Audiobook review: In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard

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In a ruined, devastated world, where the earth is poisoned and beings of nightmares roam the land…

A woman, betrayed, terrified, sold into indenture to pay her village’s debts and struggling to survive in a spirit world.

A dragon, among the last of her kind, cold and aloof but desperately trying to make a difference.

When failed scholar Yên is sold to Vu Côn, one of the last dragons walking the earth, she expects to be tortured or killed for Vu Côn’s amusement.

But Vu Côn, it turns out, has a use for Yên: she needs a scholar to tutor her two unruly children. She takes Yên back to her home, a vast, vertiginous palace-prison where every door can lead to death. Vu Côn seems stern and unbending, but as the days pass Yên comes to see her kinder and caring side. She finds herself dangerously attracted to the dragon who is her master and jailer. In the end, Yên will have to decide where her own happiness lies—and whether it will survive the revelation of Vu Côn’s dark, unspeakable secrets…

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★★.5✩✩

This book was eye-opening for me because I’ve had multiple realizations while listening to it, first and foremost the realization that not caring about a book is a much worse feeling than not liking it.

This book was… objectively fine. It had things I like in theory but didn’t care for here and things I actually liked. I just really didn’t care about any of it and I feel so bad but it is what it is.

It might be that as soon as I started listening I realized that I actually really hate the idea of B&tB retellings, so I started off with a bad feeling in my gut. When I continued listening I could see that the aspects that make me uncomfortable about B&tB retellings were handled well here, but I still might stay away from such books in the future.

It might also be that while I love f/f romances (obviously) I just couldn’t see why Yên had to be so fucking horny for a dragon like, the moment she saw her. No, not even if she has a human form. Maybe I’m just not into monster romances and that’s another things this book made me realize. Generally speaking, I don’t mind insta-lust in most cases but I also didn’t really see an actual relationship development and I just couldn’t care about the romance at all.

I also didn’t really like any of the characters except for the twins, Vu Côn’s children, and actually found them and their relationship with Yên more well developed than the one with Vu Côn.

The world…this is another one of the realizations I’ve had with this book. I like Asian-inspired fantasy but I really don’t like fantasy dystopia. Or at least I didn’t care about this one. Oh, and speaking of the setting: I also don’t like magical buildings. I can’t see stuff in my head anyway so if things are constantly changing and just plain weird it just becomes a nightmare for me.

What I really liked was the diversity, there was an all Vietnamese cast and things about the language were also present in English (like specifying different kinds of pronouns for different form of address depending on relative age/social status etc). I bet that’s going to throw off a lot of monolinguals and I secretly rejoice at the thought of confused English monolinguals growing a big question mark on their faces.

There’s also two secondary characters who use they/them and, from what I could tell, personal pronouns were never assumed based on a person’s appearance. It was nice and effortless and this is how it should be.

I considered hard whether this was more of a 2.5 or a 3 stars for me, considering that what I felt was “meh” and that I do consider it an okay book. But I decided to go with 2.5 because it just doesn’t compare to books I rated 3 stars (which are normally books where I at least enjoy most elements). Regardless of my rating, please still know that this is an objectively good book probably, it just ticked off a lot of points I don’t like or care about.

ARC Review: Outrun the Wind by Elizabeth Tammi // not very Greek but nicely sapphic

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.  

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Summary: The Huntresses of Artemis must obey two rules: never disobey the goddess, and never fall in love. After being rescued from a harrowing life as an Oracle of Delphi, Kahina is glad to be a part of the Hunt; living among a group of female warriors gives her a chance to reclaim her strength, even while her prophetic powers linger. But when a routine mission goes awry, Kahina breaks the first rule in order to save the legendary huntress Atalanta.

To earn back Artemis’s favor, Kahina must complete a dangerous task in the kingdom of Arkadia— where the king’s daughter is revealed to be none other than Atalanta. Still reeling from her disastrous quest and her father’s insistence on marriage, Atalanta isn’t sure what to make of Kahina. As her connection to Atalanta deepens, Kahina finds herself in danger of breaking Artemis’ second rule.

