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TWO WRONGS MAKE A RIGHT by Chloe Liese

Opposites become allies to fool their matchmaking friends in this swoony reimagining of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy, Much Ado About Nothing.

Jamie Westenberg and Bea Wilmot have nothing in common except a meet-disaster and the mutual understanding that they couldn’t be more wrong for each other. But when the people closest to them play Cupid and trick them into going on a date, Jamie and Bea realize they have something else in common after all—an undeniable need for revenge.

Soon their plan is in place: Fake date obnoxiously and convince the meddlers they’re madly in love. Then, break up spectacularly and dash their hopes, putting an end to the matchmaking madness once and for all.

To convince everyone that they’ve fallen for each other, Jamie and Bea will have to nail the performance of their lives. But as their final act nears and playing lovers becomes easier than not, they begin to wonder, what if Cupid’s arrow wasn’t so off the mark? And what if two wrongs do make a right? 


Title : Two Wrongs Make a Right
Author : Chloe Liese
Series : The Wilmot Sisters (book one)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 326
Genre : contemporary romance / retelling
Publisher : Berkley
Release Date : November 22, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★


Hollis’ 2 star review

I wish I could say that most of the fault with this one lies with me for literally having read a banger of a contemporary romance right before this one. But also.. this just wasn’t all that great. Now, again, that could be me as I’ve had a rocky road with Liese’s other series, lots of twos with only a few three stars as stand outs, but this one felt really rough — particularly in the case of the writing, especially in the beginning, but said roughness wasn’t limited to just the writing, nope. It also really stretched the concept of a Much Ado About Nothing retelling. I guess that’s why it’s called a reimagining?

But, as a warning, if you expect a modernization of the play? Or even something that looks like Ten Things I Hate About You? Don’t. This homage is a sprinkle instead of a full shower. And truthfully I’m not even sure why the author bothered (except to lean into a whole Shakespeare-retelling themed series, I guess) because it really just reads like a forced hate-to-fake-dating-for-reasons-which-leads-to-love between a quirky colourful female lead and the starchy stiff-upper-lipped giant of a man who is actually Perfection Personified, including his giant donkey kong dong, neither of whom had much personality outside of their tropes and some various representation (autism and anxiety, respectively) and the bit of emotional baggage from past relationships they either have to work through, confess to, or use as window dressing.

Please note I’m not downplaying the existence of the toxic and abusive relationships that are depicted. I actually thought the one playing out in the background was one of the few things that felt authentic; except I wish the villain of the piece, the supposed Claudio, was less.. one-dimensional? I feel like the author tried to be subtle in the beginning, despite Beatrice not feeling all that warm and fuzzy about him and the relationship, and then we veered right into evil villain monologuing after only one awkward slash concerning scene. Which, hey, speaking of which, I wish Jamie, aka Benedick, had actually done something with the information he had, the behaviour he had witnessed, because I kept waiting for that shoe to drop and it never did. And I’m honestly still shocked by it.

Additionally, I was pretty annoyed by Beatrice’s hypocrisy. Sure, she was right about one half of the couple being shady but judging the quickness of someone else’s relationship only to later on accept, without blinking, the bee thing (IYKYK)? After a month? How is that any better?

I realize I’m being a little harsh but honestly I’m left feeling extra (extra) annoyed by how the conflict was resolved at the end and that could be colouring some of the tone of this review. Because so much of it was just stupid and or bonkers or both. Ahem.

I will say, there was something included in the sex scenes that I don’t see enough of on page and that was cool. No, I’m not spoiling.

But anyway, I couldn’t recommend this. If you want tension with the fake dating, you won’t get much. If you want the dynamics that existed in the “source material”, you won’t find them. Witty clever banter? Missing! Have some lame chess puns instead. But if you want a fake dating romance between opposites with some mental health/neurodivergent rep, I mean.. this is an option. And maybe it was cute in the middle. I don’t know, I will admit nothing. Will I read on? Probably. Because that’s just how I am.

THE OTHER BELLE by Whitney G

The ‘tale as old as time’ has always been a lie…

There was no such thing as a “beautiful girl who stumbles into an enchanted castle and falls for a beast.”
My older sister is a liar, and she’s always been far more calculated than that.

