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Her Soul for Revenge (Souls Trilogy #2) by Harley Laroux

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Her Soul to Take (Souls Trilogy #1) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Content/Trigger Warnings: Sexual content, kink/fetish content (see author’s summary or cw/tw page for details), talk of drugs & drug dealing, mentions of adultry, occult themes, alcoholism, death, stalking, talk of hospitalization/institutionalization, loss of a loved one, grief, trauma/PTSD, depictions of blood, knife play, needles, gun play, talk of torture, violence, sex, anxiety, predator behavior (drugging drink), scene of emesis, scene of snuff (sexual arousal/climax by killing/murdering someone)

“Revenge had been a long time coming.”

Friends, I had been looking forward to this book so, so much. I read the first book and absolutely fell in love with it and was eager to continue this series. Plus, any bread crumbs about the third and final book had my motivation spinning into overdrive. However, this book was definitely not what I had expected and I definitely wasn’t expecting to feel the way I did after reading this. There were a lot of surprises, many tears shed, and maybe a few times where I almost threw my tablet across the room (I didn’t, but oh, there’s just some lines you shouldn’t cross). It was all around a rollercoaster of a time.

The Deep One demands it’s sacrifice… The one who got away… Juniper Kynes has other plans than to have her piece of light blown out all because the majority of the people she thought she knew, all seem to want her dead. Ever since that night, Juniper has been fighting for survival, but her fight isn’t lost on watching eyes. Zane is demon who loves things that are fierce, scarred, and have a history to them. So the story of Juniper has caught his interest not only as demon, but as a soul hunter. And oh, he will have Juniper’s soul and he’s willing to wait for as long as it takes until she’s his. Only problem is, every thing comes with a price and sometimes that means putting your life on the line to take on a god and cult out of control.

I absolutely loved Zane and Juniper together. I love them so much more than Leon and Rae. The way Zane feels about her, how he sees her despite everything she’s been through… it was just wow. It truly was everything. It really brings forth that whole theme of ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ and there’s so much emphasis from Zane (through Juniper’s perspective and Zane’s own perspective) of how beautiful he thinks people who have been through trauma and how they move on from that is. And it just hit like a ton of bricks. I don’t think there’s enough words to convey how that all made me feel. Not to mention, that these two together flip roles constantly of who’s the dom and sub. Like, how often do you get to see that in steamy time books? Not that often or at least in my case not that often. So that was a really fun time and the chemistry is so dang good.

One of the things I really appreciated about this whole book, even in the first book, was the trauma/PTSD representation. As someone who has permanent PTSD, seeing that in Juniper (also in Leon from the first book) and how she handles a lot of things, how she views herself and her body, it hit really close to home. I saw a lot of myself in Juniper especially with trying to bury the scars under layers of clothes or tattoo work, even building that hard exterior of showing no weakness. It hit like a ton of bricks. Every time I read a book with good PTSD or trauma rep, I get so emotional because there’s still so much stigma around PTSD and trauma, and trying to have conversations about is never easy. So seeing the author include that in these books and handling it so well just makes my heart feel really warm and full.

“Don’t be ashamed of what you want to say. I’m not going anywhere.” And that was the thing, wasn’t it? That was the spark that lit up my dark, dead, broken soul — he’d seen all its sharp edges and hadn’t left. He’d seen me as broken as I was and wanted me, regardless.”

Despite the many good things in the book like the quotes for days, I had two major issues with this book. The biggest issue of this book is that it reads like the first book of the series and it should have been the first book in the series. Having read the first book in this series and comparing it to this one, it would have been so much better for this book to be first. Even more so timeline wise with events and who’s the last to see whom within the book. And in my opinion, the first book sets things up better for the third and final book in this series. That’s the real kick that kind of gets me and has me feeling a little salty. It was a bit disappointing for me especially as someone who like the timeline of things and can really get sucked into the storyline very easy.

My final issue with a particular scene that’s an intimate scene. Typically, I love a lot of stuff that goes down in sexy time books, but not this, this crosses an uncomfortable line for me. The first scene that bothered me I’ve kind of let slide because looking back and reflecting, it’s not too big of a deal. However, this scene I’m about to talk about is and honestly, I think the author should have outright stated that there was a scene like this instead of not mentioning it at all in their own content warnings. At the 70-75% mark there’s a scene of snuff. Now some of you may be going, “What the hell is ‘snuff’?” Snuff is an extreme sexual act of getting a sexual arousal/climax from murdering someone. Now, I originally thought this was bordering into nercophilia territory and had to do some research because this whole scene didn’t feel right and kind of shocked my system. I also had someone else fact check me before I even made notes about it. Even more so, no one has talked or mentioned this scene, at all. So I’m talking and addressing it so others don’t have to. This is not a good scene, at all. It’s a really messed up scene and the author should have done better to actually make it known that this was in the book. And I really wish I could wipe this scene from my mind, but I can’t and now it lives in my memory with the other things I wish I could forget.

“Survival is messy. Survival has no morals or kindness. Survival isn’t black and white, good versus evil. Survival is shades of red; it’s blood taken and blood lost.”

Overall, what a freaking roller coaster of a book. I cried a lot, I cringed a lot, and I’m still trying to figure out what the hell I just read. There really was a lot of stuff I loved about this book and I think those who like dark romance erotica will also love it. But also, there’s a lot of things that just live in my brain rent free now. Some of them good, others regrets… yeah, lots of regrets. It was still a good read and as I mentioned with the first book, this series would be the perfect read for the fall/spooky season if you’re in need of books to chill your soul.

Buddy Read with Destiny ♥

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Pisces Hooks Taurus (Signs of Love, #4) by Anyta Sunday

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✨ Leo Loves Aries (Signs of Love #1) ★★★★★
✨  Leo Tops Aries (Signs of Love #1.5) ★★★★★
✨ Scorpio Hates Virgo (Signs of Love #2) ★★★★★
Gemini Keeps Capricorn (Signs of Love, #3) ★★★★

Content/Trigger Warnings: Brief scene of aracnophobia (fear of spiders), mentions of bullying (in the past), mentioned horseback riding accident (in the past), brief discussions of death, talk of divorce, talk of adultry (cheating), sexual content

“You hooked me at Toy Story.”

We’re finally back with the fourth book in this series! This was an absolutely adorable slow burn romance! There were so many details that had me smiling and geeking out over what was about to happen next. We get to see cameos of previous characters from the past books which is always such a joy to see. It was just a really great to return to this series and meet some new characters while seeing the ones we’ve met along the way.

“People can be complicated. We can also be ridiculously simple.”

We follow Zane Penn, who’s a little in over his head. Not only is he in a bind of trying to find a new place to move into, but at the end of the month his green card is about to run out and he’ll have to return to New Zealand. Unless he can get married, that is. Enter Beckett who graciously opens his home and offers Zane a place to take harbor. Beckett is a professor at the local collage and is still healing from a divorce, but Zane is determined to help Beckett heal and believe in love again. Even if it means he loses his heart and falls head over heels for Beckett in the process.

