Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea (T.J. Klune)

The House in the Cerulean Sea
Author: T.J. Klune
Narrator: Daniel Henning
Publication Date: March 1, 2020
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, LGBTQ+

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.


Let me confirm all the hype The House in the Cerulean Sea is getting for you. This book is worth every ounce of praise it’s been given. It was absolutely fabulous — and that’s coming from someone who isn’t a big fantasy or magical creatures fan.

There was so much depth to The House in the Cerulean SeaThe writing was gorgeous. It immediately captured my attention and kept it the entire time. The characters, and there were many, had individual voices that somehow all managed to stand out. I especially loved the children of the house’s voices. They each had their own struggles and what they brought to the story was so valuable. (If I had to pick a favorite character, it would have to be Lucy. He cracked me up every time he spoke with his inappropriate comments.) All of the characters fit into the story so well. The story was so entertaining! The author somehow managed to seamlessly wave magical creatures elements with valuable social and moral points. Add in a touch of romance, and it was the perfect read. It was simply heartwarming.

Not only was the book itself perfect, but so was the narration. It was fabulous. If you’re looking for an audiobook to listen to, I highly recommend this one. Daniel Henning brought each and every character to life. I would have enjoyed reading this book, but listening to it made it all the better.

So, yes. The hype is real for The House in the Cerulean Sea.

Review: Roommate (Sarina Bowen)

Roommate
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: January 12, 2020
Publisher: Tuxbury Publishing LLC
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ+
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:
Wanted: One roommate to share a 3-bedroom house, split the rent, and ideally not be the guy I can’t stop thinking about.
I’m a man with too many secrets, so the last thing I need is a new roommate with a sexy smile and blue eyes that see right through me. Eight years ago, Roderick left town after high school. We’re not friends. I owe him nothing. But back then, I let one of my secrets slip, and he’s the only one who noticed.
Part of me knows I should run far, far away. But the other part wants him to come upstairs and spend the night. But if I let him in, I could lose everything.

Seeking: A room to rent in town. I’m tidy, have no pets, and I will feed you homemade bread.
I should probably add: Gay AF, and has no filter. It’s no wonder my new landlord is so wary of me.
A smarter man would ignore those hot glances from Kieran Shipley. The broody lumberjack wants more from me than another homemade pretzel, but if I push my luck, I’ll end up back on the street.
Too bad I’ve never been smart with my heart …


Being back in Vermont and on the Shipley farm was a pleasure. It’s a place where Sarina Bowen’s writing shines. (Although, it shines in all her settings.) In Roommate, we got to see another side to the Shipleys and farming. This time it was a Shipley cousin who gets a story.

Kieran Shipley was my favorite type of Sarina Bowen character: a little gruff, a lot quiet. Behind those qualities was a man who was loyal to his family despite their actions and a good friend. Kieran was someone who was searching for his place in the world, but tried to do it without ruffling anyone’s feathers. I immediately liked him and wanted him to end up happy.

The newcomer to this small Vermont town was Roderick. Roddy had once lived nearby, but had left to pursue his calling. Now he’s back, broke, and looking to start all over. Roddy’s character was a lot more upfront and comfortable with his sexual orientation than some of Bowen’s previous MM couples. I think he might be Bowen’s first openly gay character, and it took me a while to get used to that in terms of what I’ve been used to in the MM romances she’s told before. I liked that she went this direction. It made Kieran and Roddy’s story standout from her other MM romances. There were some of the same aspects in relation to Kieran’s story compared to her others, but Roddy’s was all his own.

Kieran and Roddy had a sweet romance. It was almost a slow burn. Their attraction and relationship built naturally. They took their time getting to know each other as roommates and co-workers before moving onto anything romantic. That worked well for both Kieran and Roddy’s histories.

One of the things that made Roommate fun was seeing those Shipleys and friends from past True North books. Kieran’s branch of the family was a new experience, but I loved how Griffin, Audrey, and Zara framed Kieran’s life. I loved their reactions to Kieran and Roddy. That being said, this book is a standalone and can be read without reading the True North series.

Kieran’s immediate family members weren’t my favorite. I had a feeling why and it was proven correct. I didn’t have much respect for them. That didn’t really change by the end, sadly. There were some things I appreciated about them, but they kind of just sucked.

I’m so glad Sarina Bowen took us back to the True North world with Roommate. It was a special story and it deserved this magical setting. I loved how it was inundated with old characters who surrounded the new characters with love and acceptance. It was a joy to read.

PURCHASE LINKS

All Links in one spot: https://shor.by/roommate
Audible: https://geni.us/Audible-RM
Amazon: https://geni.us/Amazon-roommate
Apple: https://geni.us/Apple-roommate
Kobo: https://geni.us/Kobo-roommate
Nook: https://geni.us/Nook-roommate

Review: I’ll Be the One (Lyla Lee)

I’ll Be the One
Series: I’ll Be the One, #1
Author: Lyla Lee
Publication Date: June 16, 2020
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The world of K-Pop has never met a star like this. Debut author Lyla Lee delivers a deliciously fun, thoughtful rom-com celebrating confidence and body positivity—perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Julie Murphy.

Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Wear bright colors. Shouldn’t call attention to themselves. But Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for girls like her.

She’ll challenge thousands of other performers in an internationally televised competition looking for the next K-pop star, and she’ll do it better than anyone else.

When Skye nails her audition, she’s immediately swept into a whirlwind of countless practices, shocking performances, and the drama that comes with reality TV. What she doesn’t count on are the highly fat-phobic beauty standards of the Korean pop entertainment industry, her sudden media fame and scrutiny, or the sparks that soon fly with her fellow competitor, Henry Cho.

But Skye has her sights on becoming the world’s first plus-sized K-pop star, and that means winning the competition—without losing herself.


The first thing that drew me to I’ll Be the One is the fabulous cover. The colors and the model just pop off it. There’s such joy in the model’s face, that I couldn’t help be drawn to this book. I wanted to feel her joy and know what she was so happy about. The second thing that caught my attention was blurb. I loved that there was going to be a message about body positivity. Third, I know very little about K-pop and I wanted to learn more.

Skye Shin was a character who couldn’t help but shine. She was upbeat and positive when she could have been sullen and feeling sorry for herself. I loved that she didn’t let her weight define her or hold her back from her dreams. That’s a super important thing for teens who are reading this book to takeaway from it — adults, too.

The relationship between Sky and her mom fascinated me. I got where Skye was coming from, but I could also see where her mom was too. (Not that I agreed with how she conveyed her opinions most of the time.) It really made me think about how I talk to my own preteen daughter about weight or really anything. I liked how their issues were examined and how things ended up at the end.

Henry… I loved his character. He was slightly mysterious and very sweet. Skye’s friendship/relationship with him was exactly what she needed and I loved how it had drama, but wasn’t crazy over the top. The way the competition fueled their interactions was really cool. Plus, Snowball. That dog was awesome.

Skye also had some amazing friends in this book. They all lifted Skye up and kept her going when parents, competitors, judges, and people in general judged her. I especially loved Lana.

Earlier I said something about wanting to learn more about K-pop. I don’t know that I really learned a lot about it in this book. Most of the plot was based around the competition TV show and not K-pop specifically. I did like the competition. It reminded me of a combination of So You Think You Can Dance and The Voice. What did I end up learning more about was Korean culture. I loved that.

I could go on and on about how fabulous I’ll Be the One was. I adored every minute of the time I got to spend with Skye and her friends. I cannot recommend this book enough!

Review: Call Down the Hawk (Maggie Stiefvater)

Call Down the Hawk
Series: Dreamer, #1
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQ+

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The dreamers walk among us . . . and so do the dreamed. Those who dream cannot stop dreaming – they can only try to control it. Those who are dreamed cannot have their own lives – they will sleep forever if their dreamers die.

And then there are those who are drawn to the dreamers. To use them. To trap them. To kill them before their dreams destroy us all.

Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams and into his compromised reality.

Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it.

Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer . . . and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person. And she has seen the damage that dreamers can do. But that is nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed. . . .


The first two chapter of Call Down the Hawk had me wondering if maybe I had outgrown this this author. I just wasn’t pulled in as I expected to be. Once I got to the first chapter that was actually Ronan, I was pulled back into his world. I became interested in the story and what was to come. I was glad I didn’t simply give up on this book because there was so much to love about it.

Maggie Stiefvater’s writing is as enchanting as always. Her dream world, while sometimes overly descriptive, is mesmerizing. I got bogged down a bit by all those descriptions and the almost 500 pages felt long at times, but the underlying story was so good that I didn’t care.

I loved being back with Ronan. I liked getting deeper into his thoughts and opinions. His world was more than I was expecting. I was happy we got to see some of the other Raven Cycle characters through his POV. (Though, not as many moments as I was hoping for.)

As for the other Lynch brothers… I loved them. Declan wasn’t my favorite character in the other series, but he opened my eyes in this book to the good parts of him. He ended up being one of my favorite characters. Matthew… Well, who doesn’t love Matthew?

There were a couple new main characters in Call Down the Hawk. At first meet, I was a little confused by Jordan Hennessy and Carmen Farooq-Lane. It took some time to build their stories, but I loved how they were woven into the Lynch brothers’.

When I got to the end of Call Down the Hawk, I had two feelings. I both wanted more and was relieved that it was over. It feels weird to say that, but I needed a break after so many pages. I’m very curious about where this story is taking us. I’m both relieved I have to wait a bit for the next book and chomping at the bit to find out what’s next. Weird, but true.

Reviews: Forever Right Now & Someday, Someday (Emma Scott)

Good morning! Today, I have reviews for you for two of Emma Scott’s novels. Forever Right Now was published back in 2017. Someday, Someday is a new release that is related to Forever Right Now by a side character in that first book. I thought it would be a good idea to read and review them together. Here we go!

Forever Right Now
Darlene Montgomery has been to hell and back…more than once. After a stint in jail for drug possession, she is finally clean and ready to start over. Yet another failed relationship is just the motivation she needs to move from New York to San Francisco with the hopes of resurrecting her dance career and discovering that she is more than the sum of her rap sheet. As Darlene struggles in her new city, the last thing she wants is to become entangled with her handsome—but cranky—neighbor and his adorable little girl…

Sawyer Haas is weeks away from finishing law school, but exhaustion, dwindling finances, and the pressure to provide for himself and his daughter, Olivia, are wearing him down. A federal clerkship–a job he desperately needs–awaits him after graduation, but only if he passes the Bar Exam. Sawyer doesn’t have the time or patience for the capricious—if beautiful—dancer who moves into the apartment above his. But Darlene’s easy laugh and cheerful spirit seep into the cracks of his hardened heart, and slowly break down the walls he’s resurrected to keep from being betrayed ever again.

When the parents of Olivia’s absentee mother come to fight for custody, Sawyer could lose everything. To have any chance at happiness, he must trust Darlene, the woman who has somehow found her way past his brittle barbs, and Darlene must decide how much of her own bruised heart she is willing to give to Sawyer and Olivia, especially when the ghosts of her troubled past refuse to stay buried.

My thoughts:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I really, truly loved this book. I’ve been in a funky mood and I worried this emotional romance would gut me. While it did make me feel all kinds of emotions, some sad, it was such an uplifting story. I loved how much Darlene and Sawyer grew on their own and together. It was such a sweet romance. I do have to say that little miss Olivia was good at stealing the show and giving me a lot to smile about. Forever Right Now is Emma Scott’s writing at its finest.

Someday, Someday
How long would you wait for love?

Max Kaufman was kicked out of his home as a teen and his life has been an uphill battle ever since. From addiction and living on the streets, to recovery and putting himself through nursing school, he’s spent the last ten years rebuilding his shattered sense of self. Now he’s taken a job as a private caretaker to Edward Marsh III, the president and CEO of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Max soon learns Marsh’s multi-billion-dollar empire is a gold and diamond-encrusted web of secrets and lies.

The longer Max works and lives with the Marsh family, the tighter the secrets tangle around him. And his heart—that he’s worked so hard to protect—falls straight into the hands of the distant, cold, and beautiful son of a dynasty…

Silas Marsh is set to inherit the family fortune, but his father is determined his heir be the “perfect” son. Before Silas can take over the company and end its shady business practices, he must prove himself worthy…and deny his true nature.

Silas must choose: stand up to his father by being true to himself and his undeniable feelings for Max. Or pretend to be someone he is not in order to inherit everything. Even if it means sacrificing a chance at happiness and real love.

My thoughts:

Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book… Wow. It was a thing of beauty. I knew Max was an amazing person from Forever Right Now. He had been to hell and back and it had made him all the wiser. What I didn’t expect was to be so floored by his convictions and his ability to help others in so many situations, and also to stand up for what he needed for himself. It’s been a while since I loved a character so much.

Max’s love interest Silas was unexpected part of the story for me. Yeah, I knew he would be dealing with his sexual orientation as it related to his family and their business. It was way more than that, though. He had some baggage that was just as rough as Max’s. It made so happy that he and Max were thrown together because who better to help Silas with his past than Max?

Someday, Someday was not just an epic romance. It was an epic read filled with topics relevant to today’s social and business culture. Emma Scott went big on everything in this one and it paid off. What a phenomenal story!

Review: Something Like Gravity (Amber Smith)

Something Like Gravity
Author: Amber Smith
Publication Date: June 18, 2019
Publisher: Margaret K. Elderry Books
Genre: YA, LGBTQ+, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC an is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

For fans of Love, Simon and Eleanor and Park, a romantic and sweet novel about a transgender boy who falls in love for the first time—and how first love changes us all—from New York Times bestselling author Amber Smith.

Chris and Maia aren’t off to a great start.

A near-fatal car accident first brings them together, and their next encounters don’t fare much better. Chris’s good intentions backfire. Maia’s temper gets the best of her.

But they’re neighbors, at least for the summer, and despite their best efforts, they just can’t seem to stay away from each other.

The path forward isn’t easy. Chris has come out as transgender, but he’s still processing a frightening assault he survived the year before. Maia is grieving the loss of her older sister and trying to find her place in the world without her. Falling in love was the last thing on either of their minds.

But would it be so bad if it happened anyway?


The minute I heard Amber Smith was releasing another book, I knew I wanted to read it. I have been obsessed with her writing ever since I read The Way I Used To Be when it was released. Her stories are so beautiful and heart wrenching. She takes tough topics and dives in deep. I felt so emotionally touched by her first two releases. I couldn’t wait to start Something Like Gravity.

Something Like Gravity touched on a topic I haven’t read before. Chris being transgender was something I haven’t come across in any contemporary YA romance before. It was very interesting to me, but I cannot tell you whether or not the representation was done appropriately. I hope Chris’ thoughts about his body and feelings he had about everything were done in the best way possible because I can see them being easy to relate to. I also liked his thought process when it came to Maia and his interactions with her.

While I felt like Chris, his story, and his relationships with everyone were important and interesting, the rest of the book kind of bored me. Remember that boring summer you had at your grandparents’/aunt’s/uncle’s growing up? This book had that vibe. It’s set in a small town during the sleepy days of summer. I had to really push myself to read it. Almost everything Chris and Maia did was boring. And Maia…

Well, Maia is where the book lost me. Her point of view didn’t delve as deep as Chris’. She was grieving her sister’s death, her parents’ divorce, and a change in herself. I don’t feel like I got the nitty-gritty on any of those things. Everything with her felt surface level. I was missing something in some of her thoughts and actions. It’s not often I say this, but Something Like Gravity would have been better with only one point of view. I would have been more interested in hearing everything from Chris’ point of view.

Something Like Gravity had a lot of potential. It was written by a talented writer. There was a main character who was unique and had some experiences I was truly curious to find out more about. It just didn’t hit me on the emotional level it could have. It was still a good read, and I know there are going to be readers who it hits home with.

Audiobook Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Leah on the Offbeat
Series: Creekwood, #2
Author: Becky Albertalli
Narrator: Shannon Purser
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ+

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In this sequel to the acclaimed Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—now a major motion picture, Love, Simon—we follow Simon’s BFF Leah as she grapples with changing friendships, first love, and senior year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic.

She’s an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high.

It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.


I might be the only one who feels this way, but I thought Leah on the Offbeat was even better than Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I loved Simon, but it took me almost until the end to appreciate it as much as I did.

I was in love with Leah from the beginning. She wasn’t perfect. Leah had some major flaws, but they made her easy to relate to. Her world was changing. Even when she was fighting those changes or making dumb decisions, I could understand why she made the choices she did. Leah was afraid to put herself out there and get hurt or hurt her friends. I loved the reality of those situations. I’ve felt that way so many times in my life.

What struck me most about Leah and this book were the relationships in it. Everything that happened with Leah and her friends reminded me of some of my own school friendships. There’s always drama and ups and downs with friendships in high school. This book did an excellent job portraying friendships and how they evolve. It was my favorite part of the book. Well, besides Leah’s relationship with her mom. I loved that. Leah wasn’t the nicest to her mom, but when are we ever the nicest to the people who love us unconditionally when growing up? It was a good reminder to me that our parents are people, too. I still forget that even as an adult sometimes.

Overall, I adored listening to this book. Becky Albertalli’s writing was as amazing as always. Her characters were complex but easy to love. Shannon Purser brought life to Leah in an unforgettable way with her voice. Leah and the Offbeat is one of my favorite YA audiobooks I’ve read so far this year.

Review: Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Autoboyography
Author: Christina Lauren
Narrators: Deacon Lee, Kyle Mason
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Simon Schuster Audio
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Fangirl meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this funny and poignant coming-of-age novel from New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren about two boys who fall in love in a writing class—one from a progressive family and the other from a conservative religious community.

Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.


Wow, guys…

I wasn’t expecting to feel the way I did about this book.  I didn’t really have any expectations going into Autoboyography other than it was going to be a fun YA contemporary. That’s not what it was at all. Reading it was an experience I am grateful to have had. The duo behind Christina Lauren wrote a profound story about love, family, friendship, and faith. I’ve listened to a couple of their other adult books, and while those were fun, they never hit me like this one did.

Autoboyography was about Tanner, a high school senior who is bisexual. Tanner’s kept his sexual orientation a secret since moving to Provo, Utah due to the stigma it has in the predominantly Mormon city. It wasn’t hard for Tanner to hide until he met his writing class TA. One look at Sebastian and Tanner is infatuated. Tanner’s not the only one either. Sebastian seems to be just as into Tanner. The problem is Sebastian is a devout Mormon. A relationship with Tanner is completely against everything Sebastian has been taught.

(Almost) everything about this book was heartbreaking. From the moment their story begins, the writing is on the wall. Things will not be easy for Tanner and Sebastian. While Tanner has accepted his identity, Sebastian has not. His family and his religion does not allow him to. The closer they become, the harder life is for both of them. I was sad for Tanner (and Sebastian) so many times. I wanted a happy ever after for them, but I could never be sure that was going to happen for them. Their lives were so different. Their journeys, together and apart, were tough. I loved them and just wanted everything to be magically better for them.

My favorite character in Autoboyography wasn’t either of the main characters. It was actually Tanner’s dad. He had an openness to him that I hope my daughter will eventually find in me. He accepted Tanner for who he was and wanted to the best for him. That didn’t stop him from giving advice and establishing boundaries. In fact, it was his advice and guidance that I loved the most. His statements were so profound, truthful, and beautiful.

To be honest, I felt like I learned a lot about the Mormon religion/culture that I didn’t know before. Some things I had heard of, but others were new to me. I liked that while Autoboyography pointed out short coming regarding the religion’s lack of accepting diverse relationships, it was also respectful of the religion. It not only hit on its short comings but the positive aspects of it as well. The book didn’t bash the religion, just questioned aspects of it through Tanner and Sebastian’s characters.

The one thing I didn’t love about this book was Tanner and Autumn’s relationship. While their friendship was cute and totally supportive, I didn’t like part of it. It’s very apparent Autumn is in love with Tanner. They both try to ignore this so they can save their friendship. There are times when their friendship was uncomfortable for me because I felt that they shouldn’t really be friends. I felt that it was a lopsided friendship. Maybe that was just because Autumn didn’t have a POV, but I felt like it was an unhealthy relationship for her.

Sorry if this review feels a little discombobulated. I loved this book so much, and it’s really hard to put all of my thoughts and feelings into words. I really want everyone to read Autoboyography. It was a beautiful book.

Review: Alphas Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Alphas Like Us
Series: Like Us, #3
Authors: Krista & Becca Ritchie
Publication Date: March 13, 2018
Publisher: K.B. Ritchie
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

His Bodyguard. His Love.

Maverick, know-it-all bodyguard Farrow Keene knows publicly dating American royalty comes with a great cost. Everyone wants a piece of their relationship. And as a protective boyfriend, he’s not here for the malicious hands that grab at their love life and seek to rip them apart.

But Farrow is confident — he’s confident that he could’ve never prepared for the storm to come.

Keep him safe.

Maximoff Hale isn’t a big fan of change. And to regain the charity CEO position he lost, he agrees to a task that he’s always rejected. One that could uproot his unconventional world.

But Maximoff is afraid — he’s afraid of the consequences that could destroy his boyfriend and his family.

Keep him safe.

Changes are on the horizon.
Big.
Messy.
Complicated.
Changes.

Maximoff & Farrow will fight for their forever. And with every breath, they promise that their love story won’t end here.

​​The Like Us series is a true series, one continuous timeline, that follows a family of wealthy celebrities and the people that protect them. You must read Books 1 and 2 before reading Alphas Like Us.


I’ve been waiting to get my hands on Alphas Like Us ever since the end of Lovers Like Us. That ending made me so happy, and I couldn’t wait to see where Maximoff and Farrow’s relationship would go from there.

I’m happy to say that I loved where it went. Alphas Like Us was almost everything I hoped it would be. I loved how Maximoff and Farrow acted as a real couple. I enjoyed how they supported each other through everything and the tenderness they showed. I also liked how Maximoff and Farrow navigated fans and the media. Everything that happened to them in this book felt like it had potential to happen in real life to a celebrity couple. Alphas like Us gave Maximoff and Farrow the chance to grow in their relationship and themselves. I loved being part of that experience.

My only disappointment in Alphas Like Us was that so many questions were left in regards to some of the Hale-Cobalt-Meadows siblings. I wanted some resolution for them now, but those resolutions were left for future books. It made me sad because I wanted to know how things end up for them sooner rather than later! That being said, I know I’m going to answers in the future with Jane’s upcoming book. It’s just torture having to wait!

Alphas Like Us was definitely my favorite book in the Like Us series so far. The first two books felt like a build up to this book, and the pay off was so worth it. I ended up loving Maximoff and Farrow more than I did before. I can’t wait to see them again in Jane’s upcoming book.

Review: The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith

The Last to Let Go
Author: Amber Smith
Publication Date: January 6, 2017
Publisher: McElderry Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, LBGTQ
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

How do you let go of something you’ve never had?

Junior year for Brooke Winters is supposed to be about change. She’s transferring schools, starting fresh, and making plans for college so she can finally leave her hometown, her family, and her past behind.

But all of her dreams are shattered one hot summer afternoon when her mother is arrested for killing Brooke’s abusive father. No one really knows what happened that day, if it was premeditated or self-defense, whether it was right or wrong. And now Brooke and her siblings are on their own.

In a year of firsts—the first year without parents, first love, first heartbreak, and her first taste of freedom—Brooke must confront the shadow of her family’s violence and dysfunction, as she struggles to embrace her identity, finds her true place in the world, and learns how to let go.


Amber Smith’s The Way I Used to Be was one of my top reads for 2016. I couldn’t get over the fact that a début author had written such an emotionally raw book. I loved everything about that book. It touched me so deeply. I’ve been waiting for her next release from the minute I finished that book, so I was very eager to read The Last to Let Go.

Everything about The Last to Let Go was so raw. Brooke had too much to deal with in this book. Her mother killed her abusive father, she’s worried about her siblings, she’s making unexpected friends, meeting new family members, and she might just be finding love. Everything is more than she can handle. She was doing everything to hold onto her family and what she thought was important.

I felt so bad for Brooke. As much as I wanted her to get herself together, I completely understood why she was falling apart. It broke my heart. Luckily, I’ve never been in Brooke’s situation. It’s one I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Obviously, I can’t relate completely with her life, but I felt like her feelings of needing to control and having a hard time letting go were something everyone can identify with at some point.

The Last to Let Go was so good — in a painful sort of way. What I mean is that it was utterly heartbreaking. Amber Smith has a way of writing that makes me feel the emotions her characters are feeling. It’s breathtaking and it’s brutal. The Last to Let Go is a book that’s going to stick with me for a long time, and it’s one I definitely recommend.