Blog

Three Kings – Book Review

Three Kings by Freydís Moon

Genres: Queer Fantasy Paranormal Romance

Novella – 153 pages

Published: Nov 22 2022

E-ARC provided by NetGalley and NineStar Press.

Synopsis + Content/Trigger Warnings:

A polyamorous modern-day fairytale filled with magical flora, cozy romance, and Icelandic folklore…

Ethan Shaw—lighthouse keeper and local witch—lives a charmed life in his chilly, coastal hometown. Blessed with a flourishing garden and a stable livelihood, Ethan can’t complain. But when his husband, Captain Peter Vásquez, brings home a wounded seal after an impromptu storm, Ethan is faced with a curious situation: caring for a lost selkie named Nico Locke.

As Ethan struggles with the possibility of being infertile, insecurities surrounding his marriage, and a newly formed magical bond with a hostile, handsome selkie, his comfortable life begins to fracture. But could breakage lead to something better?

With autumn at their heels and winter on the horizon, Ethan, Peter, and Nico test the boundaries of a new relationship, shared intimacy, and the chance at a future together.

TAGS: fantasy/PNR, trans, gay, polyamorous, cozy romance, witches/modern witchcraft, cottagecore, shifter, interracial, magic, magical flora and produce, Icelandic folklore, lighthouse/small coastal town, stormy beaches, sexual tension, selkie

WARNINGS: depiction of anxiety pertaining to pregnancy, conversation surrounding fertility


Three Kings is a beautiful, tender, heartfelt story about navigating old and new relationships, intimacy and vulnerability, with a splash of modern magic and a some seriously gorgeous spice.

Ethan and Peter have been together over a decade, their love is deep and long-lasting. This doesn’t prevent Ethan from feeling the strain of “failure” at not being able to get pregnant. But these feelings arise at the same time Peter brings home what Ethan knows to be a selkie.

Nico is a handsome rescued selkie who is a bit mercurial, shy one moment and intense the next. He stirs up some new emotions and desires in both Ethan and Peter, ones that open them all up to a new way to exist together.

The three of them navigating these new intense emotions, being open and vulnerable with each other, and sharing some intimate and physical moments was magnificent. I feel like I don’t really have the words to properly do this novella justice. The tenderness, the sexual tension, the honest communication – it’s all what I love in a romance. It felt so special to witness the these three fall for each other.

I desperately hope that Moon has some more ideas to bring these characters back in the future. They all have my heart.

If you like queer poly romances with modern fantasy/paranormal themes, discussion of fertility and family, hot and feisty main characters, pick up Three Kings as soon as you can.

New Review Policy (That No One Asked For)

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

Genres I Will Review Here: 

All of the queer romance, queer fantasy, queer sci-fi/spec fic, queer horror. And non queer books of the same genres, I just really prefer my worlds diverse and queer as fuck. 

With a major emphasis on indie authors.

Genres I Will Not Review Here: 

Young Adult or Middle Grade novels except in the context of star reviews on my GoodReads and StoryGraph. It’ll probably have a quick one or two sentence review/reaction/raving about the story and my fave character.

I have decided that YA and Middle Grade are books that I read for enjoyment and the escapism. And since I am not the intended audience for these, nor a professional reviewer/critic, I don’t want to spend time on reviewing these for others, just enjoying them for myself.

How I Review:

I lean towards reviewing what I loved/liked more than anything. And it differs with each book. Since I read a mixture of character driven and plot driven novels, my reviews tend to skew toward what the drive of the novel is. 

Some books I review mostly the characters and their relationships because that is the focus, some books I review the plot and twists because that is the focus. I review what I like and what sticks out the most. 

My Star Rating Explained: 

5 Stars – This book changed me on a deep level – such as how I relate to the characters, how it affects my view of the genre, and I want the words tattooed on my body so I never forget them. Also, catch me deep in the fandom and recommending the book to everyone.

4 Stars – This book was damn good and I loved it – there were some moments that maybe didn’t “work” for me for various reasons but the rest of the book made up for it in many ways. 

3 Stars – This book had moments that I really liked – more moments that I didn’t care for, but the characters made up for it and the storyline kept me hooked. 