I really enjoyed Zane and Beckett as our main characters. They might just be my favorite out of this whole series. They have amazing banter and the chemistry between them is so thick you could cut it with a knife. There were so many memorable moments between that really stuck out with me. I think my favorite would have to be the cinnamon standoff. That was such a fantastic scene that I don’t think I’ll ever get over. I truly believe these two characters were meant for each other. And can I just say how rare it is that we get romance stories where one of the characters is a divorcee. It’s so rare to have story like that and I’m really glad the author decided to take that and make it a part of this story.

Some of the themes in this book were fantastic like Zane discovering his self-worth and leaving an employer who constantly put Zane down about his work. Zane did a lot of work to figure out his own worth and chase after what he really wanted. Even by the end of the book he was still working on himself. I think my favorite theme has to be the one centered around Beckett. There’s a whole theme of of healing after you’ve been devastatingly hurt by someone you once loved. Beckett’s theme constantly sucked the air out of my lungs because watching everything unfold, watching Beckett rediscover love, and watching him a safe harbor with Zane was absolutely everything. And seeing Zane be patient, never giving up on Beckett was literally everything. The soft, healing moments Zane and Beckett have with one another was so wholesome, and everything.

“I was supposed to be charming your pants off. Yet you’re literally charming off mine.”

I did have some issues with this book though. I think the biggest thing was this book really being a slow burn and it was even emphasized throughout the book that it was a slow burn. Most of the steamy, spicy scenes didn’t happen probably till the 75% mark within this book. That’s how much of a slow burn this is. I think that was my most frustrating thing about this book because it just gave a feel of running circles around the actual romance and chemistry. The other thing I struggled with, that I actually had to research and ask a few people about, was the constant reference of ‘Kiwi’ throughout this book. I was so confused and I’m glad I actually researched and talked to a few people because I probably would have been very clueless if I hadn’t. For those who don’t know, like myself, Kiwi is in reference to those who are from New Zealand. I had no idea about this and now I do, but oh, I was so lost and confused for a hot minute with that being constantly repeated throughout the book.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time reading this book. As always, I have a wonderful time reading about this characters, reading their independent stories and seeing the cameos, and of course, I’m eager to finish this series. I think we have one last book in the series to read (excluding the novellas in between each book). If you haven’t checked out this series, I strongly recommend doing so. There’s so much lgbtqiap+ representation throughout this series and I just love this series with my whole chest.

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Her Soul to Take (Souls Trilogy, #1) by Harley Laroux

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This post contains affiliate links; if you use the Amazon link to make a purchase, I may earn a commission. Thanks for reading!

Content/Trigger Warnings: Sexual content, kink/fetish content (see author’s summary or cw/tw page for details), anxiety, captivity/enslavement (demon mc), talk of torture, indications of trauma/PTSD, cult themes, brief mentions of underage drinking, death, murder, talk of suicide, graphic gore & violence, depictions of blood, scene of decapitation, brief mentions of drug use (in the past), attempted drugging (drugged drink), scene of emesis, scene of needles

Side Note: Please check out the author’s personal content warnings for the kink/fetish play within this book for more details before reading!

“… but within those pages, in the dark, those golden eyes still shone.”

Look, are you really surprised I found myself in this rabbit hole? Are you really surprised? It was bound to happen eventually! It has demons, Lovecraftian themes, the female lead is a paranormal investigator for Pete’s sake! The banshee screeches that have erupted from me from having this literature at my finger tips has been nothing short of an experience, to say the least. Truly, it’s been a while since I’ve had a piece of literature that felt very on brand to my soul. I loved this, I loved this so much. I had to sit a think about my rating because I was very torn and I just have to be honest, I really freaking loved this book and this might be my favorite series to have demons in it thus far.

We follow the perspective of Leon, a demon who’s summoned and held captive by the local cult of Abelaum, Libiri, run by Kent Hadleigh, the head of one of the founding families in this small town. With the grimoire, the last known book with a physical record of Leon’s name, in Kent’s hands, Leon is forced to do the cult’s bidding. That’s until the grimoire goes missing. Enter our second perspective of paranormal investigator, Rae. A college student moving back to her hometown after being gone for seven years. With the promising potential of paranormal activity and whispers of strange creatures being seen in the local woods, Rae is determined to catch real paranormal activity on camera to help boost her blog and of course, finish her last year at university. So when her best friend, Inaya hands her a grimoire, suddenly Rae may be having second thoughts of being thrown into the world of the paranormal… or she just might be falling pretty damn hard in love with it.

These characters were absolutely fantastic read about! The duo perspective in this book definitely added to my enjoyment of these characters. Between our two main characters, Leon stood on the most to me. Not only is his personality very attention catching, but there were so many passages in this book that just hit home for me. When Leon would talk about wanting to find the grimoire and how much he values his freedom, it instantly, made me think of Genie from Aladdin. In the movie, there’s a conversation between Aladdin and Genie about the wishes and Aladdin asks Genie what they would wish for to which Genie responds with, “Freedom. But, oh, to be free! To be my own master. Such a thing would be greater than all the magic and all the treasures in all the world.” It made me really connect with Leon’s character, really love and appreciate his character build, and I don’t think that was the author’s intention when writing Leon’s character, but oh I couldn’t help myself from seeing the resemblance. On the other hand, Rae was an okay character for me. Honestly, I thought I would enjoy her character more, but there were parts in this book where I was just like, “I can’t deal with you.” I do like that she’s a paranormal investigator and how passionate she is about that, and I adore her cat, Cheesecake.

“I’ll rip Heaven and Hell and this goddamn Earth apart before I let them steal you from me.”

Speaking of characters, there’s some really amazing side characters we get to witness in this book. I freaking adore Zane. Zane is like a calmer, more level headed demon compared to Leon. However, Zane’s relationship with Leon was perfection. I’m very hungry for a novella talking about their past and their relationship to one another because they’re such a dynamic duo in their own way. There’s also Inaya, she’s not only best friends to Rae, but she runs her own bookstore, Golden Hour Books. Her character was absolutely wonderful and I would have loved to see more of her in this book. Plus, the few times we do meet her, you can tell how much she cares about all of her friends and just how far she’d go for them. And of course, I have to mention Everly because I just want to know so much more about her. I mean, she’s a witch and she’s here to rock this world! Before I forgot, I need to talk about Kent. Kent is a terrible character and he reminds me so, so much of Joseph from Dream Daddy. If you know, you know. Kent just gives me all the bad vibes and honestly, he made for a good villain in this book.

I want to circle back to Leon and his constant focus on his freedom. Not only is there such a heavy emphasis on demons valuing their freedom, but with Leon there’s an underlying theme of trauma/PTSD. Not just that trauma, but how after all of that you can still find love, happiness, or contentment. We see this theme unfold from both perspectives. We have Leon who has spent centuries being tortured and used only to find sanctuary with Rae. Rae’s side of things is different because she’s just dealing with a break up, but we see this escalate with how everything unfolds for Rae throughout this book. We see how this very snarky demon becomes a sanctuary for her in the chaos of all of this. I think the trauma/PTSD representation is done very well even though it’s subtle and not many readers have picked up on it. And I want to say that this is one of those relationships where two broken individuals can heal one another and have a good relationship with one another.

