Review: The Tritonis Venture by Daniel McMillan

Author: Daniel McMillan
Publisher: Indie
Released: December 16, 2021
Received: Reedsy

4 kitties

The Tritonis Venture is a novel that first caught my attention thanks to that vibrant blue cover. However, what kept me invested was the promise it made: a cross between Aliens, Ray Bradbury, and Avatar. I mean, who could resist that temptation? Not I!

While artificial islands may be common these days, Jack Fuller is more than a little bit excited to arrive on this one. Granted, that has more to do with the potential of his new job than anything else. However, not all high hopes are allowed to take off, and Jack’s dreams will soon be crushed.

It takes several concerning missing person cases before Jack realizes just how wrong things are here – and that the CEO of his job may just be to blame. But how will Jack break the truth to light – and survive doing so?

“The bottom line was that, in the end, his plans would remain clandestine, and he would use the tools at his disposal to bring the world back to the way it had once been — a world in which the people who deserved to, such as himself, rose above the mundane collective to wield their accumulated power and influence as they saw fit.”

If you’re looking for a fast-paced indie novel that is full of both intrigue and interesting science fiction elements, look no further. The Tritonis Venture by Daniel McMillan is the read for you. At least, it certainly fits the bill for me!

Personally, what sold me on The Tritonis Venture is the perfect balance of characters. First, there’s (unintentional) here. I love a story that throws them into a situation that can’t be ignored, but maybe that’s just me. Then there’s the villain – he’s one of those characters that is just so satisfying to hate. His perspective is the perfect introduction to the story.

I also really enjoyed the amount of creative thinking that must have gone into this book. You can tell that McMillan put a lot of thought into the settings, scenarios, and characters. It all feels so…intentional. And yet, there’s a fun science fiction spin on everything. This book is the perfect example of why I love reading indie science fiction books.

So, circling back to that promise. Did I feel that The Tritonis Venture had a blend of Aliens, Ray Bradbury, and Avatar? Yes, that is safe to say. However, I think it’s more important to note everything that makes The Tritonis Venture different from those samples. This is not a book that sits on the shoulders of previous works – it isn’t afraid to do the heavy lifting and really get you thinking. And that is why I enjoyed this read.

Thanks to #Reedsy for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Review: Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher

Series: The Saint of Steel #1
Author: T. Kingfisher
Publisher: Indie
Released: February 11, 2020
Received: Own

4 1/2 kitties

Book Summary:

Stephen is a Paladin for the Saint of Steel. Or rather, he was. His god died three years ago, and Stephen and the few remaining Paladins have been struggling to find a purpose ever since. It’s like a part of his chest has been ripped away, leaving little behind.

Yet one chance encounter may present Stephen with the chance to find something new and warm in his life. Grace is a perfumer – one quite talented at getting herself into trouble. On the bright side, that’ll give Stephen the perfect excuse to be near her.

My Review:

I’ve had The Saint of Steel series on my TBR list from the moment I discovered T. Kingfisher, and man, was I not disappointed here! Paladin’s Grace is heavy-hitting, with strong emotional tones, a decent romantic subplot, plus lots of mystery and adventure. In other words, it’s exactly what I was looking for.

Stephen and Grace are perhaps not the characters I was expecting from a world such as this, but having finished the book; I don’t think I would have had it any other way. They’re perfect, and by that, I mean they’re imperfect. Stephen is tortured by the loss of his god (and sometimes his loss of control), while her past haunts Grace. It’s a lot to delve into, but it’s worth it.

There are two significant mysteries in Paladin’s Grace, which are fascinating. One gets mostly resolved by the end, but the other is borderline cliffhanger territory. On the bright side, there’s no need to wait for the next book (Paladin’s Strength), so I’m not going to complain!

I’m glad that Paladin’s Grace is part of a series because I feel like there’s so much more to this world – and I can’t wait to see what T. Kingfisher has in store. Now, excuse me; I must order a copy of Paladin’s Strength.


  • Worldbuilding
  • Gods and Saints
  • Fantasy Mystery
  • Romance

Trigger Warnings:

  • Poisoning
  • Loss of control
  • Home Invasion
  • False Imprisonment

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Review: Veil by Dylan Farrow

Series: Hush #2
Author: Dylan Farrow
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Released: April 26, 2022
Received: NetGalley

3 kitties

Veil is the second novel in Dylan Farrow’s Hush series, and I love this cover. I know I say that a lot, but seriously, it’s so pretty. I love the colors and the inky appearance of it. It’s perfect.

