Book Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

This is my FAVORITE Creekwood book. Like, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda was great, but this one spoke directly to my soul.

Leah Burke is LITERALLY me. In high school I was the impoverished bi girl who had severe mental illness issues and preferred to BURN EVERYTHING TO THE GROUND rather than let anything slightly inconvenience me.

She, of course, has more supportive friends and family than I did, but her character resonated so much with me I literally cannot stop yelling about it.

All her fears, her wants, her needs…everything. She’s literally perfect. Or…well…fundamentally flawed, which is how I like my characters.

Her relationship with Abby literally had me SCREAMING for most of the book. They’re so cute and so precious. And I really wish they’d gotten together in book 1, but alas. It wouldn’t have been as sweet, in my opinion.

But seriously, Leah is my absolute favorite. And I feel like she really got shafted in the Love, Simon film because they made her openly like Simon. That does not fit her character at all, she only liked Simon when they were really young. Then she had a crush on his older sister.

I did spend a little bit of the book hoping she’d fall for Simon’s younger sister, but Leah/Abby is my OTP for life now.

This book is one of my absolute favorites!

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

Rating breakdown:

Prose: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Plot: 💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜
Characterization: 💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

More About Leah on the Offbeat

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

Get your copy here on Amazon.

Review: Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Oh my hecc, I don’t know how I waited so long to read this book! I even saw the movie first, but the book is so much better!

I feel like the movie really missed a lot of the best things about the book. Like, Abby being a literal cinnamon roll and Leah having Borderline Personality Disorder. Plus, the whole arc between Simon and his nemesis Martin was way better in the book.

In the movie it made things more about Simon’s relationship falling apart with his friends, but in the book it was more about Simon and his friends rallying around him surrounding this. There were other ways where his friendships sort of fell apart and mended throughout the story and none of it revolved around Simon’s sexuality. Not really.

The love letters between him and his love interest literally melted my whole heart. This was such a good coming of age queer story I literally am so mad at myself for not reading it until NOW. Like how could my gay ass miss this?

I absolutely LOVED it too. Simon is such a sweetheart, but my fave is Leah! Obviously. Haha. I can’t wait to read more books by Becky Albertalli!

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

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Plot: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Characterization: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

More about Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Get your copy here on Amazon.

Book Review: Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

This book was so sweet and so cute. I absolutely love books that are in a series, but aren’t completely related to one another. I don’t know why, I’m just a total nerd for these types of books.

That said, I didn’t read the first book in the royals series. Mostly because it wasn’t LGBT and I’ve really been on an LGBT kick lately. BUT

This book. Was ADORABLE.

Millie and Flora are basically my endgame. When Millie was wasting her time with her friend Jude or whatever in the beginning of the book I literally wanted to punch her in the face. Like Go to Scotland and find your true love, Millie!

Flora in the beginning was high key annoying, but once she stopped being such a jerk to Millie I was like “Oh no she’s just prickly because she doesn’t trust people easily!” and honestly, same. I can totally relate.

This book was so sweet and cute and such a fun read. I did wish there was more of it. I don’t really like it when books end on the “We’re together!” part. And while this one didn’t technically do that, it sort of felt that way.

Millie and Flora have so many cute moments in the book, but I felt like their story needed more to really feel wrapped up at the end. Because there were a lot of people that opposed their relationship, including Flora’s own mom and that never really got resolved, so that sort of felt up in the air at the end.

Other than that, and a few minor complaints (Like how did Flora NOT know the animal of Scotland was the Unicorn when she is LITERALLY the princess of Scotland? Like I know that, Flora. And I’m an American. Yes, I know my family is Scottish & I’m first gen. Don’t @ me.) I thought this book was FANTASTIC.

I hope to read a lot more cute books by Rachel Hawkins!

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 👍👍👍👍
Plot: 👩‍❤️‍👩👩‍❤️‍👩👩‍❤️‍👩👩‍❤️‍👩👩‍❤️‍👩
Characterization: 👭👭👭👭👭
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

More About Her Royal Highness

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?

Get your copy here on Amazon.

Book Reviews: Death of a Bachelor by M.A Hinkle

Oh my gosh! I loved this book. I loved every second of it.

