Review of Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstances by Ruth Emmie Lang

Rating: 3/5

Recommend: Probably


This book wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I’m not exactly sure what it was I did expect, but this wasn’t it. Don’t get me wrong, I actually did enjoy reading it. This is a sweet, if a little slow-moving, story of love, friendship and a little bit of magic.

If you go into this book expecting an exciting magical thriller, full of intrigue and epic battles, you’re going to be disappointed. The story moves slowly and at times I wasn’t quite sure what the plot actually was. But it had such a sweet innocence to it that most of the time I didn’t really mind. While the magic itself was less prominent than your typical fantasy novel, the book still felt incredibly magical on its own. Does that make sense? I hope so because I can’t really figure out a better way to describe my feelings.

I think what really sealed the deal for me was the characters. I adored Weylyn so much. Seeing his journey and growth unfold throughout the book was so beautiful. And really, the entire cast of characters was incredibly delightful. At times, though, I felt like there were almost too many characters, especially when they each had their own point of view chapters in first person. I had a little bit of a hard time keeping track of who was speaking and at what point in Weylyn’s life we were in. But, I still thoroughly enjoyed meeting these characters.

All in all, this was a sweet, fun read. It pulled at my heartstrings in a good way and was the perfect book for relaxing with a cup of tea. If you like magical realism, or more of the coming of age type of book, I’d say definitely give this a read!

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!


Review of Lawless by Janeen Ippolito

Rating: 3.5/5

Recommend: Probably


I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started this book. I’m generally a huge fan of anything involving dragons, but I didn’t know how it would play out with the shape shifting element. And I’m happy to say that, overall, I think it worked out really great! I had a lot of fun reading this book.

Fair warning: there was a little love triangle going on. Normally, love triangles are a great way to ruin a book for me. But in this case, it didn’t bother me too much. I think one of the reasons I was less annoyed with this particular triangle is that not a lot of time is spent focusing on it. And the overall story was so interesting that I was able to overlook it in this case.

I loved the differences between the two cultures. Everything from the cultural norms, to the words they use is unique to each culture. It made the characters and the world they inhabited so much more real and dynamic. I would have liked to learn a little more about the history of the world and the two cultures, but the stuff that was there was really great!

There were a few plot holes and spots where I think things could have been explained better. But overall, I enjoyed this book so much. It’s definitely worth a read. And I’m interested to see where the story goes from here!

Review of The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Rating: 3/5

Recommend: Possibly, depending on what you’re looking for


I think this was another case of “It’s not you, it’s me.” This book was beautifully written, the characters were well-developed and complex, and the plot was totally cohesive. But, I still didn’t love this as much as I wanted to. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it a lot. It just didn’t grab like I’d hoped.

One of the reasons for this is probably the romance. I knew going into this book that there was going to be a lot of romance. And I was in the mood for a nice little romance, so that was totally fine with me (I’m not often in the mood for romances, so I wanted to wait until I was ready). But I also thought there was going to be more magic to balance out the romance. There was a little bit of magic, and what was there was really cool. But magic had a very small part in this book. So between the reeealllyyy heavy romance, and the severe lack of magic, I was left feeling a little disappointed.

Also, the characters. I’ll admit, I really liked Nina a lot. She was by far, one of my favorites. But the rest? Eh, not so much. Hector grew on me and I ended up liking him by the end. Everyone else just kind of drove me crazy. Especially Valérie, who was just too much for my taste. But, I will say that everyone seemed to stay true to their development and I enjoyed learning the back stories for each character. Like I said, the development of the characters was so well done. I just didn’t care for the end result in some cases.

All that being said, I did like this book. The world created was so much fun and fascinating. I loved the mixture of magic and a sort of Victorian-England-inspired world. Anyone who’s a fan of those sweeping BBC romance shows (think Poldark, or Downton Abbey) could probably appreciate this book quite a bit. I might have had some issues with parts of it, but I’m still really glad I picked this book up.

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Dunne Books for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review of The Reader by M.K. Harkins

Rating: 3/5

Recommend: Possibly


I want to start off by saying that I really liked the premise for this book. It had a cool scifi/fantasy vibe that I was immediately excited about. While there were some parts I quite enjoyed, overall, I was kind of disappointed by this book. It all felt a little too cliche for my taste.

The characters had so much potential. Ann seemed like she was going to be a tough, smart, sassy young woman. And I think that was what Harkins was going for. But, sometimes she came off as a bit too whiny for my taste. And I started to get really annoyed by the amount of times she talked about how beautiful all the other mind readers were. But, of course, she couldn’t understand why anyone thought she was beautiful (even though they all told her how gorgeous she was on multiple occasions). It just got a little too much at times.

