Rating: 4 STARS
Series/Standalone: Tales from Verania #2
How I got this book: Bought
Once upon a time, the wizard’s apprentice Sam of Wilds got his happily ever after in the arms of his cornerstone, Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart. A year has passed, and while Sam’s been captured five or six more times since then, things are pretty great. His parents are happy, Gary and Tiggy still eat sass for breakfast, Randall is somehow alive despite being older than the gods, the King rules with a gentle hand, Kevin the dragon is as gross as ever, Morgan sighs a lot, Ryan continues to be dashing and immaculate, and Sam is close to convincing Prince Justin they will be best friends forever.
Life is good.
Until it’s not.
Because Vadoma, the leader of the Gypsy clan and Sam’s grandmother, has come to the City of Lockes with a dire prophecy written in the stars: a man of shadows is rising and will consume the world unless Sam faces his destiny and gathers the five dragons of Verania at his side.
And she brings along her second-in-command, a man named Ruv.
Ruv, who Vadoma says is Sam’s true cornerstone.
It would seem that I'm having a bit of a TJ Klune marathon at the moment since I just can't stop reading his books...even after finishing this I immediately started one of his contemporary romances. He's JUST SO GOOD, I CAN'T STOP!
Anyway, back to the book at hand.
A Destiny of Dragons is book two in the Tales of Verania fantasy series by TJ Klune. If you haven't read book one yet, feel free to check out my review of The Lightning Struck Heart.
A Destiny of Dragons starts with a rather foreboding prologue that, since finishing this book, I have a really, really, really bad feeling about but I'm trying not to think of it so that I don't cry, but Chapter One picks up not too long after where we left things in book one and it immediately falls back into TJ's hilarious rhythm, with Sam trying to show Justin how much he cares before being hit on by a stranger and discovered by a posing Ryan. I really loved being back with the insane Verania crew who I can't seem to get enough of.
The best thing about this book is 'Sam's New Destiny (capitalised so it must be true)' as much as he hates and complains about it, for the following reasons:
ALL THE FEELS!
As always TJ Klune manages to blend this incredible mixture of awesome magic and magical creatures with outrageous, very crude humour and so much emotion you feel like your heart might just burst.
Sam is on another adventure that he didn't ask for and with the help (and hindrance) of some new characters he still handles it with his classic 'Sam' attitude:
"Finally, I did the only thing a person could do if they were in my position and faced with a gigantic hill monster after having been bad-touched by an old lady into the middle of the woods. I waved and said, “Heeeyyy there.”
As with The Lightning Struck Heart, A Destiny of Dragons takes us on a journey across Verania, with some amazing new places to discover this time around.
However, where the first book in the series delivered very over-the-top comedy, this book didn't have quite the same carefree feel. Things are different for Sam, things are darker, harder and more difficult with much more at stake for Sam and the people of Verania. In this book we see strains on friendship and fear that strikes at Sam's heart, and the hearts of those around him.
I'm really excited and nervous to see how things play out in the rest of the series as there's promise of a lot of dark, depressing shit (there was a point in this book that I was so very close to crying) and I'm completely on edge having no idea what's going to happen next. I really don't think it'll be long before I read book three!
So, to finish, I'm going to leave you with one of my favourite quotes from this book, a little pearl of Sam wisdom:
"You can’t hide your head in the sand without expecting your ass to get burned.”
Rating: 4 🔥🔥🔥🔥
How I got this book: This novella is available for free exclusively at tjklunebooks.com
When he sees Satan stuck in a rut, God provides a little divine intervention, suggesting the Devil get back to basics.
Taking God's advice, Satan answers a summons to a crossroad on Earth, hellbent on brokering a deal in exchange for the soul of the human who summoned him.
The problem with that is the summoner is a deviant twink named Jimmy who immediately falls in love at first sight, much to Satan's dismay.
Blasphemy! Where God is a frat bro who wants to get his brother laid, Satan absolutely does not have time for this shit, and Jimmy wants to climb the Devil like a tree.
Important note: If you are extremely religious or find religious satire offensive, this is NOT the book for you!
First off, I want to say:
1. How awesome is the artwork above? The banners were designed by members of TJ Klune's Facebook reader group and I love each one!
2. The author provided this novella for free on his website. It's available to read on the site or you can download the PDF or Mobi files to your devices!
If you've read some of TJ's other work, specifically the Tales of Verania series, you'll be very familiar with the authors' brand of satirical, twisted humour. If you haven't, think like a really vulgar (but in the best way) Terry Pratchett but with waaay more sex, swearing and generally outrageous behaviour involved.
Blasphemy! was a really short read (around 20,000 words) and is a tale about the lord of the underworld and his growing loneliness. Throw in some help from his (and I quote) "brother-dad" God who's incredibly interfering, and a very naive young human who falls head over horns in love and you have a classic, hysterically funny TJ Klune story that will keep you laughing out loud from start to finish.
"And while Satan had never been too fond of labels, he sometimes wondered if he was a bear now, like the type who could be called Daddy."
Featuring appearances from a Demon named Derek, a man named Carl, and a very teenage Jesus Christ this story is pretty much un-quotable but I did manage to find this little snippet to give you a taste of what's in store:
"Jesus! Jesus Christ, you better not be making a mess in the kitchen. We just had it cleaned!"
A surly response came crackling through the monitor. "I'm not! And don't tell me what to do! You're not even my real dad. Joseph is! When he and Mom get back from their vacation, I'm going to tell them you never let me do anything."
As I said above, this book is really not intended for anyone who's highly religious or easily offended, but if that's not you, and you're looking for a quick-paced read that promises some heavy belly laughs, go and grab this book!
Enjoy 🤣 and once you read it, feel free to leave your comments below!
Rating: 4.5 STARS
Series/Standalone: The Folk of the Air #1
How I got this book: Bought
Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.
One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The terrifying assassin abducts all three girls to the world of Faerie, where Jude is installed in the royal court but mocked and tormented by the Faerie royalty for being mortal.
As Jude grows older, she realises that she will need to take part in the dangerous deceptions of the fey to ever truly belong.
But the stairway to power is fraught with shadows and betrayal. And looming over all is the infuriating, arrogant and charismatic Prince Cardan . . .
This book was so massively hyped that I found myself subconsciously staying away from it. Even though I was aware of the book, I had no inclination to actually read it until I stumbled across a copy in Waterstones last week and got hooked whilst reading the back cover - I had such a strong urge to read it that I started it the moment I got home.
I can tell you one thing - the hype is real! This book was fantastic!
Holly Black's writing is completely immersive, the world is captivating and the characters are complex and deliciously twisted.
Jude is perfect in her imperfections. She's bad-ass, conflicted and haunted. Living with her parents murderer and being forced to move to another world where she's belittled, tortured and abused has hardened her into a fighter both physically and mentally. She's a force to be reckoned with and I love both her character arc and her sass.
"I thought I was playing the game of pissing off people who hated me already and eating the consequences."
This book is filled with deception - the twists and turns from each character are unexpected, the plot is dark and gripping, and the pacing is perfect.
If you're looking for something darker and more thrilling than your traditional fairytale, you'll love this.
“Nice things don’t happen in storybooks,” Taryn says. “Or when they do happen, something bad happens next. Because otherwise the story would be boring, and no one would read it.”
The secondary characters were unexpected to say the least. I don't want to give too much away, but prepare yourself to be surprised.
This is a fantastic book and I can't wait to find out what happens in book 2 after that shocking ending!
If you loved the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas, you'll absolutely devour The Cruel Prince.
Rating: 3.5 STARS
Series/Standalone: Standalone (Collection)
How I got this book: Bought
Slow burn romance that quickens the heart. From sweet & light-hearted to raw and emotional - this collection contains eight contemporary gay romance novellas previously published individually between 2013 and 2016.
“Noticed Me Yet?”
“The Douglas Fir”
"It Could Be You"
"Bird Meets Cage"
You can catch my separate mini review of DJ Dangerfield here.
The stories in this book are short and sweet, perfect if you're looking for something to read before going to sleep.
I won't talk about every single story, because I don't have a huge amount to say about some of them. They were nice, sweet stories that delivered the promised HEA.
I'm going to talk about my favourite story first, which was 500 kisses. This is a very fun friends-to-enemies-to-lovers romance that I couldn't stop smiling over. The two characters are fun, witty and their verbal sparring sessions are perfect. Add to the mix several amusing teenage campers, a very risque bet and some drama from their past, this story was easily my favourite of the whole collection.
The Douglas Fir was another sweet story which took a rather unexpected turn. I'm not going to give too much away here but I did enjoy the plot twist. This isn't your typical romance, but it was nice, sweet and very tender. A great story for Christmas.
Bird Meets Cage was a much heavier story than the others. It features a slight age difference between the two lead characters and lots of emotional drama. What I loved the most though were the secondary relationships from family members and friends which added a lot more depth to the story.
If you haven't yet read anything else by Anyta Sunday but you're thinking of trying out her work, this collection of novella's is a great place to start!
Rating: 5 STARS!!
Genre: Paranormal Romance/LGBT
Standalone/Series: Green Creek #1
How I got this book: Bought
Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.
Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.
Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.
Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.
It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.
Trigger warnings: Mental/physical/child abuse.
If you've been reading my blog for a while or you're following me on Twitter, you'll know that TJ Klune has quickly become one of my favourite writers. I can't get enough of his immersive writing style and I absolutely love how diverse his characters and the genres he writes in are. I've only read two other books of his so far, one being a SCI-Fi whilst the other is a more epic fantasy.
So far, I've loved everything I've read by this author and Wolfsong is no exception.
It all starts with Ox. Sweet, beautiful Ox who's unlike anyone else. He's plagued by the words of his father. Telling him he's too stupid, too dumb, too slow. He's kind. He's strong. He's brave. He's so loving. He's the cornerstone of this whole book and I am in awe of who he is and who he becomes.
TJ writes characters that are vivid and diverse. His dialogue is so real that you can just hear it in your head without any effort. Each character is unique and I love the development arcs for each and every one.
What's great is that even though Ox is the narrator of this book, you still see so much growth from the others that they all feel like main characters.
The romance in this book is a scorching slow burn, friends-to-lovers relationship that builds steadily throughout the book until it consumes you.
The plot line is seriously epic, the action is fantastic, the creatures and backstory are so detailed and full of pain, love and ALL THE FEELS that I'm so not over it. Not even a little bit.
I love that, whilst there are a lot of darker, tense moments, there's still plenty of humour and there are so many fantastic, complex relationships to explore; friends, brothers, parents, family, pack.
I mixed things up a little on this read, sometimes reading the eBook, other times listening to the audio-book and the narration by Kirt Graves was brilliant and so very immersive.
Wolfsong draws you in, grabs hold of your heart, tears it apart, repairs the fragments and leaves you not quite whole but wanting more.
This is a paranormal shifter novel done absolutely right!
If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that the past two weeks have been insane for me. My daughter has changed schools and work has been so busy that I've had almost no time at all to read and I even fell asleep several times trying to listen to an audio book.
Thankfully, I have a little time today so I'm planning on reading as much as possible this evening but thought I'd try to sneak in this post which I've been meaning to do for months since I was first nominated back in July by Noly @ The Artsy Reader Girl and then again in October by Sam @ The Pen in My Pocket. Thank you both so much for the nomination and sorry it's taken me so long to do this!
Anyway, here are the rules:
Okay, so I've done 1 and 4 already and since I was tagged twice, I'm going to mix and match some of the questions from both bloggers.
1. What’s the last book or film that made you cry?
The last book that made me cry was The Bones Beneath My Skin by TJ Klune. This book tore my heart out. Seriously, ALL THE FEELS!
I have no idea what the last film that made me cry was....the last TV show that made me cry was Teen Wolf (although I'm ashamed to admit that lol)
2. Where do you hope/dream to be 5 years from now (especially with your blog)?
I don't really have any specific goals for my blog. I started it because I love to read and I love to talk about the books that I read so it's entirely a labour of love and I'll just keep blogging if it works for me. Right now, I'm really happy with it and so glad that people seem to enjoy reading what I have to say.
Personally, I'd really really love to finish some of the books I've started to write. I hit a bit of a block a few months back and I'm struggling with the editing process but I think I'll be really disappointed with myself if I don't finish at least one soon.
3. Do you own any pets? Tell us a bit about them.
I have two cats and a dog. My dog is a 5 year old German Shepherd. Her name is Raven (after Mystique in X-Men) and we've had her since she was 8 weeks old. My oldest cat is 6 and his name is Jacob (I was in Twilight phase back then). He's a tuxedo cat. He's handsome and cuddly and the perfect reading companion. My youngest cat is around 16 weeks old. We got him 2 weeks ago from the adoption centre. No one wanted him or his three brothers because they're all black cats (stupid superstitions!!). We fell in love with him and named him Mr. Kindly (see Nevernight by Jay Kristoff) but we also call him Nero. Fun fact, Nero in Italian means black. If you spell Nero backwards, it's Oren which means Ash in Hebrew, so he's a cat of many names. He's the laziest little kitten I've ever known.
4. How did you come up with your blog’s name?
The day I decided to create my blog, I was trying to think of a name and was drawn to the word 'shelf', probably because I was staring at my bookcases. Then all of a sudden, the song, 'My Endless Love' came into my head and I decided that My Endless Shelf worked really well because my love for books and stories is endless (as is my TBR!).
5. What helps you get out of a reading slump/any type of slump?
Romance novels - the shorter, the better. Re-reading also works particularly well for me so I generally re-read some of my favourites romances which could be anything by R.L. Mathewson, Tara Sivec, Anyta Sunday and Sophie Jordan.
6. Aside from reading and blogging, what do you do on your spare time?
Spare time? What's that? lol, I run a business full time, I have a 4 year old, and as mentioned above I have 2 cats and a dog. This leaves almost no time for anything else and so my main hobbies are reading and blogging/writing. Other than that, I'm currently binge-watching a few shows on Netflix including: Teen Wolf, Heartland and Jane the Virgin and I love watching movies when I get the chance.
7. You’ve won the lottery! What’s the first thing you buy?
A holiday! I haven't been on holiday in over 10 years so I think I'm overdue.
8. If you could travel back in time, which time period would you choose, and why?
This is a fun one. For me it would be either the 80's - awesome rock music and big hair or Jane Austen era for the tranquillity and lack of technology.
9. What character from a book/movie do you best relate to?
Iris from The Holiday. She reminds me so much of myself.
10. Who was your first celebrity crush?
I can't remember exactly. I think it might have been either Orlando Bloom, Leonardo DiCaprio or Christina Aguilera....some 90's celeb anyway lol
11. What’s your favourite blog post you wrote and why? Link it!
At the moment, this is probably my article about romance novels. I was so sick and tired of hearing and of being told that romance novels, 'aren't real books' that I wrote a big article about why they are! Feel free to check it out.
Phew! That was a lot of questions. I hope you enjoyed reading my answers.
Here are my 11 questions:
Here are my nominations (sorry if you've already done this one):
And that's it! I hope you've enjoyed this post! Fingers crossed I'll be back with a book review sometime soon!
Rating: 3.5 STARS
Genre: Dark Romance
Standalone/Series: Tales of Love & Woe #1
How I got this book: ARC from the author
Put away your magic wands and pumpkins.
These are not sweet, tender fairy tales.
Four flawed heroines.
Four classic tales of love and woe retold for modern times...
Because there’s never been an easy road to happily ever after.
The Lonely Crow—Surrounded by coyotes and unexpected magic, a heartbroken ornithologist becomes the target of a park ranger's aggressive affection. To survive, she must trust the instincts that failed her so completely once already.
Goose—After a one-night-stand leaves her belly swollen and reputation in tatters, an unemployed gas-station clerk finds herself at the mercy of her lover’s mother. But if her own troubled childhood taught her anything, it’s that she’ll fight to the death to protect her baby, and that love never comes the way we expect.
Rosie Waking—Following her father’s disappearance, a small-town waitress lives wedged under her boss’s thumb until a stranger forces her to view her life through a different lens. Can she decide, once and for all, where loyalty stops and subservience begins?
De Rege’s Laundry—When a mob boss’s desperate daughter makes a deal with the devil, she doesn’t expect a handsome ex-soldier to muck it all up. Suddenly, the woman who'd sworn to sacrifice anything for freedom must choose between escape and losing the one person who cares about her happiness.
Beautiful and atmospheric, Tales of Love & Woe is 110k word collection exploring modern womanhood through twisted retellings of The Little Mermaid, The Golden Goose and The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg, Snow White & Rose Red, and The Twelve Dancing Princesses. While love and kindness are major themes in these stories, the darker sides of human nature are, too. As such, this collection is intended only for a mature audience. After all ... fairy tales were meant to be grim.
I decided to read this collection of dark fairy tales over Halloween and 'dark' is almost the wrong word, these stories are heavy and come with a ton of trigger warnings i.e sexual, physical and mental abuse.
I haven't yet read anything else by this author but I really enjoyed her writing style and found myself hooked within just a few pages of the first story.
I actually hadn't read the full synopsis before reading the book, and so I wasn't sure which story was connected to which particular fairytale. It turns out that the only story I was already really familiar with was The Little Mermaid and so I picked up on that one immediately whilst reading The Lonely Crow.
The heroines in these stories are almost impossibly strong in spite of the suffering, pain and misery they've experienced, and the villains are truly horrifying.
Goose was probably my least favourite story from this collection and that's only because the theme of the book resonated too much with me. We all have our fears and I've had more than enough nightmares surrounding someone or something taking my child from me, so whilst I can appreciate the story, it was almost too painful to read at times.
I think my favourite story was Rosie Waking, which I actually thought was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but I guess that wasn't the case. For me, this story was the strongest, and also the most magical. I loved Rosie's story, painful and sinister as it was.
The romance in these novels are almost a sub-plot in comparison to the trials and tribulations faced by the heroines, and a lot of the romances were surprising and definitely not what I expected.
So, if you're looking for a collection of modern-day fairy tales that are sure to give you chills, make your skin crawl and have you gripping your book in terror, The Tales of Love and Woe novella collection is the one for you!
Today is my stop on the Carols and Chaos blog tour! This book is so Christmassy and so, despite it being Halloween today, I just feel like curling up in front of the fire with a giant mug of hot chocolate.
Rating: 3.5 STARS
How I got this book: ARC from Xpresso Book Tours
A lady's maid and a valet become entangled in a yuletide counterfeiting scheme in this romantic Christmas YA adventure.
1817. The happy chaos of the Yuletide season has descended upon the country estate of Shackleford Park in full force, but lady's maid Kate Darby barely has the time to notice. Between her household duties, caring for her ailing mother, and saving up money to someday own a dress shop, her hands are quite full. Matt Harlow is also rather busy. He's performing double-duty, acting as valet for both of the Steeple brothers, two of the estate's holiday guests.
Falling in love would be a disaster for either of them. But staving off their feelings for each other becomes the least of their problems when a devious counterfeiting scheme reaches the gates of Shackleford Park, and Kate and Matt are unwittingly swept up in the intrigue.
Reading this book immediately took me back to all of those hours binge-watching Downton Abbey (gah, I loved that show), I love the upstairs/downstairs drama. At the same time, it reminded me of Pride and Prejudice, specifically the Austen-era, which I also love and so I quickly became engrossed in this sweet story.
The characters are varied and fantastic. Kate is strong-willed, determined and unperturbed by most of the things thrown her way and Matt is the epitome of a true English gentleman.
Their fast-paced romance is full of fun and flirtation but entangled with elements of drama and danger that keep the plot intriguing and moving forward.
Carols and Chaos is a sweet, lighthearted Christmas read that is perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and Austen novels.
As an aside: After reading this book I noticed that it's a spin-off from one of the author's other books, Suitors and Sabotage, but I didn't at any point feel as though I'd missed anything by not reading it, so I'm happy to say that this can be read as a standalone.
Click the cover photo above to add the book to your Goodreads TBR and enter below for your chance to win a signed copy of Carols and Chaos. The giveaway is open internationally and is hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.
Don't forget to click the banner at the top to follow the rest of the tour and feel free to leave your comments below :)
Rating: 4 STARS
How I got this book: ARC from Penguin Random House UK via NetGalley
Meet Jack Rothman. He's seventeen and loves partying, makeup and boys - sometimes all at the same time. His sex life makes him the hot topic for the high school gossip machine. But who cares? Like Jack always says, 'it could be worse'.
He doesn't actually expect that to come true.
But after Jack starts writing an online sex advice column, the mysterious love letters he's been getting take a turn for the creepy. Jack's secret admirer knows everything: where he's hanging out, who he's sleeping with, who his mum is dating. They claim they love Jack, but not his unashamedly queer lifestyle. They need him to curb his sexuality, or they'll force him.
As the pressure mounts, Jack must unmask his stalker before their obsession becomes genuinely dangerous...
Warning: Some strong language below...
Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts) is the unapologetically honest queer YA you never knew you needed.
Let me start by saying that I know there are going to be a lot of people who don't like this book and that the book and the author will probably face a certain amount of backlash, whether it's because there's, 'too much sex for a YA novel', 'it's too open about sex', 'it's too crass', 'it promotes slutty behaviour', 'it victimises straight people'...yeah, you'll probably see all of those opinions at some point or another, I've already seen a few of them myself from other readers. Personally, I found the honesty and openness in this book refreshing.
It's important to realise that teens are having sex (no, obviously not all of them, but some of them) and surely it's better to promote open discussions about sex whilst at the same time letting teens know that they're not alone and also strongly encouraging safe sex - all of which, this book does brilliantly.
Don't get me wrong, I didn't like everything about this book. I found it difficult at times to relate to Jack and his friends who are rich, vain, rude and at times, not very good friends at all. The fact that they all eat cucumber sandwiches, drink champagne and smoke pot before attending the parties of their private school peers had me rolling my eyes and reminding me very much of a much more queer Gossip Girl.
There were also times where I felt that the drama was made out to be more complicated than it actually was, like if Jack was completely honest about his stalker, the threats would have held no power and so things wouldn't have escalated the way that they did, but then I suppose, there would have been no story.
Intermixed with the drama and suspense was a lot of humour, mostly from Jack who has a very sarcastic, dry and witty sense of humour, something that I really loved about him.
"I'm not sure what constitutes a 'special blowjob.' Violins, maybe?"
The darker subject matter, particularly how it completely destroys Jack’s sense of self, was extremely difficult to read. It was painful to witness Jack's building anxiety and the short and long-term effects that it has on him, but I think this made the overall message even more powerful.
So no, in terms of plot, I can’t say this book was perfect for me personally, but in terms of the messages contained within it, the message that we all have the right to be happy and to be who we are (as long as we're not hurting anyone) without owing anyone an explanation, was much needed, the message that teenagers are having sex and so better to have open discussions about it whilst promoting safe sex, hell yeah and then there’s highlighting the harsh reality that no matter what you do or how you live your life there’s always going to be someone who has a problem with it and who’s going to try to make your life difficult.
But, in the words of Jack himself, "I get to be me. And if you don't like that, fuck off."
Jack's book is so resonant, especially in the LGBT community because as someone who doesn’t define as straight/hetero, there still (even today) seems to be so much drama/expectation surrounding your life choices. Like you have to justify who you are and what/who you like when actually, how you choose to live your life is no one's business but your own.
"It's not about making myself less amazing so I blend in - it's about making sure everyone around me sparkles with their own shade of glitter, that they feel as amazing as I do."
Overall, I like Jack, I think his story is extremely important for all teens (and some adults too), no matter their sexual orientation. This is a book that should exist, and I have no doubt that it will start conversations both good and bad, but at least we'll be talking about it, and talking about the important messages that the author is trying to convey.
Trigger Warnings: homophobia, anxiety, suicidal thoughts
Rating: 5 STARS!!
How I got this book: ARC from the author
In the spring of 1995, Nate Cartwright has lost everything: his parents are dead, his older brother wants nothing to do with him, and he's been fired from his job as a journalist in Washington DC. With nothing left to lose, he returns to his family's summer cabin outside the small mountain town of Roseland, Oregon to try and find some sense of direction.
The cabin should be empty.
Inside is a man named Alex. And with him is an extraordinary little girl who calls herself Artemis Darth Vader.
Artemis, who isn't exactly as she appears.
Soon it becomes clear that Nate must make a choice: let himself drown in the memories of his past, or fight for a future he never thought possible.
Because the girl is special. And forces are descending upon them who want nothing more than to control her.
You're going to have to forgive me if this review turns out to be incoherent because sometimes there just aren't words to describe how amazing a book is, but I'll do my best!
I want to start by saying that the only other book I've read by TJ Klune so far is The Lightning Struck Heart which is a hilarious, outrageous m/m fantasy romance that I adored. This book is NOTHING LIKE THAT BOOK - but that's in no way a bad thing! From the synopsis, I expected a romantic suspense novel and so I was not prepared for all of the awesome shit that goes down in this book.
Fear not, you know this is a spoiler-free review site, so I'm going to give you my reactions, without giving anything away because honestly, this book is one of the best books I've ever read and I want you all to read it without knowing what to expect!
The plot is fantastic, I absolutely love the authors writing style and was instantly swept up into the story and into Nate's head, seeing this story through his eyes was perfect! I love Nate, and Alex and Art, three completely individual characters who's pain, suffering and love was so vivid that I felt connected to them, desperate for things to work out.
"...somehow we're all made of dust and stars."
Nate is sweet, kind and haunted by his past, Alex appears tough and strong but has a much deeper core, and Art...well, I'll let you discover how amazing Art is by yourself.
I love everything about The Bones Beneath My Skin, the way it makes me smile and laugh, the way it warms my heart, the way it sends my heart racing or just stops it dead, the way it has me holding my breath and even the way it has me on the verge of tears, afraid to keep reading but unable to stop. The pacing, the writing, the realistic dialogue, the genuine, evolving connections be they romantic, sexual, friendly or familial, were all perfectly portrayed.
The enemies-to-lovers style romance itself is such a fantastic, realistic portrayal of an m/m romance, focusing less on the sex and mostly on the chemistry, tension and bond between these two complex characters.
To try and sum this up simply, I couldn't get enough of this book, I read and read for hours, never wanting to put it down and whether you like romance, action, or adventure, I urge you to read this incredible story about oppression, standing up for what matters, appreciating the smaller things in life, and dreaming of an impossible future.
"You can fear what you don't understand, but in the end, you can still be brave. You can still stand up for what's right."
It's a story of laughter, love, caring, anger, pain, suffering, denial, belief, and a whole shed load of bacon.
"Are we going on an adventure?"
Trigger Warnings: There are some dark topics that are explored in this book including; suicide, mental illness, grief and homophobia.
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Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, aspiring writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
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