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ARC Review: A Bargain of Blood and Gold by Kristin Jacques

A Bargain of Blood & Gold

Rating: 1 out of 5.

This one looked interesting and at first the story moved at a decent clip. I didn’t much like the writing style, but I thought I could ignore that in favor of a good story. It seemed like a light romance with a backdrop of murder.

And then it got…. weird. The characters became strange and the plot took a dive toward horror. It was uncomfortable to read. Once Stebbins and his off-putting and strange behavior got introduced it felt like a bit of a caricature of cobbled-together symptoms of a mental illness. That’s a major nope for me and it was the last straw that had me putting this down.

*Thanks to NetGalley and City Owl Press for providing an e-arc for review.

ARC Review: The Betrayals by Bridget Collins

The Betrayals

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I mean… wtf even is this book? All I know so far is that I am not nearly intelligent enough to wrap my head around … anything basically. So confused. I have never had this experience with a book and I just. Why? If I never see ‘grand jeu’ again it will be far, far too soon.

Also WHY would you make Christians persecuted and forced to wear a cross embroidered on their collar and… just why? and all mysterious The Party and The Old Man who is maybe in charge? and The Chancellor. Aaaaand I see another reviewer likening The Party (clearly nationalist) to the rise of Nazi Germany but with Jews swapped for Christians and. Ew.

I did not like… a single character? They all give weird vibes and I just. *shudders* Nope.

*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Goodreads Giveaways.

ARC Review: The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian

The Queer Principles of Kit Webb

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was an utter delight. I read it from start to finish in one sitting and don’t regret it in the slightest. I’ve been reading a lot of (very good) epic fantasy lately, and this was such a refreshing break from the heavy seriousness of it all. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but is also very sweet (and funny).

Kit is grumpy and charming, Percy and his valet remind me rather a lot of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, though Percy is rather cleverer than Wooster. I find myself very curious what mischief Marian was getting up to throughout it all, and hope her book will follow soon.

I also have to hand it to Cat Sebastian for her rendition of Kit’s injury that causes him chronic pain. It was thoughtful and integrated into the story and felt real and honest.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Avon for providing an e-arc to review.

ARC Review: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

The Chosen and the Beautiful

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is ravishing and seductive and so compelling you can’t look away, no matter how terrible everyone is. Telling Gatsby’s story through Jordan Baker – making it Jordan’s story, as queer Vietnamese adoptee – was a stroke of utter brilliance. Because you feel for her, no matter how terrible she is at first.

The fantasy element was relatively minor but woven like a thread from beginning to end. You could almost forget it was there, it felt so consistent within the world of 1920s New York. You know it’s going to end badly from the beginning – all the signs are there, and of course you know if you’ve read Gatsby before – but the way everything plays out is heartbreaking. Specifically, it’s Jordan’s heart that breaks, for she’s the only one of all of them with a heart that can break.

The audiobook was brilliantly narrated and I was hooked from beginning to end. Natalie Naudus’ smoky voice conveyed Jordan – and everyone else – perfectly believably.

Now I need a sequel so Jordan can have her happy ending.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for providing an audio arc for review.

ARC Review: The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

The Jasmine Throne (Burning Kingdoms, #1)

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I was so excited for this book – morally gray sapphic women! But I had to stop.


The early chapters of this book feature very heavily a disease called “the Rot” that is basically… plants growing out of people’s skin. This is a major trypophobia trigger for me which makes me physically ill and I wanted to warn anyone else who might want to steer clear. I couldn’t find any mention of it in the reviews nor any trigger warnings for the book.

I don’t know if it will continue but my hunch is that it will, since there is so much focus on how mysterious this disease is at the beginning.

I will say that the writing was beautiful and the characters already interesting and if I was able to continue I would.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Orbit books for providing an e-arc for review.

ARC Review: The Rake Mistake by Erica Ridley

The Rake Mistake (The Wild Wynchesters #1.5; Heist Club #1)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was delightful! Not only were the Wynchesters involved – especially Great Aunt Wynchester – but also Philippa’s book club (Heist Club!). I can’t wait for more!

*Thanks to Erica Ridley for the e-arc to review.