Book Review: Partners in Crime (2021)

Partners in Crime by Rachel Bowdler

I have adored all of Rachel Bowdler’s novellas that I’ve read so far and she’s definitely becoming one of my go-to authors for a lovely romance read. I totally recommend her books!

Firstly, how bloody gorgeous is this cover? I’m absolutely obsessed with it. I picked up the Kindle version of this one with the other cover, but I’m definitely grabbing a copy of the paperback because I am straight up HEART EYES for this cover. Strong noir, graphic novel vibes and I am HERE FOR IT. Secondly, this one is fabulously sapphic.

Partners in Crime features a podcast on true crime, and it’s fitting choice to read this month with the Book Trove book club as I was just watching Only Murders in the Building, which also follows podcasters of true crime. (And is also awesome, FYI.)

Bryce was special, Thea was beginning to realize. She wouldn’t find that same connection anywhere else.

As always, Bowdler manages to pack a wonderful amount into a novella. There’s romance and angst and mystery and suspense. And, like all of Bowdler’s novellas, the characterisation is just wonderful. And Thea and Bryce are impossible not to root for.

Deep down, though, she knew what had really driven Thea here. She knew why her best friend could never let these cases go, knew why she took it upon herself to try to solve them. They rarely covered unsolved mysteries on the podcast anymore. Thea always needed an answer — because she’d never gotten one for herself.

Bowdler really knows how to write characters you feel for and ship from the get go. Coupled with angst and a murder mystery, and you have all the ingredients for a great novella! Can’t wait to read her next one!

Buddy read this book with The Book Trove. We’re hoping to shine some attention on independent books and authors. These books are picked totally at random and selected by vote amongst the group.

Book Review: I Love You S’more (2021)

I Love You S’more by Wendy Dalrymple

She wanted to remember this moment forever, no matter what happened after the weekend. The sound of the night. The scent of the pine logs burning in the fire. His gorgeous, fun, friendly smile, still perfect and imperfect all at once after all these years. Even the way that their sons had become fast friends in the same way that she and Julian had. She didn’t want it to end.

What a sweet, wholesome, perfect-for-the-summer romance! I Love You S’More is my first read by Wendy Dalrymple and I’m definitely going to be devouring the rest of her books! This is filled with summer camp fun, second chance romance and more descriptions of s’mores than my hungry self could handle. I’m now so hungry it’s ridiculous. Must find s’mores!

Book Review: The Wolf and the Water (2020)

The Wolf and the Water by Josie Jaffrey

That was the point, of course: the people of Kepos didn’t understand that there was anywhere else to go. They were hemmed in by the cliffs, the wall and the sea. For as far as they could sail in their little fishing boats, there were only more cliffs and more sea.

Josie Jaffrey’s The Wolf and the Water takes place in a valleyed city inspired by Plato’s account of the island of Atlantis and has a lot of similarities to Ancient Greece. I’m used to reading Jaffrey’s vampires stories, so it was awesome to delve into another of her universes! In terms of genre, TWTW really reminded me of The Winner’s Curse in the sense of it being a fictional historical setting with a focus on the politics, engagements and troubles of city folk and the drama and machinations of those who want to rise higher and higher. Think Spartacus or Agora, with a new adult twist.

In Kepos, the story’s setting, our MC Kala is less than delighted by her mother’s remarriage after her father dies under questionable – at best – circumstances. Her new stepfather is abusive, murderous and disgusting. With the help of her life long friend, confidant and lover Melissa, Kala starts to delve into the mystery of her father and Kepos as a whole.

I adored Kala and Melissa, but Leon was a gem and a half. I just adored his characterisation. Can’t wait to get more of his banter in the next book ♡_♡

I also really appreciated the depth of the world-building in this tale and the detail Jaffrey put into developing the society and mythology. I did have a bit of a hard time keeping track of the names, titles and families, but there’s a helpful diagram at the start with all the family names and lineages.

Overall, I can’t wait to see where it all goes from here! Another Josie Jaffrey must read for sure!

Thank you to the author for an ARC.

Book Review Roundup

Tag and the Magic Squeaker by Sam Hundley

The illustrations in this book are made with scrap art and it’s honestly one of the coolest children’s books I’ve ever seen. The dog, cat and mouse are all made with different parts of metal, etc. I liked that the dog was made with a dog tag, haha. Very cute! The story is fun and endearing, too! Definitely worth a read!

Flower Crowns and Fearsome Things by Amanda Lovelace

never once has she felt as if
she’s interesting enough to be
the daring heroine of her own story,
& she’s oddly okay with that.
—she likes being nobody.

Amanda Lovelace is a new-to-me poet, but I’ve seen her works around. The covers are all cool and minimalist. I was instantly drawn in by the gorgeous cover on this one, too! The poems are short and punchy, focusing on loving yourself and putting yourself first. A good introduction to Lovelace for sure! I’ll definitely check out her other poems soon.

All The Colors of Life by Aisato Lisa

You feel like you don’t know the words to the song the grown-ups are singing.

Oh man. Oh man, this made me cry. I was not expecting this book at all. I picked it because the cover was really pretty. I was not anticipating the FEELS. It’s a long form illustrated book that contemplates the long winding road of life. That’s the best way I can describe it. Just give it a chance. Seriously. You won’t regret it.

The Little Lion That Listened by Nicholas Tana

Oh my, the artwork in this book is soooo good! I’m seriously impressed. Each page looks like a painting! The story is very sweet and wholesome, too! Little Leo is such a good listener and I liked how lovely and supportive his mother and siblings were.

