Malice: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Malice by Pintip DunnAlice Sherman is more interested in taking delicious looking pictures of her not-always-edible cooking for her foodie Instagram account and dreaming of a future as a photographer for National Geographic than she is in math and science.

She knows the only reason that she is at her super competitive, STEM-focused school is because her older brother Archie is a certified genius and science prodigy. She doesn’t mind. Someone has to keep an eye on Archie to make sure he remembers things like eating instead of equations sometimes–especially in the years since their mom left and their dad has become more and more distant.

Her mundane life is upended when a sudden, sharp pain hits during lunch. A voice in her head tell Alice that she can make the pain stop. All Alice has to do is tell Bandit Sakda that she loves him. Embarrassing, but easy enough.

Except the Voice isn’t done with Alice. There’s something else she has to do. Something that might prevent the creation of a virus that will kill two thirds of the population. Something that might make Alice a killer. Something that is going to be that much harder for Alice to do if she ever lets herself fall for Bandit in Malice (2020) by Pintip Dunn.

Find it on Bookshop.

Dunn’s latest standalone adventure follows Alice as she tries to figure out who the Voice is and how far she is willing to go to prevent the dire future the Voice warns her about.

While some of the twists and turns will be predictable for readers familiar with time travel shenanigans, Alice’s journey remains unique and puts a strong focus on the ways in which free will and compassion can change everything. Alice’s best friend Lalana Bunyasarn and Alice’s reluctant love interest Bandit add some needed levity (and chemistry) to a potentially bleak story.

Malice is a delectable blend of time travel and suspense. Recommended for readers who like their romance with a little sci-fi or vice versa.

Possible Pairings: Loop by Karen Akins, Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson, The Infinity of You & Me by J. Q. Coyle, The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, Hourglass by Myra McEntire, Soulprint by Megan Miranda, Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor, All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

Bring Me Their Hearts: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

cover art for Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara WolfZera hardly remembers what it was like to be alive. For three long years she has been a Heartless, the immortal soldier of a witch. While she is in Nightsinger’s service, the witch keeps Zera’s heart in a jar making Zera immune to injury and ensuring that she can never venture far away.

Zera’s one chance of freedom comes in the unlikely form of growing tensions between witches and humans. In order to stave off another war, the witches need a hostage–one who will do their bidding and won’t try to escape. In other words, a Heartless.

If Zera can deliver the crown prince’s heart, she can win back her freedom. Stealing a heart is simple but infiltrating court won’t be easy when Nightsinger is prepared to destroy Zera’s heart before she’ll let Zera be captured and tortured.

Court is as vapid and frustrating as Zera anticipated, But Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane is far from the useless noble she expected. Instead he is an able–and dangerously fascinating–opponent in Bring Me Their Hearts (2018) by Sara Wolf.

Bring Me Their Hearts is the first book in a fantasy trilogy.

Bring Me Their Hearts is a high action, high drama fantasy. Zera’s efforts to infiltrate the royal court widen her world but also serve to underscore exactly what she has become. Her fascination with the luxury of her new surroundings is a stark contrast to her struggle to tame her inner hunger and maintain her cover.

Zera’s first person narration is snarky and often anachronistic, especially given the quasi medieval setting. She is a smart-mouthed, wise cracking heroine that many readers will immediately love. Lucien and the other secondary characters in the novel are equally developed and often just as entertaining.

Bring Me Their Hearts is a thrilling start to a series that promises even more twists and surprises to come. Perfect for anyone looking for a new badass heroine to love.

Possible Pairings: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, The Selection by Kiera Cass, The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows,

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration.*

Greta and the Goblin King: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Greta and the Goblin King by Chloe JacobsAfter four long years in trapped in the world of Mylena, seventeen-year-old Greta has become an expert at hiding her humanity. She has to if she wants to survive. Human’s aren’t welcome on Mylena where goblins, sprites, ghouls and other creatures all blame humans for ruining leaving their world in perpetual winter.

Work as a bounty hunter in Mylena is not easy. Especially for a human pretending to be something she’s not. But it gives Greta access to the caves that she knows transported her to Mylena when she tried to save her brother from a fire all those years ago.

Keeping a low profile in Mylena is simple until Greta catches the attention of a strange young man who appears in her dreams. It becomes impossible when that same young man turns out to be Isaac, the new goblin king.

When Greta’s secret threatens to come out, it becomes obvious that Greta is part of someone’s plan to open a new portal out of Mylena. The only problems are Greta doesn’t know where that someone is and she doesn’t know who she can trust in Greta and the Goblin King (2012) by Chloe Jacobs.

Greta and the Goblin King is Jacobs’ first novel and the start of her Mylena Chronicles trilogy.

This book is an incredibly loose retelling of the fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel” in that Greta sort of sounds like Gretel, there is a fire, and Greta has a brother. In some sense this could be an alternate version of the fairy tale or even a continuation but again these connections are loose enough that it’s easier to just call Greta and the Goblin King a unique fantasy.

Greta is a tough-talking heroine who relies on herself and no one else. She does not tolerate fools, posers, or anyone who might underestimate her. Consequently she is also brusque and rash throughout the novel as her pride often prevents Greta from asking for the help she obviously (desperately) needs.

Isaac, by contrast, is remarkably level-headed despite being a goblin who could revert to his baser form (sort of like a werewolf) at the next eclipse. He’s an interesting foil for Greta and also, much to her dismay, a strong ally. There’s also just something entertaining about a goblin being the male lead in a paranormal romance. While Greta and Isaac are fun characters separately, their romance is problematic with a lot of it hinging on Isaac “claiming” Greta as “his” to keep her safe.

The world building here is messy. Some aspects of Mylena–such as why most creatures are essentially humanoid–are neatly explained while others–including how Greta is in Mylena at all and why a goblin on another world would be named Isaac–are tidily ignored.

Greta and the Goblin King is an interesting if not perfect novel. Recommended for readers looking for a fun new retelling/romance after reading the obvious suspects. Ideal for readers who are enjoy lots of action with minimal background.

Possible Pairings: Beastly by Alex Flinn, School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins, The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan, Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, Dust City by Robert Paul Weston, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White