Quick Review: Nettle and Bone by T. Kingfisher

This book is a fairy tale and it is a book of Revenge. Which I kinda like. Marra is the youngest princess from a small country. Her Country is always in precarious position. It has an important port that the two bigger kingdoms on either side of them want to control. Her mom, the Queen makes an arrangement with the Prince in the kingdom to the north. She marries her oldest daughter to him and in return, he promises protection from the kingdom from attacking. Unfortunately, Marra’s sister dies within a year of marrying the prince so the second oldest princess marries the prince and Marra is sent to the convent so she doesn’t marry and have an heir that potential could have a claim on the small kingdom. This is alright with Marra as she never wanted to be in the chess game of being a princess. She likes living in the convent and being herself. She learns useful skills and has the freedom she never had before. That was before her niece dies and she realizes how much her sister is suffering in her marriage. Her sister is in a constant state of pregnancy because she is less likely to be abused by the prince when she is pregnant. The prince doesn’t want to risk losing his heir but Marra worries that the constant pregnancies or the prince will kill her sister. She sets out to save her by planning to kill the prince and save her sister but she can’t do it alone. She seeks out a powerful gravewitch who agrees to help if Marra can complete 3 impossible tasks and of course she does. On the way to the North Kingdom, they build a team. A dog made of bones, a former knight, a possessed chicken and fairy godmother. They are all delightful in their own ways. If this ever gets made into a movie. I do hope that Dame Judy Dench plays the gravewitch and Dame Helen Mirren plays the fairy godmother. Anyways, Marra is a girl or no real ambition. She doesn’t want to be a princess and every time she is asked to do anything in a official capacity it chaffs at her but she doesn’t hesitate to what she needs to do save her sister. She also realizes that she can’t do it alone and seeks the help she needs. I think this is a good lesson for all of us. To know that we are not alone and help is available. Even if it is to kill a prince. So this was a fun read. I enjoyed it.

What I’m Reading Now: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I started this in 2017 and for reasons that are utterly ridiculous and not at all related to how much I was enjoying it, didn’t finish it. For some reason, I was thinking of elements of the story and happened to mention it to Beth. I asked if I could borrow her copy again. She said I could, If I could find it. I found it with my bookmark still in it. Perhaps I can finish it this time!

Happy PRIDE!

Happy Pride month. Here are a few of my favorite books and series that feature LGBTQIA+ characters. What are your favorites? Leave them in the comments.

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao – Polyamorous
Science Fantasy reimagining of the rise of Chinese Empress Wu Zetian. With a true love triangle as Zetian has two love interests who are also in love with each other. There truly isn’t anything else like it.

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling – Lesbian
Love is always hard but harder when you meet someone new but your ex girlfriend is still apart of your coven and there are witch hunters after you.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova – Bi
The first of the Brooklyn Brujas trilogy follows Alex, who hates magic so much she accidently makes her family vanish and has to go into a different realm to find them. She also discovers herself as well.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan – Lesbian
This is not an easy read as it deals with sexual assault but at it’s core is a love story between two young girls who risk everything to be together.

Carry On Trilogy by Rainbow Rowell – Gay
Based on fan fiction written by another of Rainbow Rowell’s characters in Fangirl and takes it to a new level. Harry Potter like chosen Simon Snow falls in love with his childhood enemy Baz. Fans of the enemies to lovers will love it.

Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland, Bi
This is actually the second book in the series but I’m picking it as it goes more into main character, Jane’s sexuality. Jane is an amazing character that just knows how to survive and isn’t going to let some zombies get in the way.

Rick Riordan books – Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Trans, Ace
Rick Riordan’s many children series based on world mythology are filled with LGBTQIA+ characters. I would first suggest Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series. Main character, Magnus is definitely queer who falls in love with Alex who is trans. The Trials of Apollo series follows God Apollo who based on Greek mythology was bisexual. Actually many of the Gods of different world mythologies are somewhere on the rainbow and Riordan doesn’t shy away from these stories just because who writes for kids.

ShadowHunters Chronicles by Cassandra Clare – Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Trans, Poly
Like. Rick Riordan, Cassandra Clare’s ShadowHunters Chronicles populated with many LGBTQIA+. Original series features Alex and Magnus, a gay shadowhunter and a bi-sexual warlock. The Dark Artifices series features a poly relationship, a trans character and more than 1 same sex couples. The most recent series, The Last Hours has a bisexual and lesbian character as part of the main group of characters even takes place in Edwardian England. I’ll admit that as the series go on, there are times I get tired at the formulaic it is but I always come back for the characters because they are always well written

The Dreamers Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater – Gay
A spin series from her popular Ravens Cycle, centers around gay and dreamer and Ronan. True, his relationship with fellow Raven Boy, Adam, isn’t the center of the story as many who read the first series would assume but it’s not far off. Anyways, Ronan is a fantastic character who l love and what the world for him.

Review: A Little Too Familiar by Lish McBride

This is was like the perfect hug. It was so warm and comforting. Lou (short for Louise) is an Animal Mage who is training for her dream job of pairing people with their familiar animals. Declan is a werewolf who just got out of a relationship and is trying to start over. Unfortunately, he has had some traumatic experiences with Animal Mages in the past so living with one is not ideal. Even if he is immediately attracted to her. I’m not sure what trope this is because it’s not really enemies to lovers since it’s not Lou who hurt him but it’s kind of the closest. Whatever it is I dig it. Declan has some things going on that prevent him from truly understanding his feelings and Lou just doesn’t understand why he has such a severe reaction to her but is willing to give him space. Which is a little hard when you’re roommates. Even more difficult is when Declan’s father and step mother escape from jail and come for him. That would put a temper on anything.

I loved everything about this book. Lou and Declan are the kind of couple you want to root for. Their roommates, Trick and Van perfectly compliment them as the quirky friends. Lou’s family are amazing and all bring color to the novel. What I like about it too is family and the found family dynamic. Lou has a big family filled with with her mom and her other family that she is not related to but helped raised her. It’s kind of complicated but it works. You then have her friends that are just as much apart of her family as the others. Those who was born into and those she chooses is very powerful. This is contrasted with Declan’s family, which was toxic to begin with. He was abused and dealt with so much trauma that left him scarred. When his parents were sent to jail, he and 1 sister were placed in one foster home while his other siblings another. This was for a reason but also meant that Declan lost what little family he had and made it hard him to trust others and let them in. It must be hard for a wolf without a pack. Meeting Lou is a blessing for Declan because not only does he find love but he also gains a family, a pack he has needed his whole life. Like I said, this book just so cozy and wonderful. Romance lovers and paranormal lovers who are looking for a fun and breezy book to read this summer. You can’t go wrong with this one.

Review: Darling Girl by Liz Michalski

Peter Pan is Real. Tinker Bell is Real. Neverland is Real and the Darling Family will be forever connected to it all. Holly Darling is the granddaughter of Wendy Darling, who was made famous when Sir James Barrie took her and brothers story and turned it into a play that we all know. Ever since then the public has been fascinated by the Darling family. About the family, Holly included. Holly has used her name to start a cosmetic company that makes creams and lotion to make you look younger. Life seems perfect but she has a secret. Her daughter has gone missing and this is most distressing for many reasons. 1. She has a rare disease that makes her age rapidly and 2. She’s been in a coma for almost a decade. She has to find her before her father does. Yes, Peter. That Peter.

Holly is not an easy person to like and at times, I did outright hate her. She has made some questionable decisions in her life and it is all coming back to haunt her. She hasn’t had an easy life. The pressures of being a Darling is not easy but she has dealt with a lot of tragedies. Her husband and one of twin sons was killed in a car accident and left her and her other twin son seriously injured. Jack, her son, wasn’t sure he would live. In her grief, she meets and Peter and a few months later Eden is born. It’s close enough to her husband not to raise to many eyebrows as to who the father is but she knows. One day Eden has an accident of her own, she falls from a tree and hits her head. Miraculously, Eden’s blood starts to heal Jack. Holly uses her science background to study Eden’s blood and comes up with a treatment for Jack but it does mean that she has to take blood one from one child in a coma to save the other. I guess it’s easy to judge Holly for her decisions but after thinking about it, would anyone done anything differently? Possibly, I mean she could have been more open with the people in her life instead of keeping so many secrets but I began to understand why. For most of the novel, Holly kept going on as to how dangerous Peter was but there wasn’t much early evidence as to why. She just came off as paranoid and controlling but as the novel went on and we get more glimpses of her past it all starts to make sense. It doesn’t mean, what she did was right but it becomes more understandable.

We also get to meet other familiar characters. Christopher Cooke, a private detective with a hook. Nan, her mother’s housekeeper. Barry, Holly’s right hand man and her cosmetic company. Even Bell herself. It turn out the the line between our world and Neverland isn’t as far as we think. Cooke is also a great romantic lead. He challenges Holly. He sees what so many don’t. That is part of his job as a detective but it’s more than that. Just as there is ore to Peter Pan, Wendy and their story too.

Review: Book of Night by Holly Black

Charlie Hall is a thief and a con artist who is trying to go straight. There isn’t a bad decision that Charlie wouldn’t make but she is trying to make the right one. She used to be in the black market of spells and antiques and shadows. Shadows can be altered. They can be used to grab things the person can’t. They can even have a mind of their own. And they can be stolen. As much as Charlie want’s to leave that world behind and just be a normal bartender with a normal boyfriend and a normal sister. She can’t. An old friend wants her to find her boyfriend and it drags her back into her own life and habits. Forces her to face her past and maybe even discover her future.

I liked this book but I wouldn’t say it will be my favorite Holly Black book. I am also not sure what makes this “Adult fiction” compared to her other novels which have all been YA. It’s not anymore explicit then her previous novels. Maybe a little bit more violent and probably more descriptive in that violence but it’s not any spicier. I would say that her Cruel Prince series had more graphic sex scenes than this one. It did make me wonder as I reading it, What’s the difference beyond the marketing of the book? Anyways, Charlie Hall is a mess of a person but she knows it and is trying to make herself better. I really liked her as a character. She is honest. She knows she is not necessarily a good person. She knows when she is making a bad decision and doesn’t try to excuse it or justify it. Just owns and moves on. Victor her boyfriend has a secret but so does she so she doesn’t push it. There is definitely vulnerability there. She knows that she is not an easy person and has done many bad things so if he is okay with that, who is she to question his own past? Things start to get out of hand, when a she is hired to bring a friend’s boyfriend home after he has run off. It turns out this boyfriend may have stolen something valuable. Something that many people want and are willing to kill for it. The smart thing would be just do the job and get out but Charlie can’t help herself and uses as a chance to settle an old score.

As expected, this book is full of twist and turns. For those who like whodunit or noir novels, this one is for you. I think it’s a standalone novel but there is definitely enough story left for more novels and I do kinda want it to be a series. Let’s hope that it becomes one.

What I’m Reading Now: A Little Too Familiar by Lish McBride

Lish McBride is another author that I will buy whatever she writes. I’m so happy she’s trying her hand at romance because she wrote maybe my favorite book Boyfriend ever! Lock from her Firebug series is super dreamy. I can’t wait to read about Declan and Lou.