Book Review

Book Review: Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur

In a delightful follow-up to Written in the Stars, Alexandria Bellefleur delivers another #ownvoices queer rom-com about a hopeless romantic who vows to show his childhood crush that romance isn’t dead by recreating iconic dates from his favorite films…

Brendon Lowell loves love. It’s why he created a dating app to help people find their one true pairing and why he’s convinced “the one” is out there, even if he hasn’t met her yet. Or… has he? When his sister’s best friend turns up in Seattle unexpectedly, Brendon jumps at the chance to hang out with her. He’s crushed on Annie since they were kids, and the stars have finally aligned, putting them in the same city at the same time.

Annie booked a spur-of-the-moment trip to Seattle to spend time with friends before moving across the globe. She’s not looking for love, especially with her best friend’s brother. Annie remembers Brendon as a sweet, dorky kid. Except, the 6-foot-4 man who shows up at her door is a certified Hot Nerd and Annie… wants him? Oh yes.

Getting involved would be a terrible idea—her stay is temporary and he wants forever—but when Brendon learns Annie has given up on dating, he’s determined to prove that romance is real. Taking cues from his favorite rom-coms, Brendon plans to woo her with elaborate dates straight out of Nora Ephron’s playbook. The clock is ticking on Annie’s time in Seattle, and Brendon’s starting to realize romance isn’t just flowers and chocolate. But maybe real love doesn’t need to be as perfect as the movies… as long as you think your partner hung the moon.

So, I loved Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur. It is a sapphic retelling of Pride & Prejudice full of some of the most fun tropes in romance. Enemies to Lovers? Check! Fake dating? Check! Cheekily named characters that are straight from classic literature? Check!

I love Bellefleur’s writing style and how each and every single one of her characters has a unique voice. After I finished Written in the Stars, I learned that she was publishing Hang the Moon, a sort of sequel. It involves the same characters, but it’s actually Darcy’s brother’s love story.

Firstly, I’d love to point out that Bellefleur’s LGBT+ representation is always spot on! Annie is a bisexual woman, and one thing we tend to see in stories where a bisexual (pansexual, etc.) character is in a hetero-passing relationship, so essentially their sexuality is erased. That is not the case in Hang the Moon! Annie is an openly queer woman who just so happens to like a CIS-het white male character.

Secondly, Bellefleur has such a fresh voice and take on typical romance tropes. She basically took the plot of The Taming of the Shrew but made it romantic. Where 10 Things I Hate About You was all about making bets and stuff in order to woo the closed off seemingly-bitter in love character, Hang the Moon frames Brendan’s attempts to convince Annie that love is worth it by actually showing her love and affection. Brendan is a hopeless romantic, and it is so refreshing to see a male character in a romance novel who believes in love and grand gestures and all of that.

By the time I got to the steamy bits, I was madly in love with both of these characters. Yet again, Bellefleur has knocked it out of the park. If you’re looking for a wonderful contemporary romance, this is definitely a must read!

The third novel in this series, Count Your Lucky Stars releases in February of 2022, and stars yet another member of this friend group–Margot! I can’t wait to read it!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Thanks for reading,

Book Review

Book Review: The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout

She’s been the victim and the survivor…

Poppy never dreamed she would find the love she’s found with Prince Casteel. She wants to revel in her happiness but first they must free his brother and find hers. It’s a dangerous mission and one with far-reaching consequences neither dreamed of. Because Poppy is the Chosen, the Blessed. The true ruler of Atlantia. She carries the blood of the King of Gods within her. By right the crown and the kingdom are hers.

The enemy and the warrior…

Poppy has only ever wanted to control her own life, not the lives of others, but now she must choose to either forsake her birthright or seize the gilded crown and become the Queen of Flesh and Fire. But as the kingdoms’ dark sins and blood-drenched secrets finally unravel, a long-forgotten power rises to pose a genuine threat. And they will stop at nothing to ensure that the crown never sits upon Poppy’s head.

A lover and heartmate…

But the greatest threat to them and to Atlantia is what awaits in the far west, where the Queen of Blood and Ash has her own plans, ones she has waited hundreds of years to carry out. Poppy and Casteel must consider the impossible—travel to the Lands of the Gods and wake the King himself. And as shocking secrets and the harshest betrayals come to light, and enemies emerge to threaten everything Poppy and Casteel have fought for, they will discover just how far they are willing to go for their people—and each other.

And now she will become Queen…

I have to admit, ever since reading the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, I’ve been a sucker for Fantasy Romance. The Crown of Gilded Bones is the third of the Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. You can check out my original review here. I’ll admit, I originally rated the first book a 3.5. I intended on doing a review for the second in the series, Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, but I never got around to it.

Out of all of the Fantasy Romance novels I’ve read since first reading this series, this is one of the best. Not only does she tie in amazing fantastical elements, but the heat is spot on. In any good romance, you want something to keep you hooked in, which can be difficult, especially when a couple has been together since the first book in the series. Armentrout is able to keep the heat alive between Casteel and Poppy and even steps it up a notch in The Crown of Gilded Bones.

My only complaint is that it felt like too much and yet nothing at all was happening plot wise, if that makes sense. I’ve found through this series that Armentrout has a habit of building, building, building, and then BAM, plot, the end. That did not change in this book.

That being said, if you love fantasy romance, definitely check out this series. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Armentrout is an amazing romance author. I just recently found out that her Wicked series is being turned into a TV show and that the story is set in New Orleans, so I ordered a copy!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Thanks for reading,

Guns & Smoke, Writing

Guns & Smoke: LAUNCH PARTY!

We have such exciting news to share with everyone! We will be having a launch party for Guns & Smoke on release day, July 10, 2021! We have partnered with our local, independent bookstore Cavalier House Books, to host a launch event at Le Chien Brewery Company in Denham Springs, LA. If you are local to the Baton Rouge area, please go to the Facebook Event and RSVP to attend!

Party goers will be able to purchase copies of Guns & Smoke and have them signed during the event. There will also be food and drink available for purchase through Le Chien Brewery Company. It is so amazing that we’ve been able to bring together our independently published work alongside these two wonderful, small businesses!

If you cannot attend the event and would like a signed copy, Cavalier House Books is facilitating signed pre-order copies of Guns & Smoke! Please go to this link to order!

We cannot wait to share Guns & Smoke with the world! More information on it is below.

In a world where safety is a luxury and honor is found only among outlaws, two people attempt to outrun dangers lurking around each corner and the tragedies that define them.

Bonnie is an outlaw on the run. Beautiful but dangerous; her dark past stalks her like the crater beasts that roam the desert. As the notoriously cruel outlaw Jones sends his henchmen to track her down and retrieve the gun she stole from him, Bonnie hopes she can stay one step ahead. Because if he catches her, a fate worse than death awaits.

Jesse always dreamed of leaving the farm to explore the ruins of the big cities he’d heard about his whole life. He just never imagined he’d be forced to flee after strange men burned down his rural mountain town and murdered everyone he loved. Responsible for his kid brother and searching for an uncle he’s never met before, he isn’t sure he can navigate the perils of life among con artists and thieves long enough to find him.

Their two paths collide as they find themselves thrown together on the adventure of a lifetime.
Together, they may just discover that life is about more than just surviving.

As always, Thanks!