Hello and goodbye to 2021 I guess. I had so much energy for reading this month and the Libby gods blessed me with little to no wait times on the books I wanted to read. I also got my money’s worth out of my Kindle Unlimited this month. You guys forget about the books for a second and let’s talk about TV. I started watching Riverdale and it is … ridiculous. Riverdale is camp. The most utterly nonsensical program I have ever willingly watched. I hate it and love it at the same time.
If you want a full review click here to read it (and tell me what you think, it’s a little different from my usual reviews.) Shadow Blade is everything I’ve been searching for in my UF hunt. Kira is the type of protagonist I love: headstrong, clever, and a great problem solver. She is so quick to sacrifice and blame herself, and I’m not sure why and don’t have the time to unpack it, but the heroes who tiptoe on the line of martyrdom are my favorites. Khefar, the love interest, is an immortal soldier working off his sins from his first life. This doesn’t get a full 5 stars from me because at times the plot was weak and the villain was forgettable. The strengths really lie in the characters and atmosphere.
Bramble and Blood is about a necromancer who is trapped in the political machinations of the various supernatural powers that be. Eve has bad blood with the druids who police the supernatural world, but it’s never fully explained and a lot of the antagonism between her and the druids gets in the way of the plot. She’s hired by a troll king to investigate a death and she has to take on other necromancer-related business. I don’t have much to say about this one and I don’t recommend it.
This book was a wild ride. Asha is a lion-shifter princess whose parents are assassinated. Jones is an interesting author because I did not like this book, but I appreciate it. Asha’s journey from princess to queen is really well done and all her actions, from the most violent to her most merciful, make sense and follow an internal logic. The writing just didn’t vibe with me. I prefer to make strong emotional connections with characters and that’s not to say the writing isn’t emotive, I just didn’t connect with it. A Queen’s Pride is way more explicit and violent than Children of Blood and Bone but I think people who liked Zelie and like books where Black girls get to be angry and take revenge would like this book.
For The Wolf – Hannah Whitten
For The Wolf is my most disappointing read of the year. The magical forest is one of my favorite fantasy settings and Whitten managed to write the least interesting magical forest ever. The plot was in shambles, the characters were very stale, and the book was boring. This book meandered. Characters withheld information from Red, caused her to make mistakes and act out of ignorance, and this pattern kept up for the entire book.
Lore and Lust – Karla Nikole
My feelings about Lore and Lust are hard to describe. The writing on this one isn’t the best, but there were aspects of this book that really grabbed me. Karla Nikole’s characters feel real and have complex emotions about each other and the world they live in. That was good. The romance was also good. The world building and supernatural aspects were poorly defined.
After The Billionaire’s Wedding Vows … – Lucy Monroe
I recently started listening to the Fated Mates podcast and this was recommended by the hosts as one of their favorite romances of the year. Alexandros is a Greek billionaire who realizes his wife is unhappy in their marriage, his mother and sister are mean to her, so he decides to fix their marriage. Fated Mates really sold me on this one and I did like it. Even though it was short I fully believed in Alexadros and Polly’s relationship. I loved the balance between the serious and lighthearted, but I ended up on a three star rating because some of the scenes I loved the most were rushed through and a lot of development happened in one sentence/off the page. This is my first category romance and I think that might be the wave for next year!
Something came over me this month I binge read the first five books of the Kate Daniels series. A spirit came over me and it was impossible to stop myself from turning those virtual pages. Kate Daniels lives in a near-future Georgia after what I think of as a magic apocalypse. On some days only magic things work, on other days magic dies again and technology works. Either way, Kate has a sword and can fight her battles. Book one starts off with the murder of her mentor and former guardian and introduces an enemies-to-lovers romance with the Beast Lord, Curran. Listen to me friends: these books are not good, but they are so damn addictive. I read them because they were addicting. It was like I opened a family sized bag of chips to taste a few and ended up eating the whole bag and buying four more. So many problematic depictions of romantic and sexual relationships, shoddy worldbuilding that does get better, and poorly defined magic systems and politics, but I ate it up. Reading this was a journey because the series had clear upgrades. In book three the plot holes and terrible world building was addressed, inconsistencies in Kate’s characterization and powers were solved. Book four starts to fix some of the problems in the romance and book five tries (and fails, to my standards) to talk about romantic relationships in the shifter world. The wildest part is that as the problems in the series were patched over and the writing got better, the addictiveness lessened. I had to scratch an itch and I won’t touch this series again.
Okay what was your best and worst recent read? Are you already done with your yearly reading goal if that’s your thing?