Recommended Read, Review

Review: The Flamingo’s Fated Mate by Elva Birch (2022)

Heat Factor: One open-door sex scene without a ton of detail

Character Chemistry: The fate is right there in the title.

Plot: Baker and billionaire / artist / flamingo shifter trapped in creepy banquet hall during a snowstorm.

Overall: Short, sweet, and fun

Continue reading “Review: The Flamingo’s Fated Mate by Elva Birch (2022)”
Review, TBR Challenge

TBR Challenge: Fairy Tale

February’s theme prompt for Super Wendy’s #TBRChallenge 2022 was “Fairy Tale.” Here are the books we chose to tackle our TBRs this month.

Holly Read: Haunted by Christina C. Jones (2015)

Eternally Tethered, Book #1

Why was this book on your TBR?

I assume Christina C. Jones must have had a flash sale around the same time Ingrid reviewed Getting Schooled, because I have a bunch of her books all clumped together in my Kindle. (Like a heathen, I only use collections to weed out books I’ve already read.)

Why did you choose this book for this month’s challenge?

The blurb has a dreamy, fairy-tale quality to it.

What are your thoughts on the book?

I loved the first chunk of the book, and genuinely didn’t know where the story was going. Khalida starts having visions of a man with piercing black eyes; then she meets that man. Then she starts having sex with him—or maybe they’re very vivid sex dreams? She can’t tell if they’re really happening, because they’ll abruptly stop, and she’ll be standing in the middle of the room with all her clothes on, like it never happened. Only the hickeys are still there. It’s frankly ominous as hell.

The revelation of what’s going on with Khalida and Aram is pretty interesting, but the denouement felt rushed, as Khalida switches from unsure to absolutely positive it’s love in the space of a memory. I would have liked a little more there, and perhaps a little more mutual understanding between the characters, rather than Khalida simply apologizing for doubting. 

I was also left with a lot of questions about why and how Khalida and Aram ended up in their predicament. However, this is the first book in a trilogy, and it seems that more about the bigger picture will be explained in the subsequent stories.

Buy Now: Amazon

Ingrid Read: Gilded Mess by Colette Rhodes (2021)

Three Bears, Book #1

Why was this book on your TBR?

I personally felt that a Goldilocks and the Three Bears remake involving shifters and polyamory was too intriguing to pass up.

Why did you choose this book for this month’s challenge?

It seemed like it would be a really quick thumbs up or thumbs down—with remakes, I feel like it’s easy to have a pretty fast radar for thoroughness and creativity and I was not wrong here.

What are your thoughts on the book?

This book is bananas. First thing that’s critical to know…it’s a series HEA. So you don’t get it when you finish this book. However, considering the heat level and number of heart-racing scenes, you’ll need a break to continue functioning in society.

The hilarious thing is that the author really leans into the original and it’s fantastic. Ria (Goldilocks) is a very sassy/saucy. Noah, who is Papa Bear (she calls him that!!) is the grumpy to her sunshine. Eli and Seth are more of a pair—one is sweet in the streets but demanding in the sheets, and the other wears his heart on his sleeve and is more of the life of the party.

Was it weird that they’re poly and brothers? Yes. It was. Did the author make the brothers attracted to one another? No. And she does make it make sense—since they’re bears either they all share and stay together or they do the territorial mate thing and can’t. 

It’s a pearl-clutching, décolletage-fanning good time, regardless. 

Buy Now: Amazon

Erin Read: Dithered Hearts by Chace Verity (2019)

Dithered Hearts, Book #1

Why was this book on your TBR?

Around the time we were looking at a lot of retellings, I saw this one promoted as a trans Cinderella retelling, so I snapped it up. Also the cover is interesting.

Why did you choose this book for this month’s challenge?

I don’t have a ton of books that fall into the “fairy tale” category, and I’ve already downloaded this book a couple of times but had to set it aside for other responsibilities, so NOW IS THE TIME.

What are your thoughts on the book?

Cyn is our non-binary Cinderella with a trans fairy godfather who whisks Cyn away to a ball thrown to find a wife for the local prince who doesn’t really want a wife on account of he is gay. At the ball, Cyn learns that her step-sisters, with whom she has not had cordial relationships, are living unhappily with their abusive parents just like Cyn is. Cyn also learns that her step-sisters are both attracted to her at the ball (though they don’t know who she is at that point), so this is also a poly relationship for these NB/F/F step-siblings. Plus we’ve got class divides between Cyn’s poverty-stricken non-noble family and the ostentatiously wealthy nobility we meet at the ball. There’s a lot going on here! And a lot to engage many readers!

I ended up DNFing this one, which bummed me out. I really struggled to engage with the very interesting premise because there were enough technical errors to be distracting, which I sometimes overlook, but also the narrative was heavily front-loaded with info dumps, which on the one hand definitely allow us to understand what’s going on in the kingdom and what the non-noble protagonists value and disdain, but on the other hand were so unsubtle that they ended up pushing me away from the story rather than pulling me into it. 

Buy Now: Amazon

Want to join us in tackling your TBR? March’s theme is “Grumpy.”


Review: Blood of the Land by Adrik Kemp (2016)

Heat Factor: There’s a lot of sex. It’s graphic. And most of it isn’t between the protagonists.

Character Chemistry: So, the book isn’t actually focused on Mack and Jason’s relationship as such 

Plot: Sociopath vampires wreak havoc on a ranch in colonial Australia. And then it’s the 90s. 

Overall: WUT

Continue reading “Review: Blood of the Land by Adrik Kemp (2016)”
Recommended Read, Review Revisited

Review Revisited: Holly’s Take on A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant (2014)

Hey you! Yeah, you! 

Are you feeling Grinchy right about now? 

Would you like your heart to grow three sizes?


Then please go read A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong immediately. It might be the perfect Christmas romance. It’s utterly charming and includes just enough of the obligatory “let’s do Christmas cheer” activities without being twee. It features two protagonists for whom *everything* goes wrong (#relatable, what’s up 2021!), but things end up just right in the end (and my heart goes pitter-pat).

I agree with everything Erin wrote about the characterizations in her review. What she doesn’t discuss is how crisp the writing is. Not just on the level of plot and characterization—because the way Grant builds up the tension between these two crazy lovebirds is masterful—but also on the level of word choice. 

Here are the first two paragraphs:

The trouble, Andrew Blackshear would later reflect, might have all been avoided if he’d simply kept to the main road. His first glimpse of the girl would then have been indoors, seated, with her hair bound tidily back, and their first dialogue would have been an inquisition so tedious as to temper the allure of those great swooping clean-edged curves that made up her prodigal mouth.

But with no way of knowing what lay in store, he hadn’t any reason to avoid the detour. The clouds broke above him, he turned down a lane whose towering yews promised a bit of shelter, and trouble found him, in torrents that put the winter squall to shame.

“Trouble found him, in torrents that put the winter squall to shame.” Just sit and savor that clause. I am egregiously bad at text analysis, so I can’t explain how amazing it is, but I can feel it, in my guts.

Look, both Erin and I thought this book was really really wonderful. You should probably just trust us. (Read on for Erin’s thoughts on the characters, plus general squeeing.)

Continue reading “Review Revisited: Holly’s Take on A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant (2014)”