Today, as you see by the title, I’ve got a bunch of mini-reviews from last year to share with you all. I’ve been keeping these in separate posts—one for indie and self pubbed reviews, one for romance and another of just random ones, but since I’m essentially doing mini-reviews in my five most recent reads posts during 2022, I thought I’d just go ahead and post these now. So let’s get into it…
Immortal Plunder by Kelly St Clare
You might have noticed that I’ve been on a bit of a Kelly St Clare kick lately. This is the fourth book of hers that I’ve read in about a week and I’ve been really enjoying her books for the most part. This is definitely very different from her others and from the things I usually read. I love a good pirate story so I don’t know why I haven’t really read that many before this one. (If you’ve got any pirate recommendations, please leave them below!) I think it was really the plot and the world-building that made this one for me. Maybe it’s because it’s so different from my usual reads, but I found it very engaging and it was just a really fun read. I think the characters were lacking a little, but it’s also the first book in a seven-book series so that didn’t really bother me too much—I’m sure they’ll all have time to grow and develop over the rest of the series. I’ll definitely be continuing on with the rest of the series as soon as I can!
Lucifer’s Daughter by Kel Carpenter
I purchased a couple of Kel Carpenter’s books last month and I’d been tossing up as to whether I wanted to get this one too or not, but ultimately decided not to. When I saw it was available on Kindle Unlimited, it seemed like the perfect chance to give it a go. I was still a little hesitant going into it, but once I actually got started I was just completely sucked into the world. This was a very quick read for me—it’s already a kind of small book with 222 pages in the eBook, but it’s also just very fast-paced and easy to follow. The characters are fun—I like Ruby well enough, but with it being such a short one, we don’t really get a lot of room for character development. I’m hoping we’ll see that more over the rest of the series. Now, I haven’t really read any reverse harem stuff before and I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but it’s honestly not in this first book too much—there are hints of it, but only here and there. I guess I’ll have to wait and see where the rest of the series goes. At this stage, I’m definitely planning to continue with the rest of the series and with Kel Carpenter’s other books too.
Subtle Blood by K.J Charles
If you know me well, you know that I’m downright terrible at finishing series off no matter how much I’m enjoying them. But, after a few months, I’ve finally finished this series! This is honestly such a fun series and this was a great finale to it. One of my favourite things about series is character growth, and I loved the way both Will and Kim have grown throughout the trilogy both as individual characters and as a couple. I think this was my favourite book in terms of their relationship—there were just some really great moments between the two of them in here. The plot was as intense as the two previous books and just as much fun, as were the side characters. Honestly, we need a spin-off series of Phoebe and Maisie just being their fabulous selves. My only complaint with this one was that I wish there was a little bit more of a solid ending but I know there’s a little epilogue available online that might be exactly what I need. Either way, this was such a great series and I’m excited to move onto one of the other books I own from K.J Charles soon.
Forestborn by Elayne Audrey Becker
I received Forestborn as part of the September box from The Fable Crate, but before that, I’d never heard of the book. It seemed interesting but it can always be a little nerve-wracking when getting books from subscription boxes that you know nothing about, but at the same time that was part of the reason I chose to subscribe to The Fable Crate in particular. Luckily, this turned out to be one of the ones I ended up enjoying. This is a really interesting world and story—it’s a very simple fantasy adventure quest to start with, but there’s definitely some unique elements to it as it goes along. The story goes along pretty slowly, but I think it worked in this book. I will say that is definitely one I needed to reach the end of before I could really appreciate how good the story was. I honestly don’t mind a bit of a slow story, and if you feel the same then I highly recommend checking out this one. The characters are also really interesting—I expected them to fit certain tropes and while they did occasionally, there was also some different interesting parts to them as well. I’ll be very eagerly awaiting book two now.
Medusa by Jessie Burton
I’d been highly anticipating this read ever since it was announced, which I think was actually a few years ago now—I can’t really remember. Anyway, a feminist retelling of Medusa that was going to be illustrated? Sounded amazing. Sadly, I ended up being really disappointed by this one. I have to say that the illustrations are stunning like they truly are. I’ll definitely be following Olivia Lomenech Gill’s work in the future. But the book itself was a big letdown for me. When I saw the words feminist retelling, I was expecting something different to what we go here. Yes, this story speaks about rape culture and gives the women of Greek mythology more understanding and agency but t felt like a very simple take on it. I suppose you could make the argument that this is written for a YA audience but I think that does a disservice to all the incredible feminist YA stories that do exist. Honestly, I just don’t think that this one was really thought out beyond the point of the original idea. Also I just have to admit that Jessie Burton isn’t a writer that I gel with.
An Extraordinary Lord by Anna Harrington
I was ridiculously nervous about going into An Extraordinary Lord—the first book in this series, An Inconvenient Duke, was one of my favourite historical romances but I struggled to even get through book two. This book was going to be my make or break for the series—the deciding factor as to whether I read books four and five, or just finish the series here. Fortunately, I fell in love with this one right away. I’m not sure what it was about book two, but this one just reminded me as to why I’d loved the first book so much. My favourite thing about historical romance as a genre is the fact that the books are often just fun, and this was definitely no exception—the romance is sweet but they also have some top quality banter that just makes the story even more enjoyable. I also really like the fact that there is a running plot through the series while at the same time I think you could still get away with reading them out of order. It’s a really interesting plot and I’m excited to see where it’ll go from here. I’ll definitely be continuing on with this series now and I can’t wait for it to be released in early 2022.
Proof by Seduction by Courtney Milan
This was my first foray into Courtney Milan’s work, and I’ve got to say—I’m impressed. While I don’t think this is the best historical romance I’ve read by any stretch, it was only her debut so I can see myself really loving her later books as she grows as an author (hopefully). I loved that this was a little bit different—our female lead is a fortune teller which is something I’ve never seen in a HR before, but it was fun. I do wish we’d gotten to see a little more of that. I loved the characters—particularly Ned, so I’ll definitely be picking up his book, probably in the New Year. t’s not often that I say I think a book could’ve been longer, but this one just needed a little more to fix some of the strange pacing that was in here. That being said, the short and punchy nature of this was part of the reason I felt glued to the page. All in all though, I can see why Courtney Milan is so beloved and I’m excited to read more from her.
A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair
Look, I can never resist a Greek myth retelling, especially a Hades and Persephone one. Add to the fact that Angel is obsessed with these and I really had no hope of escaping this one. I bought this one in December and started it a few days later and I was immediately sucked in. I sped through the first 200 pages and was completely obsessed with it. But I found that my excitement kind of died off towards the end and I instead started getting a little bored. I don’t know that it’s really this book’s fault—I couldn’t help but compare it to Katee Robert’s Neon Gods which is just so phenomenal that I doubt I’ll find another romance retelling of Hades & Persephone that ever lives up to it. I knew going into this that I wouldn’t love it as much, but I was still hoping to find something in this that was a little different and that I couldn’t appreciate. Instead, I found this dragged and the writing and the smut were just mediocre.