New Release, Quick Review: All The Blues Come Through by Metra Farrari

Publication Date: June 11, 2022

Not all heroes wear capes . . . In fact, some prefer cat hair-covered leggings and a lab coat. Meet Ryan Bell, the painfully single twenty-eight-year-old botanist credited with creating miraculous air-purifying flowers capable of saving mankind from itself. There’s only one problem: Only Ryan can grow them.

When Ryan is contacted by a mysterious Greek assembly claiming to have replicated her game-changing scientific feat, she drops everything to meet them. Upon arriving at their isolated utopia, Ryan quickly realizes her hosts are more myth than scientists. They attribute their green thumbs not to years of botany study, but rather to the godly blood of being Descendants of the Olympians. And there are some major Greek hunks among the crew.

While Ryan is adamant that her famous flowers were developed by years of research and hard work, the Descendants have a much more viable explanation for her fantastical botanic talents: She is the missing Descendant of Artemis. Moreover, she is the one missing piece in their plan to rescue Zeus and the rest of the exiled Olympians.

Talk about one epic identity crisis. Magical demigod or not, the fate of civilization―both mortal and godly―now rests on Ryan’s shoulders.

★★★★☆

Less Greek tragedy and more beach read, this book is light-hearted and fun in a way the other books in this emerging little sub-genre of “mythology retellings and tie-ins” generally are not.

I really enjoyed it; it’s a nice take on Normal-Girl-Saves-The-World and I like that it deviates from the “norm” and focuses on the lesser-acknowledged goddess Artemis. The main character is relatable (a young woman who works hard but has fun, silly moments), the world-building is complex enough to be fascinating but without the threat of overwhelming the reader, and trials she faces are intriguing enough to keep you on the edge of your seat.

This book is a quick read, but an enjoyable one. I’ll definitely be buying this book so I can reread it whenever I’m in the mood for a fun story that will captivate me for a few hours.

*I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review*

The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen

A warrior princess trained in isolation, Lara is driven by two certainties. The first is that King Aren of the Bridge Kingdom is her enemy. And the second is that she’ll be the one to bring him to his knees.

The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom enriches itself and deprives its rivals, including Lara’s homeland. So when she’s sent as a bride under the guise of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture its impenetrable defenses. And the defenses of its king.

Yet as she infiltrates her new home and gains a deeper understanding of the war to possess the bridge, Lara begins to question whether she’s the hero or the villain. And as her feelings for Aren transform from frosty hostility to fierce passion, Lara must choose which kingdom she’ll save… and which kingdom she’ll destroy.

★★★☆☆

It genuinely makes me sad to give a book three stars, but I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought that I would. After seeing it compared to the ACOTAR series and From Blood and Ash, I was sooo looking forward to it and bought it to fill the void left by A Court of Silver Flames.

Our story begins with our assassin princess pulling the only shocking move in the whole book, which helps her win her father’s twisted competition and therefore, the right to marry the enemy king and be the one of to murder him. There are quite a few awkward moments and tense conversations and revelations about Lara’s father and his kingdom. Right from the jump, its pretty easy to see where this whole thing is going: Girl comes to assassinate boy and destroy his kingdom, girl starts to fall in love with boy, girl becomes very conflicted, relationship tension ensues just as the action between kingdoms starts to pick up.

While there is plenty of adult language and sexual tension, its very clear that the author is used to writing YA. There’s some banter that made me laugh and the relationship had some cute moments, but there was a lot to be desired. The plot is predictable, the writing and dialogue are on par with someone’s first Wattpad novel, and the world-building is questionable at times. I really do believe that this book had the potential to be great, but just fell a little short. Was it easy to figure out pretty quickly? Yes. Were there a few plot holes and things that didn’t totally make sense? Also yes. But would it be a good break from deeper, heavier series that can weigh us down sometimes? I think so.

If you’re looking for a fast read that makes you laugh and gives just a little bit of spice, this book is a good selection. It was a fun, quick book, but it just wasn’t fulfilling in the way a well-formed story is.

A Court Of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.

★★★★★

“That’s the key, isn’t it? To know the darkness will always remain, but how you choose to face it, handle it… that’s the most important part. To not let it consume. To focus upon the good, the things that fill you with wonder.” She gestured to the stars zooming past. “The struggle with that darkness is worth it, just to see such things.”

Though the ACOTAR series is what got me back into reading after not doing so for years, I really didn’t have the highest hopes for this book. Like most people who enjoyed the series, I wasn’t completely stoked to have a Nesta book because she wasn’t really a standout character. However, I’m incredibly glad I gave this story a chance. It quickly became my favorite in the series and one of my favorite books ever. The plot isn’t as fast-paced as the other books in this series, but it does keep you intrigued.

Nesta’s mental health journey is so incredibly relatable that its almost hard to believe that part is fictional. In her lowest lows, Nesta isolates herself and has self-destructive tendencies that feel familiar. Things get better at a believable rate, with a mix of good days and bad days and everything in between. Her triggers and flashbacks are done so well that they seem plausible. Everything Nesta goes through feels real; we heal with her instead of just reading it. While every mental health journey is different, its easy to put yourself in her shoes if you’ve experienced mental illness and healed yourself of some serious traumas. Most of us haven’t been thrust into a magical cauldron and stripped of everything we know, but we do know what its like to lose ourselves and have to find our way back.

We see genuine friendships form, rather than friendships of convenience or political gain. And it warms my cold, sometimes-dead heart that some of the bonding in those friendships is done through an unofficial book club, because what better way to get close to your friends than sharing silly smutty books? In addition to new characters, we get to see some old favorites in a new light, rather than through Feyre’s rose-colored glasses. With a different perspective, we get to experience the growing and healing of characters we didn’t realize were in need of it.

I should probably include a warning that this book is not YA. While most readers are probably aware of this, especially if you read the whole ACOTAR series (which starts out YA and gradually becomes a little more mature), I have seen this marketed online and in my local bookstore as Young Adult. I know that a lot of readers are mature for their age and have most likely read worse, but I honestly just don’t want some poor kid blindsided by the ~sPiCy SceNeS~ in this book.

If you couldn’t tell, I definitely recommend this book. It deals with mental illness in an incredibly relatable way, which is so important to me, and it has an interesting plot that ties into the rest of the series without completely rehashing the old issues. And honestly the spice doesn’t hurt either *imagine I inserted that sly-eyed emoji here*.

There are so, so many quotes I love from this book, but I think SJM gave us the best in the form of her dedication:

For every Nesta out there—climb the mountain.