Could You Love An Apple? by Becky Jerams

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5stars

He felt ready to put on his armour and fight until every last demon was finally defeated.

Title: Could You Love An Apple?
Author: Becky Jerams
Good things about this book: BENJAMIN APPLE!
Bad things about this book: It’s long and many things can go wrong when a book is long.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

>> Beware; this is going to be a review full of quotes because I love quotes, quotes are the best

Once upon a time there was a beautiful boy who in the past made really terrible mistakes and, even if people around him has somehow forgiven him, it was very hard to convince himself that he was a person worth being with, a person worth loving.

This book has 500+ pages and has every single quality of a Netflix original series:
1) You will go through all range of the emotion spectrum;
2) You will laugh, cry, shake your head, be mad, scream, want to shake some sense out of characters for being dumb;
3) You will love every second of it;
4) You will want to binge read the hell out of it in a single sitting if time and responsibilities allow;
5) You will finish only to feel happy yet empty inside.

Every time someone smiled at him or treated him kindly, it felt so thoroughly undeserved that it made Taylor’s skin crawl.

How can you not love a book like that? It will test your patience. Believe me, it tested my patience and I am a very patient person. There were times I wanted to put it in stand-by because it was making me feeling anxious and a little, let’s say, murdery. I was angry at everything and everyone because I could see how the world would’ve been with them happy and together and it seemed that the only ones in their way to happiness were themselves.

Taylor Raven has left his family and city behind to start anew. But the past is not easy to forget, forgive or get away from. We know the horrible things he’s done to Scotty in the previous book “Reasons to Love a Nerd Like Me” but we also know that by the end of the book he has redeemed himself and we see at the beginning of this book that Scotty and co has forgiven Taylor and now they are friends. Taylor knows all of this but he doesn’t feel worth having friends or people around him. He thinks he is toxic. He thinks he’s not going to find love because how can he deserve it after everything?

“I made his life a fucking misery.”
“Because you liked him?” Benjamin asked aloud. Taylor clenched his fists together into an angry ball.
“No. Because I loved him.”

Taylor is not an easy person. He has anger episodes and a lot of internal issues caused by his family, especially his father, and by what he’s done alongside his bully friends in college. He thinks nobody will bother him in Westerfield but being a small town where everyone knows one another, is hard escaping people trying to get to know you better.

“I can’t believe this. I’ve stayed out all night in another man’s bed and I don’t have any clean clothes. I don’t even have a toothbrush! My mum is going to be disgusted with me. I’ll be a family disgrace.”

One day, trying to get away from people and his lonely flat, he stumbles upon a little pub called The Apple Inn. The pub looks quite rustic and the customers are scarce, almost non-existent. The Apple family runs the Apple Inn and they are lovely people. George and Sharon are loving parents, Ashleigh is a bubbly teenager and a very slow barman, and Benjamin is the adorable ginger cook/barman/artist who thinks Taylor is the most interesting thing that has happened in his life in a very long time.

“Is that all you’ve got to say?” Taylor grunted in response, still holding onto Benjamin firmly. “Oh bother?”
“It felt like a very ‘oh bother’ kind of moment.”

Benjamin is the most beautiful and adorable boy and he deserves the world. He is funny, some may think he tries too much, but it’s not like that, he likes making people laugh and he is genuinely lovable. He is very tall, ginger like Garfield (his words not mine), is very good at drawing and is trying his best to help his family run the pub, even if it means he had to put his future on hold.

“Stop being so soppy, get off me!”
“NO! YOU WILL ACCEPT MY ADVANCES WILLINGLY!”

I can’t begin to explain how much I love Benjamin. And I also loved Benjamin with Taylor. I knew how good Benji’s personality was making Taylor realize he could have it all. It was scary and he still had a lot to reveal about himself. What would adorable Benjamin think of Taylor after he learns what he’s done, what he was capable of doing?

“People tell me I’m very charming.”
He was joking, but at the same time it was completely true. “Oh, people tell you that do they? What people?”
“My mum.”

This was a rollercoaster of emotions. As soon as something nice was happening I knew it wasn’t going to last because, come on, I was only at 30%, how could things be perfect if the book was only at the beginning? I was scared all the time. Everything that could go wrong was destined to go wrong. They was no way of escaping it and maybe that’s for the best because that way Taylor could really face his demons, defeat them, move on and be happy.

I will recommend it and I will keep on loving it. I already loved Becky Jerams for Scotty’s story and now my love is confirmed with this book. I am putting her on my authors-I-love list; she deserves it.

“I’ve seen you knock things over so artfully, I thought for sure you were training for the next Olympics.”

