Kaiju Preservation Society: A Book Review

A big thank you to Tor Books and NetGalley for providing me with this copy to read and review. As always, I will share my full and honest thoughts.

When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls “an animal rights organization.” Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.

What Tom doesn’t tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm, human-free world. They’re the universe’s largest and most dangerous panda and they’re in trouble.

It’s not just the Kaiju Preservation Society who have found their way to the alternate world. Others have, too. And their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die.

Well hello there beautiful people! I finally finished a book that I needed to review. I’m not gonna lie, this one took a minute to read, but that wasn’t because of the book, that was because I am in a reading slump. Bother. On to the book!

This isn’t my first John Scalzi book, having read Old Man’s War a couple of years ago. I liked that one, but I haven’t read any of the other books in the series. This book surprised me, as I didn’t think it would live up to the promise of Old Man’s War.

The characters in this book were great! Our main protagonist, Jamie, is just your average guy. He could be any one of us trying to make our way through the world during the pandemic. And that’s what makes this book so great. Jamie was on his way to a doctorate when he decided to drop out and live his life just like all of his friends, so he’s not a slowpoke in the brains department, but when he arrives at KPS, he’s nothing special. Just a guy.

And this everyman is very well written. He takes his responsibilities seriously, and given the circumstances, he has found himself in, that’s actually a good thing. He has a great sense of humor, a quick wit, but a realistic side to him that I can appreciate.

But Jamie doesn’t know what he’s gotten himself into. In fact, none of his doctorate-holding companions do. They’ve all been left in the dark as to what exactly it is the KPS does.

Our side characters’ interactions with Jamie are great. They all have fun together and they have real and genuine friendships that help when the time to be heroes comes.

There is a lot of exposition in this book that comes from those side characters. At the beginning of the story you learn as they do, but later on, they are the ones explaining things. And they explain those things in a way that assumes the audience listening to them is smart. Which is always nice.

I found no issues with the pacing and the writing style kept me engaged the entire time I was reading. Just to give you an example, I was at 35% when I picked up the book today. I finished it once I actually sat down to read it. I actually laughed out loud a couple of times and when I told the Hubs one of the funny things, he laughed too, and he hasn’t even read the book.

One of the things I didn’t like was that I called the villain the second I met them. I hated being right, but, surprisingly, it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the story. I still wanted to know how everything played out.

I wasn’t expecting it, but I really loved this story. I happily give it 5 out of 5 stars.

WWW Wednesday: March 23, 2022

Well hello! And how are you doing today? Have you remembered to take some time to decompress lately? It’s hard trying to find the time with our busy schedules and the media screaming at us, but take a minute to breath in, breath out, and focus on some me time.

Today’s self-care reminder has been brought to you by WWW Wednesday!  It’s the day when we answer the three W’s: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next? It’s hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words but was previously hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm.

What are you currently reading?

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

It’s the follow-up to Get a Life, Chloe Brown, and I’m really enjoying the audiobook (narrated by Ione Butler). You can find the entire series on Scribd, if you are so inclined. I haven’t read a whole lot of romance yet, but fake dating seems to be a trope I am drawn to.

The Impossible Us by Sarah Lotz

So I just started this one as an ARC, even though it was released yesterday. I’m enjoying it, but I will say I wish the synopsis hadn’t spoiled the point of them…well. I’m not going to spoil it again. Suffice it to say the synopsis spoils a major plot point, and I would have like to have gone into that bit blind.

What did you recently finish reading?

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

I finished this last week and really enjoyed the audiobook. I enjoyed the mental health discussions and the disabled persons’ rep. And the two main characters being absolutely adorable doesn’t hurt.

Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

I finished this book just last night. I have a full review that is coming tomorrow. But, just as a sneak peek between friends, this book was great.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Portrait in Death by J.D. Robb

I haven’t been doing very well with my In Death re-read, but this will be book 16 to be read. I’m coming precious!

Today is also my first day at my job! I am super stoked and can’t wait to start! Wish me luck!

Books With an Adjective in the Title

Well hello, beautiful people! Today has been another busy day for me, what with the running of errands. The search for comfy shoes has been a long, hard, road. But isn’t it always?

It’s Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s list is all about books that have adjectives in the title!

