Corona Crime – Robert Pimm (Review)

Book cover for Corona Crime. A baby's hand with a hospital tag reaches out from a background of glittering blue and orange squares.

I’m very proud to announce that this is possibly the first book I have reviewed in the same year that it was released. Normally, here at IP, we prefer to be at least a couple of decades behind the times. Corona Crime is a very new novel – but it is set three centuries into the future. (I don’t like 2020 and I refuse to stay in it, literarily or otherwise.)

Sadly, based on this novel, things will not have improved much by the 24th century. A lot of science fiction is intended to be a mirror of our own world, showing us what democracy (or communism, or free markets, or racism, or nuclear war) would look like in another galaxy far, far away. Corona Crime does something much more direct: we have the same problems, in the same world, except they’re a lot worse because we’ve done nothing to fix them. The rich still live off the poor, male lives are still more valuable than female, and countries like Poland and Vietnam are still getting it in the neck from countries which are larger and better-resourced.

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Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi (Review)

If you only looked at Western bestseller lists and film rankings, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Egyptian mummies are the only fantasy storyline which Africa has ever produced. But you’d be wrong – and I was thrilled to see that Children of Blood and Bone has brought a long-neglected mythology into young adult fiction.

We need more African stories. There’s an incredibly rich tradition of storytelling across the continent, which remains largely unrepresented in Western publishing. Tomi Adeyemi’s novel seems to draw mainly on Nigerian culture and mythology for inspiration, but I hope it heralds a great variety of stories from a great many more countries.

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Bone Dungeon – Jonathan Smidt (Review)

After an unjust execution, Ryan returns to consciousness as a dungeon core – a sentient lump of rock with the power to shape its immediate surroundings. Paired with Erin, a celestial fairy, Ryan’s goddess-given task is to challenge adventurers, stocking his dungeon with monsters so that questing heroes can gain experience.

There are complications to this though; Ryan has a magical affinity to darkness (necromantic energy), which is not only totally opposed to Erin’s magic/morals, but also a beacon to higher-levelled evil beings who see him as an ally or a pawn. Living up to Erin’s expectations involves not using the full scope of his power, but living at all means he needs to get stronger, fast.

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The Wedding Party – Jasmine Guillory (Review)

Despite hating each other, Maddie and Theo share a best friend. When she gets engaged and enlists them to the bridal party, Maddie and Theo are suddenly faced with having to see each other far more often.

This is further complicated by the knowledge that the last time they spent time together, it ended in an alcohol-fulled hook up that neither of them has stopped thinking about.

With the sexual tension rising, they agree to a secret enemies-with-benefits set-up that starts to build into something more…

By this point, it’s fairly clear that I’ve really enjoyed all of Guillory’s novels. The Wedding Party, however, is absolutely my favourite. I think it’s actually the first one I read before realising it was third in the series and swiftly reading all the others as well, but it’s also the one that’s stuck with me the most.

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The Proposal – Jasmine Guillory (Review)

When Nik Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her boyfriend, the last thing she expects is for him to suddenly propose to her on the Jumbotron. Not least because he can’t even spell her name right…

Also at the game, Carlos Ibarra and his sister Angela witness her swift refusal, and quickly rescue her from the prying eyes of 45,000 baseball fans and the camera crew that just showed up.

After the video goes viral and Nik’s ex starts harrassing her, Carlos becomes a valued friend, confidant, and extremely fun rebound. Although both Carlos and Nik aren’t looking for anything serious, can either of them ignore that their feelings are getting stronger?

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The Wedding Date – Jasmine Guillory (Review)

Alexa Monroe is on the way to meet her sister when she gets stuck in a hotel lift with a handsome stranger.

Drew Nichols is in town for the wedding of two of his best friends, one of whom just happens to be his ex. Dateless and dreading the party, Drew finds himself stuck in a lift with a beautiful woman who inexplicably agrees to be his fake girlfriend for the weekend.

Now, as I have stated in earlier reviews, I love a good fake relationship romance, and meeting in a lift is another classic rom-com trope. This joyful interpretation of these produces the resulting meet-cute with a great sense of humour, but doesn’t over do it, kicking off one of the best series of contemporary romances I’ve ever read.

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We Just Clicked – Anna Bell (Review)

Izzy Brown is an aspiring Instagram influencer who makes a deal with the devil, a.k.a. her coworker Luke, to fake a relationship to boost their profiles. Their plan works, but the longer it goes on, Izzy starts to wonder whether this fake life is worth it. When she reconnects with Aidan, a mysterious stranger who looked after her the day her brother died, Izzy’s dilemma comes to a head: does she want true love with Aidan or the picture-perfect life and perks of internet fame?

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