Category Archives: Reviews: LGBTQ+

A YA superhero breath of fresh air from the pen of TJ Klune

TJ ExtraordinariesThe Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think if I was a teenager, queer, or had grown up under difficult circumstances, this book would be like a breath of fresh air, a lifebelt in the sea of turmoil and something to bring hope and a feeling of “normalcy” as it is an encouraging homage to the great superhero stories of the Golden Era of Comic Books.

For Nick, his fanfiction is something vitally important, a connection to the Extraordinary he has a huge crush on and there were lots of “Superman/Lois Lane” vibes in his queering of the relationship between Shadow Star and a character who may be just a tiny bit like Nick.

It’s TJ Klune, so there is all the hilarity and wonderful use of language you’d expect to find in any book from this author. And, because it’s TJ Klune, there’s so many more layers and depth to the story being told.

It’s YA superhero fiction so as a 50-year-old woman, I’m not the key demographic for reading it, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t relate to the struggles Nick goes through in his day-to-day life as he juggles with his best friend (and possible love of his so-far very short life) Seth, his unfailing desire to become an Extraordinary, his ADHD, and his dad’s fears.

The relationship at the heart of this teen romance is just a hug in a sweetie wrapper. The depiction of how the ADHD affects everything Nick does felt honest and true to me even though I am not experienced with the condition myself, I have friends with atypical children and it rang similar to their lives.

It ends with a cliffhanger, as this is a trilogy of books being published by TOR Teen, and it didn’t surprise me as this is basically your typical Sci-Fi/Fantasy superhero book – but queered up, which I absolutely love. I love that this book will be on the shelves of all the major bookstores not hidden away in some online only corner of the internet.

I love that a big five publisher, (and the most respected name in Sci-Fi/Fantasy publishing in the industry), picked this series up and is putting all its considerable weight behind it. For any teenager wondering if they’re ever going to see themselves represented in a superhero book, The Extraordinaries is that book.

ARC kindly received from Hodder & Stoughton via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review

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The Extraordinaries (The Extraordinaries, #1)The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune

I think if I was a teenager, queer, or had grown up under difficult circumstances, this book would be like a breath of fresh air, a lifebelt in the sea of turmoil and something to bring hope and a feeling of “normalcy” as it is an encouraging homage to the great superhero stories of the Golden Era of Comic Books.

For Nick, his fanfiction is something vitally important, a connection to the Extraordinary he has a huge crush on and there were lots of “Superman/Lois Lane” vibes in his queering of the relationship between Shadow Star and a character who may be just a tiny bit like Nick.

It’s TJ Klune, so there is all the hilarity and wonderful use of language you’d expect to find in any book from this author. And, because it’s TJ Klune, there’s so many more layers and depth to the story being told.

It’s YA superhero fiction so as a 50-year-old woman, I’m not the key demographic for reading it, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t relate to the struggles Nick goes through in his day-to-day life as he juggles with his best friend (and possible love of his so-far very short life) Seth, his unfailing desire to become an Extraordinary, his ADHD, and his dad’s fears.

The relationship at the heart of this teen romance is just a hug in a sweetie wrapper. The depiction of how the ADHD affects everything Nick does felt honest and true to me even though I am not experienced with the condition myself, I have friends with atypical children and it rang similar to their lives.

It ends with a cliffhanger, as this is a trilogy of books being published by TOR Teen, and it didn’t surprise me as this is basically your typical Sci-Fi/Fantasy superhero book – but queered up, which I absolutely love. I love that this book will be on the shelves of all the major bookstores not hidden away in some online only corner of the internet.

I love that a big five publisher, (and the most respected name in Sci-Fi/Fantasy publishing in the industry), picked this series up and is putting all its considerable weight behind it. For any teenager wondering if they’re ever going to see themselves represented in a superhero book, The Extraordinaries is that book.

ARC kindly received from Hodder & Stoughton via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review

View all my reviews

A beautiful start to this exploration of how amnesia affects a relationship

Pieces of YouPieces of You by N.R. Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What I love about Nic as an author is that she seems able to turn her hand to any sub-genre within the MM world.

Here she gives us an amnesia story which is more than just that, it’s all about hope, about lost memories and about making new memories.

It’s about two normal blokes from Newcastle (the one Down Under not the one full of Geordies) whose lives are irrevocably changed by a blameless accident. While it’s a trilogy, there isn’t a cliffhanger as such at the end of book one.

It closes with a new beginning, and while that is all full of brightness and love, there’s also a tinge of dark and of hurt because Justin still has five years missing of his life.

I absolutely loved this and raced through it as quickly as possible, I loved Dallas’ unfailing steadfastness, his love for Jussy shines from the pages. And my heart broke for Justin, dealing with an unfathomable situation but with determination and courage.

This is, quite obviously, a zero steam book, but it really never feels like it’s missing, because the love Dallas has for Justin couldn’t be more clear in the way he is there, a rock to shelter against the storm of his amnesia.

Can’t wait for the rest!

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

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This romance explores the fears about unconventional relationships very well

53271121._SY475_Fight for You by Jaclyn Quinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lots of great things to say about this book. It really works to convey the fears about being in a relationship which isn’t a conventional one.

