January 2022 Wrap Up: 12 Mini Reviews

Let’s talk about the 12 books I read this month!

Dark Shores, Dark Skies, & Gilded Serpent

by Danielle L. Jensen

Dark Shores follows 2 main characters and points of view. Our heroine is a pirate princess whose crew is forced to work for a corrupt kingdom or face the gallows. Our second point of view is her captor, leader of the military force, who only knows law and order.

The magic that encompasses the gods and goddesses in this novel is delightful. The plot itself is so well crafted, and the world so descriptive it feels like I’m exploring new lands alongside them.

Dark Skies is set in the same world with our pirate princess’s best friend. She is thrown into a new land, and becomes so powerful she is tasked with becoming the bodyguard of this kingdom’s princess. The blessed fighter in charge of the princess’s defense is our second main character, and second point of view. This novel really dove head first into the politics of this climate, the despair of class systems, as well as continuing the theme of doing what is right, if every option is wrong.

Gilded Serpent follows all four of our previous main characters, each getting their own distinct points of view. The anxiety I had while reading this book, and then realizing that it wasn’t the last book in this series, is unparalleled. There were so many side characters and storylines that finally brought as many answers to the story as questions about what might happen next. I cannot wait to read the finale. This series is so, so good. It’s seriously all of my favorite things in fantasy. I hope more people pick it up and give it a shot.

This is a great series for fantasy romance lovers. While there are a few heated exchanges between characters I do think this qualifies as a Young Adult series.

The Cruel Prince, The Wicked King, & The Queen of Nothing

by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince gained my attention after reading A Court of Thorns and Roses by SJM. I knew I needed more fae stories in my life from that moment on and was excited to give this world a try. To say humans are treated poorly would be a huge understatement. These books can be gruesome and cruel, and they don’t pull their punches. This first book did a great job setting up the characters and laying out the plot for what was to come.

The Wicked King was a great second installment in this series. There are a few scenes that are distinctly memorable, thanks to the lush descriptions of the world building. I could so vividly picture every new environment and creature. The writing in this book is definitely on of my favorites.

The Queen of Nothing brings us back after a huge cliffhanger! And while I thought there had to be a loophole our main character…didn’t? This book had one of the most shocking moments for me while reading. I remember cursing aloud and begging my eyes to travel the page faster to see what would happen next.

Overall I feel like I missed the hype on this series. I read it too late. I knew which characters were end game, I had seen all the gorgeous fan art and knew who I would eventually be rooting for. But I sadly think I missed the mark. The romance didn’t spark as much joy for me as it has for everyone else. And that’s truly a shame.

This series is definitely a slow burn romance that spans all three novels. If you’re interested in a gruesome fae story, this is the one for you. The spice level (when it’s there) ranges in Young Adult territory.

The Crown of Gilded Bones

by Jennifer L. Armentrout

This is the third book in the From Blood and Ash series. This novel is clearly setting up for the next installment, and while that bothers some readers I actually enjoyed myself. I found a certain ‘calm before the storm’ and enjoyed the character development and the banter back and forth, as well as the explanations and world building.

I’d say this series is definitely a New Adult Fantasy Romance.

A Shadow in the Ember

by Jennifer L. Armentrout

This novel is a prequel to the From Blood and Ash series. Our main characters are the god of death and his consort.

Dare I say I liked this book better than From Blood and Ash?! It probably had something to do with the draken (dragons). I didn’t mind that this follows a bit of a JLA pattern, in terms of plot/characterization, mostly because it soothes my anxiety to get a brand new story with a sense of already knowing what’s going on. While that may not be for everyone, I cannot wait to continue this series.

I’d say this book also falls under the New Adult Fantasy Romance category.

Neon Gods by Katee Robert

I just so happened to open my digital library app this week when Electric Idol (book 2) was released, and this series was being promoted. I’ve seen it all over tiktok (because I follow the author lol) and was really excited to get a chance to read this book.

I can’t remember reading a Hades/Persephone retelling before this one, but now it’s a must. I need more of these characters, in all the different worlds and universes imaginable. I loved the updated version of the Gods and Goddesses, and a fresh new take on the way they become who they are. I also really enjoyed the characterizations and world building throughout.

But mostly I enjoyed the feels this book gave me. It was heart melting, heart pounding, exciting, unexpected, and each page was highly anticipated. Am I a sap to say my favorite part was the puppies? Probably. I’m a dog person man, I just can’t help it.

I loved this couple. I loved ( L O V E D ) the consent. This just ticked every box. I cannot wait to read more from this author.

As a final note: this book deals with BDSM topics, including Dom/Sub relationships and public play. Please check content warnings/trigger warnings before reading.

Electric Idol by Katee Robert

This novel follows Eros and Psyche as they navigate her attempted murder and their subsequent marriage. There are so many troupes that are covered in this one: fake marriage, sharing a bed, too damaged to love, the list goes on and on.

Y’all. Katee Robert is one of my new favorite authors. I cannot wait to make my way through her entire backlist this year. The representation in this story was so good. These books feel like such a safe space. Whenever I think a line I’m not comfortable with is about to be crossed, the characters reaffirm consent or reevaluate ‘beauty standards’. Gosh this was just fun to read. And getting a few glimpses of Hades and Persephone from book one was really nice.

While I haven’t read all of Katee Robert’s books, I would wager that in general these will be classified as New Adult or above. Please check content warnings before diving into these if BDSM, Sub/Dom, public play, and other are concerns for you.

Within Obsession and Lies by Stacy Jones & Harper Wylde

This was my first soiree with reverse harem and I’m never looking back. This book was the perfect way to start and I am so thankful tiktok recommended it to me!

While some of the writing can feel unrealistic, in terms of what the main character is wearing or how she looks, once I got past those instances it was easy to lose myself in the unbelievability of the story itself.

Our main character has a power that makes other people so obsessed with her they’ll kill themselves to get to her. She’s remained isolated since her early teens in order to avoid disaster, until one night she feels pulled out. She meets three strange men, described as a psychopath, mafia boss, and bodyguard/hitman. While these men are up to no good, nefarious dealings, they’re also magical beings who help guide our main character into her own magic and into one another’s hearts.

I’m eagerly awaiting book 2.

I would rate this novel at New Adult or older. Please check trigger/content warnings before reading.

Lone Wolf by Sam Hall

My second attempt at reverse harem had to come in the form of werewolves, one of my all time favorite fantastical creatures.

Our main character is lured home to her pack by the death of her father, the alpha. She is tasked with choosing the new alpha before she is able to move on with her life. In the process she discovers that she might have more than one mate, as well as someone who wants her just as dead as her father.

While she struggles to find balance, her mates come to terms with their new reality and the love they share for her.

The cliffhanger in this book is SO RUDE. So rude. Honestly.

I would qualify this book as DEFINITELY New Adult or above.

That’s all from me friends! What a month! I explored new troupes, new authors, and so many great stories! Let me know what you picked up this month, or if you have any questions about the books mentioned above! Until next time.

Happy reading!

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