Evan tried not to scoff. “Isn’t that a little dramatic, Lani? It’s just a parking garage.” With a quick glance over his shoulder, he saw Lani walk faster toward him, her uneven gait making her look extra grumpy.
“A mostly dark, wet parking garage with flickering lights. I’m wearing a broken heel and we are leaving the company event without telling anyone. Prime murder victims, my dude.”
Evan held out a hand to Lani as a peace offering, she took it and hobbled a little closer. “I sent a text to Malachi before we came down. If we go missing, he’ll alert the police.”
“Fuck the police.” Lani tried not to smile and squeezed his hand. “Call the Winchesters. I’m pretty sure that shadow just moved.”
I have been going back and forth with myself on whether to close this energy space of writing. But then I keep getting folks who tell me how much they love that I still blog, love my queer book recommendations, so I think I want to stick around longer.
Also, I have always had the intent that one day I will save money for a website overhaul to make this a blog and my author website. So, there’s that.
I think I just need to get my brain sorted again and start treating this with more care and priority than I have done. Which requires a lots of mental shifts, that I am not exactly ready for but also, I don’t want to drag it out.
Fuck, I don’t think any of this makes sense.
Also, gentle reminder to myself June is a really hard fucking month that takes a toll on my mental energy, which extends to my reading and writing. *deep sigh* But I can do this and I love and adore y’all’s support here. Truly.
It is so difficult not to compare my productivity from month to month. April was AMAZING for me. But I have to remind myself, it was because I had less responsibility since Wee One wasn’t home. And now our Michigan family is all together again! And it’s always an adjustment to settle back in, find out what has shifted, what needs to be picked back up.
May was also, to my subconscious, been a countdown to the month of June. Which is a personal difficult month filled with two death anniversaries, of which they are handled so differently due to my relationships with my dead grandmothers. So, I’m surprised I did anything this month to be honest.
So June will be either filled with ALL THE THINGS to distract me or will be nothing but crickets as I burrow in the feels.
Okay, let’s wrap up May now.
Dark Night Golden Dawn (The Immortal Orders #1) by Allison Carr Waechter – 5 stars
Learning to Flirt (Doveport #1) by Kallie Mont – 4.5 stars
Learning to Trust (Doveport #2) by Kallie Mont – 4 stars
The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon – 4.5 stars
Murder for the Modern Girl by Kendall Kulper – 3.5 stars
Ornamental (Irons and Works #8) by E.M. Lindsey – 4 stars
The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakeley – 3 stars
A Dance with the Fae Prince (Married to Magic #2) by Elise Kova – 5 stars
Little Risk of Fall (Creature Cafe #8) by Clio Evans – 3.5 stars
The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes The Queer Principles of Kit Webb #2 By: Cat Sebastian Genres: Historical Romance, LGBTQIA Publication Date: June 7, 2022 Format: E-ARC via NetGalley
Synopsis from GoodReads:
Marian Hayes, the Duchess of Clare, just shot her husband. Of course, the evil, murderous man deserved what was coming to him, but now she must flee to the countryside. Unfortunately, the only person she can ask for help is the charismatic criminal who is blackmailing her–and who she may have left tied up a few hours before…
A highwayman, con artist, and all-around cheerful villain, Rob Brooks is no stranger to the wrong side of the law or the right side of anybody’s bed. He never meant to fall for the woman whose secrets he promised to keep for the low price of five hundred pounds, but how could he resist someone who led him on a merry chase all over London, left him tied up in a seedy inn, and then arrived covered in her husband’s blood and in desperate need of his help?
As they flee across the country–stopping to pick pockets, drink to excess, and rescue invalid cats–they discover more true joy and peace than either has felt in ages. But when the truth of Rob’s past catches up to him, they must decide if they are willing to reshape their lives in order to forge a future together.
Thank you to Cat Sebastian, Avon Books, and NetGalley for a free e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes is just as brilliant and queer as The Queer Principles of Kit Webb. I love that we got to see Marian and Rob in this book and love where this story took me.
A quick gush before review – I am utterly in love with the first chapter being Marian and Rob’s entire letter correspondence that takes places in the wings of the first book. Seeing little nods to the coffeeshop, Percy, and Kit made my heart happy. I was really hoping we would get those!
