Step into the genre of Regency Romance with these delightful reads! Although they are part of a series, you can read the books out of order, as they feature different characters.
From #1 New York Times–bestselling author Kami Garcia comes a red-hot romance that will break your heart and put it back together again.
Her heart has to break before it can open.
When star soccer player Peyton Rios receives an offer from her first-choice college, senior year starts off exactly as planned. But when Peyton uncovers her boyfriend’s dark secret, she confronts him—and finds herself falling down a flight of stairs. Peyton’s knee—and maybe her dream of going pro—is shattered. Everyone is talking: Was she pushed, or did she fall? Peyton knows the truth, even if no one believes her.
He has to let someone in before it’s too late.
With her future on the line, Peyton goes to stay with her uncle in a small Tennessee town to focus on her recovery. Dating is the last thing on her mind—until she meets sweet, sexy Owen Law.
But Peyton doesn’t trust her heart, especially when she senses that Owen is hiding something. When their secrets are finally exposed, Peyton has to decide if love is worth fighting for.
I enjoyed Kami Garcia’s previous contemporary, The Lovely Reckless, and this one was no different. Beautiful Broken Hearts follow the story of Peyton Rios, a biracial (half-Cuban, half-white) and talented soccer player whose dreams of going to UNC with a scholarship is wiped away after one incident with her abusive boyfriend. In the author’s note, Garcia wrote about how she was in a similar situation in her life, and discussed the importance of seeking out for help when needed (including resources such as Break the Cycle and the National Domestic Violence Hotline). I think this book was especially important in highlighting abusive/manipulative relationships, and above all, the fact that sometimes you need to just put yourself first, before anything – or anyone – else.
Today I’m here with a review of Star-Touched Stories, the third book that takes place in the beautiful setting of The Star-Touched Queen (my review here and fanart here), and A Crown of Wishes (my review here and fanart here). Star-Touched Stories, however, brings forth three short stories that not only ties these books together, but wrap them in an epilogue that will leave readers brimming with love and emotions. Chokshi’s writing is always so passionate, and this master storyteller leaves not a thread hanging in these stories.
Three lush and adventurous stories in the Star-Touched world.
Death and Night
He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.
Poison and Gold
Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Queen Gauri and King Vikram’s new reign presents itself, she is thrown into the path of the fearsome yet enchanting Spy Mistress. To help her friends, Aasha will have to battle her insecurities and perhaps, along the way, find love.
Rose and Sword
There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?
Throughout these stories, Chokshi’s writing remains provocative and sensual – perhaps leaning towards the purple prose side for some readers. I for one really enjoyed her heady descriptions and imaginative metaphors, and any reader who has enjoyed her previous two books in this world will adore this one. It ties in so many stories and characters, as well as presents itself as a final kiss and goodbye to the stunning world that we have visited twice already.
Note: this review will contain slight spoilers to The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes!
Death and Night
“Love was extraordinary.
This story is a prequel to Chokshi’s debut, The Star-Touched Queen. In TSTQ, Maya and Amar are given a second chance to revisit their love and correct their mistakes. But what happened when they first fell in love?
I love how Chokshi set-up Death and Night’s characters in this story. Night sold her wares at the Night Bazaar, which consists of this dream fruit that is coveted by many, but at a high price. She wants recognition. Death has been lonely these past years, and he needs to take a bride. The only catch is: he can’t fall in love with her. Despite obstacles and all odds, they meet each other and begin a sweet, sometimes snarky, but altogether delightful courtship that is tested through the threads of time. I loved this little insight to Maya and Amar’s past life, and seeing familiar characters! Continue reading
What a wild ride! Crazy Rich Asians was everything the blurb promised and more. There’s shockingly lavish descriptions, gossip that can go on for days, and ultimately excellent execution of the nuances of East/Southeast Asian culture. I was not disappointed by this series (I mean come on, I finished all three books in TWO DAYS the week before finals), and am even more excited to see the movie!! I’ll split this series review in three short parts for each three books, with no spoilers. And with that, a quote that made me laugh out loud because of how true it is:
“Why do we Chinese never learn? Every time we get mixed up with the West, everything falls apart.”
When Wicked Comes Calling…
When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She’s seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won’t accept a marriage without it.
The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain…
Bastard son of a duke and king of London’s dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.
For the Promise of Passion…
But there’s nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she’d rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil’s carefully laid plans are in chaos, and he must choose between everything he’s ever wanted…and the only thing he’s ever desired.
And Sarah MacLean does it again! Wicked and the Wallflower was wholly intoxicating, as Felicity and Devil’s story grabbed me from the first chapter. I LOVE seeing a strong, seemingly-evil (he’s not, I promise) man get on his knees for the woman he loves. And got dang, Felicity is definitely a heroine I could relate to. This is certainly an amazing start to the Bareknuckle Bastards series, and I cannot wait to see where MacLean goes next with these characters!
