Mini Reviews: Untamed Shore & Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing – A Shark and a Wolf Walk(?) into a Bar

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Publisher: Agora Books
Genre(s):
Historical Fiction, Crime
Release Date: February 21st, 2020
Page Count: 339 (hardback)

Rating: 6.5/10

This is an odd one. One of those books that send your brain into a bit of a lull. And I enjoyed it (with a faint question mark attached). But I think I enjoyed it as I’d enjoy sitting on a boat in the middle of a lake for five hours, fishing line cast out, the sun dipping in and out, and catching a single minnow at the end of it all. I can’t decide whether it was meditative or just plain dull, but then I remember that it was a nice day and the birds were singing, so I decide on the former. I probably wouldn’t try it again, but I appreciate the one experience.

It’s an atmosphere-driven book first, character second, and plot third. Moreno-Garcia shows why she’s one of the best when it comes to immersive settings. Baja California is a slow and stifling shoreside town and you can practically feel the heat emanating through the pages as you read. It’s no big city offering glitzy displays of culture, but small places can have just as much character and magnetism, and this story shows that. And Viridiana is a realistic, if unlikable, product of such a place: a little impulsive, a little adventurous, and teeth-grindingly naive. The book definitely works better as her coming-of-age story than a thrilling crime novel because the latter aspects, with the American tourists and their secret troubles, rather underwhelming and a side attraction to the Viridiana Show.

Overall, it’s a lazy immersive sprawl of a story that was worth the read but nothing that really stayed with me afterwards. A brief, quiet fling.

 

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Series: Big Bad Wolf 4
Publisher:
Carina Press
Genre(s):
Paranormal, LGBTQ Romance
Release Date: March 2nd, 2020
Page Count: 268 (paperback)

Rating: 7.5/10

Two of my most pressing questions in the last few years (pre-COVIDapocalypse): 1) When will Blackpink get the respect they’re due from their company? and 2) When will Charlie Adhara release a mediocre book?

The answer is probably the same for both.

We are sitting at book 4 in the Big Bad Wolf series, and I continue to be impressed and delighted by Adhara’s ability to write consistently at the top of the game. She dives into the shapeshifter trope with fresh eyes, creating characters who feel like real people navigating traumas and insecurities, not cardboard cutouts doling out conflict for conflict’s sake, and each book adds new lines and shading to the image that is Park and Cooper. And that continues here. An undercover mission to a couples resort. Murder upon murders. Cooper figuring out that there are so many layers to a relationship, and huh, isn’t that a scary thing, but also a massively wonderful thing?

It wasn’t the strongest of the series in terms of plot and secondary characters, but “not my favourite” for a BBW story equals “really friggin good” for most other paranormal romances. Overall, a solid, solid entry to the next chapter of Cooper’s life.

Expect an overdue Why You Need to Read this Series post in the next week or so!

 

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Top 5 Wednesday – Favourite SFF Covers (that are Red and Blue)

“Top 5 Wednesday” is a weekly meme currently hosted on Goodreads by Sam of Thoughts on Tomes, where you list your top 5 for the week’s chosen topic. May is rewind month, and my chosen topic is: favourite SFF covers.

Now, there are many incredible SFF covers out there, and it’s impossible to include them all on this list, so I’m going to get a bit more specific and share some of my favourite fantasy covers that are red and blue, which happen to be my favourite colours.

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1. Certain Dark Things (US)

Certain Dark Things
The interplay of the dark shadows and the blood red is something I will never stop loving. There’s something elegant yet dangerous about it, which perfectly describes the  protagonist of the story, who happens to be a vampire.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Assassin’s Fate (UK) – Art by Jackie Morris

Assassin's Fate (UK Cover)
Jackie Morris did all the covers for the new UK editions of Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series. But this last one for Assassin’s Fate takes the cake. This picture doesn’t fully convey how beautiful this cover is. With gold foiling that shines brilliantly against a blue background,this is one of the most gorgeous books I own.

 

 

 

3. Deathless (UK Paperback)

Deathless

While I do like the Tor cover of Deathless, it’s a little too…sophisticated. The UK edition, however, isn’t quite so civilized–it’s rough, it’s textured, the feathers are drawn violently, and there’s a yellow eye staring right at you. And I love it to bits. I think it perfectly represents the themes of life and death explored in the story. Plus, it looks like something you would see right out of an old volume of fairytales.

I couldn’t find out the artist’s name so if anyone knows, drop me a comment!

 

4. Strange the Dreamer (UK Hardback)

Strange the Dreamer
UK, you guys are killing it with these covers. While I do like the reflective blue of the North American cover, the contrasting gold and deep blue of the UK edition is nothing short of mesmerizing. This is one I could stare at all day long.

 

 

 

 

5. Amberlough (US Hardback) – Art by Victo Ngai

Amberlough


Victo Ngai
is one of my favourite cover artists. She’s prominent in SFF, covering books like Vicious, Bark: The Elephant’s Graveyard, and the paperback edition of Neil Gaiman’s The Norse Mythology. The Amberlough cover is probably my favourite, though. It’s vibrant, it’s sexy, and she captured the personality of the two main characters perfectly.