Book Review – Serpent’s Kiss (Elder Races #3)

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Title: Serpent’s Kiss (Elder Races #3)

Author: Thea Harrison

Synopsis: In order to save his friend’s life, Wyr sentinel Rune Ainissesthai made a bargain with Vampyre Queen Carling—without knowing what she would ask from him in return. But when Rune attempts to make good on his debt, he finds a woman on the edge.

Recently, Carling’s Power has become erratic, forcing her followers to flee in fear. Despite the danger, Rune is drawn to the ailing Queen and decides to help her find a cure for the serpent’s kiss—the vampyric disease that’s killing her.

With their desire for each other escalating just as quickly as Carling’s instability spirals out of control, the sentinel and the Queen will have to rely on each other if they have any hope of surviving the serpent’s kiss

Rating: 4 stars

Review: Okay, so I’ve just binge-read the first three books in the Elder Races series so far, and I’m in love! This is the third book in the series, and while the first two were centered around Dragos and Tiago respectively, this one focuses on Rune Ainissesthai, Dragos’ second-in-command and best friend, and Carling Severan, the Vampyre representative on the Council. Rune owes Carling a favour, but whenever Carling calls that favour in, there’s something not quite right about the gorgeous Vampyre.

I’ve seen three Elder-Races guys so far – Dragos, Tiago, and Rune – and aside from Dragos (always my favourite!), I love Rune’s character in this. He uses words like ‘bitchin’ and ‘dude’ and I love that. It brings to mind the image of a hippie guy in board shorts, with a surfboard, and long blond hair, for some reason. I was a bit averse to him in the last book, but I genuinely did warm to him this time around.

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Carling’s okay, as far as heroines go, but in comparison to Niniane, and Pia, she was sort of a let down. I didn’t really connect with her like I did with Pia and Niniane, and for me, she didn’t give me that spark that a reader gets for a character.

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That being said, Thea Harrison is an amazing writer, and there were quite a few times I found myself laughing out loud while reading this.

Some of my favourite parts include:

How like a male. Pull out some tools and start banging on something, and they flocked in from miles around.

“If you fail in the slightest to do this one thing, I will find you. I will pull out your entrails and leave you to watch them bake in the noonday sun. Do you understand me?”

 

“My give-a-shit button’s broken, baby.”

 

Khalil scowled. “I could have sat on the children.”

“Sat with the children,” Carling murmured, as she fought the sudden urge to laugh. “With, not on.”

 

Carling made a note on her new iPad to remind herself to go a Google search for a definition of booyah.

 

Overall, I’d have to say that while this isn’t my favourite Elder Races book of the series so far, it’s still enjoyable, and well-written. LIke I’ve said before, if you like urban fantasy with a whole lot of sexual tension, this is a must-read series.

 

Happy reading!

Book Review – Symptoms of Being Human

Title: Symptoms of Being Human

Author: Jeff Garvin 22692740

Synopsis: The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is…Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

Rating:  4 Stars

Review: This book has been on my TBR ever since it came out months ago, but I’ve only just been able to finally read it, and honestly, I wasn’t disappointed.

“The world isn’t binary. Everything isn’t black or white, yes or no. Sometimes it’s not a switch, it’s a dial. And it’s not even a dial you can get your hands on; it turns without your permission or approval.”

 

Riley’s gender fluid – but also so far in the closet that he/she’s almost in Narnia. Riley also suffers from anxiety, which isn’t made any better by his/her dad running for re-election as a Congressman. Add onto that the normal stress of starting at a new school, and you’ve got a pretty messed up day to day life. Things start to seem a little better though, when Riley starts writing a blog under a pseudonym about being a gender fluid teenager, and he/she actually finds a cause to get behind.

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I absolutely loved this book from start to end – especially the character of Riley him/herself. One of my own original characters is a gender fluid character called Riley, so I found myself attached to this Riley from the start because of that, but as the book went on, I genuinely found myself empathising with this Riley and what they were going through.

 

I’m gender fluid. Not stupid.

