Book Review: Love, Comment, Subscribe (Ponto Beach Reunion #1) by Cathy Yardley

Love, Comment, Subscribe (Ponto Beach Reunion #1) by Cathy Yardley

A Romance published by Brilliance Audio (10/01/21)

Summary:

Lily always wanted to be popular. Even as an adult with a mildly successful beauty Youtube channel, the impressionable rejection by two members of the in-crowd in high school is still on her mind. She’s still proving to herself and to them in her mind that she’s made it. Her agent; however, thinks she’s hit a plateau and unless she can reach a milestone of five million subscribers, she won’t have the success of her own makeup line.

Tobin has always been part of the Nerd Herd and now capitalizes on that as part of his Gaming Youtube channel. Lately, though, he’s felt burnt out and he’s been having a hard time thinking of exciting new content. He’s just tired.

Can Tobin and Lily, after years apart, team up for some video collaborations or are they too different? Even though their current goals align – make good content, they have entirely different styles and will clash at every turn. But the internet thinks they have insane chemistry. When will the two of them realize they really do compliment each other?

Keywords:

Influencer, In-Crowd, Pressures, Videos, Youtube, Gamer, Beauty Influencer, Collab, Romance, Friendship, Popular Crowd, Contemporary, Swearing

My Review:

I love Cathy Yardley romances. I love how very contemporary they are. This book, especially, is very much contemporary as it deals with influencers on social media. I also love a good enemies-to-lovers romance trope, even though this book isn’t entirely an enemies-to-lovers cliche. What I love most about a well-written enemies-to-lovers book is how slow the buildup of the romance is, how much time it takes for the main characters to get over their prejudices against each other and ever so slowly fall in love (and oftentimes don’t realize they’re falling for each other until they have to finally admit that they are in love).

For anyone fixated on social media or interested in the day-to-day life of an influencer, this book will satisfy that craving. I like to learn something when reading casually and enjoyed the influencer-heavy descriptions and explanations and focused scenes in this book. For some, it might be overwhelming, but I really liked this theme.

The two main characters, Lily and Tobin, were relatable and likable. I loved getting to know them through each others’ eyes. Both are on the outside of popularity growing up and break into their own niche popularity through their social media accounts as adults. I, too, was part of a fringe clique in high school and related very much to Lily and Tobin’s experience in high school. It was interesting and heartbreaking to get Lily’s perspective as she experienced rejection as both a teenager and an adult.

This novel was published by Brilliance Audio on 10/01/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Cathy Yardley’s Website

Book Review: Pip and Kitten and the End of the World by David Congreave

Pip and Kitten and the End of the World by David Congreave

A Middle Grade Dystopia Novel published by David Congreave (09/15/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery as an ARC

Summary:

Pip has never even been to the grocery store himself but when every other person suddenly vanishes he’ll have to figure out which direction the supermarket is along with solving a host of other new problems. At least he isn’t completely alone. His pet cat, Kitten, and all the other animals have survived this potentially global apocalypse. Pip loves this new freedom to eat what he wants and read all day, but when the water stops running and the lights don’t turn on anymore, he’ll have to figure out how to survive in this new world.

Keywords:

Dystopia, Middle Grade, Alone, Reading, Scavenging, Learning, Cat, Survival, 8-year-old, Humorous

My Review:

What I enjoyed above all else in this delightfully cheeky middle-grade novel was the tone. Though the subject matter could have been dark, foreboding, or scary the author approaches the story through a humorous lens. This humorous style was very similar to that of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I noticed some other delightful similarities between the two – very different – novels. Both are humorous and fun. They are both quick reads. Some of the dialogue will catch you off guard with its wittiness. Both feature the main hero and his unique sidekick. For Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the main characters are Arthur and the android Marvin. In Pip and Kitten and the End of the World, the only characters are Pip and his protective cat Kitten. The POV is written from a third-person point of view from that of a narrator. This ultimately makes these two books much funnier. The most obvious similarity between the two sci-fi novels is that the plot centers around the destruction of Earth and/or its inhabitants.

