“The Other Black Girl” by Zakiya Dalila Harris

I read this with two of my friends for our bookclub because we all happened to have ARCs of it at the time. The premise sounded interesting, so we were eager to jump in. I thought it would be a fast, propulsive read that would have me at the edge of my seat the entire time. But although it started out good, the story was a huge letdown by the end that left me and my group quite unsatisfied.

Genre

Thriller

Series

n/a

Pubbed

June 2021

From Goodreads

Get Out meets The Stepford Wives in this electric debut about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing.

Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.

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“The Viscount Who Loved Me” by Julia Quinn, narr. by Rosalyn Landor

I’ve now grown accustomed to listening to audiobooks. I can even listen to new-to-me books on audio and keep up with what’s going on. But the tricky part comes when I procrastinate on writing up a review of what I listened to. With physical and e-books, I can just flip through the book and find things I highlighted to help refresh my memory of what I read and what I thought, but I don’t bookmark or take notes when listening to audiobooks, so discussing the book this long after listening to it will be a challenge.

Genre

Romance; Historical Fiction

Series

Bridgertons, book 2

Pubbed

2000

Quick summary

The second novel in the Bridgertons series focuses on Anthony, the eldest of the Bridgerton siblings. Anthony, a known rake around the ton, has decided to get married, but he doesn’t want to marry for love. You see, Anthony’s father died young and, since he’s nearing the age at which his father died, Anthony is convinced that he will die at the same age as well. As such, he does not what a wife who will endure the same heartache his mom did when her beloved, Anthony’s father, died. That’s why Anthony has his sight set on the beautiful Edwina, but first, he’ll have to convince Edwina’s older sister, Kate, that he’s a worthy suitor.

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“Maggie Finds Her Muse” by Dee Ernst

I was in the midst of a romance reading phase when I requested this from NetGalley. However, when I started reading it, I was so annoyed by the protagonist after a few pages that I gave up on the book planning not to return to it.

But I did. I gave it another chance and after working past the first chapter, the story became interesting to me and even enjoyable. I managed to finish it and quite liked it too.

(Although I received a copy of this book from NetGalley, it does not influence the thoughts I share about my reading experience below.)

Genre

Contemporary; Romance

Series

n/a

Pubbed

April 2021

From Goodreads

A sparkling romantic comedy starring a bestselling author who goes to Paris to overcome writer’s block and rediscovers family, independence, and love along the way.

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“Dragon Wing” by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman

A book with dragons! 😊 Since completing Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series, Emily at Embuhleeliest (my buddy-reader in all things Hobb) and I have been searching for a long, chunky fantasy series to get stuck in. Dragon Wing was the first book we decided to try in our search for a new series to read. But although it started out pretty good, it fell flat for me toward the end.

Genre

Fantasy

Series

Death Gate Cycle, book 1

Pubbed

1990

From Goodreads

Ages ago, sorcerers of unmatched power sundered a world into four realms — sky, stone, fire, and water — then vanished. Over time, magicians learned to work spells only in their own realms and forgot the others. Now only the few who have survived the Labyrinth and crossed the Death Gate know of the presence of all four realms — and even they have yet to unravel the mysteries of their severed world…

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“The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry” by C.M. Waggoner

I’m here shaking my head at myself because I read this back in early April and am just now getting around to the review — a whole one month later. I keep procrastinating on the books I enjoyed reading the most. I feel like I won’t be able to do the book justice to let y’all know how awesome they were and that, yes, you really should get a copy and read it too!

I buddy-read The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry with Millie at Milliebot Reads. We had read Waggoner’s debut novel Unnatural Magic together and enjoyed it (and loved the cover) so much that we were eager to pick up the second book together too. It turned out to be a really good read (with a beautiful cover) as well.

Genre

Fantasy

Series

n/a

Pubbed

January 2021

From Goodreads

A charming historical fantasy with a tender love story at its core, from the author of Unnatural Magic.

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“In the Garden of Spite” by Camilla Bruce

This is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. Thanks to Mogsy and Tammy for telling me about it in their reviews. What made me want to read it?

Well, the first bit of info that sparked my interest is that the story is about a female serial killer. I’ve only read one other novel that focuses on such a character — My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, which was a propulsive read. I assumed In the Garden of Spite would be the same, so I quickly added it to my TBR.

Then, from Mogsy’s review, I learned that the novel is like a character study. We observe the protagonist justifying “being the monster, rationalizing her degeneracy and why she must do what she does,” which fascinated me and made me quickly hop on my library’s website to place a hold on the book. I got lucky and got an early placement in the queue for it. And now I can say it was a really good read.

Genre

Historical; Thriller; Horror

Series

n/a

Pubbed

January 2021

Goodreads summary

An audacious novel of feminine rage about one of the most prolific female serial killers in American history–and the men who drove her to it.

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“Black Buck” by Mateo Askaripour

I guess I’ve been in a blogging slump lately because I’ve been doing everything possible to avoid typing up book reviews, and I’m not exactly enthused to do other posts either. I don’t know why this is, but if it wasn’t for Wyrd & Wonder (and an ARC I need to review), I probably wouldn’t be doing much on my blog. As such, I’m WAY behind on reviews. Here’s the beginning of my attempt to catch up.

I read Black Buck in mid-March — that’s how long I’ve been procrastinating on writing up this reflection on it. It’s one of the most surprising books I’ve read this year. I read it for a bookclub I’m part of with two friends. However, my friends were more eager than I to read it. Actually, I was very against reading this book. I didn’t know much about it other than that it’s about some guy working on Wall Street and that fact alone made me immediately dislike it and assume I would hate it and probably not even finish the book. I didn’t want to put myself through that torture. But I was so wrong.

Genre

Contemporary; Humor – satire

Series

n/a

Pubbed

January 2021

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“Kushiel’s Chosen” by Jacqueline Carey

I finished Kushiel’s Chosen quite a while ago but, as usually happens when I love a book too much, I procrastinated on the review because I don’t know what to say or where to begin. So, as is also usual, I’ve decided to just start typing and hope it all makes sense by the end. 🙃

Kushiel’s Chosen is the second novel in a trilogy that I was introduced to by the Wyrd & Wonder crew, who have hosted readalongs for the first book and this one. It’s a high fantasy story set in a world that is heavily influenced by European culture, history, and mythologies. The story is mostly set in Terre D’Ange, a country peopled by descendants of angels, and focuses on a young woman named Phèdre, who spent most of her childhood growing up in the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers, a.k.a. the Night Court, which is dedicated to the service of the angel Naamah. Members of the Night Court are molded into courtesans. They see copulation in service to Naamah as sacred, which Phèdre wholeheartedly believes.

The angels are, of course, regarded as gods. Because Phèdre has a red mote in her eye, she is considered marked by Kushiel, who is considered the punisher among the angels, and god-touched. Kushiel’s chosens are called anguissettes and, due to being chosen by such a god, tend to derive pleasure from pain. Thus, as a servant of Naamah and marked by Kushiel, the services Phèdre partake in are often masochistic.

In addition to all that, Phèdre was also trained as a spy and is often wrapped up in whatever major political machination is in play or is trying to find out about it. So, much of the plot’s drive comes from political intrigue. It all makes for a very compelling read!

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“The Duke and I” by Julia Quinn, narr. by Rosalyn Landor

Yea, I’m one of those who watched and was hooked on Netflix’s Bridgerton. The drama and all the gossiping in it made it very entertaining, but it was the costumes and the acting itself that lured and held my interest throughout.

Since learning that it’s based on a novel, I’ve wanted to read the source material ever since to find out what happens next and to see in what ways it defers from the show. So, when I saw that the audiobook was available at my library, I quickly downloaded and began listening to it. It, too, was very entertaining.

Genre

Romance; Historical Fiction

Series

Bridgertons, book 1

Pubbed

2000

Quick summary

Taking inspiration from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (and probably other classic novels I do not know of), The Duke & I centers on the large Bridgerton family whose matriarch wants to see her children married off well. The story focuses on Daphne Bridgerton, who was recently introduced to society but hasn’t had many suitors, probably because her older brothers (there are three of them) are a bit intimidating.

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“The Colour of Magic” by Terry Pratchett

Surprisingly, I struggled to read this one. I picked it up in February to read for a Turtle Recall readalong, but it took me the entire month of February to complete it. I didn’t expect to struggle so much with a Discworld book.

Genre

Fantasy

Series

Discworld, book 1
Rincewind, book 1

Pubbed

1983

Quick Summary

The Colour of Magic is the first novel in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, a satirical fantasy series set in a flat world that lies on the backs of four large elephants — Berilia, Tubul, Great T’Phon, and Jerakeen — that stand on the pockmarked shell of a giant turtle, the Great A’Tuin, who’s flying through space. It contains four short stories centered on the adventures of Rincewind, a failed wizard who dropped out of Unseen University after learning just one spell, as he tries to protect Twoflower, a tourist visiting Discworld from the Counterweight Continent with his Luggage made of sapient pearwood in tow. The Luggage follows Twoflower wherever he goes.

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