I am obsessed with Cathal. Like he and I are pretty much the same person. And Felix! I loved him so much.

Literally, this book is like a breath of fresh air! There is so much LGBTQIA+ representation in here that I really felt seen. There is acespec representation, bisexual representation, gay representation, lesbian representation, and I think there were even some straight people?

The romance is a juicy, juicy slowburn that took just enough time to woo me as a reader and convince me that Damon and Cathal belonged together. I was rooting for them for the whole book because these two broken men need each other to survive.

Cathal especially since he can’t cook and spends all of his “alone time” eating instant ramen and not knowing what half of the stuff Damon cooks is. I love how clueless and adorable he was about cooking, but how smart he was about space.

At the end of the book, I’m pretty sure even Era shipped them from beyond the grave. She had a hand in getting them together, after all. I like to imagine her ghost chatting with Felix casually about it over a box of Lucky Charms. Her two broken boys finding comfort in one another after her loss.

Great, now I’m crying again.

Seriously, though. This book was incredible. It was a little slow in the beginning, but once it picks up it picks up FAST and I read the bulk of it in just a few days. I cannot wait to see more from M.A Hinkle!

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

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 👍👍👍👍👍
Plot: 😄😄😄😄😄
Characterization: 🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

I cannot wait for the next book in the series that focuses on Felix and the twins. I know it is going to be as incredible, if not moreso than this one. I love M.A Hinkle and I’m willing to bet I’m going to be a life-long fan.

Book Review: The Wild Ones by Louise Czarnobai

I was actually a beta on this story for most of last year! The BEST Beta. Ask anyone.

Where do I even begin with my praise for this excellent book? The way Czarnobai eases us into this incredible supernatural world astounds me. The lead-in at the beginning with what is, essentially, a state of the union address was absolutely sublime.

However, the real story starts when we’re introduced to the charming and handsome lawyer, Louis and we get to see him in action. He’s a secret super who tries to help other supers get off of insane charges with his law degree. However, because of this, he gets into a little trouble himself. This is what leads him to SINS and ultimately to the stunningly sexy, Lucas.

And once those two get together it is allll downhill from there. In a good way, that is. Their sexual tension and bantering really had me hooked! It was impossible to look away from all of their spicy encounters. I found myself almost to the point of frustration, screaming at my Kindle for them to kiss.

What a well-done romance story! I wish there had been more SINS stuff in there, though! I can’t wait for the second book with more epic action and romance.

An excellent debut for Louise Czarnobai.

Top 10 Books I Read in 2018

These are in no particular order, haha. Just 10 books I read this year that I really, REALLY liked. (LGBT Titles are marked because y’all know I’m tryinna sell those the most).

Love From the Barricade by Ashley Jean Granillo

This book was incredible. It took me a few chapters to really get into it, but once I was there I couldn’t put it down. I’ve become very close with Ashley Jean after purchasing and reading Love From the Barricade and I am excited to say she has more in store for next year!

Genre: Romance, Slice of Life

Bravo. This book made me laugh, cry, and just THINK about the kind of life I’ve lead. There are so many quotable moments from this book like Aijae’s words have stuck with me. She’s an incredible character and I’m so glad I’ve had the privilege of knowing her. 

from my official review of Love From the Barricade

The Last Fire Mage by C.M. Lanning

**This title is not available for purchase ATM. I beta’d the release for Lanning prior to it being under contract. It is now under contract with (currently unknown) and will be available in 2020**

Genre: Paranormal, Urban fantasy

Lanning is an excellent storyteller, his writing style, while sometimes a bit crude provides a no-holds-barred look into the lives of Fay and Connor Rosa after the disappearance of their mother. 

from my official review of The Last Fire Mage

Lovely, Dark, & Deep by Justina Chen

This one came as a surprise to me. However, considering I met the author and the woman the book is based on at a panel in Pleasanton, CA I basically fell in love with this book immediately. Justina Chen is a treasure.

Genre: Slice of Life, YA

The way Viola fought her illness, in the beginning, was so real for me. How she didn’t want her life to change, but it just kept changing. It kept getting worse until she fell into letting other people choose things for her, something she was deathly afraid of when her story started.

from my official review of Lovely, Dark, and Deep

Impostors by Scott Westerfeld

Anyone who knows me is not surprised to see this book make my list. Considering I have read everything this man has ever written and he’s the reason I became an author in the first place.

Genre: Science Fiction, YA

On page one, I was apprehensive. Then I realized, without even noticing I’d somehow read 50 pages. Then another 50. And another 50 until it was suddenly 5am and I forgot to sleep. 

I was so interested in Rafi and Frey and their story and their sisterhood that I literally forgot to sleep. I’m a grown adult. I have a JOB. I had family in town from 3,000 miles away. But I literally couldn’t put this book down. 

from my official review of Impostors

Deadline by Stephanie Ahn

THIS IS AN LGBT F/F TITLE. One of my absolute favorites, tbh. Stephanie Ahn is an Urban Fantasy genius. She’s incredible and a force to be reckoned with. It takes a lot for me to be reduced to a rabid fangirl after one read, but Ahn really does it for me.

Genre: Urban fantasy, Paranormal

This book is so impossibly good. I love Harry and Luce and Miri and AUGH THIS IS SO GOOD. I’m so glad I found this. I’m so sorry I’m not being super eloquent but oh my god this book was so exciting. I loved the demons and everything. I just have so many feelings about how great this book is. Thank you for writing it.

my official review of Deadline

A Closed and Common Orbit Becky Chambers

THIS IS AN LGBT TRANS/GENDER QUEER TITLE. Oh man, this one took me by surprise. I loved the first book in the series, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. It was an incredible LGBT Read with an f/f and poly romance.

The second one continues with the LGBT representation. It is a truly incredible book.

Genre: Science fiction, slice of life

I absolutely adored the first book in this series and the second was also incredible. The story it tells about Lovey’s journey to accept herself and what it was like for Pepper to grow up as a discarded clone was heartbreaking and incredible. 

from my review of A Closed and Common Orbit

Soul Echo: Discovery by Lisa Stapleton

Lisa Stapleton is an incredible author and one of my best friends. Soul Echo: Discovery is a FANTASTIC read. It even features LGBT elements, but I wouldn’t call it a full-blown LGBT novel.

Genre: Science fiction, romance

I just wanted to sing my praises for Bonnie and Camilla. Even though I didn’t really like Camilla that much, or well, I should say I couldn’t relate to her.

However, I feel like Bonnie and Cam could DEF relate to each other. And I ship them now.

from my official review of Soul Echo: Discovery

A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo

THIS IS AN LGBT F/F TITLE! It wouldn’t be a top 10 list from me without Malinda Lo on it. Other than Scott Westerfeld, she has to be my favorite traditionally published author. And she is definitely my favorite traditional LGBT author.

Genre: Thriller, YA

Malinda Lo does an excellent job of capturing what its like to be a creative teen. She is also incredible at writing thrillers. Every step of the way, her story has dark and unexpected twists and turns. I would definitely recommend this book! And I have. I absolutely love all of Lo’s work. She’s an incredible LGBT writer.

My official review of A Line in the Dark

Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak

THIS IS AN LGBT M/M TITLE! I suggest this book to any of my friends who even slightly like m/m as well as great Urban Fantasy. A really great read, truly.

Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

This is absolutely one of the best books I’ve read this year. I recommend it to every single person I know who even vaguely likes M/M. This was actually a huge inspiration for my Marjorie Diaz series and holy cow this book is incredible.

The prose and characterization are insanely good. The story kept me guessing and kept me entertained from the beginning to the end. Incredible novel. Truely incredible.

My official review of Wonders of the Invisible World

Axiom: The Last Hope by Rachel Marie Pearcy

THIS IS AN LGBT F/F TITLE. Tbh this is how I want all of my science fiction books to be from now on. This book was fantastic.

Genre: Science fiction, Romance

It’s been awhile since I read a story so compelling I didn’t want to put it down.

Pearcy creates a dystopian world full of fear. A world where biological warfare and a war-ravaged Earth forced everyone to flee to the moon under a tyrannical regime.

from my review of Axiom: The Last Hope