Calling all fans of Anyta Sunday, friends to lovers, M/M romance and second chance romance!
If any of the above applies to you, I have a special treat lined up for you today!
I was feeling a bit crappy on Thursday night last week when I reached for my ARC of Happy for You by Anyta Sunday and it turned my mood right around, my grin growing with every page I turned.
Today, I'm taking part in the Release Day Blitz for Happy For You (book 3 in the Love & Family series). You can check out my reviews for Book 1: Taboo For You and Book 2: Made For You on Goodreads because I just found out that apparently I never added them to the blog ?
I've loved every book in this series so far, as with most of Anyta Sunday's books I have a habit of devouring them in one sitting and laughing my head off at characters antics. Keep reading to see what I thought of Book 3. Plus, read an exclusive excerpt, a Q&A with the author herself and an international giveaway!
STARS: 4 STARS!
Genre: MM Romance/LGBT
Series/Standalone: Love and Family #3
How I got this book: ARC from A Novel Take Promotions
Mort wants his de facto family back. . . .
He knows he doesn’t deserve them. Not yet, anyway. Not without making up for leaving them in their time of need.
But it’s not easy to make amends. Mort must show how much he wants the Rochester family back in his life. When his best friend’s younger brother, Felix, has his license suspended, Mort jumps at the chance to play chauffeur and to win back the family he desperately wants to call his own.
Repairing his broken relationships—with all five Rochester siblings—becomes Mort’s personal mission. Especially with Felix. Felix, who used to follow him everywhere. Felix, who idolized him. Felix, whom Mort has not stopped thinking about . . .
Felix is just trying to keep it together. . . .
With a perma-smile as his armor, he’s determined to make his family happy. Determined to be a positive role model to his three younger sisters, while their mum struggles with depression after her kidney transplant.
Unfortunately, no amount of smiling can save his license when he gets pulled over for the umpteenth time, and he still needs to get his sisters to school, soccer, and dance classes.
The solution to his problem emerges in the return of their prodigal neighbor, Mort. Mort, who left their lives without a word. Mort, who was in love with Felix’s older brother.
Mort, who is the last guy Felix wants charging back into their lives. . . .
Mort and Felix. Two guys bound by a rocky past--
—a past they must come to terms with to find true happiness in the here and now.
TW: Depression and generalized anxiety (of a side character)
Unlike the other two books in this series, this one took me a little longer to get into. I was a little confused at the beginning, as though there was a little information missing and so parts of the relationship felt a little rushed almost.
But the characters quickly got under my skin with their flirty, clueless ways. Anyta writes the most adorable, bashful characters and the slow-burn just sizzles.
This book did sadly have a bit of an uncomfortable (for me at least) twist to it that I didn't really like and that to be honest almost made me lower the star rating, but the cute, likeable characters won me over.
Anyta does deal with some difficult topics in this book including depression, grief and sexual anxiety through the side characters in a way that gives more depth to the story but doesn't detract from the mushy, slow-burn romance.
I can't say that this is my favourite book in the series, as that's probably reserved for Taboo For You, which I adored. Made For You also came in a close second with Happy For You falling into third place, just because of that one, uncomfortable twist (I don't want to give too much away but it's relating to Mort's relationship with Felix's older brother as hinted on in the synopsis).
If you love clueless, romantics with big families and light-hearted drama, Happy For You is a book not to be missed.
Now, keep reading to check out an excerpt, Q&A with Anyta Sunday and your chance to win!
Q&A With Anyta Sunday
What is the significance of the title “Happy For You”?
AS: This book’s all about happiness – where to find it for ourselves, how to make others happy, and how to live with the fact that we can’t make everyone around us happy. Mort and Felix have to learn it the hard way: if they’re both only trying to make others happy, they’ll lose sight of themselves. They have to find their own happiness first to finally be happy together.