Marian is a quick witted, reluctant duchess who just wants freedom for herself, her daughter, her father, and her friend Percy. She does not want or need anything Sentimental or Cozy. Rob is a charming, roguish man with a secret, who wants to make sure his friend Kit is safe from the noose, probably repair their relationship, and just wishes his heart would stop doing Things around Marian.
These bisexual disasters are amazing together, their banter is top tier, and I just have the most epic of crushes on them both.
And once again, it wouldn’t be a Cat Sebastian book without commentary on classism and I am so here for it. And I adore the way it’s done, grappling with “inherited” titles, dukes and duchesses. I love seeing Rob and Marian’s view points as they both struggle with the idea of freedom their “roles” in society.
LASTLY AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, I am obsessed with the relationship dynamic and the steamy scenes and how that dynamic plays out. How it’s just so queer and goes where I rarely see M/F relationships go. I have such high standards to begin with and now they are even higher, so thank you, Cat Sebastian for that.
If you like queer novels, the most disastrous of bisexuals, banter, and a high stakes romance, please read this series and join me in being absolutely gone on these characters.
One of the reason I love writing these mini reviews is because I genuinely cannot remember what I read and when I read. So it’s nice to have a little tracker to remind myself, “Oh, look. You did it!”
This month was heavy on the queer romance and a thriller/mystery thrown in.
Learning to Flirt (Doveport #1) by Kallie Mont
Learning to Flirt is a small town, lesbian age gap romance and it was perfection. I adored it. Maggie is the owner of Doveport Books and is an adorable anxious mess. Parker is the new English professor, leather clad motorcycle riding lesbian of my dreams. The slowest slow burn that ever burned. And I loved every moment. Also, dived in to the second immediately because of the OH SHIT cliffhanger. If you like small town lesbian romances with banter and anxious chatter, please read this book right now.
Learning to Trust (Doveport #2) by Kallie Mont
The sequel to Learning to Flirt picks up right where the cliffhanger leaves us. Parker and Maggie are navigating their new relationship, sexual tension runs high and there are so many sexy time interruptions! I do kind of wish this book was blended in with the first, but I truly enjoyed watching Parker and Maggie with their ups and down in this one. If you liked the first in this series, you will enjoy this sequel just as much. (Also, there are more books in this series planned focusing on different characters! So excited.)
The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon
It has been such a long time since I’ve read a thriller centered around sisters. Which is one of my favorite genres. The Drowning Kind is told in dual timelines, revolving around a house and the healing/cursed spring pool. The complicated dynamics of sisters and family, mental illness, a spring pool that heals and takes, this book was so hard to put down. If you like generational curses, complicated family, and a high tension with a thriller, this book should be on your TBR pile.
Ornamental (Iron and Works #8) by E.M. Lindsey
Ornamental is a bisexual M/M romance just solidifies that this series is still one of my favorites. Age gap (almost twenty years, if I did my math right), bisexual main characters, repairing family relationships, an MC with Tourette’s. I adored watching Luke and Rafael navigate their feelings and relationship with each other and the other members of the found family/tattoo shop. If you like queer, disabled main characters who always get a happy ending (in more ways than one), seriously pick up this series on Kindle Unlimited.
The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley
The Invisible Husband of Frick Island is a contemporary romance that has left me with me mixed feelings. On the one hand, I adore books set on small islands, I love books that deal with mental illness and grief, and this book has some serious twists that don’t feel like they fit in the romance genre. But on the other hand, I didn’t actually like any of the romantic leads. That being said, I couldn’t put this book down. I was intrigued needed to keep reading to see how it was all going to resolve. If you like complicated romances based on iffy foundations, small town characters, and want to read some pretty writing, get it from the library. And then let me know how you feel about.
A Dance with the Fae Prince (Married to Magic #2) by Elise Kova
A Dance with the Fae Prince is a standalone fantasy romance in the Married to Magic series. It is a Psyche and Eros inspired story with a heavy twist of Cinderella that had me falling in love with the world Kova built all over again. Normally, I am not a fan of Cinderella retellings or inspired novels, but holy moly this one is my favorite. Katria is such a wonderful character and the Fae Prince is one of those lost prince types that I also normally don’t like. Literally everything about this one just made me swoon and be on the edge of my seat. If you like stubborn, strong romance leads, a high stakes quest while pining, and steamy tension, definitely read this one soon.
