Mini #BookReviews| Reputation by Lex Croucher (#ChickLit) and In A Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power (#EpicFantasy)

Reputation by Lex Croucher

Bridgerton meets Gossip Girl with a dash of Jane Austen, in Reputation, a Regency-era historical romantic comedy with a deliciously feminist twist, from a hilarious new British voice, Lex Croucher. Abandoned by her parents, bookish and sheltered Georgiana Ellers is spending the summer with her stodgy aunt and uncle at their home in the English countryside. At a particularly dull party, she meets the enigmatic Frances Campbell, a wealthy member of the in-crowd who delights Georgiana with her disregard for so-called “polite society.” Lonely and vulnerable, Georgiana quickly falls in with Frances and her wealthy, wild, and deeply improper friends, who introduce her to the upper echelons of Regency aristocracy, and a world of drunken debauchery, frivolous spending, and mysterious young men. One, in particular, stands out from the rest: Thomas Hawksley, who has a tendency to cross paths with Georgiana in her most embarrassing moments. Sparks fly, but Thomas seems unimpressed with the company she is keeping. And soon, Georgiana begins to wonder whether she’ll ever feel like she fits in––or if the price of entry into Frances’s gilded world will ultimately be higher than she is willing to pay. Set against a backdrop of lavish parties, handsome men on horseback––and in a time when one’s reputation was everything––this edgy, hilarious romantic comedy explores sex, consent, belonging, and status through the eyes of an unforgettable heroine that Austen herself would have cheered for.

My Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reputation by Lex Croucher is a fresh and unusual way to reflect on different historical and social realities that are problematic in our current times. The story takes current situations and places them in a Regency Romance setting for a twist that initially made me uncomfortable, but that I eventually accepted and grew more comfortable with. 

The main character, Georgiana, has been left with her aunt and uncle while her parents move to the coast for her mother’s health. Feeling a bit lost and alone, she is the perfect target for the local mean girls who befriend her and then turn her life upside down. Along the way, she meets a diverse cast of characters that wake her up and present her with a different world – much like the author has done to the reader. She is a bright and quirky character that I could quickly embrace and sympathize with, and I loved to see her grow so much during the story.

Using snark and wit, the story’s narration left me both appalled and in stitches with laughter. The formal language used when adults were around slowed my reading pace down. Still, the more current language of Georgiana and her acquaintances was quick and easy to read, being more relatable and less full of the extras that formality dictates.

Recommended for watchers of Bridgerton and anyone who is intrigued by the mash-up of eras, this Mean Girls meets Bridgerton meets Gossip Girls meets Jane Austin story will leave you in awe and wonder. 

In A Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power

Twins imbued with incredible magic and near-immortality will do anything to keep their family in power—even if it tears the family apart—in the first book of a mythic epic fantasy duology from the New York Times bestselling author of Wilder Girls. Rhea and Lexos were born into a family unlike any other. Together with their siblings, they control the seasons, the tides, and the stars, and help their father rule their kingdom. Thanks to their magic, the family has ruled for an eternity, and plan to rule for an eternity more. But Rhea and Lexos are special: They are twins, bonded down to the bone, and for the past hundred years, that bond has protected them as their father becomes an unpredictable tyrant—and his worsening temper threatens the family’s grip on power. Now, with rival nations ready to attack, and a rebel movement within their own borders, Rhea and Lexos must fight to keep the kingdom—and the family—together, even as treachery, deceit, and drama threaten to strand the twins on opposite sides of the battlefield. In a Garden Burning Gold is a vividly written, atmospheric saga that explores the limits of power and the bonds of family—and how far both can be bent before they break.

My Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power is a new epic fantasy world that is truly epic in every way. The world-building is full of juxtapositions that enhance every aspect. It’s a cold dark world in action, but the actual environment is beautiful and bright. Lives are given to bring on the changing of seasons, and the magic and near immortality that drives this is commonplace.

Adult twins Rhea and Alexandros are the oldest children of their nation’s leader. Alexandros is his father’s second, and Rhea must take and kill consorts to bring on a new season. Their lives are full of war and death, with people conspiring against them from all sides. They live to serve their father, a dark, abusive man who likes his home filled with light and color.

This story reads like a Greek epic tragedy and begs the reader to take their time and savor this world and the lyrical way it is described. Rhea, in particular, grows enormously, and I loved how layered and nuanced her character development is. She is just exquisite in every way. Rhea is beautiful and values life well beyond what her position in this society would seem to dictate. She sees beauty everywhere and wants more for herself, even though achieving it would come at a very high cost. She is my favorite character, not because I relate to her, but because she is intriguingly complicated.

 I also loved the shocking twists and turns the story took and discovering all the different magics this world held. If you love epic stories told in fantasy worlds, A Garden Burning Gold is a beautiful selection for you to savor.

20 Replies to “Mini #BookReviews| Reputation by Lex Croucher (#ChickLit) and In A Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power (#EpicFantasy)”

  1. Excellent reviews, Tessa! In a Garden Burning Gold caught my eye when you first shared it. I’ve added it! Rhea sounds like a character to love. 🧡

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent reviews, Tessa. I enjoy a good mash-up, but “Mean Girls meets Bridgerton meets Gossip Girls meets Jane Austin” is a new one for me! Interesting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was wondering what you thought of Reputation, and I thought your review summed it up perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

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