2 Stars or 1 Stars – 99% of the time, you will never see me rate books this low. The book has to be deeply horrific representation or unredeemable for me to rate it at a 2 or 1. 

No Rating – This book is probably an anthology and I have no clue how to rate those. OR, I am baffled by the book and have no idea what to rate it OR it’s a mixture of 2 star/1 star/DNF

DNF (Did Not Finish) – This book didn’t keep my attention, or I was in the wrong headspace, or I realized I was not the target audience. Will usually not give a reason why unless it’s to add Content Warnings for other readers to mark the part of the book that had me drop it.

NRN (Not Right Now) – Similar to a DNF, but for this book I know is for me, I just need to be in the right headspace to try again OR I got interrupted by hyperfixation and forgot to come back to this book, but will revisit once hyperfixation is over

Final Note

Not. All. Books. Are. 5. Stars. And that is okay!!

I love 3 stars, I love middle of the road books that entertain me and I read in one sitting because the characters keep pulling me along. I love popcorn books, I love to be entertained.

Not all books have to change your life. Not all books have to be a masterpiece. There is something to be said for authors who crank out books that are just pure entertainment and fun. Sometimes I prefer reading six of these in a row than two 5 stars in a row. I need those breathers, I need those little hits of brilliance.

3 stars are necessary for me. And 3 stars are still recommended books from me.

(Mostly) Unedited & Unfiltered: Tuesdays Are For Books

Photo by Caio on Pexels.com

But really, if you didn’t know. Tuesdays are New Release days. Also the day BookBub sends me e-books that are on sale, about 130+ and it is simultaneously exciting and horrible. Because money and choices.

Some books I’m looking forward to and adding to my wishlist:

Strega by Johanne Lykke Holm – a modern gothic story set in a remote Alpine hotel where one of the seaonsal hires goes missing. I’m a sucker for a remote hotel setting and bonus points for group of girls and all the things that can go horribly wrong.

Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dada – a contemporary romance set in Ireland, featuring two co-stars that give one night lovers to enemy to lovers again vibes.

Tread of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse – a dark fantasy world set in 19th century mining town written by an Indigenous American breathing life into a new kind of mythology around the West. I just told my family I don’t like Westerns, but this one I am sure will change my mind.

One day I would love to get paid to read. And have someone deliver food to me so I don’t forget to eat. That’s the dream.

Until next time,
-A

(Mostly) Unedited & Unfiltered: How Bizarre

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

It’s a new month, a new day, and I’m trying to hold on to the new feeling as a “yay beginning” instead of a “no why how”. It helps a little bit that it’s my birthday month. I’ll be thirty-two this year, which still doesn’t feel that real.

I still feel like I haven’t aged since 2019 and that I have also lived too many years at the same time. Time is weird, pandemics are horrible, and I am thankful to still to be here.

Here is a weird concept too. I’m still in Michigan, those of you who have been here a while know that I’m from Texas, came to Michigan for work/retreat in February 2020 and then ending up being here for lockdown and eventually stayed and called it home. It’s still bizarre.

February will be three years, which will be the longest place I’ve ever lived in the same house/city since I was 18. So yeah, bizarre.

I’m not really sure what 2023 will hold, I know we still have two months of 2022, but I already feel like it’s closing fast. Anyhoo.

What do you think this month will be like? Are there any certain things you are looking forward to?

Until next time, dear hearts
-A

Beneath the Alabaster Spire (The Immortal Orders #2) – Book Review

Beneath the Alabaster Spire (The Immortal Orders #2)
by Allison Carr Waechter

Genres: LGBTQIA Romantic Fantasy

Pub. Date: October 18, 2022

Format: E-ARC via Allison

Synopsis:

Beware what lies beneath the Alabaster Spire.

Harlow Krane and Finn McKay have been trying their best to enjoy their seaside summer in Nea Sterlis. As they fall deeper in love, surrounded by their friends and family, that should be easy.

But as the summer begins to wind down, it’s clear that the problems they left behind in Nuva Troi have followed them to the beach. Between the paparazzi and the elder Illuminated, someone is always watching Harlow and Finn—recording their every move. As a storm of rebellion brews in far-off Falcyra, new secrets about the Illuminated are revealed.

