Friday, February 16, 2018

Manga Series Review: Finder Deluxe Editions, Vols. 1-5

I've been going back and forth on how I'm going to do these manga series reviews. I've toyed with doing a similar post to our Read This F@!%ing Book posts or to do a series of Really Short Reviews. For now, I've decided to go the Really Short Reviews route with a short manga primer before hand.

So let's talk about m/m romance manga. These manga are frequently called Boys Love and fall into two main categories: yaoi and shounen ai. Shounen Ai is the non-explicit m/m romance manga and Yaoi is the explicit version. Both of these manga genres are aimed towards women while Bara is the mange genre that is targeted towards gay males.

The series I'm reviewing today falls into the Yaoi category. Something you need to keep in mind about Yaoi is that it perpetuates a problematic trope. That trope being that of non-consensual sex or sex with dubious consent. Way too many of the romances in this genre start off with rape. If that bothers you, Yaoi is not for you.

So let's talk a bit about each volume. My reviews aren't going to be long and will just be a few of my thoughts about them. I will be honest. The Finder series does use that non-con sex trope. I know it's problematic but I can't help but love it a lot though.

Finder Deluxe Edition: Target in Sight, Vol. 1
(Finder Deluxe Edition #1)
Ayano Yamane
Release: June 13, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
Pain and pleasure collide when a sophisticated underworld boss crosses paths with a naive photographer hell-bent on bringing him down!

This deluxe edition includes never-before-released material as well as a double-sided color insert and special cover treatment! Photographer Takaba Akihito takes on a risky assignment trying to document the illegal activities of the Japanese underworld. When he captures its leader—the handsome, enigmatic Asami Ryuichi—in the crosshairs of his viewfinder, Takaba’s world is changed forever.

Freelance photographer Akihito Takaba is captured by the very subject he’s been stalking in his viewfinder—the handsome and enigmatic crime lord Asami Ryuichi! The older man ravages him, both body and mind. Does this mean the end for the naive photographer, or will he live to shoot another day?

This whole volume sets up the initial meeting between our two love interests. It's the story of young photographer who goes looking for a scoop and becomes entangled with a brutal and kinky Yakuza boss and all the problems that comes with this.

I love Takaba Akihito and how determined he is! As much as I like him, he does make some stupid decisions. I've reread this volume every time but every time I'm struck about how mysterious and cruel Asami Ryuichi is and how much I want to know more about him. 

This volume was a good start to the series.

  3.5 / 5 Stars

Finder Deluxe Edition: Caught in a Cage, Vol. 2
(Finder Deluxe Edition #2)
Ayano Yamane
Release: August 8, 2017
Pain and pleasure collide when a sophisticated underworld boss crosses paths with a naive photographer hell-bent on bringing him down!

This deluxe edition includes never-before-released material as well as a double-sided color insert and special cover treatment! Photographer Takaba Akihito takes on a risky assignment trying to document the illegal activities of the Japanese underworld. When he captures its leader—the handsome, enigmatic Asami Ryuichi—in the crosshairs of his viewfinder, Takaba’s world is changed forever.

Impulsive freelance photographer Akihito Takaba isn’t one to back down from a challenge. Undeterred by the ravaging his body took at the hands of crime lord Asami Ryuichi, Akihito stakes out the handsome crime boss’s club hoping to get the information he needs to take him down. Meanwhile, rival mafioso Fei Long returns to Hong Kong after his run-in with Asami and reminisces about their time together seven years earlier. What could the future possibly hold for this very deadly love triangle?

This volume is all about furthering the tension between Asami and Akihito. There's a stake out at Asami's club and the introduction of a character who is going to be a big part of the series later. Fei Long is an interesting yet brutal addition and we get to see more of his back story in the later part of this volume. The world is getting bigger and this manga is getting more and more interesting.

  3.5 / 5 Stars

Finder Deluxe Edition: On One Wing, Vol. 3
(Finder Deluxe Edition #3)
Ayano Yamane
Release: October 10, 2017
Pain and pleasure collide when a sophisticated underworld boss crosses paths with a naive photographer hell-bent on bringing him down!

This deluxe edition includes never-before-released material as well as a double-sided color insert and special cover treatment! In Finder, Photographer Takaba Akihito takes on a risky assignment trying to document the illegal activities of the Japanese underworld. When he captures its leader—the handsome, enigmatic Asami Ryuichi—in the crosshairs of his viewfinder, Takaba’s world is changed forever.

