Rating: 4 Stars!
How I got this book: Gift
Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can't get rid of him.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school's resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He's determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.
Ah, this book hit me right in the feels!
"You don't need anyone's permission to be you, Yads”
Cemetery Boys is the story of Yadriel, a young trans man who, after losing his mother, and his number one supporter, is fighting for recognition as a brujo in his very traditional community. With the help of his best-friend Maritza, he performs a ritual that sets a chain of events in motion that he never saw coming, accidentally summoning the wrong spirit and entwining their fate.
I loved the beginning of this book. Aiden paints a beautiful picture filled with Latinx culture. The imagery is beautiful and the interweaving of Spanish with English made this book a truly cultural experience and reignited my desire to learn Spanish.
The tension at the beginning of the book is perfect and builds into something palpable and almost dangerous as the book progresses and new dangers and obstacles arise.
“You know who you are, I know who you are, and our Lady does, too." She said with fierce conviction. "So screw the rest of them!" Maritza grinned at him. "Remember why we're doing this.”
I immediately loved the obvious love and friendship between Maritza and Yadriel as she helps him perform the ritual that will grant him the powers of the brujo, without getting caught. Maritza is supportive in all the right ways, without ever trying to force Yadriel into doing things he doesn't want to. She's a great person to have in your corner.
Yadriel is such a fantastic character to root for, made even more powerful because this book is own voices. His moving and emotional struggle to prove himself and then to accept who he is, despite what others think, is poignant and makes for an eye-opening read with a perfect fantasy twist.
"Queen folks are like wolves," Julian told him. "We travel in packs."
Then, we meet Julian, a riot of a character who has a tough, no-nonsense exterior at first, but proves himself to be a complete puppy with boundless energy, enthusiasm and acceptance for all. Julian is my favourite character in this book. He's perfect for Yadriel, complimenting Yadriel's reserve with plenty of daring and excitement. He's loving and delivers some of the deepest insight in this book, both for Yadriel and for the reader; while delivering what I felt was one of most powerful scenes in the entire book; full of raw, unguarded emotion.
Watching Yadriel and Julian grow closer and push each-other was the genuine delight of this book, and so enjoyable. Until finally we got an ending that fit the book perfectly.
“You ready?" Julian asked, a curious look on his devastatingly handsome face.
"No," Yadriel confessed, his voice tight.
Julian grinned. "Do it anyways.”
My only very slight issue was that the plot and the 'big twist' were really predictable BUT because the tension and the build-up between Yadriel and Julian built so beautifully, and the ever-looming deadline to their journey was constantly at the forefront of the story, it more than made up for it.
Overall, I loved the setting, the scenery, the culture, the language and the relationships, even the ones that weren't so great as they provided a brilliant contrast for the strong, healthy relationships. I also loved the magic and how it completely entwined with the everyday.
I'd highly recommend Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas to anyone looking for a truly diverse and powerful paranormal YA.
“Julian's chuckle was wet. "Valió ... la pena."
Rating: 3.5 Stars
How I got this book: Bought - Fairyloot
Sinister sorcery. Gallows humor. A queer romance so glorious it could be right out of fae legend itself. Master of One is a fantasy unlike any other.
Rags is a thief—an excellent one. He's stolen into noble's coffers, picked soldier's pockets, and even liberated a ring or two off the fingers of passersby. Until he's caught by the Queensguard and forced to find an ancient fae relic for a sadistic royal sorcerer.
But Rags could never have guessed this "relic" would actually be a fae himself—a distractingly handsome, annoyingly perfect, ancient fae prince called Shining Talon. Good thing Rags can think on his toes, because things just get stranger from there...
With the heist and intrigue of Six of Crows and the dark fairy tale feel of The Cruel Prince, this young adult fantasy debut will have readers rooting for a pair of reluctant heroes as they take on a world-ending fae prophecy, a malicious royal plot, and, most dangerously of all, their feelings for each other.
I have so many mixed feelings about this book, and I've been torn over how to rate it. So, I'm going to start at the beginning.
I've been excited to read this book ever since I first heard of it, and so I jumped at FairyLoot's December box once I knew it was inside. I imagined The Cruel Prince meets Six of Crows, which just sounded fantastic.
