2 stars, alex-rolled-her-eyes-way-too-often, all-reviews, fantasy-me-up, unlikeable-characters, what-the-actual-fuck, young-adult

Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

Blood Heir (Blood Heir Trilogy, #1)Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

“You focused on the battle and lost sight of the war.”


The first three chapters were a solid 5 stars, everything after felt like reading a completely different book.

This was not it, chief.

Firstly, this review is not going to talk about or explain the controversy behind this book… If you want to know why it got pulled and then set to be re-published, there are so many great reviews and articles out there that explain the situation. All this review is going to be is just that… a review.

Sooo… it happened again. I got excited over something and ended up severely disappointed. Honestly, a lot of the issues I had with this book are similar to the issues I had with Wicked Saints. I was really just bored out of my mind.

Blood Heir is promising. Its premise and magic system is really refreshing (although it has very similar inklings of the Grishaverse), I think had the execution been much better, this would have been a great new take on YA Fantasy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

“My name is Anastacya Mikhailov. Except it wasn’t. Anastacya Mikhailov was the name of the Crown Princess of Cyrilia, drowned eleven moons past in her attempt to escape execution for murder and treason against the Cyrilian Crown. Anastacya Mikhailov was a ghost and a monster who did not, and should not, exist.”

I’m going to start off with what I enjoyed, because I did actually enjoy a couple things. The writing in this book was really phenomenal at times and if it weren’t highly repetitive in its nature, this might have even been a three star read. I also really enjoyed the action in this book. The main reason I kept reading though was because of the narrative dealing with human trafficking. It was the main reason why I picked it up this book. I think if anything deserved for this not to be a DNF, it was this one fact. Okay, moving on.

“This isn’t a revolution. This is a massacre.”

My first issue with this book was the characters. I did not like a single character. Everyone just felt unpleasant and unkind. Ramson started off a jerk, and although I could see how the author intended for their to be development in his character, he ended up as a jerk too. Ana was immature and often made hasty decisions – this is a trait that I absolutely cannot stand with main characters. I mean… give me a powerful female lead that isn’t a clutz, a damsel in distress or childish and you’ll have me hooked. Every character that came along irritated me in some way.

The predictability was at an all time high, folks. I mean… I made notes on my kindle on what I think would happen to certain characters or situations or “twists,” just so I could play a game with myself later on to see if I got it right. I predicted 90% of the events correctly in one way or another. Also, the fact that I took that amount of time out just goes to say how bored I was throughout reading. I wasn’t hooked or reaching for my kindle every chance I got.

The next major aspect that pissed me off was the flashbacks and character history became too much. What makes a great Fantasy for me? If an author manages to embed the character’s backstory and “reasons why” within the narrative. There were entire chapters full of only flashbacks… I didn’t find this necessary in the world building and although some of them were key to understanding the motives behind characteristics of the story, all of them were drawn out.

The pacing. This was the internet explorer of YA fantasy books that I have read this year. Was that a tad harsh? Yes. Am I going to take it back? No. Everything in this book felt like it took forever to reach there.

While the writing in this book was great, the dialogue was certainly not. There were a lot of cliche statements, tropes between characters that have been repeatedly done before. Some conversations were so jarring and uncomfortable, I visibly cringed. My last issue was the chemistry (or lackthereof) between the two main characters. I didn’t root for them, it felt forced to me.

Overall, this book was meant to be amazing to me. I was anticipating it for a while and I just could not get passed a couple things. It felt like the entire novel was a case “yeah this is okay, but….”

The images above are taken from an art account, and other than the edit, credit to this talented person.

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3 stars, all-reviews, contemporary-romance, cute-and-cuddly, unpopular-opinion

(ARC REVIEW) Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

Would Like to MeetWould Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“It’s funny to think,” Maria chipped in, “but if this was an actual rom‑com, you’d end up with the arrogant writer who, it would turn out, was only using his massive ego to hide an endearing lack of confidence.” There was a moment of stunned silence in which we both stared at her. “I’m kidding! You’d never fall for that cockhat.”


This was such an amazing book to curl up with. A feel-good, laugh-out-loud, insane romcom with a whole bunch of meet cutes that’ll have you constantly turning the page!

Made for Netflix

Before I start on my actual review of this book, I just want to say that this has all the ingredients for a perfectly unrealistic Netflix romcom that would be a complete hit! All the while I was reading this, I could just imagine it going from page to screen…

So, this was actually really enjoyable! I thought it was cute and inherently light enough to make me fly through it in more or less a couple days! I think it’s perfect that this book is set to release in the month of December because it would be such a fluffy Christmas-time, Holiday-esque read… (even though it has nothing to do with either. There is a passing christmas scene, and that’s pretty much it.) But, it’s the atmosphere that had me reading this and gobbling it up like chocolate! It truly felt like a silly, insanely dramatized romantic comedy that you would see on the big screen. It was comical and didn’t take itself too seriously, so I will definitely be reading this author again!

“No, she is not okay. For sodding’s sake, Janet, pass me a moist towelette.”

Rachel Winters delivers a really fun, hilarious and event-packed book that had me loving Evie Summers by the minute. Evie has to recreate a bunch of famous meet-cutes in order to keep her job. So begins a classic tale of awkward moments, adorable side-characters, class A dialogue and “love interests” that had going from cringes to smiles. The humor in this was very tongue-in-cheek and so many bizzare things ended up happening. Evie stayed true to herself from start to finish, and I loved seeing a female lead that didn’t have that “damsel in distress” characteristic that most romcoms lean towards.

While I found it really addictive, there were some elements that I struggled with. Notably, there were A LOT of cliches in this book. From the gay best friend to the group of girls as support and even the single hot dad (which isn’t to say that I didn’t love Annette… she had my heart and soul). The ending was unique and although I didn’t see it coming, some scenes lacked the bravado that I enjoyed during the first half of the book. The magic slowly simmered down towards the end, and everything felt fragmented and rushed. Yet, this is not to say that I didn’t really like the “lesson” this book teaches, I did! I found the message behind this book deeper than it let on and I wasn’t expecting that at all.

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4 stars, arc, beautiful-doesnt-even-cut-it, lgbtq, m-m, Mental health

(ARC REVIEW) Someday, Someday by Emma Scott

Someday, SomedaySomeday, Someday by Emma Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Every minute you’re alive is a second chance to start over. I honor my past, but I don’t live in it. I choose this moment instead. Right here.”


Siri, how do I put my heart back together after Emma Scott so elegantly broke it in two?

I’m not crying, you’re crying.

This book.
This. heartbreakingly. beautiful. book.
Emma Scott achieved the impossible with this book.

I want this book to be in every high school library. I want this book handed out at Pride. I want this book to be read by every single person that thinks that they’re alone in love.

This book is ugly. It’s heavy and more times than not, you feel like you can’t carry it. It’s tough to chew and harder to swallow. It made me wince and cringe and I had to put my kindle away many many times. But this book is necessary. It took many different forms of hate and showed how there is only one universal form of love.

Emma Scott will always be one of my favourite authors. This book is no exception and only deepened my love for her writing and aptitude for storytelling. Except, with this book – it wasn’t really a story because the things that happen in this book are still happening. Someday, Someday deals with the plight of love. It deals with Max Kaufman who was thrown out of his house by his family for being found with a boy. Then, Silas Marsh who at a very young age was sent to sexuality conversion therapy where he was tortured and terrorized. It portrays the destructive and futile values of homophobia whilst dealing with people who are undergoing immense mental battles. It shows how Max and Silas find each other as recovering drug addicts but mostly, how they find themselves through each other.

So yes. Whatever you’re imagining when I say that this book is heavy and deals with topics that are necessary, double it.

“Don’t let go. Hold on and you’ll be safe. Let go and you’ll never be the same again.”

I think this was the toughest out of all Emma’s books that I have read. So many times during reading, I found myself sobbing. Because through all the animosity, hatred and trauma within this book, it is nothing if not a story of forgiveness. I struggled with this book a lot, in all honesty. It’s very hard to focus on a love story, a romance between two people who have such tragic histories. The narrative we were given was not light in any way and then we got these screenshots of Max and Silas slowly falling in love. But by then end, I realized that, that was the entire point.

It goes to say that I’m only a reader, and a very small drop in the ocean that is Emma’s Entourage but I am so, so fucking proud of Emma Scott because of this book.

Someday, Someday is a heart-wrenching tour de force that steals the air right from your lungs. It’s ambitiously driven by hope and after hurting you and ripping you apart, it builds you back up again. I’m proud of Emma because no matter how painful and upsetting Silas and Max’s story was, she refused to make it pretty, because that wouldn’t be the truth. That’s why it’s her most beautiful book to date.

My heart hurt for so many people (Eddie deserves nothing more than a hug and the best life). My only slight problem was that I found some things (mostly dialogue) to be jarring and occasionally insensitive. Although the story started off somewhat slow, I was captivated a third way in and then it became unputdownable. I can so safely say though that Emma writes the stories that I wish I had the chance to experience for the first time, every time I re-read them.

Trigger Warnings: Abuse, Homophobia, Substance Abuse, Addiction, Implied Suicide, Torture, Prostitution

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alex-rolled-her-eyes-way-too-often, all-reviews, haunting, no rating, unpopular-opinion, what-the-actual-fuck

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1)Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

“That was what magic did. It revealed the heart of who you’d been before life took away your belief in the possible. It gave back the world all lonely children longed for. “


-dnf @30%-
I don’t think I have ever been more disappointed in myself for not being able to love this book. Leigh Bardugo continues to be my queen of fantasy, this one was just a complete and utter miss for me.

*all the sighs*

I’m still not certain that this review will get all my thoughts across. I’m also very blatantly stating this now… because I DNFed this book, this review isn’t going to be able to provide any summaries, commentaries etc etc. It’s partially why I didn’t give it a rating; firstly because I couldn’t even get halfway and secondly, because I think I might return to Ninth House at a future date. I want to give this book more of a chance but as it stands now, this was not for me.


I’ve read a lot of people opinions on how it gets better and I’m holding on to that for the next time I try. A caveat though; this book and everything about it (aside from it being Fantasy) really shouldn’t be compared to the Grishaverse or Leigh’s previous books. They are intended for two different types of demographics and Ninth House deals with some very heavy “adult” themes.

To start things off (very bluntly), I got bored. There was nothing that kept me turning the pages other than self-determination and it came to a point where even that wasn’t enough. I was doing that thing where you read a paragraph and then read it again (3 times) because you realize you weren’t paying any attention at all…I found the pacing in this book to be excruciatingly slow. Nothing significant enough was happening that had me at the edge and the “mysterious” elements didn’t hold enough suspense or warrant excitement from me. Again, this opinion is simply my own and it might have been a fact of picking this book at the wrong time.

Another key thing I noticed that caused -several- naps whilst reading was the writing style. The writing in this book is very narrative, and while it’s not without merit, it simply didn’t captivate me. I felt like it was telling me, rather than showing me and I craved for emotional description from the characters. Which leads me to another note…I got really weary of Darlington. This is going to be very problematic because A LOT of people place him as the winning character of this book. Still, I found myself leaning towards wanting Alex’s chapters more than his. Nothing about Darlington made me anticipate meeting him…


There were way too many infor-dumps and if I had to sum up my reading experience, it would be a quote directly from this book:

“You start out excited, and by page two you realize it’s all a lot of words and not much drama.”
When I saw that, I felt like I was being called out to be honest (drama in this case meaning something actually, yknow… HaPpEnIng). I needed to stop reading before it put me in a slump, so I did. On another note though, Amazon Studios is going to develop this into a series and THAT, I’m looking forward to. It might just push me to read it before I watch it!

Buddy Read with this cutie although, I don’t really know if it counts because she’s being a trooper and still reading and I’m now just waving the moral support flag.


do i have a considerable amount of books that i already need to read? would i drop (quote me on this) everything for this? if leigh bardugo wrote a 100,000 word essay on the growing strategies of cacti, would i also do the same? yes, yes and also yes.


“By the time Alex managed to get the blood out of her good wool coat, it was too warm to wear it. Spring had come on grudgingly; pale-blue mornings failed to deepen, turning instead to moist, sullen afternoons, and stubborn frost lined the road in high, dirty meringues….
….That was in the spring. But the trouble had begun on a night in the full dark of winter, when Tara Hutchins died and Alex still thought she might get away with everything.”

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3 stars, all-reviews, childhood lovers, contemporary-romance, cute-and-cuddly, erotica, insta-love-bug

In the Unlikely Event by L.J. Shen

In the Unlikely EventIn the Unlikely Event by L.J. Shen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Can you please stop being so beautiful and real and alive all over my house like you own it or something?”


I finished this in a day and now the bags under my eyes are Gucci.


A Note From Alex (after reading all the notes in this book, especially the chocolate one).

