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: 3 Stars
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Clean Romance
Series/Standalone: When Wishes Bleed #1
How I got this book: Free on Amazon Prime
One Prince. One Witch. One Fate.
The upheaval in my life began the moment a prince stumbled into my house and asked me to read his fortune. Any other night, I might have made an excuse to get him to leave, but this was no normal visit. My fingers prickled to touch him. So, I granted his request by handing him a single wishbone. When he snapped it, the wish … bled.
Hearing me suck in a shocked breath, he asked what it meant. Such an ominous omen could only mean one thing: his death was imminent. Fate revealed that he wouldn’t die of natural causes. Someone wanted him dead. Stunned by the revelation, the man I now knew as Prince Tauren disappeared into a night I feared he wouldn’t survive. The following day, I received an invitation to the castle. While it seemed the prince believed I could intervene and uncover who was plotting his death, his motives didn’t stop there. I was being summoned to join twelve other women in vying for the opportunity to be his wife and future queen.
Going could mean jeopardizing my plans to reclaim my heritage and resurrect the House of Fate. But staying would guarantee Tauren’s death, and the blood of his wish would be on my hands.
Review by Sophie
I’ve had this book on my TBR for quite some time as the reviews are pretty mixed, but I finally read it when Amazon added it as a Prime free read.
I think the author did a fantastic job of the world-building in this book. It’s set in a modern-ish time, where the world is split into districts. The detail surrounding the magic, and the House of Fate, in particular, is immersive and drew me in from the start.
First, we meet Sable, an outcast from District 13, who’s come to accept life alone after being shunned by all the other witches, with only the voice of Fate himself to keep her company, whispering in her ear and guiding her on what she must do. I felt really sorry for Sable, especially seeing how she’s treated, even by her own family, but I love how having Fate guiding her added so much mystery to her character. Oh, and did I mention she’s a badass?
Once a year, the townspeople from the different districts go to the 13th for the Equinox celebration. This year, we meet the ever so lovely Tauren, a young prince who stumbles (drunkenly) to Sable’s hut for a reading. The two form an instant connection, and their relationship grows quickly.
”Now that we’re bound, you’ll be my shield, but I will also be yours. We’ll keep each other safe - and alive.”
I was quite fond of Tauren, just because he was so sweet, which is an interesting portrayal of a prince in a fantasy novel. So, like Sable, I really didn’t want him to die!
As much as I liked Sable and Tauren’s character, there’s one I really couldn’t stand, and that was Bren, Sable’s one and only friend since childhood. I found him so annoying! His behaviour and how he acted when things didn’t go his way, or he didn’t get what he wanted was just petty and had me hating his character.
The first half of the book really captured me, and I fell into the mystery of it all. However, as I journeyed through the book, my love for it faded. I felt that the author had built up the ending so much and I was expecting it to be epic, but found it disappointing, with no fire or intensity. There are also too many unanswered questions about Sable’s mother and how she just accepted things from the people that had cast her out and been horrible to her, made little sense to me. There was so much speculation and hurt that I just don’t feel like the author expressed that enough.
So, yeah, I enjoyed this book, and I wanted to read on; especially after switching from the audiobook to eBook. I usually love audiobooks, but the narrator was really killing the story for me.
If you liked The Hunger Games, but crave a magical twist, I’d highly recommend When Wishes Bleed by Casey L. Bond.
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.”
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: MM/Contemporary Romance
Series/Standalone: Finding Home #1
How I got this book: Bought
What happens when temporary becomes forever?
Oz Gallagher does not do relationships well. Bored and jobless after another disastrous hook up, he decides to leave London for a temporary job in the wilds of Cornwall. Surely managing a stately home on a country estate will be easier than navigating the detritus of his relationships at home. Six months there will alleviate a bit of his wanderlust and then he can come back to London as footloose and fancy free as the day he left it.
However, when he gets there he finds a house in danger of crumbling to the ground and a man who is completely unlike anyone he’s ever met. An earl belonging to a family whose roots go back hundreds of years, Silas is the living embodiment of duty and sacrifice. Two things that Oz has never wanted. He's also warm and funny and he draws Oz to him like a magnet.
Oz banks on the fact that they're from two very different worlds to stop himself falling for Silas. But what will he do when he realises that these differences are actually part of the pull to one another? Will falling in love be enough to make him stop moving at last and realise that he's finally home?
TW: Homophobia, cheating
I've been working a lot lately and found myself in a bit of a book slump, just lacking the desire to read anything, but I had a few Audible credits and decided to pick something almost at random, which is how I settled on Oz by Lily Morton.