What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
AS: While every book has its own challenges, this one was special because it features a large family that wanted to have ample space on the page. To give all of them their rightful place was not easy, but they all demanded to be heard ☺ This spring and summer, when I worked on “Happy For You”, was also a time of transitions for my family – from my son changing schools to me transitioning to a new diet, so finding time for the book wasn’t always easy.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
AS: I am always working :D At the moment, I’m diving back into astrology and star signs, and tackling book 5 in the “Signs of Love” series. A Cancer and an Aquarius are the lucky couple in this one, and I’m already having so much fun with them. It’s quite emotional, but just like all the other SoL books, also full of banter and romantic comedy!
Where do you draw inspiration from?
AS: Inspiration is all around – walking the streets, seeing a couple interact at the café, getting a lovely message from my husband. So many things can spark an idea, like a smell that brings back a memory or a piece of music that becomes alive in my head. I try to soak it all in and scribble it down as soon as possible.
Do you have any new series planned?
AS: There are a few ideas currently swirling in my head, and I never know how they’ll finally arrive on the page. One series idea I just cannot stop thinking about is what I call the “Love Shack” in my head. A beachside house that brings different roommates together, always sparking new misadventures and love stories! Another idea is a cozy, super sweet and romantic mystery. But whatever series comes next, you can be sure it’ll be full of slow burn romance!
About Anyta Sunday:
I'm a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. I love to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love. Some of my favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries. I write a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of Fantasy. My books have been translated into German, Italian, French, Spanish, and Thai.
Connect with Anyta:
Author newsletter signup: http://www.anytasunday.com/newsletter-free-e-book/
Click the cover photo above to add the book to your Goodreads TBR and enter below for your chance to win one complete paperback set of the Love & Family series: Taboo for You, Made for You, and Happy for You, or, one of three e-books of Happy for You. Prizes are open internationally. Must be 18 to enter and win.
Now, excuse me while I enter the competition myself!
Welcome to my stop on the All Boy blog tour.
Since reading The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick last year, I've been looking forward to reading her next release and I'm so excited to be sharing this review with you!
A very big thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to review the book and participate in the tour.
Keep reading to check out the synopsis, my review and for your chance to win a $15 Amazon Gift Card (open internationally!)
Rating: 4 STARS
How I got this book: ARC from Xpresso Book Tours
Seventeen-year-old Callie Canter knows all about screwing up—and being screwed over. After her so-called boyfriend publicly humiliated her senior year, taking a fifth year of high school at Beaufort Hills Academy is her second chance to leave behind a painful past. But her need for social acceptance follows, and going along with the in-crowd is the difference between survival and becoming a target. Staying off the radar is top priority. So, falling for an outsider is the last thing on Callie’s “to-do” list. Too bad her heart didn’t get the memo.
With his strict, religious upbringing and former identity far away in Florida, Jayden Morrissey can finally be true to himself at Beaufort Hills Academy. But life as a trans man means keeping secrets, and keeping secrets means not getting too close to anyone. If he can just get through his fifth year unnoticed, maybe a future living as the person he was born to be is possible. Yet love is love, and when you fall hard enough, intentions crumble, plans detour, and secrets are revealed.
From multi-award-winning author Mia Kerick, comes a powerful, timely, and life-changing novel, which follows two teenagers nursing broken hearts and seeking acceptance, and who together realize running away isn’t always the answer.
TW: Transphobia, sexual abuse, humiliation, mental health, bullying
I have to start by saying that (as you can see from the trigger warnings above) Mia Kerick has written a book that is full of pain and that was very difficult to read - but that's by no means a bad thing. Now, I'm not the best person to say whether this book dealt with the subject matter in the ‘right’ way necessarily but it was a powerful and enlightening read.
One of the reasons I read so many different genres is to find as many different stories and voices as possible and All Boy does not disappoint.
I'd braced myself somewhat for this book after reading The Princess of Baker Street earlier this year but it's still not easy to digest what the characters have to face and overcome.
For the most part, I found Callie’s character really difficult to bear, I almost hated her at times and some of that was due to seeing parts of myself reflected in her (self-hatred is anything but a breeze) but also at her ignorance and self-destructive nature but (without giving too much away) her development arc is something to be admired.
Jayden is a stunning character with so much strength and heart and I would have preferred to read more chapters from his POV. It's Jayden who broke my heart in this book, the truth and reality of his story and his pain bleeding from the pages was almost unbearable at times and my heart ached for him.
