ARC received from the publisher (Tor) in exchange for an honest review.
The House in the Cerulean Sea was one of my favourite books of 2020. So naturally, I jumped at the chance to read Under the Whispering Door as well. Unlike Cerulean Sea, this wasn’t an instant hit with me – but it won me over completely before the halfway point and that’s vanishingly rare. It counts for something.
And we’re all a little frayed around the edges, aren’t we? It doesn’t surprise me and it doesn’t frighten me, finding out you’re only human like the rest of us.
This is one of my favourite finds this year.
Have you ever wondered what happens to children violently thrown from portal fantasy worlds? Do you think Susan from Narnia deserved better? Are you looking for something quiet and melancholy? Did you wish the Wayward Children novellas were darker and longer? Then you should absolutely read it.
Once again, it’s time for a batch of mini reviews. I might not be in a reading slump anymore, not quite, but I am in a bit of a reviewing slump and I finally have enough of these hoarded up for a post.
ARC received from the publisher (Stelliform Press) in exchange for an honest review.
Now this was a breath of fresh air. Barely over novella length and set in near future Beijing plagued by pollution where water is strictly rationed, it’s at the same time deeply melancholic, sweet, and kind. I loved it. I requested this more or less on a whim after Christine @ Black Forest Basilisks recommended it to me and I have no regrets.
(Also, if you need any more convincing, there are dragons and it’s gay.)
I have wanted to read this book since at least 2015. It seemed like exactly that sort of small-scale book I might be into. Unfortunately, it was completely impossible to get – available either from a small press that did not ship to my country, or used for insane prices – until very recently when an ebook finally became available.
ARC received from the publisher (Solaris) in exchange for an honest review.
We burn history down, over and over, as an act of remembrance. When there are no answers, there is recollection, and repetition.
I’m always on the lookout for more SFF slice of life. Especially weird literary SFF slice of life. So when Fabienne brought this book to my attention, I knew I’d have to read it. And it turned out to be one of the most unique things I’ve found in a while – at the same time somehow a seamless blend of super chill sci-fi slice of life (slight Becky Chambers vibes anyone?) and something altogether more unsettling.
That, I believe, is the heart of man. Not declarations, not speeches, no, but the softest word spoken in the softest whisper, to one’s companion after a night of revelry has dwindled down to the tender dawn that follows it.
This book should have been everything I ever wanted. 18th century gentle, slow burn gay romance involving a vampire and his secretary, with autism and ADHD rep, it seemed as if it could hardly be more up my alley if it tried. And it’s always a bitter disappointment when a book that seems perfect for you…isn’t.
Sometimes, it’s just not to be. Sometimes, no matter how much I want to love a book, there comes a point where I can’t force myself to read another page. Not necessarily because it’s a bad book – in this batch, there’s even two I’d give 4/5 for execution – but it happens. I often write shorter reviews of books I DNF’d just so that there’s some note on them on goodreads, but they are too short to be a blogpost on their own, and I haven’t had enough to group them together until now.
“You think I’m going to tell you now when we’re this close? Half the appeal of having you tag along is the fact that you dissolve into a puddle of unintelligible enthusiasm every time we come across something remotely interesting. […] It’s a real treat, watching you fall in love with the things I love.”
Heretic’s Guide is a paradox. I want to shout its praises from the rooftops because how come that I’ve never heard of it before Lynn recommended it to me when it’s so good and so relatable? (Not to mention the gorgeous cover. I had to go for the paperback.) But on the other hand, I almost want to keep it secret and not tell anyone it exists, because I couldn’t stand someone disliking it and being harsh about it. This is, quite possibly, one of the hardest and yet most necessary reviews I ever wrote.
Because I’ve never been this personally attached to a book before. Sure, there’s been my eternal favourite, The Gray House, which has a lot of themes that resonate with me, or The Curse of Chalion, my forever comfort read. But neither of them felt this intimate and I can easily shrug off the thought of someone hating them.
Since the start of April, I’ve mostly emerged from my months-long slump and I’ve been downright craving fluff. Sweet, slow books where all ends well, yes please, give me all of them. I heard of Mindtouch a while ago, as a slice of life book with an asexual romance I might like. And since this year’s Bingo has an aro/ace square and I spotted this book was free…it seemed perfect.
In the end, have so many conflicted feelings about it. It was indeed fluffy and comfy and I couldn’t stop reading all right. But some of the worldbuilding choices are…questionable at best and the same goes for ace represenataion.