After the first couple of chapters, I was a little put off by the narration, not the Irish accent of Oz, but the posh-British accent of Silas which I felt was a bit too exaggerated, and after listening for a while, I decided to switch to the eBook.
Well, the joke was on me! I tried to read a chapter of the eBook but could not get (the narrator) Joel Leslie's voice out of my head and ended up switching back to the audio, which grew on me really quickly.
I absolutely love Oz's voice. He's a fantastic character and the narration brought him completely to life...I can still hear his voice now.
"I tap the magazine. 'The only job advert in there for me would one asking for someone who is PhD level stupid enough to move in with their boss.' I laugh. 'No references given."
Oz is a really great character to read, he's rough around the edges and people judge him based on his appearance and his background, yet he's so down-to-earth, flirtatious and plain hysterical.
The opening scene really sets the tone for Oz and the rest of the book, as the story begins with Oz walking in on his lover/boss having an affair with his new assistant (Oz's current job!) and we're instantly hit with Oz's snark, his capacity for revenge, his eviscerating tongue and also, his heart and vulnerabilities.
We're then introduced to his best friend who leads Oz to a job interview for a position managing the restoration of a high-end, dilapidated house, something that Oz doesn't believe he's at all qualified for and results in the most hilarious interview.
“He’s lovely,” I say, putting my hand out to the dog. “What’s his name?”
I blink. “Pardon?”
He smiles. “Because he’s blond and stupid and makes very questionable decisions.”
The man in charge of hiring him, however, doesn't agree, which leads Oz on a journey from London to the Cornish countryside and into the path of Lord Ashworth a.k.a Silas who's fresh out of his own bad relationship with the previous house manager and carrying several burdens on his shoulders.
Silas is a much more reserved character, and once I got used to the narration of his voice, I was charmed by his character. He's strong, reserved, humble and just the sweetest.
Oz and Silas's chemistry is off the charts and for some of the sex scenes, I would definitely recommend installing air conditioning or setting your room fan to the highest setting...
Not only has Lily Morton done a fantastic job of creating realistic, distinct, likeable characters, she's also made truly detestable 'villains', and a well-paced plot that's both incredibly funny and extremely heartfelt.
There was one scene in particular that almost reduced me to tears, especially when combined with the impassioned narration.
“Ask me,” I say quietly. I smile tenderly. “I guarantee I’m going to say yes.”
So, how can I summarise this book?
It's a little bit like Pride and Prejudice but everyone is gay, there's also lots of cursing, and characters in the Austen era would never be permitted to spend so much time naked, especially outdoors!
It was a fun, heartfelt read and I'll definitely be reading (and listening to) more of the books in this series!
Rating: 3 Stars
Series/Standalone: VRC: Vampire Related Crimes #1
How I got this book: Kindle Unlimited
Getting into the vampire-only detective unit was the easy part; what’s going to be more difficult is dealing with my new partner, an ancient vampire who keeps threatening to eat me. The unit has never had a human in it, and Marcus—or as I like to call him, Fangy McFangface—would really prefer to keep it that way. He’s grumpy, short-tempered, and broody, but I have a way with words and I know he’s starting to like me, even if he swears he’s not. But what he doesn’t know is that I didn’t join the unit because I was tired of being a homicide detective, I joined because there is someone after me. They’ve already taken enough from me and I’m afraid they’re going to take all of me if I don’t find someone to help. That’s all Marcus was supposed to be, but now, he’s so much more and I can’t imagine my life without him.
The moment the pesky human walked through that door, I knew I had to get rid of him. He’s charming and almost everyone else instantly loves him, but he doesn’t understand how risky it is being part of this unit as a human. But as I get to know the stubborn man, I learn that perhaps he’s not as naive as I once thought. And maybe he’s what I needed to realize there is more to life than just work and my dog. A group arises who is threatening to disrupt the alliance between the humans and the vampires, but Finn is the one who shows me how strong that alliance can be and reminds me why it’s worth protecting. When threats hit closer to home, I realize I would do anything for Finn because he’s brought so much joy to my life—and because he’s mine.
TW: Trauma, physical and mental abuse, stalking, addiction
Ahhhh! This started so well...WTF happened?!?
Let me start from the beginning. I picked this book up on a whim when it came up on my Kindle Unlimited recommendations because the synopsis sounded interesting and had an enemies-to-lovers vibe to it.
It started off really well because of Finn. He's fantastic, he's sassy, cheeky and strong, but wears his heart on his sleeve, and reminded me so much of Sam from The Lightning Struck Heart by TJ Klune, who's one of my absolute favourite characters.