 

I just loved Riley altogether – Riley’s snarky and sassy and will give as good as they get, but they’re also very emotional, and insightful. Some particular parts of the book just explain gender fluidity so well, even to someone who already understands it well enough.

 

It’s like I have a compass in my chest, but instead of north and south, the needle moves between masculine and feminine.

 

One of the things I really appreciate as well, is that despite the events that happen near the end of the book, we never find out what biological sex Riley is – because it doesn’t matter. Riley is both a boy and a girl and somewhere in the middle, and the point of this whole narrative is that it doesn’t matter what’s between Riley’s legs, or between anyone’s. It’s the person who matters, not their genitals. That’s just a lovely concept, isn’t it?

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As for the supporting characters, I found Riley’s friends Solo and Bec to be a little off at the start, but I warmed to them quickly. I ended up disliking both Riley’s parents through most of the book, just by how they were acting, but they redeemed themselves eventually.

 

Want to hear some of my favourite parts? Of course you do. Here you go:

 

“People do judge books by their covers; it’s human nature. They react to the way you look before they hear a single word that comes out of your mouth.”

 

“My mom says crying is just your body expelling all the bad stuff. Like a sneeze. Like your soul sneezing.”

 

“That’s none of your business,” I say. “And, while I’m flattered by your interest, you’re really not my type.”

 

I give this book a four star rating because despite loving it, and having absolutely devoured it within the course of one day, it doesn’t make me want to squeal with excitement and fangirl about like other books do. It’s great, but not fangirl-worthy for me at least.

Book Review – The Summer I Wasn’t Me

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Title: The Summer I Wasn’t Me

Author: Jessica Verdi

Synopsis: Lexi has a secret.

She never meant for her mom to find out. And now she’s afraid that what’s left of her family is going to fall apart for good.

Lexi knows she can fix everything. She can change. She can learn to like boys. New Horizons summer camp has promised to transform her life, and there’s nothing she wants more than to start over.

But sometimes love has its own path…

Rating: 4 stars

Review: Why, why, WHY do I torture myself with angsty LGBT books? Even when they have happy endings…..wait, that’s why I do it.

Lexi voluntarily signs herself up for de-gayifying camp so she doesn’t cause her mum any stress or trouble, but when she gets there, she ends up falling for an absolutely gorgeous girl. Problem? The other girl’s there to rid herself of the ‘gayness’ as well.

“I didn’t want to marry Mr Darcy. I wanted to marry Elizabeth Bennet.”

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This book deals with a lot of serious issues – the problems with homosexual therapy camps, religious views on homosexuality, suppressed sexuality, sexual abuse, even family bereavement – and the way that Jessica Verdi deals with them is just perfect. They’re not brushed aside, and they’re not ignored, which is amazing to read, no matter how serious the story is.

The characters were all portrayed great as well – especially Matthew, one of the boys that Lexi befriends at the camp. He’s defiant, and unapologetic, and a damn good friend. He’s not perfect, obviously – he doesn’t know when to shut up sometimes – but that’s what makes him more realistic. I would love to meet a real-life equivalent to Matthew.

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Admittedly, the whole cult vibe of the camp, and the behaviour of the head guy Mr Martin made me so angry, but the relationship between Lexi and Carolyn made it all worth it in the end. They bond over ‘The Great Gatsby’, even leaving each other messages in the margins of the novel, and they confide in each other, and eep. It’s just so adorable!

“I guess I belong to the Church of Running. And now the Church of Gatsby.” When I read that last part, an incredible warmth fills me right down to my soul.

I think my favourite part is definitely when Mr Martin tries to convince them that things like Harry Potter are corrupting them, and one of the other boys in the camp retorts with some well-reasoned facts about the actual themes of Harry Potter.

“Harry Potter is luring innocent children to witchcraft and the occult,” he explains. “It teaches that you can leave the world of structure, safety and family and go to a place where the rules don’t apply.”

Ugh, such bullshit.

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If you want to read something that’s LGBT but with a religious undertone to it, I thoroughly recommend this. As this review so succinctly said,

Take “But I’m a Cheerleader”, replace comedy with drama, keep the happy ending.

Yep, pretty much.

