Book Reviews

June Mini Review Wrap Up

Okay I know this is a new thing, but I had a few books where I only have mini reviews to share and wanted to put them all together for the month. There is a HUGE mish-mash of book genres here, but it’s a bit of a catch all of the books I want to review, but don’t warrant an entirely new post. Catch my drift?

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And Break the Pretty Kings by Lena Jeong

A crown princess. A monster the gods fear. A destiny no one can outrun. Inspired by Korean history and myths, the first book in the Sacred Bone series is a rich and evocative high-stakes fantasy that is perfect for fans of Gallant and Six Crimson Cranes . Mirae was meant to save her queendom, but the ceremony before her coronation ends in terror and death, unlocking a strange new power within her and foretelling the return of a monster even the gods fear. Amid the chaos, Mirae’s beloved older brother is taken—threatening the peninsula’s already tenuous truce. Desperate to save her brother and defeat this ancient enemy before the queendom is beset by war, Mirae sets out on a journey with an unlikely group of companions while her unpredictable magic gives her terrifying visions of a future she must stop at any cost.  


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

What I loved about And Break the Pretty Kings is the family. There’s immediately such a sense of love, loyalty, and conflict all at once. The ways she wants to rely on her mother, but the curse which takes her mother away. Or the way she is willing to go to the ends of the Earth for her brother. Its the backbone of And Break the Pretty Kings and it’s my favorite element of this series opener. If you also love magical trials combined with time jumps, then you have to check this one out.

Full of some time magic, there’s a conflict of fate. How much can we change our fate? What would knowing the future achieve? This is probably my second favorite element in And Break the Pretty Kings. The world quickly opens up with the rules crumbling to dust. And Mirae has to figure out who she can trust and what her future will be. The rippling consequences of her actions unfold and Mirae as a main character is one to watch!

Find And Break the Pretty Kings on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, & Blackwells.

Promises Stronger Than Darkness by Charlie Jane Anders

When Elza became a space princess, she thought she’d be spending her time at the palace, wearing gorgeous couture and soaking up everything there is to know—but instead, she’s on the run, with everyone hunting for her and her friends.

Rachael followed her best friend Tina on the adventure of a lifetime—but now Tina’s gone, and Rachael’s the only one keeping her friends together, as they go on a desperate quest to save everyone from an ancient curse.

Rachael, Elza and their friends have found one clue, one shining mysterious chance to stop the end of the world. And that takes them back to the second-to-last place they’d want to be: enlisting the aid of Captain Thaoh Argentian, the woman who stole Tina’s body (and who now seems to be relishing a second chance at teenage chaos and drama, instead of living up to her legacy of an intrepid heroic commander).

With only a ragtag band of misfits, crewmates, earthlings, friends, lovers (and one annoying frenemy), the Unstoppable Crew are up against the universe–and they soon find that in order to survive, they may have to cross a line they vowed never to cross.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Promises Stronger Than Darkness is a moving series finale. I love this queer inclusive science fiction all about compassion and trying to do the right thing. This is such a breath of fresh air. It has some timely themes that we all could use like to try to learn about others instead of assuming we are the status quo. It builds on themes the entire Unstoppable series has been exploring and resolves these threads. I just couldn’t stop thinking about how impactful this trilogy has been for SF that deals with who we will be in the future.

With great crew dynamics, Promises Stronger Than Darkness is kind, unique, and moving all at once. I listened to this on audiobook, just like I’ve done for the whole series, and I’d highly recommend. Imani Jade Powers, Marcella Lentz-Pope & Sena Bryer do an amazing job at infusing this book with emotion and grief, love and kindness. I love multiple audiobook narrators and this is one of the best!

Find Promises Stronger Than Darkness on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, Blackwells,, and Google Play.

The Jasad Heir by Sarah Hashem

The lost Heir of Jasad, Sylvia never wants to be found. She can’t think about how Nizahl’s armies laid waste to her kingdom and continue to hunt its people—not if she wants to stay alive. But when Arin, the Nizahl Heir, tracks a group of Jasadi rebels to her village, staying one step ahead of death gets trickier.