^^^Oh, how I love my beautiful goofy ginger angel!

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The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo #2) by Rick Riordan

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5stars

“The longer you live, the weirder the world gets.”

Title: The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo #2)
Author: Rick Riordan
Good things about this book: I loved everything so maybe you will, too!
Bad things about this book: I would love to see again old characters but that’s not really a bad thing.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I always recommend a Riordan.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

If there’s a certainty in my life is that any book Mr. Riordan writes is a book that’s not going to disappoint me. So far it has never happened and I’m positive it’s not going to happen anytime soon. I may be 31 years old but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to like stories about teenagers saving the world. Add mythology to the mix and you got me hooked for life.

Apollo is still very human and very mortal and he has to go on quests to get his father, the mighty Zeus, to make him a god again. This time he is flying to Indianapolis with Leo and Calypso riding the metal dragon Festus. I loved these quest companions! I already loved Leo from the Heroes of Olympus’ books and now we get to know the half titan Calypso, newly freed from the exile on the prison island Ogygia.

“Don’t test me, Valdez. When I am a god again, I will make a constellation out of you. I will call it the Small Exploding Latino.”

Apollo is starting to understand how is it to be human a little better than in the previous book but he still has a very long way to go. In order to become a god again is pretty obvious that he has to start seeing things the way demigods and mortals see it. He has to understand sacrifice. He has to understand love. He is starting to see it but it’s still not enough. Well, there are still 3 books to go so I guess we’re going to see funny and frail human being Lester Papadopoulos fight against powerful immortal emperors for a little bit longer.

“It’s not how long you live that matters. It’s what you live for.”

There is a new set of amazing characters that are involved in this quest, and there are also old friends we already knew and surely missed. Hunters, former hunters, a headless cheddar-colored ghost, demigods, griffins, ostriches, a sweet elephant called Livia, and many others. There weren’t plot twists but the story unfolded a little at a time and mysteries were revealed when they were supposed to be revealed.

I guessed the name of the new Emperor they were facing this time because I am a little familiar with roman history, living in Italy and having studied like a good student back in the day. I have to say that I may have not paid much attention in class because a lot of things were new to me; it was nice learning new stuff. I have to admit that my knowledge may have come from movies. A lot of my knowledge nowadays comes from TV shows, movies and books. That’s me, always quoting The Simpsons in everyday conversations!

His eyes gleamed with confidence as if to say, That’s right. I just crawled out of a tunnel, and I still look gorgeous.

As usual, the diversity in Riordan’s books is a breath of fresh air. I love to imagine a world in which no matter who you love, the gender you identify with, the color of your skin, or where you come from, you are not object of hate and violence from ignorant people. The world is a melting pot of human beings and we cohabitate in a world that is amazing. Less hate and lots more of love doesn’t have to be hard to achieve, it has to come naturally like it’s supposed to.

I sighed inwardly. First it had been the zoo at first light. Then the Canal Walk at first light. Now the caverns. I really wished dangerous quests could start at a more suitable time, like perhaps three in the afternoon.

That being said, I just loved how Apollo was a lot more flirtatious with the boys in this book, and hearing about his past love stories was nice; I’m sure there are a lot more stories to be told. I love seeing Apollo, the narcissistic, egocentric, and hilarious god I obviously adore, becoming a better person; I just can’t wait to see this different version of him on Mount Olympus dealing with the other gods and his daddy.

Have I said something to spoil the story? I hope not. Things happen, there are a lot of carrots to peal, dishes to clean, toilets to scrub, monsters to kill and enemies to fight; no time to rest, our heroes are going to be pretty busy.

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City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

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5stars

What an ugly thing I am, he thinks. Why did I ever believe I could wreak anything but ugliness in this world? Why did I ever think that those near me would meet anything but pain and death?

Title: City of Miracles
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Good things about this book: Sigrud!!!
Bad things about this book: It is the final book of this trilogy.
Do I recommend it? Yes, 500% yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Third and last book of a trilogy I would have never read if it wasn’t for Goodreads and a fellow reader who wrote a review that painted this book worth of a try. And it was worth it, believe me. It contains a world building written with so much detail it constructs itself inside your head easily. I don’t know how to describe it to others but I want to be able to do it because this trilogy hasn’t as much readers as it truly deserves.

That’s the cycle of your life, isn’t it? You throw yourself into dangerous, hopeless situations. These situations punish you mercilessly. Yet you overcome them, and live.