Let me know if you’ve read any of these! Or let me know what you read this month!
Getting back to a new normal, new schedule. Trying to get my sleep and mental health back in order. It’s a lot and it doesn’t feel like enough. To be fair, I am approaching a really difficult month in terms of grief. June is a horrible month for me and I didn’t realize I was counting down the days left until yesterday.
I am very lucky to still be with my Michigan family during this time as the way we approach grief here is different than anything I’ve experienced before with my Texas family. (Except for you Mom! My mom is always the exception when I talk about my bio family challenges.) I wish I had an idea of how my grieving is going to go this year. Year three of being without both of my grandmothers.
Mmm, my brain is already running out of things to write. The news cycle this week is getting to me again. Also, pretty sure I am supposed to have therapy today and my therapist hasn’t sent me any links, so I think it got forgotten again. I have got to figure out a better way to schedule with her.
Murder for the Modern Girl Standalone By: Kendall Kulper Genres: YA Historical Fiction/Mystery Publication Date: May 31, 2022 Format: E-ARC via NetGalley
Synopsis from GoodReads:
A ravishing young mind reader stalks the streets at night in kitten heels, prowling for men to murder.
A soft-spoken genius toils away in the city morgue, desperate to unearth the science behind his gift for shapeshifting.
It’s a match made in 1928 Chicago, where gangsters run City Hall, jazz fills the air, and every good girl’s purse conceals a flask.
Until now, eighteen-year-old Ruby’s penchant for poison has been a secret. No one knows that she uses her mind-reading abilities to target men who prey on vulnerable women, men who escape the clutches of Chicago “justice.” When she meets a brilliant boy working at the morgue, his knack for forensic detail threatens to uncover her dark hobby. Even more unfortunately: sharp, independent Ruby has fallen in love with him.
Waltzing between a supernaturally enhanced romance, the battle to take down a gentleman’s club, and loyal friendships worth their weight in diamonds, Ruby brings defiant charm to every spectacular page of Murder for the Modern Girl—not to mention killer fashion. An irresistible caper perfect for fans of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.
Thank you to Kendall Kulper, Holiday House, and NetGalley for a free e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
Murder for the Modern Girl is a YA Historical Fiction Mystery set in the Roaring Twenties centered around vigilante justice, a interesting romance, and all the gorgeous description of Gatsby-era glamour.
This is a book that was easy for me to set down and come back to later, not so much a thriller as a slow burn mystery/romance. The first few chapters I read through quickly, the middle lagged a bit for me, and then ending did a good job of ramping up the stakes and then coming to a satisfying conclusion.
Ruby is very spirited character. I love the way Kulper describes her mind reading and found those to be some of my favorite scenes. Guy is an interesting character that I felt could have used More. His shifting ability is so damn cool and would have loved to explore that more. Sometimes it felt like they were two characters from different stories that didn’t mesh well together, except for their interest in one another. Like when you get crossover shows of your favorites, but the vibe just shifts too much back and forth instead of blend together. But by the end, I still found myself enjoying it.
As for the secondary characters, the only one that really sticks out is Maggie. Ruby’s best friend. I would LOVE to read a story from her point of view. I kept getting some bi-vibes from Ruby and Maggie, but that could have just been wishful queer thinking on my part. As for the rest of the side characters, I didn’t feel like they were important, and were just there when it was useful to the plot.
The slight issue I had with the book is the ’20s slang that got thrown around so much. I do not think it was necessary and it felt really forced.
But the larger issues, was that it left me wanting more. We get teased with supernatural abilities and then Nothing, no answers as to why either of the main characters have abilities, although one is looking to science and one is just like “yeah, this is how I am” with no real need to ask further questions.
Overall, I did like reading it, would recommend it to those who love books set in the ’20s for the aesethic/glamour of it all, as long as there is no expectation of revealing anything around the mind reading and shapeshifting abilities.
