12/26/2021 0 Comments
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
A Thousand Ships is the Greek mythology retold from the women’s perspectives. It tells the tale of the Trojan War from a lot of different perspectives – from the Trojan women whose fates now lie in the hands of the Greeks, to the Amazon princess who fought Achilles on their behalf, to Penelope awaiting the return of Odysseus, to the three goddesses whose feud started it all. It was such a refreshing take on these old stories and an epic, spellbinding and fascinating read in itself.
This book gives voice to the women who previously have mostly been bystanders in the old tales. Instead of focusing on the usual heroes and fighters, like Achilles, Odysseus, Agamemnon etc., we get to know the women whose lives and loves were forever altered by the Trojan war; the wives and mistresses, who were kidnapped and enslaved, and whose sons were killed; the goddesses who started it all, due to their own petty grievances, and Helen of Troy explaining to the other women how the war was not her fault.
I really enjoyed this new take and how Natalie Haynes weaved all of these different fates and perspectives together. The book started off really strong and pulled me in completely, but after a while it started to drag a little. The problem for me was that all the different alternating POVs and the non-linear storytelling made it hard to keep track of every separate story and to truly root for anyone specific of all the characters.
But all in all, this was a highly enjoyable read that was also educational without feeling like reading a history book in school… If you already know a lot about the Trojan War and Greek mythology you will appreciate the new angle to the stories you already know, and if you don’t know that much to start with, you will definitely learn a lot in an entertaining way!
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12/24/2021 0 Comments
The Other Brother by Jax Calder
I absolutely LOVED this book! It was such an emotional, completely addictive and swooning rivals-to-friends-to-lovers story with amazing character growth! And some truly amazing chemistry between the main characters... I read this book in one sitting, completely hooked from the very first page!
The two main characters of this story are Ryan and Cody, two seventeen boys who are bound by some very dysfunctional and toxic family ties, but have never been close. On the contrary, as the family’s trouble kid, Ryan has always been compared to the perfect Cody and never met his standards… Ryan is something of a carefree happy-go-lucky surfer guy, who doesn’t worry about the future but more about the next party or about pulling pranks on his sisters. He’s also out and proud as bisexual. Cody on the other hand is the perfect on paper son, who is a high achieving musician, talented tennis player and extremely well behaved. But he also struggles with a lot of issues, such as anxiety and being secretly gay, as Ryan will get to find out after a summer when circumstances collide, and the two boys end up spending time together at Cody’s family’s beach house.
In case the family ties seem confusing, I want to make it really clear that there is nothing tabu about Ryan and Cody getting feelings for each other. They are not in any way related by blood and have not grown up together, even though they share the same half-sisters since Ryan’s Mom and Cody’s Dad were previously married and had two daughters together, before they spit up in a very nasty divorce. After that they both remarried and had a son each (Ryan and Cody) in their second marriages. So nothing inappropriate or tabu, but complicated to say the least… especially since Ryan’s Mom and Cody’s Dad absolutely hate each other and uses their daughters (Ryan’s and Cody’s sisters) as ammunition in their own private war.
I absolutely loved Jax Calder’s writing style and the amazing rivalry and love/hate-dynamic between Ryan and Cody. I loved their banter and the humor, and not to mention the burning chemistry… Both of the characters immediately stole my heart in their own separate ways. The toxic family drama, the slow-burn and their emotional rollercoaster when realizing their feelings for each other and the consequences all felt very real and realistic. My heart ached for the struggle Ryan and Cody had to go through. Jax Calder did an amazing job capturing the complicated family dynamics between the two families and how much damage a conflict between parents can cause their children. A detail that I truly could relate too which made Cody even more real and authentic was his disgust for raisins. I feel the same way too, and it made me root for him even more.
All in all, The Other Brother was an absolutely amazing book! It was a truly adorable and emotional slow-burn enemies-to-lovers Romeo and Juliet kind of romance with all the feels and character growth. I read it in one sitting, it was so addictive and I rooted so much for all characters that I just couldn’t bear to put it down until the very end! I can’t recommend it enough!
Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC for this wonderful book! All opinions are my own and I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
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This was such an emotional, beautiful and unique story, but also at times such a difficult and heartbreaking read. It’s a story about Flynn, who has Asperger’s, and Ellie, who was his friend but who also joined the others bullying him at school. I loved the extra dimension with the neurodivergent representation, but most of all, I loved it for being such a gripping and realistic story about finding forgiveness and allowing yourself to be vulnerable and open to love.
Ellie McCallum and Flynn Hendrick had such a tragic history together. Flynn loved Ellie from the first time he saw her, but Ellie was the tough girl growing up passed from foster home to foster home who had learned the hard way never to trust anyone or feel any emotions. Not until Flynn managed to break through her hard shell and become her friend. In secret. In school, Ellie kept tormenting and mocking him just like the others, calling him “Freaky Flynn” due to his Asperger’s that made it difficult for him to understand social codes.
I have to admit that I struggled with the beginning of this book. A lot! I just couldn’t connect with Ellie and I absolutely loathed her friends. It just made me so angry the way Ellie kept allowing her friends to ruin her life and all the bad decisions she made. But once Flynn entered the story everything changed… he stole my heart completely!
Flynn is one of those characters I will never forget. A. Meredith Walters did an amazing job showing us the world through Flynn’s eyes with the alternate POVs. Flynn was just such a beautiful soul. So pure and innocent, so shy and awkward, so loving and compassionate, and so bluntly honest at all times. It was impossible not to love him and wanting to protect him from all evil. The alternate POVs also gave us readers the possibility to get the full picture and the painful and devastating backstory to what happened between them six years ago and why Ellie had become so embittered by life that she’d given into her anger and guilt to hurt him and herself.
I don’t think I can say that I ended up loving Ellie, but I definitely understood the reasons for her horrible, selfish and mean behavior, and her character development was amazing. She’d been through so much, and she hated herself more than anyone else ever could, that it was hard not to pity her. Eventually she also learnt from her mistakes and allowed herself to connect with Flynn again, letting him teach her how to love.
If I could have skipped the first part (or made Ellie behave differently sooner), this book would have been such an amazing five star read, but taking into consideration the whole book and the way Ellie kept coming back to her horrible friends I have to settle for four stars. But I really love this book and urge you all to please give it a try! It’s such an intense, heartbreaking, sweet, powerful, beautiful and unique story and I can’t wait to continue to read about Flynn and Ellie in the sequel Chasing the Tide!
Thank you so much Sophie (Sophie’s Reading Corner) for the recommendation that made me find this gem!
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A. Meredith Walters
12/13/2021 0 Comments
Unwritten Rules by KD Casey
This was such a sweet, gripping and heart-warming second chance m/m sports romance about a closeted baseball player having to choose between risking his whole career or being brave enough to reveal his most vulnerable self for a chance of true love and happiness.
The story follows baseball player Zach Glasser, who has put up with a lot for the sport he loves, pretending this is the life he’s always wanted. The thing is though, that it really could have been everything he’d ever wanted, if only he’d had the guts to tell his family and team that he was in love with his teammate Eugenio Morales.
Now three years later, Zach is struggling on, trying to cope with his broken heart, his regrets and the endless nights alone. But he still can’t get Eugenio out of his mind, and when they both get selected to play in the league’s All-Star Classic, those feelings and that chemistry come roaring back. But it’s all too late, or isn’t it…?
I rooted so much for both Zach and Eugenio from the very first moment and my heart ached for them in their struggles. They were both such wonderful characters, with depth and as far from any stereotype cliches you can come. I loved the wonderful chemistry between them… it was so intense and sizzling it was almost palpable!
It was such a powerful story about accepting and being proud of who you are, for wanting things and for being brave enough to chase after those things no matter how scary it feels or how hard it might make your life. It dealt with difficult topics in an honest and realistic way, I could certainly both understand Zach’s fear of coming out, and why Eugenio had to leave, wanting a relationship where he didn’t have to hide his true self.
The book was told in alternating timelines, slowly revealing the backstory and how the relationship between Zach and Eugenio started and how and why it ended. In the middle the book dragged a little though, and felt a bit too repetitive. I think it could have benefitted from a little faster storytelling with the breakup issues coming up a bit earlier, but all in all this was such a swooning, heart-warming, sweet and emotional second chance romance about two teammates falling head-over-heals in love with each other no matter how much they tried not to.
Thank you so much Nicole (Nicole Reads MM) for the recommendation!
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Ban Gilmartin Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Cara Dee Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.F. White C.G. Drews Charlie Adhara Charli Meadows Chasten Buttigieg Chris Bedell Christina Lauren Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Courtney Kae Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Dallas Smith Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton D.N. Bryn Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E.L. Massey E. Lockhart Emery Lee Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens F.T. Lukens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hannah Grace Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving H.S. Valley Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson James L. Sutter Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jen Bailey Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kathy Anderson KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Lauren Shippen Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nathaniel Shea Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Nyla K. Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Racquel Marie Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Taylor Jenkins Reid Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Tracy Deonn Tucker Shaw Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez