Hello everyone! I hope your week so far has been amazing. August has come and gone in a flash and so I’d love to share what I read with you this month. 📚
What I read in the month of August:
- Feast of Sparks (#2) by Sierra Simone ★★★☆☆
- Wilder Girls by Rory Power ★★★☆☆
- Misadventures with a Professor by Sierra Simone ★★★★☆
- Misadventures of a Curvy Girl by Sierra Simone ★★★★☆
- Out on Good Behaviour (#3) by Dahlia Adler ★★★☆☆
- Discretion (#1) by Karina Halle ★★★☆☆
- If We Were Villains by M.L. RIO ★★★★★
- Broken Knight (#2) by L.J. Shen ★★☆☆☆
- Shadow and Bone (#1) by Leigh Bardugo ★★★☆☆
Feast of Sparks by Sierra Simone ★★★☆☆
Feast of Sparks continues onwards from A Lesson in Thorns cliffhanger ending. Six twenty-somethings that were childhood friends are reunited, discovering they all like the same kinky shit as one another and basically have sex rituals.
This book was mostly enjoyable up until the ending for me. I was enjoying the instant gratification that was lacking in the first book. Sierra Simone really takes the steamy up a level in this story.
However, the twist was just awful and I don’t understand the purpose of it. Auden’s cruelness towards Saint will never feel justified, especially after the reveal in this book. I would love to see more F/F romance in this series too. Rebecca and Delphine don’t nearly get as much page time as I would’ve like. But again, I’m just confused by the ending and the entire point of it when there’s 2 more books left to go. I’m guessing there’s just going to be more sex rituals as alluded too by the characters in this book.
Wilder Girls by Rory Power ★★★☆☆
The Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine since the Tox hit eighteen months ago. It started slow, first teachers died one by one and then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Cut off from the rest of the world, the girls are left to defend themselves, but don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence where the Tox has made the woods dangerous. But when Hetty’s best friend Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her.
I haven’t read a dystopian in a long time, so it was nice to diversify my reading and I was excited this was sapphic. Although, it turned out to just be an okay kind of read. This story just felt very… placid and never very suspenseful. Even the romance was very lacklustre, even though that wasn’t central to the storyline. But Wilder Girls definitely made me reminiscent of Annihilation and with it’s unique writing style and feminist style dystopia, the right people will find and love this book.
Misadventures with a Professor by Sierra Simone ★★★★☆
Zandy never planned on going to grad school a virgin. After landing a job abroad as a research assistant, she decides she has one night in London to lose her V-card to a Mr. Darcy lookalike before she has to join some ancient professor in the country. To her shock, when she arrives at the Professor’s house a day later, the door isn’t opened by a fussy old scholar, but by the wild, passionate man she met in London.
Despite this story being very cliche, I enjoyed every bit of it and found comfort in its predictability. It really hits all the emotional romance beats you expect it too. Given that it’s a 200 page standalone, I didn’t expect it to be innovative and I would suggest the same to others. Sierra Simone’s writing style is a great match for me as well. Also, there are several references to Zandy being curvy & plump & round, and I am always looking for more mid/plus-size main characters in my romance.
The Professor definitely has some alpha like qualities to him and the characters really play into the role of student of professor too. If you think instant gratification (with some emotional angst), alpha males, and student/teacher relationships is something you like, then you might enjoy this romance.
Misadventures of a Curvy Girl by Sierra Simone ★★★★☆
For the first time in her life, Ireland is happy with her body. No more fad diets, no more hiding from every camera in the room, no more low self-esteem. She’d rather be alone than with someone who’ll only love her if she’s skinny. When Ireland’s car gets stuck on a Kansas dirt and a massive storm rips through town, she’s left stranded until Caleb, a local country boy, turns up in his pickup truck. Caleb and Ireland are instantly attracted to one another, but there’s an unexpected catch. Caleb is polyamorous and has always shared his lovers with his best friend Ben. After their first night together, they know this has to be more than a one-time thing. They need to make her theirs forever. But can they convince Ireland they love her, curves and all?
Another Sierra Simone book! Shocker!!! Sierra Simone is still a ‘new to me’ author and so I’m working my way through her books. I enjoyed this book in the same vain as Misadventures with a Professor, loving the comfort and predictability this story had. Again, also loving the fact that the MC is plus-size. Definitely for readers who would enjoy a steamy small town MMF romance.