What makes Pip and Kitten and the End of the World unique is that the sole survivor of this global apocalypse is an 8-year-old boy (who has very little understanding of electricity or other everyday necessities/luxuries). Pip has never been to the grocery store himself – let alone built a fire or used a weapon. The stakes are huge for Pip even if he doesn’t realize them at first. If he gets hurt, there’s no one to drive him to the doctor. There is no doctor! Pip has to teach himself everything needed to survive. He even needs to learn what he needs to survive, which makes this such a great book. I would probably not be as helpless as Pip in this situation, but if the internet wasn’t available I’m not sure I’d be able to figure out electricity either. Pip is very relatable in that aspect. He is also caring and conscientious. He is the perfect underdog to rally around. Each time disaster strikes, I was anxious about Pip and whether he was going to make it!

The pacing was excellent in this book. The balance between action and moments of reflection and learning was great. I really appreciated the elevated language and think this characteristic makes the book appealing to all ages. For young readers, they can grow their vocabulary with the seamless use of more challenging vocabulary words. For older readers, the writing style was absorbing and paired with the humorous tone and third-person writing style, a fast and fun read.

This novel was published by David Congreave on 09/15/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Book Review: An Affair to Dismember (Matchmaker Mysteries, #1) by Elise Sax

An Affair to Dismember (Matchmaker Mysteries, #1) by Elise Sax

A Cozy Mystery Novel published by 13 Lakes Publishing (01/16/17)

Summary:

Gladie Burger, granddaughter to small-town Cannes’ matchmaking extraordinaire Zelda, usually don’t stay in the same place or do the same job for that long. It’s been three months since she moved back in with her grandmother and she’s been floundering. Can she take over the Burger matchmaking business, especially as a single person herself with a terrible record in the romance department? A series of odd incidents and murders will sweep Gladie up in the drama and she can’t seem to keep her nose out of trouble. She seems to have more knack for detective work than matchmaking, even though the local police chief and her hunky new neighbor have their sights set on her.

Keywords:

Mystery, Psychic Suspense, Relationships, Humor, Murder, Nosy, Neighbor, Blondes, Family, Drama, Matchmaking, Cozy Mystery, Contemporary

My Review:

This book was as odd as Gladie. As a person, she acts very counter to an actual human in many circumstances. This makes her more unbelievable as a person, but also more intriguing to read about. What will she do and how will she react next?! I wanted to like Gladie but I couldn’t quite relate to her or her hijinks. Hot guys fall into her lap easily, and all of a sudden, even though she’s been in town for three months straight. She keeps talking about how she wears sweats and has gained weight since all she seems to eat is junk food with her grandma and yet both the police chief and the hunky neighbor of mysterious origins and employment can’t resist her. What is her pull if they don’t know her and see this comedic woman around town? Even Gladie can’t believe all the attraction she’s getting.

It wasn’t just Gladie that was an over-the-top character. The police chief, the hot neighbor, Zelda, every single member of the family across the street, and then some all are larger-than-life characters. It’s fascinating to watch such loud personality characters for pure entertainment. Don’t try to get more than entertainment out of this cozy mystery or you will be disappointed. This stupidly funny book won’t make you smarter, but it will amuse you for a few hours.

I loved the short and to-the-point matchmaking advice from Grandma Zelda at the beginning of each chapter, tailored as if written directly to Gladie on the page.

This novel was published by 13 Lakes Publishing on 01/16/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Elise Sax’s Website

Book Review: A Court of Honey and Ash (The Honey and Ice Series Book 1) by Kelly St. Clare and Shannon Mayer

A Court of Honey and Ash (The Honey and Ice Series Book 1) by Kelly St. Clare and Shannon Mayer

A Fantasy Novel published by Hijinks Ink Publishing (07/06/21)

 

Summary:

“Pride and iron. Both destructive to the fae in ways I knew all too well.” (51% Kindle edition).

Alli is half-human and half-fae. She is an outcast in the fae society and grew up in the orphanage after her human mother died. She won’t let the prejudices of the fae keep her from training to be one of the best fighters so she can place highly in the fae society. She is on an upward trajectory in life, overcoming the circumstances of her birth, when the ancestral home of the fae disappears and she’s the one being blamed. She has no choice but to flee. The only way to clear her name is to find out what really happened to Underhill.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Metaphysical, New Adult, Folklore, Fairy, Fae, Alaska, Friendship, Romance, Fighting, Power, King and Queen, Realm, Magic

My Review:

I almost put this book down in the first few chapters. It was written like the middle of a book, a movie’s musical montage of a hero’s final test. I really, really wanted more intriguing sensory details and character building in these first few chapters. Because the narrative moved so fast, I didn’t feel like I really connected with Allie, nor did I understand or empathize with her. The author tells me that Allie is somewhat of a loner, an outcast in society, but she has some very loyal friends – a best friend even. Allie is supposed to be an underdog, someone to root for, someone with a lot to overcome and prove to her society but she didn’t feel like much of an underdog. She has amazing fighting skills, great friends, and the fae/humans who aren’t prejudiced immediately like and help her. I didn’t feel much of a connection to Allie.

