Book Review: I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

I really liked this book, but the writing style was actually really hard for me to get into. So it took me quite a long time to read it because of this.

The romance was really sweet, I thought Ben and Nathan meshed really well together. And Ben really needed some good in their life after what happened with their parents after they came out. Like that for SURE broke my heart.

I wish Ben had a better relationship with their sister. I did really enjoy their relationship with their best friend, Miriam. Who was also my favorite character in the entire book.

I felt like a lot of the other characters outside of Nathan, Miriam, and Ben were very flat. Which makes sense since they were only supporting characters, but considering side characters always end up being my favorites in a book, I was a little sad about this.

And I don’t know if it’s because I listened to the audio book instead of reading an ebook or print book, but I really genuinely had a hard time getting into the story. It was very, very good, but I did struggle a little bit.

I felt like the narrative was a little lacking. The story was good, it was a very good queer story. And I loved how Ben spoke about being bisexual for males and other non-binary people because it is so rare to see people actually understand bisexuality.

Overall rating: ★★★★
(4/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: ????
Plot: ????
Characterization: ?‍♂️?‍♂️?‍♂️
Boredom meter: ???

More About I Wish You All the Best

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.

Get your copy here on Amazon.

Book Review: Red, White & Royal Blue

I literally cannot even explain in words how much I loved this book. I listened to it on Audible because I never have time to actually sit down and read and finished it in a day then turned around, bought the paperback and it’s coming soon and I cannot wait to sit down and read this again.

This book is everything I’ve ever wanted to read. And I literally cannot recommend it more. It was so fantastic and sweet and I even forced my best friend to also read it. I literally logged into UK Amazon, bought a gift card for the book amount and sent it to her so she could ALSO buy the book and read it.

We literally have not finished screaming about this book and it has been an entire week and I’m still posting about it on my social media and pushing my book club to read it too honestly this was just everything.

This book meant everything to me.

Overall rating: ★★★★★★★★★★
(10/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: ??????????
Plot: ??????????
Characterization: ???????????????
Boredom meter: ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????

I literally cannot wait to read this book all over again in a few days.

More about Red, Write & Royal Blue

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius―his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

Get your copy here on Amazon!

Book Review: Firstlife by Gena Showalter

The pining between Ten and Killian was kind of drawn out for a little too long, but other than that I really enjoyed this story.

I picked it up because the cover looked like one I’d done sketches of for a book I wrote. Plus, I love YA so reading about Ten and her fight against her parent’s wishes was right up my alley. Right out of the gate, this book is entertaining as heck!

I think my favorite part was the song Ten’s Aunt Lina sings and how that helps her later in the story. I knew it would come back to do something awesome and I was not disappointed. Ten is totally awesome in this story and I’m really glad Showalter didn’t opt for an Archer/Ten/Killian love triangle because I would’ve DNF’d this book so fast.

Instead of relying heavily on romance, Showalter tells a story worthy of her heroine. It is dark, intricate, full of action, and full of glittery beasts (done right, of course).

This was an excellent read!

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: ?????
Plot: ???
Characterization: ☀️☀️☀️
Boredom meter: ?????

I’m struggling through the second one right now, so I wish book 2 was a little better, but book one definitely held my attention very well!

Review: Return to Sender by Roberta Blablanski

I am literally still happy sobbing as I type this. I am so glad I read this book!

This story is so beautiful and kind from the very beginning. I’m not a fan of M/M stories, which I know is really unfair because I’m an LGBTQIA+ author, but I find that most M/M stories are not written by people in the community and aren’t a good representation of gay culture as a whole, but that was definitely not the case with Return to Sender.

From the very beginning, this story had me hooked. The romance and family and just love in this book had me crying happy and sad and just emotional tears almost the whole time I was reading it.

I read this story in literally a single day. It’s a novella, so it wasn’t that hard, but that is a feat for me. I usually have to keep putting books down to do other things, but this book in particular just really spoke to me and was always on my mind.

I loved that all the smut scenes were fade to black because that was so on brand for Drew and Wes! They deserved all their privacy and their secret stolen moments after everything they’d been through.

The writing was amazing and expressive and full of emotion and I didn’t ever once think “this is a first-person POV novel” because I was never pulled out of the narrative long enough to ever question anything about the mechanics of the book. I cannot praise Return to Sender enough. It was truly an amazing read.

Roberta, this story was literally brilliant. I cannot think of a story more deserving of a 5-star review from me. I loved it so much and I cannot wait to see what you write next.

Overall rating: ★★★★★
(5/5 Stars)

Rating breakdown:
Prose: ?????
Plot: ?????
Characterization: ?‍??‍???‍??‍?
Boredom meter: ?????

This book brought me so much joy and so much pain. Honestly, I recommend it to everyone who loves LGBT lit.

Review: Never Letting Go by Liv Devereaux

This was very, very short and read like an unedited Wattpad story. I really like that Devereaux continues to write f/f and LGBT fiction, but I can’t help but think that this sort of writing is a little detrimental to the community.

As an LGBT author myself, I am all for supporting other people who write for the community and Devereaux is not a bad author. On the contrary, I do enjoy a lot of their work, but I find myself wishing they could be a little better.

This story was over in the blink of an eye, though I did like the narrative of two estranged lovers coming back together, I wish Devereaux would have explored this further in a longer story. I know we get the explanation toward the end as to what happened between them and how they ended up like this, but it all felt really flat.

I fully believe Devereaux has an incredible talent that they have yet to explore fully and will continue to read and advocate for their books with a little bit of constructive criticism thrown in. Keep writing, Devereaux, you’re out here fighting the good fight and filling the world with so much needed wlw representation.

I look forward to the next project I read by you.

Overall rating: ★★★
(3/5 Stars)

Rating breakdown:
Prose: ??
Plot: ????
Characterization:
Boredom meter: ??

I would like to see better characterization and prose writing from Devereaux in the future.

Review: Not Your Villain by C.B Lee (Audible)

I got this title on audible like I do most of my traditional publishing reads and as much as it pains me because I adored the first one, I’m going to have to DNF book 2.

I love Bells and I would have loved to follow his story especially his whole Chameleon thing, but C.B Lee doesn’t do anything interesting with him. Most of the book he pines over Emma in the most annoying way possible.

Then he whines when she gets a boyfriend and starts acting like a bad friend. Which was so annoying to me and made even more annoying by the voice actor they had reading the book that I had to stop listening.

Not to mention, Lee completely mischaracterizes Jess. It’s like this book was written by a completely different person. In book 1, Jess loved running and training and she wanted to be a hero. In book 2, Jess is a whiny lazy grump who is useless on most missions.

This turned me off so badly because I really genuinely loved Jess and seeing her stripped down to a whiny comic relief archetype was horrible.

You’re better than this, C.B Lee and I really agonized over giving this book a bad review because I loved the first one so much, but I cannot continue to struggle through reading this.

Overall rating: ★
(1/5 Stars – DNF)

Rating breakdown:
Prose: ??
Plot: ?
Characterization:
Boredom meter:

I really hope the next novel C.B Lee puts out is better than this.

Review: The Poison Within by R. M. Pearcy

This is the second book by R M Pearcy that I have read and it was AMAZING.

I loved the worldbuilding and the map and almost all the characters. Plus the descriptions? were fantastic. I got so lost in the story I felt like I was there and that’s all I ever want out of a book.

To be honest, though, I wasn’t a huge fan of Cam because she was kind of just blah, buy Rya, Norell, and Thane? I LOVED them. I was a huge fan of the love story between Cam and Rya mostly because of how different they were and how Cam threatened to kill an assassin to save her.

Though I just had a really hard time connecting with Cam throughout the story.

Rya, though. Rya’s my girl. As someone who has been through physical and emotional abuse, I really understood her. I understood her choices and all of the seemingly bad things she did. I too am not a bad person, but people view me as such because of my no tolerance policy for bullies, abusers, and bad people. I get it, Rya. I see you.

I really didn’t like Norell in the beginning, but she grew on me. Especially when she met up with the Ebez, but I really would have liked to see her stay behind and learn from them. I get that her life was in the Ashen Forest, but she could’ve stayed for a little while to connect with family after they brought Rya to the Obsidian Isles.

I think the only thing I really had a huge issue with was the ending. It kind of ends really abruptly and I feel like I would’ve liked an Epilogue if this is going to be the last we see of these characters. Other than that, this book really was truly great. I would recommend it for anyone who is interested in F/F romance and fantasy worlds.

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:
Prose: ???? ?
Plot: ?????
Characterization: ????
Boredom meter: ?????

Very excited to see what R. M. Pearcy comes out with next.

Book Review: Immortal Hearts (Fate of the Witch #1)

Let me preface my review with this: I did not like this book. Like It was a struggle for me to read and it turned me off to reading other stuff for a bit, but that doesn’t mean you won’t like it. The romance was very heavy-handed and that didn’t jive well with me, but if you’re into romance then full speed ahead. You’ll probably like this.

I was really interested in the plot to this book, I love the whole secret magical beings trope, but the overabundance of romance and Rainelle falling in love with literally every guy she sees that she isn’t related to was weird to me.

The beginning of the book was a little rocky, to be honest. Moon introduces a bunch of characters in the prologue and I got really confused because she never mentioned who they were to Rainelle, instead she just casually name drops them like I’m supposed to already know who they are. I didn’t. At first, I thought it was because I wasn’t reading the first in the series, but no I definitely was. So, maybe change that up a little?

The whole battle between the werewolves and witches and vampires (sort of vampires?) seemed a little ???. Like what were the wolves motivations other than power? I know power is a really good motivator, but to be honest, at times this feud seemed really personal so the whole “power” story kind of fell flat to me.

Also, Reed’s whole destiny really upset me. Reed was honestly my favorite character. I liked him more than Rainelle which is weird since I usually prefer the female MC to literally anyone else. However, Rainelle came across as really whiny to me at times. Other times, of course, she was totally badass.

I loved how everyone had guns here. Just at any given second, anyone could pull out a metric butt-ton of guns that was a pretty incredible thing. Yet it’s rare that anyone used their guns which was kind of a bummer.

I have to say I was not a fan of the Rainelle/Samuel romance. It went really fast and he pretty much immediately wanted to marry her right after she got out of a long and abusive relationship with her ex. I was like Samuel calm DOWN. Then Rainelle was also interested in literally every other guy in the book, including an immortal sheriff who was just really creepy to me.

All in all, this was a pretty good story. I liked the magicky parts and the betrayal/murder plot a whole lot more than the romance, but I’ve never been a huge romance fan. Great work, Raven Moon. Can’t wait to read the next one.

Overall rating: ★ ★

(2/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:
Prose: ?
Plot: ??
Characterization: ?‍♀️
Boredom meter: ??

In my opinion, too much romance and not enough revenge plot. ?‍♀️

Book Review: Not Your Sidekick by C.B Lee

I listened to this book on Audible as I do with most of my traditionally published reads these days.

Also, has anyone else noticed my penchant to read Asian Authors who write LGBT? Malinda Lo, Stephanie Ahn, Natasha Ngan, and now C.B Lee.

Not Your Sidekick is a book that follows Jessica Tran, a very awkward disaster bi (who is openly bi in the book) with a crush on the beautiful Abby Jones.

Now with the whole crushy crush business out of the way, allow me to tell you, while there is plenty of cute mushy (and awkward) moments between Abby and Jess, most of the story revolves around Jess trying to find out if she has superpowers.

There has been a crazy influx in superpower books being published as of late. I know, because I’ve read a bunch of them. Because for some reason, and thank god for this, a lot of them are LGBT (with a focus on FF) and this one did not disappoint.

Not only is bisexuality represented, so is homosexuality, transsexuality, and heterosexuality. Hell, there’s probably a few ace people sprinkled in, but I’m only listing what people openly identified as in the book.

The story is excellent. There are times where I felt it was a little too juvenile for me, but since I’m well over the age of the main characters, this was to be expected. This is an excellent YA title with LGBT themes.

I absolutely adored the awkward slow burn between Abby and Jess and the side flirtation between Bells and Emma. I am really, REALLY looking forward to the second book with Bells as the narrator: Not Your Villain that is on my TBR next!

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5 Stars.)

Rating breakdown:

Prose: ????
Plot: ????
Characterization: ???
Boredom meter: ???

I loved this book, but sometimes the characters could come over really whiny or one-dimensional. And I’m really mad about what happened to Claudia.

Book Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Going into this book I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew it was an LGBT read, and anyone who knows me knows those are my kryptonite, as in I will literally give any LGBT book or author a chance in the name of supporting LGBT becoming a future staple of the writing industry.

A lot of reviews of this book were on the negative side, bashing Ngan for writing a book containing a lesbian relationship. Because, god forbid gays find the representation they deserve in the writing community ? .

Let me start this review by saying this book has excellent worldbuilding. There were so many times where I sat here in silence processing the beautiful picture Ngan paints.

The moon caste demons are a feast for the eyes. Their descriptions are rich and wondrous. So are the steel caste demons and hell, even the descriptions of the paper caste humans were incredible.

I was so invested in the world Ngan created I definitely slacked off on reading all my other books. I have to say I was a little disappointed that Lei fell in love with a paper caste woman and not a moon or steel caste, but that’s just the teratophiliac in me.

There was one thing other than the world building and characterization I found to be incredible. And it isn’t something a lot of people think about, but there’s a scene in the book where Lei wonders why it’s okay for men to be with other men while it was taboo for women to be with other women.

To be honest, I think this reflects keenly on the writing industry as a whole. The entire reason I became an author was because of this whole mess of MM books being the only LGBT offerings when the world needed more FF representation (and rep for the more marginalized LGBT groups: trans, bi, poly, pan, ace, etc.). That scene really struck a chord with me because of this.

Now, Ngan may not have meant it that way, but that’s how I interpreted it and it made me feel really seen.

I cannot wait to read book 2.

Overall rating:★★
4/5 stars

Rating breakdown

Prose: ?????

Plot: ????

Characterization: ?‍❤️‍?‍? ?‍❤️‍?‍? ?‍❤️‍?‍?

Boredom meter: ????

The beginning was really slow to start and it took me a long time to get into it, but once I hit my stride, I listened to it every single night.

More about Girls of Paper and Fire

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.

But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.