Callie and Jayden’s stories, both together and as individuals, are very compelling to read, everything they have to face and overcome and the story as a whole gives a very powerful insight into life as a trans man.
At times I felt that some of the dialogue was a bit too scripted, too formal and not realistic for the age group but the pacing of the story was good and the themes tackled well, at least in my opinion.
One of the shining characters for me in this book was Lauren who's almost the personification of acceptance. She delivers some beautiful truths to Callie and is a great friend and ally.
Overall, this was a really powerful and painful read that deals with sensitive topics and delivers important messages of self-acceptance, doing what's right and above all, that love is love.
Click the cover photo above to add the book to your Goodreads TBR and enter below for your chance to win a $15 Amazon Gift Card! The giveaway is open internationally so everyone can enter and it's 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 :)
And finally, for something a little different, why not check out the book trailer below:
Welcome to my stop on the Within Ash and Stardust book tour. This is the third book in the Xenith Trilogy by Chani Lynn Feener.
Huge thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for the review copy and for including My Endless Shelf in the blog tour!
Before I get into the full review, if you want to avoid spoilers and haven't read the first two books in the series, feel free to check those out at the following links - Book 1: Amid Stars and Darkness and Book 2: Between Frost and Fury.
Rating: 4 STARS
Series/Standalone: The Xenith Trilogy #3
How I got this book: ARC from Xpresso Book Tours
Having gone from kidnapped faux princess to the legitimate heir to an intergalactic throne, an impulsive, sarcastic teen must take charge of her own destiny in this epic YA novel.
On Earth, Delaney is a normal teenager who recently graduated high school with a fantastic best friend and a loving boyfriend.
But Delaney isn’t on Earth. She’s on Xenith, a war-torn planet half a galaxy away. Originally mistaken for an alien princess, Delaney has gone from kidnapped imposter to the recognized heir to an alien throne. Oh, and she’s engaged to the prince of an enemy nation whose ruthless father is on the warpath.
Torn between two planets, two fates, and two loves, Delaney is finally ready to choose her own destiny in Within Ash and Stardust, the stunning conclusion to Chani Lynn Feener’s Xenith Trilogy.
I can't believe it's finally here! The last instalment of a series that I fell in love with back in 2017 and have been desperately waiting for since the cliffhanger that left me absolutely reeling at the end of book two - honestly it was one of the most heart-wrenching cliffhangers ever and gave me ALL THE FEELS!!
I love this author's writing style, I've read a lot of her other books and her writing style is so easy to fall into, her characters are relatable and likeable and her world building is fantastic. She does seem to enjoy writing love triangles and for the most part, I do enjoy the complicated relationships.
I've been following the journey of Delaney from out-of-place Earth girl to the heir of an alien planet with rapture. Delaney is completely relatable, in book one she was frightened, in book two she was angry and in book three she's determined to make her own choices and forge her own path.
Some parts of the plot in this book did give me moments of deja-vu, especially in terms of Delaney being put into corners she can't get out of but there were plenty of new elements too with new character revelations, plot twists and more alien culture.
I did have a pretty big problem with Ruckus in this book. If you've read my other reviews, you'll know that I've been Team Trystan from book 1, so it's no shock that Ruckus isn't my favourite character. Trystan is a big, sullen sweetheart with a cheeky side that's just irresistible. Ruckus was a solid character for me in book 1, who I did like, but who, in book 2, was so clearly not the one for Delaney. Whilst reading Within Ash and Stardust I felt as though Ruckus's character just disappeared in terms of depth, he was pretty pathetic, trailing after Delaney like a puppy dog and with seemingly no personality at all. I mean, at one point the book reads:
"He didn't want to be an Ander anymore, he realised with a start. He just wanted to be Ruckus Wux. Boyfriend of Delaney Grace."
Which is pretty pathetic really, especially for someone who in the first book was portrayed as a tough-as-nails soldier.
The romance in this book is also a little off compared to the last book, where things between Trystan and Delaney had started to heat up despite the frigid ending. In this book, Delaney is all over the place trying to choose between Ruckus and Trystan (when the choice was clear from the start!) and it felt a little awkward, with the ending seeming a little too clean-cut. It had lost some of the sizzle that I'd enjoyed in Between Frost and Fury.
However, there is plenty of action in this book and the pace is great, I didn't want to put the book down at all. There's also more culture and world-building, especially in terms of the Dust Market which is both strange and wonderful.
I like that Delaney finally manages to break free of her chains in this book, to some extent, and can make her own choices and do what she believes is right instead of what's already been decided for her.
Overall, this was a nice end to what I feel is a very underrated YA series and one that opened the gates to sci-fi for me, but with the romance toned down, it felt as though it was suddenly aimed at a slightly younger audience.
My favourite book of the series has to be Between Frost and Fury, with Amid Stars and Darkness coming in at a close second.
I've truly enjoyed following Delaney's journey, exploring these new worlds, meeting interesting new characters and falling in love with Trystan's sweet, cinnamon centre along the way.
I can't wait to see what this author does next!
As always, you can add the book to your Goodreads TBR by clicking on the book cover above and feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below!
To win a print copy of Within Ash and Stardust enter the giveaway below (US/CAN only).
Rating: 4 STARS
How I got this book: Read for free on Wattpad.com
They were naturally disposed to hate each other. And for a while, they did.
Bite Me is a YA, m/m paranormal romance that's currently available for free on Wattpad.com (just click the image to read!)
If you read my last blog post, you'll know that I've been spending a fair amount of my time discovering Wattpad. For those of you that don't know, Wattpad is a social storytelling community made up of readers and writers. Writers post stories for free on Wattpad for anyone to enjoy, vote and comment on - and it's completely free to join!
Bite Me is the first story that I've read via Wattpad and I truly enjoyed it!
It's full of vampires, werewolves, teen angst, insta-hate and an enemies-to-lovers style slow-burn romance that's packed to the brim with drama and lust.
There were a few problematic things about the book in terms of editing (i.e spelling and grammar and a couple of sections that were a little confusing) and there was a fairly big issue with the way that one character described another (that a lot of readers picked up) so (as is the beauty of Wattpad's edit functionality), I'm hoping the author will change this in future.
Other than that, I truly enjoyed my first Wattpad read. There were moments of humour, tension and plenty of chemistry between the two main characters.
I enjoyed the author's new take on Vampires even though I felt that the concept of 'trading your immortality' could have benefited from a little more development and backstory. '
I particularly liked Kieran who, despite being a grade A jerk from the offset is likeable, relatable and witty. Mason is a sweet, puppy dog with the best intentions even if he comes across a little strong and makes so many bad, impulsive decisions.
The book contains a nice mixture of contemporary/paranormal and, whilst I would have liked to see a little more paranormal 'stuff', the romance was sweet and kept the story moving.
Have you read any stories on Wattpad? What would you recommend?
Rating: 4 STARS
Series/Standalone: The Folk of the Air #2
How I got this book: Bought
You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.
The first lesson is to make yourself strong.
After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.
When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.
If you haven't already read the first book in The Folk of the Air series, feel free to check out my review of The Cruel Prince and stop reading to avoid potential spoilers from book one.
This book is complicated.
I don't know if I've ever read a book before where I've absolutely hated 99% of all the characters but still loved just how vile and repulsive they are.
They're so evil. ALL OF THEM ARE EVIL. Including the author because that ending was not fair!
The two characters I hate the most are Taryn and Locke, which makes them pretty well suited to each other. I love how at the beginning of book one we were presented with this meek, gentle and docile image of Taryn but as the book progressed she turned out to be the worst sister in the world.
Jude is fantastic. I love her ferocity even in the face of impossible odds and certain defeat. She's cunning, clever and complex and yet still manages to be blindsided by others (don't worry Jude, you're not alone!)
Cardan is still a, well, there aren't really words for what/how he is and I still have some huge problems about their relationship dynamic but the chemistry and tension between the two are so palpable that it seeps from the pages.
The plot twists in this book are EPIC! If you were shocked by The Cruel Prince trust me when I say that you won't even know what to make of The Wicked King. My jaw is still somewhere on the floor where it dropped whilst reading that ending...
The storytelling is compulsive. This book is filled with more politics than the first, which I thoroughly enjoyed and I was so excited to see new places and more backstory from several characters.
If you love fantasy with a dark, foreboding edge, an unpredictable plot line and characters you love to hate, you'll love The Wicked King.
Welcome to my stop of the Princess of Baker Street blog tour.
I'd been looking forward to reading this book for quite some time and I'm excited to finally share my review with you!
Big thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to participate.
Rating: 4 STARS
How I got this book: ARC from Xpresso Book Tours
“Always wear your imaginary crown” is Joey Kinkaid’s motto. For years, Joey, assigned male at birth, led the Baker Street kids in daring and imaginative fantasy adventures, but now that they’re teenagers, being a princess is no longer quite so cool. Especially for a child who is seen by the world as a boy.
Eric Sinclair has always been Joey’s best friend and admirer—Prince Eric to Joey’s Princess Ariel—but middle school puts major distance between them. As Eric’s own life takes a dangerous turn for the worse, he stands by and watches as Joey—who persists in dressing and acting too much like a Disney princess for anybody’s comfort—gets bullied. Eric doesn’t like turning his back on Joey, but he’s learned that the secret to teenage survival, especially with and absent mother, is to fly under the radar.
But when Joey finally accepts who she is and comes to school wearing lip gloss, leggings, and a silky pink scarf, the bullies make her life such a misery that she decides to end it all. Eric, in turn, must decide who he really is and what side he wants to stand on… though no matter what he chooses, the consequences with be profound for both teens, and they’ll face them for years to come.
Is there a chance the two teens can be friends again, and maybe even more?
Trigger warnings: Transphobia, suicide, parental abandonment.
I'm going to start by saying that I can't comment on how well this book represents trans issues/the trans community and that I am still myself learning more about the different genders and sexuality.
From the synopsis, it's clear that this is in no way an easy, fluffy read, and it features some incredibly heavy and hard to deal with themes.
It actually surprised me that the story was told from Eric's perspective, when, given the synopsis, I expected it to have been from Joey's.
Eric is an extremely complex character. He's living alone following his mother's abandonment, he's trying his hardest stay under the radar so that no one finds out and in his attempts he loses a part of himself, the part that cares for his best friend.
Joey is a truly beautiful soul. She wants to live her own life by being true to who she is, and the view, through Eric's eyes, of her struggles and challenges is more than traumatic.
"Are you the roadkill or the vulture?" I ask. "I'm the one who's getting ripped into pieces."
Personally, I struggled a little with the writing. I'm not sure if it was because of mistakes exactly, or the style itself, I just felt as though it jolted me out of the story a few times. But, saying that, the pace and character development was fantastic!
"Even through my coat, the weight of her hand feels good because I been so lonely in my cold house this week, but the panic in her expression rips the good away."
Whilst there is a lot of pain and torment in this novel, I do think that it's important for young people, especially those who are trans to know that they're not alone, and also for non-trans teens so that they can better understand the challenges faced by their peers and how just being a good friend can make all the difference.
"I flop back on the bed and say the only important thing left. "Just tell Joey I'm sorry."
Through all of the pain and heartache, I feel that at the very heart of this story is a strong message about being true to yourself, standing up for what's right and important, and the real power of friendship.
"But you're the princess of Baker Street."
Click the cover photo above to add the book to your Goodreads TBR and enter below for your chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card! The giveaway is open internationally so everyone can enter and it's 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!
Series/Standalone: Fake Boyfriend #1
How I got this book: Bought
The reason I rarely go home is three simple words: I’m a liar.
When the pressure to marry my childhood sweetheart became too much, I told her I was gay and then fled to New York like my ass was on fire.
Now, five years later and after a drunken encounter, I find myself invited to her wedding. And I have to bring my boyfriend—the boyfriend who doesn’t exist because I’m straight.
At least, I think I am. Meeting the guy I’m bribing to be my boyfriend for the weekend makes me question everything about myself.