Shae’s whole life is a lie. People say that all the time, but it is pretty literal in her case. Driven by a need to fix things, she sets off on a quest for Gondal. Gondal will have the magic she needs to put everything back the way it should be with any luck.

The only way she’ll be able to make it is to follow Ravod’s trail. The thought is painful enough – the path more so. She learns more about the boy and his betrayal by following in his footsteps. Will the answers she seeks be worth all of this?

As somebody that enjoyed Hush, it is safe to say that I was looking forward to Veil. And while I did enjoy the sequel, I feel like it didn’t have the same magic as the first. Maybe that is just me? Don’t worry, though – I still fully intend to read anything else Farrow comes up with.

Once again, worldbuilding is what captivated my attention and imagination. That isn’t to say that I disliked the characters – I’m just a sucker for a well-built fantasy world. In many ways, jumping back into this world felt like coming home. That tells me that I should probably go back and read Hush sometime in the near future.

The characters are also interesting, though I’m still craving a stronger connection with them. I’m listening to them from the other room – I can hear what they’re saying, but I don’t have a full emotional connection to any of it. I hope that makes sense.

Anyway, I did enjoy Veil, despite that complaint. I would happily read more in this series, given half the chance, if only for another opportunity to visit the world.

Thanks to Wednesday Books and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Review: Thistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott

Author: GennaRose Nethercott
Publisher: Anchor Books
Released: September 13, 2022
Received: Own (BOTM)

4 kitties

Book Summary:

What if Baba Yaga was real, and her story (lineage) lived on? What sort of adventures would her descendants find themselves in? Enter Ballatine and Isaac. Ballatine is a young woodworker with a secret. Isaac is a con artist charitably known as a street performer. He also has a secret, but it lies in his past.

Both siblings have something to run from. Yet they come together when a great inheritance is offered to them – Thistlefoot. Thistlefoot is a small home on chicken legs. It’s not your typical mobile home, and it comes with certain…complications.

“Sometimes the story you need is not the story you might want. I respect this. But I warn you, there are no jokes in this story. Yes?”

My Review:

Wow! Thistlefoot was such an intense read. I went into it expecting something fun and fascinating, and what I got was so much more. This is a book that isn’t afraid to get a bit dark. But it has a light and fascinating moments to help balance the story.

Thistlefoot is very steeped in folklore. Every chapter resonates with history, as the writer (GennaRose Netercott) tries to lead readers through a series of events, some of which are set long before our main characters were born.

Much like the entirety of this novel, the ending of Thistlefoot caught me by surprise. It’s one of those endings that will take time to process – and I think that makes me love this book all the more! If you’re looking for a heart-breaking yet heart-warming read, please consider picking it up.


  • Mythology
  • Baba Yaga
  • Puppetry
  • Multiple perspectives
  • LGBT

Trigger Warnings:

  • Infant death
  • Antisemitism
  • Animal death

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Review: The Dachshund Wears Prada by Stefanie London

Author: Stefanie London
Publisher: HQN
Released: May 3, 2022
Received: NetGalley

4 kitties

The Dachshund Wears Prada is the first novel in Stefanie London’s Paws in the City series. I’m not ashamed to admit that the title of the book and the series had a lot to do with getting me to pick this one up!

Isla Thompson learned the hard way that once something is on the internet – it STAYS on the internet. Unfortunately for her, this includes a woman going viral for the wrong reasons. Even worse, what happens on the internet doesn’t just linger – it also affects our physical world, which is why Isla is currently very much unemployed.

In a fit of desperation, Isla’s going to take any job that comes her way. She has a little sister to take care of, after all. And that means she’s about to work for a temperamental dog as a glorified sitter.

“And I think you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat animals, actually.”

The Dachshund Wears Prada is undoubtedly one of the more unique concepts I’ve read. Yes, all of the titles and marketing give the impression that it will be based on different stories, and while that might be true on some levels, it is also very much a creation all Stefanie London’s own.

Overall, I have to say that The Dachshund Wears Prada was a surprisingly cute read. Okay, I expected that going in. You can’t promise me romance and little dogs and expect me to assume anything else, okay? It also had a bit of steam for those hoping for something with little fluff.