Dark Night Golden Dawn Series: The Immortal Order #1 By: Allison Carr Waechter Genres: Adult Fantasy Romance Publication Date: April 12, 2022 Format: E-ARC via author
Synopsis from GoodReads:
In a city where the elite are powerful as gods, the season is about to begin. The Immortal Orders will gather, pair and create a spectacle for all of Nuva Troi to witness.
Harlow Krane is a sorcière who wants nothing more than to recover from her most recent breakup in peace. When the season begins, her Order needs her help to save their ancestral occult district from being taken over by the Illuminated, the most powerful immortals in Nuva Troi. They offer to back off—if Harlow agrees to pair with their most eligible bachelor, Finn McKay. But Harlow has been burned by Finn before.
Finn McKay is one of the Illuminated. Rich, powerful, and he isn’t afraid of anyone—except for his parents. When they push him towards Harlow Krane, he knows their purposes are sinister at best. For the past seven years, Finn has done everything in his power to stay away from Harlow and he won’t break his resolve now, even if it means defying his parents. As the season begins, it’s clear something is dangerously wrong but besides Finn, only Harlow seems to notice.
With magic behaving strangely, the balance of power between the Immortal Orders and humans grows deadlier by the day. Harlow and Finn must work together to keep ancient grudges from resurfacing and take back their lives in the process. If they can get over their past, the whole world may have a brighter future.
Once again, I am in awe of Allison Carr Waechter’s ability to create such gorgeous worlds and realistic characters. Dark Night Golden Dawn is one of those books that just has you wanting to fall into pages and never come back out.
Harlow is one of my top ten fantasy romance characters that I would smooch/be best friends with. I love the complexity, the insecurity, the personal growth, the magical growth, the healing. All of it. Harlow is a character that just feels so real and I adored reading her journey. And cannot wait to read more.
Finn. Oh my Finn. How, what, where do I start? I KNEW well in advance before reading this book that Finn would be very My Type and give me Gender Feels and I wasn’t wrong. I want to shake him, smooch him, snuggle him. In that order. His loyalty and dedication are by far my favorite things about him. And also the things that drive me bonkers for Reasons.
Watching the pair of them in this somewhat one sided Enemies to Lovers, Second Chance Romance, Bridgerton vibe Season romancing was a fucking joy. Feeling the depth of so many emotions as Harlow navigates her world post an abusive relationship was heartbreaking and hopeful all at once. The absolute range of emotions I went through reading this was intense.
And just real quick, can we talk about all the other fleshed out complex beautiful characters?! The Maters (Auriela and Selene are the older lesbian couple I want to adopt me), the sisters (Thea, Meline, Indigo, and Larkin all make my heart happy), Enzo (another Gender Feels/Envy), Riley Quinn (Please marry me!), and so so many more. I’m just so thankful that these characters exist with their own stories, their own desires, their own goals, their own flaws, and do not exist just to be decor. They are ALL in it. IN IT!
I cannot wait to read the rest of this series. If you enjoy the high stakes of Bridgerton courtship, the wide spectrum of family dynamics, the steam from sexual tension that you know will burn you, and the lushness of fantasy worlds, please read this book.
Thank you to my dear friend, Allison, for giving me this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Is the smartest thing for me to be writing something of substance pre-coffee and emotional wound up? No, probably not.
Am I going to keep doing it? Yes, I am.
It’s May, it’s springtime, and I genuinely do not understand time any more. Or seasons, even though I try to follow the cycle of the year and things, I just cannot find myself in Space and Time. And it’s starting to feel like the normal.
I’m not sure I want that to be the normal, but don’t really know how to fix it, how to find a fixed point. Except grounding. Folks love telling me to ground, get my feet in the earth. But y’all. I loathe bugs and have horrible allergies, so I need a second suggestion, please.
Pretty sure breathing is another thing, and yeah, to be fair, I need to get better about that one too. Maybe I’ll download one of those apps that send you reminders to breath. Sometimes I feel silly with how many alarms and notifications I need to stay on top of being human, of functioning. Yay neurodivergence!
And truly, yay. Normally I love my neurodivergent brain. I love how I see the world, how I see patterns, how I interact. But sometimes it wears me down with how much I have to do, how much I have to adjust. And today is one of those days.
Please feel free to send me love, advice, links to helpful tools, etc. I appreciate y’all who read my words, very much.