Review: Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

Title: Archenemies
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Genre: YA, action, superheroes, scifi
Source: library
Publication Date: November 6, 2018

Nova is living a double life. In one, she’s Insomnia, a Renegade superhero dedicated to protecting the weak and maintaining order in Galton city. In the other, she’s Nightmare, and Anarchist determined to bring down the Renegades who once failed to protect her family.


Adrian is also living a double life. In one, he’s the leader of his Renegade patrol group, son of the leaders of the Renegades, and upstanding citizen. In the other, he’s the Sentinel, a vigilante determined to do good even if it means breaking a few rules.

Nova, Adrian, and the crew are faced with problems beyond secret identities as crime escalates in Galton City. They also have to deal with a new secret weapon being rolled out by the Renegade scientists, one with horrifying ethical implications. To top it off, Adrian and Nova’s feels for each other deepen, blurring the line between good and evil even further.

Oh, man, was this book a lot of fun. Nova is such a great character. Raised by evil super villains, she’s concerned with justice and integrity even more than the so-called superheroes. She isn’t blinded by her powers and and the idea that good is always right. She’s concerned with the people of the city, with ethics, and has a clearer picture of how power can be perverted. That’s not to say that she doesn’t have blindness of her own. Her uncle, Ace Anarchy, and the other villains, clearly don’t care about the people as she does. They want power for power’s sake, to be able to do what they want, and the freedom they enjoyed during the Age of Anarchy, when lawlessness ruled. But Nova, of course, is too young and naive to see that, which makes her story a tragedy.


I like Adrian well enough, but he’s not as interesting to me as Nova is. His power is the ability to bring drawings and paintings to life, and he’s used it to tattoo modifications on himself to turn him into the Sentinel. He’s willing to break the rules of that his parents follow, and he does have a point, but ultimately, he’s more of a child in his thinking. I do like the way he cares about everyone, especially Nova. His and Nova’s relationship is very cute and I like the way the came together.


I wish, though, more time had been spent on developing the “bad” Renegade patrol unit. They are exactly what Nova fears: superheroes that abuse their power and authority. I have no t trouble believing that they exist, but I would have liked them to be more complicated and less cartoonishly villainous. I would have liked to see some nuance. But, on the other hand, they contrasted with Adrian, who as Sentinel is abusing his powers and breaking the rules, but following a code that keeps his conscience clear, unlike Geinessa and her crew. So, maybe that’s where the nuance lies.

I highly recommend this book. It’s a great read on what the world might be like with superheroes where the world doesn’t fall apart like in Watchmen by Alan Moore. If you’re looking for an exciting escape from the world, this series is for you.

WWW Wednesday 3/25/2020

Hi everyone! Is anyone else losing time with their quarantine? I’m trying very hard to keep track of my days, but even so, Wednesday surprised me. As did Sunday; I completely forgot to post my weekly wrap-up. I was busy Sunday shopping, meal-prepping and doing chores. It felt like a normal day.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, participants are asked to answer three questions: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?

I started both these books yesterday and am completely in love. Starcrossed by Allie Therin is an e-ARC and a sequel to Spellbound. Arthur and Rory are navigating their relationship in the face of vast class differences, an ex-lover of Arthur, and even more magical problems. I’m so in love with this book and am already half way through.

The Watchmaker’s Daughter by C.J. Archer is equally magical. India Steele’s father has recently died and, before his death, left his watchmaking business to India’s fiance with the assurance the finance would marry her. Instead, on the day of the funeral, he breaks off the engagement and steals the business out from under her. Destitute and unable to secure employment, she goes to the shop to discredit him where she meets a mysterious American looking for a specific watchmaker. They join forces and…. That’s as far as I’ve gotten. But, like the Ministry of Curiosities series I listened to early this year, it’s completely engrossing with great characters and sizzling chemistry between the two mains. I walked an hour yesterday just so I could continue to listen.

Oh, man, was Archenemies by Marissa Meyer great! Hidden identities, secrets and lies, superheroes… it’s just so well written. And the romance is sweet and frustrating all at once, in the best way. I cannot wait to read Supernova.

I know Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca has been on my “currently reading” list for the past month, but, truth is, I haven’t read it in awhile. So, after I”m done with Starcrossed, I’m going to sit down and read it. Really. And then, as a treat in these troubled times, I’m rereading Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. I definitely need something sweet and romantic right now.

What are you reading this week? Hope you’re staying healthy!

Top 5 Tuesday P-T

It’s Tuesday and that means another Top 5 Tuesday! This is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at the Bionic Bookworm. This week’s topic is authors P to T.

P is for Ashley Poston author of Geekerella and The Princess and the Fangirl. Awesome stories that retell both Cinderella and The Prince and the Pauper, only in modern times and the ball is a fan convention. Genius.

