mini-reviews: these feathered flames, when you get the chance, and cool for the summer

Hello and today I am back from the void with some long-overdue reviews! welp

I’ve been putting these off for so long and I don’t even know why? But here I am about to shove like three different reviews in your face, so buckle up (I swear they aren’t too long because due to being long overdue, I forget half of what I read so all I have are my few key points lmaoooo)

I received all of these from Netgalley or Edelweiss in exchange for honest reviews, and this hasn’t affected my opinions in any way.

These Feathered Flames by Alexandera Overy

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Sisters? Magic? Murder? Complicated court politics? Questions of morality? Sapphics? Bears? These Feathered Flames has it all.

This is one of those books where, even if it didn’t quite reach a five star level for me, I have very little in the way of actual criticism. I noted in one of my status updates that I wished I’d read this as a young teen, because had I read it back then, it would probably have become a new favourite. As is, my tastes have changed since then, and on a personal level this isn’t quite favourite material—but I firmly believe that was through no fault of the book itself, because it was a delight. Well, ‘delight’ might slightly undersell the pain this book brought me, but you know what I mean ;))

My only note on this one is that I found the beginning a bit slow—I was intrigued, but it wasn’t necessarily pulling me along. If you find the same thing, though, it’s definitely worth pushing through, because it gets so good.

This book did so much right—I loved the intricate politics of it all, the way Asya was struggling with the morality of her role, the really cool magic system—but hands down what made it shine was the characters and their dynamics. Alexandra Overy writes characters so well, and it’s near impossible not to get wrapped up in their stories.

I especially loved how much contrast there was between our two protagonists.
 Asya is an absolute soft cinnamon roll who’s absolutely unused to court life (with a dash of that good old thinks-she’s-a-monster angst that’s always so much fun to read), while Izaveta grew up in court, is emotionally repressed, and always has a scheme. The dynamic between these two—who grew up together, but have spent more than half their lives apart and have changed so much since they last saw each other—is just absolutely top notch. I can’t say too much for spoiler reasons, but . . . damn.

Also is it time to profess my undying love for Yuliana Vilanovich? Yes. Always. The slowburn hate to love romance here was just top notch, also I just!! love her!! so much!! Anyways yes I would do anything for Yuliana, thank you for coming to my ted talk

In short: pls read this book if you like complex political fantasies with cool magic and sisters and sapphics

When You Get the Chance by Robin Stevenson and Tom Ryan

Rating: 3 out of 5.

we’re going to pretend like I actually remember more than three things about this book, because I read it literally a year ago and then forgot to review it because the release date got delayed

Honestly, even after having . . . a lot of time . . . to process this one, I still don’t really know how to feel about it? So this review might be a little uncertain, but let’s try to sum up my feelings:

First of all, Mark. He’s one of the two POV characters in this book, and I couldn’t stand him. His character was very clearly written to be insufferable, and he did grow and change over the course of the book, but that didn’t make reading his chapters any less miserable. I generally speaking love reading about unlikeable characters, at least when it’s clearly an intentional thing, but Mark . . . ugh. He’s so self-absorbed, selfish, privileged and completely unaware of it, and just generally speaking needs to get his priorities in order. I just . . . hated every second of his chapters whoops. This was not a failing of the book, as I do think it was very intentional, however it still detracted from my enjoyment

Secondly, we have our other POV character, Talia. I absolutely loved Talia’s character—she was messy, unquestionably, but she felt messy in an authentic way that was really refreshing to read. Yes, I occasionally wanted to scream at her to get her shit together, but I also saw lots of little bits of myself in her. Additionally, I really liked the ways she challenged Mark (and others) on takes that were less than good. I feel like her POV brought a lot of important things to light, and I appreciated that.

I think generally speaking, what I appreciated about this book was how real it felt (even if that’s what brought us Mark ://). It was a bit messy, but while there were a few little things I wish could have been handled differently, generally speaking it showed very authentic family dynamics, and a view of the queer community that felt very grounded in reality.

This book was also so unapologetically queer, and I really loved that about it. There was so much queer joy and love and it was big and messy and beautiful.

All in all? I’m not sure how I feel about this entirely. It had a lot of good elements, and I think they mostly outweighed the bad, but that doesn’t change the fact that I only really enjoyed about half the book—hopefully y’all will like it more than I did

Cool For the Summer by Dahlia Adler

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Cool For the Summer is a perfect summer romcom—fun, sweet, silly, and just that perfect little dash of emotional. Exactly what I’m looking for when I pick up a book like this.

Cool For the Summer is also relatively unmemorable. This isn’t a criticism exactly, but even a week after I’d read it, most of it had already left my head. I remember a bookstore, a fun karaoke scene, some angst, and the dual timeline. Other than that, I couldn’t tell you what happened.

That said, I do recommend this book—and I really liked it! This is fully a positive review! I just recommend it for a very certain sort of situation—when you’re looking for something fun and cute and full of cheese. The writing is good, the tension is good, the characters are good. Cool For the Summer is an easy book to lose yourself in, and I think it does everything it set out to do

I also think this book has the potential to mean a lot more to bi readers than it did to me—if you’re looking for a bi love triangle book, this is probably perfect for you. I personally do not particularly like love triangles, and while I’m always looking for rep, I had no personal connection to this rep.

Overall? I fully recommend this book. It’s fun, simple as that

Have you read any of these? Are they on your TBR? What are your favourite unapologetically queer books?

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