With tensions mounting, Harlow and Finn must become the storm to survive what’s coming for them. Their love will be tested beyond their wildest imagination. Just how far will they go to save one another?

Return to the world of The Immortal Orders in the blazing hot sequel to Dark Night Golden Dawn.


Beneath the Alabaster Spire is the sequel to Dark Night Golden Dawn and it continues to weave worlds, tangle threads, and leave you suspended in the brilliance that is ACW’s world building. With multiple characters and fluctuating relationship dynamics, this book is both character and plot driven. It takes a special skill to do both and I think ACW does it brilliantly.

I devoured this book in two sittings. When I enter this world, I never want leave. The tension between the orders, the characters, the mission vs. the personal, it’s so intricately done and I adore every moment.

I adore the characters in this book. Harlow and Finn have my heart, but so does Larkin. And Cian. And Aurelia. And Petra. And Enzo. Literally all of them. I cannot pick a favorite. And the queer normative world lends to gorgeous representation and lovely dynamics. I love a huge cast.

Because there is a wide range of characters, we get to experience a range of relationships. Platonic and familial and romantic. My favorite might be the relationship between Larkin and herself as she navigates her asexuality. But also love Kate and Harlow’s friendship. And Petra and her relationship which I won’t spoil. And Harlow’s relationship with her healing and showing us how it takes time. It’s complicated and feelings are weird and wonderful. It’s a process. The brilliance of the range and dynamics in relationships in this book are amazing.

This queer normative fantasy world is also tied in to ACW’s other series Outlaws of Interra. This book really is coming through with the tie-ins and the weaving of universes and worlds and I am in awe of the levels and interconnection.

If you like romantic fantasy, mid size heroines, queer characters, family dynamics and the range of platonic and romantic relationships, with a heavy does of magical tension and mystery, pick up this series please.


My review for Vessel of Starfire (Outlaws of Interra #1)

My review for The Last Witch Queen (Outlaws of Interra #2)

My review for Dark Night Golden Dawn (The Immortal Orders #1)

Opinions & Obscurity (These Stubborn Hearts #4)

Photo by Golnar sabzpoush rashidi on Pexels.com

Les opened the door to his office. 

After they both settled into a seat, Les asked, “Why had no-one heard from Adele in sixteen years? She didn’t strike me as someone who could go without giving her opinions.” 

“You’re not wrong. But after a while, my parents stopped caring about her opinions.”

While she didn’t exactly dodge the question, Ms. Harrington’s answer was frustratingly vague. But manners instilled in him since childhood inhibited his desire to interrogate Ms. Harrington further.

Les wanted to know what Ms. Harrington was thinking. Her face was composed. He didn’t believe that for a second.


If you missed the previous chapter you can catch up: Charming Muffins & Cheeky Musings

This week’s words for The Prediction flash fiction challenge: dodge, inhibition, no-one

Charming Muffins & Cheeky Musings (These Stubborn Hearts #3)

Photo by Marta Dzedyshko on Pexels.com

“You cannot make this situation better by plying me with chocolate chip muffins, Ms. Harrington.” 

Taura would’ve believed him, if he wasn’t currently peeling the wax paper off his third muffin. She hid her smile behind her tea. 

Mr. Stacey continued, “Estranged family estates are…less than ideal.” 

Taura was aware of how “less than ideal her” family was. She was doing her best not to follow in their footsteps. 

“Can we continue this elsewhere?” 

Mr. Stacey looked up from his muffin, shaved chocolate pieces falling to the table. “You’re willing to listen then?”

“Yes, but I can’t promise I’ll accept.”


If you missed the previous chapter you can catch up: Crafty Clients & Exhausted Executors.

This week’s words for Flash Fiction Weekly Challenge: The Prediction are: footstep, shave, and wax.

Crafty Clients & Exhausted Executors (These Stubborn Hearts #2) – Flash Fic

Photo by Callum Shaw on Unsplash

Les sat across from Ms. Harrington with his overpriced craft coffee and got right to the point. 

“May I ask why it took over a month to hear from anyone? Adele assured me this estate transfer would be taken care of quickly.”

“Mr. Stacy, the last time my family heard from Adele was sixteen years ago.” 

Les could feel a faint headache coming on. Estranged relatives, fucking hell. He wondered if it was too late to extricate himself from this. 