I didn’t like how Cinth was described every time she appeared. The sexualization/overly physical descriptions were disconcerting. Most of the physical descriptions were concentrated on her chest. Cinth seemed like a simplified character and I wanted more personality and background on her. I wanted more character building in general from this novel.

The way the plot is revealed slowly as Allie tries to figure out what happened to Underhill and the mystery behind all the secrets of the fae kept me reading until the end. The hint of romance was the most intriguing part of the book. I think my favorite character was Drake. He seemed like he had the most interesting backstory and I really, really enjoyed every scene with him and Allie.

I really liked the plot twist that connects Alli to Underhill and thought this twist was very creative and gave the plot a deeper level of fascination.

This novel was published by Hijinks Ink Publishing on 7/6/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.75

 

Links for more information:

Kelly St. Clare’s Website

Shannon Mayer’s Website

Facebook

Goodreads

Book Review: The Marionettes (The Marionettes #1) by Katie Wismer

The Marionettes (The Marionettes #1) by Katie Wismer

An Urban Fantasy Novel published by Ahimsa Press (08/17/21)

Summary:

“Kirby scowls, then shoots a loving glance at the pink cowboy boots shoved in the back of my closet. She gifted them to me forever ago, and they haven’t seen the dark of night since.” (page 83).

Valerie is one of a long and dwindling family line of blood witches. At her academy, it’s almost time for the initiation test into the league that protects the vampires, except she can’t seem to muster her magic or the energy to keep up. What secrets and truths will she uncover while trying to survive the trials of the initiation into the Marionettes?

Keywords:

Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Witches, Paranormal, Romance, Sacrifice, Blood, Attack, Mystery, Friendship, Family, Love

My Review:

It’s difficult to impress me with an urban fantasy novel. The Marionettes, a quick read by one of my favorite YA authors, more than impressed me. I couldn’t put this book down. My favorite part about the book was the tone of the world-building and the writing style. Even down to the word choice and phrasing, the tone was uniquely presenting a Halloween-esque vibe. The world in The Marionettes is so clear and unique and interesting. The editing was superb, with no unnecessary fluff. I had to read every word. This is the type of book I would read again, just to notice the clever wording that I missed the first time around because I was so enchanted by the plot and taken by the characters. The author has taken such care with this book in almost all aspects – the words, the plot, the characters, the scenes, the world-building. I’m impressed by the level of detail that the author uses to create the world of The Marionettes.

It’s almost disturbing, the naturalness of blood and cutting to this world and to the main character. It is a part of her life and so natural and the author has so cleverly built up this world but yet it’s still chilling to read about it and the normalcy of blood witches.

The book is short – at just over 200 pages, but it’s not just the length of the novel that makes it such a quick read. The author weaves in mystery and intrigue in every scene. There are so many surprises and secrets. I had no idea where this book and the plot were going, and I couldn’t stop until I had all the answers. Except, the book ends on a cliffhanger that is more than just a cliffhanger. I don’t feel like there’s enough ending and I wish this wasn’t a two-part series. I think it would have been better to have one long 400-page novel than to break it into two parts and leave the first book without a fulfilling ending that felt much too abrupt to be complete. Perhaps when book two is available and you can read them in sequence with no stopping, it won’t feel as jarring. For such a satisfyingly written book, I was disappointed with the route the author took for the cliffhanger ending in book one.

This novel was published by Ahimsa Press 08/17/21 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Katie Wismer’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Killing Dragons (Order of the Dolphin Book 1) by Kristie Clark

Killing Dragons (Order of the Dolphin Book 1) by Kristie Clark

A Technothriller Novel published by Delphi Imprint, LLC (05/30/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery as an ARC

Summary:

‘”There’s something out there, Mel, and I don’t think it cares what we call it.”‘ (Location 3088 of 5743, Kindle Edition).

Eva Paz has to show progress on her dolphin communication research before she loses her grant. Surrounded by the ocean on a tropical island, something else is lurking in the water. Legends talk about a sea dragon but Eva Paz believes in science. When this mysterious creature attacks one of her lead dolphins, Eva’s research will have to be set aside until they can figure out what’s going on and stop people and the sea life from getting hurt. Amidst the chaos in the ocean, Eva’s also dealing with the reappearance of an old flame, the creepy ex-drug lord, and the rich owner of the local large-scale operation fish farm who won’t take no for an answer.

Keywords:

Dolphins, Communication, Teaching, Parents, Friendship, Family, Marine Life, Swimming, Submarine, Boat, Yacht, Dolphin Communication, Marine Biology, Island, Genetics, eco-fiction

My Review:

Though Killing Dragons starts off slow, the interesting research on dolphin communication hooked me immediately. The topic felt well researched, though I know almost nothing about dolphins and dolphin communication. Eva may have described her research in technical terms but the author is able to explain what’s going on through visual details in a way that anyone could understand and enjoy. The chapters from the POV of the dolphin Taffy only add to the fascination of the technology and Eva’s research. I really enjoyed Clark’s imaginative and rich landscape of Roatan and the surrounding water life. Reading about the diving experience will make you want to try it for yourself, especially where there aren’t any sea monsters involved!

When the plot picks up speed, I had a hard time putting the book down. There were quite a few layers to the core conflict as well as some juicy subplots and hints that will be answered in book two of the series.

Each of the characters has their own rich backstory, even the dolphins have distinct personalities. The one character who isn’t in the story as much is Julian and I can’t wait to get more of his story and see more of his personality.

I didn’t care for the flashbacks that Thomas experiences. Though there is a tie-in for the flashbacks between Thomas, Eva, and another character, I didn’t feel like the payoff was worth it and this subplot thread could have been edited out.

The ending was nicely paced and quite satisfying, while still leaving some small subplot loose ends open for the second book in this series to answer.

All the interactions between Eva and Ignacio and Eva and the guy she dates had me on edge. The way that these entitled men treated her made me grind my teeth and I couldn’t wait for her to speak up. Eva is anything but a doormat and keeps getting put in the middle of sticky situations. She has to keep on her toes and carefully work herself out of these oftentimes dangerous and life-threatening circumstances. Eva is not a passive character, though sometimes her charge-ahead attitude puts her into even more dangerous situations!

If you are a fan of the Jurassic Park books by Michael Crichton and enjoy eco-fiction and/or thrillers, you will get a kick out of this novel about dolphins, fish farms, and a dangerous sea dragon.

This novel was published by Delphi Imprint, LLC on 05/30/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Kristie Clark’s Website

Online Retailers

Book Review: I Think The World Owes Me An Apology by Fike Daodu

I Think The World Owes Me An Apology by Fike Daodu

A YA Novel independently published (04/30/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery as an ARC

Summary:

“After all, if you look for something, you’ll see it. Even if it’s not there.” (Location 1917, Kindle edition).

Amina has been going to the same school for years but she’s never tried to stand out. Amina naturally stands out as the only black teen among the small conservative predominately white Academy and town. It’s not until the new girl shows up and doesn’t let herself be othered without a fight, that Amina will step out of the shadows to get her voice heard.

Keywords:

Race, Identity, Othering, Racism, High School, Drama, Friendship, Family, Conservative Town, Voice, Student Elections, Politics

My Review:

The world needs this book. Period.

This novel is an embodiment of the term ‘microaggression,’ but it is so much more than that. I will never have the experience of being a young black woman, but maybe through books like this one, I will understand my own privilege (but really, it’s not about me). Maybe being the odd one out isn’t always like this, but maybe it is. Amina and her family live in a small and predominantly white town as one of the few black families. Amina goes to the local Academy for high school as one of two black students – she is the only black female. When she describes the stereotypical high school lunchroom cliques, she doesn’t have a group. Amina has lived as different since it was pointed out to her at six years old. Six! I can’t imagine being othered from such an early age and yet Daodu puts me right there into Amina’s shoes. And Amina is a very self-aware teenager. Painfully self-aware. Every single slight – micro or macro – she expresses to the reader so that you can start to understand what it’s really like to be her and what it means to be a minority within a prejudiced and racist world.

This book made me so angry and I’m intensely impressed with the author for the way she wrote this story and the way she created a complex character like Amina. I raged at the bad and cheered for the good. I felt so much for Amina’s struggles and despite the world pressing down on her, she is still a hopeful and positive person. At times I could feel Amina’s anxiety coming alive from the pages and I could identify with that emotion.

A lot of story happens within this fast-paced novel. The ending packs a punch and is intensely satisfying though I was still a bit saddened by the twist it took to get there. Saddened by the prejudice, saddened by the ridiculous othering, saddened by the power some people have over others, and saddened by my own unrealistic expectations showing how little I might understand about others. Read this book and others like it and you too can experience some empathy. I even had an ‘aha’ moment when Amina and her family experienced the n-word in two completely different settings and how they reacted to it and what it really meant to them.

If you like well-written books about identity and high school drama, you will definitely enjoy this novel.

This novel was independently published on 04/30/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Fike Deodu’s Website

Book Review: Dragon Gold (Order of the Dolphin Book 2) by Kristie Clark

Dragon Gold (Order of the Dolphin Book 2) by Kristie Clark

A Technothriller Novel published by Delphi Imprint, LLC (07/15/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery as an ARC

Summary:

Eva Paz is continuing to make breakthroughs in dolphin communication. She, along with the dolphins, is making great use out of the upgraded facility. The only problem is where she got the money to pay for the building and the man she took the money from is back to claim it. Julian, his megayacht, and his henchman waste no time and kidnap Eva’s mother and hold her as a ransom for the millions Eva took. The money is already spent but Eva won’t let that stop her from gathering her friends to stop her old nemesis and save her mother, the reef, and the natural order of the ocean.

Keywords:

Dolphins, Communication, Teaching, Parents, Friendship, Mother, Daughter, Revenge, Family, Marine Life, Swimming, Submarine, Boat, Yacht, Dolphin Communication, Marine Biology, Island, Genetics, eco-fiction

My Review:

Dragon Gold made me question what I knew about marine biology, genetics, submarines, and dolphins. The facts of the world that Clark builds are rich and persuasive. I would believe Lusca are real. Clark writes them in a more convincing way than any of the dinosaurs in the Jurassic series. The way Clark writes about dolphin communication and communication between dolphins and humans using imaging technology and playback is very exciting and kind of makes me want to work with dolphins. They are one of the smartest animals in the world after all! The opening scene depicts the practical usage of this partnership in a fresh and sensational way before being swept up in the main plot of the story.

The story was thrilling, full of action, and contained high stakes. Eva is more than capable of handling herself, but it will take a team to take down the bad guy. There is more than one moral to this story. Friends to the rescue! Though there were quite a few characters to keep track of, I felt like there was a balance to the amount of narrative time spent with the main characters, and really enjoyed the POV switching. The chapters told from the perspective of the dolphins added some fun and lightness to the heavy perils Eva and her family (and the reef at large) were facing.

Julian is the epitome of a villain and played his character perfectly. His right-hand henchman was even more vile than Julian and without much backstory, the reader can feel disgusted without any hint of pity for him. Julian, is more complex, and I really enjoyed the chapters from his POV. If at first, he had clear and virtuous reasons for creating what are ultimately sea monsters, but he quickly devolves into a madman and the perfect supervillain to hate.

The book was well-paced and a very fun read. It will appeal to readers who enjoy eco-fiction and/or thrillers. There is even some romance to round out the layers of this book.

My favorite part about this story, though, was the dolphins. They are the coolest part of the book, especially Cleo and the role she plays. She is able to follow multi-step directions and during her POV chapters, she shows her ability to think through problems. For readers who love reading horse books, they may get a kick out of the Order of the Dolphin books.

This novel was published by Delphi Imprint, LLC on 07/15/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.5

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Kristie Clark’s Website

Online Retailers

Book Review: I.C.Q.: A Novel By Og Maciel

I.C.Q.: A Novel By Og Maciel

A YA Contemporary Romance Novel published by Og Maciel (02/09/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery as an ARC

Summary:

Auggie is a senior who spends most of his spare time teaching himself coding and freelancing his skills to earn some money. He meets Clarissa online in a chat platform and quickly falls head over heels for this girl he’s never met in person.

Keywords:

High School, Epistolary, Coding, Online Persona, Self-Taught, Online Games, Computers, 90’s, Online Relationship, Romance, Pop Culture, Dating

My Review:

I was a child of the ’90s and was never into computers like the main character Auggie. He is at the forefront of coding and using home computing technology when it first came out. It’s fascinating to read books like I.C.Q because of our culture (and generation’s) obsession with technology. The home computer of the ’90s is like the personal phone of the 2000s. New and exciting and, of course, the parents just don’t get it. I could really feel Auggie’s excitement and his passion for working with computers, software development, and coding. I sympathized with him so much when his parents dismissed his work with the computer as just a hobby and not that important. Maciel really brought this relationship alive and I wished I was into coding!

The very adult conversations that Auggie has with his parents are awesome and rather fascinating. He’s levelheaded and can provide an outside – almost- perspective. With his own relationship, he is anything but objective. He gets caught up in his own feelings and emotions and reactions to the point where he doesn’t even realize that his girlfriend might also be hurt and upset. He is a great model of showing growth and communication in a romantic relationship.

I pulled out my high school love notes because of this book and they were just as sappy and romantic as the correspondence between Auggie and Clarissa in the back half of this story. The overly dramatic way they write to each is very much the essence of a high school romance. I might have rolled my eyes a few times, but reading their letters reminded me of my 17-year old self away on an adventure and constantly writing love notes to send in the mail to my boyfriend of the time. This book will bring out all the nostalgia and is very authentic to teenage drama and heartache. If you would like the nostalgic feeling of teenage love, you’ll definitely enjoy the emotion this book brings out.

The format of this novel changed a bit over halfway through and you’ll be reading those love letters for most of the rest of the chapters.

The ending was disappointing for me. It lacked a satisfying conclusion and a sense of closure for the characters and their relationship. I prefer to have a closed ending. If you’re a reader who doesn’t mind open endings, you might not be disappointed because there is a lesson learned and Auggie does express his thoughts about what happens in the end.

This novel was published by Og Maciel on 02/09/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Og Maciel’s Website

Book Review: Latent By Raegan Salander

Latent By Raegan Salander

A Romance Novel published by SK indent (05/22/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery as an ARC

Summary:

Aliens live among humans – but relations between the races aren’t perfect. Arwen isn’t certain that everything is perfect even though she has a fiancé, best friend, and a job prospect. Her life is shattered when she’s kidnapped by aliens and held against her will in an alien prison. Though they don’t always treat her well and don’t always understand the needs of humans, especially since they have different anatomy, Arwen can’t stop thinking about her captors. Fate and what happens to her may come down to her very DNA.

Keywords:

Rape, Sex, Children, Fate, DNA, Aliens, Prison, Abuse, Torture, Betrayal, Ambition, Infertility, Polyamory

My Review:

Latent is categorized as a dark dystopian romance. I did not get the sense that the world Salander builds in this novel is dark or that it delves too deep into dystpoia. Yes, there are aliens and no, they don’t live in harmony with humans but Arwen’s story is the focus of the book. Arwen’s story is dark. Trigger warning that this novel contains multiple rape scenes. A lot of this book read like literotica and if that’s your thing you might really enjoy this fictional work. The characters refer to rape as violence but don’t explicitly name it as rape. Perhaps in this world the definition of rape is different but both Arwen and the aliens acknowledges that this violence against Arwen is wrong.

The Descriptions of the aliens were the perfect length – enough to give me a sense for what they looked like without dragging. The book’s plot was also well-paced and didn’t drag.

I really like the olfactory sense use in this book, especially to differentiate between some of the main characters. The author used these differing scents cleverly and really made the world come alive for the senses.

There were a number of missing dialogue tags and some issues with the dialogue formatting. Paired with the unique otherworldly names that I couldn’t pronounce and some of the sameness between characters (especially those of the same species), I was often confused over when someone was talking and who was talking. I also didn’t differentiate between several of the aliens for quite some time and wasn’t sure which one had done certain actions. This story features multiple POVs but I felt at times that the aliens‘ POVs weren’t differentiated enough and the plot moved fast enough that several of the aliens felt the same to me.

The book could use a good once over by a line editor, especially regarding those dialogue tags. Also – the written out contractions were distracting in the beginning of the book.

That being said, I couldn’t seem to look away from this book. It was oddly fascinating to me and it’s fast pace kept me reading until the very end.

This novel was published by SK indent on 05/22/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.25

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Raegan Salander’s Website