[ARC] I’m a Gay Wizard by V.S. Santoni

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3stars

“Just two guys riding a unicorn. Nothing gay about that.”

Title: I’m a Gay Wizard
Author: V.S. Santoni
Series: Gay Wizard #1
Release date: October 29th 2019
Number of pages: 352 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: It made me want to keep reading, and now I want the sequel. It has potential!
Bad things about this book: Little info, little development, a bit rushed.
Do I recommend it? Yes, it was cute.
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

ARC kindly provided by NetGalley

A bit random, rushed, and what was that ending?? I need answers, and more info. A little bit more insight would’ve been appreciated. It felt like it lacked something; the characters weren’t really developed. I liked the story, I want to read a sequel if it comes out, but I want more clarity and development.
The book was cute, the magic system interesting, the twists surprising, the characters had potential. I enjoyed it. But more, a little bit more would elevate the book to 4 stars!

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Balefire by Jordan L. Hawk

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5stars

I’m really just a fellow who gets paid to translate what other people find. I ordinarily try to save my insane ranting for grant proposals.

Title: Balefile
Author: Jordan L. Hawk
Series: Whyborne & Griffin #10

Number of pages: 240 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: There’s more mysteries and more danger!
Bad things about this book: I still want Whyborne to learn more about using magic. He still uses almost always the same spells!!
Do I recommend it? I always recommend Whyborne & Griffin books!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

After nine books I thought I knew exactly where the story was going. Guess I was wrong. These books never cease to surprise me. Whyborne has grown a lot since book one. He isn’t as afraid to put himself in danger to safe the people he loves, he knows what he wants and he gets it! The only thing he doesn’t know is more spells; the man needs to study more if he wants to save the world!

At first I was a bit weirded out about Griffin’s chapters. I was really used to only seeing the story from Whyborne’s side that seeing the story from Griffin’s point of view and reading what was going in his head made me a bit scared. What if he was thinking something I didn’t like about Whyborne? The man can be whiny but I love him and I want to protect him. Luckily, that didn’t happen and I came to like Griffin’s chapters, even more now that he can see magic and actively helps Whyborne with the magic stuff.

The gang is in some island I don’t remember the name of, in the UK, and they’re unwillingly helping Whyborne’s hateful cousins, the Endicotts. Every time they call my Whyborne a monster, I just want to slap them in the face and stare at them angrily until they apologize.

Nice twists and surprises in this penultimate adventure of Whyborne & Griffin, and the gang. What is going to happen in the last book?? I’m afraid to find out but I’m sure it’ll be good!! I need a happily ever after and an epilogue with all the them in love and safe!

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The Backstagers and the Theater of the Ancients by Andy Mientus & Rian Sygh

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5stars

Each and every moment of the show had been reimagined to highlight the overall message of the piece: how growing up feeling unseen and unheard can negatively impact a person for their entire life, but the things that makes them feel alien in the world can also be the very thing that ends up making them star.

Title: The Backstagers and the Theater of the Ancients
Author: Andy Mientus & Rian Sygh (Illustrations)
Series: Backstagers #2
Number of pages: 208 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: The magic of the theater, and the inclusivity.
Bad things about this book: Nothing, I enjoyed everything.
Do I recommend it? Yes, this series is great.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Read it in one go, because how could I not? Engaging from beginning to end, I’ve come to care for each of these amazing and unique characters. How they have grown! I’m impressed and proud of them.

This book doesn’t allow you to put it down to take a break because you need to know how it is going to end, if our beloved backstagers are going to end up victorious in yet an another weird magical misadventure.

The play in this book is simply marvelous; inclusive, diverse, emotional. This is exactly what the real world needs: more inclusivity, in order for kids all around the world to know they belong, that they’re not defective, wrong or whatever awful thing they hear people call them all the time. They need places to be “heard”! And the theater is one of these places.

I already knew about Andy Mientus and Deaf West, and I was so happy when I read this book’s dedication. My sister did her master’s thesis on sign language and, as much as there’s been a lot of progress since the past, there’s still a long way to go. Changing the so-called traditions is just one thing the world can do to evolve and be better.

The next book sounds great! October 1st can’t come soon enough!

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And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness & Rovina Cai

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5stars

Here is the truth behind the myth: all men are Toby Wick.
For who needs devils when you have men?

Title: And the Ocean Was Our Sky
Author: Patrick Ness & Rovina Cai (Illustrator)
Number of pages: 160 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: It’s beautifully peculiar and very true.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

So far, Patrick Ness has never failed me. Every single book he’s written that I’ve read has given me everything I love about books. This book, as peculiar as it may seem, has done just that, and I enjoyed every second of it.