Finn is disabled, and I can't tell you how refreshing it was to have a disabled character as the hero, especially when paired with an old and powerful vampire. Finn holds his own throughout the entire book and, despite dealing with his own trauma, he's just as powerful and capable as any of the other characters.
Finn is full of awful jokes but he's lovable and gets everyone to like him, even grumpy, distant Marcus who becomes his friend without really knowing why or consciously agreeing to it.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I say as I draw the curtain over the window so I don’t have to look into Marcus’s eyes as I steal his dog.
Also, I should mention Artie at this point, an Irish wolfhound who is a gentle sweetheart...and a bit of a creep at times.
Marcus is the typical brooding vampire, but his character shines when Finn finally breaks down some of his walls, allowing his caring, protective side to come through.
The chemistry between Finn and Marcus worked well and built, as did the constant banter between the two.
“I will try… this,” Marcus says as he waves between us. “But I’m promising nothing. And if I eat you, it’s one hundred percent your fault.”
The plot and pacing also started off strong and intriguing until at some point the story just meandered off and completely forgot about the plot.
There were a few scenes that felt completely irrelevant to the story and it appeared, for a lot of the book, that the author misplaced the big bad villain, only to bring him out when things got a bit dull.
Then there's the snark and humour, which started off as one of Finn's best qualities, but which grew into something quite annoying and distracting as pages and pages were full of
random back and forth.
"Did… Did you just ask me out and tell me you might eat me in the same breath? That’s so romantic.”
After all of this, the big build-up, the back and forth, the ominous figure in the darkness and the promises from Marcus to take care of it, we're met with a goddamn cliffhanger that really pi**ed me off.
I'm now at the point where I'm really bloody struggling to understand how the author is going to fill an entire second book finishing this plot when it could have easily fit into this novel, but, a part of me still wants to find out what happens next, as I want to see Finn get the resolution and the closure from his trauma that he desperately deserves.
Overall, the book started off really well, it's fast-paced and full of humour that's interwoven with darkness and tons of emotion. I liked the characters, particularly Finn, but would have liked more clarity from the plot.
Rating: 4 Stars
Series/Standalone: Seekers #1
How I got this book: ARC from the author
If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one.
It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake.
When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does.
To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die.
Body bags on standby.
TW: Abuse, rape, violence.
This is the first book that I've read by Josie Jaffrey, but when I saw the book advertised on Twitter as 'Vampires, murder mystery and a bi love triangle', I instantly wanted to read it.
As a side note, I'm loving that we're getting more bi-rep in Fantasy!
So, to begin with, I felt that the pace was a little slow, and it took me a while to get into what was happening. However, I think that may have been down to my reading preferences, more than the writing itself, as I rarely lean towards mystery/crime.
But, saying that, I quickly realised how great of a character Jack Valentine really is. I love how the author has created a hero who is not the typical gorgeous, glamorous, put-together person but is flawed and relatable.
Jack is a bit of a mess, she's always running late, almost always hungover, usually wearing the same unwashed clothes and she really couldn't give a shit what anyone thinks.
I love her. She's fiery, sarcastic, and she carries the story well.
"Come to think of it, being Silver is kind of like being bisexual. I came out to them when I was sixteen and they never believed that was real, either."
The pacing also picked up, for me, pretty quickly and I flew through the book.
I'm not going to lie, I think the pace really picked up and my interest piqued when we first meet Killian Drake who is just....*swoon*.
"Go on, Valentine." He pulls me in close with one hand and strokes my cheek with the other. "Pretend that you want me."
Killian is fun to read, he's dark and brooding but cocky and entertaining, and at times sweet and uncertain. Next to Jack, Killian is my favourite character, and I actually didn't feel that he was utilised enough in this book, I just wanted more.
Which brings me to my first actual issue with this book, the love triangle. I'm not an enormous fan of love triangles anyway, but I enjoyed how this triangle did a wonderful job of illustrating Jack's sexuality.
"And just because I'm bi...I mean, that's not how it works. I don't need one of each, you know? It's not like I'm missing out. That's not the way I am."
However, while I felt that Tabitha was a potentially interesting character, one that could build well overtime, I didn't sense any actual chemistry between her and Jack. There were no sparks, no sizzle, nothing. It felt like a dead relationship to me, and not one that could contribute to a believable love triangle.
So, for me, that element just didn't work, so it'll be interesting to see what happens in the next book and whether that dynamic improves/changes any.
