I laughed out loud. We live this story through Lydia’s perspective but Bristal often outshines her. But both these characters are brilliant. Complex, layered, and so real.

There is also something of a wo-mance (haha, I hated this immediately, sorry) between these two in the best kind of way. Or, put another way, if it was a romance, I would say it’s an opposites attract, with one girl from the wrong side of the tracks, even. But it’s not a romance so I can’t say that. You get it, though. Also? I love that it’s not a romance. I love when we just get a great platonic friendship to spotlight instead of something more, especially in YA.

I think initially I said this was straight-forward but I don’t mean there aren’t twists and turns and discoveries to be found. You might guess things along the way (I had my suspicions!) but the earlier reference is just in relative terms to the author’s other works. I think you’ll still be surprised by how things fall out with this one. And it’s especially chilling when you think back to earlier scenes and dialogue. This is a book I definitely want to reread; and I’m sorta hoping there’s a full cast set for audiobook for this because I think it would make for great listening, especially the podcast bits.

There is so much here that is a win. The friendship. The mystery. The podcast. The small town vibes (good and bad). The humour. Uneven Steven. The characters. The facebook jokes. The serious conversations that never felt like TedTalks or lectures. And so much more.

So yeah, I had a wonderful time with this one and I would highly recommend it.

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

SOLOMON’S CROWN by Natasha Siegel

Two destined rivals fall desperately in love—but the fate of medieval Europe hangs in the balance.

“A pair of thrones between us, and my heart clutched like a rosary within his hands …”

Twelfth-century Europe. Newly-crowned King Philip of France is determined to restore his nation to its former empire and bring glory to his name. But when his greatest enemy, King Henry of England, threatens to end his reign before it can even begin, Philip is forced to make a precarious alliance with Henry’s volatile son—risking both his throne, and his heart.

Richard, Duke of Aquitaine, never thought he would be King. But when an unexpected tragedy makes him heir to England, he finally has an opportunity to overthrow the father he despises. At first, Philip is a useful tool in his quest for vengeance… until passion and politics collide, and Richard begins to question whether the crown is worth the cost.

When Philip and Richard find themselves staring down an impending war, they must choose between their desire for one another and their grand ambitions. Will their love prevail, if it calls to them from across the battlefield? Teeming with royal intrigue and betrayal, this epic romance reimagines two real-life kings ensnared by an impossible choice: Follow their hearts, or earn their place in history.

Title : Solomon’s Crown
Author : Natasha Siegel
Format : eARC
Page Count : 352
Genre : historical romance / LGBTQIAP+
Publisher : Dell
Release Date : March 14, 2023

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★

Hollis’ 2 star review

I think my problem, and what will likely be an issue for some readers, is that this takes so many liberties with the historical figures it uses — and the author is upfront about this, both in the foreword and the author’s note at the end, so it’s not the liberties themselves I take issue with — that I don’t really know why Siegel didn’t just write something original. Maybe it’s to capture the historical fiction readers? The history buffs? To start (continue?) the discussion about the nature of these real peoples’ relationship ala Patroclus and Achilles? I don’t know. But for me, the historical element was both one of the few things I liked but also, I think, one of the reasons I couldn’t get on board.

Also because, sadly, for all that the writing was incredibly easy to read, and easy to digest, it wasn’t gripping. Little to no emotion was imparted, which didn’t help me care about the characters, and while I understand the author wanted something joyful as opposed to gritty and dark, there was also no tension. The stakes should have been huge — Philip was a King! Richard was heir to the throne and a Prince and Duke in his own right — but like.. no tension. No angst. No risk. And, as a reader, no reward.

As for the romance, things move pretty quickly and get intense even quicker and I don’t really understand how or why these things happened. I found it hard to understand them as individuals, beyond their basic traits, and why I should want them together; but I also think this was impeded by the fact that I heard too much of the author’s voice in their characterization, if that makes sense? They didn’t read true.

While I’m disappointed this wasn’t a win, it wasn’t one that I had been anticipating as this was offered to me directly from the publisher. It did sound interesting, or else I never would’ve signed on, but it’s not quite the blow it would’ve been had this been on my radar before. I’m very thankful to have been offered this and think there is definitely an audience for this — I can see many people enjoying it and some early readers already have! — I just wasn’t one of them.

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