Posted in [fiction reviews]

[Fiction Review] “A Pirate’s Life for Tea” by Rebecca Thorne

Full Title: A Pirate’s Life for Tea (Tomes & Tea Cozy Fantasies #2)
Author: Rebecca Thorne
Published: February 23, 2023 by self-publishing
Genres: Fiction, Cozy Fantasy, LGBTQ+ Romance, LGBTQ+ Fantasy
Edition Details: ebook
Source: ARC – requested directly from author
Rating: {5/5 stars}

This is a spoiler-free review. No details will be shared from the storyline itself that aren’t available or inferred from the book jacket and online descriptions.

First Glance

This book can be read without first reading Can’t Spell Treason with Tea. I requested a copy of this book when Thorne mentioned on TikTok that she wanted readers who hadn’t read book one yet.

My only awareness of this series before reading book two was that it included [1] lesbians, [2] magic, and [3] tea.

Positive Bits

I have a soft spot for cozy fantasy and fluff fiction. In a world that’s so chaotic and overwhelmingly bad at times, having guaranteed happily ever afters is more important than ever.

This book is an interesting outsider’s view of a romance as it blooms. The main characters from book one, Kianthe and Reyna, switch back and forth in perspectives as they watch two other women fall in love. You know how it feels when you read a corny romance book and wrinkle your nose at something silly the characters have done? Kianthe and Reyna join the reader in reacting to the antics of Bobbie and Serina. And if you love puns, you’ll definitely love Kianthe…

The plot kept me interested outside of the “relation-shipwreck” (ha!) as we dig into a regional lord and his questionable activities. There were plenty of tie-ins to the first book that were detailed enough to avoid confusion but vague enough to make me want book one ASAP. The dragon eggs mentioned in the book’s description played far less of a role than I expected, but there were hints as to why (both past and future) that might be the case. For those easily bored with too much cozy in their cozy fantasy, this book offers a bit of action and danger to spice things up. Given the genre, it’s obvious that no one dies or experiences traumatic loss (thank the gods!), but we have enough friction to keep the overarching plot relevant outside of the romance in progress.

Less Enjoyable Bits

My version of the book was an advanced copy, so there was still time to make adjustments when I read it. Thorne asked readers to reach out with any issues or comments, so I did. I won’t ruin any plot details, but I made a comment about a character introduction that was taken seriously (and positively). I know how hard and uncomfortable it can be to receive feedback on your work, so I appreciated her openness to discussion.

There’s a bit of a distance in observing the budding relationship between Bobbie and Serina that’s odd. I think this is largely in part to only experiencing their relationship as viewed by Kianthe and Reyna as outsiders. In a standard romance story, you’d get some of the internal dialogue from the romantic partners in addition to witnessing their interactions. The romance is still believable and acceptable as the story progresses, but I don’t know that I favor reading romance from a couple of steps away.

I almost wish this story had been a little less cozy! There are a couple of points where the tension is high enough to be more than a speedbump to the characters, but overall the main couple Kianthe and Reyna stayed almost too calm and happy the entire time. It didn’t hurt the plot, but it didn’t necessarily help either. It felt like maybe they were getting some downtime after book one being a bit spicier?

Tidbits Worth Repeating

My favorite quotes give away plot details, so I can’t include them. However, I loved this:

To the people who gave me one star reviews because the first book “had lesbians.” I doubled the lesbians in this one. Just for you. – Dedication

Is it worth the coin?

Yes – Rebecca Thorne’s book is cozy and funny and has lesbians AND pirates. What are you waiting for?


bookdragon, poet, witch

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