There’s also an entire theme of consent throughout this book. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but consent is super attractive. From the very beginning, Leon constantly asks if Rae is okay with the things they do intimately and constantly makes sure she knows the safe word before anything even happens. I don’t know about anyone else, but I love characters who check to make sure they’re comfortable or they’re okay with proceeding into more spicy things. It’s super attractive and often times in a lot of romance or erotica they’re just instantly jumping into the sheets. I really enjoyed how the author gave us spice, but also made sure to sprinkle the consent in throughout this book.

“You’re a light in the dark, and I’ve been in the dark a vert long time.”

Speaking of spicy scenes, this book has a lot of spicy scenes, If you thought there were only going to be a few scenes sprinkled in then guess what, that’s not the case here! It was a fun time for me and the entire time I was just hyped. However, I will say the scene where Leon was giving Rae her piercings was not my thing. For me, that was very triggering just due to my own bad experience, but I do like how the author tried to give this scene balance of it not only being about the that whole commitment, but Leon and Rae becoming closer to one another. So I think this will be one of those hit or miss things for many readers.

If I had to fault this book on anything, it would have to be Rae’s character. Look, it has to be said, Rae made some really questionable choices and acted really reckless a lot of the time. Actually, I liked Rae’s character up until the last handful of chapters. It was like the closer it got to the end of the book, Rae just got more naive and was making really poor choices. It was frustrating a lot of the time and as I mentioned earlier, it made it really hard to like her character. Also, it almost painted Rae in a light of hypocrisy because she’s not only a paranormal investigator, but she’s also a horror lover and the way she acts is entirely different to most horror and paranormal lovers I know. I think a lot of readers are going to feel frustrated with her character and wish that she had been structured different especially near the end of this book.

“But with your soul, death can’t touch you. The God can’t touch you. Nothing, nothing will take you from me.”

Overall, I had a really fun time buddy reading this with my friend. It was such a captivating read and I love the pre-setup we get to see for the second book in this series. I’m just hyped about this whole series, okay! I usually don’t read a lot of dark romances, but if and when I do, I always want them to have snarky demons in it. I think many lovers of dark romance are going to enjoy this book and this whole series. I hear book two has to do with Zane and I can’t begin to express how excited I am about this!

Buddy Read with Destiny

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Theirs for the Night (Twisted Hearts #1) by Katee Robert

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Sexual content, talk of poverty/financial struggles, child neglect (in the past)

“You can’t fall in love with a person – let alone two people – in a single night.”

Oh what a fun, steamy time this was! Every time I pick up Robert’s books, I always have a fun time and honestly, that’s why I read them, for a fun time. Plus, to be more transparent and honest, I love reading books with polyamorous relationships and that’s a side of me I don’t often share or discuss, and I’d like to. And it was just a good book to unwind with.

Meg Sanders is too busy and has far too many worries on her plate to even think of partying, let alone celebrating her very own birthday. Until her co-worker and friend, Cara convinces here that she needs a night to forget her troubles and just unwind. Little did Meg expect, two sets of eyes watching her from afar, wanting to take her home for a night of pleasure. Theo and Galen are keeping a low profile, that is until they both set their eyes on Meg. Afterall, who could resist a gorgeous woman in a red dress? If they only have one night, the three of them are going to make it one hell of a night to remember!

I loved, LOVED Galen and Theo as love interests, potential partners to Meg. I’ll be honest, I do have a bar that’s set kind of high when it comes to poly-relationships and all three of them hit pretty close. The fact that Galen and Theo already have a preexisting relationship with one another was the icing on the cake for me. You can see flickers of the history between the two. Not just in the sense how tight their friendship is with one another, but also the bond and pull, that attraction that crackles and sizzles underneath the surface. Also, I want to take a moment to point out that Galen has visual scarring and for me, that’s not only something that attracts my attention, but characters who have scars and it just is what it is, that’s a huge thing for me. I always want to appreciate those details when an author does that. Meg, on the other hand, felt like a wild card to me. While Meg does come off as lacking confidence and being unsure of her own desires, she has no problem flipping a switch and just diving head first into savoring both of these men. I really enjoy when characters have a switch they just flip. Seeing Meg do that I was like, “Okay boo, I see you! Go get your men!”

“They always seemed to know where the other was, and both kept a careful distance between them and her, touching only on her hips and nowhere else.”

I want to take a moment to show a little appreciation to Meg’s coworker and friend, Cara. I find that not many authors write supportive, but also encouraging side characters for main characters when it comes to romance. There’s a particular scene that really stuck out to me where Cara pulls Meg away from Theo and Galen, pulls her to the bathroom and is ready to fight people if they hurt Meg. Yet, supports Meg and encourages her to go gets these men after Meg expresses this is what she wants, but it still willing to drive the getaway car if Meg needs it. I absolutely adore side characters like this and I wish they got more appreciation because they deserve it.

It’s steamy, very warm and steamy! Fogging up every glass window from heavy breathing. Is it the greatest sex scenes of all time? Maybe not because everyone has their own preferences for spice and steam, but if you’re looking for a fun time then this can definitely be thrown into the mix. I might be a bit bias and may have been referencing my own experiences with poly-relations, but I had a really wonderful time with this. From the moment these three characters meet, everything is a steady, slow build and almost everything they do has chemistry and sexual desire crackling between them. Whether this is from the way they dance with one another or how they all play with each other behind closed doors. It’s just a fun time and really easy to get caught up in the scenes.

“He really was beautiful in the way of fallen angels. But a fallen angel was just a prettier name for a demon.”

Overall, this was a delightful, fast read for me! I had such a wonderful time diving into the story, savoring how everything was playing out, seeing the little secrets being hinted at, just a fun time. Again, this series isn’t going to be for everyone. I still recommend picking the first book (this book) up if you’re looking for books for Smutathon, reading sprints, or you’re just looking for a steamy good time. I enjoy Katee’s writing and the characters she writes. It’s always a good time for me and I love recommending her books to others.

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Demon Lover by Heather Guerre

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Death of a parent, child abandonment, negligent/absent parent, infidelity (of a side character), references to historical enslavement and violence against enslaved people, sex/sexual scenes, sexual predator behavior (from a coworker), toxic work environment, mentions loss of a parent, scenes talking about self-harm/suicide

“Demons aren’t real. Awkward, generous sex demons are definitely not real. And yet…”

*sips tea* This was a read that was bound to happen, friends. If you’ve been here a hot second then you know how much I adore books with demons or anything pertaining to creatures of the Underworld. And who could have predicted that for the romantic, lovey season I’d be sitting here recommending a sexy incubus novella to all of you lovely souls? I really loved this novella and probably one of the fastest novella reads I’ve done in a while. So many things to love packed into this book and we’re going to talk about it!

Autumn is down on her luck. She recently broke up with her ex-boyfriend for cheating on her, has lost most of her friends who chose her cheating ex over her, and now she’s stuck in a run down apartment, and dealing with a non-profit that provides a very unfriendly work environment for her. The only thing Autumn has to look forward to is going home every night to fall asleep to spicy, sexy dreams that leave her waking up feeling refreshed, in more ways than one. Until she realizes that an incubus is the reason behind her sexy dreams and manages to pull him out of the dream world. Now, Autumn finds herself with more questions than answers and on top of that, falling in love with the very Incubus she summoned.