Out on Good Behaviour by Dahlia Adler ★★★☆☆
Frankie knows she can get anyone she sets her sights on, and she’s eyeing Samara, the daughter of a southern Republican mayor. When Frankie learns she’s been on Samara’s mind too, the idea of hooking up with her grows too strong to resist. Only Sam’s not looking for a hookup; she wants—needs—the real thing. Frankie opts to try monogamy for 30 days. But when neither the month nor Frankie’s heart go according to plan, she may be the one stuck fighting for the happily ever after she never knew she wanted.
This was a cute F/F romance, with some steamy scenes in the mix, but it was mostly fluff. I didn’t entirely love this story, it has a very placid storyline and lacked a lot of angst… but for the most part was an enjoyable read. It kind of felt smalltown-y too, with LGBT themes and can also be read as a standalone.
Discretion by Karina Halle ★★☆☆☆
Sadie Reynolds, a down-on-her-luck student, backpacking her way through dingy hostels and back streets of The Riviera. When a wrong turn puts her in jeopardy, the last thing she expects is to be saved by the most handsome stranger, Olivier, the heir to the Dumont dynasty. Sadie is pulled into Olivier’s orbit of wealth, glamour, and excess. And she discovers that the Dumont dynasty comes with a legacy of wicked secrets. And Olivier’s secrets may be the most damning of all…
I had a different idea of what this book would be going into it… perhaps something steamy, sultry and atmospheric based on the cover and description. But what I got was an insta-love story about characters from two different worlds, that I didn’t necessarily feel any chemistry between or good reason to fall so hard for one another. A very average read unfortunately. After having read this. I also think I’m not a huge fan of the ‘different worlds’ trope in romance either, so I’m sure this impacted my enjoyment of the story.
If We Were Villains by M.L. RIO ★★★★★
Oliver has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.
As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.
Easily the best book I read all month and one of my favourite books of the year so far. I loved how atmospheric and compelling this mystery felt. It;s definitely aided by the brilliant and tense dynamics between all the characters. Despite not being into Shakespeare, it barely hindered my enjoyment of this novel. I just really loved this story of pretentious theatre students, the love triangle and how their lives fall apart after one bad decision they unanimously make.
Broken Knight by L.J. Shen ★★☆☆☆
Knight Cole and Luna Rexroth have been best friends since they were kids and are each others ride or die. Luna is everyone’s favourite wallflower. Knight is the daredevil hell-raiser that could knock you up with his gaze alone, but he only has eyes for the girl across the street: Luna. But their relationship is complicated. But Luna is not who she used to be. She doesn’t need his protection anymore. When life throws a curveball at All Saints’ golden boy, he’s forced to realize not all knights are heroes and sometimes, the greatest love stories flourish in tragedy
You know what I made the mistake of doing? Jumping into the second book of a series that is a spin-off series. Usually I can get away with starting at any point I want to in a romance series, but I don’t know if I’d recommend the same to anyone because there are so many characters and relationships that I just did not understand. Also, this is my second L.J. Shen book and I’m realising her stories about redeemable guys who’ve done really questionable things, just aren’t for me.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo ★★★☆☆
The once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. When Alina’s regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, she reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. And so, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha.
I picked up the Shadow and Bone audiobook for a reread because I need a massive refresher for whenever the Netflix show comes out. (Which could be years away, but still!) Although this isn’t my favourite fantasy series by any means, but I really liked the audiobook narration by Lauren Fortgang. Honestly, I can’t wait to continue with the series on audio because the narration is really enjoyable on what would otherwise be boring commutes.
Alina is just not my favourite MC. As far as ‘chosen ones’ go, I’m unconvinced in her ability to be a leader or ascend to greater power. I think I can be convinced, but right now I’m really on the fence with her character. Also, imagine liking Mal? (Sorry Malina shippers, I’m not intentionally coming for you, just the grumpy bum that is Mal). It doesn’t help that I just really prefer the Darkling too.
What I’m currently reading:
I am sorry for so much text. I debated adding in blurbs or not because adding them brings up the word count, but it makes so much sense to have them here. I tried to condense them as much as possible too.
What was your favourite read in August? I’d love to hear what you guys are reading and enjoying. (Or maybe not enjoying?!) 💖