Hello readers, and welcome to Mini Reviews, where I talk about some of the books I don’t write full length reviews for. This installment, let’s chat about: Love at First Spite, Queens of Fennbirn and Love & Olives.
Love at First Spite | Anna E. Collins (ARC)
They say living well is the best revenge. But sometimes, spreading the misery seems a whole lot more satisfying. That’s interior designer Dani Porter’s justification for buying the vacant lot next to her ex-fiancé’s house…the house they were supposed to live in together, before he cheated on her with their Realtor. Dani plans to build a vacation rental that will a) mess with his view and his peace of mind and b) prove that Dani is not someone to be stepped on. Welcome to project Spite House.
That plan quickly becomes complicated when Dani is forced to team up with Wyatt Montego, the handsome, haughty architect at her firm, and the only person available to draw up blueprints. Wyatt is terse and stern, the kind of man who eats his sandwich with a knife and fork. But as they spend time together on and off-site, Dani glimpses something deeper beneath that hard veneer, something surprising, vulnerable, and real. And the closer she gets to her goal, the more she wonders if winning revenge could mean losing something infinitely sweeter…
Thank you to the publisher, Harper Collins Canada and HCC Frenzy for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Regular readers of my blog will know that I rarely, if ever, pick up books of this genre, but when I saw this on the Frenzy Presents list last December, the premise was too good to pass up. And it definitely delivered – Love at First Spite was a thoroughly entertaining read that I breezed through in a single sitting.
I loved the secondary characters and the wonderfully portrayed friendships. The romance between Dani and Wyatt was well written even though it felt a bit insta-lovey here and there. It would have been really interesting if Wyatt had a POV and it could have added so much to the story to see his perspective of Dani initially.
What I didn’t like too much was how Dani’s ‘spite house’ scheme went overboard after a while and she was totally focused on making her ex’s life miserable instead of moving on and seeing what was right in front of her. The ending was rather rushed in my opinion, but I was rooting for a happily ever after, so I’m not too annoyed about that. Overall, this was a fun read and it would be a great choice if you’re in the mood for something fast paced and easy to read.
Publishing Date: January 4th, 2022 (Graydon House)
Queens of Fennbirn (Three Dark Crowns #0.1-0.2) | Kendare Blake
Uncover the sisters’ origins, dive deep into the catastrophic reign of the Oracle Queen, and reveal layers of Fennbirn’s past, hidden until now.
The Young Queens
Get a glimpse of triplet queens Mirabella, Arsinoe, and Katharine during a short period of time when they protected and loved one another. From birth until their claiming ceremonies, this is the story of the three sisters’ lives…before they were at stake.
The Oracle Queen
Everyone knows the legend of Elsabet, the Oracle Queen. The one who went mad. The one who orchestrated a senseless, horrific slaying of three entire houses. But what really happened? Discover the true story behind the queen who could foresee the future…just not her own downfall.
This book has been on my ‘to-review’ shelf for nearly two years, so it was about time I sat down to write one for it. I hadn’t initially intended to read this book at all, owing to my general dislike of novellas and spin offs, but after I finished reading Five Dark Fates, there were some questions I had unanswered, and I really wanted to see if this book had the answers.
The Young Queens shows the story of the birth of Katharine, Arsinoe and Mirabella, and their childhood at the black cottage, unaware of what the future holds. The big reveal in this story was how Arsinoe and Katharine were switched, as well as some insight into the amount of power the poisoners have held by being in power for so long and how they have taken advantage of it. It was a good insight into what the queens were like as girls and an interesting read.
The Oracle Queen was the story I liked better, as it shows a different side to Elsabet, as well as the true story behind the supposedly mad queen, a very different one from what the legend states. The ending was quite a shocking one, and a sad tale too, but this story also allowed for a glimpse at Fennbirn many, many years before the events of the main series and how different the dynamics were between the differently gifted people, as well as some parallels with the Fennbirn we know.
Queens of Fennbirn was an enjoyable read and a great window into the past, filling in some gaps in the main story. I would definitely recommend this book for fans of the Three Dark Crowns series!
Publishing Date: April 3rd, 2018 (Harper Teen)
Love & Olives (Love & Luck #3) | Jenna Evans Welch
Liv Varanakis doesn’t like to think about her father much, which makes sense – he fled to Greece when she was only eight, leaving her with just a few painful memories of their shared love for the lost city of Atlantis. So when teenage Liv suddenly receives a postcard from her father, who explains that National Geographic is supporting a documentary about his theories on Atlantis – and asks if she will fly out to Greece and help – Liv is less than thrilled.
When she arrives in gorgeous Santorini, things are just as awkward as she’d imagined. There are so many questions, so many emotions that flood to the surface after seeing her father for the first time in years. Liv doesn’t want to get sucked back into her father’s world. She also definitely doesn’t want Theo, her father’s charismatic so-called protégé, to witness her struggle.
Even so, she can’t help but be charmed by everything Santorini has to offer – the beautiful sunsets, the turquoise water, the sun-drenched villages, and the delicious cuisine. But not everything on the Greek island is as perfect as it seems. Because as Liv slowly begins to discover, her father may not have invited her to Greece for Atlantis, but for something much more important
I loved both of the previous books in this series, and with this latest installment set in Greece, it was an auto add to my TBR. The premise was an interesting one too, and unlike the first two books which were comparatively more romance focused, this was a wonderful story about familial relationships, loss and forgiveness, making it the most emotional read of the trio.
The setting was absolutely gorgeous and Greece has been at the top of my bucket list for several years now, so seeing Santorini through Liv’s eyes as she explores the island was undoubtedly my favorite part of this book. I also liked how with each chapter one of the 26 things Liv’s dad left behind was revealed, explaining the story behind it to give the reader a better understanding of the past and an idea of how the father-daughter relationship was even as the present plotline keeps moving.
One thing I didn’t like was how long this book was. I’ve never read a contemporary novel before that crossed the 500 page mark, and several parts did feel repetitive which could have easily been cut short. I was also not a big fan of the romance, especially given how rude Theo was to Liv in the beginning. However, the strong plotline and themes more than make up for it, and this was a thoroughly enjoyable narrative, right to the end. This was a perfect summer read and I hope there will be more books in this series. Highly recommended!
Publishing Date: November 10th, 2020 (Simon Pulse)
Have you read any of these books or do you plan to? I’d love to hear your thoughts on them!