Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Review: Hunt the Stars

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An enemies-to-lovers space opera!?! Sign me up!

It's been a while since I've ventured into space, so this was a refreshing change of pace. Being on opposite sides of a war made Tavi and Torran more societal enemies than personal. They both knew of each other from their roles in the war, and how each was portrayed for battle prowess and wartime events. I thought it was a really interesting pairing.

Despite having amazing technology at their fingertips on some kickass space ships, everything was not smooth sailing for our main characters. While Tavi's hormones can't quite deny an attraction to the stoic general, she can't quite trust him or his motivations. Torran, on the other hand, has been put in an impossible situation by his empress and wasn't expecting to be drawn in by out spitfire captain. After navigating a few personal wormholes, I enjoyed watching the couple rely on the trust they had in one another even when it appeared betrayal was afoot.

Jessie Mihalik has a great imagination. I'm sure her background as a software engineer is beneficial when it comes to world-building in her futuristic societies. I love all of the technology, but I also really enjoy the political aspects of her stories. So creative!

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Review: From Bad to Cursed

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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In this second installment of the Thistle Grove series, we get a closer look at Rowan Thorn and the Avramov younger sister, Isidora. This is an enemies-to-lovers tale, and I love to get wrapped up in the drama of those. When the two are thrown together to investigate magical misconduct, tempers and sparks fly.

I’m glad this book was from Isidora’s point of view, as I was drawn more to the Avramovs than the Harlows in the first book, Payback’s a Witch. Issa was sassy and fun, with that dangerous Avramov edge. She actually came off as more powerful than her elder sister, Talia. Issa was great at thinking on her feet and making quick decisions in a crisis. We got a peek into her vulnerability when it came to her professional wants, but I wish this would’ve been expounded upon as it didn’t quite draw me in. I felt like her work at the Emporium fit her much better than sustainable fashion designer.

Rowan Thorn, our hunky green man, comes off as very “boy next door” and the complete opposite of Issa. I’m not sure he quite overcame the “holier than thou” personality for me, but maybe that will come as the series progresses. I did like that he was a veterinarian and his magic was definitely cool. But I found myself more interested in the Thorn demesne, Honeycake, than our hero. The orchards and underground pools sound like a place I’d love to visit.

Lots of diversity in this series, so I feel like there is someone for everyone to connect to. I find it funny that I’m more drawn to the necromantic family, of which most of the town is leery. But they come off as the underdogs to me, and I like to see them rise above expectations to the chagrin of the skeptics.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Review: Payback's a Witch

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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Emmy Harlow was chased out of her magical town of Thistle Grove by heartache. She had to sacrifice family, friends, and magical ability in a desperate attempt to escape her pain and find herself. Now she must return to fulfill a family duty, as arbiter of traditional witchy games.

Emily is a sexually fluid heroine, which I wasn't expecting, but fit in well as a Pride Month read. I think we could all identify with her heartache from Gareth, and her attraction to Talia was electric. The women-scorned aspect made for a good story angle, along with the power imbalance of the Blackmoores vs. the other founding families. Unfortunately, I just couldn't forge a connection with Emmy. I think I was more drawn to Talia and her talents, and I would've loved to have some of the story from her POV. The only time I got drawn into Emmy's plight was during a heartfelt conversation with her mother, and I wish there could've been more of that connection throughout the story.

I really like the concept of Thistle Grove and the founding families, but I'm a sucker for magical tales and abilities. Now that the games are over and a winner has been crowned, I'm interested to see what changes are in store for this small town. Can Gareth be redeemed? Will Linden and Rowan find their own happiness, and with who? And will the Harlows start being respected for their contributions to magic? Lots of questions that can be answered!

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