This was a fun, quirky start to a series that I doubt will be full of personality! I believe the next book will follow a different set of characters, giving readers a chance to dive into another romance and series of events.

Thanks to HQN and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Review: Extasia by Claire Legrand

Author: Claire Legrand
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Released: February 22, 2022
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Animal death, sexism, sexual harassment, abuse, suicide, cannibalism, torture

3 kitties

Claire Legrand is back, but this time her fantasy world is much darker than her usual tales (which is saying something). Enter Extasia, an LGBTQ+ friendly horror novel full of the paranormal and more.

Extasia is the story of a girl turning saint – but not in the way you might expect. You see, she’s the saint only in the eyes of her cult. The elders have marked her to become a saint, making her stand out from a young age.

It will be her task, alongside her sisters, to head into the black mountain and deal with great evil. This evil has killed many adults. Once completed, this will prove that she and the others are saints.

Ouch. Extasia is arguably the roughest book I’ve read this year – and no, I am not referring to the quality of writing here. There’s just…a lot to deal with within these pages. Honestly, I almost put it down on more than one occasion.

What do I mean? Well, there are lots of warnings worth discussing; animal death, sexism, sexual harassment, abuse, suicide, cannibalism, and torture. These elements play a huge role in Extasia and thus can’t easily be skipped. So please do consider yourself warned. I mean it when I say it was almost too much for me sometimes. I had to take lots of breaks while reading, especially following the animal scenes.

It’s pretty clear, even from the description, that this story is about a girl in a cult. Thus, it doesn’t take long to become concerned about her well-being and eventual fate. Especially not once they start talking about her becoming a saint.

While Extasia was a lot to deal with, I think it opened the door for some interesting conversations and ideas. Amity’s character is strong, even before she gets her hands on power. Yet that very power forces her to enter a new realm of struggle.

Having sapphic characters and plots was a nice touch, if I may say so. It was a grounding (and positive) element of the book that I really appreciated seeing.

Thanks to Katharine Tegan Books and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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WOTN: All the Stars and Teeth

Magic, Lore, and Loyalty in All the Stars and Teeth

All the Stars and Teeth is the first novel in a series of the same name by Adalyn Grace. If you love fantasy series full of legend, lore, royalty, and magic, then this is a novel well worth you checking out. Set in a world where magic is real, but so is the responsibility that comes with it, this is a world unafraid to show the darker side of magic.

Amora was raised to be a queen. She was raised (literally) to become the ruler of Visidia. That is, until her coronation took a disastrous turn, showing that she had no control over her magic. That was a moment that shook her world. But it also opened her eyes to everything happening around her. Now Amora is determined to save her people from an unseen and ignored the threat.

All the Stars and Teeth is a Young Adult fantasy novel that combines many fan-favorite elements. There are determined characters, mermaids, high risks, and intense backstories. This novel has been described as perfect for fans of Caraval and Throne of Glass. As a fan of both, I can’t argue with that statement.


All the Stars and Teeth was a brilliantly intense novel. This novel had incredibly high stakes and in-depth character backstories and legends. I’ll be the first to admit that the lore of this world was by far my favorite, but I think there was plenty of good reason for feeling that way.

Adalyn Grace’s world-building has brought us a lush world – yet one with darker elements. The magical system was fascinating, a fact that grew stronger as the novel continued. The more I learned about magic, the more I wanted to learn.

This is a novel that combines many different elements and, as such, has countless subplots. Some of those plots haven’t come to fruition. Not yet, at any rate. Since this is the first in a series, that isn’t shocking. It does show that Grace is planning. And I’ll admit that I’m more than a little bit curious to see where some of those threads will lead.

Grace’s writing style was fluid yet intense. She wasn’t afraid to show us the worst that humanity has to offer. But she also pointedly showed us how intent matters, sometimes more than anything else. It was an interesting note to base this series on, but one that has proven effective.


All the Stars and Teeth is one of those novels that starts casually but quickly grows into something tense and enthralling. The first few chapters took the time to introduce us to the leading characters. But this novel quickly turned into a fast-paced read once that was over.

I’ll confess that I initially didn’t like Amora’s character. She reads like an entitled princess, especially in the first chapter or two. However, her character grows significantly throughout this novel, and by the end, I couldn’t help but root for her. So if you’re struggling to enjoy her narrative, just give it a chapter or two before giving up.

