booksalacarte's reviews
470 reviews

Court of Claws by Briar Boleyn

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adventurous hopeful tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

Court of Claws- 3.5⭐️ 3🌶️

Betrayal
Fake relationship
Morally grey MMC
He Falls First
One bed
Surprise twist
Kingdom politics
Found family
Trials
War
Animal familiars
Miscommunication
🏳️‍🌈 Side Character Rep

This story begins right where the first left off. I really like how this reimagined Camelot is pulling more and more from the original. Links are being revealed and coming together. All of the little pieces of the original story finding their way into this one, just with a spin. It’s refreshing and highlights taking a misogynistic tale and restructuring it to not be so archaic.

The writing is a little stilted, it felt like the word “F*ck” was added in excessively (mostly by one character) to make things edgier… sometimes it was in juxtaposition to the story creating a jarring harshness of language in situations where you would expect more finesse. And I’m not talking about the bedroom scenes… those were good!

Anyway, it wasn’t off putting enough that I didn’t enjoy the book. Far more than the first, mainly because of the non-stop action and fast pace plot.

Morgan is an infuriating character. It’s almost like she is completely ignorant of court politics or intrigue. (Reminder, she was raised as a princess!) She only sees things in black and white. She is full of flaws; immature, annoyingly defiant for terrible reasons, stubborn, wishy-washy as hell, and seemingly purposefully and idiotically obtuse. Her character arc isn’t evident yet… hopefully she will grow in the next book… and says “f*ck” in more appropriate instances, instead of throwing it around because her character needs to be more daring and grown up… She just sounds like a middle schooler on a playground trying to show how badass she is by saying the worst curse word she can think of.

Draven seems to be an enigma with his loyalty and willingness to do what has to be done. Talk about the definition of “Morally Grey”. A softie with a hard exterior. Exactly what a morally grey man should be. He has killed, been exiled, caught for Morgan and himself, sacrificed himself and his kingdom. I think he is well written… as well written as any other fantasy romance MMC. They all have flaws.

The exmoors are so cool! I’m a sucker for animal familiars. If something happens to them I’ll riot.

The side characters are endearing. I’m undecided if I can get past Morgan’s poor character arc enough to read on… if I do, it’s only for Draven and the exmoors.

Thank you NetGalley and Starwater Press for the advanced reader copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Queen of Roses by Briar Boleyn

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adventurous dark hopeful tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.5

Queen of Roses- 3.5⭐️ 2🌶️


Fantasy Romance
King Arthur Reimagining
Guard and Princess
Princess Warrior
Hidden history
One horse
One bed
Battles
Deception
🏳️‍🌈 Side Character Rep
Self discovery
Slow burn
“Who did this to you?”

TW: domestic abuse, murder


This was the beginning to a different tale of Arthur and his knights. The twists in the tale were interesting and I found myself intrigued by where the story was going to go and how things would play out. The story focuses on Morgan Pendragon and her Fae heritage, casting Arthur in a bad light… to put it mildly. I’m interested to see how much the story stays along the lines of the classic tale.

I found the first half of the book to be a bit mundane, there was world building and character development. It wasn’t that there was a lot stuffed into the first half, but that the first half didn’t have the heroine stepping up and being bold. I found her disappointing in the castle. 

I also wish there was a map… or that things were laid out a little clearer in regards to what the land looked like. For the longest time I thought they were traveling North in the second half… then all of a sudden the crew is going south? 

The second half threw things into motion and that’s when the story really took off. Also, the MMC wasn’t suffocating and condescendingly always saving the FMC and rubbing her face in it. An interesting diversion from the typical guard/Princess relationship.

Plus, the cliffhanger was pretty good! A

Thank you NetGalley and Starwater Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!

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A Kingdom of Venom and Vows by Holly Renee

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adventurous fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

2.0

A kingdom of venom and vows- 2⭐️ 3🌶️


An old fae kingdom across the sea is brought up out of nowhere! What in the world?

A priest? There has been no talk of any type of religion in this kingdom. Some world building there would have been nice.

Wait I thought only mates could share powers….
A Kingdom of Blood and Betrayal by Holly Renee

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adventurous mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

2.5

Kingdom of blood and betrayals- 2.5⭐️ 3🌶️

Kidnapping
Betrayal
Fae vampires
Forced proximity
One bed
Mates
Touch her and die
Training sequence
Found family


The plot is getting to be less and less central to the… plot? The holes in the plot are so big I’m baffled there is much else other than the romance scenes and the MMC saying “you’re mine” over and over again. It’s about as repetitive as the romantic scenes…

I mean the author gets out of explaining how bonding and mates happen by saying they are so rare that no one knows. I have a feeling that will be the explanation for more than just that… 

The moon festival was super familiar. 🤨 and I was left asking why the vampire queen wasn’t a bigger character. Learning about her back story would have been so great. I want to know all about her and the fae king and what happened there! 

Honestly, I wish Thalia was the FMC. 
Hunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton

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dark emotional reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

3⭐️ 4.75🌶️

Dual POV
Rescue mission


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Haunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton

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dark emotional mysterious reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

3.5⭐️ 4.5🌶️

Dark romance
Dual POV
Stalker romance
Paranormal events


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Role Playing by Cathy Yardley

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adventurous emotional funny hopeful lighthearted relaxing medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.5

Role playing- 4.5⭐️ 2🌶️


✨My Opinion✨
Contemporary romance
Older FMC
Second chance romance
Introverted MC’s
Main character 🏳️‍🌈QIA+ rep

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The Housemaid by Freida McFadden

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challenging dark mysterious sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75

The housemaid- 4.75⭐️ 2🌶️


Dual pov
Thriller
Forbidden love
Surprises twist



This is such a good book. The foreshadowing was really well done. 

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Midnight Mass by Sierra Simone

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dark emotional hopeful reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0

Midnight mass- 2⭐️ 4.5🌶️

Miscommunication
Married romance
Holiday romance

This was a continuation of the first book that could have been an extended epilogue. 


‼️Spoiler warning‼️

Tw:
Miscarriage 

As someone who has lost a baby early on in pregnancy, this was a little triggering… but also such an accurate representation of the grief that follows. I so much appreciate the attention to detail.

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Sinner by Sierra Simone

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challenging emotional hopeful informative reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.25

Sinner-3.25⭐️ 3.5🌶️

Millionaire romance
Age gap
Contract romance
Forced proximity
🏳️‍🌈 side character rep

I enjoyed this story so much more than Priest. It’s interesting being inside the brain of a man in a romance novel. A adjustment for me, for sure… but I can see the intention and reason for it. It read very similarly to many other billionaire romance books I’ve read. 

The Catholic practices were fetishized some, but not as much or the way they were in Priest. The spiritual struggle was so much more real, relatable and common, in my opinion. 

I found myself, again, caught off guard by the spirituality that was genuine, raw and relatable. The struggle with the structure and dealings of the Catholic Church and finding the good and necessary in the institution that is as corrupt as it is. It was such an interesting mentality. But then the spice was undeniably spicy. And the relation between bedroom fun and spirituality isn’t something I am used to having fill the same book.

‼️Spoiler Tw:‼️
Cancer
Parental death

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