August was the longest and shortest month wrapped up in to one. I finished working, started job hunting, wrote almost 30K on my WIP and turned 40 somewhere in there as well. Turned out, something had to give and it was my reading.
I read 7 books this month, but to be fair I’ve also been having a blast being on the beta reader teams of some amazing authors and can’t wait until their books are out so I can gush more whole heartedly about them.
But for now, on with the show … or the reviews!
The Heartbeat of a Million Dreams by Halo Scot
When I first started this book I was hooked. It starts strong and gripping and from there it doesn’t let up. The story is told in alternate first person points of view from our two protagonists, Slade and Koa. Their voices are so incredibly unique that I never for a moment had to flick back or check which point of view I was in at any given time. And when in each perspective I could feel and taste the pain and dust that surrounded them.
The beauty and poetry of Halo Scott’s words, most strongly through Slade’s POV, literally brought tears to my eyes and reminded me that I not only love stories, but I am in love with words. The descriptions of the world on Mars is tangible and real. I loved seeing the similarities and differences between the two different perspectives and how they saw the world they inhabited. One, the leader of the roses, lives in the soft whispering of the library, while the other the, hunted since birth, running, starving, surviving, sees the world differently with everything being too much as she ‘notice[s] everything with no filter, no reprieve.’
A sci-fi dystopian future of Earth versus Mars, of ‘normal’ versus fear of different. The dirty gritty feel of Mars as seen mostly through Slade’s eyes reminds me of Philip K Dick’s writing. If you haven’t read or don’t know of him you might have seen the iconic film Blade Runner which was based on his novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. This is definitely some of the gritty vibe I got from the Heartbeat if a million dreams and I am all here for it.
If you have guessed, I loved everything about reading The Heartbeat of a Million Dreams. Was it a quick fluffy read, oh gosh no. Was it intense and sometimes draining, oh yes. Was it worth it? Oh yes, a million dreams with.
It was fantastic. I recommend it for those who love the sci-fi dystopian genre. I also highly recommend it as an amazing insight into a neurodiverse world.
What a Tangled Web by Melissa Brayden
The third (last?) of the Tangle Valley series and I’m going to go all out and say What a Tangled Web is my favourite. I didn’t think it were possible after loving Gabriella being in the drivers seat but damn Madison and Clementine are my everything.
The writing was beautiful, and the humour and chuckles still prevalent but Clementines story hit so close to home on so many levels. I understood her self doubts and how her own identity was wrapped up in who and what her parents (specifically her father) are. There were so many oomph moments when it came to her coping mechanisms – the reading, the withdrawing. It made so much more sense to me, that moment in romance stories where it all falls apart more then many have in a long time.
I adored Madison in the other books, always the more calculated, the more practical of the main trio. Seeing her still remain true to herself but grow in such wonderful ways was a delight. I loved her directness and as always the other tangle valley stars were there to help her understand and work through what was happening when suddenly she began to emote, and then intentionally did. I hope she never changes her delivery of it.
I adored this series and love how all the threads from the previous books got a head tilt in the final of this one as well.
If you are looking happy, fluffy, beautifully written romance this is a perfect series.
Jon’s Downright Ridiculous Shooting Case by AJ Sherwood
Fun, quirky, and adorable. The main character Jon is a psychic in a world where there are.government departments and official standings in the police department.
Jon meets Donovan and a whole new world opens up to both of them. The writing was easy to read while still being fun and giving me many laugh out loud moments.
Some pretty detailed M/M sex scenes that while they did nothing for me I totally get they were well written and hot.
I love the characters, especially the Jon and Donovan’s families and the complicated relationships Jon has with them all.
Can’t wait to read more of Jon’s adventures as he scares the holy Hannah out of Donovan.
Up On The Roof by A.L Brooks – I had so much fun listening to this. The narration done by Justine Eyre was smashing and the writing was truly delightful.
I had actual laugh out loud moments and discovered listening to the last hour while doing grocery shopping made for a very interesting experience 🤣😂🤷♀️🤦♀️
The story is a fantastic slow burn enemies to lovers with characters who both had to face and overcome their own fears and previous baggage.
I adored Megan’s family, while also loving how realistically they are portrayed with the teasing and convenient ignoring but still showing the love behind their and wanted to shake Lena’s parents.
A.L Brooks does a brilliant job of representing a character with anxiety. I felt the self frustration within Lena so tangibly I found myself saying out loud OOMPH more than once. And I was so relieved that Megan wasn’t this perfectly always understanding character, ie she gets upset in her thoughts but works through them. This realism made me love everything just that little bit more.
The representation of bodies that aren’t ‘Hollywood’ beautiful was also such a breathe of fresh air, and the way the two come together is just adorable and wonderful.
Just a Touch Away by Jae –
Somehow this book makes me simultaneously want to run around screaming with excitement while also cuddling up on the couch, eating ice cream (I’ve consumed far too much this week but I’m sure Hannah approves) and hugging the stuffing out of a teddy bear.
This book is phenomenal. Jae has a remarkable way of deep diving into human nature with her books and these characters are no exception.
I laughed and squeed so hard while reading this book. From Winter’s sarcastic and dry humour, to Hannah’s enthusiastic openness (especially with doors she doesn’t knock on first), to the pop culture references … I’m looking at you Bound 😉
I adored the cameos of characters from several of Jae’s other books, which all helped to make this world so entirely real and believable.
But don’t get me wrong, during all the laughing and giggling, Jae takes us on a deep dive into our main characters. Winter is a remarkable ice queen with walls of self preservation from her family while Hannah is the amazingly open sunshine character (with a brilliant spine of steel) encouraged to truly be herself by her own family.
It is the most unlikely pairing of opposites attract and I am absolutely here for it.
I highly recommend this book. Now it’s time to go eat more ice cream.
Crossroads by Radclyffe –
Fantastic read. I loved the focus on midwifey and the inclusion of kids in this story. I love reading about people overcoming their pasts and discovering the strength they never believed they possessed. The two main characters are wonderful and flawed and human and real. I love Radclyffe’s way with words and how the story could make me smile even when it discussed such heartbreak and loss.
Sorry the reviews a little later then normal. Life is crazy but I’m back up on the hill and loving life.