I’m a fan of MMM done well and I think Jaclyn did it justice throughout the narrative.

Each man brought something unique to the relationship and it was obvious that they couldn’t work as just a duo whichever way the pairings were.

It’s absolutely not a standalone, it follows directly on from book two and deals with the fall out from the events there.

It also touches on strong subjects and, again, I liked that love wasn’t a magic cure and that actual expert help was needed.

I will say that I wasn’t a big fan of the time jumps, which seemed to be used to move the plot along but without having to show the men working at the day-to-day relationship reality.

That said, it’s a minor quibble because there is also good on page time where they talk and go through their fears.

All in all, another solid entry to the series for me.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Lucy and Molly knock out another funny and flirty romance

ebook coverBTW: By the Way by Lucy LennoxMolly Maddox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another fabulous entry in this very sweet and funny series from Lucy and Molly.

Up this time is James, the lawyer from book one, and he finds love when he goes to close a deal on a rundown motel on the Cape.

What i really enjoy about this series, and especially in this book, is that there’s no unnecessary dramedy.

The tensions are created from situations which feel completely natural to the narrative.

Here it’s Sawyer feeling he wouldn’t be good enough to fit into James’ New York city life, while James is fearful he’s killed all his chances because of his involvement in a deal to buy the inn Sawyer loves so much.

There’s an easy pace to the story, it just flows beautifully from chapter to chapter and draws itself along to a deserved conclusion.

Thoroughly enjoyable and nicely steamy without ever going into overkill.

I’m interested to see how book four goes, as it will focus on Richard, James’s ex boyfriend, who seems superficial on the surface but who I suspect has much more to him.

#ARC kindly received from the authors in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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I loved how focused the narrative was for this Kiwi romance

50646588._SY475_Tamarillo Tart by Jay Hogan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This just ticked all my boxes, turned on all my switches, tickled my fancy – you get the drift 😁

It’s book two in Jay’s latest New Zealand set series and it’s a cracker, two radically different men, from backgrounds so far apart you’d never think they’d have common ground, but they just work.

And, while everything happens in just a couple of days, believe me the evidence is all there in the page for that whammy of emotional connection which comes when you meet the person who makes your heart race and other parts tremble 😉

Stef is book one MC Tanner’s best friend, he’s a jeweller, he’s ultra femme, he’s out and proud and sassy and secretly hides the bruised romantic he is at heart.

Cass is all rugged cowboy masculinity, he’s bi but not out at home, he’s also hurting from being dumped by his ex-wife, who found she couldn’t leave the city behind after they escaped their home town for university.

But adversity makes strange bedfellows and the undeniable sexual chemistry between them morphs into something much deeper when an unexpected powerful thunderstorm throws them into an emergency.

I loved how insular this book got with the focus drilling down to just Stef and Cass as they dealt with all the heightened hormones which resulted from the situation.

There’s actually a surprisingly little amount of angst in this one, given that it could have been massively overly dramatic, but it just flowed beautifully from one moment to the next. Not everything is plain sailing though, and I liked how realistic it felt with the conclusions drawn.

Now I can’t wait to get book three and we finally find out about Ethan’s barista and what secrets he’s been hiding!

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

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The latest Arou-Kalinski instalment puts you through the wringer!

50962394._SY475_Final Shot by V.L. Locey

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This book really ploughs through the emotions, both good and bad, as we continue the catch-up with the Arou-Kalinski families 10 years after we last saw them settled and happy.

Each time I come back to this pairing, I’m struck by just how real VL has made them as characters, I feel like I know them inside out.

I know how Vic will react to the disturbing news which comes from down South, where his son is off living with his mum and stepfather, I know he will be the solid rock his husband Dan needs as he comes to terms with another ice hockey injury and some home truths about his own behaviour.

This book is a hard emotional one, but it’s not without humour and I almost snorted my drink at the Shameless reference to Mickey Milkovich’s partner preferences 🙂

There are good times as well as the bad, there’re hard truths to face, there’s a plot line which, when I think about it was likely to come in some form or another to move the series onwards, it felt inevitable.

But over all, there is love, so much love, and I can’t wait to see what happens in book three as Jackie Blue Kalinski grows up ❤

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

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Lily Morton wrote me a rare breeds farmer and I loved him

53307636._SY475_Spring Strings by Lily Morton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolute perfection.

I came >< close to crying when I saw the dedication, then I laughed like a drain, sighed a wee little sigh and felt like my heart was going to burst with all the happiness this novella (which is actually almost full book length) gave me.

See, I’ve been (jokingly) teasing (she might say bugging the Hell out of) Lily that one of the love interests in her books should be a Cornish rare breeds farmer.

And then she gave me one, and it was Caden, and he was bloody brilliant.

Not only was he bloody brilliant, but he was utterly different from supermodel Malachi, who she also knew I’d been dying to get more from after his wee appearance when he bumped into Jude in Dublin in another of her short stories.

So when they met, I knew it would end up with another couple gazing at the glories of a Cornish sunset and living their best, snarky British lives together.

And I was right.

Lily Morton I love you and your wit, your amazing humour and your fabulous men, but most of all, I love your kindness and your friendship ❤

PS: It was supposed to be Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs 🐖🐷😉

piglet

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