1 star, alex-rolled-her-eyes-way-too-often, all-reviews, arc, childhood lovers, contemporary-romance, erotica, romance

(ARC Review) Gods & Monsters by Saffron A. Kent

Gods & MonstersGods & Monsters by Saffron A. Kent

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

 


“Every day I fucking drown in you and I don’t wanna come up for air.”

Don’t read this review.
Especially don’t read this review if you plan on picking up this book in the future.

However, if you do plan on reading this review – I will hide the spoilers, but that will not take away from the fact that I am going to be addressing a very important issue in today’s reader society. Specifically, that which occurs in the New Adult / Romance genre.

→ Some of you will agree.
→ Some of you will choose to ignore it.
→ Most of you will be fucking furious.

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Recognition

I’m going to start this off with some facts.

A survey done in 2014 (out of 815 participants) showed that 98% of the reader-based audience that reads romance novels are female.

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It’s human nature to learn from external stimuli, so everytime a person picks up a book. Without a single doubt, we take away something from it. Even if it’s a new word we don’t understand or a scenario that we know now can be solved a certain way in life.

We are social beings. A lot of the time, what we do also affects others.

Here’s something that (and I can explain this in no other way) literally makes me want to cry and throw up at the same time:
I imagine a girl, or any influential person picking up books like this one. Reading till the bitter end, and taking away that no matter how fucking toxic and unhealthy a relationship can be. It’s okay to get back together with that source of toxicity in your life.


Corruption

I have experienced the toxicity that a relationship can come with and I’ve grown stronger from it. It can destroy every single thing, and love is a fickle thing that can make or break you as a person.

Enter our characters.
Evie Hart and Abel Adams.

We get the dichotomous retelling of Adam and Eve, as the towns princess falls for the local outcast. Leaving aside all the cliche tropes and the cringey lines, we also get their story from start to present. The time jumps can get confusing, but it’s cute so we’ll stick with it..right?

I started seeing the signs at about the 20% mark, folks.
It was like a chill that very eerily ran down my spine and I couldn’t stop reading because for the life of me, I was hoping that this would be a story that showed how wrong love can get.

There’s this quote that comes to mind now that I’ve read till the end page.


“You made flowers grow in my lungs, and that was beautiful… except I couldn’t breathe.”

I thought that this story was going to end telling the readers that it’s not okay to let yourself go through an unhealthy and mentally abusive relationship because “she/he loves me and I can’t live without them.” However, it ended with both characters getting back together. Right there for that “Happily Ever After”.


A Timeline



SPOILERS AHEAD!! PLEASE DON’T READ IF YOU PLAN ON READING THIS BOOK.

1) This may come as a surprise, but I actually started this book thinking this was going to be the best damn thing. The writing was good, the young love trope was going well, and the narration was spot on for the visual image of the characters in my head.


“Abel’s watching me in a new way. I’ve never been watched like that. Like if he moved his eyes, I’d disappear and he’d never see me again.”

2) Then I saw it. Not through the characters words. Through the words from the characters father.


“He used to say, don’t ever take no for an answer from the woman you love, Abel. Keep at it. She’s gonna give in eventually. She’s gonna see how much you love her.”

3) Then it became this uncomfortable feeling because I hoped this book wouldn’t be exactly what it was to me.


“No, I don’t. If this is how you want sex, it’s not going to work.”
“Oh, I’m gonna wear you down, Pixie. You’ll see.”
I think he loves it when I say no.

4) Here’s the argument that I told myself, Evie gets it. She sees that this is a toxic relationship. The author is indirectly showing the audience how wrong somethings can get with unhealthy and obsessive love. So I told myself that this story would end unconventionally, that even though this is their love story. It’s not one that shows how beautiful love can make a person, but shows how heartbreakingly ugly it can get. Truly, it would have gotten all the stars in the galaxy if it had done that.


“In fact, even our arguments end up in sex. Especially, when I scream at him to pick up his clothes because he’s a slob, or demand that he close the door while taking a piss, as he calls it. “Boundaries, Abel!”
He laughs, finishes up his business in the bathroom and fucks me against the wall of the hallway.”

5) Now we see how the heroine is weak. It dragged with how tedious it was. I wanted to scream at my kindle because even after our Evie starts to understand how wrong their type of love is, she is too weak to make a stand.


“As he opens the flap and gets it going, I realize I don’t want the camera. I don’t want Abel to tape our sex. I want him to look at me, be with me in the moment. In the next second, he thrusts inside me once again and my back arches, making my protests dissolve on my tongue.”

6) It got near the end and we finally got Abel’s point of view.


“I will tie her to the bed and fuck her and fuck her until she forgets everything else but me. Or until I put a baby in her and can’t run from me again.”

(view spoiler)


A Note

I really don’t have any ill intent towards the author or the people who loved this book. I love that every single person in the world can read a book and perceive it in a different manner. This is my opinion. I wanted needed to share it because that’s what writing reviews is all about. I wanted to love this book. I really did.

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4 stars, all-reviews, arc, beautiful-doesnt-even-cut-it, contemporary-romance, new-adult, romance, sexual tension, slow-burn

In Harmony by Emma Scott

In HarmonyIn Harmony by Emma Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“You have a flame too, don’t you?”

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I was warned.
Before I knew about this book, I knew about this author.
Everytime an Emma Scott review popped up on my feed, it all but screamed flawlessness and power and everything beautiful about reading Romance. So going into this, I knew I was in for a hell of a ride.