Wicked and the Wallflower follows Devil, a Bareknuckle Bastard looking for revenge, and Lady Felicity, a spinster on the shelf that only wants to retrieve her previous position as the belle of the ball. A good way to get to this goal? Getting engaged to the new duke in town. Felicity makes a deal with – dare I say it – Devil (not THE devil) as he plans to ruin both her and the duke for his revenge scheme. Like all revenge schemes, however, this one goes wrong as Felicity discovers that the favor of society is not what she wants to fight for, and Devil sees that there are more important things than revenge.
“She wished to be wanted. Beyond reason. She wished to be ached for.”
Caro Oresteia spent her life waiting to be called by the river god, as those in her family had been for generations. But when she’s swept away on an adventure to save the Akhaian royal prince, Markos, her destiny is sealed by the sea god instead.
For now, Caro is landlocked, helping Markos reclaim his throne after nearly his entire family was assassinated in a political coup. Without any financial or military support, Markos is desperate for allies, and Caro has fought off more than one attempt on his life. When a powerful Archon offers his army in exchange for Markos’s marriage to his daughter, Caro must choose: Her love for Markos, or the fate of Akhaia? And more importantly: How much is she willing to risk to defy the sea god’s wishes and chart her own course?
With shipwrecks, lost treasure, old and new enemies, dark magic, and breathtaking romance, Sarah Tolcser weaves another epic story about chasing your fate.
Note: This is the sequel to Song of the Current, which you can find my review here. It may contain slight spoilers!
Whisper of the Tide was a stunning sequel! I came in with high expectations, and was honestly ready to give it a 3 star midway through the book, no joke. What changed my mind? I could say that the events that happened were pretty awesome, or the resolution was sooo satisfying and lovely, or how the stuff that had me side-eyeing were properly addressed. But I think plain and simple, Tolcser breathed life into Caro’s character and made her resilient, flawed, and just great in general. I adored her from start to finish, mistakes and all. And I hope fans of the book come into Whisper of the Tide with an open mind and heart to Caro’s flaws. Continue reading
Alien meets Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds in this thrilling debut novel about prison-guard-in-training, Kenzie, who is taken hostage by the superpowered criminal teens of the Sanctuary space station—only to have to band together with them when the station is attacked by mysterious creatures.
Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.
As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.
But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.
At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.
As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.
I separate Sanctuary into two acts, and I’ll explore my thoughts on the story separating these two halves of the book. I really enjoyed the fast-paced, blood-rushing action, but the thing about large amounts of action (which is definitely fun and exciting) is that it sacrifices relationship exploration, characterization, and world/story-building to make up for everything else that’s going on. Because of this, I think certain interesting aspects of the story weren’t drawn to their fullest potential. Despite that, sci-fi lovers who are itching for an Alien-like story of survival will definitely devour this one. I certainly did!
A funny, feminist teen story about knowing when to train . . . and when to fight.
Fleur Waters never takes anything seriously – until she turns up at her local boxing club one day, just to prove a point. She’s the only girl there, and the warm-up alone is exhausting . . . but the workout gives her an escape from home and school, and when she lands her first uppercut on a punching bag she feels a rare glow of satisfaction.
So she goes back the next week, determined to improve. Fleur’s overprotective mum can’t abide the idea of her entering a boxing ring, why won’t she join her pilates class instead? Her friends don’t get it either and even her boyfriend, ‘Prince’ George, seems concerned by her growing muscles and appetite – but it’s Fleur’s body, Fleur’s life, so she digs her heels in and carries on with her training.
I was super excited for this book because, hello! Feminist story about a girl who, despite external protests, becomes a boxer? But unfortunately the execution of this premise made it a 2.5 star read for me, rounded down to 2 because I just don’t get Fleur’s humor. This book is also a revamp, as it was published last year already, so check out the cute new cover!
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.
But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.
“A moneylender’s daughter, even a bad moneylender, learns her numbers. I wrote and figured and wrote and figured, interest and time broken up by all the little haphazard scattered payments… And when I had my list finished, I took all the knitting out of my bag, put my shawl on, and went out into the cold morning.”
And thus begins Miryem’s beginning as a cold moneylender, and eventually the queen of the cold.
This was another winner from Naomi Novik! After reading and adoring Uprooted when I first started reviewing books (you can find my review here), I was exceptionally eager for Spinning Silver and I was NOT disappointed. While the books are not connected at all, they follow a similar fantastical theme, with the most recent being fairy-tale based. Both books are amazing for different reasons, and I can’t wait for readers to pick up and love Spinning Silver like I did.
Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.
The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.
Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.
Superhero fans will definitely recognize Renegades as a book that calls to them. It’s a classic superhero book with villains, secret identities, and saving humanity. While Nova may be considered an anti-hero, I didn’t really think so. Her character isn’t morally grey as some (such as Adelina from The Young Elites for example.) She’s vindictive, for sure, but she also believes in a just world – and in the end, that’s what the Renegades are fighting for too. The whole 500+ page book is just one adventure after another, likening it to an episodic kind of vibe (very similar to Flash, the DC show). It was a fun, light sci-fi that explores what society really needs in a world of superheroes.
“Don’t worry about helping yourselves. You’ve got enough on your plate, what with all the hiding and moping you’ve been doing lately. You take a day off. We’re superheroes. We’ve got this.
Hope called themselves the Renegades.”