Spoiler Free Review: Scorpica by G.R. Macallister

Title: Scorpica

Author: G.R. Macallister

Pub. Date: February 22nd 2022

Genre: Fantasy/LGBTQIA+

Format: eARC

Publisher: Saga Press

Pages: 448

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON | LIBROFM

☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

Characters: 8/10   Atmosphere: 10/10  Writing Style: 9/10  Plot: 7/10  Intrigue: 0/10  Logic/Relationships: 10/10  Enjoyment: 7/10

Rating: 51/7.2 =  ☆☆ 4 Stars☆☆╮

Rating system created by The Book Roast 

☆☆ 𝐀𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐅𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐐𝐮𝐞𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐨𝐦𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝, 𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐝𝐚𝐲, 𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐥𝐲 𝐚 𝐡𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐫𝐧. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐫𝐮𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐝 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐩𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐝𝐬, 𝐟𝐚𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐫𝐬, 𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐛𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐫𝐬, 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐞𝐧𝐬. ☆☆╮

Five Queendoms have ruled over the land in peace for five hundred years until the Drought of Girls arrives. When girls who are the warriors, healers, magic wielders, and scribes in this world cease being born, the Queendoms turn against one another. In a land of many religions, prayers go up to their different Gods in hopes of ending this curse. Told in multi-POV mainly from the perspectives of the Queen of Arca & Scorpica, this is the start to what has been described as the female Game of Thrones. We have a matriarchal society where men have lesser magic if any all, theirs is more for cosmetic purposes since their role in society is mostly as stay at home husbands. They do not have the right to vote or hold any office, they’re tasked with rearing children in this world where polygamy is the norm. The exception being the land of Scorpica where men are not allowed entry and women warriors travel out of their lands every five years to procreate. Male born babies are sold off and female babies are welcomed as future warriors. When the Drought of Girls begins, all Queendoms look to one another for the source of this curse. Power plays are set into motion by each queen to protect their positions of power at any and all costs. 

This is the type of Fantasy that will satisfy the reader who enjoys thoroughly fleshed out world building, political machinations, and slow but steady storytelling that feels like it’s all leading up to something greater. Although quite dense at times with a TON of characters, the short chapters really make it easier to follow the many story lines at once. I really enjoyed learning of the different lands and their Queendoms because each has it’s own specialty they’re known for sort of like the seven kingdoms of Westeros (Game of Thrones). We get to spend some time learning of the warriors in Scorpica, Scribes in the Bastion, deal makers/traders in Paxim, and Sorcerers in Arca. Some lands were explored more than others but I was satisfied with the two we spent the most time in (Scorpica & Arca) since they wield the most power through physical and magical strengths. A good majority of the cast of characters are queer and most relationships are Polyamorous. I love a good set of supporting side characters especially when they’re sort of found family. We get that here in a group of misfits/thieves we meet on the journey of one of the main characters we follow. I’m hoping to meet these characters on the page again after getting fully invested in their lives. This was definitely a foundation setting book to what has the potential to be an EPIC fantasy. My guess is that the sequel will hit the ground running and swords will be clashing. For this to be the first fully matriarchal/feminist Fantasy I’ve read…MORE please? haha! this hit the spot 🙌🏽


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WWW Wednesday: 9/8/2021

It has been way too long since I posted a WWW Wednesday mainly because I’ve been mood reading and partly because I’ve been on the go. It’s a wrap on this rainy summer and even though I didn’t get as much beach time, I have been safely traveling and working on my little indoor garden. Currently I’m nurturing a Monstera Deliciosa aka My Baby! in hopes she thrives in my home. Physical fitness has taken center stage and for the first time in a really long time, I’m actually really enjoying my new workout routine because of the variety I’ve included. Audiobooks come in clutch when i’m working out and pretty soon they’re going to be my best friend while I tackle painting my apartment. It took me some time to decide on whether or not to paint but seeing as I’m in NYC for at least the next couple of years, might as well bring my vision for Desert Chic to realization. Besides reading, I started watching Fear Street on Netflix and this scares-very-easily person is loving it! What are you lovelies reading/watching/planting/cooking? lemme know down below!

I started The Love Hypothesis last night and while I may not be a Star Wars fan, I did love me some Adam Driver! Our male love interest is most definitely Kylo Ren fanfic inspired. I AM HERE FOR IT! We get the fake dating trope between two scientists that promises to be cute and steamy, what more can we ask for? I’m hoping to get some reading in tonight while doing the laundry but can easily see this one keeping me up past the midnight hour. 

I also sporadically decided to start listening to The King of Scars audiobook while I work. This is a re-read for me since I originally read my physical copy in 2019 and three starred it. YUP. It was not a great moment. In any case, seeing as I’ve had a copy of Rules of Wolves sitting on my shelves for quite some time and I’ve been reading from my shelves…figured I’d give it another go. It may still be a three star but so far I’m enjoying the audiobook way more than the physical. Zoya is EVERYTHING and her accent makes me smile. 

I actually binge read The Kiss Quotient trilogy, I listened to The Heart Principle on my flight back to NYC. The narrators did a fantastic job with all three books, Helen Hoang is now a new favorite Contemporary Romance author. The Heart Principle did have a different feel than it’s predecessors seeing as it was birthed after a year of grief and loss for the author. I had the chance to read the author’s interview on Goodreads where she discusses what she experienced in 2019/20 and the therapy she sought out to help her cope with her grief. The Heart Principle felt raw and vulnerable, I deeply resonated with Anna who I embodied at one point in my life. Quan, her love interest is reclaiming his life and self love after also experiencing a tough battle. Although very different in tone, I can honestly say this book is my favorite of the three. Please check for content warnings, my review is in the works. 

I also had the chance to read an early copy of A Curse In Ash by Julie Zantopoulos (my reviewand LOVED it! this was a book I picked up on my day off and read it start to finish in one day. If you enjoy sexy fae times and fantasy that is set in a contemporary world, then this is for you. If you love friendship circles that portray healthy relationships, this is for you. Lastly, if you enjoy a steamy AF Fantasy…I mean all the way off the meter…the meter is broken my loves! then I HIGHLY recommend giving this one a go 😉

Never has a book been easier to select off my shelves than The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova what better way is there to bring in Latinx Heritage Month (begins September 15th) than with a new book by one of my favorite authors, Zoraida Córdova?!?! this is an adult fantasy that also spends time in Ecuador which is where Córdova was born in. I’ve heard only positive reviews and cannot wait to dive in to the Ecuadorian folklore I’ve heard our author weaves in. My boyfriend also happens to be Ecuadorian and as with most books I read, I’ll be sharing this one with him for thoughts 😉


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Spoiler Free Review: Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

Title: Down Comes the Night

Author: Allison Saft

Pub. Date: March 2nd 2021

Genre:YA Fantasy/Queer

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 400 pages

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🖤eGalley provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review, all quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release🖤

A Gothic Bi-Sexual Fantasy/Murder Mystery with a hate-to-love romance?!?! sounds too good to be true but Allison Saft truly delivered. MC Wren Southerland is orphaned at a young age and taken in by her aunt (The Queen) as a healer in the Queen’s Guard. While in the military she falls in love with Una Dryden, a career ambitious general who loves her in return but will always choose her rank and service to the Queen over Wren. There is a long lasting war between the Danubians (Wren’s People) and the Vesrians while the Cernosians remain neutral and apart from their war. The body count is rising and soldiers have begun to go missing while on guard. Una is the sole reason for which Wren continues in the military, she is ill suited for the jobs more harsh requirements when handling enemy hostages. Wren has a couple of infractions for displaying what is considered to be too much empathy.

“I need you by my side. And there Wren would stay, even if it she couldn’t always stomach what at any and all costs entailed. She cursed the empathy that flowed in her blood as surely as her healing magic did.”

Dismissed from the Queen’s Guard, Wren decides to accept a mysterious invitation from an eccentric reclusive Lord. He writes of a sick member of his staff and the urgency with which he seeks out Wren’s medical expertise in exchange for assistance with her dilemma. She arrives at his estate to find a cold and crumbling mansion, the Lord welcomes her in his study with a contract for her to sign should she accept his terms and conditions. All seems quite odd but given her predicament and desire to redeem herself with the Queen, she accepts. The identity of the patient poses a HUGE conflict of interest for her and the ultimate test of empathy. Things begin to unravel at Colwick Hall, Wren is determined to uncover the truth behind her missing comrades and exactly what role the Lord of Colwick plays in the war.

Content Warning: War themes, gore, murder, kidnapping, detailed surgical procedures

Haunting and at times disturbing, this slower paced Gothic Mystery sometimes left me cringing at the medical procedures described. In some ways it reminded me of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic which also took place in a Gothic styled mansion. In this stand-alone Fantasy there are Danubians and Vesrians who have been gifted with magic and the Cernosians who are a people without this gift. The magic system is where I would’ve like to have seen more exploration. Other than Wren who has healing magic and one other MC who has a different type of magic, we don’t really get discussion on the different types of existing magic in this world. Otherwise, I’d say this is one super atmospheric character driven story that would be perfect for the Fall/Winter seasons. I enjoyed the romance even if  many scenes were fade to black (expect a ton of sexual tension), it is still Young Adult and my guess is that it was written with that in mind.  Would I have read an adult version of this story? ABSOLUTELY! our MC Wren craves real genuine connection and affection, seeing her navigate her own feelings/emotions leaves you with a deep sense of yearning. I empathized with this character who at every turn was told to stop feeling so much and basically go against what is second nature to her. I won’t go into too much detail on her love interest(s) since I consider that to be spoilery but I was very pleased to get a complex character who was trying to atone while also acknowledging that their transgressions can’t be erased. I love who Wren ultimately ends up with simply because that person made her feel seen and appreciated those qualities that others tried to root out of her. A solid debut Book Lovers! I’ll be on the lookout for Allison Saft’s next book.


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Review: The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

Title: The City We Became

Author:N.K. Jemisin

Pub. Date: March 24th. 2020

Genre: Sc-Fi/Urban Fantasy

Format: Physical

Publisher: Orion

Pages: 464 Pages

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I’m just going to preface this review by saying I can 100% understand now why so many are deeply awed and at the same time intimidated by N.K. Jemisin’s writing. This author doesn’t pull any punches & completely trusts you as a reader to keep up & decipher whatever she’s throwing at you which is a WHOLE lot! this story takes off running with the introduction of New York as an avatar which is essentially a soul. There are five boroughs in NYC: Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island. They are all repped in this book by an avatar for the city of New York that is in danger of never being born…yea I know, try wrapping your head around that one!

All five boroughs must find their way to each other & save the main Avatar which is NYC himself. At the very start they aren’t all aware that they’ve been chosen as avatars but as their paths cross, things start to connect. One thing is clear! they love their city & won’t let anyone/thing threaten its birth. This was my first N.K. Jemisin read but I had heard from other bookish friends that the real treat is the social commentary embedded which I can now attest to. We have a villain who is referred to as The Woman in White who I came to understand, represents a threat to all that which makes the city of New York culturally diverse. The five avatars that are each a personification of the boroughs, range in ages & cultural backgrounds. This alone makes this one hell of a unique story because of its inclusivity & diversity which is exactly what I’d like to see more of in the Fantasy genre. The Bronx is repped by a woman in her 70’s who is a Native-American Lesbian & art administrator, Brooklyn is a middle aged black politician woman who was once a Hip Hop artist, Manhattan is a black male who is in Grad school & arrives in the city to meet his Trans roommate. Queens is repped by a young female Mathematician/Immigrant & Staten Island is the daughter of a homophobic, racist, Xenophobic cop. She’s never left the Island & lives in fear of Manhattan since it represents all the evil her father has warned her about.

These characters are complex & multi-faceted, they come bearing the weight of many of the stereotypes placed upon them. This isn’t your average Fantasy/World-building either, we don’t see any specific magic being used. Instead, a lot of their power comes from within and from the positive & negative life experiences they’ve each had. We see them learn to manipulate their powers once they notice the city react & come to life to help them in their battle against the woman in white. I am still thinking about these characters & all of the possibilities of where this story could unravel. NYC is just one of the cities being birthed, we also met Sao Paulo and Hong Kong personified. It is the duty of the last city birthed to help along the next & on the very first page there’s a map with some other possible cities. I’m very intrigued to see this series grow & while I wait, can now finally pick up The Broken Earth trilogy which is also by this author & very well loved.


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