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Review Round-Up! (TEN mostly indie SFF, all 4-5 stars!)

Got some really great, and very different books this time! Say hello to Sigils by B.R. Sanders, My Heart Is Ready and Just Some Things by Chace Verity, Wet Nails and Eitan’s Chord by Shira Glassman, Caroline’s Heart by Austin Chant, Open Mic Night At The End Of The World by Jessica Meyers, The Crashers by Magen Cubed, and The Better To Kiss You With by Michelle Osgood! I loved all of these so much!

And if you’d like more Review Round-Ups like this one delivered to your email, along with early/exclusive access to my upcoming books/stories, discounts, free stuff, And More, you can sign up for my mailing list over here! 

Now, enjoy the things!!

 

Sigils (Aerdh Tales, #6)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, Sigils is quite a different story – in length, atmosphere, and general Feel – than other B.R. Sanders work readers might be familiar with. Where Ariah was epic-fantasy-length and… ‘sprawling,’ but in the best use of the word (sweeping?), the densely packed mage-city where every person and area is assigned a number, feels claustrophobic, which definitely seems intentional. It’s a fascinating look at a unique concept, and the idea that crime would break out in such cramped quarters makes way too much sense (especially if you’ve ever lived in a similarly densely populated area).

The murder mystery at its core is tense and keeps you turning pages, although it’s not very hard to guess who the perpetrator is – but then, I really didn’t take it as a whodunit, per se, that’s not where the story’s point and value lies. It’s more like a location character study than a straight-up mystery, something I haven’t seen a lot of. Recommended if you like super interesting worldbuilding and creepily tense atmospheres.

 

My Heart Is Ready (The Absolutes, #0.5)

My Heart Is Ready by Chace Verity

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“I’m the king of harpies.” “There’s no such thing.” “But I have a crown.”

* * *

This is a super fun little story that precedes a full book I haven’t read yet, but now I want to. I loved the worldbuilding and all the concepts in it – harpies! mer-people! pirates! sirens! a pink fluffy fox!! – and all of the character interactions. The dialogue felt light and natural, and although there wasn’t much in the way of detailed descriptions, I got a good sense of the world.

 

Wet Nails

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Thank you for enjoying my movies so much. You know, I only appear like this for my fans. You’re what keeps me alive. A movie star’s only dead if she’s run out of fans, not when she draws her last breath.”

* * *

Sweet, short, nostalgic, with some casual and appreciated nicely-surprising dermatillomania rep. This is a fun little peek at a fantasy a lot of us have probably had at one point or another – our favorite actor (or character) somehow stepping out of the TV screen and into our lives. What would we say to them? What would they think of us?

 

Liesmith (The Wyrd, #1)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“And what are entertaining lies if not a story?”

* * *

This isn’t the first line, but I *was* hooked by line 1. First time a book’s done that in a very, very long time. And I absolutely stayed hooked through the entire thing – it’s not a short book, but I couldn’t put it down, and ripped through it in 2, 3 days (very quickly for me and my lack of spoons!). You may have noticed I stuck this in my “gems” folder before I even wrote the review.

 

Just Some Things

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Three super-cute mini romances, all with their own charms.

 

Eitan’s Chord: a lesbian fairy trio for Chanukah by Shira Glassman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This, she thought, must be how the sugar feels when it melts into the tea.

* * *

Super short – like read-it-in-a-half-hour short, for me at least – and super cute and heartwarming. Also delightfully sexy. The interactions between the human couple are short but enough to get a sense of at least their relationship and tenuous situation, with some super relatable observations on the exhausting chaos of working retail during the holiday rush.

 

Caroline's Heart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

But the idea of Cecily being placed on the earth in such a damned confusion, just like him, and finding her way to be as extraordinary as she is—and him finding his way to her table, getting to sit across from her, quietly adoring her—the wonder of it all fills him with a swell of emotion that’s the closest thing to holy he’s ever felt.

* * *

I’ve been a huge Austin Chant fan since reading Peter Darling early last year, and had high hopes coming into this – and I was definitely not disappointed. Reading this was an experience. Uniquely immersive in that rare and wonderful way that sucks you in and makes you think every clock in the house has to be wrong by the time you look up. The world felt real, richly, atmospheric, eerily evocative, and bittersweet.

 

The Crashers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Because I know that I don’t know how we became what we are, or if this was fate, because I don’t believe in fate even if it were. I don’t even believe in ghosts or angels, but you’re both, aren’t you? And… and as bad as it sounds, I’m glad that all of this happened to me. I’m happy, and I don’t think I’ve ever really been happy before. And I’d really like to think you had something to do with that, if that’s okay.”

* * *

I’m having a hard time even finding what to say about this, there are so many things I loved. It was just, entirely, 100%, completely up my alley. An intricate, character-driven storyline, a diverse group of strangers “brought back to life” (it’s Arguable how literally) to rise up and become the heroes a city in crisis needs, a complex and actually sympathetic villain (in the “cool motive; still murder” way), piledriver-hard-hitting emotional punches, incredibly personality-rich and natural dialogue and character development, and queer characters with a happy (For Now, At Least) ending.

 

Open Mic Night at the End of the World

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“It’s probably horrible to say, but there are times when I’m okay with the end of the world. I was never really that great with the real world. It was big and it was tough and it had a way of staring at me that made me want to hide. The world was one big game of Chicken and I was always the one that flinched first. I’m sure it wasn’t personal. But let’s face it, the world was an asshole. So now I stand around at the graveside and say the words (He was a great friend. I’ll never forget him. I’ll miss you, world.) and lay flowers on the coffin while I’m secretly breathing a sigh of relief.”

* * *

I’ve been wanting to read this for some time and wasn’t able to, thanks to technical difficulty on my end (so thank you very much to the author for working with me until I got it, ha!). I started it last night and found it engrossing enough that I didn’t stop until around 80% of the way through, finishing the rest this morning.

 

The Better to Kiss You With

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Her fingers wrapped firmly around Deanna’s own, and Deanna was sure that without that solid grip she’d have floated straight up into the night sky.

* * *

So I’ve been sitting on this for a while, often fondly thinking of it but never actually reviewing until now (thanks, health crap and general life chaos!). This was my Reward Book a while back, and I saved it for after I’d finished some major projects. I knew I’d love it – and wasn’t disappointed.

 

That’s it for this time! I hope you enjoyed reading about these, and if you check them out, enjoy them as much as I did! You can find all my GR reviews over here: View all my reviews

And if you’d like more Review Round-Ups like this one delivered to your email, along with early/exclusive access to my upcoming books/stories, discounts, free stuff, And More, you can sign up for my mailing list over here! 

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