“It was through dreams that she had met Irdu. And it was through dreams that she would find him again.”

These characters were so good to follow and watch unfold in various ways. Though Autumn is hurting from the bad breakup, she’s a really talented artist and we get to see her talk about that. She also talks about her personal life with her family, how she miss her father and her grandparents’ home, and how her family used to celebrate the holidays. Learning more about the main character through the natural progression of the book and her building her relationship with Irdu was really wholesome and hit a soft spot for me. Then we have a our illustrious incubus, Irdu. Irdu was just chef’s kiss! Irdu is a character who gets a wonderful character development and he always asks consent when it comes to doing anything with our main character. Also, he has such a captivating, but also heartbreaking backstory that ties in with the mythology that was used within this book.

Speaking of consent, it made the intimate scenes ten times better. I’m a big lover of scenes of consent in literature and seeing a main character, who’s also the love interest, be so adamant about consent really made those scenes even better for me. Now, the sex scenes in this novella are just the right amount of spicy, sexy, but also key to the main character and love interest building their relationship, and their closeness to one another. Also, these scenes aren’t that overwhelming which is really nice for readers who aren’t big fans of sexy, intimate scenes in book.

I think my only issue I had with this read, like with all novellas, is how much I wished it was longer. Due to reading this so fast, I was left wanting more and craving that extra 30-50 pages to be able to consume these characters just a little longer. Also, I feel like the timing of bringing Autumn’s ex-boyfriend in the pictures was too close to the ending of the story. I think I would have liked him to come around more-so around the middle of the book compared to closer near the end, and around the more holiday scenes of this book. This would have given us the chance to see more of his character and the potential of what could have happened after his exit. So it felt like there was some wasted possibilities with his character.

Overall, wow, this was such a good read! I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it and even more surprised there aren’t more readers talking about this novella. The mythology of the story as whole was so fascinating and has me intrigued to learn more about it. The relationship and intimate scenes were just chef’s kiss. There’s just so, so much to fall in love with this novella and I truly believe this author could have turned this into a full blown novel if they wanted to. If you love books surrounding incubi/demons and you’re a fan of paranormal romances then I can’t recommend this novella enough. Such a delicious read!

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My Boss’s Kitten by Yumi Hisawa | Series Review

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Please note, this is going to be a manga series review! 🤍

Content/Trigger Warning: Sexual scenes, talk of divorce, stalking (in a later volume 6 or 7)

Our story follows Aya, who was recently abandoned at the marriage alter and now she’s being face with eviction, and no place for her to go to. That is until one day she finds herself wandering back into the house that she was supposed to be moving into after her marriage. When she thinks she’s all alone, to her surprise her cold-shoulder boss appears before demanding why she’s in his new house. And thus their wild love story begins!

Per-usual when I get heavily invested into a manga series, I wanted to rush to the internet sea and shout at the top of my lungs about this manga. And if you’re a lover of romance, some spicy reads, and manga then you definitely should look into this manga series. Though I will say, this is a Josei manga series, meaning this is a manga geared towards the female audience or also classified as “ladies comics”. So this manga series may not be for everyone just due to the audience this caters to and the content within the pages.

Let me say, I wasn’t expecting this series to wrap me around it’s finger as rapid as it did. I became so heavily invested in this series after reading the first volume. I don’t know how I got here, but all I know is falling down this rabbit hole so hard and constantly thinking about this series since reaching this point. I was expecting to like this series, but I wasn’t expecting only seven volumes and to have really enjoyed the storyline as a whole. It was a very pleasant surprise.

Let me say, the characters are a bit of a mixed bag for me. Our main character, Aya wasn’t my cup of tea for a main character. I wish we had more character development for her because she maintains a very pure/innocent, naive presence throughout this entire book until about volume 5-6. It’s only then we start to see her build more confidence and attempting to be assertive on certain things. However, I love Bucho and I love the fact that Bucho is a divorcee. I often say we don’t see divorcee or widow characters even in literature and how much I would love to see those characters more often. So I really loved that Bucho is a divorcee and how we learn that the way he approaches things with Aya is from the perspective of being divorced. His character development is also slow burn as well. We see him start to change about how open he wants to be more open about his relationship with Aya by volume 5. Look, volume 5 is a big turning point for these characters and I’m here for it.

Continuing with those mixed bag feelings on the characters, let me just say Bucho’s nephew had me cringing and getting some serious secondhand embarrassment. You all know, I strongly don’t like second hand embarrassment when it comes to books, television series, etc… And if you decide to read this series, you know the exact scene that I’m talking about that will make your skin crawl. I’m going to throw Aya’s ex into the mix of the horrible secondhand embarrassment and doing extremely questionable things. Though it was brief, it was some serious cringe for me. On the opposite side of all of this, meeting Bucho’s ex-wife was delightful. She’s a character you want to root for and see get a happy ending. She really does her best and even though she has some awkward moments, I really loved her character. Truly, truly adored her and I lowkey want a spin-off series for her so she gets the happy ending she deserves.

Jumping to talking about the turning point of this series, volume 5-7, was a wild experience. Wild as in these last three volumes have so much jam packed into them and there are a few moments that almost feel rushed, that could have deserved a little more time. In these volumes we meet Bucho’s ex-wife and his brother (around the holidays) and then we meet Aya’s ex-fiance and her family. There’s so, so much that happens in these three volumes. The amount of times that I was death gripping my phone because I was like, “Why is this happening now and there’s not more details or pages dedicated to these scenes?!” It was a lot to work through, but it made the pacing so fast. Also, we get to see how Bucho and Aya reveal their relationship and announce it to their department at their work. It’s all good, but it feels rushed because these moments, introductions, and scenes are packed into the last three volumes of this series.

Of course, I need to talk about those spicy scenes. For those of you have been waiting for me to address the spicy scenes, the coitus scenes here it is right here. They’re good, so so good! The scenes are some really good scenes and the way they’re established just had me clutching my pearls every time. Also, I want to address how before any of these scenes escalate to what they are, there’s an addressing discussion about having painful intercourse from Aya. This isn’t in the sense of the virgin character (though Aya is a virgin) dynamic, but more so in the sense of this is a very real issue that happens to so many women and how many relationships are ended because a woman is constantly suffering during sexual relations. This was a moment that I loved more than any of the other scenes because this is the first time seeing this kind of conversation happening and as someone who has a disease that causes this to happen to them, it just hit a soft spot in my heart. I appreciated it so, so much!

Overall, I had a fantastic time reading this series. I was full blown devoted to completing this series and wanting to write this series review. I think I messaged about five or six people gushing about this series, how much I adored it, and just babbling nonstop about it. Though there were issues with some of the characters and scenes, I still enjoyed my time within this series. And I just wanted to recommend it to all my fellow manga lovers who are looking for a new manga series read.

