The Will of The Many

James Islington

Set in a quasi-Roman fantasy world this is a satisfying read.
Vis is an orphan trying to do something impossible – find a way to avoid being forced to cede his will to the Hierarchy.
The Catenan Hierarchy has conquered the world and their will magic powered by a strict societal power class system in now unchallenged.
Under unlikely circumstances Vis finds himself adopted by a powerful Catenan senator in order to solve a mystery at the elite Academy.
Vis – who has a dangerous secret past – is force to ride a fine line to serve the interests of different groups who want to use him for their own ends.
I really did enjoy this one. The book is split into three parts and the first part is particularly strong. I enjoyed the rest a little less but where it left off is very tantalizing and I’m looking forward to getting the sequel when it comes out.

Rating: A-


Just Stab Me

Jill Bearup

This is an ok fantasy romance enlivened by a tremendously appealing meta plot where the ‘author’ talks with her characters about the story and events happening in her real life.
Originally a series of short videos on YouTube with the author playing all the parts. This is where I came across it.
Having enjoyed those little videos I decided to buy the novel.
At no point is it terribly original but it is frequently fun and different enough from the videos to be worth the outlay.

Rating: B+


Keep This Off The Record

Arden Joy

In this fun queer romance novel the story is told from the perspective of Abby and Freya.
Abby and Freya went to high school together and hated each other’s guts.
At a school reunion Abby’s best friend and Freya’s work colleague hit it off.
This puts this bickering pair back in each other’s lives.
The author takes some bits from Much Ado About Nothing to power a couple of the plots in the story and it’s not subtly done. I kind of wish that it was less obvious.
My favourite thing though was that the leads are people who make mistakes and act in actually human ways. I’ve read a few too many romance novels with unrealistic leads in the past few years.
Certainly worth a read and it won’t take you very long to get through.

Rating: B



CL Polk

Fantasy set in world where the equivalent of WW1 happened and our protagonist is a doctor treating the returning soldiers who are suffering from a type of PTSD.
Miles is in hiding from his very powerful family because he wanted to use his abilities to heal rather than be used as a battery for his sister who practices weather magic – which is the only legal form.
Investigating a potential murder leads Miles to a conspiracy, a family reunion and someone who may become a love interest.
This is an entertaining book with enjoyable characters but the pacing and the overuse of certain cliches has knocked it down a mark.
I’m going to check out the sequel.

Rating: B+


How To End A Love Story

Yulin Kuang

This is the debut novel of writer/director Yulin Kuang whose work I have been following since “Kissing In The Rain” was released onto YouTube.
I was very lucky to gain access to an advance readers copy through NetGalley.
This is a very enjoyable romance with lead characters who are simultaneously both likeable and a little messed up.
The plot has Helen – a successful YA author – turning up in LA to take part in the writer’s room on the adaptation of her hit book series.
She discovers that one of the lead writers in the room is Grant. He was behind the wheel when Helen’s sister threw herself in front of car, leading to her death.
That tragic event informs every part of their interactions as they eventually move from being frosty colleagues to besotted lovers.
When the book ended I had that rare feeling of wanting to spend more time with the characters and I don’t think there’s a higher recommendation than that.

Rating: A-