Rating: 4.5 STARS
How I got this book: NetGalley ARC
A stirring, bold and moving anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBTQ+ YA authors and new talent, giving their unique responses to the broad theme of pride. Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Compiled by Juno Dawson, author of THIS BOOK IS GAY and CLEAN.
A celebration of LGBTQ+ talent, PROUD is a thought-provoking, funny, emotional read.
Contributors: Steve Antony, Dean Atta, Kate Alizadeh, Fox Benwell, Alex Bertie, Caroline Bird, Fatti Burke, Tanya Byrne, Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Frank Duffy, Simon James Green, Leo Greenfield, Saffa Khan, Karen Lawler, David Levithan, Priyanka Meenakshi, Alice Oseman, Michael Lee Richardson, David Roberts, Cynthia So, Kay Staples, Jessica Vallance, Kristen Van Dam and Kameron White.
It's really difficult to try and summarise Proud because there's just so much packed into a relatively short collection and I have so much to say about all of it.
First of all, the forward by Juno Dawson is incredibly powerful and moving to the point of tears. It completely sets the tone for what's to follow.
The artwork that accompanies each story is beautiful and I'm certain it'll look even more stunning on paper than it does on my Kindle.
This collection covers so many issues and gives voices to so many people within the LGBT community that it's almost overwhelming. I'm not sure that I've ever read anything that's quite so inclusive and that represents so many aspects of the lives of those of us who identify as LGBT+.
It was the perfect book to start LGBT History Month and I guarantee that readers will be moved to both joy and sadness by these stories.
My personal favourites include:
"Remember you have the right to be proud.
Remember you have the right to be you."
Whether you're part of the LGBT community or not, I urge you to read this collection to truly know that:
a. You are not alone.
b. You have the right to be proud of who you are.
The fact that this book exists is both humbling and powerful, and I hope that every young adult has the opportunity to discover this inspiring collection of written and visual art.
"Be the glitter that shows up in unexpected places."
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: 2.5 STARS
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series/Standalone: Irish Kiss #2
How I got this book: Bought
Indie rock god.
The devil with midnight hair and blue-flame eyes.
After six years I thought the pain of what he’d done to me had faded.
Because I’m standing in this crowded lecture hall of the most prestigious music school in Ireland, staring at the person who healed me when I was broken. Right before he shattered me beyond repair.
And I still feel everything.
My ex-best friend.
My first love.
…is now my professor.
I read the premise of Professor's Kiss and was intrigued. Enemies to lovers, bad boy...what's not to love?
Turns out, quite a lot.
I don't usually write 'negative' reviews but I just had to vent about this book!
You know how in most enemies-to-lovers stories there's a character (usually male) who's a lovable jerk? He's arrogant, an ass but he has redeemable qualities?
Yeah, well that guy does NOT exist in this book. Danny is an asshole sure enough, but he's not redeemable. His masculinity is toxic, he's disgusting, some of the things he does are utterly repulsive and made me want to throw the book against the wall (the only thing stopping me was that I did not want to break my Kindle).
His whole 'redeeming' arc was utter bull. He literally had no valid reason for the way he acted at all. I'm sorry but experiencing personal loss does not justify victimising and bullying another person.
Then there's the heroine, who's completely spineless and pretty pathetic in her devotion (read: unhealthy obsession) with Danny.
Can we also PLEASE STOP using calling someone a lesbian as a goddamn insult? 🙄
I think what annoyed me the most about this book was that I actually liked the plot. I liked that Danny was a singer struggling to go it alone without the record label and that Ailis was a very talented singer working hard to get what she wants. Throw in the slightly taboo (but age appropriate) professor/student romance and it seemed like things should work out well, but the characters just suck.
The only 'chemistry' they have is some weird pervy lust and I was so annoyed that I found myself just skipping through parts I didn't want to read.
I just hated that there was so much material to work with in terms of the story, but the characters just ruined it. Even at the end, Ailis doesn't become her own woman, doesn't go her own route, she's still following Danny around like a wet lettuce.
Anyway, I gave the story 2.5 stars because the writing drew me in and kept me reading until the end and the plot held promise but overall, I could not stand the characters.
Rating: 5 STARS
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Standalone/Series: Signs of Love #4
How I got this book: Bought
It’s a time for searching, and a time for finding, Pisces: keep casting your line and you will hook what you’re looking for.
Zane has it all planned out: land the perfect Meet Cute, fall in love, and live happily ever after.
Should be simple enough if he put his mind to it. A little creativity and some thinking outside of the box, and voila, he’d be married to the woman of his dreams.
It would be perfect.
And it would be before his visa ran out.
But why are his feelings running wild now that the pressure’s on? Why is his picture-perfect plan turning into a muddled mess of morphed metaphors he can’t make sense of anymore?
Just as well he’s met an English professor to help. And even though their first meet is anything but cute, this down-to-earth teacher may just be the realist Zane needs to ground him and give him a shot at love after all.
Don’t cast your line too wide, Pisces. Your perfect catch may already have bitten.
Okay, so you might already know that Anyta Sunday is one of my absolute favourite romance authors, and her Signs of Love series is just AMAZING!!
When I saw her new release, I just had to one-click and I couldn't be happier, if a little sleep deprived (I bought this book at around 10pm last night and I didn't finish reading until 4 this morning!!) It's THAT GOOD, not to mention crazy adorable!
My favourite thing about Anyta's writing is definitely the slow-burn. These are easily my favourites, the tension she builds is so perfect that it's practically fizzing off the page and I LITERALLY cannot stop myself from reading.
The 'Signs of Love' series is all about bringing together two people who are pretty opposite in terms of their star signs and their personalities. Pisces Hooks Taurus is no exception and it's so much fun to see these two characters who seem at first to have almost nothing in common, grow so close.
As a word lover, I found this book particularly enjoyable as one of the characters is an English professor, whilst the other is intrigued by intelligence and so there's lots of cute and very fun wordplay and book appreciation to be found in Pisces Hooks Taurus.
Both Beckett and Zane are complex characters with unique personalities, challenges and character development arcs. They each have their own goals and obstacles to overcome and the two of them together provide plenty of laughs, especially when aided by a meddling, goodhearted elderly neighbour.
This story had me grinning from ear to ear, my toes curled in all the right places and the whole thing was just perfection, made even more so by the quotes from romance novels (mostly by Austen) separating each chapter.
"In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."
I'm a mood reader, and when I picked up this book I wanted something that would cheer me up, and make me feel, this book swept me off my feet and I'm already contemplating re-reading the whole series.
Prepare yourself to meet Beckett and Zane, and brace your heart for an agonising slow-burn romance that will melt your heart.
'Beckett cast his gaze upward and muttered toward the stars, "Slow burn."'
Note: This book can be read as a standalone but honestly, this entire series is too good to be missed!
Rating: 4.5 STARS
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Standalone/Series: Awkward Love #6 (Can be read as a standalone)
How I got this book: Bought
I’m the girl who likes ‘the cock in the back hole.’
At least, that’s what the dating profile my so-called friends set up for me claims. I’m also into BDSM, Furries and ‘I’ll try anything twice.’
I have no idea the profile exists until the replies start rolling in. They range from funny, to downright creepy and everything in between. Just as I’m shutting down my email account for good, a new message pops up.
He’s funny and he's the only one to suspect the profile is a joke, so I think what the hell? I reply.
When he suggests that we meet, I say yes. When I walk into that bar, he's sitting at a table, facing the other way. He turns his head just enough for me to be able to make out his face…
It’s Cameron Hunter, one of the rudest, most arrogant assholes I’ve ever had the displeasure of meeting. He's also the son of one of the state's most influential judges.
The same judge who's about to become my step-father...
OMG! This book was hilarious!
I started reading this at about 11:30pm and didn't put it down until 2am when I'd finished, it was THAT addictive!
I could not stop giggling, snorting and swooning throughout the whole of this book. It's my first Missy Johnson book and I will definitely be reading more by this hilarious author.
The characters in this book were ridiculous, immature and sassy but it worked really well. I loved the clashing personalities, the unexpected comebacks and the pranks.
The romance in this book is off the charts. It's very hot and heavy when it gets going. The pacing is fantastic, the writing is easy going and had me unable to put the book down once I'd started.
I can honestly say that I don't regret the lack of sleep because Darcy, Cameron, Mack and the whole gang were too good to miss!
If you're a fan of outrageous enemies-to-lovers rom-com's like The Hating Game and authors like Tara Sivec, you're going to love Payback's a Bitch!
P.S. This book is part of a series but I happily read it as a standalone without feeling as though I'd missed anything.
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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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