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Garlic and the Vampire by Bree Paulsen

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This post contains affiliate links; if you use the Amazon link to make a purchase, I may earn a commission. Thanks for reading!

Content/Trigger Warnings: Depictions of anxiety and panic attacks

“You are much braver than you think.”

Friends, this is probably the most wholesome read that I’ve had the pleasure of reading all year, thus far! Can I just have all the graphic novels that consist of witches, vampire, adorable creatures, and wonderfully stunning art? Please? Pretty please with a cherry on top? I just loved this graphic novel a lot and the wait for the next book to release feels like forever even though it comes out this fall! Yes, Fall 2022 friends! Plus, the author did a cover reveal for the second book and it’s GORGEOUS!

Our story follows Garlic, an anxious vegetable who just wants to do their very best. Though they struggle sometimes, with the encouragement of their friend Carrot and the love they hold in their heart, Garlic always strives for happiness and to keep trying even if things feel hard. However, when one day some of the fellow vegetables see smoke coming out of the abandoned castle and there’s rumors it might be a vampire, panic sets it and Garlic’s neighbor Celery nominates them to go to the castle to ward off the vampire. Though Garlic is anxious, they’ll set out on a brand new adventure and maybe make a friend or two along the way!

Let’s take a moment to address the precious friendship between Carrot and Garlic! Too freaking precious and it makes me feel all the things! The way their friendship is so evident and the way Carrot always tries their best to look out for Garlic just fills my heart with so much warmth. Not to mention, Carrot never tries to change Garlic due to their anxiety, but instead constantly encourages Garlic to do their best and keep trying. What a freaking wholesome friendship! Also, Carrot casually uses they/them pronouns and seeing some nonbinary rep always fills my heart with so much warmth and joy.

Speaking of rep, let’s talk about the anxiety and panic attack representation in this graphic novel. Seriously, it feels so spot on. If you’re someone who has anxiety or panic attacks, I think this graphic novel will speak volumes to you. The way the author put so much love into the depictions of the anxiety and anxiety feels very authentic and almost like they’re pulling from their own experiences/knowledge. It made me really soft and as someone who constantly battles their anxiety, I felt very seen by Garlic’s character.

And I would be doing this graphic novel a huge disservice if I didn’t talk about the vampire. Oh my glob, the freaking vampire stole my heart! Most wholesome bean and I just want to hug them, and learn all the things from them! Truly, I adored them and then seeing the way he interacts with the witch just made my entire existence melt. And he loves gardening! Be still my beating heart! I would fight for all the characters in the graphic novel, but I would fight tooth and nail for the vampire. And there’s this whole theme surrounding the vampire about how we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover or allow our prejudices to convince us that someone is one way when they’re really not.

Overall, I really loved this graphic novel and I’m making big grabby hands for the second book. Seriously, fall can’t get here soon enough because I want to know what’s going to happening next to our little Garlic friend and what their new adventure will be. Also, you just need this in your life because it’s literally warmth and sunshine packaged in a graphic novel. I’m not emotional over fictional characters, you’re emotional over fictional characters!

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The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune

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Content/Trigger Warnings: References/framework to Residential Schools, trauma/PTSD, child abuse (in the past), bigotry (towards magical creatures, but in reference to BIPOC of modern day), verbal & mental abuse (in the past), displacement, references to colonization, fatphobia (internal and external), dieting, toxic work relationships/environment

“Your voice is a weapon. Never forget that.”

Whew, I don’t know where to begin with this review. I’ve typed this review and then deleted it so many times, I have so many save files on different ways I’ve typed this review out, asking myself if this will be the first book I refuse to write a review for or if my voice is even worth voicing and wondering if anyone is going to listen to an Indigenous voice, debating whether or not to talk about my love for this book, but also the great discomfort I’ve felt around this book. It wouldn’t be the first book to make me think or feel like that. For starters, let’s address the fact that there’s a lot of genre based books out there that pull from real events or historical things that have happened or are currently happening. Sci-Fi and fantasy are notorious for doing this, as well as contemporary. This is nothing new and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. I’ll also point out that it shouldn’t surprise anyone that non-Indigenous people constantly pull from Indigenous trauma/suffering and never the good or things that should be celebrated with Indigenous communities. This is nothing new. With that out of the way, let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes. YES, I’ve read the inspiration interview and YES, I listened to the podcast as well. After the fact that I read this book. Thank you to the kind person who reached out to me with these sources. And yes, I have a big mixture of feelings about these interviews and now about this book. Honestly, the best thing I can do with this review is be as honest as I can about how I feel, not just as a reader, but as an Apache person.

Our story follows Linus Baker, a case worker for The Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He lives a comfy life of working his job, going home listening to his favorite records, and of course, trying to stop his cat Calliope from causing havoc. However, Linus’s life is about to change when Extremely Upper Management summons him and gives him a class 4 assignment. Linus’s is about to have his whole world turned upside down and maybe he might just find the place he belongs along the way.

Let me begin by saying that I truly loved the characters of this book. More specifically Arthur, Zoey, and all the children of Marsyas. I loved the way each character for their own uniqueness, how detailed each one was, and how they have their own story to tell. I love characters that have a lot to them. You know the kind, the kind of characters that have layers upon layers to discover. I mentioned before, but I truly believe Sal and Theodore were my favorite children, though I loved each of them so very dearly. Arthur was a mystery, but when we get to learn more about him, a piece of me broke and I truly love the slow build to learn more about him. Our main character was different for me. It took me longer to warm up to him. At times, Linus reminded me of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory or Paul Blart from Mall Cop. However, majority of the time it felt like his whole identity and characteristics revolved around his job. It was hard to have a connection with him sometimes because his character seemed to cling so tightly to his career and just lacked compassion, and open-mindedness.

Of course, I have to talk about the theme of found family. Found family is one of those topics that I really enjoy in books. Which, surprise, was one of the reasons why I took such a interest in this book in the first place. It was one of the themes that many fellow readers preached to me when I asked about this book. To be fair, there is a theme of found family and I did enjoy the build of how the main character fell in love with this found family. I always find it really beautiful to watch a main character fall in love with a found family or find their found family. Yet, I do have my issues with this especially when Arthur is constantly referenced as the master of the orphanage. It just doesn’t sit well with me and I don’t think it ever will. I think I would have preferred if Arthur was referred to as the head of the orphanage, but that seems off as well.

And the writing is really beautiful. I found myself really enjoying it and with many fantasy books, of course I was power reading through this book. The pace is kind of fast and easy to breeze through. Also, the audiobook was wonderfully done. The narrator of the audiobook did a fantastic job bringing to life the characters from within.

However, despite the beautiful writing, wonderfully detailed characters, quotes upon quotes, and the found family theme… I had a lot of discomfort with this book. And let me state this, I have seen many non-Indigenous people speaking about this book stating “Oh, I don’t see the Residential School references in this book except for small parallels in the framework” or “There are people “over reacting” in the reviews trying to make this book be something it’s not.” And I’m just going to say, have you ever wondered why not many Indigenous people read this book and reviewed it or even stated their opinion on this book? Take a moment to ask yourself how you would feel if someone wrote an entire book based entirely of historical trauma from your own people, that they have no connection to and even acknowledge publicly it’s not their story to share yet wrote it anyway, that is still being felt in present day. A trauma that has never been given the room to heal from because more and more things keep coming into the light. Honestly, seeing so many people talking and acting this way almost discouraged me from writing this review and speaking my truth, my experience reading this book.

