Book Review: We Have Always Been Here


Lena Nguyen

Rating: 4 out of 5.

published: 6th July 2021
spoilers? no

Goodreads

This psychological sci-fi thriller from a debut author follows one doctor who must discover the source of her crew’s madness… or risk succumbing to it herself.

Misanthropic psychologist Dr. Grace Park is placed on the Deucalion, a survey ship headed to an icy planet in an unexplored galaxy. Her purpose is to observe the thirteen human crew members aboard the ship–all specialists in their own fields–as they assess the colonization potential of the planet, Eos. But frictions develop as Park befriends the androids of the ship, preferring their company over the baffling complexity of humans, while the rest of the crew treats them with suspicion and even outright hostility.

Shortly after landing, the crew finds themselves trapped on the ship by a radiation storm, with no means of communication or escape until it passes–and that’s when things begin to fall apart. Park’s patients are falling prey to waking nightmares of helpless, tongueless insanity. The androids are behaving strangely. There are no windows aboard the ship. Paranoia is closing in, and soon Park is forced to confront the fact that nothing–neither her crew, nor their mission, nor the mysterious Eos itself–is as it seems.

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Book Review: The Lucky List


Rachael Lippincott

Rating: 4 out of 5.

published: 21st June 2021
spoilers? minimal

Goodreads

Emily and her mum were always lucky.

But Emily’s mum’s luck ran out three years ago when she succumbed to cancer, and nothing has felt right since.

Now, the summer before her senior year, things are worse than ever – Emily has wrecked things with her boyfriend, Matt, and her dad is selling the house she grew up in and giving her mum’s belongings away. The only person she has to talk to is Blake, a girl she barely knows since she and her dad moved back to town five seconds ago.

But that’s when Emily finds the list – her mum’s senior year summer bucket list – buried in the back of her closet. When Blake suggests that Emily take it on as a challenge, the two set off on a journey to tick each box and help Emily face her fears over losing her connection to her mum. As she starts to feel closer to her mother, so too does Emily’s bond with Blake deepen into something she wasn’t expecting.

And suddenly Emily must face another fear: accepting the secret part of herself she never got a chance to share with the person who knew her best.

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Book Review: Seven Days in June


Tia Williams

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

published: 1st June 2021
spoilers? small ones

Goodreads

Seven days to fall in love, fifteen years to forget and seven days to get it all back again… From the author of The Perfect Find, this is a witty, romantic, and sexy-as-hell new novel of two writers and their second chance at love.

Brooklynite Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer, who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award-winning literary author who, to everyone’s surprise, shows up in New York.

When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their past buried traumas, but the eyebrows of New York’s Black literati. What no one knows is that twenty years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. They may be pretending that everything is fine now, but they can’t deny their chemistry-or the fact that they’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books ever since.

Over the next seven days in the middle of a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect, but Eva’s not sure how she can trust the man who broke her heart, and she needs to get him out of New York so that her life can return to normal. But before Shane disappears again, there are a few questions she needs answered. . .

With its keen observations of Black life and the condition of modern motherhood, as well as the consequences of motherless-ness, Seven Days in June is by turns humorous, warm and deeply sensual.

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Book Review: The Very Nice Box


Eve Gleichman & Laura Blackett

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 6th July 2021
spoilers? no

Goodreads

For fans of Elinor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Severance: an offbeat, wryly funny debut novel that follows an eccentric product engineer who works for a hip furniture company where sweeping corporate change lands her under the purview of a startlingly charismatic boss who seems determined to get close to her at all costs . . .

Ava Simon designs storage boxes for STÄDA, a slick Brooklyn-based furniture company. She’s hard-working, obsessive, and heartbroken from a tragedy that killed her girlfriend and upended her life. It’s been years since she’s let anyone in.

But when Ava’s new boss—the young and magnetic Mat Putnam—offers Ava a ride home one afternoon, an unlikely relationship blossoms. Ava remembers how rewarding it can be to open up—and, despite her instincts, she becomes enamored. But Mat isn’t who he claims to be, and the romance takes a sharp turn.

The Very Nice Box is a funny, suspenseful debut—with a shocking twist. It’s at once a send-up of male entitlement and a big-hearted account of grief, friendship, and trust.

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Book Review: Girl, 11


Amy Suiter Clarke

Rating: 4 out of 5.

published: 3rd June 2021
spoilers? yes

Goodreads

Full of adrenaline-inducing twists and emotional nuance, Girl, 11 is a heartstopping suspense novel where the detective is a podcaster.

The countdown has begun…

True-crime podcaster Elle Castillo has been obsessed with The Countdown Killer for decades. Twenty years ago, he established a gruesome pattern of taking and murdering three girls over seven days, each a year younger than the last. No one’s ever known why he followed this pattern, or why they stopped abruptly after the eleventh victim. Most believe him to be dead. Elle knows he is not and is hellbent on serving historic justice.

When the kidnappings start up once again, Elle must confront her responsibility in forcing the killer out of hiding. She needs to stop the deadly countdown and convince both the authorities and her podcast audience, before the Countdown Killer can claim his next victim.

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Book Review: Star Eater


Kerstin Hall

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

published: 22nd June 2021
spoilers? nope

Goodreads

All martyrdoms are difficult.

Elfreda Raughn will avoid pregnancy if it kills her, and one way or another, it will kill her. Though she’s able to stomach her gruesome day-to-day duties, the reality of preserving the Sisterhood of Aytrium’s magical bloodline horrifies her. She wants out, whatever the cost.

So when a shadowy cabal approaches Elfreda with an offer of escape, she leaps at the opportunity. As their spy, she gains access to the highest reaches of the Sisterhood, and enters a glittering world of opulent parties, subtle deceptions, and unexpected bloodshed.

A phantasmagorical indictment of hereditary power, Star Eater takes readers deep into a perilous and uncanny world where even the most powerful women are forced to choose what sacrifices they will make, so that they might have any choice at all.

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Book Review: Monstrous Design


Kat Dunn

Rating: 5 out of 5.

published: 10th June 2021
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Following the thrills and spills of Dangerous Remedy, the Battalion of the Dead return in a dazzling new adventure, set amid the opulence and squalour of 18th-century London and Paris.

1794, London: Camille and Al are desperately hunting Olympe’s kidnapper. From the glamorous excesses of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens to the city’s seedy underbelly, they are caught in a dangerous game of lies and deceit. And a terrible new enemy lies in wait with designs more monstrous than they could ever imagine… Can Camille play on to the end or will she be forced to show her hand?

In Paris, the Duc is playing his own dangerous games. With Ada in his thrall, old loyalties are thrown into question. The Battalion are torn apart as never before, and everything – Ada’s love for Camille, her allegiance to the battalion itself – is under threat.

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Book Review: Catch a Falling Duke


Eve Pendle

Rating: 4 out of 5.

published: 26th May 2021
spoilers? no

Goodreads

A duke reeling from the revelation of the true origin of his family’s wealth…

A woman on a quest to solve her own family mystery…

After Hugo Ravensthorpe comes to Beatrice Fenton’s aid in a crowded inn, the usually no-nonsense farmer finds herself sharing a room with the well-born, handsome stranger. Beatrice takes a chance and makes a scandalous proposition: one night, no commitments. But she can’t refuse when Hugo offers to assist in tracking down the last connection to her mother, and one more night becomes more… complicated.

The Duke of Cumbria is on the run. He never expected to end up masquerading as Mr. Ravensthorpe or to find himself in bed with witty and spirited Beatrice. One night with her, and not as a duke, makes him hungry for more. But can there be a future for a farmer and a duke? Or is love only possible if Hugo prevents his worlds colliding and Beatrice discovering his family secrets?

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Book Review: Fire with Fire


Destiny Soria

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

published: 8th June 2021
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Dani and Eden Rivera were both born to kill dragons, but the sisters couldn’t be more different. For Dani, dragon slaying takes a back seat to normal high school life, while Eden prioritizes training above everything else. Yet they both agree on one thing: it’s kill or be killed where dragons are concerned.

Until Dani comes face-to-face with one and forges a rare and magical bond with him. As she gets to know Nox, she realizes that everything she thought she knew about dragons is wrong. With Dani lost to the dragons, Eden turns to the mysterious and alluring sorcerers to help save her sister. Now on opposite sides of the conflict, the sisters will do whatever it takes to save the other. But the two are playing with magic that is more dangerous than they know, and there is another, more powerful enemy waiting for them both in the shadows.

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Book Review: The Chosen and the Beautiful


Nghi Vo

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 1st June 2021
spoilers? nope

Goodreads

Immigrant. Socialite. Magician.

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society―she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.

But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.

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