Finally getting to write a bit again – though bear with me, I’ve been very migraney, so it’ll be rather short and sweet today I think. Good thing it’s Monday Minis anyway! I’ve got three very different books for you today – a YA anthology of romantic stories, a YA fantasy about fae and a YA creepy historical/horror. Thanks to all of the publishers for providing me with eARCs via NetGalley, as usual, all opinions are my own.
Fools in Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales, edited by Rebecca Podos and Ashley Herring Blake, is full of short stories with twists on romantic YA tropes by some of the most popular authors working in YA right now. You’ve got everything from fake dating to missed connections to love triangles and enemies to lovers, usually with a brilliant twist. And pretty much all of these stories are queer or diverse in another way – no straight white cis stories centred here, no ma’am – and my, how happy that makes me. I read this book spread over a couple weeks, reading just one or two stories to cheer myself up as all of them are just really lovely and delightful and positive. This is the kind of feel-good book that will make you feel better about yourself and the world and just kind of has the same effect as a hug or a cup of hot tea. While none of the stories were especially brilliant in a standout-favourite sort of way for me personally, none of them stood out as weak either – a solid anthology without clear weak spots. Highly recommended if you’re looking for something to cheer you up!
These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan is a YA fae fantasy romance. At its centre is Brie, a girl with a hate for the fae. But when her sister is sold to the Unseelie Court, she will do anything to get her back. Including bargaining with the Unseelie King to steal relics from the Seelie Court, flinging herself head-first into both courts and their machinations. I was quite ambiguous about this book – it is entertaining and a very quick read, but there isn’t anything very special about it for me. There is the expected love triangle, hinted at already in the blurb, and really nothing that makes it stand out from the many fae YA books out there. Originally I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to read These Hollow Vows, then was sucked in by the hype, and it was perfect for a train read, but not more than that if it makes sense. If fae are more your thing, or if you’re a lover of books like The Cruel Prince, this is probably more your cup of tea than it is mine!
What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo was one I was very excited for. A creepy family mansion, clan secrets and a girl returning from boarding school to uncover it all? Sounds like the gothic book of my dreams. Add in some magic and wolf shifters and I’m bound to love it. However, I actually ended up dnf’ing this at about 40%. I tried reading it as an eARC, and when I struggled to get into it, I switched to audio (as I had it available on my Scribd). And while there are quite a few reasons that influenced my decision to abandon the book, the main one was that Eleanor, the main character, A TEEN, as well as her sister and cousin, both teens too, are weirdly obsessed with this middle aged man who seems to be grooming them – and I’m just not here for that. It might well be that there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for that later on in the story that I just haven’t reached, but the behaviour as depicted in the story up to where I reached just made me feel so uncomfortable as a reader that I could not keep reading. Thus, this is a book I will not be recommending.