Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Aw this book is honestly so sweet. It was one of the books I was super excited for this year and it did not let me down.

It surrounds a convention for all the youtubers and geeky types like us lot where a group of friends travel from Australia to LA for the weekend of their dreams.

The book is pretty short and whilst I really liked my time with the book I felt like there isn't much for me to say.

This could've easily been a 5 star read for me as the style was so easy to read and the representation was on point. There was Asian Rep, aspie rep, anxiety Rep, chubby Rep, bisexual Rep, lesbian Rep. However I felt like there was just something a little lacking and it's not something I could ever pin point but it just wasn't quite in the favourites position for me

The book follows 2 blossoming relationships and it was honestly just really sweet to read. There was little miscommunications and classic tropes from YA romance that just makes you squeal with delight.

Even though my review is a bit thin on the ground I do hope you read this book because it just made me really happy when I read it and I can't wait to read the next Jen Wilde book because I feel like it's going to be a 5 star.

The Queen of Dauphine Street by Thea De Salle

So this book follows side characters from The King of Bourbon Street, like most romance series seem to do. Maddy is crazy rich, richer than you could imagine but she has a messy past. Darren is a typical Texas boy and is best friends with Maddy’s exes brother but an ex makes an attempt on his life and Maddy is there to save the day and take him away to New Orleans on her boat to protect him.

Whilst I loved Maddy this book did feel like a bit of a downgrade from the first book. But maybe I just loved Sol and Rain so much that anything would feel like that.

It did kind of feel a bit off the wall at times for honest. It was fun but because it’s based around Maddy who leads a ridiculous life things would happen that just don’t actually happen so though this is a contemporary you have to suspend your belief at times.

A lot of this book takes place in New Orleans, of course, so it made me really happy to read about Sol and Rain as their relationship was a little bit further on in time.

The most important thing for me in this book was Maddy. Though she was a bit wacky she was so unapologetic in her sexuality. She was bi, and she never hid it. Whenever speaking about past experiences she never glossed over her sleeping with men and women and she didn’t downplay it. And though I am not bi, pan and bi kind of go along in the same boat in terms of representation in media or lack thereof. So Maddy was a really important character for me.

There are possible triggers in this book for stalking and guns so if that’s something that could set you off be careful with this book.

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Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

Thank you to edelweiss and for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

If this book isn’t on your TBR now add it because it’s so adorable and funny.

Tash (pronounced Tosh) is in love with Leo Tolstoy, the dead author. She makes a web series based on Anna Karenina with her friends playing the roles and sees little buzz until one day a big youtuber posts about the series and they receive instant online fame.

So Tosh comes to the realisation throughout the book that she is asexual, now I’m not ace so I can’t tell you if the representation is good and not problematic but it felt like it was. It felt accurate to what I know about asexuality from my friends and the experiences they’ve had. If you are ace and have read this book and think it isn’t accurate please let me know.  I would also say that there is a warning for aphobia from other characters.

I really loved the parts of this book which focussed on the web series. It reminded me of the time when I binge watched the Lizzie Bennet Diaries and how much I loved them. It made me want to read Anna Karenina so I bought a copy, I probably won’t read it for a long time but I own it now.

I loved Tosh I found her so relateable, her anxieties read so well and were completely accessible to me despite having different anxieties. I loved that she was vegetarian, I never read books with veggie MCs, and so many people these days are veggie or vegan that it was just really nice to read. She was also Buddhist which is another thing that doesn’t feature in books much.

Something I really loved was that you get to read about youtube creators in a way that felt real, a lot of the time you read a book with youtubers in it and there is no mention of the amount of work that does into it but this book spoke about that a lot. It spoke about the stress of constant creation and relying on people to be there when you need them to be and also how hard it is to be in the limelight.

I loved that the MC ended up in a relationship with someone who was happy to be with her, there wasn’t any weird feelings from his side about her being ace, he didn’t try to pressure her. He liked her for her.

There was some really good side character representation as well which I absolutely adored.

I hope more people read this book because I haven’t seen much hype about it but it’s so worth the read.

