Time for another arc wrap up! There are some exciting new releases in this post that need to be on your radar!
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
I kind of regretting grabbing an arc of A Curse So Dark and Lonely at the RWA Blogger Day because when I got home and started seeing so much hype for it, I assumed it was going to be another overhyped YA book that I was going to be incredibly underwhelmed by. I’m happy to report that I was so, so wrong!
A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a fantasy Beauty and the Beast retelling in which Harper is kidnapped from our world and brought to the world of Emberfall, where she gets caught up in trying to break the curse on Prince Rhen and help save his kingdom.
There are so, so many things to like about this book, I’m not even entirely sure where to start. For one thing, I liked that this was a really unique take on a well-known fairy tale. While there’s definitely a romance, it’s not what you’d expect at all, and I really liked how Kemmerer handled it in the context of the story. I also just really liked the cast of characters and how complex they were and how they developed throughout the story, and it’s awesome that Harper is a heroine with cerebral palsy, which I’m not sure I’ve ever seen in a fantasy heroine before. This book was really fresh and unique while still giving me all the beats I love in a fantasy and fairy tale retelling, and I think the hype is real for this one!
A Curse So Dark and Lonely is on shelves now.
99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
I’m a huge fan of The Hating Game (it was one of my favorites of 2019!), and I absolutely freaked out when I was approved for a review copy of 99 Percent Mine, Thorne’s long-awaited sophomore novel. I started reading it immediately, but unfortunately this book wasn’t for me the way The Hating Game was.
In 99 Percent Mine, Darcy has been in love with Tom since she first met him, but the problem is that her twin brother Jamie claimed Tom as his best friend first, and Tom has been off limits ever since. But now Darcy is done traveling the world and needs Tom’s help fixing up the old house that her grandmother left to her and her brother, and the more time they spend together, the more sparks fly.
For starters, I’ve never been a fan of the unrequited love trope. I just think it’s depressing. So I already wasn’t thrilled with the premise of this book going in. (On the other hand, I love hate to love, so The Hating Game was always going to be right up my alley.) But mostly, I just didn’t like Darcy at all. I thought she was really mean to Tom and didn’t treat him well, so I had a hard time rooting for her to get a happy ending with him. I also wasn’t sure why she was even in love with him and didn’t think their romance really developed at all throughout the story. Plus her brother Jamie was such a jerk, and I really wanted her to tell him to get lost. Darcy did grow on me over the course of the book, but I ultimately just didn’t like the characters in 99 Percent Mine, and I really want to like the characters I read about in romance novels.
I don’t want to encourage anyone not to read this book, especially other fans of The Hating Game, but I have to be honest and say that I can’t really recommend picking this one up. If you don’t mind unrequited love and friends-to-lovers tropes, though, maybe this will be more your speed!
99 Percent Mine is on shelves now.
I received a copy of 99 Percent Mine from the publisher via Edelweiss.
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
Ok, back to books I enjoyed! Actually, I absolutely this one! It wasn’t on my radar at all and I hadn’t heard anything about it going in, so I wasn’t overly excited when I received it in an Avon Addict box, but it sounded different and fun so I decided to give it a shot. I’m now officially obsessed with this book and want everyone to read it when it hits shelves next week!
Polaris Rising follows Ada, the fifth of six children of one of the royal houses comprising the Royal Consortium. Unwilling to be used as a political tool and forced into a marriage she doesn’t want, she fled her family two years before the start of the book and has been on the run ever since. However, when Polaris Rising opens, she’s been captured and is on her way back to her family. But when her onetime fiancé intercepts the mercenaries who captured her, she’s forced to enlist the aid of her cellmate Marcus, a notorious criminal who allegedly killed his entire chain of command in a rebellion, to make it off the ship and avoid being used as a political tool against her family.
Have I mentioned yet that I’m obsessed with this book?! It was just such a captivating and fun read! I really liked Ada and how smart and capable she was, as well as how she managed to get out of the various sticky situations she found herself in. I aspire to be nearly as badass as her! Her romance with Marcus felt a little underdeveloped and I thought he could use some character development to be more dimensional, but I was still absolutely rooting for them to be together and get a happily ever after. And like all good romance novels, I’m now eagerly anticipating the sequel, which features Ada’s sister and the family’s head of security! October is so far away.
Also, this book has helped me realize just how much I enjoy a good scifi, which is part of what led to my monthly recommendation post focusing on reading more scifi! I’m really glad I gave this book a chance, and I hope you enjoy it if you try it, too.
Polaris Rising is on sale on February 5!
I received an arc from the publisher as part of the Avon Addict program.
So there are two more arcs I want to talk about, but I actually DNFed both of them, so I can’t offer full reviews. I’m disappointed because I was really looking forward to both of these, but they just didn’t work out for me, and I thought you all might want to know why in case either of these was on your radar.
First up is The Girl King by Mimi Lu. This sounded like a really cool fantasy with shapeshifters and lots of political intrigue and magic, and I was beyond excited when I managed to snag a copy at Book Expo after hearing so much buzz about it. But when I started reading it, I was actually really bored! I didn’t particularly care for any of the three POVs and wasn’t really invested in any of them ore their storylines. I found myself not wanting to pick this book up as I continued, and I made it 165 pages (34 percent) in before deciding that I wasn’t going to force myself to make it through the rest of the book.
The Girl King is on shelves now.
The other one I DNFed might be surprising giving the hype around this book, but it’s The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. Like everyone else, I was super excited for this book, and I waited in a long line to get an arc at Book Expo. It’s was pitched as a feminist fantasy with dragons, and you can’t really do much better than that. But like The Girl King, I was just bored. I might have wound up liking it by the end (in contrast, I didn’t expect to enjoy The Girl King given how little I liked the characters), but I made it 150 pages in and just did not care what happened to any of the characters at all.
Maybe I bailed too quickly—it is an 850 page book, after all, and I only read 17 percent of it. But I just couldn’t see myself committing so many hours to finishing it when there are so many other books I could read in that time instead. I’ll be curious to see how this one is received, because I can see myself picking it up again if it turns out that this book just has a slow start. But I read a bunch of reviews that were up at the time I decided to DNF, and while a lot of people really enjoyed it, it sounded like other people who were equally bored with it didn’t think it improved with 600 more pages.
The Priory of the Orange Tree will be on shelves on February 26.
And there you have it! Unfortunately there were a few books that I wasn’t a huge fan of in this arc wrap up, but my enjoyment of A Curse So Dark and Lonely and Polaris Rising definitely make up for that. I hope you enjoy these books if you decide to pick them up, especially Polaris Rising, which I really can’t recommend enough!