May Bookshelf wrap up

12 books for May. Pretty darn good effort if I do say so myself. 10 of the books were Sapphic reads and all of them enjoyable, some more so than others.

Entangled by Melissa Brayden – I really enjoyed this book. I’ve never read a Melissa Brayden before and I really enjoyed her writing. The story is sweet and sad with some delicious spice thrown in to the mix. I enjoyed the enemies to lovers trope here because it wasn’t dragged out too much or filled with too much angst. I love the supporting cast. They are hilarious and wonderful. I mean how can you not love characters that use food in everyday speech. Love the movie and popcorn references to the MC’s romantic adventures and omg my favourite two lines in the book have got to be:
– ‘food and conflict pair well together’ Brenda-Anne
– Why did she overthink everything, which of course was an ironic topic to subsequently overthink leaving her in a neurotic cycle.
Look forward to reading more of this author.

The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang – What a fantastic read. I truly enjoyed this. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into but it was a fun and interesting read with beautiful poetic writing that feels almost uniquely allowed in historical fiction.

Let Love Be Enough by Robyn Nyx – Wow! From the moment I dove into this book I fought against blinking. Let love be enough was the kind of ride you white knuckle on to while simultaneously loving every moment of, with some brilliant laugh out loud moments thrown in just to make the rise complete. Three points of view from three incredibly different women who have surprisingly similar overlaps in the human struggles they face.
Madison Ford – An award winning journalist not scared of going into the trenches to get her story.
Elodie Fontaine – most beautiful woman in the world actress with an ex-marine history
Therese Hunt – Ring leader of a nasty organ trafficking business.
Nyx investigates the human dynamics of independence, trust, brutality, and fear. Especially when one or more of these things have been broken for our characters in their pasts. I adore Nyx’s writing style. Her ability to balance beauty in her words while describing horror in the actions and thoughts of her characters is breathtaking.
A wild ride.

Breathe by Cari Hunter – Another brilliant combination of writing and story from Cari Hunter and smashing audio from Nicola Victoria Vincent. I really enjoyed the build up of the relationship between the two main characters. Yes, there was danger and the awesome adventures that Cari Hunter is known for. Crime and danger. But it felt like there was a little more focus on the relationship then some other stories and I enjoyed the slow build between Jemima and Rosie.

Without A Front: The Warrior’s Challenge by Fletcher DeLancey Video review: Stayed up until stupid o’clock to finish this book because how could I not. The last 100 pages were truly an addiction. Something I adore about speculative fiction is the ability for authors to truly examine human nature in ways that can relate to people in all different situations. Fletcher Delancey does this is such beautiful and amazing smoothness, she makes it look easy. I never thought I could love any of the books in this series as much as I do the first one, but damn have I been proven wrong. The writing is delicious and the mystery and intrigue is fantastic. Themes of family, loyalty, and pride are so strong in without a front: the warriors challenge and handled so fantastically. I was really happy to see Ekatya and even Lynn have some small cameos but Aldira and Salomen definitely kept me intrigued and falling in love with them both. The struggles of each of them accepting both the strengths and the weaknesses of the other is beautifully written with such depth and raw truth. I also adore so many of the minor characters and hope I get to see more of them in the books to come. The divine sex scenes, respectful treatment of trauma, loss, and pain balanced with flirty banter and laugh out loud moments are reasons I will go back again and again to read this book. As well as some of the most beautiful descriptions of a land I can only ever visit between the pages.

The Delicate Things We Make by Milena McKay(Video review: – A reclusive artist, a down on her luck journalist, and some minor characters to make you squeal with laughter, sob along with, and cheer on their moments of victory balancing the bad guys that encompass so much of the nasty side of humanity. But not even the injustice within the book can take away the beauty that is all encompassing. And I do so love a story where those bastards get their comeuppances in the end. Milena pulls you into Jamie’s world with such ease and poetic prose. And through Jamie’s eyes we see the beauty of the elegant icey woman with the haughty looks and acerbic tongue. I love how the mystery is a gentle thread throughout, and damn I was slightly stunned and then nodding with, oh it was absolutely foreshadowed as the darker edges of the mystery is peeled back and revealed.
I laughed and gasped. I will say, while listening to Abby Craden’s narrations are always delightful, the part of the Coitus Interruptus is not recommended to listen to while out in public. I had some wide eyes flashed in my direction at my sudden outburst and cussing. Big mention for the delightful minor characters who brought such depth to this book:
Luce – You gorgeous and hilarious creature (the dad jokes, oh yes the dad jokes) who is lovely and loyal and will not pull punches to save a friends feelings when they are in need of some harsh truths. Her speech about standing up. Damn, it was powerful and brilliant.
Olivia – Such acerbic hostility that all wonderfully stemmed from pain and loyalty, and a determination to protect and find truth.
Arabella – you crazy old broad. I just adore you and oh my, your speeches, one in particular 😉, had me laughing my arse off and fist pumping the air.

Three Ways to Ruin a Perfect Wedding by Chris Zett – What an adorable after the HEA short story for Heart Failure. Loved it.

Infested by C.M. Forest – Olivia wakes up in her own pool of vomit during a thunderstorm to find her husband absent and the electricity off. She goes in search of her missing husband and finds so much more than she planned. This modern gothic horror story made me cringe and even turn my head away from the words on the pages. It doesn’t shy away from any of the nasty things. And boy are there some hella nasty things going on in the New Leaf building. I did have an issue was a character’s situation a little too reflective of some negativity toward the transgender community in the current climate, but don’t believe this was the authors intention. Especially considering they are one of the most likeable characters in the book. Almost all the characters are unlikable even the main character, though she definitely redeemed herself by the end. I really enjoyed the modern day gothic horror vibes – the use of setting and weather played a brilliant part in building the anxiety and reflecting the characters own states of mind. I had major nostalgia of playing the resident evil computer games mixed with many moments reminiscent of the Aliens movies.

Firewyrm by Eric Schubach – A great continuation to the first in the series. I love the characters and the humour. I am freakin adopting the expressions and find myself saying ‘space me naked’ and other such charming things throughout the day.
The story of firewyms was good, interesting mystery, but I find myself more intrigued by the detailed information of the leviathan itself and revelations of characters. I love the hooks and things left unknown. Bring on book three.

The Tell Tale by Clare Ashton (Video review: I could not stop listening to this book. Lucy Rayner did a fabulously sultry and wonderful job. The story itself. Oh my. Clare Ashton has outdone herself with this book. The descriptions and threads of mystery were delicious. I adored the characters, and even those I despised were so fleshed out and well rounded I couldn’t help but nod and purse my lips, having known them at some point in my life. The turns and twists in this book had my head spinning in all the right ways. I loved thinking a theory, and then having it blown out of the water, only to wonder was it really? I distinctly remember getting a very Sweeney Todd feel at some points, despite the apparently more enlightened time The Tell Tale is sent in. The representations of identities in The Tell Tale were absolutely incredible and I couldn’t help by feel for them all.
But with amazing lines like this:
– they both laughed, the kind that shifts you into the person you once were.
– Sophie’s past eerily walking through her present.
– There was nothing like being stripped back to childhood to make a person vulnerable.
How can you not love the language of this book.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston(videos – Narrator love: Review: – There are so many things I love about this book. Themes of family and connection; blood and found. Ideas of fate and belonging. Banter and humour. The different representations of race, gender, and sexuality. Pop cultural references. And oh my let’s not forget the truly poetic language.
The author, Casey McQuiston also managed to weave a lot of queer history in without making me go cross eyed. Instead, I felt the real trauma that statistics and bland facts could never evoke.
I listened to this book narrated by the truly incredible Natalie Naudus. If you haven’t heard her narrate yet, prepare for a treat.
I wanted to list some of my favourite lines but I got swept up in the mystery of the story, of Jane’s existent and it’s unravelling that I forgot to stop and actually take note of many, but here are two that I did manage to capture before the pull was just too big
– Bella Swam eat your horny little Mormon heart out
– You and I come at subtlety from very different directions
Highly recommend this book. And then ending, oh my the ending.

Something in the Wine by Jae – Sweet, slow burn, coming out later in life romance. The characters were flawed and wonderful and I felt so broken for Annie with her family issues and how much they effected her confidence as a person.

I’m really looking forward to getting into some fantasy LGBTQIA books for pride month, even if every month is Pride filled 😉

Be Safe
Be Brave
Be Kind

Neen x

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