17 Feb 2020

#Review: THE THINGS WE CANNOT SAY by Kelly Rimmer

17 February 2 Comments


Author: Kelly Rimmer
Series: N/A
Source: Purchased from Audible
Publisher: Graydon House
Publication Date: October 17, 2019
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

In 1942, Europe remains in the relentless grip of war. Just beyond the tents of the Russian refugee camp she calls home, a young woman speaks her wedding vows. It’s a decision that will alter her destiny…and it’s a lie that will remain buried until the next century.

Since she was nine years old, Alina Dziak knew she would marry her best friend, Tomasz. Now fifteen and engaged, Alina is unconcerned by reports of Nazi soldiers at the Polish border, believing her neighbors that they pose no real threat, and dreams instead of the day Tomasz returns from college in Warsaw so they can be married. But little by little, injustice by brutal injustice, the Nazi occupation takes hold, and Alina’s tiny rural village, its families, are divided by fear and hate. Then, as the fabric of their lives is slowly picked apart, Tomasz disappears. Where Alina used to measure time between visits from her beloved, now she measures the spaces between hope and despair, waiting for word from Tomasz and avoiding the attentions of the soldiers who patrol her parents’ farm. But for now, even deafening silence is preferable to grief.

Slipping between Nazi-occupied Poland and the frenetic pace of modern life, Kelly Rimmer creates an emotional and finely wrought narrative that weaves together two women’s stories into a tapestry of perseverance, loyalty, love and honor. The Things We Cannot Say is an unshakable reminder of the devastation when truth is silenced…and how it can take a lifetime to find our voice before we learn to trust it.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
I liked this one as a romance novel but it really didn't feel all that historical imo. I liked the dual narrative and seeing how they connected but I am meh about the historical aspects of it.

I think the synopsis is a little misleading because it focuses so much on Alice's life and the modern setting. The historical aspect felt like an afterthought. In all honesty, it could have easily just been a romance novel of like a grandmother telling her story and a granddaughter living her life and it would have had the same impact, but probably resonated better.

I was waiting for the WW2 aspects to be more fleshed out and really truly delivered to us but they just weren't there. It felt like there was a war in the background and while that made the characters move around and do what they did, it didn't really impact them. We knew that nothing too bad was going to happen and while a lot of it was heartbreaking, it wasn't a war love story but a love story with a background war.

I didn't really like or connect to a lot of the characters but I definitely hated Alice's husband and I hated that she conceeded to him so often, especially at the end. He was a terrible father, supporter, and provider and straight women shouldn't have to deal with shit like that.

Overall, I'm not sure if I would recommend it if you're looking for historical fiction, but if you want a heartbreaking love story with some modern aspects, this is definitely the book for you!

Have you read this one? What was your favourite part?

14 Feb 2020

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays: 5 Series to Fall in Love With!

14 February 2 Comments

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays

introduces readers who are unfamiliar with the Adult SF/F genre to books, authors, and discussions all about the vast expanse of the world of Adult SF/F!
Today's post is all about five series for you to fall in love with (in the spirit of Valentine's Day!). I love these series and hope taht you will find one that you love too!

Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Gingerbread Hag Mystery by K.A. Miltimore

Dru Jasper by Laurence MacNaughton

Fallen Empire by Grace Draven

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

What are some Adult SFF series you love?

12 Feb 2020

#Review: THE SCHOLAR by Dervla McTiernan

12 February 1 Comments


Author: Dervla McTiernan
Series: Cormac Reilly #2
Source: Purchased from Audible
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Date: March 7, 2019
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

When DS Cormac Reilly’s girlfriend Emma stumbles across the victim of a hit and run early one morning, he is first on the scene of a murder that would otherwise never have been assigned to him. The dead girl is carrying an ID, that of Carline Darcy, heir apparent to Darcy Therapeutics, Ireland’s most successful pharmaceutical company. Darcy Therapeutics has a finger in every pie, from sponsoring university research facilities to funding political parties to philanthropy – it has funded Emma’s own ground-breaking research. The investigation into Carline’s death promises to be high profile and high pressure.

As Cormac investigates, evidence mounts that the death is linked to a Darcy laboratory and, increasingly, to Emma herself. Cormac is sure she couldn’t be involved, but how well does he really know her? After all, this isn’t the first time Emma’s been accused of murder...
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
This one was okay. I think if it hadn't been for the fact that I had to read it for the book club, I probably wouldn't have (1) picked it up or (2) finished it.

It was kind of disappointing to me because really I just needed to read the first couple chapters to get the gist of what was going on, maybe one or two chapters in the middle, and then the last five chapters and that's it.

Which is pretty par for the course for mystery/detective novels, but still really disappointing. There was no big "twist" or anything - it was all pretty predictable.

I thought that the semi-queer bait of lesbians was not in good taste though. I thought the fact that it was said because a man was rejected and then it wasn't really proven one way or the other and then said casually like "well they COULD have been lesbians" was really off putting. Either commit to lesbians or leave that section out.

Overall, I am not sure I would recommend this - and while it was a standalone, I'm sure there would have been more context to this story if I had read the first one. This is a meh from me!

Have you read this one? What was your favourite part?

10 Feb 2020

ARC #Review: KINGSBANE by Claire Legrand

10 February 0 Comments


Author: Claire Legrand
Series: Empirium #2
Source: ARC via Publisher; audio via Audible
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: May 21, 2019
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller Furyborn, two queens, separated by a thousand years, connected by secrets and lies, must continue their fight amid deadly plots and unthinkable betrayals that will test their strength—and their hearts.

Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien—but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist.

Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity's long-awaited savior. But fear of corruption—fear of becoming another Rielle—keeps Eliana's power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted—by embracing her mother's power, or rejecting it forever.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.

See what I thought of FURYBORN!

The last bit of the book was really interesting and had a lot of great aspects but everything leading up to that kinda just felt like filler. I feel like it could have been half the length and still done all the same things. Which is a tad disappointing to me. But I'm looking forward to the next one to see how everything comes together a bit more.

I loved the world-building and seeing more of what we had in the first novel. I liked the way that magic expanded in this one so we could see the extent and limitations of what the Queens were able to do. I thought it was a good set up for the next novel.

But that was my main issue: this was a set up novel. It definitely doesn't stand on its own merit but acts as a catalyst for what comes next. And that's fine, but I would have liked some more loose ends tied up and a solid storyline throughout this one that made sense.

I was feeling as though I didn't really have to listen to the middle of this one and could have just read the last 5 or so chapters and been ready for the next book. It felt too much like filler instead of giving more information that would get us ready for the next one.

But I absolutely love this series and am so excited to see how it continues onward!

Have you read this one? What was your favourite part?

7 Feb 2020

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays: THE SEEP by Chana Porter #SFFFridays

07 February 0 Comments

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays

introduces readers who are unfamiliar with the Adult SF/F genre to books, authors, and discussions all about the vast expanse of the world of Adult SF/F!


The Seep by Chana Porter cover
Author: Chana Porter
Series: N/A
Source: eARC via Publisher
Publisher: Soho Press
Publication Date: January 21, 2020

A blend of searing social commentary and speculative fiction, Chana Porter’s fresh, pointed debut is perfect for fans of Jeff VanderMeer and Carmen Maria Machado.

Trina Goldberg-Oneka is a fifty-year-old trans woman whose life is irreversibly altered in the wake of a gentle—but nonetheless world-changing—invasion by an alien entity called The Seep. Through The Seep, everything is connected. Capitalism falls, hierarchies and barriers are broken down; if something can be imagined, it is possible.

Trina and her wife, Deeba, live blissfully under The Seep’s utopian influence—until Deeba begins to imagine what it might be like to be reborn as a baby, which will give her the chance at an even better life. Using Seeptech to make this dream a reality, Deeba moves on to a new existence, leaving Trina devastated.

Heartbroken and deep into an alcoholic binge, Trina follows a lost boy she encounters, embarking on an unexpected quest. In her attempt to save him from The Seep, she will confront not only one of its most avid devotees, but the terrifying void that Deeba has left behind. A strange new elegy of love and loss, The Seep explores grief, alienation, and the ache of moving on.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.

Read my interview with Chana Porter!

So I really liked this one and how things came together. I wish it had been a little longer and explored some of the ideas a little bit more. There were some interesting conversations to be had around gender, race, and identity that were only scratched at during the course of the novel. And while it's perfectly okay to not have them be the central focus, it felt like the author wanted them to be but was given some pushback about it. But I definitely recommend this one! Such an interesting take on what it means to be human.

I loved Trina as a character. She called people out on their bullshit and knew when she was being the bullshitter as well. It was so amazing to see a trans* character who was also in a loving relationship and treated with such respect! I was so here for it. I loved her attitude, her generosity, and the way she felt so real.

I would have liked this to be about 100-150 pages longer so that we could have explored the world a little bit more. While it was set in our world, it was our world with different rules. I wanted to learn more about the Seep's influence and how it affected all areas - I wanted to explore more of the communes and all that jazz. I think there was another really interesting novel in this that we didn't get to see. But I am hopeful that Porter will write another novel set in the same universe so we can learn more (maybe about Deeba as a baby??).

I am going to start adding this book to every recommendation list I make for Science Fiction novels because I enjoyed it so much. And finished it in like 2 hours. I definitely recommend this if you're looking to expand your speculative fiction to think about benevolent aliens and what it means to have an overseer who just loves you but isn't always quite sure how to express that.

Pick this one up if you haven't already!

What are some of your favourite Adult SFF books?