I started reading with high expectations. I loved the idea of a heist-style plot and the unexpected LGBT romance, and that a queer couple wrote it was really exciting.
In the beginning, I was not at all disappointed. The prologue was unexpectedly brutal, but it was incredibly gripping and had me hooked immediately.
Then, in chapter one, we meet Rags. He's a cocky, sarcastic thief from the slums who's found himself on the end of a job gone wrong, bruised and battered in the royal dungeon, trying to plot his escape.
I love Rags. He's the perfect incarnation of the loveable rogue. A sweet-heart with a rough, sardonic exterior and I instantly wanted the best for him.
"Daring a ravens, rich as magpies."
As Rags sets off on his journey, I flew through the pages. The pace was brilliant, the deception and trickery gripping, and that puzzles and challenges that Rags has to face are really interesting.
I was convinced that this book was going to be a 5* read for me.
The next character we meet is Tal, affectionately referred to by Rags as Shiny and, even though something between them felt a little 'off' for a while, I grew to enjoy their connection and the scenes they shared.
However, shortly after this point, the narrative completely changed and split into multiple POV's. After 20 chapters of focusing solely on Rag's perspective, it felt really jarring to suddenly have POV chapters from completely new characters.
The pacing also took a bit of a nosedive from here and I sped through to find Rag's chapters, which were easily the ones I enjoyed the most.
A couple of the characters, to me, felt a little stiff and lacking depth and it took a while for me to settle back into the story.
Saying that though, as I neared the end of the story, the pace, the danger and the intrigue picked up again to where, upon finishing the book, I'm back to feeling how I did at the beginning and really wanting to read the next book (although it hasn't been confirmed yet) to find out what happens next and how it all plays out. (Read: I really want Rags to get the happily ever after he deserves.)
Can you see what I meant now about not knowing how to rate this one?
So, I've decided to go for 3.5 stars because I loved Rags and enjoyed the plot itself but just felt that the pace took a nosedive once the additional POV's were introduced.
What do you think? Agree or disagree? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Rating: 5 STARS!!
Series/Standalone: Hells Library #1
How I got this book: Bought
Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing—a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.
But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil's Bible. The text of the Devil's Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell ... and Earth.
The Archive of the Forgotten, book two of the Hell's Library series is due to be released on 9th February 2021.
Rating: 3 Stars
Series/Standalone: Deluge #1
How I got this book: ARC from the author
Some secrets are worth killing for
The ancient city of Kepos sits in an isolated valley, cut off from the outside world by a towering wall. Behind it, the souls of the dead clamour for release. Or so the priesthood says.
Kala has never had any reason to doubt their word – until her father dies in suspicious circumstances that implicate the city's high priest. She's determined to investigate, but she has a more immediate problem: the laws of the city require her mother to remarry straight away.
Kala's new stepfather is a monster, but his son Leon is something altogether more dangerous: kind.
With her family fractured and the investigation putting her life in danger, the last thing Kala needs is romance. She would rather ignore Leon entirely, however difficult he makes it. But when she learns the truth of what really clamours behind the wall at the end of the valley, she faces a choice: share what she knows and jeopardise her escape, or abandon him to his fate along with the rest of the city.
If she doesn't move fast, then no one will make it out of the valley alive.
Review by Sophie
TW: Murder/ Suicide/Attempted Rape/Discrimination/Homophobia/Slavery
When I first saw the cover of this book, I was immediately drawn in by the pretty illustration and the promise of a thrilling mystery set around the ancient City of Kepos.
I found the Greek setting and Lost City of Atlantis vibe really intriguing, and I couldn’t wait to get started.
"It was cool and dark, and the roar of the cascade gave Kala a perverse sense of silence. This was a place in which words and noise meant nothing, because there was nothing to be heard except the crash of water. Here, the water ruled."
The plot was interesting and fast-paced, with plenty of mystery. Almost immediately, you're thrown into the chaos.
We meet Kala, the main character, who learns of her father’s death and becomes convinced that it's murder.
Kala is a very strong-willed character who faces numerous challenges, but I was quite disappointed very early on because, despite all the trauma and heartache that Kala experienced, I found that not only her but all the characters in the book seemed to lack any real emotion and drive.