His father was a bit frustrating, though. I do wish he apologised to Leo. It seemed like he was unsupportive of everything Leo tried to be, and only once Leo did what he wanted (roared), he accepted him. I didn’t like his characterisation much as a result. Kids should know their parents will love them even if they can’t reach a goal their parents want for them, so for a kids book, I’d want that scene of his father accepting him without him having to roar added in, you know? That’s my only nit-pick, though. The story is truly lovely and the art is gorgeous!

The Hiking Viking by Lauren Gehl

This has a similar message to another children’s book I just read, but it’s a very good one if done well: a young kid is different from their family and feels left out, the others learn to accept them for who they are, all is well by the end. It’s an important lesson for kids to learn and believe, and for adults to remember: there’s nothing wrong with being different from your family!

I really liked this book’s take: young Leif is a Viking who likes hiking. His father, mother and sister want him to train and fight so that their clan can win the Viking games! But it’s Leif’s appreciation for their homeland and all that they have which ultimately proves to be just as worthy as the ability to defend it.

I really liked that balance and the thought the book did it well. Given that it’s for a young age range, it’s short and sweet, but I do wish it had an extra page or two to draw out the ending. Just to give it that little bit of extra closure. That said, it didn’t detract from how much I enjoyed the book as a whole!

Overall this is a very cute, fun book! Definitely worth picking up! The artwork is absolutely precious, too.

Brian the Dancing Lion by Tom Tinn-Oisbury

Okay, this is simply lovely. A feel-good story of a lion who loves to dance and the fear he faces telling his friends about it. The reveal and twist are so sweet and wholesome. Cannot recommend enough!

Thank you Netgalley for the ARCs.

EBOOK SALE FOR BBNYA

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Book Review: The Girl in White (2017)

The Girl in White by Shannon Reber

*SPOILER WARNING*

And the wind turned cold. The world went white. Vengeance would be hers.

Oh my gosh, I was not expecting this novel! Reber weaves a wonderful contemporary mystery with rich characters. This is a book that deffo needs more fanfare!

Right, so The Girl in White follows Madison after her friend Emma has died. She’s grieving and in an all around dark place.

I’d heard that time had a way of healing wounds. I’d never found that to be true in myself. Most of the time, wounds just festered.

But while Madison’s grieving, something bigger is clearly at play – a feeling confirmed when Madison *sees* Emma. And Emma, who many believe to have killed herself, is thirsting for vengeance. [We get POV changes that are insightful in this regard.]

I really like how the mystery unfolds and the atmosphere is great.

There was no anguish on her face. Instead, it was distorted by the kind of fury which made my blood run cold. She was dressed all in white, everything about her a mix of beauty and horror.

“A woman in white isn’t a benevolent spirit, Madison. Your friend is dead. The thing that is left in this world is a monster.”

I find the woman in white legend so creepy and this was done very well!

THAT ENDING THO! Definitely picking up book two.

Free on Kindle Unlimited!

Two of my books are currently available on Kindle Unlimited, so if you have an account, you can read them for free!

Dust & Lightning

In the near future, humans have gone beyond simple space travel. By the year 4054, multiple solar systems are inhabited, and taking a spaceship is as commonplace as taking an aeroplane.

Unfortunately, not everything about the future is so advanced. The central planets, led by Earth, have risen high at the expense of cheap labour on distant worlds. Dissent is widespread and arrests are common. Sometimes prisoners are released; sometimes they disappear without a trace, sent to labour camps in other solar systems.

When Ames Emerys receives a letter telling him that his brother Callum has died en route to the remote planet of Kilnin, he takes the first ship he can off Earth, desperate for answers. But the secrets Ames uncovers prove far more dangerous than he could have imagined.

Haze

When Eliza Owens gets a phone call in the middle of the night from a girl she’s never met, she doesn’t know what to think. The girl introduces herself as Paige, and says she used to date Erik Stern, Eliza’s fiancé. What’s more, she has something important to discuss.

The only problem? Paige has been dead for years.

Believing it to be a sick prank, Eliza tries to force it from her mind until Sam, Eliza’s older sister, tells her she met Paige only a few weeks before. And, according to Sam, Paige has nothing nice to say about Erik.

The fight which follows shatters the lives of everyone involved, and Erik disappears without a trace.

Five years later, Erik returns to town after his father’s death. Old wounds quickly resurface, and with them several burning questions. None the least of which is: Who spoke to Eliza and Sam if it wasn’t Paige? And why?

Book Review: An Honest Man (2019)

An Honest Man by Ben Fergusson

❧ audiobook review

THAT ENDING THO

IT’S PERFECTION.

I didn’t think I was going to be okay with the ending. I was really, really worried about the ending for a second there.

This book is set at the end of the Cold War, in the heart of Berlin, as Ralf and Oz fall in love.

But of course, in the end, 1989 meant neither of those things. It just meant Oz and espionage – how grand that word sounds now. And, I suppose my family, and the terrible things we did.

Angst and espionage, you say?

(I’m not sure I ever recovered from the gut-punching angst that was London Spy, but sure, I figured let’s give 1989 yearning and secrecy a try.) This is another Joe Jameson narration, and it is a truth universally acknowledged that if Joe Jameson narrates a book, I will listen to it. (If you’ve been following my reviews, he’s one of my favourite audiobook narrators so far. He voiced The Prince of ThornsThe Last Romeo and The Magnificent Sons. Three amazing books, by the way. Deffo check them out!)

This book was a wonderful historical fiction about young love and family obligations. Fergusson’s writing is lovely and I’m so glad I gave this book a chance! Oz and Ralf are wonderful characters!

Also, his description of his mum at the start straight up gives me Sex Education vibes.

I really enjoyed this book and I’m definitely going to look out for more books by Ben Fergusson in future.