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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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!”
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.
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!
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.