Audiobook review: Reputation by Lex Croucher

I wasn’t sure about this one for the first few chapters, but Lex Croucher’s regency mean girls ended up winning me over.

What it’s about

From the Goodreads description:

Abandoned by her parents, middle-class Georgiana Ellers has moved to a new town to live with her dreary aunt and uncle. At a particularly dull party, she meets the enigmatic Frances Campbell, a wealthy member of the in-crowd who lives a life Georgiana couldn’t have imagined in her wildest dreams.

Lonely and vulnerable, Georgiana falls in with Frances and her unfathomably rich, deeply improper friends. Georgiana is introduced to a new world: drunken debauchery, mysterious young men with strangely arresting hands, and the upper echelons of Regency society.

But the price of entry to high society might just be higher than Georgiana is willing to pay.

My thoughts

First and foremost, Reputation is a regency romcom, and while it’s not saturated with sex scenes (in fact, there are 0 sex scenes), it’s blessedly an adult novel and not a whiny YA. High five! The writing is smart and so very funny… I was giggling my way through this book, even though it does touch on some serious stuff. It’s inclusive and has a diverse cast of characters, and while Croucher is obviously taking liberties in making the story more modern-feeling, I’m very much here for the ladies having some agency, the LGBTQ representation, and some impressive character development.

Speaking of the characters, I could not stand our main girl Georgiana in those first chapters—she’s mopey and selfish, even if she has her reasons, and that’s a bit annoying. She is bored and sarcastic, but when she meets Frances and her group of super rich, spoiled party-animal gentry, she goes all in. The debauchery these people engage in is deliciously scandalous, and while it’s fun to see the proper ladies getting to party, too, wow, these characters are just mean. Georgiana grows up slowly and painfully as the story moves along, and she’s just so damn funny I couldn’t help but love her, while the supporting cast is full of people to love and hate and love/hate.

I listened to an advanced listener’s copy of the audiobook, and I absolutely loved it. Bessie Carter does a fantastic job narrating, especially conveying the sarcasm. I highly recommend this audiobook to fans of historical romcoms, regency romances with a message, and/or bitchy drunken snobs.

Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for my free copy in exchange for this honest review. The book and audiobook come out April 5.


Audiobook review: Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

Two of my takeaways, after finishing this book: I need to read more books by Cosby and Razorblade Tears should be a movie.

What it’s about

From the Goodreads description:

Ike Randolph has been out of jail for fifteen years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid.

The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah’s white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss.

Derek’s father Buddy Lee was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed his father was a criminal. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy.

Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their own prejudices about their sons and each other, as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys.

My thoughts

I was a little blown away by just how much I loved this book. I definitely don’t gravitate toward crime thrillers, but I am so glad I requested this one on NetGalley.

Razorblade Tears is a John Wick-esque, ultra violent, action-packed revenge story. It’s chock full of uncomfortableness—racism, sexism, homophobia, hate—and it’s very gritty and a lot gory. It’s also a brilliantly written story about love and family, and a quite successful tale of redemption. I was on the edge of my seat, anxious, and infuriated in equal parts through most of this book. Ike and Buddy Lee are neither one relatable characters for me and their methods are pure insanity, but I felt so much for both of them and was rooting for them all the way.

This is my first experience with S.A. Cosby’s work and I just love the style. Cosby doesn’t add filler and fluff, but his prose is anything but stark. Intelligent, descriptive writing and an amazing knack for making complicated, scary characters compelling.

The audiobook is superbly narrated by Adam Lazarre-White. This was my first book with him reading, and I’m thrilled to see that he also narrates Cosby’s Blacktop Wasteland, as I plan to listen to more by both author and narrator.

Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for my copy in exchange for this honest review.