In Harmony will jump kick you in the heart and leave you feeling bittersweet. A poignant and touching story about young love, finding your light when you’ve all but drowned in the dark, and speaking out even if it’s using someone else’s voice.

I was warned, but no warning is enough to prepare you for the soul-stirring way this book will shake you and warm your heart.

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The Story

I want to start by addressing the fact that this book deals with sensitive topics. Be it off page or on page, I would say going in this will in fact leave you with a heavy heart because our world is not always pretty, and the people in it can cause a lot to be angry about.

However, the way that it is handled is something of a miracle, because each feeling, sensation, thought and interconnectedness of the topics are dealt with perfectly. It’s perfect because it’s flawed, and because each character has their own fault and victory, the reader is left with a story that’s real.


“Untouchable. The word sang to me like a lullaby. Everything safe was in those four syllables. Everything I wanted to be but wasn’t.”

I loved the integration of the theater and Hamlet. I thought it worked so well with the characters and the story line. It acts as a catalyst to the events in the story and I love reading Romance that has more substance to it then just two characters meeting and falling in love.

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The parallelism between the play and the characters lives worked. At times, I nearly fell off my chair because of the little easter eggs we got. You could see how cleverly the author linked different aspects of the original play to the story but stayed true to the actual characters themselves.


“To discover that she may have been one light among many, but she had her own fire.”


The Writing

This. Woman. Can. Write.

Let me just put into words how much I love the writing in this book.
I read the prologue of the book and I had to put the damn kindle down because I was so shell-shocked.

This could be analyzed in a high school literature class because the amount of magic behind each and every single word holds meaning. The prologue even now, is my favourite chapter of the whole book.


“Grandma’s stories always had an ‘until.’ The problem that messed everything up but showed the characters what they needed or wanted most.”

The myriad of emotions that I went through cannot be put to words. My hands shook, my heart broke, my legs wouldn’t work, my smile was bright and big and sad. I loved how we were taken through both points of view with the main characters. It opened out so many more emotions to the story and we got to see how each thing affected both Isaac and Willow.


“I drew a protective bubble around The love was there first with arrows stabbing out to keep the X’s away…”

There were times where I got chills all up and down my body with the atmosphere that the story brought on. I have so many notes on my kindle of just ‘wow’. Not even kidding.


“Rose screamed on the outside the way I screamed on the inside.
On and on, all day long, every day, screaming from somewhere way down deep.
Screaming like vomiting. Screaming until the sound exploded my bones. Mustering the courage to look into the mirror and being shocked I was still in one piece.
I’d read books about people going fucking crazy.”


The Romance

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“Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love.”

This was definitely a slow burn in every right. It had to be.
Everytime Willow and Isaac ached, I ached. Everytime they fell a little more in love, so did I. Everytime they let themselves open up, I was right there in the heart of the story feeling every single thing with them.


“Act Two, Scene Two. A2, S2.” I pulled her close. “Remember?”
Her lips parted, and her cheeks turned pink. “Of course I do. The letter. Never doubt…”
“Never doubt, Willow.” I kissed her again. In that moment, it seemed so easy.
So perfect, I could almost forget the words were written for a tragedy.

Their love was beautiful and unique and portrayed in the best way I think it could have been.
A major concern going into this story was magic dick syndrome. After reading the trigger warnings and getting and idea on what this story would be about, I prayed that all the problems and issues that happened in both Willow’s life would be solved because of this. It wasn’t at all magic dick syndrome. At times it felt like magic person syndrome, but it carries out like soul mate love.


“You’re the girl I want, Willow.” I said it as me, as Isaac Pearce. Not a line in a play written by someone else. Me.
“You’re it. You’re the girl. I don’t want anyone else.”

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The Characters

Straight off the bat, I loved Willow. She was not your regular victim, she had her own set of bold attributes and I loved how her personality shone through the pages. Once we are introduced to each side character as well in the theater production as well as the group of friends in Willows high school. I loved them allllll!!!


“It’s never too late. Those two words are the greatest, most powerful killer of hope mankind has ever invented for itself.”

Isaac was narrated in the most perfect way. I felt like his character was brought alive with the words that followed his chapters. It felt true to his personality and my heart swelled everytime we got a Willow and Isaac moment because both of them are meant for the books. for the plays. for the everything.


“And just before sleep took me, I remembered the gold of Willow Holloway’s hair as she stood under the theater marquee, staring up at it as if it held the secrets to the universe.”

One thing I did find to get tedious was how predictable and cliche the character tropes and groups were getting. Especially because we got a high school background and the link to mean girls. I saw the Plastics and the Jocks and everything else. It was so stereotypical that I hated that it dragged that last star down for me.

The trope of the good rich girl and the bad poor boy has been done so many times before, I really hoped it would take a different route even though it stuck to it. For example, we got the jock that was spotlighted, his name was Justin. At the start, I thought that the author was actually showing a nicer side to his character type and not sticking to the stereotype. However, he ended being an asshole. Surprise.

Also the whole friendly welcome committee being Angie was a cliche that made me frustrated, but after about the halfway point… it grew on me. I loved Angie’s little quirks and her t-shirts. She was so perfectly herself with her band of bandits, it really shined through the story.

Special recognition to Benny and Marty because both of them stole my heart and ate it. I loved the banter and the brother and father figure they both played in Isaacs life. It put such a big smile on my face.


“Now that we are this far along, what do you think of Hamlet?”
“He talks too much.”
Marty sat back in his chair, lips pursed, thinking. “Can you expand on that?”
“He talks too fucking much.”

Overall, it was a lovely novel and I sure as shit am going to check out her other stories later on. She has a way of drawing me in with her words and I loved nearly every single minute of being inside the heads of Isaac and Willow.


“You can’t lose me, Isaac,” I said in a broken whisper. “You’re my until. The one that makes everything better.”

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4 stars, all-reviews, beautiful-doesnt-even-cut-it, childhood lovers, contemporary-romance, never-forget, new-adult, romance

How the Light Gets In by L.H. Cosway

How the Light Gets In (Cracks Duet, #2)How the Light Gets In by L.H. Cosway

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 


“I don’t really want tea,” he murmured.
“What do you want?” I asked shakily.
“You,” he replied.

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The conclusion to the cracks duet continued to hold my heart in its hands. A beautiful story filled with beautiful people and a broken love trying to fix its cracks.

A timeless love story that can be appreciated for different things by different people, give Dylan and Evelyn a chance, they won’t disappoint.
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the flower doesn’t dream of the bee

With more reasons that one, this story reminds me of the movie La La Land. The bittersweet feeling of finding yourself whilst finding love, all with the passing simplicities of life bring this book to life. I salute the other with the way she can string normalities and the mundane limits of life into a feeling of nostalgia and reminiscing both childhood love and finding your soul mate.

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“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

I want to state that even though there was a significant time jump, we got to see the characters mature with their voices and personality. We also got closure on some other characters so the remaining questions from book 1 are all answered in one way or another. I enjoyed reading about how the two main characters (Dylan and Evelyn) had key aspects that the reader could correlate to them as children and that’s what made the story all the more realistic.


“I missed you,” he went on sadly. “For so long I’ve missed you.”


it blossoms


““It’s always only been you. It only ever will be.”

Love is a messy, colossal thing. It changes people, it leaves scars and it leaves dark clouds over peoples once cheery auras. This book shows that so well, and it is one of the first contemporary romances that has ever addressed that love isn’t all sunshine and butterflies and strawberries and unicorn shits. It shows how a person can change by falling in love, in both positive and negative ways.

I do want to state the slight something that didn’t allow this to be a five star read, and that was personally, I found the dialogue and the monologue of the characters to be a bit cliche at times. This was only a small aspect but at times, it got me wishing it could have been dropped altogether.


“I wasn’t ready to say goodnight. When it came to Dylan, I’d never been ready to say goodnight.”

On another note, we got to see mature Dylan *eyebrow wiggles* and you know what that means ladies and gents! It means we got a whole lot more sexy and the adult in new adult 😉 In all honesty though, I loved how both characters matured and the author didn’t paint them in a harsh light, but in reality. They were shown to be older with the way they approached subjects, the way they looked etc.


“He cast me an amused look. “You’re in a sassy mood tonight.” He moved closer, his lips at my ear when he breathed. “Maybe later I’ll fuck it out of you.”


and the bee comes.


“You’ve been mine since the beginning of time, Ev.”

The writing in this book was beautiful, and once again – there were times when simple words took my breath away. Also, after this book I’m pretty sure I will never look at perfume the same again. And next time I go out shopping for a ‘new scent’, you better bet your ass on my explaining all about the top, middle and bottom notes.


“Everything had been so wonderfully effortless between us, so perfect that we’d ruined each other for anyone else.”

This book taught me a lot of things. It taught me to never let someone else define you, and to define yourself primarily. Although this is one of the most cringiest and cliche things that can ever be said. In all ways, it’s true. More people need to know this, and a lot of people do. But, I fell for the way they found each other through finding themselves.

Sometimes the world isn’t going to give you what you want, sometimes you have to fight for it. There are ugly things out there and sometimes there isn’t a lot we can do about it. But it’s the little things that count.


“I didn’t hate the world. I didn’t see the cracks. I saw all the beautiful, flawed and wonderful parts that held them all together.”

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3 stars, all-reviews, all-time-favorites, beautiful-doesnt-even-cut-it, childhood lovers, contemporary-romance, lgbtq, new-adult, romance

A Crack in Everything by L.H. Cosway

A Crack in Everything (Cracks Duet, #1)A Crack in Everything by L.H. Cosway

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 


“This isn’t the end for us. I promise. This is just the in-between. I’ll find you in the after.”

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I’m a goner…

Time to bring out the metaphorical vacuum cleaner and clean up the house, because my heart has shattered all over the damn place.

If you could just look around and see if any of my other vital organs are around you, that would be great, thanks. Because as of now, I can’t breathe, I can’t feel, I can’t even begin to put my feelings into words. But, I’m going to try.


“I’ll miss you,” he said, a catch in his voice. Those three little words held all the emotion of a hundred lifetimes, and we were both in danger of drowning under the weight of them.

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you were red,

I think I should start by saying that this book is a true tribute to young love and the punch to the gut with how real life comes in the way of everything we hold dear.


The world could be ugly or beautiful, depending on where you found yourself. You could create a little beauty in an ugly place, but in the end, the ugliness would eat it up.

Evelyn and Dylan’s story is not one thats spectacular, or amazingly different, or even something that would catch your eye. But that’s the beauty of it . The plot was character driven and it went through the mundane realities of life and how not everything has to be out of the ordinary to be beautiful. I didn’t stop reading, which was a mistake because I started this one at 9PM and the time slipped through my fingers.

Today at work, the bags under my eyes shall be Gucci.


“You are odd, Evelyn Flynn. If I’m the king of gloom, you’re the queen of randomness.”


you liked me because i was blue,

The writing in this novel is phenomenal. There’s more to the words than what’s shown on the surface and I swallowed every little bit up. I smiled through the tears and loved every single minute of it. The transition and flow of the story isn’t one that happens slow, the romance and the series of events that occurs happen to start from the first chapter. But there still managed to be a twist at the end that I did not see coming and I did not want!