Neon Gods by Katee Robert

Ah yes, the gods of neon. Those who shine brightly in their glittering city above all. This is a Hades and Persephone retelling of the spicy variety. I enjoyed this one enough to pick up the sequel. Which of course, I still haven’t read.

Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite by Various

This short story collection all about vampires was a four-star read for me. It takes typical vampire lore and tropes and reimagines them with a modern twist. And there are some pretty good stories in here.

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Malloy

I had rated this book two stars. It left such an impression on me that I had to look up the description on Goodreads, as I had completely forgotten what it was about.

The Defiant Heir by Melissa Caruso

The second book in the Swords and Fire series. I gave this one four stars. I have really enjoyed this series, which totally explains why I haven’t finished it.

Cursed by Thomas Wheeler, art by Frank Miller.

This King Arthur retelling focuses on Nimue, the lady of the lake. I really enjoyed this tale and gave it five stars. I haven’t finished the Netflix adaptation, and I probably won’t, if I’m honest.

The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemburg

This story features some interesting trans rep and has a very unique magic system. That being said, the writing style felt a little flat for me, and I ended up not finishing this novella. I gave it one star.

To be Taught, if Fortunate by Beck Chambers

This novella features a very interesting ending and I highly recommend you check it out. It’s a story about a mission to discover life on alien worlds, and asks the question, what kind of world will they find when they go home? I gave it four stars.

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall

This story was written by the author of Boyfriend Material and I absolutely loved this book. Unfortunately, it’s a standalone, and there are currently no plans for a sequel. I would love to see more in this world. I did give it five stars. If you love fantastical retellings and enjoy Sherlock Holmes you may get a kick out of this.

Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs

Okay, but how nice is this cover? That’s not why we are here of course, but it has to be said. This is the 5th book in the Alpha and Omega series which is a Mercy Thompson spin-off. I thought this book was just okay, if the three-star rating I gave it is anything to go by.

Dark in Death by J.D. Robb

The 46th entry into the In Death series finds Eve having to solve crime. Go figure. Like all the In Death books, I really had a good time reading this one, although the series is suffering a little from series fatigue. It’s a hazard when you write this many books. Four stars.

And there it is. My list of books with adjectives in the title. Have you read any of these?

Life Update!

Hey, y’all! So I have an exciting life update for you!

I got a job! I’m super excited about this as this job is at my local library!

What better place for a bookworm like me?

I’m super excited especially since I am going to be starting there this week!

This, by the way, is why I was running around town all week last week. I was prepping for the new job! I basically needed a new wardrobe as my current one consists of jogging pants and t-shirts. Perfect for a pandemic, but not this particular job.

Have I mentioned that I am excited?

Because I am. So very much so.

Weekly Round-Up: March 19, 2022

Well hello, beautiful people! How was your week? Mine has been insane (hence this being posted on a Sunday!). I have been running all over the greater Dallas area like a chicken with its head cut off all week. And I still have stuff I need to do! Does anyone want to come over and clean my house for me?

What I Read This Week

Get a Life, Cloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

I thoroughly enjoyed my time listening to this audiobook. The narrator for this, Adjoa Andoh, did a great job. It helped to fill the time I spent in the car this week and kept my spirits up while I was running my errands at the beginning of the week. I also really liked how they portrayed each character’s mental health journey in this book. Chloe is actually a disabled person, so I think I am going to look up reviews featuring own voices to see how well the author portrayed that aspect.

Instagram Posts

My Instagram has been very neglected these past few weeks. Sigh.

Blog Posts

I missed Monday due to the need for a Mental Health break. Sometimes a woman has to look out for herself, you know?

Tuesday saw my return to the blog with a Top Ten Tuesday post all about my Spring TBR. Let’s see how well I do with that, shall we?

I skipped Wednesday. Honestly, I just ran out of time to write anything. This week has been utterly chaotic, and Wednesday paid the price for it. Sorry Wednesday.

Thursday I did a post that was all about Audiobook resources. Basically different places where you can find audiobooks. I also gave you my favorite places of the few I did list.

Friday was First Lines Friday. It’s a book that has been on my TBR since 2014. I’m clearly doing well with this TBR thing.