My discomfort with this book first started during the first chapter. Now, this was before I was even seen the interviews. So right from the beginning I was uncomfortable with no knowledge of what the story was inspired by or what this entire book was centered around. Actually, the first chapter made me believe that this book was going to address the child welfare system as a whole, address how broken the foster system is, and how terrible the whole adoption process is. Which that in itself are whole topics that I wish was addressed more often in literature, in general. But I digress. That was the beginning of my discomfort with this book. The real discomfort began when Linus actually arrived for the new case he was working on. From there, you know how when your memory sends triggers or little red flags to you that something isn’t right? Yeah, that kind of feeling where you feel a little bit like a deer in the headlights and you’re trying to process on just how to proceed. That was me while reading this book. There would be very specific scenes like the really emotional scene we get with Sal or the really emotional scene with Arthur talking about his past, even in the first chapter I would get this painful pricking in the back of my skull and it felt like sleigh bells were being rung in my ears. During these scenes I kept thinking, “Something doesn’t feel right about this. Something feels off, but also familiar. I can’t put my finger on it.”

I mentioned before how Linus as a main character was really hard to connect to at times for me. I think the only times I’ve felt any connection to Linus was during the scenes where there would be minor discussion surrounding the internal and external fatphobia. That’s something I can relate to on a personal level and probably talk about for hours about how big of a problem it is making people fatphobic of themselves and others, and how it’s harmful to everyone or how it doesn’t fix anything except make things worse. But my real issue with Linus was his lack of caring. Linus is basically the magical version of CPS (child protective services). And let me let you in on a secret, I’ve met quite a few of these type of case workers, five to be exact. I still remember their names, the details in their face and every expression they’ve made, and how every time their investigation would conclude they would say, “Well, everything seems to be in order, nothing wrong here, sorry to bother you folks.” It’s a very rare theme to find case workers who actually do care for the children and go the extra mile to check in on past cases. What surprised me was how he never once bothered to ask about how the children are placed in these orphanages and where are their families, doesn’t bother asking why these children can’t practice or learn about their cultures, never once inquires about the kind of environments the kids are being raised in or how they’re being treated in these environments, never asks about the parents or what happened to the families of these children (though we do see get some file details for some children and about Arthur that parents are “assumed dead”), he never bothers looking into what happens to the children once an orphanage is shut down (all we know is they get sent off to either another orphanage or a government run boarding school for magical youth run by the very company he works for), and he never once thinks about the kind of trauma the children go through in all of this. He literally assumes that all these children are being placed in good care or that the government will take care and provide for them despite cases where he stated he’s seen different. That’s it. That’s as far as his compassion and caring goes, his assumptions. Otherwise, it’s like the cases never existed in the first place. And yes he ends up slowly changing by the end of the book, but why couldn’t he have been like this from the beginning?

“Sometimes our prejudices color our thoughts when we least expect them to. If we can recognize that, and learn from it, we can become better people.”

I’m finally going to address it, yes, address the parallels and framework that this magical world is pretty darn close to Residential Schools or The Sixties Scoop. Circling back to what I stated previously, those little warning signs and the way things felt so familiar, like I’ve seen or heard similar stories. It’s due to having heard the stories of survivors from Residential Schools, it’s listening and watching documentaries on Residential Schools, watching Indigenous youth still go through walking the fine line of growing up with their culture yet being forced to go to public school (I’m referencing a documentary called ‘In My Blood It Runs‘), and having open conversations with my elders, aunties, and uncle to hear the history from those who have more wisdom than I and learning about the hard truth from them first hand. And maybe it’s because I’m white passing that my aunties and uncle really emphasized our history, our culture into me. So that I knew the truth spoken by elders and if there ever a came a time, use my voice to speak the truth loudly and direct those who don’t understand to those voices speaking their truth. And if you’ve never taken the time to actually listen to the voices of those who survived Residential Schools then it’s possibly you won’t see the details and you may only see it as frame work or even “bare bones” for the story, but I can assure you that once you’ve listened to enough Indigenous voices speak their truth of surviving those horrors, you will see how close the parallels are. The few links I’ve include are just a small few from dozens of sources I can provide.

Trying to write this part was really hard and I feel like I’ve rewritten this section countless of times because I feel like I have no nice way of writing this, but maybe that’s okay because sometimes the truth hurts and it needs to be said. My biggest issue isn’t the fact that this book is inspired by and written about Residential Schools. I think the part that bothers me the most about this book is the fact that it almost feels like it romanticizes or glorifies Residential Schools and the trauma/suffering that comes from the real history of Residential Schools. Which, it wouldn’t be the first time someone wrote a book glorifying the history of Indigenous people. In the interviews, the author even states how the overall message of this book is kindness and that’s reflected in so many parts within this book. We watch as Linus comes in, saves the day with one final report to DICOMY, and suddenly all problems and worries Arthur and the children were facing just disappear. Everything just stops. Including the bigotry from the town, where the mayor, Arthur, and Linus literally tell them to stop and suddenly all hatred and racism towards the magical people stops entirely. Racism and prejudices don’t suddenly stop because a few people say, “Knock it the hell off!” Actually, I’ve seen the opposite where people will become more determined to display that negative behavior. Recently, I’ve been seeing this common theme in various communities from non-Indigenous people constantly saying “It’s not that bad” or “I don’t see how this is a problem” and constantly using “kindness” as a tool for erasure of Indigenous history, trauma/suffering, voices, and hardships they have faced for generations and are still facing in present day. And that’s kind of how this feels with this book. It feels like another non-Indigenous person stepping forward to say, “I have the solution to decades upon decades of oppression, racism, and bigotry towards Indigenous people… It’s kindness! All we need is kindness!” That’s not how this works. This was never how it worked historically or systematically.

“Just because you don’t experience prejudice in your everyday doesn’t stop it from existing for the rest of us.”

Overall, I’m exhausted friends. I’m so freaking exhausted on trying to convey my thoughts and feelings on this book, the way I had over 20 bookmarks of resources to put in this review because Indigenous people always have to provide the resources but deserve to have their voices heard, to express how saddened I am about these interviews with the author, how I feel kind of ashamed for parts that I actually enjoyed of this book, and just the mass amount of mixed feelings I have in general about this book now. As a Native person reading this book and stating my truth of my experience with this book, I feel like my voice is going to fall on muffled ears, on those who are going to brush it off and say, “You’re over reacting.” or “You’re making up references that don’t exist.” Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all before where many people have silenced my voice in that way. As a fellow reader, I hope that this review reaches someone and gives them food for thought because they haven’t heard opposing voices in the sea of endless positivity or maybe that haven’t heard any Indigenous readers step forward stating their opinions. I removed my rating for this book on here because at this moment, I don’t have the energy to do so. I genuinely don’t feel like it deserves that kind of attention at the moment because I want my voice to be heard. Also, I’m going to link some further resources for anyone who wants them. And all I can do is ask that you hear the voices of Indigenous people, whether it’s one, a dozen, forty, or more… Just listen to them speak their truth.