“My grandmother didn’t tell you this, did she?” 

Les groaned internally. Fucking Adele. They were going to have words later.


Flash Fiction Weekly Challenge: The Prediction. This week’s words are: craft, extricate, faint.

Part One here

This is going to be a multi-fic series.

Wrong Names & Wily Necromancers (These Stubborn Hearts #1) – Flash Fic

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

“London Fog for Laura!” 

“Could have been worse,” Taura muttered to herself. She gave the barista a smile, then scoped out the sitting area. Miraculously found a two person table, then squeezed herself in to wait for Mr. Stacy. 

When your distant rich grandmother dies and her attorney wants to talk estates you wait. 

Taura wasn’t in mourning, she’d never met the woman. But still she felt bound as the dutiful eldest child to at least hear the attorney out. 

“Ms. Harrington?” 

Taura looked up, greeting lodged in her throat. 

Why the hell was a necromancer her dead grandmother’s attorney?


Flash Fiction Weekly Challenge: The Prediction. This week’s words are: duty, London, mourn.

This is going to be a multi-fic series.

A Taste of Gold and Iron – Book Review

A Taste of Gold and Iron
by Alexandra Rowland

Genres: LGBTQIA Fantasy

Pub. Date: August 30,2022

Format: E-ARC via NetGalley

Synopsis from NetGalley:

The Goblin Emperor meets “Magnificent Century” in Alexandra Rowland’s A Taste of Gold and Iron, where a queer central romance unfolds in a fantasy world reminiscent of the Ottoman Empire.

Kadou, the shy prince of Arasht, finds himself at odds with one of the most powerful ambassadors at court—the body-father of the queen’s new child—in an altercation which results in his humiliation.

To prove his loyalty to the queen, his sister, Kadou takes responsibility for the investigation of a break-in at one of their guilds, with the help of his newly appointed bodyguard, the coldly handsome Evemer, who seems to tolerate him at best. In Arasht, where princes can touch-taste precious metals with their fingers and myth runs side by side with history, counterfeiting is heresy, and the conspiracy they discover could cripple the kingdom’s financial standing and bring about its ruin.


A Taste of Gold and Iron is a gorgeous, swoon-worthy fantasy and slow-burn romance filled with high stakes political drama, mental health representation, sibling dynamics, platonic and romantic relationships, all set in a queer normative fantasy world.

I’m not even sure were to start with this except I am still giddy having just finished this book. I immediately had to put my thoughts down so people can read them and then immediately go buy the book. I’m just in awe of the world-building, the character developments, the slowest slow burn that burned, and the way I want to live in this book please.

Fun Fact: This is the first fantasy book I can remember reading where I was even remotely interested in the coinage and economic world. It makes sense, I promise, and I wish I had the words to tell you how much I loved it and why it is so damn interesting.

Okay. Let’s start with my prince. Rowland’s portrayal of anxiety via the sweet anxious prince Kadou is utter perfection. As someone with severe anxiety, it was so refreshing to see a main character really experience the “fear-creature” that so creeps up on you and lands on your chest when you begin to spiral. And the care with with his close friend, Tadek, took with him made me cry every time.

Evemer, the bodyguard of my dreams. And not just because he is attractive as hell. His loyalty is astounding, his relationship journey with Kadou was beautiful to witness. And I want to hug this man so hard that his self esteem issues go away. He is such a wonderful character.

And between the pair of them, Kadou and Evemer took my standard of enemies to lovers and threw it out the window. In the best way. I am so glad we got both of their POVs because the idiocy and the sweetness and the pining and the tension. So. So. Good.

Aside from my two precious idiots, Tadek is the most precious and the most ridiculous. I adored him so much. I would love to see a novella or some delicious fanfic from his point of view, because oh my goodness, my man went through it. And his banter and quips are top tier.

I could seriously go on and on about this book. If you love fantasy tropes meets romance tropes that then amps them up and makes them better, get this book. If you love the exploration of all kinds of relationships, get this book. If you love political drama and high stakes investigations with breaks for pining and kissing to avert suspicious, get this book. Even if you love none of these things, please get this book.

Thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley for this free copy of A Taste of Gold and Iron in exchange for a honest review.