I think this was one of the main reasons I struggled to connect with the characters in the book, and at times felt I was only pushing myself to keep reading to find out who the mystery murderer was.
As the story progresses, we meet Leon. Leon was my favourite character. He's kind, witty and sarcastic, and added humour to the story.
But there were a few characters in the book that surprised me with how little they were mentioned. For a start, Charis (Kala’s mother) felt as though she should have been a more consistent character since detailing the pain of losing her husband in such an awful way, how she must quickly re-marry, and the worry of what would happen to her daughter at the order of her new husband, but Charis is barely mentioned, and I would have liked to know her character better.
Another character I felt should have had a much bigger role was Nikos (Charis’ new husband). He’s a wicked character, cruel and with no regard for anyone, including his own children, but despite his cruelty, I felt like he should have more of a backstory, some reason maybe as most of his actions felt pointless and again, he was only referenced a few times throughout the book.
The Wolf and The Water has really good LGBTQ+ representation through a very clean and sweet romance. Buuuut, I can honestly say the love triangle just didn’t work for me. Melissa and Kala seemed really sweet together, and then Leon comes along, Melissa encourages Kala to marry Leon, and they all get along great. And yes, I actually hate myself for saying this….because I really wanted it to work and be all sweet and have lots of aww moments, but it all just felt so forced!! There wasn’t any genuine love or passion.
As I said before, the book is quite fast-paced, and there were definitely lots of things happening while I was trying to sus out who the murderer was, and finding out further details of how Kala was to escape the City of Kepos.
I was honestly a few pages off finishing the book, and thinking to myself, there’s no way this is going to end in such a short amount of pages, and there was, for me, the biggest disappointment; I feel like the ending was so rushed.
Throughout the entire book, we’re discovering the plan to escape, and things keep going wrong and attempted murders are taking place, but we aren’t getting any closer to discovering who it is and why, and then it’s just over. There was no heroism, no action, no battles, and I felt like there were too many unanswered questions.
At first, I thought the plot sounded so good, but for me, how it played out just didn't justify the build-up.
I loved the setting of the book, though. Imagining a secret city, with woodlands, villages, temples and sacred waterfalls that has a huge wall built up around it, and despite all the bad things taking place in the book, the valley still had a tranquil and peaceful feel to it.
I definitely recommend The Wolf and The Water if you’re a fan of fast-paced mysteries, races against time and if you have an interest in Atlantis.
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: MM Romance/Christmas/Fantasy/Comedy
Series/Standalone: A Snow Globe Christmas #1 (Can be read as a standalone)
How I got this book: Bought on Audible
Despite growing up in a family of villains, I’d rather curl up and read than commit crimes. When I get coerced by my brother into helping him rob a bank, I run into August, my childhood crush—also known as Chrono, the city’s greatest superhero. He’s sexy, sweet, and suddenly he’s asking me to Thanksgiving with his parents. It’s probably because he doesn’t realize that I’m Leviathan, a villain with the power of telekinesis. And I can’t tell him because he’d never forgive me and would stop doing things like cooking for me—wait, maybe that would be a good thing, since he’s a terrible cook. It doesn’t help that my parents think they’re the ultimate villains and won’t stop getting in my way, although they can’t even steal toilet paper without getting caught.
But when real supervillains (not the wannabe kind that I grew up with) start targeting August, I might be forced to show everyone who I truly am: a slightly warped and snarky man who’d really rather read a book than save anything… besides August. I’ll tear this world apart just to get another glimpse of him in those glasses and spandex suit. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep him safe, even though it means exposing my true identity. Luckily, August still cares about me, proving that even a villain and a hero can fall in love. Hopefully, we’ll be able to save the world in time for Christmas.
Fans of TJ Klune will devour A Villain for Christmas.
I started this book on a whim because of an Audible recommendation.
It's narrated by Michael Lesley, one of my favourite narrators; he's a sassy and comedic genius who effortlessly brings characters to life.
About a minute in, I had to go back and check that the author wasn’t actually TJ Klune because, honestly; it sounds like him to the point where I wondered if it was intentional, especially when the protagonist begs the villain to stop monologuing (which is a recurring joke in Klune’s Tales from Verania series).
The absurd characters and Lesley’s exaggerated narration drew me into the story immediately. He's a perfect Landon, with his fun, sassy wit. It’s the perfect combination of hilarious and completely heartfelt, and his delivery had me in stitches from the beginning.
Landon is a super-villain with a secret - he hates being bad! He's also crazy powerful and has a huge crush on the city's biggest superhero.
Landon is an absolute sweetheart. He's hilariously funny and sarcastic, but he wears his heart on his sleeve and delivers some truly emotional and heartbreaking scenes in the book.
August is loads of fun. He's also extremely sweet, and so adorable when Landon brings out his 'bad' side. Together, they're hilarious and once you add in the random, diverse cast of superheroes, villains, and the hairless cat, A Villain for Christmas will have you laughing out loud from start to finish.
I admit I didn't expect a lot from the plot, but it's actually really enjoyable. There are a couple of great twists and surprises that really drove the plot forward and kept me listening.
However, I’m not really sure that you would call this a Christmas story, other than it taking place in December and featuring a small Thanksgiving and Christmas scene, it's very much a funny superhero story, but it works.
Anyone who loves outrageous, OTT characters that make you laugh out loud will love A Villain for Christmas.
In particular, if you've read TJ Klune's The Extraordinaries and would love a more 'adult' superhero/super-villain rom-com, this checks all the boxes.
Rating: 4 Stars!
Genre: LGBT Contemporary Romance
How I got this book: Bought
It may be cold outside, but inside, the temperature is rising.
When grad student Kevin Taggert goes home with his best friend for Thanksgiving, the last thing he expects is to drool over the guy’s dad.
Forty-eight-year-old Drew Freeman would love a relationship, but he never expected to find it with his son’s best friend.
When a last-minute change of plans leaves Drew and Kevin alone in a cabin the week before Christmas, the heat between them is too much to deny.
Although they promise it’ll only last the week, every day that passes brings them closer together. When Christmas Day arrives—along with Drew’s son—can they salvage the relationship and the holiday?
Looking for a super-sweet m/m Christmas romance? Cabin Fever is a best-friend's dad, age-gap, forced proximity, slow burn, perfect for fans of Anyta Sunday.
I will not drool over my best friend's dad...
Packed full of wintery feels, this book is a is a sure-fire way to get you into the Christmas spirit. The wintery cabin, the long walks and early morning runs in the snow, the winter hot tub scene; it was all brilliant and really set the mood for the entire book.
The book centres around Kevin, who's facing a Thanksgiving spent alone as his family is too far away. He's feeling sad and like his family are cutting him out of their lives, when his best friend Jason invites him to spend Thanksgiving with him and his dad.
Kevin jumps at the chance for a family holiday but regrets his decision when he comes face to face with Drew, Jason's dad, who might just be the most handsome, kindest man Kevin has ever met.
"Help yourself to anything in this house," Drew said with a smile.
Including you? he wondered.
Watching Kevin and Jason grow from perfect strangers to good friends and then fighting to keep their relationship in the friend-zone, for Jason's sake, was really sweet. This book is most definitely not insta-love, it's a long slow burn that will keep you turning pages, eager for more.
I liked Kevin and Drew, who are a pretty perfect match, except for the odd moment where Kevin acts a bit childish. But together, they bring out the best in each other.
Jason is my least favourite character as, for most of the book, he's a self-centred, petulant child, only seeming to mature at the very end of the book. He was necessary to the plot, but I grew to really hate him as a character.
Kevin groaned. "You're going to make me work for it aren't you?"
Something in Drew's eyes flared hot. "I might."
The tension and chemistry in this book are fantastic, the constant will they/won't they back and forth built really well and kept me hooked through every single page.
The only thing I didn't like about this book is how every character is introduced using their full name. It's a pet peeve of mine, but honestly, just beginning the book with, 'Kevin looked up from his phone...' is much better, in my opinion than, 'Kevin Taggert looked up from his phone', and then a couple of lines later, 'Jason Freeman plopped onto the couch next to him...' Unless there are several characters with the same first name, including surnames sometimes feels a bit informal and throws off the tone of the book.
That being said, it didn't stop me from quickly shipping these characters and rooting for them every step of the way. So, if you're looking for a super sweet, sizzling slow burn this Christmas, I'd highly recommend Cabin Fever.
A totally catastrophic, unmitigated disaster.
What is a totally catastrophic, unmitigated disaster, you might ask?
Let me break it down for you real quick.
My life, my relationship, my job, my plans, my future, and this whole damn trip.
So, basically me.
I am the totally catastrophic unmitigated disaster.
Hamish Kenneally, thirty-one-year-old Australian, who quit his shitty job and sold his shitty apartment and left behind his shitty life in Sydney, packed his said-shitty life into two suitcases, and boarded a plane to spend Christmas with his sister in God-knows-where, Idaho, USA.
Well, Christmas first. Then two years, at least, in America trying to unshitify his life.
And if the trip to said God-knows-where, Idaho, was any indication of just how spectacularly extra-shitified my life was going to get, I should have turned around and stayed right where I was.
Because if the flight from Sydney to LA was bad, which it was, then the second flight, LA to Spokane, made the first flight look like a joy ride.
Because I didn’t get to Spokane, did I?
Oh no, of course I didn’t.
Because you see, Christmastime in America is in winter. Which is weird enough for this Australian. Christmas should be hot summer days at the beach, seafood and salads, beers and watching the bronzed surfers and drunk foreigners at Bondi. That is what Christmas should be.
None of this “sorry folks; to avoid flying into a massive snow blizzard, we’re being diverted to Missoula, Montana” crap the captain of the plane said when we were halfway there. Like the screaming baby in the seat next to me, or the vomiting lady in the row in front of me weren’t bad enough. Like we had any choice about which direction we were flying into.
I had no choice. I was now going to Montana. In a freaking blizzard, of all things. Ever been on a plane that flew into a snowstorm? There is zero joy in that kind of turbulence, believe me. It would also explain the screaming baby and the vomiting woman. And the man behind me saying Hail Mary’s . . . which you’d think might be comforting. But oh boy, is it ever not. Especially when he yelled the prayer every time we hit a particularly large pothole in the sky on the descent. Honestly, if this flight was a scene in a movie, you’d think it was too ridiculous to be real.
After the plane landed—to which I would have clapped and cheered like everyone else if I wasn’t stuck in the brace position after trying to kiss my own arse goodbye—we were kicked off the plane without so much as a good luck in the wrong bloody state.
So there I was, a clueless Aussie, after flying for twenty hellish-hours and now a few hundred kilometres from where I was supposed to be, trying to wrangle two overweight suitcases down the concourse, when one little wheel on my suitcase broke.
Because of course it did.
Frazzled and trying not to cry— Yes, cry. A thirty-one-year-old man can cry; shove your toxic masculinity in your cakehole and stop judging me. I was having a jetlag-fuelled shitastic day meltdown, trying to keep my shit together the best I could, and clearly not doing it very well. I was allowed a little saltwater leakage.
Anyway, getting back to my story. I tried to call my sister.
Because of course there’s not.
So, taking a deep breath and willing myself not to spiral, I found my car rental kiosk. Finally, something is going right. “I have a car booked,” I said, trying to keep my now-broken suitcase upright with my foot while rifling through my backpack for my booking confirmation and driver’s licence. After dropping my passport and half the contents from my backpack all over the floor, then scrambling to collect it all while still trying to keep my suitcase upright, I handed everything over with a flourish of triumph. “Oh, that flight was the worst,” I said, sagging onto the counter. I was about to tell her all about my day from the ninth circle of hell when she looked up at me with that look.
You know the one.
The look of superficial appeasement before they cut you off at the knees. “I’m sorry, sir. But I don’t have a reservation under your name.”
I stared at her. My brain short-circuited and the will to live left my body. It was an actual out-of-body experience, I’m sure of it. I could see myself staring at her, mouth gaping like I’d been lobotomised.
Because of course they didn’t have my booking.
Why would they? My rental car was waiting for me in Spokane. In Washington. Not in freaking Montana.
“Oh,” I whispered, and my left eye twitched. “That’s nice.” I looked around the airport, at the line of annoyed people behind me. “Excellent. I’ve seen that movie where Tom Hanks lives in an airport. It wasn’t so bad. Could be worse. Could’ve been the one where he’s stuck on the island, I guess. Though I didn’t pack a volleyball, so that would’ve sucked.”