I literally have nothing for Q. Not even on Goodreads.

R is for Rick Riordan. This one was hard, because there are so many good R writers, but I’m going with Riordan because, according to Goodreads, he’s my most read author.

S is for Tara Sim author of the Timekeeper series. Such an awesome series about an alternative universe where time is a physical thing that controls everything. It also has a great romance.

T is for Allie Therin the author of Spellbound. This is a delightful m/m historical romance about a magic user and the man who wants to protect him at all costs. It’s set in 1920s New York and was a lot of fun. AND I GOT APPROVED FOR THE ARC OF THE SEQUEL!!!! So exciting. 🙂

That’s all for today. Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young People

Genre: YA, contemporary, coming of age, queer lit

Source: library (audio)

Publication Date: February 21, 2012

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison and an uncommunicative father who suffers from PTSD. Dante is a smart kid who is crazy about his parents. When they meet at the pool one summer, they soon become best friends. But where life and tragedy doesn’t separate them, Ari’s anger and uncommunicative nature may do it for them. They must learn to trust one another and themselves in order to discover the secrets of the universe.

This was a super sweet book, which is funny because the main character, Ari, is not a super sweet character. He’s very angry and closed off. Even though the book is told in his first person voice, he doesn’t share a lot about himself and his feelings. The entire book is very sparse and short in the way it’s written, echoing Ari’s nature.

But the relationship between the boys is magical. They are drawn together like magnets and their joy at being with each other just bubbles over. I loved watching them navigate their relationship and growing was wonderful. While there are definitely fits and starts and places where they stumble, but it’s a great journey that they make.

I read this book for two reasons. One, I knew it was queer literature and that’s my special interest. Second, the audio book was read by Lin Manuel Miranda. And both were great. Okay, I’m getting into kind spoilery territory, so if you don’t want any spoilers, don’t read below.

spoiler break

Reading this, I began to think that this was going to be a one sided love story. One of the characters falls in love with the other, but the other didn’t reciprocate. And that was disappointing to me, because I don’t like reading stories like that. I’ve been in that situation, and I want happy endings. But, in the end, it turned out the way I wanted, so it made me happy.

And, as always, Lin Manuel Miranda was great.

Yes, I recommend it. It’s a great coming of age story and a really good love story. I was almost in tears at the end. Happy tears. It’s a great book.

Snippet Saturday

Part 1, Part 2

Sebastian followed Morgan’s human assistant, Anne, to Morgan’s study a mere ten minutes after he’d arrived. He’d honestly expected to be told to make an appointment and come back another time. One didn’t just drop in on the de-facto leader of the Faithful. Or, one wasn’t supposed to. Sebastian did when he needed to see her. She’d only turned him away a few times.

Sebastian was on uncertain terms with the Faithful. He’d been made by one over a hundred years ago and had followed their rules for many years. Honestly, he still did, for the most part. He didn’t kill humans when he fed, unless they were bad–murderers, rapists, pedophiles–or they really pissed him off.

But, the Faithful… They were just so sanctimonious. And boring. They were in a sort of perpetual mourning state for their creator who’d been killed a few years before Sebastian was made. Before she’d died, she’d proclaimed she’d return, and so the Faithful were just waiting for her to come back. If she ever did.

The Faithful were all about rules and rituals and worship and Sebastian had never believed in God as a human. And while he was grateful to Kali for miracuously rising from death as a vampire and starting a new race, he wasn’t going to start worshiping her memory.

Anne stopped in front of Morgan’s study and turned. “I don’t know how long she’ll be able to talk with you,” she said with an easy smile. “She’s not super busy tonight, but things always can come up.”

“I understand. Thanks for letting me see her at all.”

She laughed. “I run her schedule, but this was all her. I think she was intrigued that LA’s most famous neutral came her see her.” She pushed the door open and waved him in.

He rolled his eyes at the description as he walked by her. There were plenty of neutral vampires in LA. He was hardly famous.

Morgan was sitting at her desk, typing. When he came in, she looked up and smiled. “Sebastian.” She rose and walked around the desk. “So nice to see you,” she said, holding out a hand.

He took it and shook it gently. Despite himself, he always felt a little tongue-tied around Morgan at first. It wasn’t her looks, although she was beautiful with long dark hair, big brown eyes, and long lashes. If she hadn’t been the second vampire ever created, he might have tried to take her to bed. But she was the second vampire ever and that sort of intimidated him. Kali was an abstract concept; Morgan was reality.

“Morgan. Thanks for seeing me.”

She smiled and gestured at a couple chair set up in front of the desk. He took one and she sat across from him, tucking one ankle behind the other. “What can I do for you?”

“I have a couple things. First, do you know anything about Michael Clearwater? He’s a member of the Society.”

