Posted January 28, 2022 by brokengeekdesigns in Round-Up / 0 Comments


I’m hoping that monthly update posts allow me an easier time of keeping my blog up to date. So what have I been reading during the month of January?

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Jan1 2 -

Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carriger

Given: 4 stars

How: Listened to it via Audible.

What: Last in the quad-rilogy of the Finishing School Series. Paranormal Steampunk Regency Adventure.

A school for assassins and intelligencers disguised as a floating finishing school has been at odds with the British government, the Vampires, werewolves and Picklemen for too long. Now it’s time to decide who is on which side.

Review: I love Gail Carriger and all of her books but I did find myself losing patience with Sophronia. I know she is feisty and independent but it got a little ridiculous that she was the only one who noticed something amiss or that her teachers wouldn’t believe her.

The final battle was well thought out and executed and I especially loved the throwback to the exploding wicker chicken and the glimpses of future characters.

I would have preferred her to be with Lord Mersey but that’s because I love me a bad boy.

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Jan2 -

Once more upon a Time Roshani Chokshi

Given: 2 stars

How: From Netgalley

What: A Fairy-tale retelling of a fable. A witch removes the love between two people who have to go on a quest to get their hearts desire.

Review: An unusual narrative style interspersed with various POVs of the main characters. This is a book where one honest conversation would have made all of it quite irrelevant.

I didn’t realise that this was a novella and so it all felt hurried to me. The world-building and characters and the romance just felt rushed and unsatisfying.

There were amusing parts, but it honestly felt like it was trying too hard to be funny.

Some of the paragraphs just plain didn’t make sense no matter how I tried to understand.

Suitable for early teens maybe who want to go from Ally Carter to Holly Black.

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Jan3 -

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

Given: 4 stars

How: Netgalley

What: Dark Academia about six chosen to protect the great library. All magic users with different disciplines living together to create drama.

Review: I was dragged in by the drama and stayed for the world-building and mystery. The characters are all totally unlikeable so you really have to enjoy the writing style in order to get the most out of it. I’d suggest NOT trying to keep up with the philosophical and metaphysical debates unless you want to feel like a moron.

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Remember you this way by C.R. Jane 3 stars

Remember us this way by C.R. Jane 4 stars

Remember me this way by C.R. Jane 3 stars

How: Kindle Unlimited

What: Reverse Harem with a rock band. (Reads like BTS insert fanfiction but in a good way)

Review: After the brain overload of the Atlas Six I needed a break and this delivered what I needed. While the FC is cliche ‘NLOG’, tragic backstory, hidden talent Mary Sue-esque; the tension and sex scenes were so well done I didn’t even care. Each MC had his own personality and flaws so it was easy to differentiate and care. Soared through all three books in 2 days.

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Jan7 -

Slipper and Thieves by Christina Bauer

Given: 2 stars

How: Netgalley

What: Fairytale world with splashes of known-story templates folded in, acknowledged and ignored.

Review: I like Ms Bauer but I do find her books hard to read. I’m never sure if the adventures she mentions are written about in other books or she doesn’t like action and so jumps it. Her characters are good and well rounded but the plot hardly ever makes sense and the flow is all over the place. One day I will try and read from book one to see if that make it make any sense.

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A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Bridgit Kemmerer 4 stars

A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Bridgit Kemmerer 4 stars (on the higher end)

A Vow so Bold and Deadly by Bridgit Kemmerer 3 or 4 stars (on the lower end)

How: Started on NetGalley and halfway through book one I purchased the box set so I could read the physical copy. No regrets.

What: Beauty and the Beast retelling with a fantasy time-loop, warring kingdom and a truly scary villain.

Review: A nice take on the Beauty and the Beast retelling by adding in the time-loop and the Male MC actually becoming a monster. Female MC is supposed to have cerebral palsy but I found it more of a side reference than actual representation (But I don’t have CP so what do I know?).

Book the Second: I preferred book 2 because I Grey was a much better character than Rhen. I also liked Lia Mara with her silent but elegant way of doing things. Greys growing power was fun but WTAF did they do to Rhen? Why did he get the Tamlin treatment? And Harper suddenly lost her spine. Also, there was much gratuitous violence but stabbing a pregnant woman in the belly just so Grey could heal them both was a little too far.