I don’t blame you for buying into her compelling fairytale, though.
She’s always been an incredible storyteller.

Truth is, deep in The Whispering Woods, far past the Seven Sinful Kingdoms, several secrets remain untold.
They’ve lain dormant for centuries, protecting the true hero of this story, a dominant “villain” destined for Hell…

Until now, until me.
The other Belle…


Title : The Other Belle
Author : Whitney G
Format : eARC
Page Count : 195
Genre : Fantasy Romance
Publisher : Self published
Release Date : November 4, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

Headlines:
Irreverant retelling
Cameos from many fairytales

The Other Belle starts with a semi-familiar stance on Beauty and the Beast but with some differences. As this story rolled out, it combined and included a number of other fairytales, brief glances of characters outside of this known world. Belle was an abused member of her family but she was also a snarky character with a valid chip on her shoulder.

Gaston was very hot and cold in his behaviour, sometimes noble and caring but often ignorant and dismissive. He and Belle were a strange but sometimes worthy pairing.

I had problems with the pacing and flow of this story. The chapters were short, which is a win, but they sometimes ended abruptly and the next chapter didn’t always seem logically placed to me. That interrupted my investment in the storyline and the characters.

I believed the chemistry between Gaston and Belle but when it came to the heat, it didn’t work for me sadly.

Thank you to the author for the gifted eARC.

THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD by Tiffany D. Jackson

Author Tiffany D. Jackson ramps up the horror and tackles America’s history and legacy of racism in this YA novel following a biracial teenager as her Georgia high school hosts its first integrated prom. 

When Springville residents—at least the ones still alive—are questioned about what happened on prom night, they all have the same explanation… Maddy did it.

An outcast at her small-town Georgia high school, Madison Washington has always been a teasing target for bullies. And she’s dealt with it because she has more pressing problems to manage. Until the morning a surprise rainstorm reveals her most closely kept secret: Maddy is biracial. She has been passing for white her entire life at the behest of her fanatical white father, Thomas Washington.

After a viral bullying video pulls back the curtain on Springville High’s racist roots, student leaders come up with a plan to change their image: host the school’s first integrated prom as a show of unity. The popular white class president convinces her Black superstar quarterback boyfriend to ask Maddy to be his date, leaving Maddy wondering if it’s possible to have a normal life.

But some of her classmates aren’t done with her just yet. And what they don’t know is that Maddy still has another secret… one that will cost them all their lives.


Title : The Weight of Blood
Author : Tiffany D. Jackson
Format : ARC
Page Count : 416
Genre : YA horror / retellings
Publisher : Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date : September 6, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 3.5 star review

This might be one of the first instance where the inclusion of the podcast-about-the-event shtick hasn’t been a win for me. I enjoyed the interviews, the snippets, but the podcast itself? Not really. I would’ve liked more story instead, actually, as I felt the interruptions broke too much of the tension instead of adding to it.

But so much of this was good. Fun to read about? Of course not. But there were so many varied discussions about racism, colourism, segregation, and what it means to be “Black enough”, and each time it actually had meaningful relevance to the story and characters, without feeling awkwardly shoehorned in — like many stories often do. This was also one of the few YA stories, at least that I’ve read recently, where the villains weren’t caricatures. They had nuance, they acted appropriately in ways that befit their beliefs and feelings, and — in one particular case — were committed to that right to the bitter end. IYKYK.

Speaking of characters though I’ll admit that I don’t think I liked Maddy, our main character, or the love interest all that much. I could feel for them, absolutely, and want the best for them, but oddly I think my favourite character might’ve been Wendy. And no, I won’t be taking questions at this time. But on the whole? I couldn’t put this down.

A lot of this story is going to be familiar as this is an homage to Carrie but I still think there will be a few things to surprise you along the way. And, again, I really enjoyed how Jackson added to the narrative and fleshed it out in a new way while still keeping true to the essence of it all.

If this is on your radar, definitely give it a go.

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

ANGELIKA FRANKENSTEIN MAKES HER MATCH by Sally Thorne – double review!

From USA Today bestselling author of The Hating Game Sally Thorne comes something a little unexpected… a historical rom-com that imagines Victor Frankenstein’s sheltered younger sister, and her attempts to create the perfect man. 

For generations, every Frankenstein has found their true love and equal, unlocking lifetimes of blissful wedded adventure. Clever, pretty (and odd) Angelika Frankenstein has run out of suitors and fears she may become the exception to this family rule. When assisting in her brother Victor’s ground-breaking experiment to bring a reassembled man back to life, she realizes that having an agreeable gentleman convalescing in the guest suite might be a chance to let a man get to know the real her. For the first time, Angelika embarks upon a project that is all her own.

When her handsome scientific miracle sits up on the lab table, her hopes for an instant romantic connection are thrown into disarray. Her resurrected beau (named Will for the moment) has total amnesia and is solely focused on uncovering his true identity. Trying to ignore their heart-pounding chemistry, Angelika reluctantly joins the investigation into his past, hoping it will bring them closer. But when a second suitor emerges to aid their quest, Angelika wonders if she was too hasty inventing a solution. Perhaps fate is not something that can be influenced in a laboratory? Or is Will (or whatever his name is!) her dream man, tailored for her in every way? And can he survive what was done to him in the name of science, and love?

Filled with carriages, candlesticks, and corpses, Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match is the spooky-season reimagining of the well-known classic that reminds us to never judge a man by his cadaver! 


Title : Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match
Author : Sally Thorne
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 384
Genre : historical romance / gothic / retelling
Publisher : Avon Books
Release Date : September 6 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : unrated/****


Hollis’ unrated review

I don’t quite know what to do with this one.

Like, on the one hand, we open with these characters basically shopping for parts so they can reanimate a man that fits Angelika’s specifications for what she hopes will be her husband because she’s given up on, and has been given up on by, the living. And when, of course, he is brought back to life, you have to kind of side-eye the whole “was dead and now mostly alive-ish” element being sold to you as sexy and romantic when it’s really not. But.. vampires are corpses too, you know? It’s just the fundamentals of it make it extra icky. So you suspend some disbelief. You lean into the camp and outrageousness of it all and you have a good time.

But unlike vampires, where the power imbalance is age gap between a hundred+ year old dude and a highschooler (predominantly!), this time the power imbalance — wealthy spoiled woman, undead nobody with no memory, heavily reliant on said wealthy woman — is also layered with consent issues because he literally had no say with a) coming back to life and b) the parts of his body she kept or replaced. Plus his body continues to betray him in ways he doesn’t understand.

But if you suspend some disbelief and lean into the camp.. yeah, I don’t know. See aforementioned mixed feelings.

Some of this was so good. Spoiler alert, I cried twice near the end. We get some good character development out of said wealthy spoiled woman. There’s a mystery at the heart of who Will, the man Angelika has brought back to life, is. And there’s a good sibling dynamic that is complex and does evolve.

Except there are things near the end I did not love, and won’t mention due to spoilers, but are tied up in both what the Frankenstein’s believe to be part of their foundation and, as it turns out, Will’s, and how that all comes together.. I don’t know, felt a little strange. But then again the whole book is strange. I’ll also admit that Will was occasionally a struggle when it came to his behaviour towards Angelika and not always in the way he should’ve been. It’s hard to explain but him being hot and cold was fine, I just thought there were some inconsistencies mixed in, too.

However, I think you do have to let this book just be what it is and not think too hard about the weird bits that don’t quite work. But I didn’t get on that until too late in the game, even though I tried to go in with an open mind knowing it had been not very well received with many mixed reviews. But instead I’m just adding to them.

All that to say! Well, nothing really. You’ll either read this book, or you’ve already read it, or you won’t.

I’m definitely glad I gave it a chance because I do think Thorne has shown she can do more than just contemporary, and she can be weird, poke around into different spaces, and that’s all good. This either works for you or it doesn’t or, like me, you’re somewhere in the middle. But this is not remotely the nail in the coffin that I expected it to be (everything post-The Hating Game has been unpredictable) and I look forward to seeing what she does, and where she goes, next.


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
A pleasant surprise
Historical-fantasy-retelling mash-up
Leave reality at the door

I like Sally Thorne’s writing but I wasn’t sure about this romantic take on Frankenstein themes from the blurb, but you know, you’ve got to give it a go. I’m really glad I did because this really worked for me.

This brother and sister duo in Angelika and Victor were utterly irreverant to the sensibilities of the era. The people in the surrounding areas were suspicious of them supposedly but in actuality, everyone who came across them seemed to be won over (as was I). Angelika was a funny in both ways, haha and odd but this story was safely in rom-com territory, encouraging the reader to not take things too seriously.

The plot was strange and yet hugely interesting, I read this book pretty quickly, always looking forward to getting back to it. The love interest Will was fascinating as he adjusted to his new life. At first, I had worries about consent related to Will and yes, you could definitely say he didn’t consent to revival but my other worries regarding potential consent weren’t realised. This was actually a bit of a slow-burn story with a building chemistry and romance.

One of my favourite elements was the set of side characters, all endearing in their own way. Those side characters became found family and I warmed to them all.

As I said in my headlines, if you want a plot that replicates historical life in this era, you will struggle but if you leave your preconceptions at the door and fun with this, it might end up surprising you in a good way, like it did for me.

Thank you to Piatkus for the review copy.

EVERY MOVE by Ellie Marney

Rachel Watts is suffering from recurring nightmares about her near-death experience in London. She just wants to forget the whole ordeal, but her boyfriend, James Mycroft, is obsessed with piecing the puzzle together and anticipating the next move of the mysterious Mr Wild – his own personal Moriarty.

So when Rachel’s brother, Mike, suggests a trip back to their old home in Five Mile, Rachel can’t wait to get away. Unfortunately it’s not the quiet weekend she was hoping for with the unexpected company of Mike’s old school buddy, the wildly unreliable Harris Derwent.

Things get worse for Rachel when Harris returns to Melbourne with them – but could Harris be the only person who can help her move forward? Then a series of murders suggests that Mr Wild is still hot on their tails and that Mycroft has something Wild wants – something Wild is prepared to kill for.

Can Watts and Mycroft stay one step ahead of the smartest of all criminal masterminds? The stage is set for a showdown of legendary proportions…


Title : Every Move
Author : Ellie Marney
Series : Every (book three)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 340
Genre : YA mystery / retellings
Publisher : Allen & Unwin
Release Date : March 1, 2015

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

While I’m awarding this the same as the rest of the series, I’ll admit it’s not my favourite of the series. Maybe because it’s new content for me, maybe I need to stew on it a little longer, but.. I also think it’s kind of typical. The big finales, when they come with confrontations with the Big Bad, don’t always live up. And I think there’s a little bit of that here, too.

On the whole, though? Marney once again does not pull punches. There were some twisted bits that Watts and Mycroft had to endure. There were moments of utter heartbreak. Detailed spirals of trauma. And some romance angst. Just a little. But with a few exceptions — Mycroft’s breakdown scene, Watts’ nightmares — I did feel a little removed from it all.

Maybe I just didn’t feel the connection of the whole why behind everything. Maybe I read this too fast. Maybe I need to reread it to appreciate all the pieces of the puzzle. I just don’t know.

But the characters themselves, even the secondary ones — and a new one, or two — were so great. For me, they’ve carried this series all along and they’ve never disappointed.

So, yeah, I realize this is probably coming across as a bit of a downer review, especially for a four star, but I did really enjoy it. And now I see where the fourth book comes into play, and why, and I’m curious to see where that goes. Onwards!

EVERY WORD by Ellie Marney

Sparks fly when Watts follows Mycroft to London in this second steamy thriller about the teen crime-fighting duo.

James Mycroft has just left for London to investigate a car accident similar to the one that killed his parents without saying good-bye to his partner in crime, Rachel Watts.

Rachel is furious and worried about his strange behavior—not that Mycroft’s ever exactly normal, but London is the scene of so many of his nightmares. Unable to resist, Rachel jumps on a plane to follow him and lands straight in a whole storm of trouble.

The theft of a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio, the possible murder of a rare books conservator and the deaths of Mycroft’s parents…Can Watts help Mycroft make sense of the three events—or will she lose him forever?


Title : Every Word
Author : Ellie Marney
Series : Every (book two)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 340
Genre : YA mystery / contemporary / retellings
Publisher : Allen & Unwin
Release Date : June 1, 2014

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

As much as I had loved these characters in book one, book two is where Wattscroft took it upon themselves to m u r d e r me. Also, yes, I’m going to thief from my original review a bit, which I didn’t do for the first instalment, because it pretty much sums up my feels to this day.

Every Word is everything that Every Breath was but turned up to eleven. The stakes, the action, the mystery, the scorching heat, the violence, the heartbreak.. everything.

Swoony hearts in eyes expression aside, this book definitely went a bit dark and my stomach fell to my feet multiple times. Not just because of Rachel and Mycroft but because Marney does not pull any punches. The vividness of the autopsy scene, the startling savagery of torture, the isolation; it was just as awful and as real as when our two heroes are stumbling along to understand each other, navigating both their relationship and the horror of Mycroft’s past. And how Marney handled this was just.. fantastic. There were so many things I think I appreciated more this second time around with how she unravelled Mycroft and his processing — or lack thereof. That turning point, once we finally get it, was just (chefs kiss). And the strangeness of how Rachel feels, knowing he has something new, and scarier, to fixate is just.. yeah, really well done.

Knowing what extremes and dangers these two faced, and that not having been the ultimate confrontation, I can only imagine what’s to come next.

EVERY BREATH by Ellie Marney

Rachel Watts has just moved to Melbourne from the country, but the city is the last place she wants to be.

James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old who’s also a genius with a passion for forensics.

Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. He’s even harder to resist when he’s up close and personal – and on the hunt for a cold-blooded killer.

When Rachel and Mycroft follows the murderer’s trail, they find themselves in the lion’s den – literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again…


Title : Every Breath
Author : Ellie Marney
Series : Every (book one)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 341
Genre : YA mystery / retellings
Publisher : Allen & Unwin
Release Date : September 5, 2013

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

Here it is, the second-to-last series on my Series to Finish list for 2022. I’ve been knocking these out pretty quick this year.. and, as typical, saving the biggest challenge for last. Welp. That’s future!Hollis’ problem.

But anyway, was this as good as the first time? No, but that’s only in comparing a five star to a four star. Also, having reread my first review, I was coming off a bit of a disappointment from another Sherlock YA retelling series so I think I was just extra excited about this being a win. But it’s still so good.

Unlike other retellings, this one focuses on Watts (Rachel) and Mycroft (James). Conan Doyle’s legacy exists in this world and there are a few cheeky throwaway references to it but on the whole this is more an homage than a recreation. This pairing meet as a result of Rachel moving to town and discovering a boy her age a few houses down. Their friendship, at the onset, seems more in line with Rachel taking care of James as he’s more of less left on his own, only an oft-absent aunt in the way of guardianship, and he happens to find himself in the occasional scrape. One night, they stumble upon the body of a transient, who happened to be a friend of theirs, and it’s off to the races — they start to investigate.

The mystery is fine, good even, but what carries this is the dynamic. It’s a little fraught, it’s a little angsty — they each have their backstories — but it’s so good. Marney writes them so well and they are absolutely electric together. And indeed, maybe, sparks even fly? I’ll neither confirm nor deny (for now).

I’m excited to dive right into book two (which, if I recall correctly, gets much darker) and then after that it’s all new territory for me.

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. **

KAIKEYI by Vaishnavi Patel

In the vein of Madeline Miller’s Circe comes a bold and sweeping debut that reimagines the life of Kaikeyi, the vilified queen of the Indian epic the Ramayana.

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

So begins Kaikeyi’s story, that of a young woman determined to create her own destiny in a world where gods and men dictate the shape of things to come. But as she transforms herself from an overlooked princess into a warrior, diplomat, and most-favored queen, Kaikeyi’s will clashes with the path that has been chosen for her family. And she must decide if her resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak.


Title : Kaikeyi
Author : Vaishnavi Patel
Format : eARC
Page Count : 432
Genre : historical retelling
Publisher : Redhook
Release Date : April 26, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

So, I am prefacing this review by saying I know nothing of the epic that inspired this book. I didn’t even know the name Kaikeyi. Had I heard it, I wouldn’t even know to guess what it would be about. But seeing it compared to Circe, or at least likened to this style of female-focused retelling, I had to snatch it up.

Curiously, I read the wikipedia summary after finishing this book and wow. I mean, I don’t know if it’s accurate (again, prefacing, I am Jon Snow and know nothing), but what a different spin on things. And actually it made me appreciate this story even more.