In a moment of anger Sylvia’s magic is exposed, capturing Arin’s attention. Now, to save her life, Sylvia will have to make a deal with her greatest enemy. If she helps him lure the rebels, she’ll escape persecution.

A deadly game begins. Sylvia can’t let Arin discover her identity even as hatred shifts into something more. Soon, Sylvia will have to choose between the life she wants and the one she left behind. The scorched kingdom is rising, and it needs a queen.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

The Jasad Heir is a promising debut series opener with a deadly competition, rivals, and hidden magic. There are complex politics at work as Sylvia figures out who is on her side and what she wants to stand for. Exposed by mistake, Sylvia is always engaged in a trust dilemma. Who can she trust? By the end I was also intrigued by Sylvia’s magic and specifically what it says about memories and power.

The Jasad Heir examines what we are taught and not wanting to accept our powers, the burden of that responsibility. Are we cruel by nature or by what we are taught? Find The Jasad Heir on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, & Blackwells.

Forged By Blood by Ehigbor Okosun

In the midst of a tyrannical regime and political invasion, Dèmi just wants to survive: to avoid the suspicion of the nonmagical Ajes who occupy her ancestral homeland of Ife; to escape the King’s brutal genocide of her people—the darker skinned, magic wielding Oluso; and to live peacefully with her secretive mother while learning to control the terrifying blood magic that is her birthright.

But when Dèmi’s misplaced trust costs her mother’s life, survival gives way to vengeance. She bides her time until the devious Lord Ekwensi grants her the perfect opportunity—kidnap the Aje prince, Jonas, and bargain with his life to save the remaining Oluso. With the help of her reckless childhood friend Colin, Dèmi succeeds, but discovers that she and Jonas share more than deadly secrets; every moment tangles them further into a forbidden, unmistakable attraction, much to Colin’s—and Dèmi’s—distress.

The kidnapping is now a joint mission: to return to the King, help get Lord Ekwensi on the council, and bolster the voice of the Oluso in a system designed to silence them. But the way is dangerous, Dèmi’s magic is growing yet uncertain, and it’s not clear if she can trust the two men at her side.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Forged by Blood is a stunning series opener. Beginning with an unlikely friendship that might just turn around and bite down, this series opener is action packed. It’s a book that asks you from page one if you can trust anyone. Okosun weaves a rich multi-layered world full of tension, love triangles, and trust which erodes and secrets which fester. Who will sacrifice in the end? Will it be the ones making the decisions or the ones on the ground?

Forged by Blood examines the choices we make for, or against, the blood in our veins. Our very natures and our family trees. There’s almost non-stop betrayal and I am already looking forward to the sequel. I love a good rebellion and Forged by Blood examines the cruelty of rulership, of executions, of tyranny. What happens if we retalliate in violence? Do we become just like the very ones who oppress us? I like Dèmi’s character journey and the ways she opens up, and gets burned, in Forged by Blood. How do we fight for peace in a system that wants to twist our weapons, our abilities, against us?

Forged by Blood should be on your most anticipated lists and certainly for the sequel! Find Forged by Blood on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, & Blackwells.

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

Tomorrow, on the beach, Baru Cormorant will look up from the sand of her home and see red sails on the horizon.

The Empire of Masks is coming, armed with coin and ink, doctrine and compass, soap and lies. They’ll conquer Baru’s island, rewrite her culture, criminalize her customs, and dispose of one of her fathers. But Baru is patient. She’ll swallow her hate, prove her talent, and join the Masquerade. She will learn the secrets of empire. She’ll be exactly what they need. And she’ll claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to set her people free.

In a final test of her loyalty, the Masquerade will send Baru to bring order to distant Aurdwynn, a snakepit of rebels, informants, and seditious dukes. Aurdwynn kills everyone who tries to rule it. To survive, Baru will need to untangle this land’s intricate web of treachery – and conceal her attraction to the dangerously fascinating Duchess Tain Hu.

But Baru is a savant in games of power, as ruthless in her tactics as she is fixated on her goals. In the calculus of her schemes, all ledgers must be balanced, and the price of liberation paid in full.