She helps Atalanta devise a dangerous game to avoid marriage, and word spreads throughout Greece, attracting suitors willing to tempt fate to go up against Atalanta in a race for her hand. But when the men responsible for both the girls’ dark pasts arrive, the game turns deadly.

Release date: November, 27th

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★★★✩

I liked this book and especially for a debut I think the author did a great job, but there were also things I was looking for in a book set in ancient Greece that simply weren’t there, and that’s the reason why this isn’t a five star, but let’s slow down a little.

The book is narrated from two alternating POVs, Atalanta’s and Kahina’s. I think this type of narration was the best choice for it, but one problem I had with it is that the two voices weren’t distinct enough. I think it makes some sort of sense, because the two characters are kind of similar on many levels, but that made it difficult to differentiate their internal monologues. But other than that, I think they were both well-written, just like well-written was the whole book. Sometimes, dare I say, a little too well written. This might make no sense, but I don’t know how else to put it. I just felt like every sentence was thought over meticulously, with great attention paid to the show, don’t tell and other rules, but sometimes that made the narration a little dry and perhaps impersonal. That’s obviously a very minor thing and it’s not really something I even thought about until writing my review, and it didn’t influence my rating negatively.

My favorite aspect of the book was probably the f/f romance, and not just because it’s f/f. It honestly wasn’t even a huge part of the book, it’s just something that happens within the book, but that’s what made it special. I don’t really want to say much about it because it should be experienced while reading the book.

The plot was at times a little slow and I think a few elements could have been removed or made less relevant in order to focus more on other aspects. Something else I didn’t necessarily agree with is the characterization of Artemis and Apollo, but I respect the author’s choice, and it’s true that Greek mythology isn’t always consistent and that there’s not two versions of a god or a Greek hero that are the same.

But speaking of ancient Greece, I didn’t find it in this book. If you replaced the names of places and people with random ones, this would read as a generic fantasy. I didn’t see Greece in the culture, in the way gods were worshipped, in the way men and women related to each other, I simply didn’t see it anywhere. The author note explains that liberties were taken, since the mythological Atalanta belongs to the first generation of heroes, even before the Trojan war, and not a lot is known about many aspects of life back then. This, in my opinion, resulted in a worldbuilding that’s not here nor there. You could tell me it’s set in the same universe and time period as Cinderella and I’d believe it. I think that a retelling of a Greek myth loses a lot of its value if it doesn’t transport the reader back to ancient Greece, and that’s truly what bothered me most about an otherwise above-average book.

All in all, I would recommend it if you can look past the missing ancient Greece and are looking for a f/f romance that’s not the focus of the book.

Release Blitz: Thrall by Avon Gale & Roan Parrish

Publisher: Philtre Press

Release Date (Print & Ebook): September 27th, 2018

Subgenre: Mystery

Order here: AmazonAll other vendors

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Synopsis:

Dating Sucks & Love Bites

Happy couple Mina Murray and Lucy Westenra have begun to garner national attention for their quirky New Orleans true-crime podcast, Shadowcast. When Lucy’s brother Harker disappears while researching the popular new dating app Thrall, they’re thrown into a real-life mystery. Aided by their social media expert, Arthur, and Harker’s professor, Van Helsing, they follow the trail, hoping to find Harker before it’s too late.

When their investigation crosses the path of a possible serial killer, the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur. And as they race against the app’s countdown clock, so does the line between friendship and love. What starts as a flirtatious rivalry between computer-savvy Arthur and techno-averse Van Helsing becomes much more, and Mina and Lucy’s relationship is tested in the fires of social media.

As they get down to the wire, the group discovers that nothing on their screens is as it seems—including their enemy.

A modern retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

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Teaser Excerpt #2:

Lucy Westenra

You there baby?

Mina Murray

I’m here. How are you holding up? You had nightmares last night, huh?

Lucy Westenra

Sorry i woke you 😦

Mina Murray

Shh no way. ❤

Lucy Westenra

So um…I brought Harker’s tablet to work bc I knew today would be a slow day and uh…

I looked at his search history <_____________________<

Mina Murray

Oh god, is it porn that no sister should ever see?

Lucy Westenra

I wish it WAS

Mina Murray

Uh oh. What is it babe?

Lucy Westenra

Here I’m sending the screenshots I took to your email

Mina Murray

Oh. That is…a bit grim.

But you KNOW my search history is !!! bc of ShadowCast.

Lucy Westenra

Yeah, he clearly doesn’t listen to our podcast if he doesn’t even know where to hide a body :/

Mina Murray

😀

Lucy Westenra

Ok I’m not trying to be paranoid buuuut…this is a creepy thing to find in Hark’s history! Why would he need to know where to dump a body? Mina is my brother a killer?!

I’m only half kidding!

Mina Murray

Well, ok hmm. He googled bars, so maybe he had a date and was coming up with…conversational topics? * hopeful emoji*

Lucy Westenra

Right like, Hey, come here often, want to know where the best place to hide a body is?

Mina Murray

I mean, can’t lie, that’d be way more appealing than 90% of my first dates soooo

Anyway.

Lucy Westenra

This is…god, what if he was abducted and the person who took him looked up where to dump his body!!!?

Mina Murray

That’s really scary, but seems pretty unlikely. There are a lot of more logical explanations than that a killer would use their victim’s own tablet to see where to dump him and then leave it behind. Don’t worry, L

Lucy Westenra

This is just not like him. I mean, sure, he’s weird but…this seems weird, even for him.

Mina Murray

For real, there is probably a totally reasonable explanation for his search history that has nothing to do with abduction or murder, just like there is for ours when we look up stuff like that.

Research or…hell, maybe he was watching a tv show and wanted to fact check.

There are tons of reasons.

Lucy Westenra

Yeah, you’re right, there are tons of reasons. It’s just this weird feeling I keep getting.

About the Authors:

Avon Gale

Avon Gale was once the mayor on Foursquare of Jazzercise and Lollicup, which should tell you all you need to know about her as a person. She likes road trips, rock concerts, drinking Kentucky bourbon, JRPGs and yelling at hockey. She’s a displaced southerner living in a liberal midwestern college town, and she never gets tired of people and their stories — either real or the ones she makes up in her head.

Avon is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan at Handspun Literary Agency.

Connect with Avon: Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Instagram | Website

Roan Parrish

Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.

When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.

Connect with Roan: Parrish or Perish FB Group | Twitter | Instagram | BookBub | Newsletter

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Giveaway! Win 1 of 3 e-copies of any back catalog book by Avon Gale or Roan Parrish!

Cover Reveal: Thrall by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish

Publisher: Philtre Press

Release Date (Print & Ebook): September 27th, 2018

Subgenre: Mystery

Order here: Amazon | All other vendors 

Synopsis:

Dating Sucks & Love Bites

Happy couple Mina Murray and Lucy Westenra have begun to garner national attention for their quirky New Orleans true-crime podcast, Shadowcast. When Lucy’s brother Harker disappears while researching the popular new dating app Thrall, they’re thrown into a real-life mystery. Aided by their social media expert, Arthur, and Harker’s professor, Van Helsing, they follow the trail, hoping to find Harker before it’s too late.

When their investigation crosses the path of a possible serial killer, the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur. And as they race against the app’s countdown clock, so does the line between friendship and love. What starts as a flirtatious rivalry between computer-savvy Arthur and techno-averse Van Helsing becomes much more, and Mina and Lucy’s relationship is tested in the fires of social media.

As they get down to the wire, the group discovers that nothing on their screens is as it seems—including their enemy.

A modern retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

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Sneak Peek of Thrall:

Van Helsing

I…no. You know you’re young enough to be one of my graduate students? Though much better dressed. But if your flirting is sincere, then I welcome it. I can’t deny that I felt something between us this morning.

Arthur Quincey

I, uh, definitely felt something

Ugh, sorry, that was a terrible joke—you should be impressed, I never get this nervous. but seriously, so did I. It’s definitely sincere.

Van Helsing

I am also nervous. I…I suppose I don’t quite know what to say next. I’ve never attempted to flirt on a—what is this, chat?

Arthur Quincey

OMG, Gus. (I’m…look, that name reminds me of the musical Cats, which I loathe so can I call you Van?)

It’s kind of hot you just said you were nervous btw (and yeah, it’s chat)

Van Helsing

I got the feeling you were calling me Professor on purpose, no? Yes, I suppose I can suffer through Van, if you must.

Ah, well, I’m very gratified you think so.

Arthur Quincey

Yeah, because I like it. The professor thing is totally a turn-on. And I like the idea of making you like that name, Van. Just because no one else has.

About the Authors:

Avon Gale

Avon Gale was once the mayor on Foursquare of Jazzercise and Lollicup, which should tell you all you need to know about her as a person. She likes road trips, rock concerts, drinking Kentucky bourbon, JRPGs and yelling at hockey. She’s a displaced southerner living in a liberal midwestern college town, and she never gets tired of people and their stories — either real or the ones she makes up in her head.

Avon is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan at Handspun Literary Agency.

 Connect with Avon: Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Instagram | Website

Roan Parrish

Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.

When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.

Connect with Roan: Parrish or Perish FB Group | Twitter | Instagram | BookBub | Newsletter

Review: Peter Darling by Austin Chant

I was sent this book as an advance copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

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★★★★

Release date: today! (Feb. 15th, 2017)

Goodreads synopsis:

Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is.

But when he returns to Neverland, everything has changed: the Lost Boys have become men, and the war games they once played are now real and deadly. Even more shocking is the attraction Peter never knew he could feel for his old rival, Captain Hook—and the realization that he no longer knows which of them is the real villain.

TW: suicide attempt, improper use of personal pronouns (I don’t know if the latter counts as triggering but better safe than sorry?).

Let me get something out of my system first of all:
W
O
W
Okay, now that that’s out of the way: wow. I was completely blown away by this short book, which was a couple of firsts for me: mainly first trans story and first Peter Pan retelling.

Actually, I have to admit I didn’t know the first thing about Peter Pan, that is, if you don’t count the Disney cartoon, which I’m going to assume is not a very accurate representation (and even though I loved that cartoon as a kid, I kind of grew to hate it and its story over time).
Despite this, the premise of this book sounded like something right up my alley, and I’m glad to confirm that it was indeed a perfect book for me.

I just love retellings that turn the stories upside down and make them new with refreshing ideas, and the fact that in this book Peter’s assigned identity was Wendy made me click that request button on Netgalley so freaking fast.

As always when I’m feeling so hyped about a book, I’m also really scared once I do get to sit down and read it. What were my particular fears for this one?

– since it’s such a short book, I was really afraid that the romance (or the whole story) would have felt rushed (I was really dreading the much-hated insta-love);
– I thought that not knowing the original story would make me like this book less.

Well, I’m glad to say that both fears had no ground to exist.

First of all I want to address the pacing of this book: it’s only 140 pages short, so I really thought there would no room for things like subtlety and introspection, but it managed to give me both of those, together with everything I look for in both a fantasy and a romantic book.

The fantasy: while the essence of Neverland’s magic itself wasn’t explained, there was a very satisfying explanation for at least part of the things that happened there (it’s kind of a plot twist so I won’t go into detail)
I also loved how the fairies were described as having different shapes and colors and the role they played in the story (they mainly served to move the plot forward but they were also interesting enough that I was genuinely curious to find out more about them), and the other mythical creatures like the merpeople and the kraken were such good additions to this story.

Peter’s backstory: having read the blurb, one already knows who Peter used to be, but it’s something that gets gradually revealed in the first part of the book, and in a very delicate way, at least in my opinion. I know the author is trans himself so I trust him to have done a good job in this particular aspect. Not having experienced the struggle of a trans person, I still found myself crying in certain parts of the book and I felt real pain whenever Peter’s brothers or parents called him with his birth name and used the female pronouns to talk to/about him.
As per author’s decision, there is no big reveal/coming out between Peter and Hook, and I think that worked out amazingly.

Peter realized he was waiting for some kind of probing curiosity in return-some remark on what Peter sounded like, or worse on his body-but James’s only encroachment on the subject was to say, “Your shirt has seen better days. Would you like one of mine? Assuming all my clothes haven’t been eaten by moths.”
All at once it became easier to breathe. “Yes,” Peter said. “Please.”

The romance: let me demonstrate in .gif form my feelings about the romance:
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You can’t expect me to be rational about my absolute favorite romantic trope (enemies to lovers). Plus we all know I have a thing for pirates, right? Right.

“I win,” he panted, grinning. He slowely lowered his sword to aim at Hook’s heart. One thrust, and it would be over. Peter wet his lips with his tongue. “This is it. You’re mine.”
“Am I?” Hook asked, as Peter drew back his sword. “Or are you mine?”

This romance was perfect and healthy. It wasn’t too sudden or rushed, I genuinely felt like it had reason to exist and I loved everything about it.
For example, I love how Hook seems to understand Peter in that way that sometimes only your enemies tend to do.

“I find that enemies are the most satisfying people to share secrets with,” Hook said. “If you must tell someone, tell someone who’s sensitive to all your vulnerabilities, on account of trying to exploit them.”
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“I’m making excuses for you,” Hook said impatiently. “You seem like the type to bottle up without an excuse.”

Both my BR partner and I were squealing so hard and honestly I’m glad I wasn’t reading this alone because I was in serious need to vent my feels™ about these two.

“Obsession?”
“Is that not what they call it,” Hook said, “when two men can think of nothing but each other?”

Other things I enjoyed:

The pacing: it was mostly consistent throughout the book and, while I noticed that things were kept as brief and as necessary as possible, it didn’t impact my reading experience (I’m one who usually prefers a slower pace). There was even some room for exploring a little bit of a secondary character (Ernest) and I quite enjoyed that.

The (eventual) dual PoV: if we don’t count the prologue, we get some chapters from Hook’s PoV only after The Twist happens, and I think that decision was spot-on. I really think his PoV allowed us to enjoy the romance a lot more and to see Peter under a different light.

The last thing I want to say is that this was a perfect story to read on Valentine’s Day ♥

As you can see I loved loved  l o v e d  this book and I’ll make sure to keep an eye on the author’s next works.

Review: The Darkest Part Of The Forest by Holly Black

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★★★★

Ben told stories. Hazel became those stories.

There are many ways to describe The Darkest Part of the Forest. Everyone will tell you something different, probably. To me, it’s a story about brothers and sisters.

“You and your sister are very dear to each other. To show your regard, you give each other lovely bouquets of lies.”

Hazel and her brother Ben live in a town where fae and humans live on…not exactly friendly terms, but those who are born and raised in Fairfold are relatively safe (unlike the tourists who often visit it, many of which end up missing or dead).
When they were kids, Hazel had dreamed of being a knight, and she’d become one, hunting “bad” faeries with the help of Ben’s magic. Until things became too scary and dangerous and they’d stopped. That’s when they began keeping secrets from each other.

Sparing another person is a tricky thing. It’s easy to think you’re succeeding when you’re failing spectacularly.

Hazel makes a deal with the faeries and that changes the way she goes on with her life.

She seemed to be running toward trouble, leaving no stone unturned, no boy unkissed, no crush abandoned, and no bad idea unembraced.

She and Ben are still very close but everything is different now.

Flirting didn’t mean anything to her.[…] While she was flirting, Ben was falling in love for the first time.

But one of the things they still have in common is their love for the faerie prince who sleeps in the forest, in a glass coffin, to whom they have told their secrets for many years, but who has never woken in…decades? Centuries? (I’m not entirely sure about the timing in this.)

They were in love with him because he was a prince and a faeries and magical and you were supposed to love princes and faeries and magic people. […] They loved him as they loved the Eleventh Doctor with his bow tie and his flippy hair and the Tenth Doctor with his mad laugh. […] It wasn’t like it was real. It wasn’t like he could love them back. It wasn’t he’d ever have to choose.

Except now he’d woken. That changed everything.

His awakening has moved things and there’s a monster in town that they have to defeat, with the help of Jack (Ben’s best friend and a changeling) and the faerie prince himself, who is very much involved in this whole deal.

This is a very folklore-heavy book, but it doesn’t feel heavy at all. There’s a lot of myths mentioned and interwoven in the plot, but they’re all explained (in a very nice and non-boring way – I always lose my focus right away whenever a story is told within another story, but that never happened once in this book). Furthermore, if you grew up in an English-speaking country and/or have read a lot of YA fantasy, you might be familiar with some of these already. I personally was only familiar with this one I’m about to quote and let me tell you, I got tears in my eyes because this myth is told in my favorite German poem (Der Erlkönig) and to see it mentioned in a YA book made my day.

‘But Alderking has a more sinister meaning, too. Perhaps you’ve heard this before:

“Mein Vater, mein Vater,
Jetzt faßt er mich an!
Erlkönig hat mir ein Leids getan!”’

The other myths that I actually didn’t know anything about (we don’t really study northern/Anglo-Saxon mythology in Italy -faeries and such are completely out of our lore) were extremely interesting and told in such a way that made me want to find out more about them for the first time since I started reading fantasy.

Another element that I loved in this book was the romance. Don’t let the synopsis fool you, there’s no love-triangle in this (at least I don’t see it as such). This is also a really good example of how to include more diversity in fantasy. A character just happens to be gay, and instead of being only defined by his sexual orientation, that’s just part of who he is.
Let me just add that the whole gender-role-reversal was amazingly done. Hazel was the one who wanted to be a knight and there is no shame in that. That didn’t make her masculine-looking or other stereotypes like that. Not to say that she couldn’t have been masculine-looking, but that would have really been a little bit too stereotypical and frankly we can all do without that. At the same time, Ben wasn’t just uselessly waiting for his sister to save him, and even if he wasn’t the knight, he helped fight the faeries with his magic, and saved the day at times when physical force wasn’t going to be of much help.

As I was saying, the romance. It felt refreshing in a way. There’s a lot of kissing and talking about kissing -kissing for fun, kissing because you’re scared, because you don’t know what else to do at a party, because the boy you want to kiss is the sleeping faerie prince inside the glass coffin that won’t break. If you judge Hazel for the way she acts I will personally fight you.

When actual romance (and not just random kisses) develops, it is so sweet and -combined with the amazing writing- it makes me want to reread parts of this book right away because they were just too good.

“When I heard your voice that night, I recognized it instantly. It’s a voice I know better than my own. […] You know, it nearly drove me mad to listen to so many voices, a cacophony of sound, of words I didn’t know piling up, of time slipping in skips and jumps. And then you, speaking to me-to me. I started to know the length of a day in the interval between your visits.

While reading this book, I couldn’t help often being reminded of The Raven Cycle. There are some parallels – the town where magic stuff happens, the kiss-talk – but this book is also more…grounded? I adore TRC with all my being but the actual fantastic elements can be confusing at times, just because they’re not explained, whereas with this one everything is explained and it leads back to a myth.

There are no loose ends (it’s a real standalone) and I found the ending very satisfying and I would recommend this book to everyone ☺

Standalone Sunday: Truth in the Dark by Amy Lane

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Standalone Sunday was created by the lovely Megan @bookslayerreads for a chance to talk about your favorite standalone books (which is, books that aren’t part of a series). I’m not sure I’ll manage to do this meme every week, since I rarely read standalones. But after finding it, I knew I needed to take this opportunity to talk about one of my favorite standalones that I read this year.

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Truth in the Dark is a book that surprised me in many ways. I went into it knowing next to nothing, except that it was a MM-romance. When I started it, the first thing that caught my attention was the writing. The story is told in a first PoV perspective and it’s extremely raw. That’s truly the best adjective I could find to describe the writing style: it won’t spare you any details (good or bad) and it won’t be nice. Oh, and there’s cursing.
The writing perfectly matches the protagonist and narrator: Naef/Knife is a disabled boy that hates the world. Rightfully so, I might add. The story is an Eros and Psyche and Beauty and the Beast retelling, and I don’t think I can even begin to express how much I loved every single thing about it. The romance is adorable and hot. Both main characters are well-rounded and both Naef’s character development and the romance felt very realistic. I will go even as far as saying it’s one of the best love stories I’ve read in my life, so yeah.

It’s definitely a book I will read again, and I recommend it to anyone that is into romantic fantasy adult books.