Book Review – The Lost Hero (Heroes Of Olympus #1)

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Title: The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus #1)

Author: Rick Riordan

Synopsis:

Jason has a problem.

He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper, and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?

Piper has a secret.
Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare about his being in trouble. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits during the school trip, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out.

Leo has a way with tools.
When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about, and some camper who’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god. Does this have anything to do with Jason’s amnesia, or the fact that Leo keeps seeing ghosts?

Rating: 4 stars

Review: Oh this was the perfect start to the series! There’s enough world building that you can jump right in if you aren’t already familiar with Riordan’s demigod world from the Percy Jackson series, but not so much that it feels repetitive if you’re already waist-deep in the series and fandom.

Me before reading:
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Me halfway through:
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Me when I finished:
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Three regular teens are thrust headfirst into this scary new world of demigods and Greek gods and Titans, and they have to deal with a huge world-saving quest in addition with normal teenager issues like being absolutely head over heels with someone who doesn’t really know who you are because his memory is wiped like a whiteboard. Yeah, that’s basically it.
I have been binge-reading this series lately – in preparation for the new Magnus Chase book on October 4th- and because I’ve been reading them so quickly, I haven’t reviewed each one as I went along, so I’m going to do that now. Thnak god for the highlight and note functions on my Kindle so I can mark review-worthy quotes like this one:
“What’s Cabin Nine?” Leo asked. “And I’m not a Vulcan!”
 
“Come on, Mr Spock. I’ll explain everything.” Will put a hand on his shoulder and steered him off towards the cabins.
Taking off from that, I’m going to first get my fangirling over with, and tell you all about the little sass master that is Leo freaking Valdez! At first look, he just seems like the comic relief to Piper and Jason’s heroism, but then you realise he’s totally awesome in his own right. He can build and/or fix pretty much everything, and he’s a damn good friend, loyal to the end. I know Jason’s meant to be the dreamboat and everything, with the blond hair and the leader-vibe, but I’m Team Leo all the way.
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Then there’s Piper McLean, aka my fictional wifey. She doesn’t let being the daughter of Aphrodite stop her from kicking ass with the guys. After all, Aphrodite is more than just the goddess of beauty – she’s the goddess of love, and Piper uses her emotions to her strengths rather than a weakness.
And there’s Jason. Hmm….Jason. Yeah he’s pretty amazing with the saving and everything, but since I work with someone called Jason, I keep imagining this Jason as looking like mine, and that’s just weird. As far as the character is concerned though, I’m a fan nonetheless. Anyone who can kick butt while missing a good chunk of memories is okay in my book.
I’m always a fan of Rick Riordan’s work, and this did not disapponint. He always manages to take the story and write in a way that appeals to everyone from little kids to adults. It’s funny, fascinating, and informative as well, which is always a plus. Thanks to this whole thing, I know more about Greek gods and mythology than I did when I started, which was very basic. Yeah.
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Here are some particularly good quotes that I liked, that might inspire you to read this awesome book if you haven’t already.

Jason scratched his head. “You named him Festus? You know that in Latin, ‘festus’ means ‘happy’? You want us to ride off to save the world on Happy the Dragon?”

“Can we just call them storm spirits?” Leo asked. “Venti makes them sound like evil espresso drinks.”

“Gaea?” Leo shook his head. “Isn’t that Mother Nature? She’s supposed to have, like, flowers in her hair and birds singing around her and dear and rabbits doing her laundry.”
“Leo, that’s Snow White,” Piper said.

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“I can’t believe I thought you were hot.”

Khione’s face turned red. “Hot? You dare insult me? I am cold, Leo Valdez. Very, very cold.”

“Zeus looked like a really buff, really angry hippie.”

“Please excuse Jason from eternal damnation. He has had amnesia.”
My recommendation is that you read the Percy Jackson series first, and then this one, so you know who all the characters are, otherwise you’ll be as confused as a Boread.
If you love mythology of any kind, Rick Riordan’s work is a must-read, purely because it takes the myths and modernises them in a way that anyone can read them and learn while thoroughly enjoying it.

Book Review – Fierce And Fabulous

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Netgalley | Goodreads | Author Blog

Title: Fierce and Fabulous (Sassy Boyz #1)

Author: Elizabeth Varlet

Synopsis: ​Fitch Donovan never thought a lap dance could change his life, but from the moment the gorgeous dancer’s lips touch his, his world comes screeching to a halt. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t shake the desire that rocks him to his core. He’s longed for this passion all his life—he just never dreamed he’d find it with another man.

Sharing a soul-shaking kiss with a straight boy is the kind of drama Ansel Becke just doesn’t need. Spotlights aren’t made for two and Ansel prefers to keep things on a one-night-only basis. So when Fitch shows up asking for an encore, Ansel knows he should send his gorgeous ass packing.

Though Ansel tries to pretend that what’s between him and Fitch is far from fabulous, there’s something about the big, burly contractor that makes Ansel’s world sparkle in a way no amount of glitter ever could. And Fitch will do whatever it takes to convince Ansel that when the thing you need most in the world falls right into your lap, you’d be a fool to let it go​.​

Rating: 4 stars

Review: This is a review of an ARC I received on Netgalley from the publisher, and this is a totally honest review.

Warning – this may contain gifs and fangirling.

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This book! Oh my god, I’m still getting over it. It’s so hot and sexy, and emotional – it’s got the whole package! Okay, Becca, calm down. Let’s take    it back to the start.

Ansel is a Yanis-Marshall-style dancer who is fabulous and smashing gender roles with his glitter and his painted nails and everything. Then you have Fitch, who is as straight as you can get, working for his family’s construction company. When they meet at a gay club – for Fitch’s sister’s birthday party – their encounter leaves Fitch seriously questioning his sexuality, and Ansel searching for a way to deal with his surprisingly strong feelings.

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This is basically what Ansel and the rest of the Sassy Boyz do:

Fabulous, right?

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If I had to nitpick one reason why I’m not giving this a five star rating, it’s that the sex scenes lasted too long and were too often for my liking. They seemed to go on forever, and have at least one per chapter. Less is more in erotic books, in my personal opinion.

Aside from that though, I absolutely loved it. I loved the different layers to the different characters, and getting to know the other characters aside from the main ones. Everyone’s just so fabulously complicated, and just…aah!

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This is the first in a series, so it’s my guess that the author is going to do a book for each of the Sassy Boyz. The next book is called Dark And Dazzling, and it apparently focuses on Azariah ‘Z’ Hayes, which I’m excited for.

This book is published on June 27, but isn’t going to be archived on Netgalley until the end of July, so go and request it, because this is incredible. It thoroughly deserves to be rated four stars.

Now, because this book is so freaking awesome, here are some quotes I pulled from it, to get you jazzed about reading it:

“I’m a blinking rainbow sign that says Queer as Fuck.”

“This is all you need to know about me. I like pretty things, but I also love my cock. I don’t want to be a woman, but I happen to look like one. I enjoy wearing heels, experimenting with makeup, and sparkly things. I also enjoy sticking my hand down my pants and scratching my balls, ’cause, yes, I do have them. So, if you asked me out tonight because you thought I was almost a woman or might eventually be one, you’re going to be disappointed.”

“I’m just Ansel fucking Becke and screw anyone who has a problem with it.”

“Stop looking at me like I’m special,” Ansel whispered. It was so quiet and said with such a plea, Fitch barely heard because he was so focused on his own discovery. But when he finally did, the heart in his throat grew so large it almost choked him.

It took a moment to swallow back the emotion enough to respond. “Sorry, Angel, but that’s one thing I can’t do for you.”

Book Review – Uglies

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Title: Uglies​ (Uglies #1)​

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Synopsis: Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunning pretty. And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.

But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world– and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally’s choice will change her world forever…

Rating: 4 stars

Review:​ This whole series has been on my TBR list FOREVER, so you can imagine how stoked I was when I found the whole series on a shelf in a charity shop? They only cost me a pound for all four – score! Anyway, I started reading this, and it only took me a day or two to finish. Want to know what I think of it? Read on, my darlings.

