Tag Archives: f/f romance

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Book Review: The Rise of Chaos, by Aeyla Reed

It would be an exaggeration to say that I downloaded this book by accident, but it wouldn’t be an untruth. I signed up for Edelweiss a long time ago, possibly even years ago. But since I was happy with Netgalley (and familiar with it), I never really explored it. Until yesterday, that is.

Let me tell you, Edelweiss may not actually be overly complicated, but it is so HUGE as to feel complicated. In all of my floundering around I ended up downloading The Rise Of Chaos, by Aeyla Reed. I mean not in an “Oops, look what I did” way; more of an “Oh, I started the download process without really meaning to commit to that…well, might as well stick with it” kind of way. I had time to backtrack, but opted not to. I let fate take the wheel, or whatever

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A perilous adventure with trouble lurking under every unturned stone.
In the world of Terae, a war-torn place ravaged by eldritch monsters and wild magick, a young officer named Airis suddenly finds herself in the midst of a rebellion in humanity’s last city. Along with two close friends, she begins a long journey to secure a home for her lost people. Amid all this: a new romance blooms, secrets of a lost empire reveal themselves, and heroes are forged in the flames of combat.

my reviewI used to read quite a lot of manga (and watch as much anime). But I’ve fallen out of the habit over the years. Lately, I’ve been drifting in that direction again and have been wanting to explore books that are manga or anime-like. I’ve seen the genre called Progression Fantasy, but there might be a more precise title out there. (Just in case the previous sentence doesn’t make it obvious, I’m not coming at this from any sort of expert position.)

Regardless, looking at the cover of The Rise of Chaos you can probably understand why I picked it up. I figured it would be an anime-like story, and it is. But I didn’t realize it is also full-on LitRPG —with all the D&D-like character mark-ups and abilities, video game-like character health bars, etc—which I’m not an avid fan of. I flat out skimmed ever time a one of these passed (and some of them were quite long):

I skipped thes

But outside of the LitRPG aspects that didn’t appeal to me, I liked the characters. There was quite a lot of cute interplay between characters and I appreciated the m/f platonic friendships and the budding f/f relationship. However, I did feel like the world was only loosely described and we’re given the framework of political upheaval and then the book settled into filler and monster-battles that did little to move the plot along…or develop it at all, really.

All in all, I’d say this was a middle of the road read for me. It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t really an all out winner either.

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Book Review: High Priestess, by Wendy Hewlett

I do this thing, sometimes, where I search the extremes of Amazon Prime’s algorithm and let fate and random mathematics sell me a inexpensive book. In this manner, I bought a copy of High Priestess, by Wendy Hewlett.

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Detective Constable Raven Bowen’s life seems to be falling apart around her. Her Wiccan mother, Ena Bowen, has recently passed to spirit and even though Raven hasn’t seen or spoken to her in twelve years, she feels the loss.

Then there’s her relationship with lesbian lover, Riley Gallagher, which ended rather abruptly and Raven only has herself to blame.

When the body of a young woman is discovered with the spring thaw, Raven takes on a new case and isn’t impressed when her sergeant assigns a rookie to investigate it with her.

If all of that wasn’t enough, Raven’s mother starts speaking to her from beyond the grave. She only has one question for her mother … “How the heck do I get you out of my head.”

The answer comes swiftly and shocks Raven to her core.

“Find my killer.”

my review

I quite enjoyed this. Though fair warning, the plot centers heavily on rape/rapists, including the rape of a child. I didn’t know this going into the book and I usually try to avoid such things in the books I read for fun. But I’ll grant that it is integral to the plot and not just tossed in as cheap plot fodder, which is quite often my complaint about rape in the books I read for entertainment.

I liked DC Bowen’s though she has quite a lot going on in the book and maybe isn’t at her most likeable. I also liked most of the side characters. I did think the villains a tad cliched, some of the personal drama dragged out longer than it felt like it needed to, and the whole being The Most Powerful made Bowen feel like too much of the special snowflake. But ultimately the book is quite readable and I’d be well up for reading another of Hewlett’s books.

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Book Review: Mary, Everything – by Cassandra Yorke

Cassandra Yorke‘s Mary, Everything was promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight and I was lucky enough to win a copy. Yes, since I have nothing to do with drawing winners, I absolutely enter the giveaways on the blog!

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Courtney is a lonely undergrad at secluded Braddock College in 2004, working a drowsy summer job in the Archives. Assigned to a new project, she becomes haunted by a college yearbook from the 1920s – filled with familiar faces and memories of times she never experienced. A chance encounter with a mysterious girl named Sadie – dressed in long-outdated clothes – alters her reality. But if you were never meant to be born, that reality can expel you like an infection – or kill you outright. While Courtney struggles against forces she cannot comprehend, a psychopathic stalker smells blood and closes in for the kill.

Sadie, now in 1921, races against the clock to save her friend, joined by some remarkable allies – an American combat sorceress and veteran of World War I, an enigmatic professor who specializes in piercing the veil between realities, and two young women who insist they’re Courtney’s oldest friends – one of them even claiming to be her truest love.

Time is running out for Courtney, and a terrifying wilderness – haunted by the dead from centuries past – may hold the key to her salvation. But none who enter have ever returned…

my review

This had some really interesting aspects that I very much enjoyed. The convoluted timeline, for example, makes your brain work for the reward. The book is set in 1921 and 2004, jumping between the two. But the 2004 scenes are essentially flashbacks (of a sort). Go ahead and get your head around that one. The writing is also quite lyrical at times and the editing clean.

But there were some things I could have done without. The book is pretty slow, especially in the beginning. So, as a reader, I really felt the 400+ pages. And I thought a lot of the climax too blunt for the light-fingered story up until that point.

For one, all the rape threats weren’t needed at all. (Notice, I said all. There were several from a variety of men). I do understand that this was intended in part to show how Courtney felt victimized by men, but that was established far earlier and needed no further evidence. The story would have been more interesting if the men had truly been enacting an evil for what they thought was a greater good. Already, as a reader, I knew to abhor them. Turning them ALL into pervy, would-be rapists was a cudgel the scenes didn’t need. True, I’d be happy never have to sit through another rape scene or rape threat in a book I read for entertainment ever again. But I would really, REALLY love it if authors would stop putting them in books that don’t need them as some sort of short-hand for “this is a bad guy.

Similarly, (in the cudgel sense), having both Courtney and Sadie suddenly and inexplicably become the strongest, most powerful, bad-assest chicks ever was too much too fast. There is so much subtly in the book until that point that it really stands out as a change in tone.

Having said all that, I don’t regret reading it. There is an interesting magic system and world here. It’s readable and thought provoking. Worth recommending.

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