After two books with two amazing main characters, now it’s time for my beloved Sigrud je Harkvaldsson to take the lead. I have loved him since the first book, City of Stairs, in which he worked alongside Shara Komayd against the danger of Divinities. He is a complex character, driven by anger. He has many layers and almost all of them are full of pain and suffering.

The second book, City of Blades, ended with Sigrud having to run away from Voortyashtan. Thirteen years have passed since then: years of Sigrud waiting for Shara to tell him it was okay to go back home, that everything that happened was somewhat being forgiven and, hopefully, forgotten over time. Years passed and no news from his friend until one day he hears Shara has been murdered; he is in shock and wakes from a sort of slumber and makes his way back to find out who did this to Shara, why and to avenge her.

I know how anything I tell is a potential spoiler and it was so good not having any when reading the book so I won’t write anything unnecessary, anything that can give you clues that are best not to have. It’s great to gasp at twists and smile when you finally understand what’s going on. Those are irreplaceable feelings!

What a stupid creature he is, driven by rage and emotion.

Being inside Sigrud’s mind is painful. He suffers a lot from what happened to him and also to all the people that he cared about and are not longer alive. Sigrud is supposed to be 63 years old. Sixty-three years old and looking half his age, it’s his cursed; new scars added to his person but not a single wrinkle decorating his face. His mind is a nest of bad thoughts but also resolution to get vengeance and to get rid of the new danger they are now facing. This villain is immature so he is erratic, driven by wrong reasons, his ego being the the mastermind of his plans; every time I turned a page I feared for the lives of everyone.

He remembers Shara again, twenty years ago, outside of Jukoshtan: Our work asks us to make terrible choices. But make them we shall.

The fact that Shara is dead and we know she is dead from the synopsis of the book doesn’t make reading about it easier. We knew Shara; we knew her values and what she did to make the world a better place. The way Sigrud thinks about Shara, the way he remembers her and what they did together, is so full of love and admiration and it kept breaking my heart.

They were closer than lovers—for love, of course, is a flighty, mercurial thing.

I cried when I finished the book. The last paragraph gave me the final blow. Saying goodbye is hard, I know that, but this felt different: they were happy tears. The kind of happy that comes from sadness but that knows it couldn’t have gone in any other way. It gives you peace and it gives you hope. I want these characters to be their better selves and live a happy life. That’s all I want.

Goodbye magnificent world of miracles and divinities. Goodbye characters that gave them all to make a difference. Goodbye friends we made along the way. Goodbye to you all and thank you.

We float upon a sea of moments, he thinks. And never are we truly free of them.

If you haven’t read this trilogy I recommend it with all my heart. I can’t explain why and maybe I won’t ever be able to put in words what makes me love these books, but like the review that convinced me to give it a try, I hope my review will do the same. Spread the love!

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The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

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4stars

Title: The Love Interest
Author: Cale Dietrich
Good things about this book: Its potential and it can be funny.
Bad things about this book: It lose itself and it’s quite random.
Do I recommend it? Yes, give it a try.
Rate: 4/5 (I have to be honest, it’s more like a 3 but the first part made me laugh and it was a nice feeling)

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

There’s an Italian song called “Triangolo” that always comes to mind when I read about two boys fighting over the heart of a frail damsel. These boys are usually perfection, carved from marble, dreamy beyond compare. If there is something I like less than the dreaded miscommunication, it is the dreaded love triangle.

Watch the video of “Triangolo”. Enjoy!

If I was going to judge this book by its cover and by the first part of the summary, then this was obviously a capital n No; but then I read “What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training” and, well well well, color me interested. Now that’s a book I want to read. So I read it and, even it wasn’t exactly the way I pictured it, it was thoroughly cute and funny with a pinch (more like half a cup) of action.

There’s an agency that recruits Love Interests to plant in the lives of important people to spy on them and steal their secrets. Sounds plausible, nice idea. They train people since they’re very young until they are needed; they are then given a new identity and a new appearance in order to be ready to woo the Chosen they’ve been assigned to. There is so much potential here and for more or less 70% of the book it was up to it.

A Chosen is, well, chosen, her name is Juliet and two boys are sent to win her heart. A Nice and a Bad like they always do. They have a coach to guide them, teach them how to act in front of Juliet and create scenarios that she will certainly fall for. Looks like a nice and healthy completion but it’s not: the one that’s not chosen gets killed. So now you may understand how I started panicking and trying to figure out a HEA ending with these new premises.

You’re lucky we made you hot, Caden. If she wasn’t attracted to you she would’ve barfed.

Caden is the Nice. Is he nice? No, he’s not but he can act and after spending so much time in that prison-like place, he’ll do anything to get out. Caden is funny and plays the nice and super cheesy flirt boy perfectly. Oh my, some of the things he said made me giggle: they were THAT cheesy. Come on, who says that? He is playing all his Nice Guy cards but in his mind he can’t stop thinking about Dylan and his thoughts are hilarious, I just loved them!

Dylan is the Bad. Is he bad? Not at all. He has a kind heart and child-like honesty that was so nice to see. Not being afraid to feel and express emotions is a quality I want to be shown in books more often. Dylan plays the sexy, bad, tormented soul kind of part and he plays it greatly. Who wouldn’t double check a certified bad boy leaning against a tree reading a poetry book with a pained look on his face? He’s in it to win it!

“Apparently it’ll make me seem like a tortured soul who is lashing out, because I can’t handle all the epic, sexy pain within me.”

Caden and Dylan are both “enhanced” with plastic surgery: new jaw, new hair color, new eye color, and perfect tan. They are built to be the guys any girl would want. They can’t go unnoticed and with the changes they are like supermodels and they have all eyes on them. Put yourself in Juliet’s pants: you suddenly have two gorgeous boys flirting with you so of course you have doubts, you have every right to like them both. Come on, they are put there to please and she is pleased. Oh, she is pleased indeed!

The story is in Caden’s POV so we see how he understands what he feels about Dylan is more than simple friendship and he starts to put pieces together of his life in the facility, realizing he has always been attracted to guys. He is of course troubled, but not much and I liked seeing how he starts reacting to Dylan’s presence and how he knows these feelings can change the game they are playing. Yet he doesn’t once deny he likes him and it means a lot to the story he does that.

I didn’t think I was a chest-hair type of guy, but judging by the erratic things my heart is doing at the moment, I totally am.

As I said, this book was funny, cute, cheesy, YA trope extraordinaire, more or less until 70% of the book. Then it went wild, kind of off rails and got a little weird, a little over the top. Things happened, many things, and one thing in particular I felt was really unnecessary. The ending was pretty rushed and lots of things were left unexplained. I expected a more detailed epilogue.

Nevertheless this was quite an enjoyable book and, like I gave it a chance and liked it, I think everyone who likes the genre should, too.

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American Gods by Neil Gaiman

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5stars

“Believe,” said the rumbling voice. “If you are to survive, you must believe.”

Title: American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman
Good things about this book: Everything (Shadow!).
Bad things about this book: I can say it was very long but then you finish it and you think that maybe it wasn’t long enough.
Do I recommend it? Yes, of course.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Shame! I am ashamed! So ashamed! It took me almost a month to finish this book and it took me years to take it from my bookshelf and open it. SHAME! The TV show made me finally read it and I’m so thankful because it’s a beautiful book, something very different to what I’m used to read.

A story so detailed you believe it’s real. You start believing alongside Shadow that these Gods, old and new, are part of our everyday reality. These characters are interesting and each one of them is put there to capture your attention, some sort of misdirection from the big picture happening in the background: the big storm. It may not seem important at first but just you wait and you’ll be surprised by how much is going on that you are not really seeing.

This book is really long and everything I want to write about it is part of something bigger and it’s hard to tell you a detail without spoiling you what all of that means for the developing of the story so I’m going to analyze a little bit the two main characters of the book.

Shadow is a marvelous man, all abs and inner (and so much outer) strength. He is enjoyable from the very beginning. The choices he make, the words he says, his inner monologues, everything appears to be well thought and in character. I was surprised I never got angry with him, not even once; I liked him from the first page to the very end.

Wednesday is a flawed character, one that you like not really understanding why; a very old God afraid of being forgotten and to disappear from the world. He is very peculiar and you understand after a little while that he is not entirely honest with anything so you start questioning everything he said. There are so many layers to Wednesday and even after finishing the book I’m still wondering so much about him.

There are so many Gods introduced throughout the story, many well known to me, others only heard a few times and a lot completely unknown but that I wish to learn more about. I can’t start mentioning the gods or I’ll be here writing until august; each one of them is particular, has depth and importance to the story. The new gods has names that are a bit ridiculous and are made fun of in the book so it’s fun to laugh with Shadow and co. I am fond of mythology and I am also very fond of books that know how to mix reality and myth into a well-developed urban fantasy.

People believe, thought Shadow. It’s what people do. They believe.

This a very well written book, there’s not doubt, but often well written doesn’t mean it’s also fast paced and enjoyable. It can lose track of the story and become boring. This is not the case. American Gods has everything and everything is in its rightful place. It’s worth your time and it’s worth to be read at least once in your life before it’s too late. So, come on, go get the book and start believing!

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[ARC] An Unnatural Vice by K.J. Charles

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5stars

“The sky’s a funny colour.”
“It’s blue.”
“That’s what I mean. I think I’d forgotten it did that.”

Title: An Unnatural Vice
Author: K.J. Charles
Good things about this book: Victorian England.
Bad things about this book: The mystery isn’t solved and I want to know, I need to know.
Do I recommend it? Yes, it’s a sequel so maybe read the first book first, you’ll like it.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

ARC from Netgalley
I will check the quotes when the book comes out as the author requested

This is the sequel of An Unseen Attraction and its story takes place overlapping a little bit with its prequel and then it goes further ahead. The mystery, violence and murder theme is still very present; we see Clem still trying to save his boarding house while trying to uncover the truth about his late brother’s heir. There are so many things that need to happen for everything to be finally peaceful. I guess we will still have to wait for the third and last book. I can’t wait to get to know more about that certain character. That was what I call an epic entrance!

I love how this author writes. It’s easy, it traps you, and it treats you well. You get cuddled into the narration and enjoy every single page of it. I really love this Victorian England setting even without the magical component of the Magpie series that I loved with all my heart.

Roy had spent his overbearing, self-righteous, privileged life denouncing vice, and Justin was vicious to the core.

Nathaniel Roy is an ex lawyer now a journalist who wants to expose the lies of all the spiritualists in London. He wants to destroy the Seer of London’s reputation and goes, under a false name, to one of his séances. He doesn’t know what he is in for. That was an amazing spiritual session, with lots of double entendre, and with the sitters hanging from Lazarus’ lips, believing every word he says. 

Justin Lazarus was without question a disgraceful fraud, but as his lips moved in silent prayer, Nathaniel could not help the thought that he looked like a glorious fuck. The bad kind, of course; the kind that left a man feeling dirty and ashamed and degraded in his own eyes.

Justin Lazarus is an excellent spiritualist; he certainly is the most expensive and the London’s elites go to him and spend part of their immense patrimony for beautified lies that give them hope. Justin is, against his will, involved in Nathaniel’s search for the lost heir and he may be in more danger that he’s ever been. Justin doesn’t trust easily; he doesn’t seem to trust anyone because he has many secrets and also, I think, because he doesn’t want to get hurt.

Justin and Nathaniel have to work together to help Clem and to help themselves because there is still a murderer at large and it seems he won’t stop at anything to avoid the truth from coming out. Who the hell is this murderer? I want to know. I have an idea but it’s too obvious, it may be wrong. They start on the wrong foot but we see how their relationship evolves and becomes something they can’t deny.

“A rabbit.” Nathaniel made no effort to hide his amusement. “You must be familiar with the breed?”
“Only in pies, and then they’re usually cats.”

They have many funny moments, steamy moments and hard moments. Both of them have something keeping them from letting go and have a nice life. They will have to make a leap of faith and see what is going to happen if they just get what they want.

I’m repeating myself but after those last chapters, I really can’t wait to read the last book of this trilogy. There are characters I want to know more about and I know, loving the author, that I won’t be disappointed.

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Olive Juice by T.J. Klune

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5stars

He was sad. He knew this. He knew this more than anything else. David was sad, and he didn’t know how not to be.

Title: Olive Juice
Author: T.J. Klune
Good things about this book: It is hard and authentic.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I think it’s nearly impossible to write a review of this little book without spoiling it all. It has only 121 pages. It has only one long chapter. The story takes place during one evening. You start it, you finish it. There’s no other way to read and insert yourself into this book.

You ache, but you’re able to breathe. And if you can breathe, then you can take another step.

This story is sad right from the beginning. You have very little info about what happened to our mc, David; you only know that he is not well. You will have to keep reading and things will be revealed little by little. You will make a few guesses, some may be wrong, some close to the truth. All of these won’t happen without a sane dose of pain.

I shed tears. I was sad, angry, frustrated, hopeful. I had so many feelings for those two men, David and Phillip, reminiscing about a life that was not the same anymore. About something that has changed their lives forever.

He didn’t— he couldn’t run the risk of saying something he’d regret later. Because he’d already had a lifetime of regrets.

Until now I have only read humour books by T.J. Klune and I have loved every single one of them. That man has talent. I wanted to try one with a hard theme and this one, being as short as it is, was the perfect choice. I also loved that the main characters were over 50 years old; everyone deserves their story told. I didn’t regret losing sleep because I wanted to finish it. It was worth every minute spent reading it.

Since I can’t say anymore about this little jewel, I kindly invite you to buy it and read it. Prepare a couple tissues; train your heart to be strong because you will need it.

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