PLOT —
The story was weird, there’s no point denying it: whales hunting humans, whales in search of the mysterious and infamous Toby Wick, who wants all whales dead. Its myth has driven many whales to their death, but still there are some who wants to find him and kill him, avenging the ones who lost their lives by his hand. Pretty simple in its structure, the plot hides surprises you wouldn’t expect.

CHARACTERS —
Bathsheba is the main character. She has lost loved ones because of men, and she joins the hunt because it’s tradition and she’s meant to do it. She is different from the other whales, though. She doesn’t believe in the myth of Toby Wick and she is curious. This curiosity will bring her to doubt everything she encounters because maybe things aren’t just black and white like others paint them.

“You notice what the others don’t.”
“Maybe I do.”
“Doesn’t mean you’re right, though.”
“No. But I begin to wonder if doubt is better than the wrong knowledge.”

THOUGHTS —
Fearlessly strange. That’s what’s been said about this book and they were completely right. I didn’t have issues about the main characters being whales who hunt humans, why would I? This is a Ness’ book, I expect everything. I was surprised by the ending, but it really was so true. I won’t say anything, just read it.

CONCLUSION —
Beautiful written, it kept me glued to the pages. I may not know anything about Moby Dick, so I don’t know how many things these two may have in common, but of one thing I’m certain: it had the usual magic touch, extremely human and intimate and real, that makes Patrick Ness’ books fantastic!

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Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak

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5stars

“Everything about us was entirely normal, really. We were as ordinary as anything we might come across in this world.”

Title: Wonders of the Invisible World
Author: Christopher Barzak
Number of pages: 352 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: It’s written in a very magical way. I loved everything about it.
Bad things about this book: I feel that this is a kind of narration that can be hard to get into.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I’ll give it a chance if I were you.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

As I thought from the blurb and from the first chapters, I really liked this book and how the story unfolded, circled back, flashed forward, backwards or whatever. It has that touch of magical realism, spells, curses, a world beyond the world, harbingers of death, mysteries, everything that I love. Peculiar and magical with a love story as sweet as honey, the perfect combo!

It was pretty weird and sometimes it could be hard to follow with all the dreams sequences and memories, but I found it fascinating, so I focused really hard and enjoyed the ride. Aidan is such a sweet boy, trying his best to remember what’s been forgotten, while experiencing feelings he thinks he is supposed to find wrong but instead come to him as easily as breathing and seeing the invisible world.

“Here they were, the people we were becoming, about to knock on our front door, hoping they could undo the mistakes we were making at that very moment.”

Jarrod is one hell of a supporting character; he supports Aidan in all his crazy life with such sincerity and love, just because he cares and wants to be with this sweet boy who sees what other people can’t. Aidan’s mother was a bit of a pain in the butt with all her evasiveness and half sentences, but Jarrod comes to the rescue every single time, and he stole, not only Aidan’s heart, but also mine.

I get sad when I see a low rating of a book I’ve loved, but I understand where they come from; this is the kind of book that you love or don’t understand its meaning or purpose. It’s weird and full of details many may find boring and unnecessary. But if you come to understand it, you’ll see how truly marvelous and magical this story is and you’ll love it. That’s what happened to me, and I hope it happens to many other readers who’ll decide to give this book a chance.

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Hoarfrost by Jordan L. Hawk

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5stars

“I’d watch the world burn if it meant keeping you safe!”

Title: Hoarfrost
Author: Jordan L. Hawk
Series: Whyborne & Griffin #6

Number of pages: 232 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: I loved how cute were the couples: Whyborne and Griffin, Christine and Iskander.
Bad things about this book: It bothers me a little that Whyborne isn’t studying more spells. He doesn’t know how to do much!
Do I recommend it? Yes! Of course!!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I couldn’t wait much longer so I started another one of Whyborne & Griffin’s book! I read there are going to be 11 and now only 9 are out. I read this one that is the 6th so I still have a few to read slowly. I’m going to miss them so much when it’ll all be over. I don’t want anything bad to happen to them.

Whyborne and Griffin are now happily married and are enjoying some time of peace, until a letter informing Griffin of his father’s death put him in a whirlwind of emotions and nightmares. He never reconnected with his father after he found out about his love for Whyborne and he doesn’t want his mother to leave this Earth without seeing her again. Then one day, his biological brother who works in Alaska, sends him a letter asking for help identifying a weird relic and our crew leaves Widdershins for a long and cold journey north.

This book introduces, for the first time, chapters from Griffin’s point of view. I liked reading his thoughts, his feelings, his love for Whyborne. I also loved how we now know what torments the poor man, why he continues having nightmares about that fire in Chicago and the creatures in Egypt. Griffin hasn’t got an easy life but his love and life with Whyborne has given him a new reason to live and to fight for what he has, no matter the consequences.

There are a lot of surprises in this book; new interesting characters, the obvious bad guys that you can see from miles away but it still surprise you a little when they’re revealed, and more whiny but adorable Whyborne. I just want to know why Whyborne doesn’t know more spells since he’s had that damned book for years. He should be the most powerful sorcerer of the world but he doesn’t study!! Pick up the book and do your homework, Whyborne!! I’m not sure I like what happened at the end of the book but I’m curious as to how that will change the following books.

I will read the next book next month. I don’t want get to a point where I don’t have more Whyborne and Griffin to read. I can’t have that!

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A Wish Upon the Stars by T.J. Klune ☆

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5starsplus

We turn to you, the boy we lost, your body now littered with scars. We know what your bravery cost, and for you we wish upon these stars.

Title: A Wish Upon the Stars
Author: T.J. Klune
Series: Tales From Verania #4
Number of pages: 450 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Everything. I’m telling you, EVERYTHING.
Bad things about this book: Nothing. It was hard to say goodbye but it also feels good.
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

BEWARE! This review will contain spoilers of the previous books and spoilers of this book because I must say things and the things I must say are spoilery.

This book deserves more than 5 stars and this series deserves at least a million stars. AT LEAST! I’ll say maybe 2 billion stars, maybe more. I have loved everything about it, everything: frustration and all. I have not loved a series as much as I’ve loved this one. Sure, you know how easily I give 5 stars to books but maybe it is because I read books I know I will like so the probability of a full star review is pretty high. I seem to know how to avoid books that make me mad but, alas, I have read a few that I wish I could forget completely but still haunt my everyday life. You know who you are, books, you know it and you should be ashamed of yourselves!

“How are you still alive?” Dimitri asked me.
“Sheer force of will,” I said cheerfully.

A Wish Upon the Stars is the fourth and last book of the Tales from Verania saga. I have read four magnificent books about a boy who happens to be a wizard apprentice and who, apparently, doesn’t know when to shut up. The things Sam says are things of beauty and perversion. Maybe more of perversion if I’m being honest and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sam is a magical boy with feelings and so much love to give. Sam is also a very sexual being and he will make sure you don’t have any doubts about it. I have read things that had made me gasp, laugh, cringe and also made me horny. Sam and I, we are alike. The only difference is that he has a hunk of a boyfriend while me, well, I’m single and the world has decided I will remain that way until the day I die.

The third book ended on a very sad note; Morgan was murdered and Ryan was badly hurt. Our Sam made the only decision he thought was right so he ran away to the Dark Woods to join the Great White and the other dragons to train. Eleven, I repeat, eleven months later he resurfaces from his “training camp”, disheveled and with bushy eyebrows, more powerful than ever, now a wizard, and more scared of facing the ones he left behind that the super villain who wants to consume him and kill them all.

“I promise you, when I was in the woods, looking up at the stars, there is nothing I wished for more than you.”

I was scared, too. San ran away leaving only letters not really explaining where he was going or for how long. Gary and Tiggy were super mad, Sam’s parents grounded him for eternity, Justin was uncharacteristically huggy, and Ryan was furious for very valid reasons. I would also be super mad if the love of my life went away who knows where for who knows how long telling me to wait patiently. How dare he leave me? That’s not okay. Luckily, Sam returned with more magic and Ryan has a kink for magic so things resolved quite quickly and quite steamily. I saw a side of Ryan I liked, a new side of him I like because I already liked him a lot.

“Lady Tina,” I said. “How unfortunate that you didn’t pass beyond the veil overnight. I expected more from you.”

Sam feels a bit left out in this new dynamic, having been almost a year away while the world kept going without him. Two of his arch-nemesis are now all lovey-dovey with his friends. Lady Tina DeSilva is second in command to Ryan and Sam hates it. I would hate it, too. She was the bane of his existence for the last books. Okay, she repented, had a change of heart, etc etc. But she did unnecessary things. I wouldn’t forget and forgive that easily.

“I had a vision you would say that,” Vadoma said, the bangles on her wrists knocking together. “I have many visions about everything you say. None of them are good.”

Then we have Vadoma, the one who put Ruv in our Sam’s way, maybe also contributing to the fall of Morgan. Yeah, she was sort of bewitched by Ruv, but still, she was rude and that’s not okay. You don’t get to be rude to Sam because he’s precious and needs protection.

“There were spiders when Dad showed me the first time,” he mumbled. “I don’t like spiders.”
“Ah,” I said wisely. “It’s a good thing you’ve got us, then, eh? And by us, I mean Ryan, because I also don’t like spiders, so he can go first and scare them all away and make sure we don’t get bitten and die.”

The book has one main mission and two side missions. The one super important mission is to use the dragons to kill Myrin, of course. The two side missions are to retrieve Gary’s horn and to save the King from the Castle’s dungeons where he’s kept captive. They do get the horn after saving the King and they meet Randall again, and guess what, he had the horn and the story of how he tracked is something else. Randall is a phenomenal character and I love him and his old hairy face! The “ceremony” of reattaching Gary’s horn is one I will never forget. I keep picturing Sam bad touching the horn while it leaked rainbow fluid, and then putting it on Gary and Gary sort of evolving, all majestic and posing and with his ego so much bigger than before you didn’t think it could be possible.

“Gary Matthias Pontificus Esmerelda Juanita Lopez Alabaster Kennedy the Fourth!”

Gary’s full name. I’m so glad we know it now!

I haven’t found the kind of comedy T.J. Klune writes with any other author. It’s overwhelming. I think you love it or you hate it, there’s no in-between. I love it with all my heart. He mixes hilarious moments with moments full of sentiment capable of breaking your heart and, trust me, your heart will certainly break. Mine broke so many times since book 1. I’ve lost count. He plays with your feelings but you hang in there because he is so clever, he knows it, and he’ll do the story justice and you won’t be mad at him (so much). He knows he’ll make you hate him a little bit and I know he grins evilly when no one is watching because he knows all will be forgiven by the end of the books. You magnificent manipulator! You have a special place in my heart.

“He reminds me of you,” he told Randall. “Stubborn. Indignant. Mouthy. He speaks before he thinks and is more likely to ignore my orders than to actually follow them.”
I would have objected, but that was pretty much all true.

I’m realizing I didn’t spoil much of the book so now I’m going to list my favourite parts so this will become a real spoilerful review:

1- Sam promising himself that he’ll find a boyfriend for Justin and us maybe getting in the future a book from Justin’s pov with his own romantic adventures
2- Ryan proposing like the cheesy boy he truly is and being all heart-eyes for Sam even when he was angry with him. But of course you can’t stay angry with Sam; have you look at him? He’s adorable.
3- Sam wooing the guards promising slutty things was beautiful and so cringe worthy I’m still thinking about how slutty he truly is. And I’m loving it. I loved every second of that scene. And I loved how jealous Ryan got because his man is loved by many. Too many!
4- Sam using the ability to change his and other people’s appearances to make Lady Tina the ugliest man in existence. It was hilarious! And he made Justin bald. Sam, why are you doing this to me? Tears, I had tears rolling down my face it was almost poetic.
5- Randall asking a little too many times if someone had a reason for Sam and Ryan not to get married got me laughing hard. Randall is precious and his story with Myrin was so sad; he deserved to be loved more, to be chosen over power, not to be left behind. Myrin, you suck.
6- Terry, Gary’s twin brother wanting Ryan to “ride him”, if you know what I mean!!
7- Morgan of Shadows. Morgan of freaking Shadows to complete the happy ending we truly deserved. We suffered so much and that was our reward.

With this list, this long and probably incomprehensible review gets to an end just like this series. I’m sad, of course, but I’m also happy because I don’t have to wonder if they’re okay and happy. I know they are. They will have bad days, they will have to face adversities, probably random kidnappings, but they will be victorious. They have each other, they have love and they are loved. There’s really nothing that puts a bigger smile on my face than seeing all of them, Sam, Ryan, Gary, Tiggy, Justin, Morgan, Randall, Sam’s parents, the King, be as happier as they can be in a world that wanted to put a destiny set in stone in their way. But stone crumbles, right? It sure did. Stone crumbled and if it didn’t, I was ready to magically teleport myself inside the book and punch it until it did. I was going to get my happy ending one way or the other.

“I’m in control of my own destiny. My path may have been set in stone, but stone crumbles, and sometimes we have to forge our own way through.”

Farewell Verania. You’ll be missed, and if we’re going to meet again I hope it’s not very far in the future. I can wait, though, because I know it’ll be worth it.

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