Sunday, March 12, 2023

The Warden by Daniel M. Ford

Synopsis (via Goodreads): For fans who have always wanted their Twin Peaks to have some wizards, The Warden is a non-stop action adventure story from author Daniel M. Ford.

There was a plan.

She had the money, the connections, even the brains. It was simple: become one of the only female necromancers, earn as many degrees as possible, get a post in one of the grand cities, then prove she’s capable of greatness. The funny thing about plans is that they are seldom under your control.

Now Aelis de Lenti, a daughter of a noble house and recent graduate of the esteemed Magisters’ Lyceum, finds herself in the far-removed village of Lone Pine. Mending fences, matching wits with goats, and serving people who want nothing to do with her. But, not all is well in Lone Pine, and as the villagers Aelis is reluctantly getting to know start to behave strangely, Aelis begins to suspect that there is far greater need for a Warden of her talents than she previously thought.

Old magics are restless, and an insignificant village on the furthest border of the kingdom might hold secrets far beyond what anyone expected. Aelis might be the only person standing between one of the greatest evils ever known and the rest of the world.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.


The Warden had the potential to be a really great book; however, the main character was unlikeable, the setting was poorly explained, and the delivery was more tell than show (which is always a bummer). Aelis talks to herself a lot, and the author uses this to explain various aspects of the book. I want to see what's happening and feel it unfold. I don't want a play-by-play from the main character. Additionally, what she's saying - the terms and phrases she uses - are only vaguely explained. 

Why are there so many moons? How do they work? Are we ever going to find out why Aelis has an affinity for one of them? I also wasn't a big fan of how the flashbacks were presented. They felt too planned and intentional. I understand they were supposed to be a way to inform readers of past events, but they seemed to always justify or explain whatever Aelis was currently doing. Why did she and her professor have so much animosity between them? The author barely touches on seemingly crucial details. 

I also wanted more from the secondary characters - Tun specifically. I honestly thought he was going to follow her at the end (incognito of course), but even that was a disappointment. The author tried to build up this friendship but then missed an opportunity for it to flourish. The same can be said of Maurenia. Their relationship had so much potential, but the execution left a lot to be desired. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again . . . unlikeable main characters make it hard to enjoy a book. Aelis was rude, condescending, wanted to wave her title and elitism around, and had very little regard for the people she was supposed to be protecting. Rus and Martin went out of their way to make sure she had what she needed (whether that was food, basic necessities, or even just information), yet she rarely thanked them or even smiled in their direction. I hated how "stoic" the author tried to make her, because she ended up being someone I didn't want to read about. 

It was also very frustrating when things simply "worked out" for Aelis. None of her plans failed. She didn't have any setbacks. She didn't listen when people offered her advice. 

Small spoilers: I wish this book had been about a female necromancer with a half-orc best friend and half-elf love interest. I wish they had traveled and adventured together, their bonds growing stronger the longer they were together. I wish Aelis had struggled and failed. I wish she had learned from failing and grown as a character. I wish we had seen her use more of her necromancy and had less of her explaining what everything was. I wish Pips had been included in their adventures and played a larger role. I wish the setting and the world had been described more thoroughly and less verbally. 

Like I said, this book had the potential be something amazing. Unfortunately, it fell flat and left me feeling a little disappointed and a lot annoyed. (★★★☆☆)

Sunday, January 29, 2023

DNF&Y [44]

DNF&Y is used to explain why I gave up on certain books, and what about them just didn't work for me. What I disliked about a book might be something you love, so it helps to share your thoughts even when they're negative!

A Forgery of Roses
by Jessica S. Olson
🎧Narrated by Billie Fulford-Brown

Synopsis (via Goodreads):
Myra Whitlock has a gift. One many would kill for.

She’s an artist whose portraits alter people’s real-life bodies, a talent she must hide from those who would kidnap, blackmail, and worse in order to control it. Guarding that secret is the only way to keep her younger sister safe now that their parents are gone.

But one frigid night, the governor’s wife discovers the truth and threatens to expose Myra if she does not complete a special portrait that would resurrect the governor's dead son. Desperate, Myra ventures to his legendary stone mansion.

Once she arrives, however, it becomes clear the boy’s death was no accident. Someone dangerous lurks within these glittering halls. Someone harboring a disturbing obsession with portrait magic.

Myra cannot do the painting until she knows what really happened, so she turns to the governor’s older son, a captivating redheaded poet. Together, they delve into the family’s most shadowed affairs, racing to uncover the truth before the secret Myra spent her life concealing makes her the killer’s next victim.

From
Sing Me Forgotten author Jessica S. Olson comes a gothic fantasy murder mystery perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Erin A. Craig.


A Forgery of Roses had such a unique premise, but the main character (Myra) was hard to like, there's a love triangle (not a very good one), and the story wasn't really about a "gift" people would kill for. I think if the author had focused more on Myra's magic and what it was capable of, I might have enjoyed it more. Unfortunately, it's about her wanting someone she can't have (a guy she's known for a handful of days that did nothing as she was unceremoniously tossed out into the snow), and a "bad guy" that seemed to genuinely like her despite her being interested in someone else. He gave her food, clothes, offered her shelter, saved her life... and yet THAT is the guy she pushes away. 

I could have tolerated her liking the first guy initially, but Myra should have been more realistic. I know some people will say it was because he had anxiety, but ughhhh. You can have anxiety and still do the right thing. He shouldn't have entertained something with someone he had no intention of ever being with. Family loyalty and blah blah blah. At least Vincent cared about her wellbeing. 

I'm curious about the disappearances and potential murderer, but not enough to keep listening to the book. If you've read this, please feel free to message me with spoilers. 

Side note: The narrator is amazing! I've really enjoyed other books they've done. 

Saturday, December 31, 2022

DNF&Y [43]

DNF&Y is used to explain why I gave up on certain books, and what about them just didn't work for me. What I disliked about a book might be something you love, so it helps to share your thoughts even when they're negative!

The Immortal Highlander (Highlander, #6) by Karen Marie Moning

Synopsis (via Goodreads): BEWARE: LETHALLY SEDUCTIVE ALPHA MALE OF IMMENSE STRENGTH AND DARK EROTICISM. DO NOT LOOK AT HIM. DO NOT TOUCH HIM. DO NOT BE TEMPTED. DO NOT BE SEDUCED....

With his long, black hair and dark, mesmerising eyes, Adam Black is Trouble with a capital T. Immortal, arrogant, and intensly sensual, he is free to roam across time and continents in pursuit of his insatiable desires. That is, until a curse strips him of his immortality and makes him invisible, a cruel fate for so irresistible a man. Now Adam's only hope for survival is in the hands of the one woman who can actually see him.

Enter law student Gabrielle O'Callaghan. For Gabrielle, cursed with the ability to see both worlds, Mortal and Faery, it is the beginning of a long, dangerous seduction. But as Adam's quest to regain his immortality plunges them into a world of timeless magic, the price of surrender could be their very lives. Unless they can thwart the conspiracy that threatens both Mortal and Faery realms...and give them a shot at a destiny few mortals ever know: glorious, wondrous, endless love...


I started reading The Immortal Highlander because I wanted steamy sex and swoonworthy characters. Sadly, this book was unremarkable and more than a little frustrating. 

I haven't read any of the other books in this series, but it was my understanding that they could be read as standalones (they can). The book mentions other characters that I know have been in previous books (yay reviews), but not knowing who they were made no difference to this story (what I read of it). Unfortunately, I could barely get through The Immortal Highlander, despite several attempts to do so. 

I am so over the virgin trope. She refers to boyfriends she's had previously, but none of them ever "got that far" due to her being able to see the Tuatha De Danaan. Were they in her house? Sitting next to her in bed while getting frisky with a regular Joe? I'm fine with virgins (still not a fan of the trope), but the reason for her virginity wasn't believable. It was also REALLY WEIRD that Gabby kept conversing with her inner 14-year-old self. 

Gabby's halfhearted attempts to "resist" Adam were annoying and made my head hurt. Her reasons were laughable and barely made sense. She was going to cave eventually, and I think the author could have handled their initial romance a little better. It all felt forced and unnecessary. Let's not forget that Adam assaulted her in the beginning and essentially forced her to do what he wanted. If someone - human or not - was attacking me, I wouldn't be thinking about how hard he was against me. He also broke into her home and then later stole some of her underwear (creepy). 

The author also had Gabby completely isolated from everyone. She wasn't close to her remaining family (her mom left her with her grandmother once it became clear she could see the Tuatha De), she wasn't in a relationship, she had no friends... she was just existing. I wish she'd had someone in her life that she cared about. Maybe then she would have cared more about herself. 

It also bothered me that Adam never really seemed to care about Gabby. It was always about what he needed from her and his desire to claim her. I never saw him put her needs first (with a few small exceptions that also benefitted him), and I can't get behind a character that would do that. She's supposed to be his love interest, but I never saw an actual connection between the two.

Occasionally, I can get behind a book with a mediocre plot if the characters are likable, but both Gabby and Adam were exhausting to read about. She was annoying and he was over-the-top. I kept reading to see if the sex was going to be good, but they kept getting interrupted (which is something else I hate). 

I don't think I'll be reading any of the other books in this series. (★★☆☆☆)

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

How to Speak Animal by Aubre Andrus & Gabby Wild
[Blog Tour: Spotlight + Giveaway]

 
Halito! Welcome to the next stop on the How to Speak Animal blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Thank you for stopping by! If you would like to win a copy of this book, be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post. πŸ‘‡ For the full tour schedule, please visit the Rockstar Book Tours website.

About The Book:
Title: HOW TO SPEAK ANIMAL
Author: Aubre Andrus & Gabby Wild
Pub. Date: August 16, 2022
Publisher: National Geographic Kids
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Pages: 176
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, TBD, Bookshop.org

Learn about the secret language of wild animals in this exciting and informative guide from the experts who brought you How to Speak Cat and How to Speak Dog.

We know animals can’t speak and express themselves in the same way as humans … but even the smallest and quietest animals have incredible ways of communicating with each other. With wildlife veterinarian expert Dr. Gabby Wild as a guide, How to Speak Animal helps kids understand how animals communicate through sound, body language, and behavior. It’s full of expert insights and real-life stories of humans exploring ways to “talk” to animals, from teaching great apes sign language to speaking “dolphin.” Packed with super-engaging animal photography that helps illustrate key concepts, this fascinating book profiles more than 60 different creatures―from birds to mammals to reptiles and more―and their amazing ways of communicating with each other.

If you’ve ever wondered why gorillas beat their chests and make hooting noises, what it means when chameleons change color, or why some elephants twist their trunks together, this is the book for you!


About Aubre Andrus:

AUBRE ANDRUS is an award-winning children's book author with dozens of books published by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, American Girl, Disney, Scholastic, and more. She has also ghostwritten books for young YouTube stars. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her family. Visit her website and portfolio at www.aubreandrus.com.

About Gabby Wild:

DR. GABBY WILD earned her Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degrees at Cornell University. She completed her veterinary internship training at Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital in Akron, Ohio, and received her master's of public health (MPH) from the University of Minnesota. She is a published genetics researcher and uses her research background to screen zoonotic disease transmission among wildlife, domestic animals, and people. To help maintain a healthy planet, she monitors herd and individual health for rising epidemics. Dr. Wild balances her Western medicine practices with traditional Chinese medicine in an effort to blend both methodologies. Acclaimed for her role as “the veterinarian” on Animal Jam, the world’s largest online “playground,” with 54 million players, she creates educational videos and teaches children internationally about wildlife conservation and medicine. When not in the wild, Gabby works as a Wildlife Health Program veterinarian for the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo and is a training veterinary surgeon at the Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island. She lives in New York City.

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a finished copy of HOW TO SPEAK ANIMAL, US Only.Ends September 6th, midnight EST.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala [Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway]

 
Halito! Welcome to the next stop on The Honeys blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Thank you for stopping by! If you would like to win a copy of this book, be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post. πŸ‘‡ For the full tour schedule, please visit the Rockstar Book Tours website.

About The Book:
Title:
THE HONEYS
Author: Ryan La Sala
Pub. Date: August 16, 2022
Publisher: PUSH (Scholastic Press)
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Pages: 352
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle, Audible, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD, Bookshop.org

From Ryan La Sala, the wildly popular author of Reverie, comes a twisted and tantalizing horror novel set amidst the bucolic splendor of a secluded summer retreat.

Mars has always been the lesser twin, the shadow to his sister Caroline's radiance. But when Caroline dies under horrific circumstances, Mars is propelled to learn all he can about his once-inseparable sister who'd grown tragically distant.

Mars's genderfluidity means he's often excluded from the traditions -- and expectations -- of his politically connected family. This includes attendance at the prestigious Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy where his sister poured so much of her time. But with his grief still fresh, he insists on attending in her place.

What Mars finds is a bucolic fairytale not meant for him. Folksy charm and sun-drenched festivities camouflage old-fashioned gender roles and a toxic preparatory rigor. Mars seeks out his sister's old friends: a group of girls dubbed the Honeys, named for the beehives they maintain behind their cabin. They are beautiful and terrifying -- and Mars is certain they're connected to Caroline's death.

But the longer he stays at Aspen, the more the sweet mountain breezes give way to hints of decay. Mars’s memories begin to falter, bleached beneath the relentless summer sun. Something is hunting him in broad daylight, toying with his mind. If Mars can't find it soon, it will eat him alive.

Reviews:

"Pure horror gold." - Booklist STARRED review

"Tantalizing and memorable." - Publisher's Weekly STARRED review

"As rich and complex as dark amber honey." – Kirkus

Ryan talks about THE HONEYS:



The Honeys
by Ryan La Sala was so mind-bendingly good! It's easily one of the best books I've read this year. I was hooked from the very first chapter (it's a doozy) and never wanted to put it down. Small, seemingly inconsequential details are shared slowly as the story progresses, and my paranoid brain gobbled them up (I was like Mars in this way). I suspected everyone and everything. The anxiety!!

I'd almost given up on YA books as a whole because the last ten or so I've read really haven't worked for me. I thought maybe I'd outgrown the genre, but La Sala showed me it wasn't the genre at all... just the books I'd been reading. The Honeys checked all my boxes and then some. 

Mars being genderfluid is the icing on the cake. I could relate to their struggles and sympathize with them on a level I wasn't expecting. At times I felt like I was Mars. It goes to show you just how phenomenal the writing truly is. I lived in this book. It's been a long time since a story has captured my attention so fully. The Honeys demands your attention, and I absolutely loved every second of it.

If this book isn't already on your TBR, I highly recommend adding it right now! (★★★★★)


About Ryan La Sala:

Ryan La Sala writes about surreal things happening to queer people.

Ryan resides in New York City, but only physically. Escapist to the core, he spends most of his time in the astral planes and only takes up corporeal form for special occasions, like brunch and to watch anime (which is banned on the astral planes).

Ryan is the author behind the riotously imaginative Reverie, and the brilliantly constructed Be Dazzled, and the highly anticipated The Honeys. He has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Tor.com, and one time Shangela from RuPaul’s Drag Race called him cute. Right in the middle of the road downtown! So. Pretty big deal all around, yes?

His next book, The Honeys, will be publish with Scholastic on August 16, 2022.


Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a finished copy of THE HONEYS, US Only.
Ends August 23rd, Midnight EST.

Monday, July 11, 2022

DNF&Y [42]

 
DNF&Y is used to explain why I gave up on certain books, and what about them just didn't work for me. What I disliked about a book might be something you love, so it helps to share your thoughts even when they're negative!

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling
🎧 Narrated by Caitlin Davies

Synopsis (via Goodreads): New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins, writing as Erin Sterling, casts a spell with a spine-tingling romance full of wishes, witches, and hexes gone wrong.

Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two.

That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.


Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.


I really enjoyed Hex Hall and The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins (the author uses a pseudonym for this book), so I had high expectations for The Ex Hex. I wanted to see how this author added her humor and wit to a book promising "spine-tingling romance." Unfortunately, the characters were awful, and the story was borderline boring. I gave up after an hour and wish I'd stopped sooner.

The narrator's voice didn't do this book any favors. All of the characters sounded too similar (if there was any change at all), and I really had to pay attention to know who was speaking. This isn't anything against the narrator, but it did detract from my overall enjoyment of the book. 

In addition to boring, the story was super cheesy. I couldn't really get behind Vivi's feelings of animosity nine years later. They were two kids in college that dated for three months, and they had a simple misunderstanding. Accidentally curse him? Sure. Hate him for a decade? Not likely. It just wasn't believable. But that's not all... they've also been secretly pining for each other - unawares - while outwardly cursing the existence of one another. 

Miscommunication is one of my biggest bookish pet peeves, and all Vivi and Rhys needed to do was have a conversation with each other to resolve their issues. The entire thing was blown out of proportion yet fuels their vendetta for the better part of the book (at least what I read and skimmed through). (★★☆☆☆)


This May End Badly by Samantha Markum
🎧 Narrated by Heather Masters

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Pranking mastermind Doe and her motley band of Weston girls are determined to win the century-long war against Winfield Academy before the clock ticks down on their senior year. But when their headmistress announces that The Weston School will merge with its rival the following year, their longtime feud spirals into chaos.

To protect the school that has been her safe haven since her parents’ divorce, Doe puts together a plan to prove once and for all that Winfield boys and Weston girls just don’t mix, starting with a direct hit at Three, Winfield’s boy king and her nemesis. In a desperate move to win, Doe strikes a bargain with Three’s cousin, Wells: If he fake dates her to get under Three’s skin, she’ll help him get back his rightful family heirloom from Three.

As the pranks escalate, so do her feelings for her fake boyfriend, and Doe spins lie after lie to keep up her end of the deal. But when a teacher long suspected of inappropriate behavior messes with a younger Weston girl, Doe has to decide what’s more important: winning a rivalry, or joining forces to protect something far more critical than a prank war legacy.

This May End Badly is a story about friendship, falling in love, and crossing pretty much every line presented to you—and how to atone when you do.



I committed six hours to This May End Badly and still ended up DNFing it. I really liked the idea of a school rivalry and thought the author played that up really well, but it should have remained the focal point of the story. There was just too much going on. And what was the deal with the pervy teacher? That subplot seemed REALLY unnecessary. The students kept bringing him up, so I'm sure something would have eventually happened with that, I just didn't stick around long enough to find out. I do think it should have been left out altogether. 

Fake dating is usually a trope that I like, but it didn't work for me in this one. There was no chemistry between Doe and What's His Face. I think there were more sparks between her and her archnemesis than the guy she likely ended up with. 

I think this book would have been better if it had been simplified just a little. A school rivalry, some teenage angst, and boom. Unfortunately, I was having to force myself to listen to this one "hoping" it would get better as it progressed. (Spoiler alert: It didn't.)

I also wasn't thrilled with the narrator. She wasn't bad per se, but I did find her voice to a be a little distracting. 

Additionally, Doe was incredibly unlikeable, and I always struggle with books when I can't relate to - or at least understand - the main character. She was so selfish and never considered how her actions affected others. She wanted to talk about her friends and how close they were, yet she didn't think twice about them before doing whatever she wanted.

Some notes I made while reading:

Missed the mark
Immature
Didn't like why they were fake dating
Doomed to fail
No friendship would survive the fallout

It a nutshell, This May End Badly had too much going on and the main character was a selfish brat that didn't actually know what she wanted. She was too absorbed in herself to see what was happening around her, and her fake boyfriend clearly had ulterior motives of his own. Weird teacher subplot. (★★☆☆☆)


Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky, #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse

Synopsis (via Goodreads): The first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and woven into a tale of celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and forbidden magic.

A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun

In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.

Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.


This started off as a buddy read, but they quickly left me behind while I struggled to find reasons to continue reading this book. It's honestly been so long now that I've forgotten most of what I read (not very much). I do remember being annoyed by the dialogue and wishing for more showing instead of telling. Roanhorse has created a very complex world, but I wanted to feel fully immersed in it and not like a bystander. I also don't want to have to question how something works but want the story to unfold in a way that explains through experiences. I know some dialogue is necessary to explain complex ideas, but I would prefer to see them played out on paper.

Black Sun was soooo hyped, and I just expected more from this fantasy world and its characters. I also really, really didn't like the child mutilation and found that aspect of the book to be hard to stomach. (★★☆☆☆)

Friday, May 13, 2022

Wicked Beauty (Dark Olympus, #3) by Katee Robert

Synopsis (via Goodreads):  

She was the face that launched a thousand ships, 
The fierce beauty at the heart of Olympus,
And she was never ours to claim.

A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Helen of Troy, Achilles, and Patroclus that's as sinful as it is sweet.

In Olympus, you either have the power to rule...or you are ruled. Achilles Kallis may have been born with nothing, but as a child he vowed he would claw his way into the poisonous city's inner circle. Now that a coveted role has opened to anyone with the strength to claim it, he and his partner, Patroclus Fotos, plan to compete and double their odds of winning.

Neither expect infamous beauty Helen Kasios to be part of the prize...or for the complicated fire that burns the moment she looks their way.

Zeus may have decided Helen is his to give to away, but she has her own plans. She enters into the competition as a middle finger to the meddling Thirteen rulers, effectively vying for her own hand in marriage. Unfortunately, there are those who would rather see her dead than lead the city. The only people she can trust are the ones she can't keep her hands off—Achilles and Patroclus. But can she really believe they have her best interests at heart when every stolen kiss is a battlefield?


Can all of the other books be about Helen, Achilles and Patroclus? Pretty please?? This is by far my favorite book in the series, and that's really saying something since I thoroughly enjoyed the first two. The relationship between Achilles and Patroclus was so sweet and swoonworthy. They love each other despite their differences, and they don't let petty problems ruin what they have. The addition of Helen just made everything better. She amplified the feelings they already had and added some of her own. My one and only complaint would be that this book wasn't long enough. I wanted more, Katee!! 

Wicked Beauty was unspeakably hot. Full body tingles and all the feels. I really wanted to be a part of their trio, and a mΓ©nage Γ  trois has never been on my to-do list. The chemistry and trust they had with each other in the bedroom — I'm blushing just thinking about it. Despite Helen and Achilles trying to beat each other in the tournament (Achilles and Patroclus were a package deal from the start), they still cared about what happened to their threesome and did their best to make sure everyone was okay. Obviously, there were times when they felt conflicted, but at least they were honest with each other about what they wanted. 

Katee Robert has written something that I will be thinking about for a long, long time — she really took it to another level with this one! It was also refreshing to read about people who discussed consent, protection, and safe words.

I also really liked the tournament setting and seeing the characters work with and against each other. They're all competing to be Ares, but some alliances were formed early on to help with the initial trials. I wish the three trials had been longer and little more complex, but they were over almost as soon as they started. They tested mostly physical skill, but there were some mental preparations involved as well. I hope we see more of Atalanta in the next book, and maybe Ajax. He seemed funny and like he might have his own story to tell. Atalanta was a badass that definitely deserves her own book.

Paris was awful and I hated him. I really wish he'd gotten more of a beating before the end of the book. He definitely deserved to have someone pummel him into unconsciousness. His brother, Hector, wasn't any better since he willingly helped his snake of a sibling. 

I'm happy with how their story ended, but I wish we'd gotten a few more chapters to see how their new dynamic was going to work. They've been competitors and lovers, but we don't really get to view their triad outside of the tournament's walls. I wanted to see how they interacted in their new roles and how that affected their overall relationship. Maybe see them enjoying each other's company one more time? If not in the book itself, maybe a bonus chapter posted online somewhere? I'd even buy a novella if it was about these three. 

If you like Greek Mythology, if you enjoyed the previous two books in this series, or if you're just looking to read something steamy, then make sure you grab this one when it's released. I've already pre-ordered a physical copy for my shelves, because it's definitely one I will be reading again. All the stars! (★★★★★)

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.