Cossette’s Review
Indian Residential School Survivors Society
Legacy of Hope
Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society
Indigenous Peoples Survival Foundation
NDN Collective Stories

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For The Wolf (The Wilderwood, #1) by Hannah Whitten

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Content/Trigger Warning: Talk of human sacrifice, paternal abuse & neglect, death, talk of loss of loved one, grief, depictions of wounds and blood, gore, self-harm, violence, anxiety & panic attacks, emesis, hallucinations (visions)

“This ends in roots and bones. For all of you. It always ends in roots and bones.”

What can I say? I’m a sucker for retellings! However, I went into this only knowing that it was a retelling and bless my friend for recommending this as a buddy read. I spiraled so hard for this book and even when I set it down to do other things, I found myself thinking about it. It’s been a while since a retelling weaseled its way inside my head and had me thinking about it for days after reading it. Truly, if you’re a lover of retellings then I have to recommend this book to you, hands down.

Our story follows the Second Daughter, Redarys, who’s accepted her fate, waiting to be given to a dark forest as a human sacrifice or as the legend/prophecy claims, for the Wolf. While Red has accepted her destiny, her sister, Neve refuses to accepts this and begins plotting a plan to save Red from this path of darkness. Yet when Red is delivered to the Wilderwood and finally meets the Wolf, everything she thought she knew is not what it seems and soon finds an entirely different story altogether.

“Well, damn the myths. She was just as much a part of those stories as he was, and if her destruction was imminent, she’d rather be the architect than a bystander.”

The amount of finger snapping I have done over Red’s character should be enough to have broken my fingers. Truly, I loved Red’s character with a fiery passion. Red not only accepts her fate, but she is stubborn like there’s no tomorrow and bares her teeth to the maker like she was placed in this world like she had no other purpose. I’ll admit, Red almost feels like a morally grey, but I’m incredibly hesitant to say that. If anything, Red’s sister Neve is the most morally grey character throughout this entire book (but will get to that later). Red is a character who has such a fire in her soul, but we get to see all her moments of doubt, of weakness, and she’s just that kind of character you don’t want to lose focus on because you want to see what they’ll do next.

Oh ho, if you thought I forgot about The Wolf then you’re wrong. Out of all of the characters in this book, The Wolf or Eammon is my absolute favorite, mores so than Redarys. And no, it’s not due to Eammon coming off as having lots of inspiration from Adam Driver! As a reader, I very much become found of characters who have similar personalities to my own and while I want to say I love Eammon and Redarys equally, that would be a lie. Eammon is a very self-sacrificing character, one who would rather suffer than watch their loved ones suffer. And that is something the resonates very deeply with me as a person. Not only does Eammon do a lot of sacrificing, but he’s the only character in the book who have visible scarring, which made me a hard stan for The Wolf.

“I want the roots…I understand what it means, and I want them anyway, because I am for the Wolf, and the Wolves are for the Wilderwood.”

Though this is a retelling, there are some hidden gems of themes throughout this book. One of my favorite tropes is found family and there’s very much what Redarys finds when she enters the Wilderwood. She finds love and friends who not only want to protect her, but want to fight alongside of her. The way she connects with these people isn’t linear and it has those moments of holding your breath, but the way all of them come together and realize how much they care for one another really warms my heart.

While we’re talking about family, there’s also a theme of neglectful/abusive family in this book. How those who we’re related to can be cruel or hurtful, and despite that, how we can mourn them. We can mourn the ones who have hurt us because we can mourn the things that could have been if things were different. We see a different side in Neve’s perspective as she mourns the sister she lost, yet knows is still alive. And again, the way grief is shown in this book is good. Grief is never linear, it takes on many faces, and this might be the first book I’ve read that tells you, “Hey, you can mourn the people who hurt you because you’re grieving a life, you’re grieving what could have been.” The way the author laced this theme throughout this book is so beautiful and I thought it was really well done, but it may just be due to reading this book when I needed to have this theme in my hands.

“Sometimes you don’t mourn people so much as you mourn who they could’ve been.”

Though there were many things I loved like how this is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast, there were some things I didn’t love. The one issue I had with this book was repetitiveness. There’s a lot of times throughout the entire middle of this book where things felt repetitive or it had a de ja vu effect. As a reader, one of the biggest things I can’t overlook is repetitiveness. No matter how it’s written, no matter if you change wording or try burying it among action packed scenes; if anything feels like it’s repeating too much, my brain will zone in on it. The beginning, climax, and ending of this book was fantastic, but throughout that middle there were a lot of repeating themes that just weren’t necessary.

The biggest issue was Neve’s perspective. If I’m being honest, I strongly disliked Neve’s perspective. This is truly a first for me because anytime there’s sibling themes, I usually love them and I always want to take time to talk about that. However, there’s a first time for everything and this was definitely a first. I should state that Neve is a morally grey character. Out of all of the characters in this book, Neve truly is the most morally grey character. I’ll just be honest, I disliked everything about Neve and Neve’s perspective. Personally speaking, I think I dislike her character so much because Neve is the older sibling and I’m also the oldest sibling in my family, and everything Neve does just goes against what you should be doing as an older sibling, in my opinion. She has no fire in her, she doesn’t question anything even though things are very obviously wrong, despite her constantly saying she “cares” about Red or is doing something for Red’s “benefit,” Neve does absolutely nothing to protect her or even support Red. I just really don’t like Neve, every time I think of her character I get a headache, and even though I know why we have her perspective, I wish we didn’t.

Overall, I really loved this book. I took so many notes, pulled so many quotes, and the fact that I’ve been thinking about this book for so long just shows how much I enjoyed it. The world building was incredible, I love when an author builds up a world you can practically envision really existing. There’s so many characters to fall in love with and there’s some important themes that can’t be ignored. Again, if you’re a lover of retellings then I recommend this book with my whole chest.

Buddy read with Destiny from Howling Libraries 💜

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Some 2022 Book Releases I Want to Read in 2022!

This post is brought to you by goals I’m setting for my tbrs that I have no idea if I’ll actually achieve!

Remember back in my post, you know the one, Reflecting on 2021 & Goals for 2022? Yeah, that one! Remember how I said, “I’m going to ease my way back into tbrs. I’m going to make them shorter so they’re easier to manage and I won’t feel that crushing obligation to read every little thing I put on the list.” Remember when I said that?

Apparently, I lied!

When this post is going up, this the last day of 2021 and I’m typing this the day before New Year’s Eve. It’s been less than 48 hours till the new year and I have already set myself up for not only a reading challenge, but also having looked at my tbr cart with titles I still want to read, and (oh you’ll love this one!) have decided that I want to read at least 22 new releases this year. Which at this point I had descended into madness like a fallen angel, ignoring the warnings from my spouse and friends, and immediately went to NetGalley to see if I could maybe, possibly, request arcs for those said books (which to be fair, I was blessed with 5 of those books and you can read about them HERE!).