In Other News

So we know Brandon Sanderson launched a Kickstarter. But did you know that fantasy author Will Wight launched a Kickstarter too? His is a smaller following, but they are loyal. He was only asking for $10,000 and got over $500,000!

The Hubs loves his writing, so we couldn’t help but back this one. If you want to back it, there are only 5 days left to go on this one!

How was your week last week?

First Lines Friday: March 18, 2022

Well hello, beautiful people! I am currently in the midst of trying to talk myself both into and out of reorganizing my library. It’s been a very interesting time listening to my internal monologue. It basically goes “the Brandon Sanderson books are going to need more space!” and “you don’t have to worry about Sanderson until next year, reorganize then”. I’m sure the Hubs would be of help…if I had talked to him about this.

I never claimed to make sense.

But it is Friday, so its time for me to put the debate to the side for now, and concentrate on First Lines Friday! First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words, or, as her blog is going by now, Emma IRL. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author, or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Today’s book is one that has been on my TBR for years…and years. And it’s the first book in a series.

The Line:

It started at one-thirty on a cold Thursday morning in January when Michael Turner, Street performer and, in his own words, apprentice gigolo, tripped over a body in front of the West Portico of St. Paul’s at Covent Garden.

Intrigued?

The Book:

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

This book was originally published in America under the name Midnight Riot, they have since fixed this egregious error.

I bought this book back in 2014 and for some reason just never picked it up. No idea why. Could be because it’s an ebook, and those are harder to keep track of. Heck, I may have even tried to read it at some point, but I don’t remember. That, by the way, is very unlikely, as I remember almost all of the books I read. Can’t always remember their names, but I remember them!

Have you read Rivers of London? What did you think?

Audiobook Resources

Well hello, beautiful people! Today I have combed the finest internets to present to you some audiobook resources. We all have our favorites, but some of us might not know of these. Unfortunately, I cannot vouch for their international availability, but they are present here in the states.

Chirp

Chirp is a subscription-free audiobook website. On top of featuring the hottest audiobooks, they also offer deals on a lot of them, some as low as $0.99. The phone app is good for ease of use listening on the go.

Scribd

Scribd is a subscription service that offers both audiobooks and ebooks to read. The cost is currently set at $9.99 a month. They offer new releases, sometimes when they are released, sometimes a little while later. I love their audiobook selection and have spent a lot of time with them recently.

Audibooks.com

Audibooks.com is a subscription service in which you get to pick and keep an audiobook each month. You can also listen to podcasts with the service. They even have a family plan to select so more than one person can use the account. The plans start at $14.95 a month. I haven’t used them though so…

Kindle Unlimited Audiobooks

So Kindle Unlimted is a great service offered by Amazon that costs $9.99 a month. With it, you get access to thousands of ebooks. So how about I didn’t know you got audiobooks until very recently? Yup. It’s included.

Audible

Amazon’s mega-giant of an audiobook subscription service. They even do podcasts and Audible originals. These originals can be anything from one-off stories to an exclusive recording of a hit book. The service runs from $9.99 to $14.95. You only get audiobooks you can keep on the $14.95 plan.

LibroFM

LibroFM is like the indie bookseller of audiobooks. In fact, you can select an indie bookstore to support with your membership and purchases. The service runs for $14.99 a month, and with a membership, you can purchase additional audiobooks for 30% off list price.

Libby

You’ve heard me rave about the Libby app before, but have I told you it has audiobooks on top of all the ebooks they have? Libby runs through your local library, so the audiobooks are free. Who doesn’t like reading free books? You just need a library card to sign up. It’s very user-friendly. The downside is that sometimes you have to wait for the book to become available, but it’s always worth it…unless the book is bad.

So which services would I recommend?

Personally, I like to use Scribd and Libby. Between the two of them, I can usually find what I’m looking for. Scribd also lets you download the audiobook, so you don’t have to worry about using your data if you have a plan that works like that (me!). I do go back to Audible at least once a year (usually during Prime week, as they offer free credits) to pick up a few books that I want to keep.

What is your favorite audiobook service?

Books on My 2022 Spring TBR

Well hello, beautiful people. It’s been a few days. I needed a mental health break, so I took some time off from blogging and did some other things, like playing board games with the Hubs.

But today is Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week it’s all about your spring TBR.

I made the winter one and never read a book on it, so let’s see if I can keep to this one, shall we?

The Impossible Us by Sarah Lotz

I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley. It sounds like a very cool premise. Love through parallel worlds? Yup. I’ll read that.

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

A story about men who have a secret book club where they read romance novels to help them in their love lives. Um, but why does this sound like both a train wreck and adorable all at once. It also happens to be the first book in a series, and we all know how good I am at finishing those.

The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl

I love the idea of vampires that are frozen in time and can’t escape the frizzy hair of the 80s! I also love that it’s a revenge story.

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

The story of the current geological age as told in personal essays. It’s been on my TBR shelf (let’s be honest, it’s shelves) for a while now and I want to get to it soonish.

Malice by Heather Walter

This story of Sleeping Beauty told from the villain’s point of view. The sequel is coming out later this year, and I want to get to this one before Misrule releases.

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Mass

I bought this one without knowing what it was about, and I still don’t know. But it’s a chonky book, and I want to get to it, as the sequel just came out this month.

Various In Death Books by J.D. Robb

It’s kind of cheating to put this on here, but I’m only counting it as one, so it’s not cheating, right?

All The Feels by Olivia Dade

Another sequel, this one to my favorite book of the year so far. I have to get to it, and soon.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Now, I didn’t like the first book I read by this author, but I have heard that this one was way better. So here’s hoping. Especially because she has a book coming out this year that I like the sound of.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

I really enjoyed the last book by this author, so I have high hopes for this one. Hopefully those won’t be dashed.

Now, let’s hope I can actually read all the books on this TBR this season. I’m going to cross my fingers!

First Lines Friday: March 11,2022

Happy Friday y’all! It’s quite the Friday here in Texas. The weather has lost its mind. It was 65 degrees here yesterday and today the low is 24 degrees with a chance of sleet. What is happening?

But let’s not dwell on that unpleasantness. It’s First Lines Friday!

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words, or, as her blog is going by now, Emma IRL. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author, or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

The Lines:

I will tell you a story.

Seven years ago, when I was ten, I became lost in the woods. My sisters and I had been traveling the road that skims the coast like a stone from Dintagel. I loved our summer home-a spume-silvered rock of houses and workshops, its docks piled high with amphorae.

Intrigued?

The Book:

Sistersong by Lucy Holland

In the kingdom of Dumnonia, there is old magic to be found in the whisper of the wind, the roots of the trees, and the curl of the grass. King Cador knew this once, but now the land has turned from him, calling instead to his three children. Riva can cure others, but can’t seem to heal her own deep scars. Keyne battles to be accepted for who he truly is—the king’s son. And Sinne dreams of seeing the world, of finding adventure.

All three fear a life of confinement within the walls of the hold, their people’s last bastion of strength against the invading Saxons. However, change comes on the day ash falls from the sky. It brings with it Myrdhin, meddler and magician. And Tristan, a warrior who is not what he seems.

Riva, Keyne and Sinne—three siblings entangled in a web of betrayal and heartbreak, who must fight to forge their own paths. 

Their story will shape the destiny of Britain.

This book sounds like it will enchant me from the first word. I’m thinking of adding it to one of my TBRs later this year! What do you think?

Book Haul: February and March 2022

Well hello, beautiful humans! I decided to bring you a combined book haul today for the months of February and March since I’m done buying books for the month. Wishful thinking I know, but a girl can dream.

Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan is killing it . . . except, she’s really not. She’s a stressed-out single-mom of two and struggling novelist, Finlay’s life is in chaos: the new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written, her ex-husband fired the nanny without telling her, and this morning she had to send her four-year-old to school with hair duct-taped to her head after an incident with scissors.

When Finlay is overheard discussing the plot of her new suspense novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer, and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet . . . Soon, Finlay discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart, as she becomes tangled in a real-life murder investigation.

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Berry

In the town of Danvers, Massachusetts, home of the original 1692 witch trials, the 1989 Danvers Falcons will do anything to make it to the state finals—even if it means tapping into some devilishly dark powers.

Against a background of irresistible 1980s iconography, Quan Barry expertly weaves together the individual and collective progress of this enchanted team as they storm their way through an unforgettable season.

Helmed by good-girl captain Abby Putnam (a descendant of the infamous Salem accuser Ann Putnam) and her co-captain Jen Fiorenza (whose bleached blond “Claw” sees and knows all), the Falcons prove to be wily, original, and bold, flaunting society’s stale notions of femininity. Through the crucible of team sport and, more importantly, friendship, this comic tour de female force chronicles Barry’s glorious cast of characters as they charge past every obstacle on the path to finding their glorious true selves.

Electric Idol by Katee Robert

In the ultra-modern city of Olympus, there’s always a price to pay. Psyche Dimitriou knew she’d have to face Aphrodite’s jealous rage eventually, but she never expected her literal heart to be at stake…or for Aphrodite’s gorgeous son to be the one ordered to strike the killing blow.

Eros has no problem shedding blood. Raised to be his mother’s knife in the dark, he’s been conditioned to accept that he’s more monster than man. But when it comes time to take out his latest target…he can’t do it. Confused by his reaction to Psyche’s unexpected kindness, he does the only thing he can think of to keep her safe: he binds her to him, body and soul.

Psyche didn’t expect to find herself married to the glittering city’s most dangerous killer, but something about Eros wakens a fire inside her she’s never felt before. As lines blur and loyalties shift, Psyche realizes Eros might take her heart after all…and she’s not sure she can survive the loss.

The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.

But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all. 

A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross

Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.

As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. 

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

All The Feels by Olivia Dade

Alexander Woodroe has it all. Charm. Sex appeal. Wealth. Fame. A starring role as Cupid on TV’s biggest show, Gods of the Gates. But the showrunners have wrecked his character, he’s dogged by old demons, and his post-show future remains uncertain. When all that reckless emotion explodes into a bar fight, the tabloids and public agree: his star is falling.

Enter Lauren Clegg, the former ER therapist hired to keep him in line. Compared to her previous work, watching over handsome but impulsive Alex shouldn’t be especially difficult. But the more time they spend together, the harder it gets to keep her professional remove and her heart intact, especially when she discovers the reasons behind his recklessness…not to mention his Cupid fanfiction habit.

When another scandal lands Alex in major hot water and costs Lauren her job, she’ll have to choose between protecting him and offering him what he really wants—her. But he’s determined to keep his improbably short, impossibly stubborn, and extremely endearing minder in his life any way he can. And on a road trip up the California coast together, he intends to show her exactly what a falling star will do to catch the woman he loves: anything at all. 

Walk the Wild With Me by Rachel Atwood

Orphaned when still a toddler, Nicholas Withybeck knows no other home than Locksley Abbey outside Nottingham, England. He works in the scriptorium embellishing illuminated manuscripts with hidden faces of the Wild Folk and whimsical creatures that he sees every time he ventures into the woods and fields. His curiosity leads him into forbidden nooks and crannies both inside and outside the abbey, and he becomes adept at hiding to stay out of trouble.

On one of these forays Nick slips into the crypt beneath the abbey. There he finds an altar older than the abbey’s foundations, ancient when the Romans occupied England. Behind the bricks around the altar, he finds a palm-sized silver cup. The cup is embellished with the three figures of Elena, the Celtic goddess of crossroads, sorcery, and cemeteries.

He carries the cup with him always, listening as the goddess whispers wisdom in the back of his mind. With Elena’s cup in his pocket, Nick can see that the masked dancers at the May Day celebration in the local village are actually the creatures of the wood: The Green Man—known to mortals as Little John—and Robin Goodfellow, Herne the Huntsman, dryads, trolls, and water sprites. Theirs are the faces he’s seen and drawn into his illuminations.

Guided by Elena along secret forest paths, Nick learns that Little John’s love has been kidnapped by Queen Mab of the Faeries. The door to the Faery mound will only open when the moons of the two realms align. That time is fast approaching. Nick must release Elena so that she can use sorcery to unlock that door, allowing Nick’s band of friends to try to rescue the girl. Will he have the courage to release her as his predecessor did not?

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil.

Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village.

But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed—to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

I’m really excited to pick up All the Feels and Electric Idol, as they are sequels to books I read last month. I should probably get on that, huh?

What books have you pick up recently?