Whenever I finish a book, Goodreads (my number one cheerleader) always sends me an email telling me that I have actually finished the book (as if I didn’t know it myself, you’d think). But this time when GR sent me this;


I felt like Goodreads just knew (call it kismet) that this book and I are undergoing some challenges. Initially, I gave this four stars but upon looking back, I’m sticking with my 3 star rating. This is honestly the hardest rating I have ever had to debate. Because, if I’m being honest with myself… I probably enjoyed this a lot but I know that I shouldn’t have.

Here’s the thing. This book was fucking addicting. I burned lasagna while reading this book… I didn’t hear the oven ding and then my lasagna burnt. So in order to truly know this book’s rating for me; I’m asking myself now: “What it worth burning the lasagna, Alex? Was it worth having to scrape all that cheesy goodness into the bin and feel immense guilt whilst doing so?”

Here’s the dilemma. During the time, yes. It was very worth it. Now? Not so much.


In The Unlikely Event is something so different to what Shen normally puts out that I couldn’t help but pick it up. It’s not really a “christmas” romance, but it’s a winter one. We follow Mal and Rory’s story of love, loss and heartbreak. It was comical and didn’t take itself seriously at all, and I loved it even more because of that. It was hot, captivating and so nail-bitingly, page turningly addictive that I really didn’t get much sleep.

I loved the different narratives and I found myself laughing out loud during some moments. That is also to say though, that this book is not all comedy. It deals with really sensitive issues and in true LJ fashion, the angst is so unbearably thick, it’s better than any soap opera or reality TV show I’ve ever watched. It’s also safe to say, that I unfortunately can no longer look at chocolate the same way. This is not a bad or a good thing. Just different.

The banter between Rory and Mal was probably my favourite aspect of this book. Also, if there is any one romance writer that can take the same trope (enemies to lovers) in all her books but still manage to keep me captivated… it’s this one. I rooted for so many different people in this book and although it drained me when I came to the end chapter, I felt like I went on a really long holiday.

“Want to know if you love someone? Watch them suffer and see how much it tears you apart.”

But then why do I also feel like I wasted such a great (it was mediocre, I fuck up cereal on my best days), awesomely-dished lasagna? For one thing, it’s always heartbreaking when you have to compost carbs. But, for reasons more suited to this review; this book frustrated the fucking lights out of me.

Yes, we already know that Shen writes up the most problematic, toxic and dysfunctional relationships but still manages to make you hooked over wanting to know what happens. I knew this going in, I came prepped for the assholes and the triggers. Just to let you know, the hero in this book is manipulative, conniving and so rude for a good part of the book. The heroine is also frustratingly juvenile and oblivious to so much. Half the time, I wished Rory would have just demanded to understand what was going on. Regardless, Rory and Mal end up being sickly cute and this book definitely amped up the steam.

But I’m going to lay some other things out. Spoilers Ahead

❄︎ The relationship in this book is based on insta-love. This usually never works for me but I looked past it in this book.
❄︎ The amount of miscommunication in this book could give an airline company’s customer service rep a run for their fucking money.
❄︎ If LJ Shen ever writes a book with 100% women supporting women, I might actually slip into a coma. There is so much animosity between female relationships in this book that just hurt my heart immensely.
❄︎ Something that would have been so mindblowingly unique is if the topic of “loving someone whilst being in a relationship” was tackled with no cheating involved. It was so obvious that I actually thought that no one would cheat in this book. I was so wrong.
❄︎ Another thing I really wished for was for Callum (Rory’s boyfriend) not to be villainized in order to cop out of the relationship. I cant stress this enough but breaking up with someone because you don’t have feelings for them anymore is a very valid reason. I wish authors didn’t villainize the significant other in order to “make up” for the fact that they are being broken up with because suddenly if they’re not the best person, then it’s okay for the MC to move on and be with someone else.
❄︎ This last one is probably the most important one. There is a rape scene in this book, and I won’t put this section under a “hide spoiler” thing because this is an important trigger warning to anyone that is going to read this book. I wish it was given as a caveat in the book itself but *sigh.* The rape scene in this book needed to be dealt with so much more care and importance, rather than just being an event that occurs in the storyline.

Through all those problems… I still soldiered on. LJ Shen is really truly my biggest guilty pleasure. I know that all of the tropes and aspects of her books are so fucking problematic and controversial, but I still read this like a fanatic. This book is far from perfect but I swallowed it entirely.

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4 stars, all-reviews, contemporary-romance, its-getting-hot-in-here, romance, second chance romance

Pretty Reckless by L.J. Shen

Pretty Reckless (All Saints High, #1)Pretty Reckless by L.J. Shen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“No offense, sir, but one of your daughters is entirely too young for me, and the other is entirely too Daria for me.”


Is this happening? Can it be? Did Alex just rate an L.J Shen book more than 3 stars? Did Alex just actually enjoy the everloving shit out of this problematic as fuck book? *Owen Wilson voice* WooOOWwW


Explain yourself, Alex

So in the past, Ms. Shen and I have not gelled well together. I find her books very heavily controversial and are often filled with many tropes and triggers that I just can’t get past. Her male heroes are often assholes known for how awful they can treat their girls, but somehow it works for people. It never really did for me, until this pretty little storm made its way into my hands.

“He gave me the rarest thing in the world, and I gave him heartache.”

Don’t be mistaken, Pretty Reckless still has asshole leads, both of them (Daria and Penn) treat each other like shit for the most part of the book and the writing, although enjoyable still has plenty of triggers. Somehow, someway, I still really enjoyed this! I loved the banter between the group of friends and I flew through this very fast. I was so scared to pick it up but once I did, I was completely captivated. I love enemies-to-lovers but bully romances can be very hit or miss depending how the subject is treated, and in all honesty – I felt like Daria held up her own in this very well! Granted, it was because she too, was a bully but semantics, amiright??

“Mess with me, Followhill, and I will ruin you.”
“Not if I ruin you first.”

This was angsty and gritty all through and every chapter had me at the edge. The plot-twists weren’t shockers but I really didn’t mind because I fell in love with each broken character. The character development was so subtly and beautifully done, I didn’t even know I was falling for them until I finished and realized that I had. L.J Shen took my breath away with this one, simply for the fact that she can write up the tragic tales of highschool seniors that hits all the feels. It was so very addicting… I haven’t read the Sinners of Saint series so I don’t know the backstory of the parents in the All Saints series, but this book really made me want to pick it up.

“You are the fucking equation, I want to yell in her face. The riddle and the answer and the numbers within it. You’re math. You make sense. “Don’t go,” I croak. “

This book reminded me of the show, Euphoria. So if you’re into that and want something in between waiting for Season Two, here’s your little golden nugget! Another thing that I really want to draw attention to is the fact that this book is advertised as YA (Young Adult), when it is seriously not! It is definitely NA (New Adult) with all the steamy and graphic scenes you could expect in one. Which brings me to the fact that this is an absolute panty-dropper, folks. If it’s not entertaining you, making your heart ache or asking you to pull your hair out – it’s being the book equivalent of a sauna. If you haven’t already read this (which is highly unlikely, I just live under my safe rock) and you’re a fan of “hate to love you, love to hate you scenes,” then you’re going to devour this book. I know I certainly did.

“Because I want to kill Daria. Daria made everything fade into the background the first time I saw her, and while I was busy admiring, everything around us burned.”

Trigger Warnings: fat-shaming, slut-shaming, violence, “cheating”

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5 stars, all-reviews, beautiful-doesnt-even-cut-it, cute-and-cuddly, family power, fantasy-me-up

Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer, #1)Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“There was something else afoot that October, something else stretching and straining and panting, but it was mostly as of yet unseen.”


Call Down the Hawk didn’t hit like a freight train, nor did it call for any fantastical shocks… The true magic of this novel is the fact that it is a subtle triumph. Stiefvater wrote a tour de force that caused me to lose my breath through its soft complexities.


Tamquam, Alter Idem

Without giving much away, Call Down the Hawk explores the world of dreamers as well as the dreamed. It presents a fresh new cast of characters (including the Lynch brothers) that you’ll both love, hate and hate to love.

→ Our first main character, Ronan Lynch discovers that his dreams have been infiltrated by a voice that wants him to both understand his capabilities as well as the world around him.
Jordan Hennessy is struggling with herself, she’s not living a life that’s her own and if there is a single character that you should begin this story knowing nothing about, she is the one.
Carmen Farooq-Lane is a huntress that tracks both dreamers and their visionaries, hers is a tale of the end times.
Declan Lynch wins your heart by stealing it first. He has a handful of lies, a handful of truths and very interesting shoes.
Matthew Lynch was made to hug. He possibly has the shortest page time, but has a story to tell nevertheless, and I feel like we are going to be seeing a lot more of him in the coming sequel.

“No idea sounded like a good idea when you had only one shot left.”

These characters made the entire book for me. It would be hard to talk about CDTH without mentioning The Raven Cycle, so I’m going to get it over with now. Maggie Stiefvater has a talent with her characters, each so unique and tragic in their own way. I loved Ronan during TRC and if possible, I love him even more so after this book. It was wonderful to be in Ronan’s mind and understand his conflicts and desires throughout the novel. There is seemingly nothing better than the dialogue between Ronan Lynch and his bird, Chainsaw. (Except for maybe the dialogue between Ronan Lynch and his boyfriend, Adam Parrish).

“Tamquam,” said Adam.
“Wait,” said Ronan.
“Tamquam,” he said again, gently.
“Alter idem,” Ronan said, and found himself alone.


The character dynamics within the different relationships were so cleverly written. Alongside the development and growth you see from start to finish is captivating to say the least. This book is not without its flaws but I feel like none of them warranted a four-star rating. A caveat; I will say that although the character engagement is alike TRC – the similarities stop there, the atmosphere of CTDH is very different. The world of dreamers is desperately darker than the world in which a group of teenagers hunt down a dead welsh king. The way the plot is handled and the pacing is also very different, so my thought would be to go into this with the understanding that it’s completely separate to that of TRC.

“You think it’s hard for you to hear the dreams when you’re far away from your mountains. From our ley line. From your forest. from Lindenmere. That’s not right. It’s not wrong, but it’s only half right. It’s hard for the dreams to hear you.”

This book made me ache, laugh, pine and hope… so much hope. I want to put another cautionary note that although Adam and Ronan have moments in CDTH. This novel is not in anyway focused on their relationship. Adam is a large part of Ronan’s life but they’re now on different paths going different directions in an effort to come to themselves. But this is not to say that they aren’t still the two soft cinnamon rolls desperately in love with each other. Also, for those that are expecting ride or die friendships like the gang in TRC, this is not that either. It’s darker and more dire… it focuses on a very different dynamic. I fell in love with the slow-building in this book because of that reason. If anything, Maggie Stiefvater just proved to me that she can write more than one trick.

“You are made of dreams and this world is not for you.”

Another major contributor to my adoration of this book was Stiefvater’s writing. To give you an idea, I read the prologue and everything inside me felt at peace but electric at the same time. Her writing is lyrical and the effect is somewhat of a trance; I could not put this book down. I flew through the pages and was consumed with the need to know what happens!! In an effort to try and encapsulate what a gem of a book this was;

What it was: the interconnected lives of a bunch of misfits, some who dream, some who have come from dreams and some who want the world to stop dreaming.
What we didn’t know we needed in life: For Parsifal Bauer to reach peak Parsifalness.
What we got:
ronan and declan making a routine list,
a room full of murder crabs,
a Lynch falling in love,
a black market for weird fantasy objects,
ronan being soft for adam and adam being adam,
the many frustrating exchanges of business cards and,
a return to Lindenmere.

“We fool ourselves better than anyone when we’re afraid.”


Side Note: woke up to Maggie retweeting my graphics and I’m not okay….


plans: cancelled
sweatpants: on
alex: excited af
ronan: lynch

description ©

watch me finish this in a whole ass day.

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2 stars, arc, contemporary-romance, erotica, its-getting-hot-in-here, taboo

(ARC REVIEW) Dreams of 18 by Saffron A. Kent

Dreams of 18Dreams of 18 by Saffron A. Kent

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

“You know what happens when a thirty-four-year-old man watches a sixteen-year-old girl?”
“But I’m not… I’m not sixteen anymore.”



*sigh* I guess I needed time to absorb this story as well as the level of disappointment I felt while reading DO18. This story had so much potential and I honestly could not have been more excited. Saffron Kent has written one of my all time favourite romances, Medicine Man and I always do a little dance whenever she comes out with new material. This one fell very short for me.


Hit or Miss

Right so, I guess I can say with some certainty that Kent’s books and I have a love-hate relationship. I guess my main issue with DO18 is the fact that I had so much hope for it! This author can do a lot of things with smut and often her books will call for the holiest holy water, but I was so stuck on the issues within this book that I couldn’t even enjoy that.

Everything felt way too rushed and underdeveloped. I started feeling this from the second chapter. The writing was watered down and the random bursts of purple prose would give me a sense of whiplash. It was like someone randomly yelled at the author to be “more deep” in the middle of random scenes. There’s something to be said though, about the tension that this book derives because I definitely wanted to keep reading, even though I wasn’t necessarily adoring what I was reading. (Does that even make sense, Alex?) I only wish that there was something more unique to this book, rather than just “this happened, then that happened, then we lived happily ever after.” I wanted to be more invested with the story itself and the characters.

“You can eat me up all you want. You can eat me up a hundred different ways. I’m gonna like your teeth and your tongue and I’m gonna fall in love with the sting of it all. You’re my Strawberry Man. At least, that’s what I call you in my head.”

The Romance

Age-gap romances can really go one of two ways. I actually think Kent handled this aspect pretty well. I had more issues with the amount of cringey one-liners and cliche “he’s just such a man” statements that I got bored. Which is the crux of my rating, there was nothing of substance that I held onto. I wasn’t drawn to Violet or Mr. Edwards, so I wasn’t really invested in their romance. The first part of the story definitely captivated me more than the second half, if only for the reason that there was something between Violet and Graham that left me wanting more. This seemed to lose itself as the story progressed.

DO18 is also packed full of angst, which is not always a bad thing. Although, I feel like it was mostly “telling” me about how it’s angsty, instead of making me feel the angst. This seemed to regress during the latter part of the book. Soon, I just felt like I was in a very mundane story that wanted to be taboo, instead of yknow actually being taboo.

I also seriously struggled with the way Violet’s mental health was approached. I wanted her to push through the spiralling thoughts and stand her ground for some things but the story was bordering “magic dick syndrome,” and it made me feel very uncomfortable. There were also some scenes that just did not sit right at all. Specifically, there was a scene in the start of the book where Graham asks (a drunk) Violet quite explicitly to step away from his personal space, but she refuses and go aheads and kisses him instead. I kept thinking, if the situation was reversed and a lady was asking a man to move away from her… it would be absolutely disgusting so why shouldn’t this be seen as the same?

“Mr. Edwards?” “Step. The fuck. Away.” There’s a warning in his tone. An urgency, even. Or maybe it’s me. I’m the one filled with all the urgency that this is my only chance. The only chance to know how it feels. I keep watching his mouth. “It’s my birthday.” “Go. Home.”

Overall, I feel like this story had so much potential and having loved Kent’s novel’s in the past… I was just very severely disappointed. I”m not losing hope because I know I trust Saffron’s writing style and plot devices, this one just didn’t hit a lot of the marks.

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3 stars, all-reviews, beautiful-doesnt-even-cut-it, fantasy-me-up, it-hurts, m-m

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Wayward Son (Simon Snow, #2)Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Can I?” he asks.
Can you what, Simon? Kiss me? Kill me? Break my heart?”

description ©

So I’m not entirely sure why I am disappointed, but I am…
I’m also not necessarily upset with how this book played out…

But all regards aside, if Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch does not write his boyfriend a list of reasons why he both loves and hates him for their wedding day, I’m going to safely assume we all died in 2012 and this is a simulation.

Idiots to Still Idiots to Lovers

I’m almost certain I actually kinda “enjoyed” this. I did. This is very different to Carry On. Which I would like to primarily say isn’t the main reason I’m giving it 3 stars because I think the book deserved to have a new and slightly dire atmosphere. Rainbow was giving us “the story after the story,” and that usually isn’t light.

Wayward Son hurt me, it physically ached my heart to turn the pages. I felt like I was chasing something during the entire book but as soon as I finished, I didn’t reach what I was chasing for. I wasn’t left with the hope that I felt when I reached the last page of Carry On. All my gay heart really wanted was a little biscuit of LGBT+ boldness and courage but it fell flat.

That being said, Rainbow Rowell knows how to write, boys and girls. I don’t think I have ever felt the crushing feeling of mundanity written so perfectly. That’s what hurts the most about this book, the entire thing focuses on what it’s like to be human. It was tragic to say the least.

“I’d give him all that I am.
I’d give him all that I was.
I’d open up a vein.”

Baz and Simon hold such a unique place in my heart and seeing them understand what it means to love in this book was almost too precious. It felt intimate and it stung like a mf at the best of times. Yet, everything felt too rushed. I wanted so much more from their personal monologues and character development. The personalities of each character in this book was something entirely too different from Carry On. There was no transition or movement into the people we meet in Wayward Son and often, many plot arcs hit like whiplash. I struggled trying to understand Baz through this entire book because I felt like we were handed a completley different version of him.

My main theory on why I’m so disappointed with Wayward Son was because this has been one of my biggest anticipated reads of the year. For those who know how long I’ve been waiting for a Simon and Baz sequel, I can honestly say… too fucking long. I expected the biggest bang, but this hit too close to “second-book syndrome” and the plot felt like it was filling in for something rather than being a story in itself. It almost felt rushed but slow at the same time. Some events seemed to have no significance but were drawn out and the important scenes that I would have loved to keep reading about lasted a couple of pages. There were so many scenes that were glossed over and I didn’t know if it was intentional or somehow, we were supposed to just forget those scenes happened?!



I love road-trip plots, so when I found out that Wayward Son was going to be the gang’s trip to America, I probably got way too excited. So I guess, the moral of all this is; don’t let Alex get too excited about a book.

“I’d tie our hearts together, chamber by chamber.”

Another thing I realized was I was very dissatisfied with the ending. It felt like no knots were untied and the book ended very abruptedly. There was little to no resolution, no communication and no overpowering feeling that made me want to turn back to page 1 and experience the story all over again. It almost felt like a novella that an author would gift their readers for signing up to their monthly newsletter. That being said, am I going to read the third book? HELL YES.

Wayward Son wasn’t a win for me, but it wasn’t a loss either. I have so much hope for my two soft bois that I would read 10 books on them if Rainbow so blessed us. Even though there were a lot of conflicts I had with this, there were moments that redeemed the story for me. Quite unsurprisingly, those moments occurred when I felt like learning more about our characters rather than drifting away from them. I’m not giving up yet, nor do I plan to anytime soon.


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3 stars, all-reviews, darker-than-my-soul, Mental health, psychopaths-what, romantic suspense

(ARC REVIEW) The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

The WivesThe Wives by Tarryn Fisher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“It’s all too perfect, I think. When things are that perfect, something is wrong.”


Tarryn Fisher is and always will be one of my all time favourite authors because of The Opportunist. Whilst I am a big fan of her romance novels, The Wives was my first attempt at reading one of her psychological thrillers. This review is going to be slightly problematic because this book was both a mindfuck and a clusterfuck at the same time.

Dark and Unwavering
My first tip for this book would be to dive in not knowing much. Simply because everything hits ten times harder that way. The plot of TW is quite simple on the surface level, but as each chapter unfolds, you start questioning and doubting nearly every character. The deeper I fell into this story, the darker it became, the more I started feeling uncomfortable and uneasy. It pulled me in right from the start and every time I put it down, I wanted to pick it back up again.

Fisher portrays a complex commentary on the starving feeling of jealousy and envy through this novel that is unparalleled with anything I have ever read before. The storyline dealt with topics such as polygamy, manipulation, insecurities and abuse (not necessarily in that order). It was refreshing to see a different type of suspense, wherein the story grabs you with the obvious more than the mystery. I struggled with the writing at the start, I found the structure to be fragmented and the flow, jarring. It was a lot of “this then I did that then this…” but I soon adapted to it to find that it surprisingly suited the story very well.

“Something’s going on and I feel like I’m the only person in this marriage who doesn’t know what.”

The main reason I’m giving this 3 stars is mainly because the latter end of the book lost me slightly. I felt like the twist could have been executed and developed better. The angle it took became very dysfunctional and it felt like the story was trying to squeeze the mindfuck towel dry. So much so that it soon became a clusterfuck. It felt like I was trying to keep up with every characters arc and story involvement that I was lost in the crowd. I also detached from our heroine, Thursday quite often. She was a very dichotomous character and throughout the story, I wanted her to stand up to her opinions and beliefs but she kept letting others treat her badly. There were times where she did in fact come through and push against the “doormat” stereotype but it was always met with a contradiction in her personality.

I do recommend this to anyone that wants to dip their toes into psychological thrillers, or even the regular readers in the genre. I would not throw caution to the wind however because this story can get very dark and gritty at the best of times. It hurt me at times because I empathized with Thursday’s plight to its core, I found myself rooting for her situation even though I had my conflicts with her. I wish I could say that the ending left me completley satisfied but I felt like it was a very rushed ending and the story only unfolded in the last 20%. Beyond this, I enjoyed myself and definitely need a light read now.

Credits to the artist of the paintings

The quotes in this review are taken from an ARC and are subject to change preceding final publication.

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