In terms of the plot, I really enjoyed the mystery element, the setting and the variety of characters, and I spent a lot of time trying to work out who the 'killer' was, and I have to say that I didn't guess, it was a complete twist that I hadn't at all expected.
"We're not generally in the business of guarding the humans from themselves. We only exist to guard them from others like us.
I also felt the author handled a lot of darker themes (see TW above) woven into the story well, making the case not as straight-forward as I'd expected.
Overall, I think this was an interesting start to a new series, and I'm really looking forward to more of Drake's charm and Jack's wit in the next instalment.
Rating: 5 STARS!
Series/Standalone: Scholomance #1
How I got this book: ARC from Cornerstone, Random House UK via NetGalley
Learning has never been this deadly
A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.
I'm giving 5 stars to my girl El because she deserves every single one of them!
"Yes, now I was worrying I'd be turned to the dark side by too much crochet."
I've started this review several times, always with, I love this book because...and then about ten things immediately spring to mind.
So, instead, I'm going to start at the beginning.
I loved the premise. The synopsis grabbed me instantly and I couldn't wait to dig in.
But, it took me a little while to get really into the book. I knew that I liked it, but I wasn't really sure why. Then, it did a complete one-eighty on me the more I got to know El.
I'll be honest, in terms of actual plot, not a great deal does happen BUT this is the first book in the series, and it's clear that there's a lot of setup going on AND we do get fantastic world building, character building and really great monsters.
El though is my new hero. I absolutely love her, and might also be a little in love with her. It's really not often that you're introduced to a morally good character that's also incredibly powerful, witty, stubborn and 100% interesting.
"I love having existential crises at bedtime, it's so restful."
It's El who makes this book worth reading, and I love the humour she brings while at the same time bringing a lot of heart to the book, making you really care for and root for her.
The premise is fantastic - it's a school that almost tries to kill you!
"The school has to be fed somehow."
I love that the traditional "hero" trope in this book is turned on its head and I just love the dynamic between El and Orion. Think Legolas and Gimli, but a little more frank.
"Lake, I hate you more than words can possibly express."
The secondary characters are also fantastic and add a lot of unexpected humour, tension and drama to the plot.
"Mom told me that all boys are carrying a secret pet mal in their underwear, and if you get alone with them they let it out."
As the tension and danger built throughout the book, I really wondered how it was going to end but it was great, with just enough tension to keep me hanging on for the next one.
Overall, a fantastic start to a new fantasy series! I can't wait for the next instalment!
Rating: 3 STARS
Series/Standalone: Folk of the Air #3
How I got this book: Bought
He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.
Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.
Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.
Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.
And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…
Why are endings so often disappointing?
Maybe it's the fact that, as readers, we just don't want to say goodbye to characters that we've grown to love (or love to hate) or that we'll miss those worlds we lose ourselves in too much or that we just wanted MORE!
Sadly, none of those things is true for how I feel about the end of this trilogy.
For me, this entire book felt a little lost, pointless, and the ending was predictable and way too neat and tidy.
There were just so many moments where I felt that the whole thing was a bit stupid i.e. (no spoilers!) when Jude figures out Cardan's trick, when Nicassia DOES NOTHING and when Jude can't figure out the most obvious clue in the history of clues!
I feel a bit like the characters were done dirty by the author, they almost seemed dumbed down, their relationships rushed and everything tied up with a pretty little bow that made no sense and contradicted past behaviour and key character traits.
I was angry that Nicassia had almost no role in the book. Where was the vengeance, the drama, and the blinding jealousy we've come to expect from this series?
Why was Jude so compliant? Where's her spine, her defiance and the warrior nature that's she's built up over the past two books?
Maddox was boring, for want of a better word, and completely predictable. He had me rolling my eyes.
And Cardan was too damn tame. He completely stopped being interesting.
The big shock twist was completely predictable, and was I the only one picturing Jafar in Aladdin at this point?
Yes, this is a bit of a rant post, BUT I didn't completely hate this book.
I still enjoyed being back in the world of Elfhame. I enjoyed the politics and the scheming, even if it was more toned down than I'd have expected and I did still, in some ways, find the relationship endearing.
The pace moved quickly enough and I finished the book in just a few sittings. I can't say that I didn't enjoy reading the book, I did, but I didn't LOVE it the way I wish I had.
Overall, I can't lie that I am disappointed with the end of this series, but I am glad that I got to spend time in this world.
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance
Standalone/Series: Signs of Love #1
How I got this book: Bought
A new person will enter your life in the early year, Leo. Look past any moments of frustration they might bring and laugh—this could be the start of a thriving friendship.
