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.
Welcome to my stop on the Match Me If You Can Blog Tour!
It's my first blog tour of the year and I'm so excited to be back since I haven't done one of these since Halloween.
As always, a huge thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to take part!
Now, on to the book at hand...
Rating: 3 STARS
How I got this book: ARC from Xpresso Book Tours
Mia’s best friend Robyn is known for her matchmaking skills, which is perfect, because homecoming is just around the corner. But Robyn refuses to set Mia up with the guy of her dreams, which forces Mia to take matters into her own hands. She uses Robyn’s matchmaking service to make sure popular Vince Demetrius falls for her.
Vince asks her out, but Mia doesn’t count on Logan, the persistent school newspaper photographer who seems to like her out of the blue. Now she has to choose between Vince – the guy she knows is right for her – and Logan, who insists that she give him a chance. And she needs to make sure Robyn doesn’t find out that Mia’s been matchmaking behind her back.
Mia has two weeks before homecoming. Can she fix the mess she made or will she have to kiss her perfect match goodbye forever?
Romance and YA are two of my favourite things and I was really excited to start reading Match Me If You Can.
First impressions of Mia made me think of a younger Bridget Jones. Mia is a bit clumsy and fumbling, so it made her a more real and relatable character, to begin with.
I noticed on Goodreads that the book is a re-telling of A Midsummer Night's Dream which becomes more apparent towards the middle of the book when certain relationships begin to entwine and clash.
Whilst the plot is super predictable and full of rom-com style clichés, the writing did keep me engaged throughout the story.
My favourite thing about this whole book is Logan, who I love. He's sweet, supportive, funny, flirty and heartfelt, and I can't get enough of his scenes.
I did have a few problems with Mia's character. To me, she seemed quite shallow and a little vapid, she's constantly ignoring the very obvious truth, as well as her own feelings, and I felt as though I was several steps ahead of her throughout the entire book.
The drama also irked me a little as it just seemed a tad over the top and unnecessary but it did fuel the plot and kept the pace moving quickly.
The romance was very sweet but I don't want to go into too much detail and ruin the particulars for you, so all I'll say is that this book is a very light, fun and fluffy read, perfect for fans of quick-paced teen rom-coms.
Click the cover photo above to add the book to your Goodreads TBR and enter below for your chance to win a print copy of Match Me If You Can. The giveaway is open to US/CAN only and is 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 :)
If you come here often, you'll know that I'm slowly, and I mean very slowly, working my way through the award/tags that I was nominated for last year.
So, this month, I'm finally getting around to my Liebster Award post which I was nominated for in July 2018 (*facepalm*) by the very lovely Noly @ The Artsy Reader! Thanks Noly 😄
Let's get down to the rules (which I admittedly copied from Noly's post):
Here are Noly's questions for me:
1. What is your favorite time of year?
Those two weeks between autumn and winter where it's not too hot and not too cold. It's the perfect time for both reading outside and drinking hot chocolate.
2. If you didn’t have to worry about calories and health, which one food would you eat for the rest of your life?
Ice cream ...or bacon.
3. If you would write a book, which genre would it be?
I am writing a book lol but this is a tough question since I'm struggling to define the genre. The best way that I can describe it right now is a paranormal romance combined murder mystery, with some humour thrown in along the way.
4. What’s your favorite time of day to read?
I'd read all day if I could but it's usually in the evening after work.
5. What super power would you love to have?
The power to stop time. Imagine how much more you could get done!?!
6. What is the last book you finished but didn’t like?
Professor's Kiss - way too many issues for me in this one.
7. What is the best book you’ve read so far in 2018?
This is a tricky one as there were sooo many amazing books I read last year but two that really stood out were Nevernight by Jay Kristoff and The Bones Beneath My Skin by TJ Klune.
8. What is one book that surprised you (because you didn’t expect it to be so good)?
The Lightning Struck Heart by TJ Klune - I didn't expect it to be so hilarious!
9. Which celebrity would you most like to meet and why?
I'm not much of a celebrity nut and my mind has gone completely blank on this one...not a clue!
10. What place would you love to visit next?
I have my heart set on visiting Venice. Aside from a trip to Disney Land Paris when I was 11, I've never been out of the UK and I'd love to travel more.
11. What’s your most embarrassing childhood memory (only tell if you’re comfortable with sharing it)?
I have so many. I've always been a complete klutz so my life was basically a series of small disasters. I was also EXTREMELY OBSESSIVE and looking back, a pretty big liar when I was a child and so, the most embarrassing was probably telling everyone at school that I was second in line to play Hermione Granger in Harry Potter (and that I owned an Owl) 😂
After that embarrassing recap, let's move onto my 11 questions:
1. If you had to choose just one book to read for the rest of your life, which would it be?
2. What book are you most looking forward to in 2019?
3. What's the first book you remember reading?
4. When you're feeling low, what book is guaranteed to pick you up?
5. Do you listen to music whilst reading?
6. What's your favourite reading snack?
7. Bookmarks or dog-ears?
8. What's your favourite book-to-film adaptation?
9. Which book character do you relate to the most?
10. If you could pick any author's brain, who would you choose?
11. What standalone book do you wish had a sequel?
Phew! Now, let's move onto my eleven nominations:
1. Asha @ A Cat, A Book, and A Cup of Tea
2. Manon @ Cafe Manon
3. Nelo @ Booked Unicorn
4. Kayla @ A Book A Day
5. Amy @ The Little Booknerds in the Corner
6. Kelsey @ There's Something About KM
7. Luana @ Book Storm
9. Julie @ That Bookish Princess
10. Princess of Pages
11. Beth @ BooksNest
There we have it! 11 questions, 11 answers and 11 nominations. Feel free to take part if you want to, I'd love to read your answers!
Until next time x
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!
Who's excited for some amazing new books this year?
I certainly am! There are so many books I'm looking forward to reading this year, so to kick the year off to a great start, I wanted to share with you the books that are currently on my ARC shelf.
I'll be taking part in blog tours with Xpresso Book Tours for both of these books so be sure to keep an eye out for those as there's almost always a giveaway involved!
Just click on an image to add the book to your TBR:
I can't wait to start reading these two books! Check back on the 11th and 23rd January for the two blog tours or subscribe to the blog (top right) to never miss a post!
What are you reading right now?
It's New Years Eve!
I hope you've all had a fantastic year and I wish you the very best in 2019!
2018 has been CRAZY!
This year, I started my blog, which has been so much fun! I've met some incredible new people; readers, bloggers and authors. I went to my first ever book festival which was fantastic, and I both started and stopped receiving monthly book boxes lol which were fantastic and so much fun!
I read 100 books this year! I've discovered some incredible new titles and authors and I've loved writing about them!
According to my Pinterest board, I have 49 favourite books of 2018, but since that's a few too many to list here, I'm going to list 5 of my favourites below and you're welcome to check out my Favourite Books of 2018 board here to see them all.
I can't say that these 5 books are my top 5 books of the year but they are in the top 10. These 5 books stood out because each one was truly fantastic.
They Both Die at the End was an emotional roller coaster of a book. It was heartbreaking, breathtaking and a beautiful and bittersweet read.
Nevernight was incredible, a truly epic fantasy with one of the best heroines I've ever read! I'm hoping to read Godsgrave really soon.
The Bones Beneath My Skin was a truly unique, and stunning LGBT Sci-Fi. This book blew me away.
While I enjoyed Six of Crows, it's sequel, Crooked Kingdom made the duology so much better. I loved how it kept me on my toes until the very end.
The Lightning Struck Heart was the first book I ever read by TJ Klune, who has quickly become one of my favourite authors. This might just be the funniest book I've ever had the pleasure of reading!
You can check out my full review for any of these books by clicking on the covers.
In my next post, I'll be sharing the books currently on my ARC shelf and the book tours I have coming up in January!
Have a fantastic New Year! Thanks for reading :)
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.
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: 4 STARS
Series/Standalone: Tales from Verania #2
How I got this book: Bought
Once upon a time, the wizard’s apprentice Sam of Wilds got his happily ever after in the arms of his cornerstone, Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart. A year has passed, and while Sam’s been captured five or six more times since then, things are pretty great. His parents are happy, Gary and Tiggy still eat sass for breakfast, Randall is somehow alive despite being older than the gods, the King rules with a gentle hand, Kevin the dragon is as gross as ever, Morgan sighs a lot, Ryan continues to be dashing and immaculate, and Sam is close to convincing Prince Justin they will be best friends forever.
Life is good.
Until it’s not.
Because Vadoma, the leader of the Gypsy clan and Sam’s grandmother, has come to the City of Lockes with a dire prophecy written in the stars: a man of shadows is rising and will consume the world unless Sam faces his destiny and gathers the five dragons of Verania at his side.
And she brings along her second-in-command, a man named Ruv.
Ruv, who Vadoma says is Sam’s true cornerstone.
It would seem that I'm having a bit of a TJ Klune marathon at the moment since I just can't stop reading his books...even after finishing this I immediately started one of his contemporary romances. He's JUST SO GOOD, I CAN'T STOP!
Anyway, back to the book at hand.
A Destiny of Dragons is book two in the Tales of Verania fantasy series by TJ Klune. If you haven't read book one yet, feel free to check out my review of The Lightning Struck Heart.
A Destiny of Dragons starts with a rather foreboding prologue that, since finishing this book, I have a really, really, really bad feeling about but I'm trying not to think of it so that I don't cry, but Chapter One picks up not too long after where we left things in book one and it immediately falls back into TJ's hilarious rhythm, with Sam trying to show Justin how much he cares before being hit on by a stranger and discovered by a posing Ryan. I really loved being back with the insane Verania crew who I can't seem to get enough of.
The best thing about this book is 'Sam's New Destiny (capitalised so it must be true)' as much as he hates and complains about it, for the following reasons:
ALL THE FEELS!
As always TJ Klune manages to blend this incredible mixture of awesome magic and magical creatures with outrageous, very crude humour and so much emotion you feel like your heart might just burst.
Sam is on another adventure that he didn't ask for and with the help (and hindrance) of some new characters he still handles it with his classic 'Sam' attitude:
"Finally, I did the only thing a person could do if they were in my position and faced with a gigantic hill monster after having been bad-touched by an old lady into the middle of the woods. I waved and said, “Heeeyyy there.”
As with The Lightning Struck Heart, A Destiny of Dragons takes us on a journey across Verania, with some amazing new places to discover this time around.
However, where the first book in the series delivered very over-the-top comedy, this book didn't have quite the same carefree feel. Things are different for Sam, things are darker, harder and more difficult with much more at stake for Sam and the people of Verania. In this book we see strains on friendship and fear that strikes at Sam's heart, and the hearts of those around him.
I'm really excited and nervous to see how things play out in the rest of the series as there's promise of a lot of dark, depressing shit (there was a point in this book that I was so very close to crying) and I'm completely on edge having no idea what's going to happen next. I really don't think it'll be long before I read book three!
So, to finish, I'm going to leave you with one of my favourite quotes from this book, a little pearl of Sam wisdom:
"You can’t hide your head in the sand without expecting your ass to get burned.”
Rating: 4 🔥🔥🔥🔥
How I got this book: This novella is available for free exclusively at tjklunebooks.com
When he sees Satan stuck in a rut, God provides a little divine intervention, suggesting the Devil get back to basics.
Taking God's advice, Satan answers a summons to a crossroad on Earth, hellbent on brokering a deal in exchange for the soul of the human who summoned him.
The problem with that is the summoner is a deviant twink named Jimmy who immediately falls in love at first sight, much to Satan's dismay.
Blasphemy! Where God is a frat bro who wants to get his brother laid, Satan absolutely does not have time for this shit, and Jimmy wants to climb the Devil like a tree.
Important note: If you are extremely religious or find religious satire offensive, this is NOT the book for you!
First off, I want to say:
1. How awesome is the artwork above? The banners were designed by members of TJ Klune's Facebook reader group and I love each one!
2. The author provided this novella for free on his website. It's available to read on the site or you can download the PDF or Mobi files to your devices!
If you've read some of TJ's other work, specifically the Tales of Verania series, you'll be very familiar with the authors' brand of satirical, twisted humour. If you haven't, think like a really vulgar (but in the best way) Terry Pratchett but with waaay more sex, swearing and generally outrageous behaviour involved.
Blasphemy! was a really short read (around 20,000 words) and is a tale about the lord of the underworld and his growing loneliness. Throw in some help from his (and I quote) "brother-dad" God who's incredibly interfering, and a very naive young human who falls head over horns in love and you have a classic, hysterically funny TJ Klune story that will keep you laughing out loud from start to finish.
"And while Satan had never been too fond of labels, he sometimes wondered if he was a bear now, like the type who could be called Daddy."
Featuring appearances from a Demon named Derek, a man named Carl, and a very teenage Jesus Christ this story is pretty much un-quotable but I did manage to find this little snippet to give you a taste of what's in store:
"Jesus! Jesus Christ, you better not be making a mess in the kitchen. We just had it cleaned!"
A surly response came crackling through the monitor. "I'm not! And don't tell me what to do! You're not even my real dad. Joseph is! When he and Mom get back from their vacation, I'm going to tell them you never let me do anything."
As I said above, this book is really not intended for anyone who's highly religious or easily offended, but if that's not you, and you're looking for a quick-paced read that promises some heavy belly laughs, go and grab this book!
Enjoy 🤣 and once you read it, feel free to leave your comments below!
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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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