ARC Review: If We Were Us

Title: If We Were Us
Author: K.L. Walther
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐💫
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+ rep, M/M romance
Publication date: June 1, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

Everyone at the prestigious Bexley School believes that Sage Morgan and Charlie Carmichael are meant to be….that it’s just a matter of time until they realize that they are actually in love.

When Luke Morrissey shows up on the Bexley campus his presence immediately shakes things up. Charlie and Luke are drawn to each other the moment they meet, giving Sage the opportunity to steal away to spend time with Charlie’s twin brother, Nick.

But Charlie is afraid of what others will think if he accepts that he has much more than a friendship with Luke. And Sage fears that things with Nick are getting too serious too quickly. The duo will need to rely on each other and their lifelong friendship to figure things out with the boys they love.

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I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Sourcebooks Fire!

When I first saw the cover of this book, I immediately liked it! And then I read the synopsis and I was just so excited because it seemed like a fun contemporary read for me. I was right!

If We Were Us is a fun and entertaining read, with similar vibes as Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda!

My thoughts on If We Were Us

What I love most about If We Were Us is the fact that it’s funny, light-hearted, but can still be very gut-wrenching in some parts. It explored the characters’ flaws and issues, and their insecurities and mistakes. It was good to see these characters try to deal with them and overcome them by the end of the book. I also particularly adored the friendships and the dynamics between several characters! There’s Charlie and Sage, Luke and Sage, and Nick and Charlie!

I did, however, feel like it lacked in the romance department. I wanted more build-up, I wanted more flashbacks, I wanted more details, especially when it came to Nick and Sage’s relationship. Nick claimed he had feelings for Sage even before, but I didn’t see that nor did I feel it. I needed romance that’s believable, romance that will sway me. But in the end, I wasn’t fully convinced. So, I was disappointed about that.

Another thing is that, the writing style was okay, but sometimes it left me confused. Several times in the book, there were references to something or someone or some place or event, but those things/persons/places/events were not explained or given primary details.

On the other hand, I love how this book perfectly captured the ridiculously frustrating stereotype/idea that a girl and boy can’t be close friends without having feelings for each other. In the story, it has affected families, friends, the whole Bexley school body. This needs to stop, and this story just proves how bad that mentality can be.

Overall, If We Were Us was an entertaining read! I recommend this book to those who are looking for cute, short reads! (And those who are looking for books that has the same vibes as Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda!)

Quotes from the book

We will hold that umbrella for you, I kept thinking. You won’t brave the storm alone.

“I’d realized Nick had feelings for Sage. She was smiling at the camera, but he was smiling at her.”

“I just had no idea,” he continued in a near-whisper, like he hadn’t heard me. “I had no idea it was even possible to feel this way about a person…””

*Note that these quotes may differ from the published copy.


Buy If We Were Us

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository


How about you guys? Is this book in your TBRs? Are you excited for its release? Tell me in the comments!

ARC Review + Favorite Quotes: The Electric Heir [Blog Tour]

Title: The Electric Heir
Author: Victoria Lee
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Series: Feverwake #2
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, LGTBQ+, Bisexual rep, gay rep, plus other queer characters, POC, Racism, M/M romance, OwnVoices
Content Warnings: Profanity, alcohol/drug abuse, mental health and suicide, non-consensual/rape, emotional abuse and manipulation, physical abuse. For a much more detailed list, see this content warning post from the author themself.
Publication date: March 17, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

Six months after Noam Álvaro helped overthrow the despotic government of Carolinia, the Atlantians have gained citizenship, and Lehrer is chancellor. But despite Lehrer’s image as a progressive humanitarian leader, Noam has finally remembered the truth that Lehrer forced him to forget—that Lehrer is responsible for the deadly magic infection that ravaged Carolinia.

Now that Noam remembers the full extent of Lehrer’s crimes, he’s determined to use his influence with Lehrer to bring him down for good. If Lehrer realizes Noam has evaded his control—and that Noam is plotting against him—Noam’s dead. So he must keep playing the role of Lehrer’s protégé until he can steal enough vaccine to stop the virus.