One thing I loved about this novel was how it seemed to get more complex with time. As the characters grew up, their motivations changed. The plot became thicker and harder to navigate, increasing the stakes at hand. If that pattern holds, the rest of this series will become even more intense.


All the Stars and Teeth was a thrilling and interesting read. While I’ve seen many of these themes countless times, I still feel like Grace was able to produce something new and unique here. I’m glad that I took the time to read it, and honestly am already looking forward to seeing what the next novel will be about.

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

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Short Story Saturday: Undercover by Tamsyn Muir

Series: Into Shadow #5
Author: Tamsyn Muir
Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
Released: November 15, 2022
Received: Own
Trigger Warnings: Body horror, gore, corpses, ghouls

Undercover is the fifth short in the Into Shadow series by Amazon Original Stories. I’ll confess it’s also one of the reasons I wanted to read the series. I adore Tamsyn Muir (thank you for Gideon, Harrow, and Nona) and will read anything else she writes.

I sincerely think Undercover may be my favorite from the entire series – though I should recommend an ounce of caution, as this short is dark and graphic. Consider all the trauma and damage a ghoul can cause to a person. Now consider all the details that Tamsyn Muir can infuse into her writing, and you’ll get the picture.

Would you take a bodyguard job if it meant protecting and caring for a literal ghoul? It’s a hard line to balance – caring for the rotting corpse and knowing when to put it down. And this ghoul is one of a kind, meaning she’s even more dangerous.

This. More of this! It’s dark, horrific, and perfect. This is the read for you if you love LGBT+ stories with a dose of mystery, fantasy, and horror.

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Review: Rosebud by Paul Cornell

Author: Paul Cornell
Released: April 26, 2022
Received: NetGalley

3 1/2 kitties

Please consider picking up Paul Cornell’s Rosebud for those seeking a book that will force creative and thought-provoking conversations. It will do all of this and so very much more. It takes identity, humanity, and other concepts.

Who better to run a ship off on an extended mission than five sentient yet digital beings? These five have been working together for centuries – three of them, to be specific. Yet the latest survey they are on is going to change everything. And everyone.

What they are about to find will change the very nature of their beings. It will make them question themselves, their identity, and what it means to be alive. And that is only the beginning.

Rosebud wins the award for being the most unique novella I’ve read this year. And that’s saying something because I’ve read a few that previously held that title. I love that it made me stop and think while picturing a different form of reality.

This is a bizarre read, but I mean that in the best of ways. It has personality, quirks, flaws, and out-of-this-world concepts. I think readers who enjoy deeper and grittier science fiction novels will enjoy this read.

Rosebud does what science fiction does best – it tackles heavy and difficult to articulate arguments and puts them into a more digestible format. So if you’re looking for a book that will make your brain work, consider checking it out!

Thanks to and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Review: Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo

Series: Alex Stern #2
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Released: January 10, 2023
Received: Own

4 1/2 kitties

Book Summary:

Galaxy Stern, better known as Alex, has always been able to see ghosts. They’ve haunted her in a very real sense. However, her time at Yale has given her power over these ghosts. It’s also thrown her into a whole new world of danger.

Unlike most members of Lethe, Alex and her friends are not content to leave Darlington for dead (or, rather, much worse). So they will find a way to break into hell and rescue his soul. No matter the cost.

My Review:

Wow. No, seriously – wow! It’s been a hot minute since I read a book that made me gasp during momentous revelations. Hell Bent did that – and then some. This book is the sequel I had been hoping for, and it is worth the wait.

The thing I love the most about Hell Bent isn’t the worldbuilding (though I adore it), the characters, or even the magical societies (dark and fantastical) – it’s the way Leigh Bardugo sets up information for us to run with. Yes, she could hand it all to us on a pretty little platter. But she doesn’t. She lets the truth, and thus the horror, sink in all on its own.

Hell Bent was a thrilling read. It is the culmination of several plots from the first novel, delving further into this magical world. There are a few mysteries and layers to work through, making it a delightful and complex read. I’m already looking forward to any news about the third book in this series. I can already tell it’ll be brilliant.


  • Magical Society
  • Hell Heist
  • Bad-ass Heroine
  • Dark Academia Vibes

Trigger Warnings:

  • Animal Death
  • Blackmail
  • Mentions of: rape, suicide, drug abuse
  • Familial Abuse
  • Extreme Guilt

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