Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Review: Parental Guidance by Avery Flynn


Parental Guidance
(Ice Knights #1)
Avery Flynn
Release: June 17, 2019
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
All I want is to play hockey on the Ice Knights, instead, I’m in a viral video for all the wrong reasons and my mom—yes, my mom—has taken over my dating apps. Then, when I think it can’t get any worse, the fates deliver Zara Ambrose, a five-feet-nothing redhead with more freckles than inches and who’d rather be anywhere other than on a date with me. 

Now a bet with her friends and my PR nightmare have us both stuck in this go-on-five-dates-with-the-same-person hell situation. But if we band together, we can get the whole thing over with and go on with our lives. It’s perfect! No feelings. No future. No fuc— *ahem* fun. No naked fun.

What could go wrong? Nothing—as long as I remember the rules. Don’t notice the way she looks in a dress. Don’t react when she does that little shivery sigh thing whenever we touch. Don’t think about the fact that she’s never had a toe-curling orgasm that wasn’t self-delivered and just how badly I want to change that.

Five dates—that’s it—and then we go our separate ways. At least, that was the plan..

I really enjoyed reading Avery Flynn's Hartigans series earlier this year so I was excited that she's starting a new series set in that world. The last book, Tomboy, introduced Caleb Stuckey and the rest of the Harbor City Ice Knights hockey team. Zach and Fallon from that book also appear in Parental Guidance, along with Lucy from Muffin Top and Mrs. Carlysle from the original Harbor City series.

I enjoyed the romance between Caleb and Zara. The Fake Relationship is one of my favorite tropes and Flynn put an interesting twist on it here. I love it when everyone except the main characters sees how they feel about each other! But the other elements of the story fell a bit short for me. I wanted more build up to the first date and explanation of the dating app plan. There's a reveal at the end that fills in some of the blanks, but I wished that more had been done with that information.

I thought Zara's career as a miniature artist was so interesting! I kept thinking of Anna Farris's character in What's Your Number even though her style is supposed to be quite different. I loved her apartment in the movie so Zara's apartment looked a lot like that too.

But mostly I'm intrigued by the guys on the hockey team. I'm looking forward to more of their stories even though this one didn't completely work for me.


Friday, June 14, 2019

Review: The Beyond by Chloe Neill

The Beyond
(Devil's Isle #4)
Chloe Neill
Release: June 4, 2019
Goodreads Amazon
Sensitive Claire Connolly must journey to another world in the electrifying fourth installment of Chloe Neill’s post-apocalyptic urban fantasy series.

It’s been a year since the Veil between the human world and the world Beyond was torn apart, and war began again. Sensitive Claire Connolly and bounty hunter Liam Quinn have been helping their human and paranormal allies fight back against the ravaging invaders and save what’s left of New Orleans.

But a new enemy has arisen, more powerful than any they’ve seen before, and even Devil’s Isle cannot hold her. . .

When Claire learns of a new magical weapon–one built by paranormals themselves -she knows it could turn the tide of war. But to reach it, she and Liam will have to cross into the Beyond itself. In a world full of hostile magic and dangerous foes, she’ll have to channel the powers she once kept hidden in order to survive. New Orleans hangs in the balance, and the storm is growing closer . . .

The Beyond takes place several months after the battle at the end of The Hunt and things have changed drastically. Sensitives aren't in hiding anymore and the Consularis Paras are allowed to wander around freely. The downside? The Veil is open and Court paras are coming through freely. And while things haven't been exactly peaceful, they've been calm. Now, all heck is ready to break loose from a new big bad and an incoming storm. 

I'm going to be honest here. I wanted to love this book like I did the first couple but it seems like the last couple books have really dragged for me. Ultimately, I liked The Beyond but I also was very underwhelmed by it. It dragged in places and I found myself putting it down and forgetting about it. It also didn't feel like the end of a series. Things were resolved but still left kind of open.

Worldbuilding-wise I still love Neill's post-magic apocalypse New Orleans and I was really excited to finally get a peek at the Beyond. It was intriguing and very underwhelming at the same time. The capitol of the Beyond from the outside is practically perfect and I would have liked to see more of it but the whole trip felt glossed over. And the big bad? Interesting, but again, underwhelming. The pacing of the book just felt off to me. It was fast in parts and dragged in others. It also felt like it needed another good fifty or so pages to round out the plot better.

I still love all the characters especially the side characters! Moses, Tadji, Gunnar, and Gavin are all so great! I even loved Liam for most of the book even though he went caveman a few times. I struggled with Claire though. For most of the book she was still the spunky heroine I'd grown to love in the previous books. But she also drove me nuts. For someone who literally chased down the love interest in the last book, she was downright commitment-phobic in this one. It felt so off. It was nice to read Liam having all his ducks in a row for once though.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book by the end but, in my opinion, it was the weakest in the series and a bit disappointing for the series finale. Although everything did wrap up nicely. Claire's emotional journey from loner to someone with a found family was what kept me reading. She's come so far in the series and it was satisfying to see her come into her own magic. I'm still going to recommend this series to people. Just with the caveat that the first two books are the best in the series.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

  3 / 5 Stars

My reviews of other books in this series:

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Five Reasons to Watch the Good Omens TV Show

What is this!?! Two lists posts in one week!?! You're probably asking yourself what the heck is going on. Did Rose Red mess up while scheduling posts? 
I didn't. But it's a valid concern. I've been trying to write a review for the Good Omens TV show for the last week so I can shout my adoration to the masses but I've had writer's block. Then the Bestie suggested I make a list to get the creative side of my brain to kick into gear and I loved the idea so much that my review become a list post.
I will give a disclaimer here that although Good Omens was one of my favorite books during my teen years it's been about fifteen years since I last read it. I remember some of the big things that happen but not a lot of the little details. Watching the show was like revisiting an old friend after not seeing each other for a decade, it was both familiar and new at the same time. That being said, I'm not going to comment much on the differences between the two because I honestly don't remember. I just know that I loved it and it makes me want to reread the book! Now onto the five reasons why you should go watch this show now.
1. The Casting Was Perfection!
I will admit seeing Crowley and Aziraphale on screen was everything! My god! Did they hit the casting jackpot!?! Michael Sheen and David Tennant were perfect in portraying each of their characters! David Tennant sashaying around as Crowley was every bit as glorious as I expected it to be. Michael Sheen I was bit more unsure of because the only role I can remember him in was Aro from the Twilight movies. But he killed it as Aziraphale and the two's on screen chemistry was off the charts. They weren't the only perfect casting. This whole miniseries had the perfect actor for each role. Jon Hamm as Gabriel was not something I knew I needed in my life.

2. They Kind Of Acknowledged That Good Omens Is A Love Story
I have shipped Crowley and Aziraphale together since my first read through of the book. Honestly, the book read as a love story to me even though it wasn't explicitly stated. I can't tell you the amount of fanfic I've read over the years featuring these two. And the tv show is like that but on steroids. You can tell that these two have feelings for each other. The showrunners and Mr. Gaiman have left it to us to interpret how we want and it looks like a love story to me. You can see their relationship change and grow literally through the ages and if they're not in love I'll eat my hat. There's been several really good articles about this very point and you should go read them because they made the point way more eloquently than I did. I especially loved this one by Emily Asher-Perrin for tor.com.

3. It's A Funny And Hopeful Story About the End of the World
One of the things that makes this show work so well is the humor and the underlying hopeful feeling. The whole story is about a demon and an angel trying to prevent the apocalypse because they like living among humans. Shenanigans happen and they misplace the antichrist they're trying to influence into neutrality. It sounds weird but it is amazing!

4. Neil Gaiman Wrote the Script
Good Omens has quickly skyrocketed onto my list of favorite book-to-movie/TV adaptations and a very significant part of that has to do with the fact that Neil Gaiman wrote every single episode of the show. And the fact he did makes me want to cry. One of the most well-known tidbits about how that came to be is one that pulls on my heartstrings. It all started with a promise. Before he died, Terry Pratchett asked Gaiman if he'd write the script for the movie and make it for him. And he did. I will openly admit that I cried when "For Terry" popped up in the end credits. I also cried seeing Terry Pratchett's trademark hat and scarf hanging on the coat rack in Aziraphale's book shop. I certainly hope that wherever he is Terry is proud of what Good Omens has become.

5. The Show Belongs to Queen and Agnes Nutter
I had two thoughts while watching this show: 1. This show is freaking amazing and David Tennant as Crowley is everything! and 2. My god! They spent a fortune license all the Queen songs in this show! And it was glorious. I also love that why Crowley's Bentley only plays Queen songs was left as a humorous inside joke to those who have read the book. It made my little book nerd heart happy. And the Queen songs they chose added perfectly to the narration of the story! It's one of the many things that made this adaptation so perfect! Another is how they wove Agnes' prophesies into the story and how they presented them. It was so neatly done!

 I wholeheartedly loved this show! I had high expectations going in and they were met with flying colors. I need to go a do a rewatch because I know there's some little things I missed. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a book I need to go reread.
Have you watched the show yet? Come squee with me in the comments!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

We Love Lists: My Favorite Books With Less Than 2000 Goodreads Reviews

A few weeks ago, Gretl posted a list of her Ten Favorite Sleeper Series that are underappreciated and have few reviews on Goodreads. This week I'm also going to post a similar list about some of my favorite books that aren’t getting as much love as I think they should. All of these books have less than 2000 reviews on Goodreads which is a damn shame.

I loved all of these books and would highly recommend picking them up even though I don't talk about them as much as I should.

The Draegan Lords Series by M.L. Rhodes
Number of Ratings: 1830, 1088, 790, 247, & 23

This series is a queer medieval fantasy romance with dragon shifters. I wasn't completely sold on it at first but every time I reread it I love it even more!

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
Number of Ratings: 1692

I'm not surprised that this one doesn't have more reviews since it only came out in February but more people need to read it. It's a most excellent queer epic fantasy novel with assassins, krakens, and a disaster child who gets into all the trouble.

 London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy Series by Bec McMaster
Number of Ratings: 1125, 730, 481, 434, & 420

Why does this spinoff series not have more reviews?!? I adore Bec McMaster's London Steampunk world and I almost love this spinoff series more than the original. It's a damn shame not more people are reading it. Vampires and werewolves in a steampunk version of London? Secret government spy ring? Hot and steamy romances? What more could you want?

The Badlands Series by Morgan Brice
Number of Ratings: 540, 158, & 139

I've been shouting about this series since I discovered it earlier in this year and I need more people to read it! It's queer urban fantasy at its finest where the main characters are a homicide detective and a psychic. It's as awesome as it sounds.

The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish
Number of Ratings: 1743

This strange little book is one of the more well read books on this list but it still has less than 2000 reviews. More people need to read about these two soft boys falling in love while baking. It's a freaking adorable romance.

The San Andreas Shifters Series by G.L. Carriger
Number of Ratings: 1892, 795

I am shocked that this series doesn't have more reviews on Goodreads because it's paranormal romance written by Gail Carriger. It's everything I love about a good shifter/pack series but it's very very gay and it's amazing! The romances and the variety of supernatural creatures mixed with Carriger's signature humor is what makes this series so great.

The Adventures of Owl by Kristi Charish
Number of Ratings: 1563, 650, 336, & 171

This series is like a modern day D&D campaign meets Indiana Jones. It's wonderful! There's dragons and nagas and all manner of supernatural creatures plus the treasure hunting and gaming aspects are amazing! The main character, Owl, is a bit standoffish but she slowly comes into her own with the supernatural side of things. I still need to read the latest book myself.

The Dark Mission Series by Karina Cooper
Number of Ratings: 940, 355, 230, 174, 99, & 132

The Dark Mission series was one of the first paranormal romance series I ever read. It's set in a post-magic apocalypse and is all about witches and witch hunters. It's dark and gritty and utterly fantastic! It makes me sad that this one has gotten lost in all the hubbub. It seriously is a wonderful series. Plus, it one of the first paranormal romance series I can remember that included both disabled and queer characters and did so with respect and without being asked.

What books have you read and loved, but there’s not many ratings or reviews on Goodreads?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

We Love Lists: Books You Should Read for Pride 2019

Happy Pride Month! June is always one of my favorite months to plan a TBR because there is always several queer books I want to get to as soon as possible. The more diverse the better. I tend to gravitate more towards the queer sci-fi and fantasy books than I do contemporary and other genres and my list will reflect. And as much as I love Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I'm going to try and include books that aren't by Becky Albertalli. Or Adam Silvera. As delightful as their books are, they are so well known and I want to highlight some less talked about books.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Okay. Maybe this isn't the best one to start with after saying I want to talk about less talked about books. But I love this book so much! It has all the queerness that I wanted in Harry Potter while being it's own thing entirely. I loved Simon and Baz so much! I can't wait to get my hands on Wayward Son this fall!

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver
This is one of those books that will make you cry but you'll be happy about it.  It was heartbreaking to read Ben's story and how they come to live with their sister but it was also heartwarming to watch Ben find their place and be happy. I'm calling it now. I Wish You All the Best is going to be one of those books that is a game changer in YA. It makes my heart so happy to think of the teens who are going to read this book and see themselves. I'm so glad that this little enby love story is out in the world.

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
Like I Wish You All the Best, Autoboyography fills a niche in the queer YA community. I loved how it discussed being queer in a close-knit conservative religious community. And I can't put into words how important a book like this exists for the kids who are questioning their sexuality/identity in those communities. Also, it was so great watching Tanner and Sebastian's relationship evolve throughout the whole book.

The Supernatural Society Novellas by Gail Carriger
This is probably going to be the first of many Gail Carriger recs on this list because that woman writes some amazingly diverse fiction. These novellas are so delightfully queer and I love that they are about some of my favorite characters. One is a f/f romance and the other is m/m and they are both quick and wonderful reads.

Badlands by Morgan Brice
Badlands is the gay UF/PNR book I've been looking for for years and it just checked all the boxes for me. It's one of the few romance books in recent years that I was more engaged with the plot than I was the romance. The romance was great but the mystery and supernatural aspects are better. It made for an intriguing and fast read.

The Whyborne & Griffin Series by Jordan L Hawk
I want to go back and kick past me for sitting on Widdershins for years and never reading it. I adore the Whyborne & Griffin series so much! I never knew I needed an academic wallflower meets private investigator romance in my life. Add in the magic, supernatural, and horror elements and is there any doubt why I love this series? The last book comes out this year and I'm not ready to say goodbye.

Competence by Gail Carriger
So you need to read seven books across two series to get to this one but it is completely worth it! Competence is the story of Prim, the organizer of all the chaos on the Spotted Custard, and it was perfect! Plus, it's a diverse read and the main romance is a f/f romance.

Running with Lions by Julian Winters
This book was like reading a sports anime and I loved it! Besides it being about soccer, it so gave me Haikyuu! and Fence vibes and was amazingly diverse! I need more books and soft soccer boys in my life!

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Are you guys sick of me yelling my adoration of this book yet? This new adult romance between the First Son of the United States and the Prince of Wales was everything I wanted it to be and more! I can't even express adequately my love for this book. Just go read it and thank me later.

Witchmark by C.L. Polk
If you're looking for queer tropey goodness with bicycle chases, then Witchmark is the book for you! I loved this book so much! The worldbuilding is intriguing as is the politics and the magic system. And did I mention there were bicycle chases? Because that is definitely not something I've read in a fantasy book before this.

The Wayfarers Series by Becky Chambers
Becky Chambers' sci-fi books are diverse in the species found throughout the galaxy as well as in gender and sexuality. Just off the top of my head I can think of a f/f relationship, a romance between an AI and a human, and one species of alien that can switch gender almost as easily as we switch clothes. Add that to the epic worldbuilding and the Wayfarers is definitely a series to read during Pride month.

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
Like the Wayfarers series, The Ruin of Kings is full of diversity in species and sexuality. It might also feature one of my favorite disaster bisexual characters ever. The worldbuilding is epic and the characters are amazing! I need the next book to be out already so I can find out what happens next and if my ship will sail.

The San Andreas Shifters Series by G.L. Carriger
Yes. Another Gail Carriger rec. I told you that she writes some amazingly diverse stuff. The San Andreas Shifters is her m/m paranormal romance series and it is freaking fantastic! There's shifters of all sorts, mages, merpeople, and other amazing supernatural creatures. The romances are adorable and the San Andreas pack will steal your heart in no time. I'm not so patiently waiting for the next book in the series to be released.

The Villains Series by V.E. Schwab
One of my favorite morally gray characters in all of fantasy is also one of my favorite ace characters. Vicious is still one of my top five favorite books of all time and one that I rec the most. It's an origin story and an anti-hero story. Seeing how things progress with Eli and Victor through both books was an experience. Plus, all of the other dysfunctional characters in this series are amazing!

 In the Vanishers' Palace by Aliette de Bodard
  All I needed to know when I picked this up was that it was a f/f Beauty and the Beast retelling but with a dragon! It was everything I never knew I wanted! I fell in love instantly with the world and the characters. It's a story about relationships and not just a romance and it was perfect! Plus, it was delightfully queer.

The 5th Gender by G.L. Carriger
My last rec is also my Carriger rec. And it's gays in space! I loved this delightful sci-fi cozy mystery! It felt like I was reading excellent fanfic the whole time and I am here for it. I can't wait to see if we'll get another book in this series because I want more Tris and Detective Hastion investigations and to learn more about all the different species we were barely introduced to in this installment. The gender and sexuality diversity was seriously on point and I just need more sci-fi books like this!

What books would you recommend reading for Pride 2019?

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