It was a picturesque world, one that would never exist for us.

Not to mention, the dynamic between the kids and the different personalities at play had me laughing most of the time. I think what I loved most about everything was how fucking real it was. It was something that so many people could relate to and that’s what made it so stellar The characters weren’t flawless, their lives weren’t glorified but they managed to love and live through the simplicities. Even if the simplicities weren’t enough.


“My mam says this was the fifth-last place God made. It’s bad, but it’s not the worst,” said Sam. “That’s a good way of putting it,” Conor agreed.”

Yes, there were a handful of things that I thought could have been done better. I’m a stingy reviewer and little to nothing gets 5 stars for me. To be completely honest, I was going to give this 4 stars too, and list out a couple of things that bugged me about the premise and the structure of the story.

But it hit 5AM in the morning, and I was sobbing my little heart out with a box of tissues by my side. And all I could think about was how imperfectly perfect this was.


“Because I can only see my dreams clearly when I look through you first.”


you touched me

The characters in this book whether side, main or even irrelevant managed to wriggle their way into my heart while I was reading it.


“Believe me, Ev. Any way you want to touch me, I’m certain I’ll like it.”

Especially Sam, I loved him from page one. I love him now. I’ll keep on loving him.


On our way to the cafeteria, we passed by Shane. Unlike usual, he wasn’t scowling at Sam, but grinning. However, much like usual, he threw an insult at him.
“Hey fag.”
“Hey dickface,” Sam shot back.
“Suck any cocks today?” Shane retorted.
“Why? You interested?” Sam asked back and Shane grinned wider as he continued down the hall.

The friend group reminded me so much of my own time at high school. How you had so many different types of people and personalities, yet something so simple can string everybody together. I loved reading the scenes with the whole gang, and the mischief that teenagers are up to. I think the nostalgia in this book killed me.

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I would say that this had so many coming of age elements to it and it worked beautifully with the romance. “Growing up” acts as a catalyst to initiate ‘real life’ and it was woven so intricately with the love between Evelyn and Dylan, and every other relationship in the book. Be it family, friends or lovers.


“Yes, who indeed. Something unfurled inside me, a fleshy, curly, tangled thing. It twined itself around my heart, my lungs and other organs, twisting tight until I felt like I couldn’t breathe too well. And it sucked, because he’d never stay here. With me. Dylan was meant for more than this tiny city on the edge of a little island surrounded by the sea. And just like a rock hurtling off that very edge, I fell for him hard.”

I love books that show that although the world isn’t pretty at all, we all go through it the same because we all go through it. This story showed how people need people. No matter what the consequences, in happy moments, in sad, in lonely and even when you feel like you’re an invincible teenager and nothing can come in between you and your dreams. People need people.


Today we’d grieve together.


and i became a lilac sky

I loved the love that was shared in this book.
Without a doubt, the undertone of how two people can change each other. Be it even for the worse, was so so so illuminating and not a lot of new adult books cover that. Because love is messy and when you have that with someone else, you can get affected by it and sometimes you change. You grow.

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If you look at the subheadings of my review, it’s a quote that so heavily reminded me of the love between the two main characters.


Dylan struck me as the type to hate fiercely, but also to love just as fiercely. He felt all of life’s emotions with everything he had in him, and there was a captivating sort of appeal about that.

This is going on my all time favourites shelf, and I know that I’m going to come back to their story many times in the future. I need to get my hands on book two, so thank fuck it comes out soon! If you haven’t already read this story, it’s beautiful and I have no idea what you’re waiting for.


I needed to make this last, so I could etch his taste into my memory, fold his smell in crepe paper and save it for a rainy day when I needed some sunshine. That’s what he tasted like—bottled sun. Golden, like the flecks in his hair.

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2 stars, all-reviews, contemporary-romance, family power, new-adult, romance, slow-burn, sports

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

From Lukov with LoveFrom Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

 


“If I can’t skate with you, I don’t want to skate with anyone else.”

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Well this is awkward…
This started off as a solid 4 star read for me, and it all went downhill from there. Not to say that this was not a fun read – because it was. I was just expecting more

*ahem*

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to one of the slowest slow burns in the history of slow burns.
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Here’s what I think’s going to happen

This was a unique romance novel. I would even go as far as saying that this was more than just a romance novel. I will go even farther and just put it out there…

This was not a romance novel.

You’re confused. I know. So am I.

I mean, yes it had romantic elements to it, but this story was revolved around people finding themselves and developing and friendships and family and so so so much more. Romance wasn’t even an undertone until about the 70% mark.


“I could have been the bigger person, but fuck it, I was five foot three and I wasn’t built to be that person ever.”

I was expecting a chemical and passionate story about two people falling for each other, instead I got a fiery little cracker who at first was someone I thought I wouldn’t get along with, but I grew to love Jasmine. It was her story about learning to love herself as she was, forgiving and growing. And it was so successful in that.

I really think a lot of people, like me will enjoy this… I also think a lot of people will love this story for what it is – just like I have. Unfortunately, I speak for myself when I say this story just did not do it for me as a romance, but did so much more as a self journey.

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The Writing

The narration in this book worked in two ways for me:

The inner monologue felt odd and frankly, a bit too much at times. I loved Jasmine as a character because even though she was a bitch, and different to any other MC we usually get, she showed how she developed as a person as the story unfolded. The character development was so strong with Jasmine. Cheers to the author for showing that so well.

Furthermore, I felt like there was a lot of elements to this story that just dragged on or was all together unnecessary.


“I… I… I…,” one of them stuttered while the other looked like she was about to crap her leotard and tights. Good. I hoped she did. And I hoped it had a diarrhea-like texture so it would go everywhere”

However, The banter and the budding relationship between Ivan and Jasmine was something that I loved! I laughed out loud multiple times and longed for more screen time of them just going back and forth with comebacks.


“You probably sit in your Tesla and cry every time you wrinkle your sweaters.” Ivan barked out another laugh that was pretty much shouted up at the ceiling.”

They worked so well off one and another, and that epilogue chapter actually made me smile. I’m happy for them and I would be more happy if I could see more of their relationship growing as a couple rather than just friends. Although, I think what the intention was that for them to reach that stage of familiarity, they needed to be friends first… which in a way, I understand.


“Take a picture, it lasts longer,” Ivan drawled all of a sudden. I blinked and thought about glancing away but decided that would look even worse.
“I will. I think the encyclopedia needs an entry on Assholes and could use your picture as an example.”
His right hand let go of the steering wheel and covered a spot over his heart. “Ouch.”
I snorted. “Oh please.”


The Chemistry

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This is where things get messy for me. While reading, I could completely feel the sparks going off between both Jasmine and Ivan, and through each endeavor they faced together. Their chemistry was great. But here’s the thing:

Personally, I felt like their chemistry was at a constant ‘best friend’ level, because both of them needed that at the time. It felt weird and odd in the last 10% for them to get together as more than just that. It felt rushed and like the author needed to get out that they were actually more than friends.

Which brings me to the fact that they only did really make a move at around 88%… When they did get together, it all felt too cringey and unrealistic because it was so sudden and anti-climactic. Sure, there was always tension between them.. but whether or not I would classify that as romantic or sexual tension is debatable.

It was like I was building myself up for this massive thing between them to explode and hyping myself up. Once something did happen, I kinda just looked at my kindle and went “Oh…”



“Don’t sound so excited,” he replied. Then he smiled. “Which bridge do you live under and how do we get there?”

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3 stars, all-reviews, family power, lgbtq, mafia, Mental health, slow-burn, sports, young-adult

The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

The Foxhole Court (All for the Game, #1)The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 


“I can see it. You’ve got that look in your eye that says you know where every exit to this dormitory is.”

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The Foxhole Court was definitely a surprise, wherein I didn’t get anything that I was expecting. However, I got a lot of which I didn’t even know I needed.

Note: All rights belong to the different artists that have created the (fucking amazing) fanart attached to this review.
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Meet The Foxes


“The Palmetto State University Foxes were a team of talented rejects and junkies because Wymack only recruited athletes from broken homes. His decision to turn the Foxhole Court into a halfway house of sorts was nice in theory, but it meant his players were fractured isolationists who couldn’t get along long enough to get through a game.”

Danielle Leigh Wilds, #1 → Offensive Dealer
Kevin Day, #2 → Striker
Andrew Joseph Minyard, #3 → Goalkeeper
Matthew Donovan Boyd, #4 → Backliner
Aaron Michael Minyard, #5 → Backliner
Bryan Seth Gordon, #6 → Striker
Allison Jamaica Reynolds, #7 → Defensive Dealer
Nicholas Esteban Hemmick, #8 → Backliner
Natalie Renee Walker, #9 → Goalkeeper
Neil Josten, #10 → Striker


“Andrew bets you can outrun everyone on this team. Coach said you clocked a fourminute mile back in Arizona. That true? You’re a little short to run so fast.”
“I like running,” Neil said.
“Fuck running,” Seth said. “Learn to score. Word is you still can’t score on Andrew.”
“No,” Neil admitted. “Not yet.”
“When you do, you can talk to me,” Seth said. “Until then, stay out of my way and try not to drag down my line too much.”
“Welcome to the Foxhole Court,” Matt added”

For those of you who go into this and aren’t familiar with Exy (the sport that the foxes, alongside a bunch of other teams play – it’s broken down on the authors tumblr

I think the gang of misfits that all hated each other was one of the aspects of this book that I fucking loved. I can see how the comparisons with The Raven Cycle come in, especially with all the hardass and badass shenanigans that go around.
However, in a way it is way more deep than what is shown on the surface. We get elements that I wouldn’t have even dreamt this book could cover.


“We have to talk. Something went wrong this morning.” “We’re Foxes. Something is always going wrong,” Seth said, but he fished the remote out from

The LGBTQIA rep is phenomenal in its soft approach. We get the Mafia, mental health, crime and justice, family… and most importantly – teamwork with a team that is hellbent on not working.


“You lost. Your school is the laughingstock of the NCAA. You’re a team with no concept of teamwork.”
“Lucky for you,” Neil said. “If we were a unified front you wouldn’t have a chance against us.”


The Plot

The amount of hype that surrounds this series is something that you can’t even put to words. With a fanbase that strong, one is cautious treading into the story.

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So here I am, about to make an ass out of myself.
Although, I loved how character driven this plot was, I also felt like it was one of the story’s shortcomings. It dragged on for quite a bit, and I only found myself getting into the story at about 75%. After reading a couple reviews on this however, I found that a lot of people say that the storyline reallllllyyyy picks up in the second and third book. Because I actually did like TFC quite a bit, I’m most probably going to read that this week if not next up.


As much as the Foxes disliked each other at times, they disliked their opponents more. They were still too fractured to be truly great, but they were good enough to give him chills. Neil finally understood how the Foxes made it to third place last fall and scored a spot in championships.

The writing felt very mediocre, as it skipped through a lot of character names and it felt confusing following a heavy scene sometimes. I wish I could say it thrived through its amateur cliches, but…

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The Banter


“Coach says he’s got potential.” Matt looked at Neil. “Andrew says you’re fast.”
Neil frowned. “When did he say that?”
“When do you think, wiseass?” Seth asked. “We talked all kinds of shit about you after you booked it.”

The banter in this book was amazing to say the least. If I could rate the book only on the humor and the quirky hits we get between characters, it would hands down be a 5 star read. I also loved that the author integrated three girls on the team with completely opposing personalities to even out all the testosterone that was flying around. That goes without saying however, that each and every guy on the team had such a brutally honest and real persona to them, that the whole thing mixed together gave you the best fucking Exy team on the planet.


“We’ll tell everyone you’re there for conditional early practice. Chances are half of them will believe it. You won’t be able to fool the rest, but that doesn’t matter. Foxes are Foxes for a reason and they know we wouldn’t sign you if you didn’t qualify. That doesn’t mean they know specifics. It’s not my place to ask, and I’m sure as hell not going to tell them.”

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Furthermore, the dynamic between the coach and the kids was something I loved. I fucking loved Wymack, not just as a side character but as a coach! He was one of those characters that I was skeptical about in the beginning, but as I read chapters I slowly started to like him more and more.
Although, the dialogue was at times unrealistic, it was a very minor fallback in the grand scheme of things.


“All right,” he said, then promptly forgot what he was saying when he got a good look at the back of the bus. “Damn it all to hell. Hemmick! You were supposed to wake them up ten miles ago.”
“I don’t want to die,” Nicky said.

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Neil and Andrew


“Hey, Pinocchio,” he said without looking at Neil. The cheer in his voice was too mocking to be real, but Neil doubted anyone but the Foxes noticed. “Time to run. This one’s for you.”

Someone scream ‘slow burn’ louder for the people at the back.

Andrew and Neil was something of a conundrum for me. During the first 3 quarters of the book, I really did not know how the writer was going to be able to pull the chemistry between the both of them off. It all seemed like a mess to me, and both of them did not look like they would be good together.

I really loved Andrew… he’s still a mystery to me and I can’t wait to slowly solve him through this trilogy. He is the foxes’ “deadliest investment” and if that doesn’t get you intrigued, then damn…. I thought I was a tough crowd. I also can’t wait to read how Neil’s time with the foxes unfolds, he is truly a cinnamon role that needs love and a family because fuck knows, he’s suffered enough.

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But then the last 25% of the book turned up, and it hit me like a bag of bricks. It’s unconventionally perfect and I love how it was broken and not yet there and everything that a Young Adult book needs when there are so many serious overtones in it.


“God damn it, Minyard. This is why we can’t have nice things.”

I also love when an author bends the rules of YA, and shows that it doesn’t really take romance (or dense romance) for that matter, to make a book successful. The chemistry between the characters and the feeling of a group of misfits coming together to make something bigger is enough.


“Remember this feeling. This is the moment you stop being the rabbit.”

Between the pep talks, powwows, bus rides and midnight practices – I could feel why so many people have fallen (like myself) in love with these group of outcasts just trying to live life. It’s so much more than what you think it is and if you haven’t already read it… then give these kids a chance. You (probably) won’t regret it.


“You play like you have everything to lose.”
“Welcome to the line.”

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4 stars, all-reviews, beautiful-doesnt-even-cut-it, family power, lgbtq, never-forget, young-adult

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 


“Mornings like this one were made for memories.”

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Isn’t it the most obscure and abnormal concept that a book filled with random sequences of the alphabet put together to make some sense, can act as a catalyst to generate a chemistry lab full of emotions?
Essentially, you could have an infinite amount of books with the same character count as an airline flight safety manual, but those random string of words put together in just a handful of books can make you feel so intensely.

This is what The Raven Cycle does.
There should be a damn warning label on the cover that should inform your heart to proceed with caution.

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Note: All rights belong to the different artists that have created the (fucking amazing) fanart attached to this review.
Another Note: This review is broken down with different aspects of tarot cards – linked to different aspects of the book.


The King

Kings are considered to be the most mature of the Court Cards. They have travelled through life successfully and are now at the pinnacle of experience and understanding. Thus, the Kings represent the fully developed personalities of each of the Suits.

Each and every character in this series, can have a way to cut your most vital organs up and still make you beg them to stick around because that’s just how addictive they are. I’m talking even the villains, the supposed to be villains, the princesses (Ronan.. don’t even try and fight me on this), the knights, the supernatural, the heroes, the kings…

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You’re going to read this and finish it and then envy anyone else that has the ability to experience these wondrous personalities for the first time again.


“Let’s leave her,” Ronan said. Gansey replied, “If we abandoned people in caves because they were crazy, you’d still be back in Cabeswater.”


The Mirror

The High Priestess symbolizes intuition, psychic energy, the dream world, the unconscious, feelings, instincts and emotions. She senses what is going on below the surface. She is a receptive mirror.

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I think what I loved was the fact that everything was practically a freakshow. I love that we were constantly surrounded by surreal aspects and dream things. It took away from reality but let us stay in a real world at the same time. So cheers, Stiefvater. You got me all kinds of fucked up.
300 Fox Way and it’s residents will forever be a love of mine, and although the plot of the story (personally) is very character driven – we get so many ‘paranormal’ facets that makes the whole story fly off the pages.


“Why does terror grow so much better away from the sun”

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The Magician

The first trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. … In divination it is considered by some to succeed The Fool card. He is the middle ground.

Although there were definitely some problems I came across (hence not enabling the five star rating) It was very easily covered up with the humor and banter in between the chaos of everything that was going on. We got the boys being boys, we saw how each of the gang is slowly growing up and on, we get to witness them falling in love etc. etc.

I loved the chemistry we got with Adam and Ronan in this edition, not to mention Blue and Gansey have been a ship from day one – so the progress with them makes my heart happy.

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Ronan will always be my problematic fave.
Adam my chaotic neutral.
Gansey, my mother of four.
Blue – a hardass, badass, smartass cupcake.
And Noah… Noah can’t be described because I love him so much.


“We are going so slow,” Noah said, craning his neck to observe the inevitable queue behind them. “I think I just saw a tricycle pass us.”

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“I think it’s crazy how you’re in love with all those raven boys.”

I would also like to conclude by advising to always eat your greens. Do Jesse Dittley proud.

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3 stars, all-reviews, contemporary-romance, don't-think-with-your-dick, double-POV, guilty-pleasures, new-adult, sexual tension

Midnight Blue by L.J. Shen

Midnight BlueMidnight Blue by L.J. Shen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 


“The most important dance you’ll have in your life is one that does not require music.”

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I enjoyed this. I actually did.
There was some aspects to this story that made me laugh out loud and swoon and all that jazz. But unfortunately, those aspects were not as reoccurring as I would have liked. Maybe it was all the hype that I thought this was going to be another killer. I just can’t get myself to give this more than 3 stars. But as I said, I really genuinely enjoyed it. If you are a romance reader, or a fan of the New Adult genre then you will probably enjoy this too (if you haven’t already read it)

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The Writing


How is your soul feeling today?

This was my first L.J Shen novel and damn…You get a lot of stigma against erotica and new adult for lack of substance in the writing but just wait until you get a load of this author. The humor in this book was very tongue in cheek and a lot of the characters were bouncing off each other with lines. Honestly, it was a lot of why I enjoyed the book – the writing really sang out of the pages (no pun intended) (actually, yes… pun intended, fuck it.)


Were they vying for The Most Boring Conversation in the World award? Because they sure as hell had my vote.


The Characters

The rockstar trope is one that is seen a lot in this genre. That doesn’t go to say however that, it can not be well done.

We had our main girl Indigo Bellamy whom, I loved at both the start and finish of the story. During the middle, however… there were times where I wanted to punch the living shit out of her. I’m a pacifist, no really. I really wanted her to be stronger and stand her ground more often, despite the massive attraction. In all seriousness, I dislike when we get a female/male main character who gets treated like shit and is not a priority at all but they don’t do anything about it because the love interest is just soooo fucking hot.


“I waited for many things, but a few minutes later, I heard the door open and shut, and knew he’d left me there, like the disposable fuck doll he’d wanted me to feel like.”

There was a point in the story where Alex (our fellow rockstar bad boy) blatantly said that Indie would be out of the story once he saw his old SO. The book did try and redeem Alex towards the end with a decent explanation of why he treated her that way, however no matter how decent the explanation is.. In my books, you’re still a dickhead.


The Sex


We needed each other. Now. On this tour. Like air, and oxygen, and the pulse beneath our flesh. For once, I understood what he’d meant about being above gravity.

I feel like a little piece of shit for saying this but hi, hello – My name is Alex and just like the Alex in this book I give a total amount of zero shits.

*ahem*

If. you. are. going. to. build. up. the. anticipation. of .sex .between. two. characters. for. more. than. 65%. of. the. damn. book….. You. better. fucking. make. it. worth. my. damn. while.

We got a whole lot of “when I fuck you” and “I’m going to fuck you” and it was a great element in building up the sexual tension and I was on my fucking toes waiting for these two babies to get it onnnnn. It really makes me laugh now that I have such a problem with this, maybe it’s because I’ve read so much romance over the years… It’s becoming a pattern now. But at the end of alll that build up – when they do fuck for the first time… We got three pages.

read that again.
let it sink in.

In nooooo way am I saying that the sex needs to be longer or descriptive or anything like that at all. However all I’m trying to epitomize is the anti-climax that I felt as a reader.

This also works with a lot of other genres in different aspects. If the author is building something up for a while, and at the end it feels like all that happened was a balloon was let go and it slowly started to deflate. That soundtrack of the balloon losing air is literally the soundtrack of my heart while I read this.


The End

In hindsight, after finishing the book – During the end chapters, I really started to fall in love with Alex and Indie. Maybe it was both of them started to show their strength for each other. We got Indie standing her ground and not letting herself get hurt and we also got Alex gaining touch with humanity and coming down from the addiction he suffered. I was proud of both of them at the end of the book.


Then you came in, walked away, and guess what? Now I know. I know I’m incomplete and my soul, which I thought was dying, is actually in Los Angeles, riding a French bike in a ridiculous dress.

There were so many plot twists that I did not see coming. I was so glad that I finished it to the last word.

Can I just say…I really want to read a Lucas story. (please)
I’m definitely going to check out other works by Shen and sink myself into the wonderful worlds and writing that it provides.


And I will do anything for you, not because you’re my muse or my salvation or my best lay, but because you’re inside me, like an organ, like a vital thing I cannot function without. I don’t even want you at this point. I need you. It’s different, and carnal, and completely necessary for my existence.

