[ARC] The Academy by Quinn Anderson

the academy

3stars

Earlier, when the party was in full swing, I looked around and thought to myself that something was missing. From the party. From my apartment. From my life. I couldn’t figure out what it was. But now, as I lay here, I think I finally know. It’s you.

Title: The Academy
Author: Quinn Anderson
Release date: September 17th 2018
Good things about this book: The characters are really nice and the feelings super sweet.
Bad things about this book: It could’ve been shorter, imo.
Do I recommend it? Yes, it’s a sweet love story.
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

PLOT —
It dragged a little with the inner monologues and the Academy, the college they were in, and the title of this book, was soon forgotten. I would have loved to see more things happening in the Academy, but it was still nice to experience the college life through Nick’s eyes.

CHARACTERS —
Nick was a bit too overdramatic. Everything was this big guilt trip for him and also for Sebastian. Everything. They couldn’t enjoy anything with pages and pages of inner monologues why they shouldn’t be enjoying said thing. I wanted to slap some sense into both of them. There were really cute scenes, though. Some borderline cheesy as hell. I love those. Sebastian is a cutie!

THOUGHTS —
I liked the idea of a playboy finding real love for the first time and leaving his playboy days behind. It’s one of the many tropes I love, so I was completely okay with how the story unfolded. It had its ups and downs, being a little slow, but in the end, it was a cute and sweet story. And we had a couple of steamy scenes and wow, I liked those a lot.

CONCLUSION —
I liked the ending, the epilogue was really nice and all the on-page characters, mains and sides, were all interesting. I will certainly keep reading books by this author. They are both romantic and emotional.

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Ship It by Britta Lundin

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3stars

Title: Ship It
Author: Britta Lundin
Number of pages: 384 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: There were some fan relatable moments.
Bad things about this book: The characters weren’t very likable. I didn’t connect with them.
Do I recommend it? Sure, give it a try!
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I expected something a bit different and was left a little disappointed. It had unfulfilled potential. The characters I wanted to love were too often whiny, annoying and over the top…not in a good way. The only ones I loved were Rico and Caty, and there wasn’t very much about them. I wanted to know more about Rico. I wanted Rico-centered chapters.

The story started promising, with fandom and ships and conventions. Who doesn’t ship? Almost every show and movie has that one couple, canon or not, that are extremely shippable. And almost every fan knows the difference between character and actor. So that’s what bothered me at first; I may not understand what it’s like to see your face and the one of your colleague doing very naughty things, but Forest was really overreacting.

So a fan told you she thinks your character is possibly bisexual and that he is interested, maybe also in love, with his antagonist, a demon, also possibly bisexual. And you tell her she is crazy? Because you, the actor, are not gay? Are you even listening to what you are saying? Do you see how homophobic that is, that you don’t people think you are gay because of your character’s maybe sexuality? It was so hard to read. You are an actor, you should know the difference between fiction and reality. The limit to shipping should only be morality, everything else is shippable.

Claire was not a very likeable character. I understand being passionate but she was taking everything a little too far. Writing fan fiction, drawing fan arts, both are perfectly fine, but everything she did to her favorite show’s director was too much, even for a super fan. I liked her growth but it came a little too far into the story, it didn’t give me time to get me to like her enough.

I won’t get into details because it’s been a few days since I read it and I remember liking it but not the way I wanted to. I still recommend it, though. Give it a chance.

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Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli ☆

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5starsplus

Imagine going about your day knowing someone’s carrying you in their mind. That has to be the best part of being in love – the feeling of having a home in someone else’s brain.

Title: Leah on the Offbeat
Author: Becky Albertalli
Series: Creekwood, #2
Number of pages: 352 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: EVERYTHING.
Bad things about this book: I didn’t want to say goodbye. I already miss them so much.
Do I recommend it? Yes! Yes! Yes!
Rate: 5+++/5
☆: It made my “favourite books” list

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I started reading it when it was delivered at 17.37 and now it’s 23.45 and I’ve finished it and I have such a huge smile on my face you’ll think I’ve gone mad!! I loved this so freaking much. I loved everything about it. EVERYTHING!!
I’m going to miss these kids so much. They grew up so fast. I’m having a mom moment here, give me a second. Also having a mom moment because I realized I’m only a couple of years younger than Leah’s mom. When did that happen?

Almost everything I knew about Leah changed immediately after reading just one chapter of this book. It was really important for me to read from her point of view to truly understand who she was and to connect to her spiritually. We are so similar (both beautiful curvy Slyterins) even with the very big age gap. I knew Leah had secrets but I would have never guessed her crush and what she went through because of it being unrequited.

It’s like I missed a beat somewhere, and now the whole song’s off tempo.

I don’t want to say anything because everything is a spoiler. Really, everything I want to say will spoil the book for people, like myself, who don’t know what’s going to happen. I didn’t know almost anything about it. I knew Simon and the gang were going to be there, I knew they were going to prepare for graduation and separation, but the rest? I didn’t know anything so I was ready to face whatever Becky was going to throw at me. I was so happy I went in almost blindly. It was such an emotional and adorable book. I fell in love with Leah and I learned more about characters I liked but didn’t really know from Simon’s book. And there was so much Simon and so much Simon and Bram adorableness!!! It was great seeing them being so cute together!

“Am I the worst person?”
“Well, no,” says Simon. “That would be Voldermort.”

I related to Leah so much. She is so much like me, in more ways than I thought possible and I found myself so many times nodding, remembering some things that have happened to me in the past and some that still happen to me. The weight thing hit really close to home. I wish things will change and curvy (real curvy) people can be free to be who they are without all judgments that come with being “not like everyone else”. Don’t do dare start with the “you lost weight you look so much better now” speech, I’ll scream! If I lose weight it’ll be for health reasons or for reasons I won’t share with you and not to be the center of your “you look prettier now” nonsense.

It’s like it doesn’t even matter if I like my body, because there’s always someone there to remind me I shouldn’t.

Long story short, I loved the book, I loved how Leah stoop up for her friends, for what she believed was right even if it could mean losing someone she considered a friend, and how she decided to be really true to herself and be happy. Leah grew up so much from the beginning of the book until the final chapter. She had some sort of awakening; she started feeling things stronger than before, not easy to hide said feelings and so scary to deal with them. She handled the whole thing better that I expected and, while thinking she deserved the world from the start, I knew she needed to challenge herself, to put her head truly in the game and come out victorious. I’m going to miss these kids so much. I want to cry!

The ending was so sweet I still giggle thinking about it. It’s endings like these that make me love romance young adult books when my young-adultness is long gone.

The sneak peak of What If It’s Us caught me off-guard. I’m going to love that book. A collaboration between two of my favorite authors? Yes, please! I just hope my beloved king of drama Adam Silvera, won’t put too many sad moments in it! Adam, I’m trusting you with my heart, don’t crush it too much, I’m begging you!

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Manic Pixie Dream Boy by K.A. Merikan

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3stars

“You don’t really know me yet. I might not even be entirely human.”
“Oh, I know that. You’re at least a quarter unicorn.”

Title: Manic Pixie Dream Boy
Author: K.A. Merikan
Series: The Underdogs #1
Number of pages: 143 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: It’s easy to read and it was fun imagining how their songs sounded in my head.
Bad things about this book: I think there were a little too many sexy scenes and the miscommunication really bothered me.
Do I recommend it? Yes, it’s enjoyable.
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Cute and very sexy. Dare I say too sexy? Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. If I say it’s too sexy then it means maybe it was really a little bit too much; I’m usually all over the steam and lust.

While I enjoyed reading it, it felt longer than it actually was; it seemed that it was never going to end. I think it lacked something that usually makes me devour a book in no time. It was sweet and it had angst and of course my heart suffered quite a bit.

Dusk is the leader of a rock band. He is bisexual, has long silky hair, tattoos of food? I don’t remember. He is craving peanut butter so he makes the bus stop to buy some but, surprise surprise, he sees Lolly (real name Abe), pink hair, Disney tattoos, heart shaped glasses, lollipop, and it’s lust at first sight. Flirty time, naughty time, toilet accident, and Abe finds himself on the tour bus with the band and a clingy Dusk by his side.

Dusk followed the guy as if he were a rabbit leading Dusk to Wonderland.

He’s supposed to get off in L.A. but, things happen and he’s earning money from the band posing as Dusk’s boyfriend. But what exactly are they? They are good together, have great, even amazing, chemistry but they don’t speak much.

The dreaded miscommunication appears, attacks and knocks them out.

I think I knew that was going to happen. What else can bring suffering and angst between two people that from the outside are perfect for each other and make each other happy? Words not said, feelings not discussed. And that’s it. That’s all it takes for the world to fall apart. I’m not going to lie, I was mad at Abe because you can’t expect people to know what’s going on inside your head. You are feeling bad about something? You tell Dusk about it and find a solution. If that doesn’t work, then and only then, you can be mad and take decisions based on what you both discussed.

“Everything is temporary, like a visit to Disneyworld. And it leaves you drained, because you know it’s never going to last.”

I don’t like how someone waits a long time for their partner to realize something is not right and when they’re almost exploding, they accused them of not caring enough. People are different, they don’t always pay attention even if they want to, they need someone to guide them, to point them to the right direction. They are not bad, they just need guidance and, if there’s love and respect, you’ll see how everything will fall in the right place. And if it’s not worth it, you’ll know early on and not waste precious time on something that’s not leading anywhere. Communication is the way, folks!

Do I want to read the second book of this series? Maybe, but not right away. But I will read it because I’m curious about Sid and the stalker.

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Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

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5stars

Normal is just a dial on the washing machine!

Title: Autoboyography
Author: Christina Lauren
Number of pages: 407 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: It’s sweet and it gets you right in the feelings, so hard.
Bad things about this book: It made me hurt my heart so much.
Do I recommend it? Yes, of course.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Oh how this book enjoyed making me suffer. I can’t seem to have my feelings sorted yet and maybe I never will. I just can’t. My heart was taken from my chest and played with. I was happy when I was reading this beautiful book but in that happiness there was always anxiety. I’m a very anxious person so every smile, every kiss, was translated into the knowledge something bad was going to happen. I needed the joy so I knew it was not going to be easy to have it. I was positive it was going to have a happy ending but I knew that the journey was going to hurt. Oh boy, did it hurt!

Tanner is a bisexual boy who moved from a “live your life how you want” city to a “live your life in the closet” Mormon city. He had his fair share of girlfriends so hiding his sexuality wasn’t such a big deal at first. At least not until he sees Sebastian and he falls so hard it’s hard to breath. Their love story seemed to be destined to fail, so full of obstacles, but it also seemed worth everything, every tear, every heartbreak.

We’re just two dudes meeting to study. Bros. Bros don’t get nervous. Be a bro, Tanner.

Sebastian is polite, very religious, smart, gorgeous and, sadly, in denial. He wrote a fantasy book that’s going to get published and after the promotion tour, he is going to go to his mission for two years. Tanner ends up in The Seminar where Sebastian is mentoring the aspiring writers and the attraction is immediate. At first sight. Tanner has to write a book in four months to pass this class and he ends up pouring out his soul into a story about him and Sebastian. A story so sweet and heartbreaking it has to come with a giant warning sign.

His smile ruins me.

(At this I was losing it.)

Tanner doesn’t always make the wisest of choices and I was quite angry with him. I found myself shaking my head often because, come on, think a little, don’t let your pain make your decisions for you. I was frustrated and felt hopeless. Trust me, it was not a nice feeling. After finishing this book, which by the way I ended up loving, I promised myself to skip on the romance books for a bit. I was starting to see the cracks on my heart and maybe that wasn’t very healthy.

My perving is nothing if not efficient.

I loved Autoboyography because it showed me a side I didn’t know, the Mormon reality. It also showed me how love can win it all even if life seems to be always in your way to happiness. I’m now cleansing my soul, though; no more love stories for me for a few days. It’ll do wonders to my sanity. But do read this, by all means, it’s worth it.

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The Pick Up by Allison Temple

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4stars

“I need you. I need you to tell me when I’m being an idiot, and when my pickup lines cross the cheese threshold.”

Title: The Pick Up
Author: Allison Temple
Number of pages: 337 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: It’s adorable and sweet.
Bad things about this book: The misunderstandings really throw me off but I was patient and was rewarded in the end.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I do.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Every few months I go to NetGalley and request some soon-to-be-available titles that have cute covers and interesting stories. Every few months I get turned down for most but the few I get approved rarely disappoint me. The Pick Up had a super cute cover and a story that got me questioning how the two main characters could make things work. I was in for the happy ending that I was sure I was going to get. Come on, you don’t throw that kind of cover for a story that’s going to have a bitter ending, right? No way!

A few months after the death of his wife and best friend, Kyle is struggling with life so he packs his things and takes his daughter back with him to his dad’s house and the town he left behind after finishing high school. He meets Mr. Adam Hathaway, his daughter Caroline’s first grade teacher. It’s almost lust at first sight. Kyle is bisexual and his heart hadn’t made that much beating since he became a widow, and Adam wasn’t planning on finding someone like Kyle when all he wanted was to lay low and avoid unnecessary complications. Life has a way to make things work even in the messiest of lives.

I have to admit that I usually get a lot affected by the ratings. I try not to but the number gets stuck in my head. Seeing that this book had less than 4 stars got me a little anxious. I’m usually easily pleased so I wasn’t really worried. If this book didn’t have the elements I usually hate in books, then I was going to be okay. And I was. I was entertained, my heart did weird things, joy and sadness mixed well together and I was giggling, gasping, smiling softly at those two dumb men and their attempt to understand what was going on between them.

Losing someone you love is hard; everywhere you see their presence, you get daily reminders of their absence, thinking about them is easy yet so hard at times. Grieving never ends; it gets easy with time but you will forever miss that person and someone else will never fill the void they left. That doesn’t mean you won’t be happy anymore. As I said, life has ways to surprise you. Some may think that Kyle was getting himself involved with Adam too soon after the death of his wife but there’s no soon or late, there’s not a settled time to grief, there are no rules to your heart. You are not really moving on, you are only finding happiness when you thought happiness didn’t have a place in your heart at least for a while.

“Seriously though, we have to work on your blushing thing.”
“I don’t blush!” Adam said, while his face heated up more.

Kyle didn’t thought he was going to feel so much for Adam, he wasn’t looking for love when he looked at him that first time. Kyle has so much going on with Caroline, with his job, with the memories of his wife and the panic attacks that not having a clue what to do with his life causes him. But maybe, just maybe, even if loving Adam wasn’t planned and it came when it wasn’t ideal, it was exactly what Kyle needed. Maybe he will find his place in this new world without his wife, with a six-year-old girl obsessed with princesses, a father who sighs loudly at his vegetarian cuisine, and a man who teaches the food groups but only buys from the frozen isle at the supermarket.

I was happy to get to know the both of them better with the two different POVs narration. Getting to know both sides, both inner monologues, make it easier to empathize and understand what’s really going on. It also makes you angrier because you can clearly see the misunderstandings forming and you can’t do anything but wait and hope they speak and work it out.

I am happy I read this book and I liked a lot the writing style. Will I be coming back for more from this author? You bet I will!

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Five Dares by Eli Easton

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4stars

“When there’s a conflict between what’s practical and what the heart wants, the heart usually wins. And when it doesn’t, there’s regret. A lot of regret.”

Title: Five Dares
Author: Eli Easton
Number of pages: 245 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: It’s cute and sexy.
Bad things about this book: It has a rushed ending.
Do I recommend it? Yes, to everyone who likes a hot and steamy love story.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Oh holy bisexuality!!! I loved this. Sweet with a few surprises. My heart did make weird twists, of too much love and the suffering!!! The suffering that luckily didn’t last long. I barely kept myself from screaming of frustration as it was.

I almost judged this book by its cover and didn’t read it. Luckily I’ve been spotting it here and there on my goodreads timeline and I decided that, yes, I was not going to keep myself from enjoying a book because I don’t like very much the cover. I’m never that shallow so I don’t know why I did think that at first.

“Emotions sucked, and we mostly pretended we didn’t have them.”

The story is about two best friends, Andy and Jake, forever the daredevils among their friends, who find themselves with their hands bandaged after a dare gone wrong. With both their summers ruined and futures on hold, they keep themselves company being helped and fed in Andy’s cottage until they can use their hands again.

There’s only one problem, tough, they can’t use their hands and one thing among the many they can’t do is the one that is driving them, mainly Andy, crazy. They can’t masturbate. Andy’s great idea will put Jake’s temptation to test; Andy doesn’t know that Jake is bisexual and have been pining for him almost since the dawn of time. Can Jake put a line between necessity and desire? Maybe not. It’s not that easy having the object of his desires there for the take. I don’t blame him for saying yes to that crazy idea but I do think he should’ve been more straightforward since the beginning. They were going to go their separate ways after NYU so Jake should’ve come clean and say it. Say that he is bisexual. That would’ve opened the door to so many possibilities so much sooner.

“We were crossing a line that was more significant than any stunt we’d ever dared before.”

He chose the hard road and there were consequences, one that I didn’t see coming even if I should have. I overlooked Andy’s fragility and the pressure his father put on him and his future. I didn’t see it like the big deal it actually was. But if there’s a book I like, it’s one without much drama. Drama usually takes too much space in a book we all know (and hope) is going to have the happy ending the characters and the readers deserve.

“The ocean had existed before Andy and I were born, and it would be there long after we were dust. It didn’t care about our drama. I wished I could borrow a bit of that objectivity. But my stomach was tied in knots. The sea might not care about our drama, but I did.”

I love almost everything about this book. From the bisexual representation we don’t see everyday to the slowly ascension of steamy scenes, from zero to holy moly guacamole. The dreaded miscommunication was there and it made me mad, as usual, but the need for release of the boys made it bearable because you can’t deny the obvious chemistry when it’s there for everyone to see.

“There might be a universe where Jake Masterson could resist Andy Tyler, but it wasn’t this one.”

The one thing I didn’t like much was the rushed conclusion. It felt unnecessary to give this kind of fast ending to a story so cute and well developed. I would’ve loved something a little bit different nonetheless the story gave me goose bumps of love and hormones and I thank it for all of it. Absolutely recommended.

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Lovers Like Us by Krista Ritchie & Becca Ritchie

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5stars

“We’re fucking different but we’re still two superheroes who’d die for each other. In any era, any alternate universe. Like Captain America and the Winter Solider.”

Title: Lovers Like Us
Author: Krista Ritchie & Becca Ritchie
Series: Like Us #2
Number of pages: 365 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Fun, interesting, hot, well-written, you will keep reading until you finish it. Guaranteed.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes, this series is beautiful.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I know I loved Damaged Like Us because it was different from any other book I’ve ever read. Its pace was different, fresh, it kept me glued to the virtual pages and I didn’t want it to end. So I knew I was going to love this sequel but I wasn’t expecting to love it this much. There is not much drama, there’s action, steamy and not, we get to know more relatives and we have the exclusive of Moffy and Farrow’s relationship. Did I say there is little to no love drama? Oh, how I love that, you have no idea!
I loved everything. I was on edge so many times, a little scared, super happy, very entertained, and more often than not, awfully turned on. I’m only human, after all.

“Vote for whoever looks the best.” Farrow, my mind blurts out in response. I swear my brain is one terrifying step from making shrines of the guy. Which is not cool. Not cool.

Damaged Like Us ended with the whole family finding out Farrow and Moffy were boyfriends and hell broke loose. Harsh words were said, people got offended, things were changing but maybe that wasn’t a bad thing. Now, as damage control, Moffy and the oldest Hales-Cobalts-Meadows are going on tour with their bodyguards: all of them, cramped inside a bus for four months. Things are going to get heated. There is a troll account threatening Moffy and Farrow is restless because he needs to save the man he loves both as his boyfriend and as his personal bodyguard. It will get messy and butts will be seen; so many butts it’s glorious.

“She’ll ‘revoke’ your membership to that Rainbow Brigade shit if you’re not careful.”
Oscar almost laughs, and he reties a rolled bandana around his forehead. “It’s not real until she makes pins.”

Maximoff, Jane, Charlie, Beckett and Sulli are participating in a few fan conventions to raise money for lgbtqia youth all around the US and of course their bodyguards came along. I was happy to see more of the famous kids and also I loved the bodyguards; they were all hilarious, even Thatcher, and they made the book richer and more interesting. They are as much part of the story as the rich and gorgeous: and they are also quite hot! The camaraderie between bodyguards and the love and care they have for the families they serve is profound and true; they share almost every second of their lives with them and they are like their own families. It’s lovely!

My eyes burn. I wake up every morning, and I’m more in love with him than the day before.

Besides the obvious bonding and some pretty interesting events that happen on the bus, the book’s story is told from Farrow and Moffy’s POV and so we are inside their heads while they brood, while they flirt, while they desire nothing more than kiss each other’s faces and get naughty. It’s hilarious and adorable. They love each other and they can barely believe they have found someone who knows, supports and understands what the other is going through. Moffy may not know everything about Farrow’s past but he is absolutely certain that if he asks, the answers are going to be 100% true. There’s so much trust between the both of them and that is the reason there is no love drama; they communicate trying not to leave anything left to be misunderstood. I hate miscommunication because people aren’t mind readers; you need to say out loud if something is wrong or else suck it, the world isn’t waiting for you. Do something and stop whining!

His mouth curves upward. “Welcome back, space cadet.”
I scowl and unbutton my jeans. “I barely spaced out.”

The ending was perfect, just as much as it was perfect everything else. Sweetness galore and happy smiles: my favorites. Everything I needed to have the dumb face I usually have when a story is dreamy and I’m jealousy wishing I could have what they have. This series was a surprise; I am scared about the third and last book but I trust the authors. They won’t disappoint me because until now these books have been flawless so I don’t expect they’ll stop now, right? Give me Alphas Like Us right now or right this moment, either is fine by me.

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A Boy Worth Knowing by Jennifer Cosgrove ☆

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5starsplus

Hope was a dangerous thing, and it had no place here.

Title: A Boy Worth Knowing
Author: Jennifer Cosgrove
Number of pages: 172 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: Nate is the sweetest and he really is worth knowing.
Bad things about this book: Too short? Maybe not, it ended perfectly.
Do I recommend it? Yes, please love it as much as I did.
Rate: 5+++/5
☆: It made my “favourite books” list

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I LOVED IT!!! It was adorable and sweet and gave me so many feelings!! At one point I was fuming, almost crying because I was sad and frustrated. My poor baby Nate; such a short book giving my heart an incredibly hard time. It was hardly fair because I cared for Nate and it was an immediate thing the attachment I felt for him. I didn’t think it was rushed; you just met the guy and start wanting all the best for him. Simple as that.

Since he was twelve, Nate has been able to see and communicate with the dearly departed. It’s a family thing but his ability is somewhat stronger than his relatives’. As a result, his own mother who lacks the medium ability is scared of him and kicks him out of the house and forbids his sister to have contacts with him. It was hard for me not to want to reach inside the pages and slap the woman. That sweet boy was hurt and his mother didn’t want to have anything to do with him. He goes to live with his aunt and talks frequently with his grandma who passed away a couple years before. She is a great confidant; a little nosey, though.

Dear, sweet Aunt Susan, what is it like in your simple life? Where people actually talked to each other? Asked questions and got answers? What was that like? I bit my tongue.

Nate is an outcast, bullied and ignored by his schoolmates who call him crazy. Nate is lonely and resigned to be by himself until the new boy, James, sits next to him and friendship blooms almost immediately. James likes Nate and Nate is confused by this: does he like him as a friend or maybe he can hope for something more? Oh boy, Nate was conflicted and didn’t want to risk the only friend he had to find out if they could be something more.

To make things weirder, if that was even possible, James had a ghost in tow: his brother David who passed away only a few months before James moved. James is clearly mourning his brother but won’t talk about it. He is suffering and David appears very often to tell Nate to help his brother move on so that he can be happy again. David and Nana are somewhat love advisors to Nate with his struggles of the heart. Nate likes James a lot and I suffer with him everyday he can’t tell James how he feels; every time Nate suffered because of James, I suffered and my heart broke in a million pieces.

He chuckled, and I was quietly overwhelmed by the idea that someone wanted to talk to me.

The frustration and sadness I felt reading some chapters were overwhelming; I thought I was going to start ugly sobbing at any moment. I did have tears in my eyes. I was so sad for Nate and for all the unfairness he was experiencing. I thought he was incredible and the thought of him being used to be alone, to be disappointed and left behind, made me hurt so much I still want to cry just thinking about it.

This book was so short but so full of emotions. I loved every page of it and I will put it in my favorites book drawers in my mind. It deserves this and much more. It was an adorable love story with a twist of paranormal so it was just the kind of book that’ll get to me and I was not disappointed. Not one bit.

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Fortitude Smashed by Taylor Brooke

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5stars

“Reminds me of myself,” Aiden had admitted. Smashed up and spread out, not ruined, but a little bit of a mess. A lot of a mess.

Title: Fortitude Smashed
Author: Taylor Brooke
Series: The Camellia Clock Cycle Book #1
Number of pages: 312 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: The character growth and the insight of the relationship.
Bad things about this book: Nothing. It has trigger warnings at the beginning so read them before starting the book.
Do I recommend it? Yes, it is something else but, beware, it feels like a hit or miss kind of book. I loved it!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

This is my 100th book and with it I’ve officially completed this year’s Reading Challenge! Yay!

Imagine being born in a world free of homophobia with all the unjustified hate it comes with, being free to love whoever you like and being certain at some point in your life you’ll find your soul mate thanks to a clock installed on your thumbnail. Imagine how restless yet relieved you must feel knowing the time will come for you to love and be loved like nothing you’ll ever dreamed of. Imagine the possibilities. Imagine the euphoria. Imagine the pain of having and then maybe losing. Imagine.

This book enchanted me. It starts fast throwing the soul mate bomb right from the beginning. We meet Shannon, a 25-year-old detective, trying to catch a burglar in an art gallery. Said burglar is no other than Aiden, his Rose Road, his soul mate. The clock times out and it’s electrifying. Literary electrifying. Something awakes in both of them and no matter how much they want to fight it, there’s really no way the clock is wrong. There’s too much interest, too much chemistry, fate is not wrong.

“The world loves you.” Shannon sighed against his mouth. “And if it ever stops loving you, remember that I do.”

There’s not a “but he’s a guy” part. Why is that? At first it got me puzzled and I was anxiously waiting for the homophobic remarks but it seems that in this version of the world there is no such thing as sexual interests. They all like whomever they want to like, no exceptions, no one’s save. The sea has plenty of fish and all of them for you to choose. They might have different tastes, who doesn’t, but never and I repeat never people are questioned or looked differently because of the ones they love. I loved the little bet Shannon’s parents had going on about his Rose Road being a boy or a girl. See? If only the real world was this problem free. Shouldn’t be that hard. Guess it’s only my occasionally over optimistic brain at work again.

I now realize that everything I can say about the story might ruin it. I don’t even want to tell you about the characters, their backstories, because I’m afraid I’ll give too much up. The summary tells what’s necessary to know and that’s how I got hooked and that’s why I got all kinds of feelings reading it almost nonstop until I woke up yesterday a little hangover and the first thing I did before leaving the bed was finishing the last 20% I got left to read.

They kissed, messy and overwhelmed and honest, the kind of kiss that told a story—incomplete—but a story all the same.

This book is a journey. It’s slow and it doesn’t give you in detail everything that’s going on. It’s like a documentary on the lives of Shannon and Aiden from the day they found each other and found out they were each other’s Rose Road, each other’s soul mates. You see pieces of their lives from both their points of views. You see their fears, their pain, their past, their weaknesses, everything they have to fight to be the best version of themselves and open up to this new reality. It’s not over sexualized; there are not explicit sex scenes and, as much I never say no to those, I felt this book maintained its “I’ll give you just what you really need to know” vibe it had going on all along.

The new reality comes like lightning. It struck them and changes them, making both of them vulnerable, forcing them to believe that fate is real and it’s beautiful. I truly loved the concept of this book and the slowness of the events, how they happen when they’re supposed to happen, how they make you shake with anticipation and anxiety. I was constantly afraid, constantly fighting different feelings, constantly cheering and daydreaming. I was cuddled by the emotions and I felt myself relaxed a little into the story as I let it unfold. And it unfolded like magic. Magic like knowing you’ll find your soul mate to love but not taking it for granted because life gives but it also takes so you cherish it, protect it, save it if necessary, and open your heart to all the possibilities your future have from the day the clock flashes 00:00.

“You’re my best kept secret, Aiden. You’re the most vibrant thing in the room, artwork unlike any other.”

I think this book is wonderful and it touched every fiber in me. I find myself smiling thinking about it. I feel a little bit like the painting “Fortitude Smashed”: nature and art mixed, bright colours, fragile, one of a kind, kind of messy, a strong will and a fighter. Art that gets noticed, it is loved but it’s also misunderstood.

“Reminded me of you,” Shannon said. It was easy to say because it was the truth, but if he had to explain it, Shannon feared he might ruin everything.

I loved this with all my heart. So many feelings, tears and happiness. The struggles, the self-sabotaging, the pain, the suffering, the love hard and real and overwhelming. It was deep and it was great. A book I will remember and keep with me from today on.

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This scene broke me. I was laughing so hard I had to stop reading for a while and focus real hard to start breathing again.

“Gardenia?” Warmth pooled in Aiden’s abdomen, spreading out into the rest of him like unruly vines. “They don’t give you cop-scented soap with your uniform?” Aiden felt Shannon’s smile pressed between his shoulder blades at the top of his spine.
“You don’t like it?”
“That’s not what I said.”
“What do you use? Ice Pick? Eagle Screech?”

How ridiculous are some of real life “for male” bath products? Let’s make it male, real male: black, grey or dark blue and with an awful improbable name, that’s it!

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