Freelance photographer Akihito Takaba has something Fei Long wants, and the crime boss will stop at nothing to get it, including kidnapping the young photographer’s friends! Akihito turns to the only person he can think of for help, Fei Long’s former lover and current rival Asami Ryuichi. But when Asami’s old flame meets his new replacement, sparks fly!

This volume sees the return of Fei Long and things get really interesting as he targets Akihito for something. Akihito's friends get kidnapped and he becomes the pawn in the game between Asami and Fei Long as he tries to get them back. Things happen and through his reckless behavior Akihito gets himself in the worst trouble he's been in yet. The drama ramps up in this volume and I am here for it!

  4 / 5 Stars

Finder Deluxe Edition: In Captivity, Vol. 4
(Finder Deluxe Edition #4)
Ayano Yamane
Release: December 12, 2017
Pain and pleasure collide when a sophisticated underworld boss crosses paths with a naive photographer hell-bent on bringing him down!

This deluxe edition includes never-before-released material as well as a double-sided color insert and special cover treatment! Photographer Takaba Akihito takes on a risky assignment trying to document the illegal activities of the Japanese underworld. When he captures its leader—the handsome, enigmatic Asami Ryuichi—in the crosshairs of his viewfinder, Takaba’s world is changed forever.

Impetuous photographer Akihito Takaba finds himself in trouble again! After pursuing crime boss Fei Long, he’s captured and spirited away to Hong Kong, but not before Asami takes a few bullets during a failed rescue attempt. Now all the despondent Akihito can think of is whether or not his lover is alive, and if so, are Asami’s feelings strong enough to attempt yet another rescue?

In Capitivy is the main meat of the Hong Kong arc and it is full of pain, drama, and tension. Asami and Fei Long are injured and Akihito has been kidnapped by the Baishe triad. This chapter is much darker than the previous ones but there's a lot of action and plot advancement. There's also quite a bit of non-consensual sex.

This volume was the most gripping of the series so far in my opinion but it ends on a cliffhanger that just about killed me when I first read it in its first English translation. Things don't go as planned but it acts as a killer set up for the next volume. What I loved the most about this one is that we finally FINALLY get some indication of Asami's feelings and I am here for it! It's a problematic relationship but I can't help but ship it.

  4 / 5 Stars

Finder Deluxe Edition: The Naked Truth, Vol. 5
(Finder Deluxe Edition #5)
Ayano Yamane
Release: February 13, 2017
Pain and pleasure collide when a sophisticated underworld boss crosses paths with a naive photographer hell-bent on bringing him down!

This deluxe edition includes never-before-released material as well as a double-sided color insert and special cover treatment! Photographer Takaba Akihito takes on a risky assignment trying to document the illegal activities of the Japanese underworld. When he captures its leader—the handsome, enigmatic Asami Ryuichi—in the crosshairs of his viewfinder, Takaba’s world is changed forever.

Crime boss Ryuichi Asami puts everything on the line to save his lover, Akihito Takaba, from the hands of his enemy. Unfortunately for them, Fei Long has grown quite fond of his captive. Meanwhile, Russian mafioso Mikhail Arbatov takes advantage of the situation to steal something precious. When three of the underworld’s biggest crime bosses clash, will Akihito be the one caught in the cross fire?

This volume marks the end of the Hong Kong and it was an explosive conclusion to that arc! I could not put this book down! It is action-packed with violence, intrigue, and sexual tension in spades! Asami’s spy has been discovered. The Russian Mafia has come on the scene and asserts their power by abducting Akihito from Fei Long. Asami's plan goes pear-shaped and he proves just how far he is willing to go to get Akihito back. The characters have reached a new level. Now, they all feel three-dimensional and very real. We get the full story from so many POVs and I love it!

But my most favorite thing about this volume though? I am here for all of the Asami and Akihito page time. Asami gets Akihito back about halfway through and we get to see how their relationship has change since they've been apart and how they have grown together. The second half was tender, revealing, and really quite steamy!

Overall, this volume is the best of the series so far! And I can't wait to see what happens now that Asami and Akihito are back in Japan. Everything was wrapped so well in this volume that I have no idea what's going to happen next!

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.

  4.5 / 5 Stars

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

We Love Lists: Romance Trend Predictions

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! For the last few weeks, all the romance writers in my Twitter feed have been dreading the romance-bashing articles that were sure to appear leading up to today. I think they were pleasantly surprised when Buzzfeed published this article by Jamie Green called Who Gets A Happily Ever After In 2018? It talks about the ways in which romance novels are making a political statement. 

While it wasn’t exactly the point of the article, I was struck by a paragraph about how romance trends respond to the political climate: “In the ’80s, office-set romances were a site for playing out power struggles that many women were, for the first time, experiencing. Post-9/11 paranormal romance offered heroes who could literally save the world. And after the 2008 financial crisis came the billionaires.” And it got me thinking about what trends we might be seeing in the next year or two. Here are some predictions:

Female politicians and women running for office
For the past year we've seen the women in Congress become some of the loudest voices of resistance. And thousands of women all over the country are running for office. They are sure to inspire a few romance heroines.

Blue collar heroes (the anti-billionaire)
2018 will see the last of the Fifty Shades movies, so maybe it will also mark the end of the billionaire trend? Even the cowboys and rock stars in romance novels are so often rich ones. Since we've seen so many rich, powerful men exposed as sexual predators lately, it might be time for the "regular guy" hero to have his turn.

Characters who are community organizers, human rights attorneys
Okay so there are already some "regular guys" in police and firefighter romances, but I think there are lots of other heroic professions to explore. And there's no reason those activists, or those firefighters for that matter, have to be men.

Natural and environmental disasters 
With all of the hurricanes, earthquakes and forest fires we saw in 2017, I can't imagine natural disasters not working their way into some stories.

Hackers and cybercrime cops
I loved Megan Erickson's Zero Hour that released last month. It's the first in a series about hacker heroes. Since data breaches and propaganda campaigns have been in the news so much in the last year, I expect we'll see the subject even more in the future.

SciFi and Fantasy romance
We've just established that the real world is full of natural disasters, billionaire predators and cybercriminals so it makes sense that more people would want to escape to a completely fictional place. And the success of series like Amanda Bouchet's Kingmaker Chronicles is sure to encourage more SFF romance. (A few hours after I wrote this paragraph I saw this article by Kayleigh Donaldson on SyFyWire, so I'm not the only one who thinks the genre is one to watch.)

More diversity 
We're already seeing more diverse romance than we did a few years ago. The legalization of gay marriage in 2015 led to more LGBTQ romances, for example. But I expect the percentage will continue to grow. And all the media attention on immigrants lately will probably inspire more people to write about them, as well as other POCs. I also think there's been a focus on POC and LGBTQ Own Voices works in YA, so adult romance will eventually catch up.

What do you think the next romance trends will be?

Monday, February 12, 2018

Comic Review: Voltron Legendary Defender, Vols. 1-2

About a year ago, my godkids were raving to me about a cartoon on Netflix called Voltron: Legendary Defender and I will admit they made me interested in watching it. I had seen a few clips from the old anime it's a remake of but I really knew nothing about it going in. I LOVED IT! It's cheesy space opera-y goodness that is just plain fun to watch. I love the characters and they each have their quirks. I binge watched the first two seasons in a day. And it just keeps getting better and better with each new season they add.

So while I was waiting for Season 3 to be released, I discovered that they had created a comic based on the show. I immediately went to my local comic bookstore and bought it. I loved it too! When Volume 2 of the comic went up as Read Now on Netgalley, I had to download it. I wasn't disappointed! So in celebration of Volume 2's release tomorrow, I'm going to share a few of my non-spoilery thoughts on each volume.

Voltron: Legendary Defender, Vol. 1:
(Voltron: Legendary Defender #1)
Time Hedrick, Mike Iverson, and Digital Art Chefs
Release: February 7, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
This trade collects the first comic book chapter of the epic series airing on Netflix. From days of long ago, from uncharted regions of the universe comes VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER! When Team Voltron takes on a dangerous training mission in deep space, Coran, Princess Allura's majordomo, is captured by an ancient enemy. It will take teamwork, smarts, and, of course, Voltron, to save their friend's life. This galaxy-spanning adventure is a never-before-seen chapter of the epic animated series reboot by show writers Tim Hedrick (Avatar: The Last Airbender) and Mitch Iverson.

Before you read this comic, you really should go watch the tv show. This volume acts as a side story to the cartoon and takes place after the events in Episode 10 of Season 1. And it's all about a paladin training exercise gone awry which always makes for fun times for the Voltron crew.

I really enjoyed reading this volume. It was fast-paced and action-packed while also managing to retain the quirkiness and humor of the show while giving us more insight into the paladins and their personalities. I absolutely adore the art style of this comic. It's very similar to the animation style of the show and it's awesome!

If you haven't watched the show, go do that now! And if you're like me and just want more Voltron goodness, go and grab a copy of this volume. You won't be disappointed!

  4 / 5 Stars

Voltron: Legendary Defender, Vol. 2: Pilgrimage
(Voltro: Legendary Defender #2)
Tim Hedrick, Mike Iverson, and Rubine
Release: February 13, 2018
When the Voltron Paladins respond to a distress call, they discover a group of alien settlers on a mining planet under attack by the Galra. The five daring pilots must then escort the convoy of rescued settlers to their new home. To succeed they must cross into increasingly dangerous territory, successfully navigate amongst frightening predators and colossal beasts, and battle the evil Galra!

I enjoyed the first volume of this comic series, but I LOVED this one! It was amazing! The events in this trade take place after Episode 3 in Season 2 and are full of lots of Hunk moments and a really cool new alien race who thrives on fighting! This comic really embodies everything I love about this franchise remake.

The art in this one is just as awesome as the first volume and still contained the humor and quirkiness that defines this series for me. I loved discovering more about this new alien race and seeing the paladins interact with them. I flew through this volume and before I knew it I had run out of pages. My favorite part of this volume probably had to be Lance giving love advice to Hunk. It was kind of hilarious.

As soon as I finished, I wanted more! I can't wait to see what other stories they can tell us about the paladins' adventures in this format. I'm hoping the next volume has more Keith or Shiro moments. I want to know more about them. *crosses fingers*

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

  5 / 5 Stars

Friday, February 9, 2018

Weres Wanna Know: How does your environment affect your reading choices? (Thoughts on Mood Reading and #MeToo)

We’re probably all mood readers to one degree or another. Maybe you want to get in the mood for winter by reading all the snowbound romances. Or you might want to read them in the middle of summer to take your mind off the heat. Maybe you moved away and want to read a book set in your hometown. Or you’ve just been through a break up and want to binge feel good rom-coms.

The mood that strikes me most often is review book burnout. I just don’t want to think about what I’m reading that much. I don’t want to take notes and I definitely don’t want to write more than two sentences on Goodreads when I’ve finished. Sometimes when that happens I pick up a light hearted contemp romance from Alice Clayton, Emma Chase or Lauren Blakeley. And sometimes I go dark with someone like Annika Martin or Skye Warren. But most of the time, my go to slump buster is shifter PNR.

I was in one of those moods in November where I just wanted to read all shifters all the time. But I found that against the backdrop of #metoo, shifters just didn’t work for me. I could no longer abide an alpha male who threw the heroine over his shoulder and dragged her back to his lair to mate. I’m not saying that all shifter romances are like that, but I picked up three in a row that were. And I’m not OK with that.

I have a feeling that I’m not the only one, that as a society we’re becoming more aware of the issue. And I hope that it’s a permanent shift. I for one am going to keep calling out the problem when I see it. You might have noticed more comments about consent in my reviews lately.

At the same time, I’m afraid that some of my old favorite books may now be problematic. Did I just accept that behavior as a shifter trope and overlook it? I’m not sure. I can’t think of a specific example. I’ve always had problems with overly controlling alpha males and have written about them in reviews. So maybe I’ve been aware it was an issue but didn’t have the tools to express it. I’m not going to stop reading PNR, I just might approach it differently than I did a year ago.

What’s going on in our lives and our surroundings is bound to impact our book choices. However, I can’t think of anything in my life that’s caused a shift in perspective like the #metoo movement.

How has your mood or your environment impacted your reading choices?

We're participating in the 2018 Discussion Challenge.
Check out all the February discussions!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Throwback Thursday Read This F@!%ing Book: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

One of the suggestions from our recent survey was that we should do Throwback Thursday. The idea was really for social media, but I thought it would also be a good way to refresh our memories before the next book in a series comes out.

Sightwitch releases on February 13 and I'm working on a blog tour post for the following week. Next week I'll be posting my review of Windwitch. But today, let's look back at how it all started with a Read This F-ing Book post I wrote in March of 2016. (See the original post here.)

Read This F@!%ing Book!

This is a feature for us to push our favorite reads that just aren't getting enough attention!

We're also opening it up to anyone who would like to guest post. Do you have a book that you just LURVED but feel like it's not getting the play it deserves? Email us to let us know and we'd be THRILLED to have you post about it here! Especially if its something we haven't reviewed yet - that's even better (but not necessary)!

If you're interested email

Read This F@!%ing Book:
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

I feel like I've been hearing a lot about Truthwitch, so maybe it doesn't really qualify as a book I want more people to know about. But then I realized that I'm only hearing it from YA bloggers. If you don't read YA or follow YA blogs, you might have missed it. And even if you're not a big fan of YA, you'll want to read this book.

From the very beginning I was fascinated with Truthwitch. I was reading along, just thinking, "this is so awesome!" It took me a while to figure out how to translate that into an argument for why you should read this book. Would you just trust me and read it because it's awesome? No?

Really Cool Magic
The first thing that really struck me is the magic system. Safiya is a Truthwitch. It's a very rare magic, and one that was thought to be extinct. She keeps her skills hidden to protect herself from those who would use her or kill her to keep others from doing so. What I thought was interesting about her skill, and a little bit different from other versions of it that I've read, is that she not only senses when people are lying, but she also senses illusions and abominations.

Iseult is a Threadwitch. Hers is the magic that kind of blew my mind. I haven't seen anything like it before. It's similar to the way some authors use auras - she sees colors that reflect people's emotions. But it's also much more complex. She sees threads, connections between people. Iseult and Safiya, for example, are Threadsisters - we would probably call them BFFs - and a Threadwitch can see their bond and use it to find them. This reminded me of Nalini Singh's Psy-net, except that Iseult sees it all the time and it has more applications.

Prince Merik is an Airwitch and he can fly! He also uses air magic to control his ship, but that's not as much fun. Those are just the three main characters. They're not the only ones with interesting magic, but I wouldn't want to spoil anyone.
Girl Power 
In addition to Iseult and Safiya, who demonstrate some serious fighting skills right from the beginning of the book, Truthwitch is full of powerful women. At first glance their country seems to be run by men, but the women are strong subversive forces.

Once they're out in the world, they find female leaders everywhere. There's a monk with healing powers and ties to both Merik and Iseult. There's Iseult's mother, also a Threadwitch, and her apprentice who are stronger than they seem and full of surprizes. There's a queen with another kind of really cool magic. Again, it would probably be spoilery to list them all. 

As much as love the girl power statement, the point is not that Safiya and Iseult must overthrow the tyranny of men, but that there are heroes of both genders in this world. There are also villains of both genders, and some characters in between. (I have some thoughts about race in Truthwitch as well - Iseult is vilified for being too pale - but I haven't dug into it much. I'd like to see more of the world and find other examples first.)*

I think that YA is the place to look for diversity right now. I'm seeing lots of young authors with fresh perspectives on the traditionally white male-dominated fantasy genre. I'm sure that eventually it will spill over into adult fantasy as well. (Those YA readers have to grow up, right?) But for now if you're looking for a new take on the old tropes, look to YA. And start with Trutchwitch. Trust me. It's awesome.

*Update: Susan Dennard recently posted about the race issue in Truthwitch, saying it was unintentional. She has an explanation in mind for why Iseult's people are hated, it just hasn't appeared in the books yet. She also has an explanation for their pale skin, which they haven't always had. See the full details in her Instagram story highlights.

Have you read this book?
 Did we persuade you to add it to your TBR mountain?
 Let us know in the comments below!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

10 Books That Made Me Into the Reader I Am Today

I recently read a blog post by Gail Carriger where she discussed the books that have impacted her the most and made her into the author she is today. Her post got me thinking about the books that made me the reader I am today. Like everyone who reads this blog, I have those childhood favorites that cemented my love for reading but I also got to thinking about other books I've read that have also significantly impacted as a reader. As readers, we can all agree that our reading tastes have evolved and changed throughout our lives. There have been books that have introduced me to specific genres or the books that reignited my interest in genres I got burnt out on. Those are the books I want to talk about today.

I can't talk about this subject without mentioning The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. This book was THE book that got me into fantasy. It was everything 8 year old Rose Red ever wanted. It had magic, swords, beautiful horses, and a badass female heroine. I fell head over heels in love and I had an immediate need to read all the fantasy books I could get my hands on. This book opened up whole new worlds for me and I haven't looked back since.

Ender's Game was my introduction to the world of science fiction and one of the books I vividly remember reading under my blanket with a flashlight. I was intrigued by the notion of a military school in space and I couldn't put it down once I had started. I was blown away by the concept of space travel and I wanted more as soon as I finished. I'm so thankful my middle school librarian who handed this to me to read and was ready with a bunch of recommendations for me as soon as I brought the book back.

I've loved reading ever since I sat down and read my first picture book but the Harry Potter series was the first book that introduced me to the book community. I grew up with Harry. I was almost twelve when I picked the first book up. And I hadn't realized up until then that I could talk about the books I'd read with people other than my family and my local librarians. I loved everything about the experience! I went to midnight release parties and discussed with others in line my theories about what was going to happen in the next book. I found people to discuss the books with in my school as soon as we'd finished them. It was also the series that introduced me to fandom and fanfiction. This series will forever hold a special place in my heart.

You all know how much I adore the urban fantasy genre. The thing is I'm fairly new to it considering how long people have been writing books in it. I was briefly introduced to the genre in Robin McKinley's Sunshine but it wasn't until I picked up Hounded by Kevin Hearne on a whim that I really became obsessed with reading every UF book I could get my hands on. I started the series right before book five came out and I binged the first four in less than two days. I was hooked. I immediately went to the "Customers Who Bought This Also Bought" section of Amazon and browsed for similar books. I ended up picking up the first Mercy Thompson and Kate Daniels books. I'm so glad I did. Urban fantasy is one genre I've never grown bored with.

A few years ago I was convinced I had read everything that YA had to offer. I was so sick of love triangles and it seemed that almost every YA book I had picked up was the same as the one I had just finished reading. I ended up giving up on the whole age group as a whole and read mostly adult books for a few years. The Raven Boys is the book that reignited my interest in YA as a whole. It convinced me that there were lots of YA books that I would love. I just needed to find them. I still DNF quite a few but I have discovered lots of YA books in the last two years that have become all-time favorites. But most importantly, I'm excited for upcoming YA books again.

Around the time I read The Blue Sword, I found a book about a cross-dressing thief called Mairelon the Magician. I instantly fell in love with the scrappy street thief, Kim, and the eccentric street magician, Mairelon, and their adventures. This book was the first book I ever bought for myself and it was the book that introduced me to both the fantasy of manners genre and the concept of alternate history. I quickly fell in love with the idea of a Regency novel with magic. Fantasy of manners is still one of my go to favorite genre.

During my high school years, I read so many epic and high fantasy novels that I burnt myself out on them. I couldn't stand to look at them and I had devoted myself to reading all the romantic suspense and Dirk Pitt-esque adventure novels I could get my hands on. I was a junior in college when my librarian recommended Poison Study to me. I devoured it in one sitting and went back the same day to check out the next two books. I loved it! It got me back into fantasy while introducing me to the fantasy romance genre as a whole. It's still my go-to fantasy romance rec to give out.

My introduction to the steampunk genre was very unconventional compared to other readers of the genre. My first steampunk book was The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. I hadn't even known that steampunk was a thing before I read it. This quirky Alice in Wonderland retelling is what lead me to more mainstream steampunk like Gail Carriger's books but it will always have a special place on my bookshelf for introducing me to one of my favorite genres.

I'm going to cheat and use two books on this one because I honestly can't remember which one I read first as a kid. I have been obsessed with fairy tales since I was a wee lass listening to stories at my grandpa's knee. Imagine my delight when I picked up Ella Enchanted and Beauty and discovered the fairy tale retellings were a thing. It lead quickly into an obsession where I read every fairy tale retelling I could get my hands on. I love the retelling subgenre SO much! It just encompasses so many of my favorite things. Even all these years later, when given a choice, I will pick up the fairy tale retelling 7 out of 10 times.

As a teen, I discovered this magical series of historical fiction companion novels and it was everything my little history loving heart never knew it needed. I devoured every Sunfire Romance novel my library owned. I loved them! I loved the historical settings and I even loved the fact that each heroine had to choose between two guys. Yes. I have evidence that I haven't always hated love triangles. After I finished that series, I had a hard time finding historical fiction that kept my attention without having magic or paranormal elements in the mix. It was years before I found one that reignited my love for the genre. That book was Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! It was everything I remembered loving about the historical fiction genre and I am always here for flirty heroes and witty banter. I've found several historical fiction novels since I read this one that have become favorites and I can't thank Kerri Maniscalco enough for helping to remember why I love this genre.

What books helped you become the reader you are today?

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