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3 stars, all-reviews, beautiful-doesnt-even-cut-it, contemporary-romance, lgbtq, m-m, romance, thin-line-between-love-and-hate, unpopular-opinion

Bleeding Like Me by Riley Parks

Bleeding Like MeBleeding Like Me by Riley Parks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 


“Come away with me and I’ll never stop loving you, or don’t, and I’ll love you then too.”

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Bleeding Like Me is one of a kind and a pinnacle in the M/M genre with it’s approach in gang rivalry and forbidden love. I enjoyed the world that Jackson and Evan shared and I adored how their love blossomed through the pages. Unfortunately, I found myself only getting into the story at about the halfway point and had some issues with the plot.

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Romeo and Romeo

“You’re a fucking asshole, you know that?” Jackson groused, getting on his hands and knees.
“Am what I eat,”

Although I found it confusing at the first couple of chapters to understand what as going on, the aspect of the gang rivalries and the streets only kicked in after the first 15% of the book. But once it did, holy shittt was I on board. I don’t think I have ever come across a LGBT storyline that encompasses the world so completely, and especially when that world is unique and not many people write about it.

It was written through a narration that was clear-cut wherein the reader could understand ‘the hood’. Although, I felt it got tedious at times – It stayed true to itself and encapsulated the world in which the story was revolved around. I think that this isn’t meant for just anyone and everyone.
I think those who enjoy it will love it to pieces, I stand somewhere in the middle. I loved most parts of it and all in all I’m glad I experienced them.


To those who dare to love even in the wake of seemingly insurmountable obstacles


The Writing


“I need a magnum. This thing is strangling me.” He pulled out abruptly, causing the other man to groan at the loss, while he sighed in relief at the release of pressure when he took the condom off.
“Do you have one?”
“Do I look like a fucking drugstore to you?”

Dear Ms. Parks,
Your writing sent me on a whole other plane of existence.
I laughed, I teared up, I fell in love, I felt.

See, this is one of the reasons why I love reviewing books and reading books. Especially when those books aren’t generally mainstream and the whole bookdom is reading it. Because you come across rare gems where even if the story was about two rocks buying groceries together on a Tuesday, you would still fucking read it because the writing is fucking amazing.

When the author approached me for a review request, my initial response was to check out the blurb of the book and see if it would match my tastes. I then replied with a straight yes because the blurb itself is so beautifully written, I couldn’t fathom what the actual book would be like.

A surprising factor was the humor! There were some laugh out loud moments in this book and although it was unconventional and heavily sexual innuendo, I found myself grinning like an idiot!


“I love you,” Jack told Evan.
“Because of the koala?” he whispered with a soft laugh, nuzzling his nose into Jackson’s neck.
“In spite of the fucking koala,” Jackson replied, with a huff that made Evan laugh harder.


Issues

I had a very small set of issues with the story all in all, but because they were embedded throughout the whole story, I had to figure out my rating accordingly.
I found it hard to follow the narrative as everything spoken was shortened. For example, the first person would be cut out constantly. Instead of “I want to go to the bar” – it would be something like “want to go to the bar”. I think this was just a personal problem whereby I couldn’t get used to the style…

Secondly, I loved that there was so much character and relationship development. At the start of their relationship, Jack and Evan put up the whole front of appearing ‘masculine’ and ‘not gay’, which understandably could be a stage in their acceptance of sexuality. However I felt like it could be worded out in a more sensitive manner.

The last one isn’t really an issue as it turned out to be perfect for the book. Although the ending wasn’t ideal and flawless – it was the most realistic to the story. I struggled to figure out how the ending would be handled because of the conundrum of both the boys being in rival gangs. But the author approached it in the most realistic way and I loved that it was done so like that.

I may have cried a little during the end. #notevensorry

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3 stars, all-reviews, comic, graphic novel, lgbtq, m-m, young-adult

Fence #3 by C.S. Pacat

Fence #3 (Fence, #3)Fence #3 by C.S. Pacat

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 


“You want to tell coach we kissed and made up?”

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ok ok oko okokoko. BEFORE you kill me for giving this anything less than 5 stars.
hear.
me.
out.

(then go ahead and run me over, I’ll give you the gas money 😉

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A Brief Summary of why Alex is being a little shit

I find it really hard to rate comic series that come out in installments. Furthermore, it becomes even harder when each installment contains 20-30 pages. It’s hard because I rate them according to each comic.

So please don’t get me wrong. I fucking love Fence, and I will honestly sell my left kidney for these boys.

But that goes without saying, that I did find this issue to be falling a bit further back than the previous. I felt like this was fundamentally a filler issue, and in all reality – the readers (well, me…) needed this issue to clear things up.

We got the basics of fencing, and the school life that encompasses the story. Usually, in written novels, authors usually embed that into the storyline, but because it’s a graphic novel – you need to visually represent that somehow. It becomes a conundrum, because I really don’t think that both the writer and the artist could have started by telling the background elements of the story – because, personally I got hooked on to the characters from issue #1.

Overall, I know I’m being harsh – but all I felt was that I wanted more…that it was lacking something


The Characters

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One thing that will never. ever. ever change is my love for every single character that C.S Pacat writes up. That beautiful, gorgeous brain of hers is capable of world domination. And in all honesty… how bad would the world really be if we had her as our leader?

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We got a little bit about Harvard and Aiden and even Bobby and Dante. Most of all, we saw the brief moments shared between Seiji and Nicholas. My heart always ends up full when I finish a Fence comic, and I think that if I was being completely honest with everyone and myself. That feeling in itself deserves all the stars in the universe. (and multi-universes)

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