So, I have a confession to make: I was raised in the Episcopal church, and my mom would let me steal away to the Parish Hall's library every Sunday morning before church started. In her mind, if I had a book from the *church library* and I read quietly during the whole service, it was better than me acting out, swinging my legs for something to do, or any number of weird things kids do when they're bored. Little did she know that I'd quickly found the one secular book in the Episcopal church library: a summary of Greek mythology. It was always, always the book I went for. (Honestly, I need to go back and see if it's still there--maybe beg the church secretary to let me take it in exchange for a donation.) Aaaaaanyways, I became a Greek mythology nerd very early in life.

Thanks to NetGalley and Allyssa Brinker, I was fortunate to receive an ARC of Cruel Venom Wine. This book is a witchy Medusa retelling, set in 1860s Utah. I know, I know. That sounds like the weirdest combination of words, but the story was overall very enjoyable. At times I did struggle with wording that felt overly "thesaurus-ed," and it definitely needs another round or two of edits because there were quite a few typos, but the bones of the story held it up.

Allyssa was wonderful enough to include Trigger Warnings at the beginning of the book, which I always commend. Please be sure to check those before reading, as there are some heavy hitters, including sexual assault as a main driving factor to the story.

Cruel Venom Wine follows Meredith, a crimson witch with an affinity for snakes. She talks to them and they do as she pleases. After a brutal sexual assault (I don't want to add the word attempt here, because the rape is not completed, but she is still, in my book, totally sexually assaulted), Meredith and her sisters flee the wrath of Poseidon and Athena, meeting Percy (IYKYK) along the way.

This book does an excellent job of reminding readers that Poseidon freaking sucks. Zeus, too, although Zeus isn't present as an active character in the story. (I'm not saying Hades is always a stand up guy, but don't listen to Disney channel on this one. If I had to choose one of those three to saddle myself too, it would 100000000000% be Hades. The least of the 3 evils and all that. I will die on this hill. See what I did there?!)

All in all, if you're into Greek mythology, I would recommend this book. I would categorize it as definitely a YA fantasy retelling. If that's up your alley, it's out now, and free with Kindle Unlimited here!

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