Rating: 2.5 STARS
Genre: YA/LGBT/Graphic Novel
How I got this book: Bought
Sixteen-year-old Nicholas Cox is an outsider to the competitive fencing world. Filled with raw talent but lacking proper training, he signs up for a competition that puts him head-to-head with fencing prodigy Seiji Katayama...and on the road to the elite all-boys school Kings Row. A chance at a real team and a place to belong awaits him—if he can make the cut
I wasn't sure what to expect from this, but after loving Heartstopper by Alice Oseman so damn much I just wanted to sink my teeth into another LGBT comic and considering this series has amazing reviews and the synopsis sounded great, I decided to buy all three volumes and dig in.
Before I start, I should say that the only other book I've read by this author I did not like at all. I tried to read The Captive Prince but truthfully, and I don't say this a lot, I couldn't stand it. However, I did try my best to approach this with fresh eyes and an open mind, which I think I did, helped along by the fact that Fence is a graphic novel and so completely different than The Captive Prince.
To begin with, I love the graphics. The illustrator (Johanna the Mad) did a truly fantastic job and honestly, the stars I've given above aren't a reflection on the visuals but on the story itself.
The thing is, I started by buying issue one and read it in around 15 minutes. I was intrigued, I wanted more. So, I bought the next issue. Again, I read it in around 15 minutes and not a lot happened but I wanted more, I wanted more from the characters, more relationships, more dialogue, more interaction.
This went on for 12 issues until I reached the end and sighed in frustration as I realised that I'd bought 12 issues of a story that I personally felt went absolutely nowhere.
The thing is, all the ingredients are there - interesting characters, conflict, fantastic visuals and the desire to keep reading. The huge problem for me was that the plot was solely focused on the fencing competition, to the detriment of everything else. There was no relationship exploration, no further character development, a couple of very, very minimal subplots that had the potential to go much further and that was it.
I honestly got to the end and asked myself, "Where's the rest? What have I missed?" because I just felt that there should have been more.
The potential was there, I just couldn't connect with the minimal material.
But hey, I'm in the minority here, the reviews for all 12 issues of Fence are 4+ stars across the board on Goodreads and, as I mentioned in my last post, I'm new to graphic novels, they aren't something I've really explored before, so maybe this is just something that I don't get.
All I can say is that, for me, and I can't help comparing this to Heartstopper which I loved so much, it just didn't float my boat.
What about you? Have you read Fence?
If you have recommendations for other graphic novels you think I might like, please do let me know in the comments!
Rating: 3.5 STARS
Series/Standalone: Soulbound #1
How I got this book: Bought
When the gods come calling, you don’t get to say no.
Patrick Collins is three years into a career as a special agent for the Supernatural Operations Agency when the gods come calling to collect a soul debt he owes them. An immortal has gone missing in New York City and bodies are showing up in the wake of demon-led ritual killings that Patrick recognizes all too easily from his nightmares.
Unable to walk away, Patrick finds himself once again facing off against mercenary magic users belonging to the Dominion Sect. Standing his ground alone has never been a winning option in Patrick’s experience, but it’s been years since he’s had a partner he could trust.
Looking for allies in all the wrong places, Patrick discovers the Dominion Sect’s next target is the same werewolf the Fates themselves have thrown into his path. Patrick has been inexplicably attracted to the man from their first meeting, but desire has no place in war. That doesn’t stop Patrick from wanting what he shouldn’t have. Jonothon de Vere is gorgeous, dangerous, and nothing but trouble—to the case, to the fight against every hell, and ultimately, to Patrick’s heart and soul.
In the end, all debts must be paid, and Patrick can only do what he does best—cheat death.
Okay so lately, I'm starting to wonder if the problem is less with what I'm reading and more with me because I'm starting these books and enjoying them and then somewhere along the line, something stops connecting.
I mean, the premise of this book sounds amazing - it's why I chose to read it and I loved the main character. Patrick is gritty, his past is dark and painful and yet he's struggled to keep going, against really sh***y odds.
I loved this book for quite a while, the characters are varied, unique and fun. There are vampires, werewolves, mages, witches, demons, Greek gods and so much danger and action that I couldn't get enough. Hell, here was my tweet about the book when I was around 30-50% of the way through it:
Really enjoying my current read, I'd love to see a movie of this book, lots of action, demons, gods and other fun stuff!
Jono was a slightly less interesting character with an interesting 'secret' but even though I did feel that their relationship was a little too forced and somewhat rushed, I enjoyed the development.
So, what went wrong? The truth is, I don't really know and I know from the Goodreads reviews that I'm in the minority here with my lower than 4-star review. I guess at one point I started to notice the descriptive writing a little too much and it sort of rubbed me up the wrong way at how certain (completely insignificant things) were overly described.
As mentioned above, I also felt that the relationship was a little forced but then that's sort of part of the plot so maybe it was intentional, either way, it just didn't work that well for me personally (I guess I'm more of a slow burn kinda gal than insta lust).
I loved the action but felt that it was dampened a little in parts by too much description.
Overall, I really liked the characters, enjoyed the action and all of the paranormal elements whilst the pace and relationship let it down for me.
I probably won't continue with this particular series but never say never.
What do you think? Have you read A Ferry of Bones & Gold, do you agree or disagree with my review? I'd love to know your opinion in the 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 STARS
How I got this book: Library
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
This book should come with a trigger warning.
Yes, it's YA, and for the most-part, it's a lighthearted quirky story with smatterings of romance. But, it also deals with some pretty heavy issues i.e. mental health, abandonment issues and alcoholism.
I read this book off the back of Carry On to see if it would help me to understand that book a little better. I'm pleased to report that it did actually, and I'd highly recommend that people read Fangirl before reading Carry On. It gave me a much better understanding and appreciation for Simon and Baz that I just didn't have before.
I think it's hard for some authors to write a writer as their main character, they can easily come across as pretentious and all knowing, but I think Rainbow Rowell does this perfectly with Cath.
Cath is instantly likeable and relatable and she remains down-to-earth throughout the whole book, something I love about her. I think every avid read, aspiring writer and self-confessed book nerd will find something of themselves in Cath's introverted nature.
Personally, I loved Cath, despite some of her crying and self-doubt sessions that reminded me so much of myself that I wanted to shake her.
Levi is undeniably good. It's clear from the beginning that he's the perfect match for Cath and it's lovely to see their relationship evolve.
I can't lie, I hated Wren for almost the entirety of the book and I wouldn't spit on her mum if she was on fire, but it worked well for the story and made Cath, and her dad, even more lovable.
I really enjoyed this sweet, college story about a shy girl who has to learn to make her own way in life. It also made me really want to get back into reading fan-fiction, and I would if not for the fear of losing myself in it for hours like I used to!
3.5 sweet, shy stars.
Do you have a favourite fan fiction?
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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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