Meanwhile Dara Shirazi returns to Carolinia, his magic stripped by the same vaccine that saved his life. But Dara’s attempts to ally himself with Noam prove that their methods for defeating Lehrer are violently misaligned. Dara fears Noam has only gotten himself more deeply entangled in Lehrer’s web. Sooner or later, playing double agent might cost Noam his life.

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Hello book nerds! Guess what? It’s my tour stop in The Electric Heir Blog Tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club and. For this post I have a review to share, as well as some of my favorite quotes!

I’ve already published a review for The Electric Heir back in January (it’s one of my favorite reads that month, probably the whole 2020), but I couldn’t resist on signing up for this blog tour! And with luck, I was chosen to be a part of the tour! (Thank you so much The FFBC!)

My thoughts on The Electric Heir

The Electric Heir is just so beautifully written. Not just because of the magnificent prose, but because the author understands how to build characters and let them develop and be their own. These characters are interesting because they’re complex and they keep on changing as we read the story. I loved witnessing the whole journey these characters went through. Painful as it is, their arcs are well-developed and carefully-written. Best of all is that the storyline is gripping and it tackled several significant themes. There was abuse, trauma, mental health, politics, unhealthy relationships, and more. Everything wraps up at the end of the book and it is satisfying indeed.

For a detailed book review, click here.

My favorite quotes from the book

As I’ve mentioned, The Electric Heir‘s prose is just awe-inspiring and poignant. As a result, I have a lot of favorite quotes from this book. But for this tour stop, I managed to choose my top five. Here they are:

THE ELECTRIC HEIR FAVE QUOTESTHE ELECTRIC HEIR FAVE QUOTES 4THE ELECTRIC HEIR FAVE QUOTES 3THE ELECTRIC HEIR FAVE QUOTES 2THE ELECTRIC HEIR FAVE QUOTES 5


The Electric Heir Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble Book Depository | Google Books

Preorder campaign for The Electric Heir: Submit your proof of purchase or library request and you get to choose between two digital short stories!

About the Author 

Victoria Lee author image
Victoria Lee grew up in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent twelve ascetic years as a vegetarian before discovering spicy chicken wings are, in fact, a delicacy. She’s been a state finalist competitive pianist, a hitchhiker, a pizza connoisseur, an EMT, an expat in China and Sweden, and a science doctoral student. She’s also a bit of a snob about fancy whisky.

Victoria writes early in the morning, then spends the rest of the day trying to impress her border collie puppy and make her experiments work.

She is represented by Holly Root and Taylor Haggerty at Root Literary.

Website| Goodreads | Twitter | InstagramFacebook

Tour Schedule

See more reviews, interviews, guest posts, playlists, and dream casts from other wonderful bloggers included in The Electric Heir blog tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club! Click here to see the tour schedule!

Giveaway

Win (1) copy of THE ELECTRIC HEIR by Victoria Lee (US Only)
Starts: March 11th 2020
Ends: March 25th 2020

Enter here!

ARC Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea

Title: The House in the Cerulean Sea
Author: TJ Klune
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre/s and Tags: Adult, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, LGBTQ+ rep, M/M romance, F/F romance (mentioned)
Content Warnings: Prejudice/hatred
Publication date: March 17, 2020
Goodreads 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.

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I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Tor Books!

The House in the Cerulean Sea

 

I went into this book not really knowing anything other than the synopsis and that it’s queer.

I never knew that it will blow me away with such a beautiful, breathtaking, wholesome story. Because that’s what this book is: a beautiful, breathtaking, wholesome story from start to finish.

(Sorry, my mind went blank somewhere around here. I was trying to think of other things to describe this book, but I don’t think they’ll ever be enough! *cries*)

My thoughts on The House in the Cerulean Sea

For starters, The House in the Cerulean Sea is wonderfully-written. It was able to capture the emotions and thoughts of the characters and project it to the readers. It was also funny, yet poignant and deep. I couldn’t simply stop reading, and if I did, the story stayed on my mind.

This book is character-driven, and the characters are just amazing. I loved Linus’s character arc. He starts as this obedient and loyal employee who feels small and unseen. At the end of the book he’s not any of those things anymore, and I loved that! He discovers and realizes many things, and he grows and he learns. My favorites would have to be the kids though, specifically Chauncey (the unidentifiable green blob) and Lucy (the Antichrist (yep, you read that right indeed)). They’re just so pure! I loved Arthur and Zoe as well. They completed the story and I loved that Arthur got some character development, too!

The plot, though simple, is incredibly profound. Linus is a case worker and the fate of this rundown orphanage and the dangerous, yet extraordinary kids lie in his decision and recommendation. The story follows Linus and his one month stay at Marsyas Island Orphanage. It’s slow going, but Linus gets to know the kids and the caretakers. He gets to know the island and the prejudice against the orphanage. He realizes the unfairness of many things. He realizes where he belongs. He finally finds his own home. Along the way, there are secrets, riots, self-realizations, love, and healing. It’s wholesome, pure, and absolutely perfect.

Above all, this is a story that teaches us to be kind, that the world is not merely black and white, and that it’s okay to feel small once in a while. I’m completely blown away by it. I fell in love with this story and I’ll forever cherish it in my heart.

Quotes from the book

“You are a fire, and they need to know how you burn. Not only because of who you are, but because of what they have made you into.”

“A home isn’t always the house we live in. It’s also the people we choose to surround ourselves with.”

“This isn’t simply an orphanage. It is a house of healing, and one that I think is necessary.”

*Note that these quotes may differ from the published copy.


Buy The House in the Cerulean Sea

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository


In conclusion, The House in the Cerulean Sea is definitely one of my favorite reads of 2020 and I am slowly becoming a fan of TJ Klune (I read his novella Blasphemy and it was hilarious!).

Anyway, please consider checking this book out on Goodreads and adding it to your TBRs!

ARC Review: The Unspoken Name

Title: The Unspoken Name
Author: A.K. Larkwood
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Series: The Serpent Gates #1
Genre/s and Tags: Adult, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Adventure, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Sapphic characters, F/F romance, M/M romance (mentioned)
Content Warnings: Violence, blood, a bit gory scenes, lots of death (minor characters)
Publication date: February 11, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

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I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Tor Books!

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The first time I saw this book, the cover immediately caught my eye! So I researched about it more and decided quickly that it’s the Adult SFF book I’ve been craving for! I mean, come on, a girl runs away from her destiny and becomes an assassin?! It sounds like a high fantasy book that will amaze me.

And oh, boy. I wasn’t wrong.

The Unspoken Name is a glorious story and an epic journey about a girl who learns how to defy her fate, to make her own choices, and to pursue freedom.

My thoughts on The Unspoken Name

It’s hard to discuss The Unspoken Name as if it’s only one book because it doesn’t seem like only one book. The story starts with Csorwe (pronounced as ksor-way) as a 14-year-old girl, ready to sacrifice herself, ready to accept her destiny, because she doesn’t know anything else. She doesn’t think she has any other choice. But lo and behold, she meets Sethennai, a powerful wizard, who tells her she can escape and have a chance at a different life. From there, Csorwe’s long and epic journey starts.

The world-building in this book is vast, expansive. There are many cities, kingdoms, different tribes/races, with different religions and gods. It’s all so unique, and mysterious, and exciting. The pronunciation guide at the beginning of the book also adds more allure to the world, because it’s not just a simple guide on how to pronounce the names of the characters or places. It also gives a glimpse into the various languages they use—how certain letters are pronounced, how certain parts sound. Also, the imagery in this book is just amazing. The author took the readers to various places—from shrines, to mountains, to palaces, to caves, and tombs.

The plot is intricate, the story spans 8 years after all. Since Csorwe’s initial escape, to her training as an assassin and the mage’s shadow, to going on an assignment and meeting someone who made her want to pursue what she wanted (and not what she was told), a lot has happened. And although the various events seem like they’re not related at first, they all interconnect at one point and they all make sense at the end. I loved the plot twists in this book. They’re the kind of plot twists that I should have seen coming, but I didn’t, and they’re just so shockingly good.

The character arcs are just wonderful to witness. Take Csorwe for example. She starts as this quiet, feeble girl and grows into a dangerous assassin and learns to really be herself and do what she wants (especially at the end of the book). Another character arc I came to love so much is Tal Charossa. I’m going to be honest and say that I hated his guts for most part of the book. He was annoying, kept butting heads with Csorwe, and was just blinded by his emotions. However, he unlocked some character development by the end of the book, and I really liked that.

Of course, I loved the addition of the romance, too. It’s slow burn, the kind that made me want to jump when they finally got together! It’s not the main aspect of the story, but it definitely changed Csorwe for the better. [kind of a spoiler, but I just want to say that they’re pretty much soft yet badass girlfriends and I love them]

Last but not the least, the writing style and the overall tone of the book is also commendable. It’s mysterious, but also quite humorous in several parts. It’s hard for me to look away from the pages because it’s just so intriguing, and I love how the author inserted humor, whether it be in the characters’ inner thoughts or the current situation.

Quotes from the book

“When someone gives up their life for yours, the least you owe them is to try and make the most of what they’ve given to you.”

“The gods made no allowances for young love, but perhaps it was worth having it while you could.”

“The secret of greatness is to know when you should risk the wrath of god.”

*Note that these quotes may differ from the published copy.


Buy The Unspoken Name

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository


Overall, The Unspoken Name is such a great read for me! I’m excited to see this book in the wild!

How about you guys? Have you read this book? Are you looking forward to it? Tell me in the comments!

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Series Review

Hi book nerds! Back with another review, but this time it’s for a series! And guess what, it’s a reread!

Earlier this year, I promised myself I would reread the Percy Jackson and the Olympians (which is my absolute favorite right next to Harry Potter). I first read the series when I was in high school (a little over 7 or 8 years ago, AACCKK). I’ve had my own set since last year and I finally completed collecting the graphic novel editions, so really, a reread is a must. And so, this November, I committed myself into this promise! And y’all, it’s a success! (See the thread of my live tweets for some serious fangirling moments and commentary here!)

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Here are my thoughts on the books! (Warning: there will be spoilers!)

 

Book 1: The Lightning Thief

This book just never gets old! I first read this series back in high school and my love for it never diminished.

I loved getting to know the characters once again! Percy, Grover, and Annabeth. Seeing all of them get to know each other, go on a journey, and be a team is awesome! Made me feel a little bit nostalgic, too. I also love how the writing style makes it seem like I really am in the book, going on an adventure with this trio.

Loved the plot, of course. There’s a blend of magical stuff and pretty normal teenage issues, and that was great for me. There are prophecies and mythology, but there’s also family issues. I’m reminded that these characters are just kids, and they’ll be going through some typical human problems as well.

And of course, I couldn’t help but think of the movie adaptation. It’s just so different to the books, and well. Books are better, anyway.

Book 2: Sea of Monsters

I’m gonna be honest. I had so much more fun with this than The Lightning Thief! And I don’t know if this is because the story’s more captivating or I just don’t remember much of it after reading it for the first time several years ago.

Sea of Monsters was jam-packed! There are more stuff about Greek mythology (from the creatures, to the stories, to the heroes and villains, and the gods), the bigger plot and the prophecy is finally revealed to Percy, plus the characters are also a highlight (Tyson appearing and worming his way onto Percy’s life, Annabeth opening up more about herself, Clarisse trusting Percy and working with him). It was all so good and every element worked well together. I also loved that it’s humorous but also philosophical at the same time.

In this book, I also realized that Percy really did have the makings of a villain, or at the very least, a bad guy. He’s powerful (and still has more potential in the coming years), sassy, insecure, and can also be prideful at times. What makes him different though, is he’s still compassionate. He trusts people and sees kindness, and he takes the time to reflect and he admits his flaws, his doubts, and wrongdoings. I’m pretty sure we have Sally Jackson to thank for that.

Also, can I just say, that ending?! It’s truly brilliant and so well executed that I still had goosebumps even though I already knew exactly what was coming. It’s so good! Loved this!

(And yes, I’m still so mad that the movie adaptation changed and omitted so many details from the book. Ugh.)

Book 3: Titan’s Curse

Titan’s Curse is another amazing journey and it’s only getting us closer to the big prophecy, the gods and the titans, the looming final battle, everything.

We meet several new characters and it was so fun going on a journey with these new people here in this third book! Zoe Nightshade (bless her), Bianca di Angelo (oh, Bianca), Nico di Angelo (a.k.a. one of my favorite characters from the PJO universe), and of course Thalia! It was so exciting to finally see Thalia in action and get to know her, seeing as in the two previous books she was just this character in a backstory. But she’s here in Titan’s Curse and she definitely left a mark on me.

Also, Percy and Thalia’s dynamic was just so good. I remember thinking about something Annabeth had said in the Sea of Monsters

“Percy, you know who you remind me the most? Thalia. You guys are so much alike it’s scary. I mean, either you would’ve been best friends or you would’ve strangled each other.”

Thalia and Percy were both powerful, dangerous, loyal, insecure, and somehow, even just for a little bit, waiting for a chance to prove themselves to their fathers. I wish there were more scenes with them, actually. I would have loved to see them actually team up and just obliterate anyone who was on their way. They’d be the perfect duo!

Of course, what really amazes me the most is Riordan’s storytelling—the way he weaved the plot and tied it all up perfectly at the end. Even if I’ve already read Titan’s Curse, I still got shocked, I still held my breath, I still anticipated for the next things to come. This, for me, is just awesome.

There was also a part near the end where Athena tells Percy what his fatal flaw is, and wow. I just loved it so much! She nailed it! Percy’s fatal flaw can truly be a good thing or a bad thing, and I’m reminded just how much I love his character.

Such a great book! So excited for the next one!

Book 4: Battle of the Labyrinth

Second to the last book in the series! Battle of the Labyrinth was a fun and heartfelt read—with new characters, great plot twists, and a couple of moral lessons that will really stick with the reader.

There were new characters like Rachel Elizabeth Dare, Quintus, Briares, Calypso that really left an impression on me (I mean, they already did the first time I read the book,  but it felt more significant this time). Loved that we got to see more of Nico and we saw just how his character developed in this book. Now, I’m just so excited to see more of him in the next books and series. And of course, the tension between Annabeth and Percy! Our main characters are entering teenage years and here come the feelings. Percy was so daft, it’s endearing.

I also love how there were a couple of plot twists that I still missed. I mean, I read this book years ago, so I guess my memory is now kind of fuzzy. But wow, Uncle Rick really never fails to surprise me. I love it!

Also, when I first read this book, I never quite realized just how much of a theme the environment was in the story. Grover’s journey, Pan’s message, everything was so heartbreaking and enlightening as to how humans are treating and should be treating the wild, the earth.

“The wild, my dear Grover, is so small now, so shattered, that no god can save it.”

“Remake the wild, a little at a time, each in your own corner of the world. You cannot wait for anyone else, even a god, to do that for you.”

Another theme that was a highlight for me in this book is family. With Sally meeting Paul, Daedalus with his son and his nephew, the tales about Hera and her “family”, Nico and her sister Bianca, and even Rachel with her dad or Dionysus with his sons. All of these parts involved family—both the good, the bad, and the ugly—and I just really adore that.

I really loved this one. We’re close to the end and I can’t wait!

Book 5: The Last Olympian

THIS BOOK IS A MASTERPIECE. I have no words except for two: home and hope. For me, these two words perfectly embody The Last Olympian.

Here, we get to see the importance of home, of family—and not just the family by blood, but also family by choice. The ugly sides of family were shown as well, and the fact that just because someone is your family doesn’t mean they’re always right or always good.

There’s also hope, so much hope. For the future, for the much needed change, for the environment, for the camp, for the families. It also showed us just how w should keep the hope and to never give it up. I loved it so much.

When it comes to the characters, they have grown so much here, especially Percy. From his powers and abilities, to his attitude and thinking, Percy has grown into a hero. Another amazing character development for me is Clarisse. I loved her arc throughout the series, and seeing her character in this final book is just great!

The plot, of course, was just… I don’t even have the right word to describe it, but it was so well-written, so well thought of, and it’s just the perfect ending to a great series for me.

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Rereading this series was an amazing experience. Yes, I’ve read it before, but everything was just as great, just as chilling, and just as exciting. This is truly a wonderful series from such a great and talented author. Love you Uncle Rick!

And now, I must delve into the graphic novel editions of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Ciao!

Explore the Percy Jackson and the Olympians now! See the books, the graphic novels, guides, and more!