She blinked and tap-tap-tapped away at her keyboard. “But sir, we’ve had a lot of cancelled flights today because of the weather. I can arrange a vehicle for you, if you’d like?”
Oh, my sweet baby Jesus in a manger, why didn’t she lead with that?
Note from Kayleigh @MyEndlessShelf:
How adorable does this sound?!?
I am so ready for this meet-cute, soppy and sweet Christmas rom-com! It definitely has a feel-good Hallmark movie vibe to it.
Follow the links above to add it to your Goodreads TBR or check it out on Amazon and let me know what you think!
Please note, the giveaway is international!
Big thanks to Giselle at Xpresso Book Tours!
Book Review: How to Steal a Heart in 500 Kisses & How to Evict a Hot Jock in Three Weeks by Anyta Sunday
Overall, I definitely like the first book in the series more than the second, and I would have preferred fewer sex scenes in both books because I just felt that they took something away from the sweeter nature of these stories.
In the second book, I think it would have been nicer to see more of the character's interaction and the 'slow-burn' I've come to expect from Anyta Sunday. But, saying that, I think the character pairing was interesting, as were the unusual circumstances in each book that drove the characters together and I'm looking forward to reading more in this series.
Both books are available from today, just click the images above to visit Goodreads and follow the links to your favourite bookseller!
Rating: 4 Stars
How I got this book: Bought
Everyone knows about the dare: Each week, Bryson Keller must date someone new--the first person to ask him out on Monday morning. Few think Bryson can do it. He may be the king of Fairvale Academy, but he's never really dated before.
Until a boy asks him out, and everything changes.
Kai Sheridan didn't expect Bryson to say yes. So when Bryson agrees to secretly go out with him, Kai is thrown for a loop. But as the days go by, he discovers there's more to Bryson beneath the surface, and dating him begins to feel less like an act and more like the real thing. Kai knows how the story of a gay boy liking someone straight ends. With his heart on the line, he's awkwardly trying to navigate senior year at school, at home, and in the closet, all while grappling with the fact that this "relationship" will last only five days. After all, Bryson Keller is popular, good-looking, and straight . . . right?
TW: Racism, homophobia (violence & religion)
This book grabbed me from page one.
I absolutely loved the "fake boyfriend" trope in a YA format, and I think the author did a fantastic job of making it both believable and realistic.
I adore the main characters in this book.
At first, Kai is a complete wallflower. He's shy and reserved as he struggles to keep his secret from the world, but all that changes when he angrily (you'll find out why) asks Bryson Keller, the most popular boy in school, out on a date.
It's so much fun to see Kai come out of his shell as he starts to feel comfortable with who he is.
“I’m not joking,” I say. “Date me, Bryson Keller!”
Bryson is just as sweet as Kai and takes Kai's request in his stride. After all, he can't lose his dare, even if he doesn't believe in relationships.
Together, Kai and Bryson are adorable. They form a strong friendship, and support and care for each other through the hardships they each face.
"He breaks then. Whoever says that boys don’t cry—or shouldn’t cry—needs to walk off a very short pier into a shark-infested ocean."
The first half of this book is great. Kai's friends and family seem brilliant and supportive, and there's the strong feeling that all will work out in the end.
This book is definitely one for fans of Becky Abertalli's, Simon vs The Homo Sapien's Agenda, but one thing I adored about this book that I hated about Love Simon, are the best friends! They're so damn supportive and just brilliant, something that was truly lacking in Simon vs.
Sadly, the book takes a darker turn during the second half, and there's a lot of pain for both Kai and Bryson to deal with. I almost hate the author's choice to include this drama as it feels like too much on too many fronts, and the story would have been so damn sweet and beautiful without it.
I get that it's a coming-out story, and coming out is tough. Hell, I'm almost 30, and I'm still only open with a few select people in my life. But, for once, I'd love a sweet LGBT YA without all the pain and drama from a-holes who should never be forgiven for the crap they pull.
"Gay means happy, too, you know."
But saying all that, going through what they do does make the relationship stronger and drives the reader's compassion and need for everything to work out in the end.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, my first by this author, and I'm really looking forward to reading what they do next.
Just be prepared, if you cry easily, as I do, you'll definitely want to have some tissues to hand towards the end of the book.
"As my world burns down around me. This, right here, is enough."
Rating: 4.5 STARS!
Series/Standalone: The Extraordinaries #1
How I got this book: Bought
In Nova City, there are people capable of feats that defy the imagination. They're called Extraordinaries.
There is Shadow Star: a protector who can manipulate darkness in his quest to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
His arch-nemesis is Pyro Storm: an Extraordinary capable of controlling fire who is bent on bringing Nova City to its knees.
And then there's sixteen-year-old Nicholas Bell: who isn't Extraordinary in the slightest.
He's Shadow Star's number one fan, writing fan fiction of their adventures together and dreaming of a day where he too dons a costume and fights crime. Too bad ADHD isn't a superpower, otherwise Nick would be golden.
Instead of stopping villains and their convoluted schemes of global domination, Nick must contend with starting his junior year, a father who doesn't trust him, and a best friend named Seth, who may or may not be the love of Nick's short, uneventful life. It should be enough.
And it is...until a fateful encounter with Shadow Star forces Nick to realize his true destiny. He's tired of being ordinary, and he'll do whatever it takes to become something more.
I want this book to become a TV series!
This book was our third Turn The Page book club selection.
I loved this book. It was so fantastic to see, as always, the brilliant representation that you can almost guarantee from a TJ Klune book.
Nick is just a brilliant character; he's smart, funny and adorably clueless about what's going on. At the same time, he's struggling with the grief of losing his mum while feeling at odds with his dad, who he thinks wishes he were normal.
Nick is neurodivergent, and it was so refreshing to read a fun, sci-fi fantasy with a disabled hero.
“For the most part, he'd accepted that some people were born to be Extraordinaries, and some people were born to be medicated so they didn't spin out of control. Fair? Not really, but Nick was learning that his brain could do things that others couldn't. In a way, he had his own superpower, even if it was called a disorder.”
I really enjoyed following Nick's story as it takes unusual turns that are, for the most part, very funny, but sometimes much darker.
Surprisingly, the action sequences in this book were also really great, and it's those, interspersed with Nick's inner monologue, his awkward banter with Seth, his annoyance with Owen, and his hilarious friends, that I feel would make a fantastic tv show.
But, I did have a few issues with some aspects of the book. Nick's dad, I did not get on with. I just don't feel that he's a great parent. Yes, he worries about Nick, but he's also one of the main reasons that Nick feels so insecure about himself, and it's clear through much of what happens (no spoilers!) that he's lied to Nick a lot.
Then there's the issue with the glorification of the police force to a certain extent. I understand that this wasn't intentional and that the book was written, I think, before the recent light that's been shone on police brutality in America. However, the simple fact that Nick's dad is forgiven for doing punching someone in his position of power just doesn't sit well. That being said, the author did address this in his own blog post, so you're welcome to read that here and form your own opinion.
My other issue was that the plot twists were really predictable. But, saying that, I wonder if it was intentional because, while they're clear to the ready, they are not at all clear to Nick who's in the dark, meandering in all directions until he figures it out, which was actually a lot of fun to read. There were so many times where I just wanted to step into the book and help Nick, to tell him what was going on, but his cluelessness led to funny and heartbreaking scenarios that made his story all the more compelling.
Overall, I really enjoyed TJ's first YA novel. Having read a lot of his adult novels, I wasn't too sure what to expect, but I was really surprised. No, this book didn't affect me the way that The House in the Cerulean Sea did, but it's a very different book; it's harsher, and it has more grit to it.
But, I'd still highly recommend The Extraodinaries, and I can't wait to find out what happens to Nick and the gang in book two.
“Be gay. Do crimes.”
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About Kayleigh (She/Her)
Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
About Sophie (She/Her)
Sophie loves books (obviously). She has a passion for photography and spotting wildlife, and is interested in anything made with passion and creativity.
THIS BLOG IS SPOILER FREE!
5 Stars - AMAZING!!
4.5 Stars - Almost perfect!
4 Stars - I really loved it
3.5 Stars - I liked it alot
3 Stars - I liked it
(I don't typically review books that I rate below 3 stars)
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