She wrinkled her nose. “Not much. For awhile, he was trying to gain power and made some traction. Then, it all fella part for him, and now he’s a fairly obscure member.”

“Any idea why?”

“Not really.” She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I don’t generally worry about the Society. Why?”

“His son came to me and asked me to find something for him. It occured to me that it could be a trap.”

“His son?”

“Tristan Clearwater. He’s looking for a book called The Magic of Music. Which is the other thing I wanted to ask you about.”


She tapped her fingers against her chin, eyes distant. After a moment, she shook her head. “I don’t know that I’ve heard of it. I doubt it’s in our collection, but I’ll ask Anne. She’s got a better idea of what we have, at least in the house. Is it urgent?”

Sebastian shrugged. “I get the sense it is, but Tristan isn’t exactly being forthcoming on why. He says he only wants to understand the theory, but it’s obvious he’s lying about something. And, he’s powerful.”

“Really? How powerful?”

“I’m not sure exactly, but I could taste the power in his blood.” Sebastian swallowed, thinking of the tingling he’d experienced. “It’s nothing I’ve ever tasted before. It made my mouth tingle. That ever happen to you?”

She shook her head. “No. I could taste some power in Anne, but nothing that made my mouth tingle. Are you sure it wasn’t something else? Lust? Compatibility?”

“Now, it was power. He wants it to seem like his interest is purely academic, although he admitted he was interested in gaining some control. It’s more than that, though. I’m sure of it.”

Morgan frowned. “What control does he need? Does he want to become more powerful or less?”

Sebastian pursed his lips, thinking. That was something he hadn’t considered. What if Tristan was lying not because he didn’t want Sebastian to think he wanted more power, but because he had the power and wanted less? What if he was as powerful as Sebastian sensed and it was overwhelming him?

“If it’s the latter, it’d be better to get the book into his hands sooner than later,” Sebastian said. “The last thing we need is for him to accidentally blow up Los Angeles because he can’t control what he has.”

Morgan moved her head from side to side. “That kind of innate power is very rare. But, you’re right. Do you know where he works? I can send Anne to meet him. See how powerful he really is.”

Sebastian gave her the address of Tristan’s workplace. “And you’ll check around for the book?”

“Yes. If we really have a violate warlock…”

“He says he’s not a warlock. He’s got magic, but says he can only do a few things.”

Morgan leaned forward. “Yes, but musical magic isn’t based on spells. It taps into a deeper power and teaches the magic user to channel his energy. For it to work, the user must have a connection with that magic already. The magic is a tool to draw it out.” She tapped her fingers on her knee. “Actually, if he uses magic as a focus, he might not even be a warlock.”

“What might he be?”

“I’m not sure,” she said. “But warlocks usually need spells. Music is different.”

“Anne’s a witch, isn’t she?”

“Yes, but she’s still studying. Her magic is spell based. If his isn’t, if it’s something else, we can’t let him run around untrained. We need to know.”

Sebastian shifted. “You think his father sent him?”

“Perhaps,” she answered, sitting back. “It could be Michael Clearwater is hoping to climb the ranks once more by disrupting our society in America. But, it’s equally likely that Tristan left on his own and came here to distance himself from his father.”

“Why?

She shook her head. “I don’t know. Generally, while the Society is against the supernatural, they aren’t technically averse to using and training warlocks. If Tristan is powerful, he’d be coveted, not spurned. So, without knowing Tristan and his story, I couldn’t say.” She leaned forward. “Proceed with caution, Sebastian. You are dealing with the child of a vampire-hate group. Try to find the book, but be careful.”

“I’m not planning on becoming his best friend. He’s just a client.”

“One whose blood you’ve drunk. And whose blood is infused with power. That can be addictive.”

He rolled his eyes. “I’ll be careful.” Sebastian stood. “Thank you for your time, Morgan.”

“I’ll be in touch.”

Comfort Reads M/M Romance Edition

Hi all! Don’t know if I’ve ever explicitly stated this, but I’m in California, which has now been put under a “stay-at-home” order. I’ve been under “shelter-in-place” for a few days now. I’m surviving by vlogging my experience. Talking to a camera helps a lot. If you’re interested, here’s my playlist.

I’ve seen quite a few people posting comfort reads and wanted to hop on the train. I’ll do it with a different twist. I’m going to post exclusively M/M romance books.

So, full disclosure: The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles might be just a little bit too heavy for right now. It deals with a magical curse that’s trying to kill one of the main characters, Lucius Vadurey, and dead bodies and evil stuff. But the characters are so good and the plot is so interesting, you might not mind that. Plus, K.J. Charles writes some of the hottest sex scenes and this one has some great ones. It’s also one of my favorite M/M historical fantasies, so I had to include it.

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston is the most romantic romance book I’ve ever read outside of Jane Austen. It’s such a great premise too: the son of the president falls in love with the Prince of England. It’s enemies to lovers (although they aren’t enemies, they didn’t like each other very much) and there are love letters. Super good love letters. This book is fun and squishy and romantic and absolutely lovely.

If you’re looking for a lovely read about magic, 1920s, Prohibition, a gumpy magic user and a protective non-magic user, this is for you. Arthur and Rory are <i>amazing</i>. I love how protective Arthur is of Rory and how good he is. And Rory is a fire starter. It’s a great book and the sequel is coming out sometime this year. I’m trying to get an eArc of it, but no reply yet. 😐

Really, anything by Cat Sebastian is perfect for this time, but I just finished A Gentleman Never Keeps Score and I remembered how much I loved It Takes Two to Tumble, so I’m highlighting these two. The first, It Takes Two to Tumble is basically The Sound of Music set in the 1800s (or 1700s) and they’re both men. Ben Sedgwick is hired to instruct Philip Darce, a ship captain’s, children. In the process, they fall in love. In A Gentleman Never Keeps Score, Sam Fox comes together with Hartley Sedgwick when Sam tries to find a dirty portrait painted of a friend of his. In the process, they fall in love. They’re both just lovely, sweet, and very easy to read. And, seriously, check out any of Cat Sebastian’s books.

Lord Alexander Pyne-ffoulkes hires Jerry Crozier to steal some diamonds from his father. Upon meeting, they find themselves attracted to each other and eventually, you guessed it, fall in love. But, oh man, can K.J. Charles write a love declaration. She bowls me over every time. Any Old Diamonds is so much fun, a rollicking heist, with hot sex and romantic words.

No Good Men by Thea McAlistair is another great novel. Alex is a bodyguard by night and a writer whenever he can get it in. When he gets distracted by a handsome stranger one night, his charge and mentor are killed and the police want to pin it on him. He and the handsome stranger, whose name I think is Sev, team up to solve the murder. It’s a great book with a lot of romance and I may have to reread it. 🙂

Any of the Hexworld books by Jordan L. Hawk are great. They’re set in a world where some people can shift into animals and are familiars of magic users. They are stand alone, but have an overarching plot. They’re a lot of fun.

Okay, I’m starting to get repetitive, so I’m going to leave this off here. I hope this list was helpful to any M/M fans who are looking to escape. But, really, anything by KJ Charles, Cat Sebastian, or Jordan L. Hawk will get you through this. Take care and stay healthy!

Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Starless Sea

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Genre: fantasy, modern fairy-tale

Source: Library (and then Target)

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

Zachary Ezra Rawlins, son of a fortune-teller, finds a door. It’s beautiful and entrancing and calls to him. Unfortunately, it’s painted on a wall, so he doesn’t try to open it. But the memory stays with him right up to the moment he finds that memory written in a strange book he finds in his university library. Most intriguing is the mention of the Starless Sea that he didn’t find. Not yet.

Now, Zachary is obsessed with finding another entrance to the Starless Sea and the vast library it holds. All he has to go on is his book and the symbols of a bee, a key, and a sword. These symbols lead him to the intriguing characters of Mirabel, a pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome storyteller. Together, they will venture into the Harbor where Zachary will find wonders he never dreamed. But there is a dark force trying to stop him, stop them. Will he find the answers he searching for? Or is he too late?

OMG, this book was amazing. From beginning to end, it envelops you in a magical world that’s just so fantastical. This is a fairy tale of the best sort. The characters are real, but at the same time, they’re tinged in fantasy. The whole book has a dreamy feel which sometimes made it hard to concentrate on, but it’s just wonderful the way it pulls you in.

I don’t have much to say other than to gush. I will give a bit of advice if you read it: tab the stories. Every other chapter in this book is a story from a book that a character owns. These stories are very important and are referred to throughout the story. I found that I forgot the gist of some of the stories as I read and needed to flip back frequently. When I reread, I plan to tab the stories with sticky notes so I can go back and reread them when I stumble across the references in the main narrative.

I loved the way the stories intertwined and came back. Little insignificant things become very important, and that was amazing.

The characters were great, too. My favorite was the hero, Zachary, who was romantic and searching, smart and strong, and well developed. My second favorite was Dorian, who I wish we could have gotten to know a bit better. He was a well of mysteries, and even when they were somewhat explained, there were depths there that I wish could have been explored more. But that would have added a whole other five hundred pages to the narrative, so I get why he remains shrouded.

I didn’t see the ending coming. I had no idea what the narrative thrust was until the last quarter of the book, and that was great. It kept me guessing, kept me reading, and kept me enthralled. The language was beautiful and lyrical and there were a few lines that I want to have framed just so I can read and ponder them and be inspired them daily.

YES!! If you haven’t read it yet, go get it and read it ASAP. You won’t regret it. It’s the perfect escape for right now.