Bookish Things

So Let Them Burn

Kamilah Cole constructed a world with all the home-grown ideals and morals that are drilled into Caribbean-ites from birth. She then smoothly threaded in fantastical elements of gods and dragons, which all built the story into an all-consuming fantasy you cannot put down until you know exactly what happens next.

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Realm Breaker

The author took her time to build not simply a world, but ancient history, old feudal lines, and layers of myths and monsters from long forgotten lands. World building feels like too tiny a term to capture what has been described in intricate detail within these pages.

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To Shape a Dragon’s Breath: The First Book of Nampeshiweisit

I picked the book up and did not put it down until I finished. The book ravished me. No other way to describe how I felt after. It was feisty, smart, unpredictable, and absorbing in a way I know I will never forget. This author is now one whose work I will follow closely, because she has without a doubt fully captured my attention. To Shape a Dragon’s Breath, the First Book of Nampeshiweisit, is for me, a must read.

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Season’s Schemings: A Holiday Hockey Rom Com

I needed a reminder that books can just be good. They can be fun. They can remind you of love, while making you ugly cry with joy. Books can be soft, without trigger warnings, or traumatic triggers, or people dragging themselves over hot coals to achieve some impossible goal. I like those books, but even I can admit, my mind did benefit from reading much lighter fare.

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Three Holidays and a Wedding

This book felt like eating warm cookies with ponche de crème (the yummier, Caribbean version of eggnog) on a chilly day, cozy, under a soft, fuzzy blanket. It also had that ‘Love Actually’ quality to it. The will they, won’t they? The should they? And the awww yes as it all comes together. Frankly, Hallmark, Harlequin, Netflix, and Lifetime should all be trying to outbid one another for the rights to make this into a seasonal movie. 

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The Wizard’s Butler

This book is a palate cleanser specially tailored for those of us who love a touch of fairy in our tales. What caught me with this one is that you go along with the main character, as he discovers that life has a bit more sparkle and twinkle to it than he first imagined. 

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The Author – Whitney Hill

Another plus to her writing is the way she allows us to see and understand the actions of all the characters and the reasons they are how they are. Even the main villain. Also, I cannot say it enough. Whitney’s world building is fantastic! You might think including so many factions might be overwhelming, but it truly is not. She makes it all work, and work in a way that pushes you to dive headfirst into each book.

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The Jasad Heir (The Scorched Throne #1)

Small question, uhm, has a book ever taunted you? I know they can stalk us. Algorithms and such making them pop up everywhere. But I mean taunt. As in you see the book and you see people talking about the book and you feel like a little invisible tug on your soul that whispers, “You should read me.” Just randomly, when you are looking over your TBR list and looking at the cover, you hear, “You should read me.”

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Let’s Discuss… Book Shaming

Author Nisha J Tuli had a video of hers go viral this last week (Over 3 million views viral), because she “included a highlighted and annotated look at the first line of the Trial of the Sun Queen”. Nisha was laughing because so many of those views were from people freaking out that she dared to write in her own book. I mean, people going nuts because the author of the book wrote in one of her many copies of the book she wrote, is a sign that people are wound wayyyyy too tightly. We love our books, but as Nisha herself puts it, “Yes. Stories are certainly precious. The actual books? Not as much!”

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Iron Flame (The Empyrean Book #2)

It is gut boiling. And to her credit, I felt it. That is the potency of Rebecca Yarros and her words. Because a good book, for me, is one that disrupts me. It takes me out of my lane, steals my focus, and commands my attention. Yes, I was upset while reading, but she had me. And in hindsight, Iron Flame is the perfectly laid conduit to transition readers away from Basgiath War College into the deeply engulfing world of The Empyrean.

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The Kingpin of Camelot (A Kinda Fairytale #3)

This is the best kind of romance novel. Funny, swoony, full of wit and charm, and one with a Queen who understands her own worth and the worth of a man who sees you and loves you as you are. She also gives people who care about her heart attacks every now and again, you know, to keep things lively and spicy!

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Black Cake

Throughout the first half of Black Cake, the author authentically described the rhythm and feel of life in the Caribbean in the 1960s. Initially, she is vague enough that the island discussed and its people could be multiple islands within the Caribbean. Specifically, I thought the book was a Trinidad and Tobago based story, but it is based in Jamaica. You felt it, though.

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Verona Green (A story of Art & Magic Book 1)

Never have I ever come across this magical skill in a book before. Verity’s magic is directly related to art. Paintings. Her abilities allow her to restore artwork, not just deftly, but magically, as she channels the master painters who did the original piece. She recreates exactly what the masters did when they painted the first time around. Stunning right? I know!

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Dragon Tamers of Pyralis

From the first few test pages, Devonnie had me hooked. All I remember is downloading the first book from Amazon, then I blinked and in a few days, the full 5 book series was done. The fog that engulfed me had lifted and, once again, I was able to read. To fully read and finish books! That was a HUGE relief. How did that happen? Well!

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The Housemaid

The prologue reads as a woman sitting in a house with a dead body upstairs. She is sure she will be arrested. There is guilt. There is fear. The police are in the house questioning her, and just as she claims, she only heard a sound and found the body. A young officer shouts he has found something unbelievable upstairs. At that point, I stopped. I had searched and downloaded the book, but not paid too much attention to the reviews, or comments, etc. It is my friend’s relative book. I am reading it anyhow. After that prologue, I go back and check. My brain registers for the first time the description. “An absolutely addictive psychological thriller with a jaw-dropping

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My Sister, the Serial Killer

If you think about it, being the sister ignored, as you watch your family rave and extol the virtues of your sibling, who you know is a serial killer, could be a petulant mess. Ms. Braithwaite artfully spares us from such dreariness. She instead shares the insight and the truth of sibling comparison, all wrapped up in humor, as a worldly lesson.

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Trial of the Sun Queen

But what else can you expect when a sarcastic survivor is placed in jail as a child until she is secretly stolen away to compete for a queendom in a neighboring land? A competition, btw, that can be and has been, dun dun dun, deadly.

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The Voices of the Dead Omnibus

Or maybe you stopped in the grocery, not realising you were hungry, to pick up two things max, and ended up rolling a full cart back out to your car? If either of those situations resonates with you, you completely understand when I say, every time I pick up one of the books from Victoria Raschke’s Voices of the Dead to just read a few pages in-between some task, I end up getting caught up for a minimum of 5 chapters.

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Unicorn Treasures Part 2

I had snark! I had independence! I had romance, but not the icky squishy kind; it was love where the woman could still be her brave, action sheroe self. I thought this was it. This is the goal. This is what I have been waiting to read and have access to read all my life.

And honestly, I still love those authors. I comfort read their books, and I am always searching for authors like them. It is all AMAZING work.

But.
They are not my unicorn treasures.

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Unicorn Treasures Part 1

Because you begin to unconsciously absorb what the ‘important’ people look like. What they sound like. What they think like. Your vision of the ‘right world’ and the ‘right culture’ is shaped by people who seem to not even know or probably care that you exist.
Your subconscious begins to be unwittingly shaped into a very colonial controlled space.

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A River of Royal Blood Book Series

I have never before read this kind of twist on the existence of Vampires, Fae, and Magical Humans. It was a refreshing take! The book is one of those that gradually slides new information to you, the reader. It feels as though petal by petal you are diving deeper into a story that is hiding major secrets.

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The HalfBlood Rebels Book 1: HalfBlood Betrayed

At its core it is an enemies to lovers story with a twist. They start off as enemies, fighting, at each other’s throats, but then, one of them loses her memory. The book starts after the main character has lost her memory and she is in desperate need of a safe space to hide and recover. She heads STRAIGHT to her enemy’s house, since her subconscious mind knows that is where she will find sanctuary.

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The Cursed and The Fallen Book 1: Demon Warden

Found Family, Grumpy Hot Guy, and a Heroine who finds her POWER! This author knows how to pack emotion and action into words that sink into your soul. I really enjoyed this book, and it will definitely keep me coming back for other books by this author. The story starts with a computer programmer who is very unsure about herself and her place in this world.

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The Author – Selene Kallan

I did promise author chats as well, right? Well, Selene Kallan shall be my first. And not just because she makes me blubber like a baby. Her writing makes me scream in vindictive joy, feel warm and fuzzy inside, as she skilfully slides me into a beautiful book coma.

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THE AURELIAN CYCLE Book 3: Furysong

The problem with finishing an EPIC series very late at night is that you have to lie there alone in the dark and contemplate the meaning of life. You cannot message your friends, you might wake them and make them start reading. You cannot scream into the abyss and ask, “What am I supposed to do now?” You might wake up your household.

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The Naturals Series

Trauma induced talents. That is at the core of this series. The Naturals series, (aptly named btw) takes a deep look at what happens if your trauma, instead of debilitating you, grants you a creepy but very useful super power. These books are for the people who binge True Crime stories, and who love unraveling what is going on in a killer’s head. If that is your jam, this series is a must read for you.

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The Kiss Quotient

This book is a solid 3.5. I picked it up because Nalini Singh, my heart writer, recommended it, and she never steers me wrong. The Kiss Quotient was no exception. As the author describes, it is a reverse Pretty Woman. But it also a journey of self discovery for our heroine who is dealing with a disability no one can see on looking at her. That to me was the angle and story line that drew me in.

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The Girl of Fire and Thorns Complete Collection

This author and series received a glowing review from Tamora Pierce. So I thought, Tamora has written some of my most beloved books, so she probably would read series I would enjoy.

Totally underestimated how right I would be. It took me less than a couple days to finish the entire series (0.5 – 3).

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THE AURELIAN CYCLE Book 2: Flamefall

I am an adult. An actual adult, with a job. Even though I freelance and consult so I can, to an extent, determine my work hours. Nevertheless, I have work hours, and things I need to do in, you know, daylight, when most creatures stir. What I SHOULD NOT be doing is staying up until 3 am reading a book! That is irresponsible! Doing that will affect my day and the things I need to accomplish in that day.

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THE AURELIAN CYCLE Book 1: Fireborne

To be transparent, when I found this series, (it is 3 books I have finished the first 2) I was still looking for a Fourth Wing substitute. And initially, the book starts off a little bit slow, and might seem a bit more for a younger audience. So I was a bit put off, but decided that I was enjoying the actual writing and would keep going. In the beginning, we meet Annie and Lee, and a dorm full of young Dragon riders, who have been trained as the elite fighting force for a country that went through a very bloody revolution.

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The Inheritance Trilogy

Imagine living a normal boring life, where you are an outcast and keeping a low profile, until your mother dies and suddenly, you find out you are the heiress to the kingdom you have always lived in the dregs of. The infighting that would follow, the drama, the knowledge uncovered, all of that is in this series. Simply put, I loved it.

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The Roots of Chaos: The Priory of the Orange Tree

This was a great read. It reminded me of Game of Thrones, but without the degradation of women, and random descriptions of their anatomy (like pert boobs bouncing while she is just walking in a stable smh). The main characters are women who understand what it means to lead no matter how difficult and heartbreaking it may be.

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The Empyrean Book 1: Fourth Wing

But sometimes, one of those books that tops every list and that is currently burning the fingers of influencers everywhere slips through and lands on my kindle. And boy was this one worth every single drop of HYPE that came with it. At this point, look at the cover image and read the small tiny line above Fourth. It says, “Fly…or Die.” You may be thinking this is a fantasy, the author is well known for her romance books, that is just more hype.
I am here to tell you it is not!

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The Wolf Queen: The Promise of Aferi (Book II)

This was brilliantly written. Just like book 1, as I picked it up, I had to keep going until it was finished. There are stories that move you and then there are the stories that stay with you forever. This book will make its mark on your soul and hold a treasured place.

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The Wolf Queen: The Hope of Aferi (Book I)

Instinctively a wonderful voice inside my head told me to not start Book 1 until I had Book 2 in hand. Thankfully it was not a long wait for me and it was the BEST decision ever. Not only will this book steal you away, and make you forget everything else going on, but it gives you an ending that will leave you instantly craving more!

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