I finally caved to the hype and read The Traitor Baru Cormorant and it’s everything I expected. There is some serious level of politics and I went into this book knowing nothing. But I know can say it’s like an accountant bent on revenge to take a colonial empire down with loads of politics. It evolves into more – and the sequels will certainly continue the action – but wow! I really enjoyed Baru’s character especially her origin story. But even more so, gotta love a money savvy individual whose main area of expertise is seeing patterns in the numbers.

Thrown into a lions pit, Baru is forced to figure out the price of peace and whose blood will pay it. I loved how calculating Baru is and there were some scenes with the colonialism that were chilling – especially at the beginning. Economic subterfuge is the name of the game and overall The Tratior Baru Cormorant examines how we fight and make space in what we have – while also tearing the system down. Find The Traitor Baru Cormorant on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, & Blackwells.

The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz

Destry is a top network analyst with the Environmental Rescue Team, an ancient organization devoted to preventing ecosystem collapse. On the planet Sask-E, her mission is to terraform an Earthlike world, with the help of her taciturn moose, Whistle. But then she discovers a city that isn’t supposed to exist, hidden inside a massive volcano. Torn between loyalty to the ERT and the truth of the planet’s history, Destry makes a decision that echoes down the generations.

Centuries later, Destry’s protege, Misha, is building a planetwide transit system when his worldview is turned upside-down by Sulfur, a brilliant engineer from the volcano city. Together, they uncover a dark secret about the real estate company that’s buying up huge swaths of the planet―a secret that could destroy the lives of everyone who isn’t Homo sapiens. Working with a team of robots, naked mole rats, and a very angry cyborg cow, they quietly sow seeds of subversion. But when they’re threatened with violent diaspora, Misha and Sulfur’s very unusual child faces a stark choice: deploy a planet-altering weapon, or watch their people lose everything they’ve built on Sask-E.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

So while I love Annalee Newitz and the concepts in The Terraformers are amazing, I’m just not sure about this one. I adored the world building from the first lines. The ways that The Terraformers examines environmental conservation and human intelligence – what makes a ‘being – were fascinating. And thematically this one is a gold star. It’s perfect for readers looking to examine what the future could be like. But at the same time, the time jumps and sections lost me a bit.

At the beginning it was always a bit of a hurdle to get back in and the world – while unique – could be a bit tricky sometimes with the amount of new. In the end, I still enjoyed The Terraformers just felt I had to work a bit harder to stay immersed which wasn’t the case with some of Newitz’s past works. It should still be on your list if you love the exploration of the environment in the future though! Find The Terraformers on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon (US) (UK),, & Blackwells.

That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Human by Kimberly Lemming

When I was a little girl, my Ma used to read me stories every night. Some were epic adventures with high stakes and exciting twists while others were of princesses trapped in towers guarded by fierce dragons. The pitiful princess would be stuck inside all day pining for her prince charming to come and rescue her. I always hated those stories. I couldn’t imagine why the lazy thing didn’t just get up and leave. Ironic since I was now stuck in that same situation. Turns out, when a dragon holds you hostage, he doesn’t just let you get up and leave.

Who knew?

When I thought I saw hope on the horizon, that hope was smashed to bits by – you guessed it – another damn dragon.


So I accidentally read book three before book two, but that’s totally okay! You can do that. I think it’s probably best to read the second, but I got confused! Anyway, That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Human is predictably fun and steamy just like how I felt reading the first, That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon. I am not normally a fan of fated mates so there’s always a bit of an adjustment here, but I enjoyed Dante and Cherry’s chemistry especially Dante. I wasn’t expecting to love his protective nature, his “do not care about my room of treasure” attitude, and his needing to get coached.

That being said, so far, the first one is still my favorite. I just wish we got a bit more of their chemistry and the ending felt a bit abrupt for me. I was actually not even sure that it had ended and had to double check? But overall, this was oodles of fun to read before bed and the spice was pretty delicious! Find That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Human on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon.


What book here is on your TBR?

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