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I’ve read ‘Leviathan’ by Scott Westerfeld, so I was pleasantly surprised by how different this was to that. ‘Leviathan’ was very gritty, but I really loved this one. I was expecting a dystopian of the Hunger Games variety, but this was lighter than that.

In a futuristic worlds, there are three main stages to a person’s life – first, you’re a littlie and you live with your parents, and then around twelve, you become an ugly, which is where you stay until you turn sixteen, and that’s when you get a plastic surgery operation that makes you pretty. Once you’re a pretty, you can go party in New Pretty Town, and have fun because the beautiful have all the fun. But maybe being pretty isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?

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​At the start, I didn’t like Tally very much – I found her to be shallow, and vapid, and just…ugh. She acted more like a twelve-year old than someone about to turn sixteen. However, as we follow her through the book, she becomes someone I actually ended up liking by the end of it.​ Shay on the other hand, I never liked. She’s the kind of girl I would have hated in school, because she’s so annoying and she always believes she is right. Again I reiterate – ugh.

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​On the flipside though, I really loved reading about all of the differences between this new world, and the one we know and live in now. To these characters, we’re considered as primitive as cavemen. To the characters in this book, we’d be called Rusties. It was really interesting to read Tally’s reactions to things that aren’t a big deal to you and me – roller coasters, railroad tracks, even magazines.​

​I can’t wait to start reading the next book – ‘Pretties’ – and find out what happens next. If the second book is anything like the first – four star worthy – then I’m going to love it.

If you like dystopian novels like ‘Matched’ (Allie Condie), then you should definitely pick this one up for a read. It’s so worth it.​

Book Review – Great

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Title: Great

Author: Sara Benincasa

Synopsis: Everyone loves a good scandal.

Naomi Rye usually dreads spending the summer with her socialite mother in East Hampton. This year is no different. She sticks out like a sore thumb among the teenagers who have been summering (a verb only the very rich use) together for years. But Naomi finds herself captivated by her mysterious next-door neighbor, Jacinta. Jacinta has her own reason for drawing close to Naomi-to meet the beautiful and untouchable Delilah Fairweather. But Jacinta’s carefully constructed world is hiding something huge, a secret that could undo everything. And Naomi must decide how far she is willing to be pulled into this web of lies and deception before she is unable to escape.

Rating: 4 stars

Review: I do love a good retelling, and this certainly fit the bill. I haven’t read ‘The Great Gatsby’ since I was sixteen (five years ago now), but I remembered enough of it to see parallels throughout this book.

Me Before Reading It:

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Me Halfway Through Reading It:

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Me After Finishing:

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I loved the LGBT twist on a classic – I could do with some more like this. Let’s do retellings of classic books like this more often, please.

Like always, Naomi Rye goes to visit her famous mother in the Hamptons for the summer, but this time around, she has her head turned by the eccentric but lovely Jacinta. However, she isn’t the only one affected by Jacinta’s unique brand of charm.

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This was one of those books I just whirled through for a few reasons; one, it was a short book, only 200-odd pages, ; and two, the whole world in general just pulled me in further and further with each page. I was enthralled by this sneaky and high-maintenance society that we’re introduced to via Naomi as the narrator.

First of all, I absolutely loved Jacinta from the start – she’s misunderstood, and she’s sweet and caring, and she’s a blogger! I love reading about characters who happen to be bloggers, for some reason. Jacinta in particular is a character who is a little unusual but she’s basically harmless. I can’t say any more without spoiling anything, so let’s move on.

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I do think that it could have been longer – the action all happened in the last twenty or so pages, which made it feel a little rushed and anti-climatic – but that can be excused because it’s stayed close to the original book to an extent. Yay for staying true to the original!

Also, I really hate bittersweet endings for making me feel all these things. The only way I can express how I feel about the ending of this book is through reaction gifs:

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I give it a four star rating because it’s not quite a five-star-worthy book. Almost, but not quite there. If you enjoy books about bitchy socialites, and devious relationships behind closed doors (think Gossip Girl), then you should read this. Even if you just want a filler book between bigger reads, then this is my recommendation to you.