When my sister asks me to pretend to be some straight guy’s boyfriend, my automatic response is to say no. It’s because of guys like him people don’t believe me when I tell them I’m gay.
But Maddox has something I need.
After an injury that cost me my baseball career, I’m trying to leave my playing days behind and focus on being the best sports agent I can be. Forty-eight hours with my sister’s best friend in exchange for a meeting with a possible client. I can do this.
I just wish he wasn’t so hot. Or that he didn’t kiss like he means it.
Wait … why is the straight guy kissing me?
Trigger warnings: Homophobia
I had fairly low expectations about this book before I started reading, but OH MY GOSH THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN!
Let me explain why I had low expectations:
1. Fake Boyfriend - this is not my favourite trope (at all) and I thought that they were pretty over-done before reading this.
2. Pretending to be gay to ditch an ex - as you can see from the synopsis that's a key part of this story (and one that I was put off by).
But, the synopsis held something that sparked an interest in me and I just had to read it.
In the beginning, I was super sceptical. Maddox and Damon are literal strangers when they take off for the weekend to Maddox's hometown - to me, it seemed like they should have known each other a bit first.
But, once the story started and the humour came through, I couldn't get enough.
"It was only a dream. I once dreamed I was the spider from Harry Potter. Doesn't mean I want to f*** a spider."
First impressions of Maddox are that he's a complete ass. He lied to his ex about being gay because he didn't want to be tied down and he's a bit of a player. But, the author slowly reveals more layers to his personality, layers that make his actions more understandable. His funny side starts to come out more as the book progresses as well as revealing his fears and insecurities.
I particularly love that he has to come to a big realisation about himself and his journey of accepting this new truth about who he is was beautiful to see.
Damon on the other hand is a sweetheart from the very beginning. He's bitter about his past career and trying to work towards a future he never wanted. He's also dealing with the fallout from a past relationship that instantly puts him on his guard around Maddox.
I love the way that their relationship builds throughout the book. The chemistry is perfect, the tension builds and the result is some seriously H&H love scenes entwined with truly tender, heartfelt moments.
"I found it - where I'm supposed to be. It's with you."
There is some homophobia in this book, which both Maddox and Damon have to deal with, but it's addressed and fought against in an honest way, and I can't help but admire how selfless and understanding Damon is when dealing with some of the more difficult aspects of this.
Overall, this was a fun, fast-paced, heart-warming m/m romance with plenty of lust filled scenes. I read this in one sitting of a few hours and couldn't put it down.
Rating: 3.5/4 STARS
Series/Standalone: At First Sight #1
How I got this book: Bought via Audible
Do you believe in love at first sight?
Paul Auster doesn't. Paul doesn't believe in much at all. He’s thirty, slightly overweight, and his best features are his acerbic wit and the color commentary he provides as life passes him by. His closest friends are a two-legged dog named Wheels and a quasibipolar drag queen named Helena Handbasket. He works a dead-end job in a soul-sucking cubicle, and if his grandmother's homophobic parrot insults him one more time, Paul is going to wring its stupid neck.
Enter Vince Taylor.
Vince is everything Paul isn’t: sexy, confident, and dumber than the proverbial box of rocks. And for some reason, Vince pursues Paul relentlessly. Vince must be messing with him, because there is no way Vince could want someone like Paul.
But when Paul hits Vince with his car—in a completely unintentional if-he-died-it'd-only-be-manslaughter kind of way—he's forced to see Vince in a whole new light. The only thing stopping Paul from believing in Vince is himself—and that is one obstacle Paul can’t quite seem to overcome. But when tragedy strikes Vince's family, Paul must put aside any notions he has about himself and stand next to the man who thinks he's perfect the way he is.
Trigger Warnings: Loss/grief and some homophobia.
I listened to an excerpt of this book on Audible and instantly fell in love with Michael Lesley's narration, in particular, his voices for Paul, Vince and Helena.
Over the past few months, I've fallen head-over-heels for TJ's work. His characters are fantastic - I love Paul's self-deprecating humour, Vince's sweet, persistent nature and Helena's fierce, no-nonsense attitude.
