Book Review: The Devil’s Blade


Mark Alder
rating: ☆☆☆
published: 2nd April 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

The story of Julie D’Aubigny is well known. Her tumultuous childhood, her powerful lovers, her celebrated voice. Connected to most of the nobility of 17th century Paris, feted for her performance, unwilling to live by the rules of her society, she took female lovers, fought duels with noblemen and fled from city to country and back again.

But now the real truth can be told. She also made a deal with the devil. He gave her no powers or help, but he kept her alive for only one reason. To take revenge…

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Book Review: When You Get the Chance


Tom Ryan & Robin Stevenson
rating: ☆☆☆
published: 5th May 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Follow cousins on a road trip to Pride as they dive into family secrets and friendships in this contemporary YA novel — perfect for fans of David Levithan and Becky Albertalli.

As kids, Mark and his cousin Talia spent many happy summers together at the family cottage in Ontario, but a fight between their parents put an end to the annual event. Living on opposite coasts — Mark in Halifax and Talia in Victoria — they haven’t seen each other in years. When their grandfather dies unexpectedly, Mark and Talia find themselves reunited at the cottage once again, cleaning it out while the family decides what to do with it.

Mark and Talia are both queer, but they soon realize that’s about all they have in common, other than the fact that they’d both prefer to be in Toronto. Talia is desperate to see her high school sweetheart Erin, who’s barely been in touch since leaving to spend the summer working at a coffee shop in the Gay Village. Mark, on the other hand, is just looking for some fun, and Toronto Pride seems like the perfect place to find it.

When a series of complications throws everything up in the air, Mark and Talia – with Mark’s little sister Paige in tow – decide to hit the road for Toronto. With a bit of luck, and some help from a series of unexpected new friends, they might just make it to the big city and find what they’re looking for. That is, if they can figure out how to start seeing things through each other’s eyes.

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Book Review: The Earl Not Taken


A. S. Fenichel
rating: ☆☆☆
published: 17th March 2020
spoilers? nope

Goodreads

Left standing on the side while their contemporaries marry into society, four young ladies forge a bond to guard each other from a similar fate…

Finishing school failed to make a proper lady of Penelope Arrington. But as a Wallflower of West Lane, Poppy has a far more vital role—she and her three best friends have made a pact to protect each other from the clutches of dangerous, disreputable men. So when one of them is about to be married off to a duke sight unseen, Poppy makes it her mission to divine the prospective husband’s true character. If only she didn’t require the aid of London’s most unsuitable rake.

Rhys Draper, Earl of Marsden, has known the headstrong Poppy since she was a young girl naïve to the ways of men. To her eternal chagrin—and to his vague amusement—they have been at odds over the memory of their embarrassing first encounter all these years. Now, with his services in need, Rhys sees a chance to finally clear the air between them. Instead, he is surprised by the heat of their feelings. If the two do not tread carefully, they may end up in a most agreeably compromising position…

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Book Review: The Dragon Republic


R. F. Kuang
rating: ☆☆☆
published: 8th August 2019
spoilers? no

Goodreads

In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.

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Book Review: The Black Hawks


David Wragg
rating: ☆☆☆
published: 3rd October 2019
spoilers? nope

Goodreads

Life as a knight is not what Vedren Chel imagined. Bound by oath to a dead-end job in the service of a lazy step-uncle, Chel no longer dreams of glory – he dreams of going home.

When invaders throw the kingdom into turmoil, Chel finds opportunity in the chaos: if he escorts a stranded prince to safety, Chel will be released from his oath.

All he has to do is drag the brat from one side of the country to the other, through war and wilderness, chased all the way by ruthless assassins.

With killers on your trail, you need killers watching your back. You need the Black Hawk Company – mercenaries, fighters without equal, a squabbling, scrapping pack of rogues.

Prepare to join the Black Hawks.

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Book Review: A Hero Born


Jin Yong
rating: ☆☆☆
published: 17th September 2019
spoilers? no

Goodreads

A fantastical generational saga and kung fu epic, A Hero Born is the classic novel of its time, stretching from the Song Empire (China 1200 AD) to the appearance of a warlord whose name will endure for eternity: Genghis Khan. Filled with an extraordinary cast of characters, A Hero Born is a tale of fantasy and wonder, love and passion, treachery and war, betrayal and brotherhood.

And then a hero is born…

After his father, a Song patriot, was murdered, Guo Jing and his mother fled to the plains and joined Ghengis Khan and his people. Loyal, humble and driven, he learned all he could from the warlord and his army in hopes of one day joining them in their cause. But what Guo Jing doesn’t know is that he’s destined to battle an opponent that will challenge him in every way imaginable and with a connection to his past that no one envisioned.

With the help and guidance of his shifus, The Seven Heroes of the South, Guo Jing returns to China to face his foe and carry out his destiny. But in a land divided by treachery and war, betrayal and ambition, he’ll have to put his courage and knowledge to the test to survive.

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Book Review: Sweet Talker


Robin Bielman
rating: ☆☆☆
published: 5th September 2019
spoilers? no

Goodreads

He likes to be in control…

It’s like this: I’m the hottest restauranteur on the west coast. I work hard, play hard, and love my family. I’m also the guy on the receiving end of some unwelcome threats and fixation. Then Pascale Nichols walks back into my life, and I forget about everything but her. They say lightening never strikes twice, but she’s the one that got away. She’s also, I soon discover, the one my family secretly hired to protect me. Am I mad? Hell, yes. Am I game to play along? You bet. 

She’s in over her head…

Everyone knows and loves Ethan Auprince. With his sexy-as-sin dimples and crazy likeability, he’s always the center of attention. I’ve been tasked with protecting celebrities, bigwigs, and high-ranking officials, but when I come face-to-face with the man I spent one incredible summer with, I’m in trouble. A careless mistake on my last assignment cost me, and now Ethan is looking at me like he wants to devour me, not cooperate with my subtle instructions while I work under the guise of his restaurant manager. 

My reputation is at risk. His safety is on the line. But worse, we’re falling in love again.

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Book Review: Goalie Interference


Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
rating: ☆☆☆
published: 30th September 2019
spoilers? no

Goodreads

It’s goalie vs. goalie in this brand-new enemies-to-lovers hockey romance from Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn… 

Ryu Mori has had a stellar season as goalie for the Atlanta Venom. So when he’s called into management’s office, he’s expecting to hear he’s the new starting goalie for the team, not that some new guy—an incredibly hot, annoyingly bratty rookie—is here to compete for his spot.

Not everyone gets to play in the best league in the world. Emmitt Armstrong knows that, and he’s not about to waste the opportunity after grinding his way from the bottom to the top. If the Venom is looking for a meek, mild-mannered pushover, they’ve got the wrong guy.

Ryu doesn’t want to admit the other goalie’s smart mouth turns him on. Beating Armstrong at practice feels good, sure, but there are other, more fun ways to shut his rival up.

In this league, it’s winner takes all. But there’s more to life than winning, and if Emmitt and Ryu can get past their egos and competitive natures, they might just discover they work better as partners than they ever imagined possible.

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Book Review: My So-Called Bollywood Life


Nisha Sharma
rating: ☆☆☆
published: 2nd May 2019
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Bollywood film fanatic Winnie has grown up believing the future is written in the stars. Her family’s pandit predicted she would find the love of her life before her eighteenth birthday. So when her relationship with Raj collapses, despite him meeting all the criteria, Winnie is lost. This is not how her perfect ending is scripted.

Then fellow film geek Dev challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope: is taking the future into her own hands the way to find her happily ever after? To get the perfect ending, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family and, of course, a Bollywood movie star.

A fate-filled debut sure to dazzle fans of Stephanie Perkins, Maureen Johnson and Sandhya Menon.

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Book Review: A Thousand Ships


Natalie Haynes
rating: ☆☆☆
published: 2nd May 2019
spoilers? nope

Goodreads

This was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of all of them…

In the middle of the night, Creusa wakes to find her beloved Troy engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of brutal conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over, and the Greeks are victorious. Over the next few hours, the only life she has ever known will turn to ash…

The devastating consequences of the fall of Troy stretch from Mount Olympus to Mount Ida, from the citadel of Troy to the distant Greek islands, and across oceans and sky in between. These are the stories of the women embroiled in that legendary war and its terrible aftermath, as well as the feud and the fatal decisions that started it all…

Powerfully told from an all-female perspective, A Thousand Ships gives voices to the women, girls and goddesses who, for so long, have been silent.

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