This book had been on my TBR for years – I believe since I was on tumblr and it was in one of those “read more queer books” rec lists. So… at least 4-5 years. I’d never gotten around to it, and I can’t even remember when/how I got it since it’s pretty hard to get indie books in paper here normally… But I made it part of my “read mermaid books for Mermay” self challenge. Granted, I read like 3 mermaid books and I finished 2 in June instead, so the experiment itself was a failure, but I still made a dent in my pile so… no complaints.
A mermaid’s supernatural beauty serves one purpose: to lure a sailor to his death.
The Massacre is supposed to bring peace to Eriana Kwai. Every year, the island sends its warriors to battle these hostile sea demons. Every year, the warriors fail to return. Desperate for survival, the island must decide on a new strategy. Now, the fate of Eriana Kwai lies in the hands of twenty battle-trained girls and their resistance to a mermaid’s allure.
Eighteen-year-old Meela has already lost her brother to the Massacre, and she has lived with a secret that’s haunted her since childhood. For any hope of survival, she must overcome the demons of her past and become a ruthless mermaid killer.
For the first time, Eriana Kwai’s Massacre warriors are female, and Meela must fight for her people’s freedom on the Pacific Ocean’s deadliest battleground.
TWs for the book (and this review to some extent): child abuse, child death, gore
Someone said horror mermaids? I gotta say it’s a concept I enjoyed since I read Into the Deep by Mira Grant, and so mermaids+horror themes+queer stuff attracts me like bees to honey. This one is more on the YA side but Warner didn’t shy away from depicting some gruesome scenes anyways. It’s a massacre, after all.
In a new America where civilization as we know it has ended, every hour counts. Everything is ticking along perfectly in the sanctuary community of Osto until a band of raiders arrives intent on violence. Vasha has led her people through the worst the world has to offer for years, but this new threat could destroy her hope for the future. She’s forced to strike a bargain with the leader of the raiders as tensions rise among the survivors and refugees who call Osto home. Old rivalries and prejudices put everything they’ve worked for at risk. But if Vasha plays this right, she just might forge a new future for Osto.
The Future Second by Second is the first in a series of novellas showcasing a different kind of post-apocalyptic world—one dependent on community and cooperative living. Flipping the genre of dystopia on its head, Newton understands the power of hope and collaboration in the face of an uncertain future.
I was given this eARC by the publisher, Interstellar Flight Press, through Netgalley in exchange for a fair review. Thanks for the opportunity!
Over the long weekend I was looking for something short enough that I could get through it quickly on the train, and I happened to have this sitting on my TBR shelf. I’m also not an avid ebook reader, as regulars on my blog know, but I found myself turning page after page until there was no more left to read! It’s very short, and I finished it in an afternoon, which is more than I can generally say for ebooks…
I’m also not a big dystopia, or post-apo fan, but the blurb had me intrigued: what I do enjoy quite a lot are stories of hope. And I think this delivered pretty well!
I’ve enjoyed every Nghi Vo story I’ve read so far, so I was very excited for this novel! Thank you to Tor Dot Com and Netgalley for giving me this free eARC in exchange for a fair review!
It was magic. In every world, it was a kind of magic.
“No maids, no funny talking, no fainting flowers.” Luli Wei is beautiful, talented, and desperate to be a star. Coming of age in pre-Code Hollywood, she knows how dangerous the movie business is and how limited the roles are for a Chinese American girl from Hungarian Hill—but she doesn’t care. She’d rather play a monster than a maid.
But in Luli’s world, the worst monsters in Hollywood are not the ones on screen. The studios want to own everything from her face to her name to the women she loves, and they run on a system of bargains made in blood and ancient magic, powered by the endless sacrifice of unlucky starlets like her. For those who do survive to earn their fame, success comes with a steep price. Luli is willing to do whatever it takes—even if that means becoming the monster herself.
Siren Queen offers up an enthralling exploration of an outsider achieving stardom on her own terms, in a fantastical Hollywood where the monsters are real and the magic of the silver screen illuminates every page.
Finally got around to reading Last Night at the Telegraph Club, after months of wanting to! 1950s historical novels aren’t my main interest, but I do like queer romances, especially historical ones (though I veer closer to the 1800s) so I was intrigued. It’s kinda hard to get around here, but the library is well-stocked so I took advantage!
A story of love and duty set in San Francisco’s Chinatown during the Red Scare.
“That book. It was about two women, and they fell in love with each other.” And then Lily asked the question that had taken root in her, that was even now unfurling its leaves and demanding to be shown the sun: “Have you ever heard of such a thing?”
Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club.
America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father—despite his hard-won citizenship—Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.
Whoo, it’s been a while since I’ve posted an actual review! One reason is that I’ve read decent stuff, but nothing that truly sparked joy. This book, though! For context, Stephanie ran a giveaway back in… February maybe? Some time ago anyways, for her newsletter subscribers. So I nabbed this for free, and it’s been at the back of my mind since then.
Then over the weekend, I was in the mood for a short and sweet romance, and I thought, let’s do it! Readers, I was not disappointed. My sleep schedule took a hit though, as I absolutely had to finish it, even if it took me to 3am… that’s what bank holidays are for, though, right?
So as some of you might know, I’m a big fan of Seanan McGuire. I’ve made it one of my goals this year to reread all of the October Daye series (I’m at the start of book 6 now, thanks largely to audiobooks), but I also enjoyed what I’ve read of the InCryptid series quite a lot, so I jumped on the chance to grab this review copy from netgalley. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy in exchange for an honest review!
Now in trade paperback, the eleventh book in the fast-paced InCryptid urban fantasy series returns to the mishaps of the Price family, eccentric cryptozoologists who safeguard the world of magical creatures living in secret among humans.
I’m the first to say I don’t particularly enjoy horror books. I don’t naturally gravitate towards them. But sometimes you do read a book that stays with you, and horror novels do tend to stay with me. So I thought I’d make a little list with my favourites. I know it’s nowhere near halloween and all that, but I rarely end up reading horror books in October anyway, and just grab them whenever I’m in the right mood.
As I was reading The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows over the weekend, I thought it might be good to start with the review of Celestial Mechanics which I read a bit under a year ago. It was something like April/May and the middle of the first lockdown, and it kickstarted my reading again. I meant to share my review from last year then realised I did not write any??? I’ve been thinking about this book on and off since, I basically jumped on Waspish Widows when it got published, and I’ll jump on the next one too. So I really have to write a review!
I’ve been a fan of Jane Austen since I was a teen but I did not really read much more regency romance than that because what I found available was always… disappointingly straight. This is the book that convinced me to give romance novels another try, and it’s led me to many more good books in the past year!
As Lucy Muchelney watches her ex-lover’s sham of a wedding, she wishes herself anywhere else. It isn’t until she finds a letter from the Countess of Moth, looking for someone to translate a groundbreaking French astronomy text, that she knows where to go. Showing up at the Countess’ London home, she hoped to find a challenge, not a woman who takes her breath away.
Catherine St Day looks forward to a quiet widowhood once her late husband’s scientific legacy is fulfilled. She expected to hand off the translation and wash her hands of the project—instead, she is intrigued by the young woman who turns up at her door, begging to be allowed to do the work, and she agrees to let Lucy stay. But as Catherine finds herself longing for Lucy, everything she believes about herself and her life is tested.
While Lucy spends her days interpreting the complicated French text, she spends her nights falling in love with the alluring Catherine. But sabotage and old wounds threaten to sever the threads that bind them. Can Lucy and Catherine find the strength to stay together or are they doomed to be star-crossed lovers?
Rating: 5 out of 5.
So apparently last year I wrote “I’ll need to stew in it a little bit before i can write a full review but the short of it is, I absolutely loved it!!” in my goodreads updates and then proceeded NOT to write a full review. Oops.
One thing I can say is that it’s still a full 5 stars a year on, and I recommend it to anyone who says the words queer, f/f, romance, or regency within earshot. To be honest it’s got everything I love, two fierce women who’re each different and independent and learn to work with one another despite some uh, early conflicts. Learning to work around each other’s past and traumas, as well. But also, a Regency novel that doesn’t just show women being idle and rich, but going about doing their thing, whether it’s art or writing or embroidery or printing. It’s very much about what you can do with the power you have.
Lucy’s work to translate a very scientific book (and make it accessible to women) makes the men around her, especially the astronomers and physicists of the Royal Society (or whatever it’s called in the book) bristle because How Dare A Woman Do Science, right? But the two women (and some allies) work together to make them eat their words.
And it’s not just about the rich countess or the scholar, but also working women around them – the handmaid who’s worried she’ll be dismissed because she’s not white and her lady seems to have found someone she gets along with better, the very young maid who draws in her spare time, the printer’s shop where the printer’s wife does most of the engraving… it gives a much more complete picture than you usually get. And you can clearly see the author is conscious of race issues as well as class and gender, and nothing’s brushed under the rug.
The writing is amazing, it reads very quickly but it’s also intricate and poetic, and when it comes to the technicalities you know Waite did her research. I absolutely loved the explanations on astronomy but also embroidery. As someone who loves embroidery, I really enjoyed the discussions about the differences between art and craft, and how women’s work is often swept under the rug, as it were, even though it’s just as beautiful, inspired, and full of craft(wo)manship as any artist’s painting. But it’s not there for argument’s sake, it’s tied to the characters and their struggles and their idea of self-worth.
Which brings me to the romance… I loved it! I really loved both main characters, groaned when they were being stubborn, shook my head, and all that. Both women are highly relatable in their own ways, but in hindsight what really made me appreciate this book was just how gentle and respectful they were of each other, and how they worked with Catherine’s past trauma, and Lucy’s fears, and made a relationship that truly worked for them. And I also really appreciate that the author made sure they weren’t the only queer characters in the story, but there were other queer women, showing that this is an intrinsic part of society and our two leads have a community to fit in rather than being alone.
Hi, I’m Aurélie. I spend most of my time reading books and talking about it on the internet, or procrastinating. When I’m not with my head in a book, I can be found working a sales job to feed my two cats, or studying psychology. I’m based in Ireland, and I love travelling (when it’s safe to do so). I also offer proofreading services, check my Services page to learn more!