What possessed me to think this was a good idea? What have I done?

It’s fine! We all love a little madness, a little chaos, and you know, I can honestly say that I feel it’s manageable! At least, I’m 75% certain it’s achievable… IT’S FINE! Anyway, I just wanted to show a few of the 2022 releases I’m excited for and that I really want to read (and no I’m not showing all 22 books of the 22 releases I decided on) in this new year!


The Woman in the Woods and Other North American Stories by Kate Ashwin

“Loup Garrou, trickster rabbits, and spirits with names that can’t be spoken — the plains and forests of North America are alive with characters like these, all waiting to meet you in this collection of folklore retold in comics!

This fifth volume of the “Cautionary Fables and Fairytales” anthology series features updated takes on ancient stories from tribes spanning the continent, bursting with bedside tales that are thrilling, chilling, and most of all inspiring. Featuring the work of JORDAAN ARLEDGE, MAIJA AMBROSE PLAMONDON, MILO APPLEJOHN, and more!”

Truly, I’m really excited about this book! I love story collections, anthologies, and anything that’s a bind-up of multiple tales from various authors. I think I started falling more in love with anthologies in 2020 and with this being an Indigenous anthology, my heart might burst from excitement.


Fevered Star (Between Earth and Sky #2) by Rebecca Roanhorse

“There are no tides more treacherous than those of the heart. — Teek saying

The great city of Tova is shattered. The sun is held within the smothering grip of the Crow God’s eclipse, but a comet that marks the death of a ruler and heralds the rise of a new order is imminent.

The Meridian: a land where magic has been codified and the worship of gods suppressed. How do you live when legends come to life, and the faith you had is rewarded?

As sea captain Xiala is swept up in the chaos and currents of change, she finds an unexpected ally in the former Priest of Knives. For the Clan Matriarchs of Tova, tense alliances form as far-flung enemies gather and the war in the heavens is reflected upon the earth.

And for Serapio and Naranpa, both now living avatars, the struggle for free will and personhood in the face of destiny rages. How will Serapio stay human when he is steeped in prophecy and surrounded by those who desire only his power? Is there a future for Naranpa in a transformed Tova without her total destruction?

Welcome back to the fantasy series of the decade in Fevered Star—book two of Between Earth and Sky.”

If you haven’t read my review for Black Sun yet, definitely check it out! I really enjoyed my time reading the first book and I’m eager to return to this world, these characters, and find out what’s going to happen next. Truly, if you’re a lover of high fantasy, you don’t want to sleep on this series!


For The Thorne (Wilderwood, #2) by Hannah Whitten

“The First Daughter is for the Throne
The Second Daughter is for the Wolf…

Red and the Wolf have finally contained the threat of the Old Kings but at a steep cost. Red’s beloved sister Neve, the First Daughter is lost in the Shadowlands, an inverted kingdom where the vicious gods of legend have been trapped for centuries and the Old Kings have slowly been gaining control. But Neve has an ally–though it’s one she’d rather never have to speak to again–the rogue king Solmir.

Solmir wants to bring an end to the Shadowlands and he believes helping Neve may be the key to its destruction. But to do that, they will both have to journey across a dangerous landscape in order to find a mysterious Heart Tree, and finally to claim the gods’ dark, twisted powers for themselves.”

I adored the first book (and I promise my review for that is coming very soon)! I love a good retelling, but this was a whole new twist to taking two fairytales that feel so similar and making them one. Truly, I’m excited and I’ve already pre-ordered an ebook so I can continue reading this series. Not mention, the cliffhanger we’ll be picking up on! I’m ready, I’m so ready to know what’s going to happen next!


And They Lived… by Steven Salvatore

“Chase Arthur is a budding animator and hopeless romantic obsessed with Disney films and finding his true love, but he’s plagued with the belief that he’s not enough for anyone: he’s recovering from an eating disorder and suffers from body dysmorphia fueled by his father, and can’t quite figure out his gender identity. When Chase starts his freshman year of college, he has to navigate being away from home and missing his sister, finding his squad, and contending with his ex-best friend Leila who is gunning for the same exclusive mentorship. If only he can pull together a short for the freshman animation showcase at the end of the semester.

Then Chase meets Jack Reid, a pragmatic poet who worships words and longs to experience life outside of his sheltered world. But Chase throws everything into question for Jack, who is still discovering his sexual identity, having grown up in close-knit conservative family. Jack internalized a lot of homophobia from his parents and childhood best friend, who unexpectedly visit campus, which threatens to destroy their relationship. Chase will have to learn to love–and be enough for–himself, while discovering what it means to truly live.”

I love a book that I know will emotionally hit me like a ton of bricks. This book has me so read to be ripped into pieces and stitched back together. This book is supposed to have mental health rep, self-discovery, poetry, and a character who’s a hopeless romantic! Sign me up! I also want to take a moment to tag the Trigger Warning Database for the content warnings for this book, as well. You can find their content warning list HERE!


The Kindred by Alechia Dow

To save a galactic kingdom from revolution, Kindred mind-pairings were created to ensure each and every person would be seen and heard, no matter how rich or poor…

Joy Abara knows her place. A commoner from the lowly planet Hali, she lives a simple life—apart from the notoriety that being Kindred to the nobility’s most infamous playboy brings.

Duke Felix Hamdi has a plan. He will exasperate his noble family to the point that they agree to let him choose his own future and finally meet his Kindred face-to-face.

Then the royal family is assassinated, putting Felix next in line for the throne…and accused of the murders. Someone will stop at nothing until he’s dead, which means they’ll target Joy, too. Meeting in person for the first time as they steal a spacecraft and flee amid chaos might not be ideal…and neither is crash-landing on the strange backward planet called Earth. But hiding might just be the perfect way to discover the true strength of the Kindred bond and expose a scandal—and a love—that may decide the future of a galaxy.”

I fell in love with Alechia’s writing back in 2020 when I listened to the audiobook of The Sound of Stars. Now, seeing Alechia has a new book coming out, another sci-fi romance book, I’m so ready. Not only am I ready, but the way the author is using what the ‘kindred’ meaning as a theme for this book has my soul flying. I’m a firm believer of kindred spirits and I think I tell the people who I’m most close to how I feel a kindred spirit with them. And I know that once I have my hands on this book, it’s going to be everything. I’m going to love it to infinity and beyond, and I hope there’s so many other readers out here who are just as excited as I am for this to release (which is really soon, actually).


Oh, I’m so excited to fall in love with these releases even more!

Well, I think that about does it for this article! This very chaotic, very loving article. Honestly, I wasn’t sure which 2022 releases I was going to add and I almost decided to do ten, which would have been… a lot, to say the least. But I had so much fun making this article and sharing with everyone some of my anticipated 2022 releases. I know, it’s not everything I could have included, but I hope the amount of books on this list doesn’t stop you from enjoying it. I wanted to ended 2021 on a note of excitement, love, and chaos, apparently.

Do you have any 2022 releases you’re excited about? Come gush about your favorite 2022 releases with me or if you have a similar article you wrote, link it in the comments below! Until the new year, sending you the warmest of wishes on this New Year’s Eve! 💚

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