• Blog,  Review

    Girls of Paper and Fire – Review

    Genre: YA Fantasy

    Queer Rep: Lesbian

    Pairings: F/F

    Warnings: Off page sexual assault and discussions of sexual assault, violence

    Synopsis

    Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest. 

    Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge. 

    General

    My thirst for fantasy remained high while perusing the shelves of Barnes and Noble, and my thirst for F/F even higher. When I found this gem—with a gorgeous cover and POC protagonist—it was love at first sight. Lucky for me, this rich, intricately woven world and believable characters made sure the love remained until the very last page.

  • Blog,  Review

    Waking Up the Sun – Review

    Genre: Fantasy, Romance

    Pairings: M/M

    Queer Rep: Demisexual, Pansexual

    Warnings: bullying, depictions of anxiety, mentions of transphobia, explicit sexual content

    [Note: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.]

    Synopsis

    When Lander accepts a dare to go into the forest at night, he thinks it’ll be easy. He just needs to walk in and then come out, right? But that’s easier said than done. It’s like the trees have a mind of their own, and they are stopping him from finding his way back. There were always stories of people getting lost forever in the forest, but Lander had never considered they might be true.

    Yban has been in the forest a long time and he knows it like no other—but he comes with his own secrets. He disappears every day, and he won’t tell Lander where he goes. But during the dark hours, Lander gets to know him and starts unwrapping the layers that surround him.

    The fire that keeps them warm in the forest isn’t the only spark between them; will their growing relationship survive Lander’s determination to find the way out, or will Yban’s past mistakes keep them hidden in the forest forever?

    General

    This one was really difficult for me to rate. For the longest time, I didn’t rate it. This book, more than most, feels very much like a pure difference in stylistic taste. The tl;dr of this review is: The narrative style of this novella was not for me, but if you like the premise and the excerpt available on the publisher’s website, you will probably enjoy it very much.

  • Blog,  Review

    The Castaway Prince – Review

    Genre: Fantasy, Romance

    Queer Rep: Bisexual, Gay

    Pairings: M/M

    Warnings: Memories of/references to homophobia

    Synopsis

    Ostracized by his family for his sexual identity, Prince Stephan is forced to flee his homeland before his older brother ascends the throne.

    Stephan has been drawn to feminine things for as long as he can remember, so when the dire need for secrecy arises, he seizes the chance to don the perfect disguise. With the help of his loyal servant, Stephan picks his way through hostile territory, hiding his identity by posing as a woman. His only hope for asylum lies with the man who had been his friend and lover three years ago. But when that man also happens to be the crown prince of a rival country, things are a bit more complicated.

    With war looming on the horizon, the danger of discovery grows by the moment. With all odds stacked against him, will Stephan find a safe place where he can be his true self, or is he doomed to remain a castaway?

    General

    I have been thirsty for fantasy lately, and this novella called to me from the internet. Pretty writing? Check. Decadent descriptions of palaces? Check. An undercover prince attempting to reunite with his past lover? CHECK. And of course, there’s a ball.

  • Blog,  Review

    The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Review

    Genre: Historical Fiction, YA, Romance

    Pairings: M/M

    Queer Rep: Bi and Gay (I think)

    Warnings: Memories of abuse and trauma, homophobia, racism, sexism (all from outside characters and not condoned by the MCs. Still sucks), some violence

    Synopsis

    Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

    But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

    Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

    General

    The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue took me by surprise. Where I was expecting a mostly romcom slice of life during the 1700s, I was instead given a breathless adventure with humor and heart. This book made my heart soar, squeeze, and shriek (or maybe that was just me), and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the many subgenres it encompasses.