Book The Third: Everybody needs a slap. Harper needed to regrow her spine. Lia Mara needed to toughen up. Rhen needed to apologise and also COMMUNICATE. Grey needed to take his clothes off.

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Jan11 -

The Thief’s Gambit by Clare Sager

Given: 4 stars

How: Free Kindle via the Authors newsletter

What: Novella of a street rat turned thief, trained by her mother to infiltrate the upper echelons of society to snag their riches.

Review: Excellent start to the series which debuts this year. If it’s anything like her black sails series then I will be in love. Here we get to see Quin’s early life and why she decides to do what she does. Few obvious breadcrumbs but well told and intriguing.

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Jan12 -

Only a Monster by Vanessa Len

Given: 2 stars DNF at 68%

How: Netgalley from Publisher

What: Fantasy thriller. After newly discovering her powers and getting caught in the crossfire of monster hunters, our MC goes on the run through time, jumping time periods and trying to find out what happened and why. Sort of the Loki series with teenage angst.

Review: I wanted to like this so much and feel so let down. The description rocked and I was on it like a shot but barely ten pages in and I was BORED. Joan pissed me off so much I had to go and ask several friends if it was an unusual thing to be able to lie on the spot. Because Joan sucked at it so much that it annoyed me. She was impulsive and almost comically naive. Also, the male MC was described as a ‘boy’ so often I was thinking he was 12 or so. When there started to be lingering looks between them I was properly squicked out and had to flick back to try to discover how old this kid was.

When I found myself “rewarding” myself with a game of Scrabble Go in between chapters I knew it was time to put it down.

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Jan14 -

Icequake by Crawford Kilian (Not quite finished yet)

Will be Giving: 3 Stars

How: Audible

What: Survival thriller set in the Antarctic when the crew see the start of the end.

Review: The narrator is doing a great job of differentiating between the different characters but the story keeps getting bogged down in terminology. While it is a nice change to see the end of the world from the point of view of these guys who never actually see the effects that they are talking about, the book becomes less of a survival thriller and more a character study. I’m interested enough to finish it but it’s unlikely I will buy it.

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Jan13 -

A Wallflower’s Guide to Becoming a Bride by Eva Devon, Gill, Reid

Given: 3 stars

How: Kindle 99p

What: Regency short stories. Three spinsters find a book called “The Wallflowers Guide to Becoming a Bide” and try to apply its advice with differing results.

Review: Great for a quick read.

A Wallflowers Kiss: Brother best friend sees her in a new light. Cute, but the dialogue was stilted and the brother’s over-reaction to the kiss was annoying. If he’d have shut his mouth, they wouldn’t have had to marry in the first place. Dumbass.

A Brazen Agreement: Another one where the brother is the one at fault. This time he’s actually a nasty piece of work not just dumb. Nice banter and a decent lot of chemistry between the MCs.

A Duke at Midnight: Your one-night stand turns out to be your boss. Oops. Good to see a proactive heroine, even if it does backfire a bit.

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Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco 4 stars

Kingdom of the Cursed by Kerri Maniscalo

How: Bought book one on 99p Kindle. Halfway through ordered books one and two from Amazon to have the physical copies. (Why can’t you get book one in hardback anymore and WHY by Wrath’s shiny left nipple are people charging £250 for a signed copy on eBay? I get it has pretty edges but come one people!)

What: Fantasy. Witch prophecy begins to unravel as the seven deadly sins (manifested as hot dudes )try to rearrange matters to their own favour.

Review: So far I’m enjoying… naked, lust-fueled Wrath and his sexy seven brothers. Emilia is a pain in the ass. I understand she is filled with rage over her sister’s death and a whole lot of UST over Wrath but she needs to chill the f*ck out and get some therapy. She makes ALL of the bad decisions and never says thank you and I firmly believe her parents never spanked her enough as a child.

That said the world-building is brilliant and the rest of the characters are interesting enough for me to try to understand their motivations. The actual reasoning behind the plot still eludes me but, to be fair, once I googled pictures of Wrath I stopped caring about that.

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Credit to Gabriella Bujdoso

So there you are, my January reads. Hope you enjoyed it.

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