And love triangles. This is more of a personal preference, but I generally have a really hard time with love triangles. Most of the time they feel pretty unnecessary, and I think this was a case where that was true. Actually, in this case it was more than just a love triangle. More of a love square? Either way, I didn’t particularly care for it. But, if those are your jam, you might really like how it’s done in this book. Again, that was more of a “It’s not you, it’s me” thing.

Overall, I did enjoy reading this book. It annoyed me at times and I wish certain elements had been different/done better. But, I’m glad I gave it a read. The plot itself is pretty interesting, and the world Harkins created is really cool.

Review of An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows

Rating: 4.5/5

Recommend: Yes!


I knew very little about this book before diving in. I’d read a little blurb about it in an article talking about diverse fantasy books and decided on a whim to get in from my library. AND I’M SO GLAD I DID!!! Oh my goodness, this book was so good! I mean, I’m a sucker for a good portal story (partially because I’m still holing out hope that I can fall into a portal of my own some day). But, aside from vicariously living out my fantasies, the book itself was so well written. You guys need to check it out!

One of the things I really appreciated about this book was that Meadows did a great job showing the gritty, “darker” side of this world, while at the same time not overloading the reader with a billion scenes of death and sadness. The world created is not a totally good world, nor is it a terrible pit of doom. It felt very real. As did the characters’ reactions to the events in this world.

So now on to what’s normally my favorite part of a story: the characters. First off, HELLO DIVERSITY! I loved how many different, diverse characters were portrayed here. There’s bi characters, lesbians, polyamory, lots of different ethnicities and skin colors, and a whole lot more! Plus, each character themselves was so unique and individual. It made me so happy. Gwen was definitely my favorite, although I do love almost all of the rest too.

Ok, so I’ve gushed about all the many things I loved about this world. There were a few little aspects I was less fond of though. First, I felt like the “bad guys” weren’t quite fleshed out enough. I get that they were supposed to be evil, but sometimes it was hard to figure out exactly why. And there were a few other plot points that also needed a little more development/explanations.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. It was so much fun to fall into a world of magic, intrigue, and delightful characters. If you like fantasy books, and have always dreamed of finding your own Narnia, do yourself a favor and check this out!

Review of Suspended by Sarah Noffoke

Rating: 3/5

Recommend: Probably


I think this book had a really cool concept and the characters had a lot of depth. And overall, I enjoyed reading it! But, I think sometimes the plot itself got a little hard to believe. This was a pretty good book though, and I enjoyed reading it for the most part.

So let’s talk about the characters first. I loved how unique and developed each characters was. Zuma was so much fun and Jasmine was one of my absolute favorites. Titus was another character I really felt invested in. I got a little annoyed with Finley and Jack, but most of the time I found them endearing too.

Alright, the plot. I feel a little conflicted on the plot. I said in the beginning of this review that this was such a cool idea for a book. But I feel like sometimes things were a little too forced. Like, Noffke knew she wanted certain things to happen so she just put them in without as much development and explanation as they needed. And there was a bit of insta-love. Plus kind of a love triangle going on. Personally, I’m not generally a fan of either of those.

Despite some of my negative comments, I really did have fun reading Suspended. It took me a bit to get into the story, but once I did, I found myself really interested in what would happen next. I definitely want to read the next book and see how things progress!

Review of Curiosity and Arawn’s Penance by Zachary Paul Chopchinski

Rating: 4/5

Recommend: Yes


This was such a great way to end a fantastic series! I have to admit, when I started this final book, I wasn’t as invested as I normally am. It was hard at first to keep track of exactly what was going on. There seemed to be a bit of jumping back and forward. So much was going on and being explained that I think the story itself got a little lost in the process. But after the first couple chapters, I fell right back into this world. And by the end I was so sad to see it all come to a close.

Gabrielle’s growth throughout these four books was so wonderful. I loved seeing everything come full circle, as she grew from a scared young girl to this awesome, powerful heroine. It was so much fun to see how far she’s come throughout the years.

And speaking of fun characters, there are so many new additions that I absolutely love. Not to mention an old favorite that I was thrilled made an appearance toward the end. There are some points in the book where I felt like the plot got a little muddled, but I loved the characters so much that it made up for any issues I might have had with the plot (and they were relatively minor issues anyway).

If you haven’t checked out this series yet, I would highly recommend giving it a read. Chopchinski has created such a delightful, engrossing story with these four books. And this was a great way to end it. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!

Thank you to the author, Zachary Paul Chopchinski, for providing me a copy of this arc in exchange for an honest review!