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The King of Bourbon Street by Thea de Salle

Arianna Barrington needs to get away from her mother after a sex tape leaks of her, so she flies with her brother to New Orleans where she meets Sol DuMont, hotel mogul. Sol is still getting over the loss of his dad, the breakdown of his marriage and his complete lack of interest in life. The pair instantly click and begin a wild affair.

As a chubby girl this book meant so much to me. The MC is fat and I’ve read a fair few romance books in my life but this was such a breath of fresh air and it didn’t make me feel like an absolute mess who could never get a man because I’m not thin enough. And to add to that the love interest is a bi male, and it’s not just like a stated fact either, he references his past relationships with men and flirts with other guys a lot. You don’t read a lot of bi men in books. I think the biggest thing that I loved was just how casual everything was, from Arianna’s weight to Sol’s sexuality. Arianna is fat and it’s not made out to be a bad thing, it’s not made out that she’s beautiful despite being fat. She’s beautiful and she’s fat, it felt quite empowering for me to read.

Now there was insta-love in this, however when you’re reading it you kind of forget about the concept of time and just fall so into the story and Rain and Sol’s relationship. There was a couple of times where I did roll my eyes at how fast they seemed to be moving but the characters themselves were aware of how fast their lives were moving and weren’t acting like what they had was normal.

Any book is better if it includes dogs and this was extra good because it has a corgi and corgis are some of the cutest funniest dogs out there. Corgis are high up on my list of dogs I want to own so reading this made me so happy whenever there was a scene with the dog.

There is an age gap in this book, and if that makes you uncomfortable don’t read it. However consent is very important, and Sol is very aware how much more experience he has compared to Rain and tries very hard to make sure that he isn’t don’t anything to lead her into something she might not be into.

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History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

I’ve had Adam Silvera on my TBR for a while now and just never got around to reading anything. But then I saw History in the airport on my way to Italy so I just though I would get it, especially since the only other physical book I took with me was SOC. Like all of my reviews, but specifically the ones which have sensitive topics, if I say something wrong or offensive let me know please.

Griffin’s first love has died in a tragic accident and Griffin has to navigate the world without Theo in it suddenly. On top of that Theo’s new boyfriend is constantly trying to make friends with Griffin when all he wants to do is hate him, since he was the new boyfriend.

I’ll be honest and say I haven’t read much books involving gay male teens written by gay male writers. For some reason all the kind of popular gay books are written by women, which is another discussion for another day about sexualisation of gay guys. It was refreshing to read something like this, where it was just about these kids trying to live their lives after such a bad experience.

Theo was honestly really annoying. He thought OCD was a “cute quirk” and he moved on immediately to some guy who looked exactly like his ex. And then jerked his new boyfriend about because he still liked said ex, which just made me very uncomfortable.

Something I really liked about this book, well not necessarily liked, was that it had a good representation of grief. How people do silly things when they’re grieving. It showed the different reactions people go through which I thought was done really well, a lot of books just show a person being sad and miss out on the whole slew of emotions that a person will go through. There was a couple of twists because of the grief all the characters go through that really had me quite shocked, and that takes a lot.

To add to that it also had good representation of OCD. I don’t know if Silvera has OCD, I don’t know his life, but if he didn’t it still felt real. There was some stereotypes and some lesser known OCD related habits. I could tell that he’d done his research into it.

At the moment I have this book as on my faves shelf on goodreads, but I’m not really sure about it. Like I really loved it but I feel like it wasn’t quite up there with other books I’ve read recently. I don’t know.

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

How do you write a review of a book which means so much to you?

This book is all based around a heist made by 6 teenagers in order to get a sum of money beyond their wildest dreams. The problem is, despite these kids being incredibly sneaky the place they need to break into is like Alcatraz and is apparently impossible to break into.

The characters in this book meant so much to me. You have Inej who is POC and believes in her religion without embarrassment. Kaz is like the biggest bad boy around but he has such a troubled past and he continues to be a kingpin of the underworld even though he has no family left and has a limp. Nina is also POC and she takes no shit and is such a boss character and I just felt such a connection to her. There also some same sex flirtation and a bi/pan character. They’re so diverse but I felt like I could connect to all of them even if they had a different background to me. Normally when you have a book with multiple points of view you can find yourself leaning more towards other certain characters chapters and feel like you skip some character’s chapters to get to other but I didn’t have that problem with this. I enjoyed every characters POVs, even the characters I wasn’t as fond of.

At times there was some really smart twists that Bardugo had obviously spent a lot of time planning this book. Though I have to say I felt like I guessed them before they happened but I think that was probably just me, or really good foreshadowing. I watch a lot of TV with plots and twists, and obviously you know if you’ve been following me a while that I like fantasy novels so I feel like I’m actually pretty good at guessing what’s going to happen next, more than the average reader anyway.

This book read like a teenagers Ocean’s Eleven. Everything was so planned, down to even minute details that Kaz felt like Danny Ocean. Confusing even the people who were on his side because he was just always 2 steps ahead of everything else. And because of this I really felt like the pacing was really good.

One random thing I noted to myself when readig was that I absolutely adored the descriptions of Ketterdam. I felt like I could so vividly imagine it, like the leaning buildings and the dirt filled streets. It was like a movie in my mind at times.

I don’t know if I can bring myself to read Crooked Kingdom because I don’t think I’m ready for it. But I’m also dying to read it.

I don’t need to tell you to read this book because I’m sure it’s already on every single one of your TBRs since it’s been one of the most hyped up books in YA in the past couple year’s. But it’s hyped for a reason and I hope if you were umming and ahhing about whether to buy it that my review has swung you.

 

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George by Alex Gino

I’m cis so I’m sorry if I say anything offensive in this review by mistake, as with all reviews please let me know.

When I become a teacher this is one of the books I’m going to recommend to all my children. I think it perfectly summed up what being trans is for a child’s mind. And it really came at gender from a point of view that so many children won’t be exposed to.

All George wants is to play Charlotte in their school’s production of Charlotte’s Web but her teacher tells her she can’t because she’s a boy and Charlotte’s a girl and that would be too confusing for he audience. Instead George’s best friend gets the role and George feels incredibly downhearted.

The thing that really stood out to me was from the beginning the author called George she, there was no transition moment where it went from male pronouns to female pronouns or anything like that and I imagine it’s because the book is own voices. I think that was really good at explaining what being trans or non binary is, you don’t suddenly wake up and feel different, that’s who you are. Which I know, and I’m sure you know, but this is a middle grade book and for kids who might have never heard of being trans before it would be a lot more understandable for them and could be a gateway into learning more.

It’s a short book and a quick read so if you’re looking for a positive Trans read then this will get you feeling emotions in a short space of time.

George was the sweetest character and he relationships with both her brother and her best friend made me so happy because they were so understanding. I was brought to tears by her interactions with these characters sometimes. But then I was also brought to tears at interactions with George’s mother, who wasn’t understanding. It was important to be shown both sides of the coin though because too often trans kids don’t have any support from anyone.

As I’m not trans I can’t speak for the representation in this book but I felt like it was pretty spot on and from the reviews I’ve seen people seem to be happy with it. I hope you all find time to read this book because I think it is incredibly important.

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The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Random House Children’s UK for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I’ve honestly been dreading writing this review because I loved this book so much and I don’t honestly know how to even talk about it.

Molly has a lot of crushes and all of them are unrequited, or she thinks they are because she never gets the confidence to tell them. When Molly’s sister Cassie gets a girlfriend Molly starts to feel even more sad about her unrequited love. But Cassie has a cute friend who Molly thinks maybe she could love, at the same time she starts to feel things for her coworker Reid.

This book is in contention for my favourite book of the year. I absolutely adored Simon Vs and I think I liked this even more. It has a chubby Jewish MC, a chubby romantic interest, lesbian mums, a pansexual, Korean character. It was just so wonderfully real. As someone who is pansexual it was especially important for me that there was a pansexual character.

This has a sort of love triangle but it’s not really a love triangle because one of the love interests is more of a forced flirtation caused by Cassie. But I liked how Albertalli dealt with the situation, it felt so real and not like how uncomfortable and silly some love triangles are.

I just want to take a second to talk about how much I loved the representation in this book. As someone who is both chubby and pansexual it meant a lot to me to read a YA book with characters who were the same. I think this is the first book I’ve ever read where there was a pansexual character and I’m just so happy about it. I hope that more books include pan characters. I also loved reading a chubby MC and about a chubby love interest. It’s not often that a love interest doesn’t have the “perfect” body. And on top of all that Molly has anxiety and she takes medication for it and that’s just part of her every day life and it was so good to read someone who has anxiety just living with it and seeing the ups and downs even with meds.

This book just made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside. There’s something about the way Albertalli writes that I just really adore. She doesn’t add unnecessary drama and she just has characters living their lives. I also love how Simon Vs. had Oreos and this has Mini Eggs, I adore Mini Eggs but you can only get them at Easter time which makes me sad.

The wedding may date this book as it surrounds gay marriage being made legal in the states but I loved reading something that was relevant to where we are now.

I already want to reread this book because I just loved it so much and has solidified Becky Albertalli as an auto-buy author for me.

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Half Lost by Sally Green

This book broke my heart. I did not see what happened coming and I just didn’t know what to do with myself.

I feel like with this novel we came full circle with Nathan. In Half Bad Nathan doesn’t know who he is being half black half white and whether he’s good or bad. In Half Lost Nathan just doesn’t know who he is anymore. He’s really struggling over being the evil murderer that white witches expect him to be and just killing to survive.

There was finally the relationship that everyone was hoping for in this book but it actually kind of felt like a cop out. That being said I was reading it desperately hoping that the relationship was going to happen and that Nathan wasn’t leading the person on because he wasn’t in a good place.

There’s a huge fight at the end of this book, that’s not a spoiler it’s what you’d expect at the end of a fantasy novel but it honestly felt like there wasn’t much to the fight. It started then suddenly it was over and we were in the future.

There isn’t actually much I can say about this book without spoiling it or previous books. It wasn’t the perfect ending and there are some things I would definitely change but it was good.

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Mini Reviews #3

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Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Oh man I loved reading this. I’m a Star Wars fan, though not to the extent o the people like the ones in this book, so reading this was so fun for me. I’ve never queued for a Star Wars film and I doubt I ever will but I loved reading about the experiences of these characters. I liked that the MC was Vietnamese as well, you don’t read many books with Vietnamese characters, though Rowell hasn’t had a good history with writing Asian characters, see numerous reviews of Eleanor and Park, this one was ok I think. I have however queued for bands so some of this definitely resonated for me.

 

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Princess Saves Herself in this One

Thank you to netgalley and Andrews McMeel publishing for sending me a copy in exchange for a review.

I’m not a massive poetry person, I struggle to understand poetry often but I really liked this collection. It was a 4 star read for me until the last section, there are 4 sections, and the final section just really stood out to me, I cried for a little bit. Now if you don’t like tumblr post style poetry this isn’t for you, there’s a lot of disjointed sentences. I really loved the formatting at times because it was dragged across pages and sometimes there was huge gaps, so it really worked in making you feel things. I would also give a trigger warning for self harm and suicidal thoughts.

 

The Lightning Thief and The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

I read these books a few years ago, like 6 maybe, and I genuinely can’t remember any of it but I wanted to read the series and the rest of Riordan’s books so I knew I had to reread them. They’re so much funnier than I remember. I also really struggled with The Sea of Monsters when I read it, that was kind of the beginning of the 5 year slump so reading it now was a much more enjoyable experience. I’ll be writing individual full reviews for the rest of the books in the series as they will be fresh first time reads.

 

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Coffee Boy by Austin Chant

This book was so wonderful. It would’ve been one of my favourite books of the year had it been longer. I desperately wanted to read more after the characters got together but it just ended. The MC is both a trans man and gay so he faces a lot of prejudice in his new work space but his boss is very keen on making sure that everyone treats Kieran with the respect he deserves.

I think because this was own voices it felt all that more authentic and genuine. The experiences the MC faced felt like real life experiences, the things he felt read really well and made me feel even more sad about the way trans people are treated because it gave me insight into the mind of a trans person. Kieran also had to work at a place where he wasn’t out so had to dress as the gender he was assigned at birth and it was interesting to read.

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