Theo Wallace usually laughs at the horoscopes his mom sends. Still hung up on his ex-girlfriend and practically friendless, this one begs him to reconsider. Because a friendship that stuck, that thrived…
Well, that would be a reason to leave past pains behind and look to the Bright Future.
When his sister Leone challenges him to find her the perfect date for a spring wedding, Theo uses it as a chance to make new friends. Theo’s ex economics tutor and newest roommate Mr Jamie Cooper seems to be a possible and convenient match. Real convenient. Like written in the stars, convenient.
All he has to do is make sure this Jamie is good enough. Could really be the one for her, and the friend for him.
But watch out, Leo, the stars have a surprise in store…
Oops - I wrote this review back in October after a re-read of this story but apparently, I completely forgot to post it.
I love this entire series, but since Leo Loves Aries is the first book in the series it holds a serious soft spot in my heart.
Theo is cute, confident, charming and completely clueless...
Mr. Jamie Cooper is suave, sophisticated and sexy...
I absolutely adore this story. It's so refreshing to read a romance that stems from friendship, with no immediate sex being involved and it's nice to see the relationship develop naturally instead of instant lust - something that Anyta Sunday writes extremely well.
Theo and Jamie are the perfect witty pair, I love their banter, their friendship, their misunderstandings and their compassion for each other.
Theo felt his dimples deepen. “You’re so organized. No wonder I drove you up the wall.”
A few seconds passed before Jamie responded. “That’s cute.”
“Your use of past tense.”
The love scenes build on the underlying romance and connection between the two, making it a perfect combination of sweet and steamy.
“And if I can’t swim?”
“I swim for both of us.”
I swim for both of us. Theo’s breath caught.
This is definitely one of my favourite romance series and I love these innocent, clueless characters.
Rating: 5 STARS!
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance
Standalone/Series: Bear, Otter, and the Kid #1
How I got this book: Bought (Audible)
Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living—with a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that. Until Otter comes home.
Otter is Bear’s best friend’s older brother, and as they’ve done for their whole lives, Bear and Otter crash and collide in ways neither expect. This time, though, there’s nowhere to run from the depth of emotion between them. Bear still believes his place is as the Kid’s guardian, but he can’t help thinking there could be something more for him in the world... something or someone.
TW: Abandonment and homophobia.
You'll have to forgive me for the poor quality of this post as I'm struggling with a stupid cold right now and my eyes really hurt. It's a little ironic that I started listening to this audiobook a few weeks back when I was sick and now I'm under the weather again just as I've finished it - I blame the crying and the emotional turmoil this book put me through.
I've read a few of TJ Klune's books now and while his books always pack an emotional punch, I think the narrator, Sean Crisden, did a particularly fantastic job of bringing that emotion out through his voices for Bear, Otter and Ty. I also really liked his voice for Creed while I found Anna a tad annoying (both in character and voice).
I'm not sure how authors like TJ Klune manage to pack so much emotion and pain into a book and yet still have the ability to make you laugh, even through the heartache you share with the characters.
I haven't yet read a TJ Klune book that hasn't made me cry, or at least brought me very close to tears and Bear, Otter, and the Kid was no exception, I found myself sobbing into my pillow during certain scenes and then laughing out loud, usually at something Bear or Ty said, at others.
Bear is a fantastic character. He has so many depths and I love the storm and earthquake imagery the author uses to illustrate his anxiety and fears. It's a theme that builds throughout the book and is a beautiful metaphor for his inner turmoil.
Bear and Ty (the Kid) have a beautiful relationship and I love Ty's intelligent humour. The little eco-terrorist is my favourite character and so reminiscent of Artemis in The Bones Beneath My Skin. I love the way that TJ writes kids and I cannot wait for his upcoming book, The House in the Cerulean Sea for this very reason.
Otter is also a wonderful character and his evolving relationship with Bear and his dedication to both Bear and the Kid is moving and powerful to behold.
TJ has written a book containing so much pain (a lot of it via Bear's mother - god, I hate her) and this book had me holding my breath in so many places, just hoping and wishing that everything would work out (this author has a habit of being mean to his characters and readers!) but I'm going to spare you a spoiler and let you find that out for yourself.
Overall, this is a book that I fell in love with, with characters that made me laugh and cry. It's a heavy book, but at the same time it's light and with love, laughter, and family at its core. If you love TJ Klune, if you love heartfelt, meaningful and emotional romances, this is the book for you.
Never miss a post!
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)
Upcoming Blog Tours: