Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

Little Thieves

Title: Little Thieves

Author: Margaret Owen

Page Count: 512

Series: Little Thieves, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: October 19, 2021 by Henry Holt & Company

Format: eBook

Review: This is another ARC I am shamefully behind in reviewing, as it was already published 3 months ago. I am not going to lie, I almost cut my losses and DNF’ed this book because I was not enjoying it in the beginning. Sometimes books have slow starts, so I generally read about 25% before making a decision about whether or not I am going to finish it. I passed the 25% mark of this book and just couldn’t get into it, but I decided to persevere and continued plugging forward. I’m glad I did, because about halfway through was a turning point for me. I enjoy fantasy books with a healthy dose of romance, but the romance is generally not the draw for me. This is a rare case where the central romance is what redeemed the story in my eyes. It just felt so real and the sizzling tension that develops between the characters gave me actual butterflies. Something that sets this story apart is that the main characters are “normal” in the sense that there is nothing physically remarkable that sets them apart. They are not beautiful and there is never an illusion that their appearances are anything but plain. The attraction between them grows organically through their interactions, which made it feel all the more real. There is no instalove or mooning over each other’s physical attributes, just pure magnetic chemistry between two people who are equally matched in intellect and wit. For this reason alone, I finally made it to the end of this book and gave it a higher rating than I would have otherwise.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 3 Stars

Fiction · Historical · LGBTQ+ · Young Adult

A Sitting in St. James

Title: A Sitting in St. James

Author: Rita Williams-Garcia

Performer: Machelle Williams

Length: 13 hr, 21 min

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: May 25, 2021 by HarperAudio

Format: eAudiobook

Review: I admit, when I started this book I was unenthused about it. I would never have picked it up based on it’s description or cover, but it was on a reading list for a committee I am on, so I checked it out anyway. Let me tell you, this book impressed me more than any historical fiction novel I have read in years. It achieved a perfect balance of light tone with dark subject matter that left you feeling the whole gambit of emotion…horror, anxiety, hope, anticipation, shock, and mirth. One minute I would be experiencing stomach churning disgust and the next I would be laughing out loud. This author truly has a gift for writing complex characters. Sometimes you want to root for them, and sometimes you despise them. Be prepared for depictions of abuse (physical, emotional, and sexual) and brutal violence. These are not themes to be glossed over during this era of slavery. Cruelty is so intrinsic to the culture that the character’s appear to operate by an entirely different moral compass. Relationships are twisted and shaped by atrocities committed, both large and small.

A truly illuminating read and one that will make you think deeply about the dark corners of our past. Also, do yourself a favor and listen to it in audiobook format. The reader was phenomenal.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 5 Stars

Contemporary · Fiction · LGBTQ+ · Romance

Hang the Moon

Hang the Moon

Title: Hang the Moon

Author: Alexandria Bellefleur

Page Count: 384

Series: Written in the Stars

Publishing Date/Publisher: May 25, 2021/ Avon

Format: Paperback

Review: 

Once again, Bellefleur has gifted us a magnificent comfort read. A follow-up/companion novel to her Written in The Stars, Hang The Moon follows Darcy’s brother and her best friend and their…dynamic. She’s packed the novel full of tropes, as is her MO (oh my god, there’s only one bed?) and the human golden retriever that is Brendon is impossible not to love.

While the relationship is between a man and a woman, it is in no way ‘straight’. As with Written in the Stars, there is a bisexual main character and while that isn’t in the forefront of every conversation or scene, it is mentioned or implied a few times. It is also great bi representation simply because not every bisexual will end up with the same sex, and vice versa. It’s important to show that, and she has in both her books.

This series is an absolute delight that I return to time and time again when I need a break from the real world or just because I feel like it. The fact that I have to wait until February for Count Your Lucky Stars to come out to finish the trilogy is causing me distress.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Historical · LGBTQ+

She Who Became the Sun

She Who Became the Sun (The Radiant Emperor, #1)

Title: She Who Became the Sun

Author: Shelley Parker-Chan

Page Count: 416

Series: The Radiant Emperor

Publishing Date/Publisher: July 20, 2021/Tor Books

Format: eBook

Review: 

This was a highly anticipated book for a lot of readers and reviewers, and it did not disappoint. It is advertised as Mulan meets Song of Achilles, and even knowing that did nothing to prepare me for exactly what this book contains.

Full of morally grey characters whose fates and desires are interwoven, this book had me hooked form the start. I was thinking about it any time I had to put it down and found myself reading slowly so I could savor it.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fiction · LGBTQ+ · Romance

Written in the Stars

Written in the Stars

Title: Written in the Stars

Author: Alexandria Bellefleur

Page Count: 384

Series: Written in the Stars

Publishing Date/Publisher: November 10, 2020/Avon

Format: eBook

Review: I loved this book- it was just so much fun and the characters were well flushed out with realistic arcs. The book is somewhat Pride and Prejudice but it takes a life of its own with pop culture references and fake dating (best romance trope, let’s be honest. Tied with ‘oh no, there’s only one bed’). And the fact that they did not have a ‘meet cute’ whatsoever. It was a disaster, and I loved every second of it.

It was so, so easy to fall in love with the characters, with Elle and Darcy both being so well-rounded and flawed but perfect. I also greatly appreciated the fact that there was both no homophobia in it, so it felt like a very safe place to just get lost in.

I absolutely cannot wait for the follow up Hang the Moon, starring Darcy’s adorable brother and best friend. Seriously. I need that book.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy

The Priory of the Orange Tree

Title: The Priory of the Orange Tree

Author: Samantha Shannon

Page Count: 830

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2019/ Bloomsbury Publishing

Format: Paperback

Review: Going to start this one off with just ‘wow’. I love fantasy but sometimes high fantasy can be dull and take ages to get anywhere (both in reference to the plot but also they always have to walk everywhere, which annoys me- buy/steal a horse) but this one starts off strong and that carries throughout the whole 800+ pages. Even following the one character I wasn’t super invested in, it was fast and interesting.

The writing was superb, the plot was so engaging, the characters were so well thought out and developed, the magic system was unique, and the relationships? Chef kiss. And dragons. Come on. I would give this book seven stars out of five if I could. Ten maybe. I just really loved it, plain and simple. It was one where I wanted to stay within its pages and world for as long as possible, and since it’s a mammoth book, that was pretty easy.

BRB, I’ve just convinced myself to go re-read it while writing this.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fiction · Historical

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Page Count: 401

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: June 13, 2017/Atria Books

Format: eBook

Review: 

This book completely broke me. I was crying at two in the morning while I finished the book, it was just so good and beautiful and well written.

It addresses some very important issues: racial prejudice, domestic abuse, homophobia, and what it was like to be an LGBTQ+ person in a historical setting. And from my own perspective, I think it was handled very well.

I typically don’t like books with multiple first person POVs, I think it gets complicated and messy and rarely works well (multiple third person POVs are great, though), however I think this worked really well in The Seven Husbands because it is as if we are reading Monique’s book in the chapters that we are in Evelyn’s perspective, or even just listening to her through the tapes or sitting down to the interview and hearing her story.

It was compelling, heartbreaking, and profound. So when I say ‘it broke me’, I mean that in the best possible way. I highly recommend it, but be sure to have some tissues handy.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold