Book Reviews

Last Guard by Nalini Singh

Last Guard

You may recall that I did a big honking re-read and catch-up with all 9,547,235 books in the Psy-Changeling and Psy-Changeling Trinity series earlier this year. When I received Last Guard I was extremely excited, because not only were much of the worldbuilding and character pairings still fresh in my mind, but also, I really wanted to read it. And I was even more excited simply because I was excited. I’m so terrible at keeping up with … Continue reading Last Guard by Nalini Singh

Briarley by Aster Glenn Gray

Briarley

Content warnings: Internalised homophobia. Use of the word sodomite (historically appropriate, but still pretty awful in its impact). Briarley is the story you get if Beauty’s father had been a country parson with enough backbone to tell the Beast no, and enough compassion to stay with the Beast in his daughter’s place. It is touching and kind and charming, and often very funny, and I was absolutely delighted by it. There was once a country … Continue reading Briarley by Aster Glenn Gray

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

The Final Girl Support Group

WHY, YOU ASK, would I review this mass of TWs on a romance book website? It’s because I know a subset of our readers are all about embracing the “Bitch” in Smart Bitches, and this is a story about women who band together for physical and emotional survival and find ways to claim their stories in a world that does not support them. Unfortunately, Maya and I were disappointed by the presence of harmful stereotypes … Continue reading The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

Sword, Stone, Table: Old Legends, New Voices edited by Swapna Krishna and Jenn Northington

Sword Stone Table

Sword, Stone, Table is an anthology of Arthurian retellings, that, according to the blurb, features… …stories by a bestselling, cross-genre assortment of the most exciting writers working today, [in] an anthology of gender-bent, race-bent, LGBTQIA+, and inclusive retellings from the vast lore surrounding King Arthur, Camelot, and the Knights of the Round Table. It’s a good anthology, with a range of stories in a variety of genres, but I must admit, I’d assumed from that … Continue reading Sword, Stone, Table: Old Legends, New Voices edited by Swapna Krishna and Jenn Northington

The Wrong Marquess by Vivienne Lorret

The Wrong Marquess

The Wrong Marquess is a Regency-set romance between sought-after bachelor Brandon, the Marquess of Hullworth, and Elodie Parrish, a 25-year old spinster who is waiting for her childhood friend, George, to propose to her. While the story managed to use some of my least favourite tropes in some very clever ways, it also contained an incredibly frustrating love triangle that extended so far into the book that I really questioned Elodie’s judgment. Brandon is the … Continue reading The Wrong Marquess by Vivienne Lorret

The Queen Will Betray You by Sarah Henning

The Queen Will Betray You

Content warning: lots of stabbings, beheadings, poisonings, deaths by burning, drowning, acid, and I’ve probably forgotten some others. Basically, lots of violent death, which will happen when you are having multiple military coups and revolutions and wars in one novel. The Queen Will Betray You is the second book in the trilogy that starts with The Princess Will Save You. It’s very good, but you absolutely should not read it unless you have read the … Continue reading The Queen Will Betray You by Sarah Henning

The Ice Swan by J’nell Ciesielski

The Ice Swan

The Ice Swan is a slow-burn and rather tender romance about two people building a relationship after their worlds have crumbled around them. It is set in the Russian emigré community in Paris during the final months of the Great War, and then in rural Scotland in the War’s aftermath, and it manages to be both angsty and gentle. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Princess Svetlana Dalsky fled the Bolshevik uprising in Russia with her mother … Continue reading The Ice Swan by J’nell Ciesielski

Rare Vigilance by M.A. Grant

Rare Vigilance

Content Warning: PTSD, violence and trauma I read this book at such a furious pace that I’m sure I missed the details. In fact, I know I did. Because I’m struggling to write this review beyond simply repeating “wow” to myself ad infinitum. There was such a wonderful balance between a strong character-driven development and sheer plot momentum that I couldn’t control myself. I just had to devour this book. Did I ignore all of … Continue reading Rare Vigilance by M.A. Grant

Heartbreak Incorporated by Alex de Campi

Heartbreak Incorporated

Heartbreak Incorporated is kind of a bonkers book, and I love that about it. It commits pretty hard to its own premise of a sexy, mysterious man breaking up relationships for money while also maybe doing vigilante justice on the side, and the aspiring journalist who wants to uncover all of his secrets (in both a sexy way and a hard-boiled PI kind of way). Also, there are demons, and this book is very queer. … Continue reading Heartbreak Incorporated by Alex de Campi

She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard

She’s Too Pretty to Burn

She’s Too Pretty to Burn is an intriguing, but uneven read. It opens like a teen romance, and ends like a thriller, but the transition between the two is jarring and disruptive to the reading experience. It’s also supposed to be inspired by The Portrait of Dorian Grey which I didn’t get at all from the text. The novel centers around three people: Mick, a high school swim star with a troubled home life; Veronica, … Continue reading She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard

Questland by Carrie Vaughn

Questland

TW: PTSD, recollections of a school shooting, gaslighting Questland is pure geek-bait, and a fun book for all of those who dream of going to Hogwarts and Middle Earth. My husband and I gave our kid a name in Sindarin (Elvish), so basically the book is Carrie-bait. It revels in a quickly moving plot, a gorgeous setting, and a plethora of fantasy references, but suffers from a lack of developed characters. Dr. Addie Cox is … Continue reading Questland by Carrie Vaughn

Eclipse by Celia Lake

Eclipse

I came to Eclipse via these two tweets shared on Twitter. It was the second one which really got me. I love a good magical school story, but the Harry Potter books never quite worked for me. Eclipse, which promised a view from the staff room of a magical school in the 1920s, sounded like my catnip. (Also, the author’s page has a content warning that includes a warning for ‘academic politics including an unpleasant … Continue reading Eclipse by Celia Lake