It occurred to me [..] that maybe the gods had marked me for my mother’s sins. Sons could not be held responsible for maternal sins, but daughter’s? [..] Nothing protected me.

I truly don’t even know where to begin, really. This isn’t a short book and nor is it one that you can blast through; this took me hours to read. Maybe I savoured it, maybe I just didn’t rush, but either way, it took time.

The story spans decades, from Kaikeyi’s birth until well into middle age (ish), when her son is almost full grown. We see her grow up amongst many brothers, lose her mother, and try to find a place where she belongs. Then, once married off, she is even more at loose ends having lost the connections and stability she had at home. She struggles for a time to be a wife — one of three — but is lucky enough to be married to a good man who finds more value in her than just someone to give him sons; though she eventually does. And it’s after the birth of her child, and others, that things begin to change again.

Kaikeyi, remember that you did the right thing. You are not wicked.
Then why do I feel wicked?
Because those who are good question themselves. Because those who are good alway wonder if there was a better way, a way that could have helped more and hurt less. That feeling is why you are good.”

Please note, I made a very oversimplified summary of things and omitted a lot because spoilers. There is so much more to this than the above. There are gods, and demons, magical connections, unexpected friendships, the fight to empower other women in a society that only values them to a certain extent, and more.

I was sad this ended, I could have definitely read more, and I do wish some plot points had been made clearer. But maybe that’s just because I’m unfamiliar with the source material. I don’t know. Overall, I thought this was very strong, very interesting, and would absolutely recommend. I will be very interested in Patel’s next release (can you believe this is a debut!?), whether related or not, and will definitely be picking it up.

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

ELECTRIC IDOL by Katee Robert

He was the most beautiful man alive.
And if I wasn’t careful, he was going to be my death.

*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Psyche and Eros that’s as sinful as it is sweet.*

In the ultra-modern city of Olympus, there’s always a price to pay. Psyche knew she’d have to face Aphrodite’s ire eventually, but she never expected her literal heart to be at stake…or for Aphrodite’s gorgeous son to be the one ordered to strike the killing blow.

Eros has no problem shedding blood. But when it comes time to take out his latest target, he can’t do it. Confused by his reaction to Psyche, he does the only thing he can think of to keep her safe: he marries her. Psyche vows to make Eros’s life a living hell until they find a way out of this mess. But as lines blur and loyalties shift, she realizes he might take her heart after all…and she’s not sure she can survive the loss. 


Title : Electric Idol
Author : Katee Robert
Series : Dark Olympus (book two)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 375
Genre : myth retelling / romance
Publisher : Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date : January 18, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 2.5 star review

Even though I’m rating this the same as book one, the bits I liked and disliked are very different. Which is why it shakes out the same.

I had such a hard time understanding the worldbuilding when this series started. And I wonder if maybe I wasn’t alone in that and it somehow got back to the author. Because things finally solidified for me with how things were presented and expanded on in this sequel. Which meant I spent a lot less time confused and perplexed and instead I was able to just enjoy (ish) the ride.

Once again, though, if I didn’t stare too hard at the way time passed (or didn’t) and how in little to no time the romance escalated to stratospheric levels.. I was onboard. I enjoyed the chemistry between these two a lot more than the preceding book. Who doesn’t love a marriage of convenience trope when paired up with forced proximity — lots of people, I’m sure, but I do. However.. it was too fast. But I think the pressure was put on that element to distract you from how there was really only one minor plot point to the whole story and even that is basically shelved, or at least unrealized, until the last 30% or so. Also the whole catalyst for the romance.. again, don’t look too hard at it or it’ll all tumble down like a house of cards.

I did, however, enjoy spending time with some of the secondary characters and really like what has been set up for.. book four? Five? Who knows. I won’t spoil it but if you’ve read this you likely know what set up I mean. But I’m equally as keen for the next book based on the synopsis. Robert keeps hooking me with her pairings.

But as for this one? I did like this couple. Psyche felt more authentic and I really enjoyed how Eros was able to become a person again. Because of that I think they’ll stand out more than Hades and Persephone as time goes on, too. Maybe I should even actually award this one three stars. I probably won’t but they might deserve it.

I do have one more complaint though : what the hell is the title referencing? I’m so lost. I’m clearly missing something or it was just plucked out of a title generator. Someone throw me a hint.