Tell Me It's Real starts off very lighthearted and funny but grows into an emotional, touching story with an unexpected element of tragedy and grief.
Paul's family are perfect! They're hilarious, accepting and truly loving whilst Vince's father is the complete opposite.
Paul and Vince's relationship is swift but no less beautiful and meaningful.
"Take that homophobes!"
TJ's immersive writing style and Michael Lesley's wonderful narration thrust me into this story and easily brought to the life realistic and relatable (even if they are a bit ridiculous and OTT at times) characters.
This is the sixth book that I've read by TJ Klune and it's completely unlike any of the others. I can't seem to get enough of his books right now and I love that he writes across so many different genres. Some of his characters share similarities i.e. Sam (Tales from Verania) reminds me a lot of Paul (Tell Me It's Real) whilst Helena (Tell Me It's Real) is very reminiscent of Gary (Tales from Verania) and yet they surprise me, make me laugh, and give me the feels each time I pick up a new book!
So, if you're in the mood for a very sweet, contemporary m/m romance that guarantees that you'll be laughing out loud alongside moments of sadness and heartache, 'Tell Me It's Real' is the book for you!
Rating: 4/4.5 STARS
How I got this book: Bought
You’ll make it out of here, Brian. I swear.
I had everything—school quarterback, popular with girls, and my dad was proud of me. I told myself it didn’t matter no one knew the real me. And then I nearly died. Landon saved my life. He’s the bravest guy I know. He came out a few years ago, proud and fierce, and he ran into gunfire to help others. Me, I’m a mess. Can’t even stand to be in a room with the curtains open. But here’s the thing about losing it all: You get a chance to start over and be someone new. Only how can I move on when the two shooters who attacked our school were never caught? And why do I feel like I’m still in the crosshairs?
Will you kiss me?
When I came across Brian Marshall,the hottest guy in school, dying on the cafeteria floor, I did what anyone would do. I tried to save him. His request surprised me, but I figured he needed comfort, so I kissed him on the forehead. When he survived and came back to school, he was broken in body and mind. He still needed me, and soon we were unlikely besties. But what I saw at school that day woke me up. I want to demand action on gun control, lead protests, raise my fist. I’ll tear the world down if I have to. And if I can get the man of my dreams and save the world at the same time? I’ll take it. Only I didn’t understand that the horror at Jefferson Waller High wasn’t over.
Trigger warnings: Mass shooting, PTSD, depression, homophobia, graphic violence.
Just from reading the synopsis I could tell that this book wasn't going to be an easy read.
I've only seen information about mass shootings and school shootings on the news and on Twitter. The coverage is always quite brief, giving only the details of what occurred, the death toll, and speculation about the shooter(s).
Boy Shattered went so much further by providing a completely vivid view of life as a survivor of a mass shooting that was incredibly painful and almost unbearable to read, but at the same time, so completely relevant and necessary that I urge you to read it.
This book is overflowing with heart-ache and tragedy, focusing on how the shooting affects the two main characters of the story in very different ways with one character retreating into himself and the other becoming an activist against gun violence.
It is a romance novel but there's a great deal of sadness, pain and angst between the two characters that makes the relationship feel raw and extremely powerful. It is a YA and so, whilst there is sex involved, it's much more character and plot driven.
To me, the book felt like a suspense novel. With the hunt for the shooters ongoing and Brian's PTSD, the pace was fantastic and the story completely engrossing.
Coupled with the tragedy, another painful aspect of this book is the homophobia which is rife in Brian's life, so much so that he's completely in the closet and terrified of making a wrong move that could reveal his secret.
I love how the characters' natures contrast and compliment each other. Brian is troubled, hiding who he is and constantly terrified, whilst Landon is compassionate, determined and supportive.
Overall, Boy Shattered is completely heartbreaking and the title couldn't be more accurate. Feeling Brian's pain and terror, experiencing Landon's fear and his need to do something about it, watching the seeds of their relationship take hold - it was beautiful, gripping and exceptionally painful.
Brace yourself going in and you'll quickly find yourself immersed.
Never miss a post!
Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, aspiring writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
Upcoming Blog Tours: