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eARC Review: Kelpie Blue by Mell Eight

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Kelpie Blue by Mell Eight36655752
Published by:
 Less Than Three Press

Publication Date:  March 21st 2018
Genres: Adult, LGBTQ+, Fantasy, Romance
Format: eBook
Rating: 2 Stars
Date Read: 8/05/2018
Links: Goodreads Netgalley

Mama always said, don’t go near the lake. Rin already knew the forest was filled with dark things, but aside from Mama no one had warned him about the lake. One day, Rin wanders off to the lake, where a beautiful blue horse asks him to go for a swim, and Rin learns too late it may not be a swim he survives.

I received a copy of Kelpie Blue from Netgalley for review Considerations. This in no way influences my opinion of this book.

This was an interesting story that combines fantasy with contemporary horse farm and horse-racing world. Unlike anything I usually read for sure. But really we come into the story after Blue has been living with Rin and his Mum for like 2 or 3 years and they’re already together and most of the plot is taken up by horse racing stuff. I did think some of the time-progress to be unclear. Like suddenly it was weeks or years later? It disrupted the flow a bit for me.

Kelpie Blue lacks well-developed characters, plot and bearable writing. It was definitely not what I was looking for or expecting and I don’t think I’ll be continuing with the series.

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this book? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.

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eARC Review: Honeybee by Trista Mateer

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36206132Honeybee by Trista Mateer
Published By: Central Avenue Publishing
Publication Date: May 1st 2018
Genres: Poetry, LGBTQIA+
Format: eBook
Pages: 160
Rating: 3 Stars
Date Read: February 6th 2018
Links: Goodreads | Netgalley | Booktopia | B&N | Book Depository

You will meet people in your lifetime who demand to have poems written about them. It’s not something they say. It’s something about their hands, the shape of their mouths, the way they look walking away from you. Honeybee is an honest take on walking away and still feeling like you were walked away from. It’s about cutting love loose like a kite string and praying the wind has the decency to carry it away from you. It’s an ode to the back and forth, the process of letting something go but not knowing where to put it down. Honeybee is putting it down. It’s small town girls and plane tickets, a taste of tenderness and honey, the bandage on the bee sting. It’s a reminder that you are not defined by the people you walk away from or the people who walk away from you. Consider Honeybee a memoir in verse, or at the very least, a story written by one of today’s most confessional poets.

I received a copy of Honeybee from Netgalley for Review Consideration. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

This was a compilation of LGBT poems. They were beautiful but Unfortunately the contents of Honeybee aren’t exactly up to par with that pretty cover. I went into this knowing nothing except that it was a poetry book, and was disappointed to find that it’s not even really poetry at all? I’m not sure what to even describe the writings as– there’s no stylistic elements, or anything even moderately reflective of a poetry style. It felt very much like reading somebody’s journal entries rather than a work of poems.

I did like that a few poems centered around the author identifying as bisexual and the biphobia that she encountered, because they were the few works that conveyed emotion and a true poignancy. But besides those few writings, everything else felt dull and repetitive.

I was expecting to be devastated while reading these poems, instead it felt very underwhelming. I feel like this type of poetry, with less lyrical stuff and more skips that don’t make much sense, is not for me. The poems tend to trail off and lose focus, there is an energy about this writing that sometimes I really related to. There’s also a sense of loss which carries throughout the whole book – that feeling of being incomplete after a relationship has ended. I needed more structure to appreciate it fully.

There are a couple of things that I liked about it, one of them being the author talking about relationships with both men and women, cause I’ve never read anything like this, and I thought parts of some poems were good but that was about it.

Overall, Honeybee was just not for me, and I failed to understand both the format and content of the poems. For those who have experienced a similar loss & situation, perhaps the book will provide comfort, but I was personally unable to connect to Mateer’s writing.

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this? If so, What did you think of it? Did you get an ARC of it? Is it on your TBR? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.

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Review: The Opposite Of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan81MRxIx7E1L

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: April 23th, 2015
Genres: Non-Fiction, Essays
Format: Paperback
Pages: 208
Rating: 3 Stars
Date Read: January, 2018
Links: Goodreads | Book Depository | BooktopiaAmazon

Marina Keegan’s star was on the rise when she graduated from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash. As her family, friends and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her unforgettable last essay for the Yale Daily News, ‘The Opposite of Loneliness’, went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. She had struck a chord. Even though she was just 22 when she died, Marina left behind a rich, expansive trove of prose that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty and possibility of her generation. The Opposite of Loneliness is an assemblage of Marina’s essays and stories that articulates the universal struggle we all face as we work out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to make an impact on the world.

I’m torn about this book. On one hand, it’s an inspiration: at 22, Marina Keegan clearly had remarkable self-assuredness and work ethic. But her prose isn’t particularly inspired. There were a few decent stories and essays in here–writing that showed tremendous ability and potential. But there are a lot of very weak pieces in here, too. 

The nonfiction part saved it partially.  I am quite impressed that all of this was written before she was 22. The way she was able to capture moments and feelings that I have often felt and put them into words and revelations is inspiring.

What happened to Marina Keegan is absolutely tragic. She had her whole life in front of her before she died in a car crash. That this happened five days after she graduated from college makes it even worse. And I think that if she had been given the opportunity, she would have made something out of herself and would have grown not only as a person, but as a writer as well.

The fiction is not very good. From the little background I know of the author, she seemed to have a very narrow world focus with little disappointment or hardship to write a full range of stories authentically. The stories about rich white young people ring the most true. I found myself bored by the fiction section and the stories steadily spiralled into bad. 

However the non-fiction essays are excellent. She is a gifted essayist and she should’ve focused more on that. There is glory in fiction writing but if she would’ve devoted her time and energy to honing her essay craft, I have no doubt Marina would’ve written essay collections I would’ve loved. The last essay was haunting and prophetic and that essay framing the work with “The Opposite of Loneliness” was an excellent choice by the editor of the collection. I do think the editors should have included less fiction and more of her essays since the essays are special and what Marina should be remembered for.

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“We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lie alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out – that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialised. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it’s too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.” 

Marina’s last essay for the Yale Daily News, this is sort of like the college version of a high school commencement speech. You know, those speeches usually given by the class president of the valedictorian of the graduating class, trying to inspire the other students on their quest to becoming adults. I found ‘The Opposite of Loneliness’ speech to be insightful and honest.

Keegan spoke about feeling excited to be poised to go out into the world with her fellow graduates and she spoke of how they would use their talents to make a mark on the world. She also spoke honestly of the fear and nervousness she felt about leaving the safety of what was familiar…. the campus and their community of students and professors.

“We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life.” 

Fiction

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This follows a girl named Claire, who is left in the awkward position of being asked to speak at the funeral of her boyfriend Brian. Why is this awkward? Because she has to deal with the presence of his ex-girlfriend Lauren. This was probably not the best story to start out with. The writing felt forced, and I could generally find no purpose or moral to the story. There was also no concrete middle or ending, which made the overall story fall flat. It also didn’t help that the main characters were unlikable.

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Again, with this story, I found no point to it, and no concrete resolution either. It seems to me that Marina likes to write about young, pretentious kids who abuse substances and try to sound wise and sage. Unfortunately, it backfires. 

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I found the characters to be quite interesting. You have Anna, a faded ballerina who is a hypochondriac, who reads to Sam, a blind man. Thing is, Anna is currently going through a midlife crisis where she doesn’t have any romantic feelings for her husband, so she compensates for that by emotionally cheating on him with Sam.

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“The Ingenue” portrays the ups and downs of a young relationship and how the little interactions between people can express a lot about a person’s true personality. I must admit that I don’t actually remember too much about this one, which is mostly the reason that I’m giving it a low rating. 

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Points for the originality of the story, as it’s told entirely by emails. We were treated to such a nice email exchange between a soldier and his girlfriend, But I felt that there was a Lack of connection between the main characters, I thought the overall storytelling was solid thought. 

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This was really Unmemorable. In fact, so unmemorable I completely forgot what this was about. I’m not going back to find out though. 

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“Hail, Full of Grace” continues Keegan’s exploration of real, complicated life. Audrey’s home for the holidays and just knows she can’t avoid running into her ex, her ex who she dated throughout high school and into college, who clearly thought they were meant for each until Audrey got pregnant and gave up the baby for adoption. Thankfully, this story actually proved to be a heartwarming story. However, I questioned the actions of the main characters, whom I thought acted quite selfishly. It was like they were repeating the same mistakes over and over again without learning the consequences.perfect (15).pngI know they say you can write about anything, but when the whole plot of this story involves a woman explaining her Chinese tattoo and getting her varicose veins removed, there’s a problem. This story was essentially missing everything that makes a story just that: A story. This read like a high school student’s paper. The was no story or plot. 

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We’re at the end. This is the last Fictional story. And to end this section of the short story part of the book, we end with yet another story that’s not particularly memorable. So basically another story I can’t for the life of me remember. 

Non-Fiction

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I have to say, Keegan was a much better essay writer than a short story writer. The writing style flows easier and is a lot less forced than her fictional endeavours. This little essay involves Marina’s first car and how it’s become a special thing to her. Memorable moments in her life involve her car, and when it’s time to give it to her brother, it’s a bittersweet feeling.

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“I worry sometimes that humans are afraid of helping humans.”

“Why We Care about Whales,” uses a memory of beached whales to pose a concern. Keegan notes how people rush to help these whales and draws attention to instances where humans spend inordinate amounts of time, money, and effort on helping animals that might already be doomed and yet label neighbour or co-worker crises as “not my problem.”

Keegan tells the tale of the plight of beached whales. When the Earth rotates, the ocean rotates as well. This causes whales to beach, therefore sending them to an agonising death. She argues that we, as a human society, pay far too much attention to the plight of animals and not enough recognition to the plight of humans. While I appreciated her articulation of thoughts and her logical arguments, I did disagree with her points in this essay. Animals are an important part of our ecosystem as well, and it’s equally vital that we help those animals in need as it to help our own kind. I still did enjoy this story though. 

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The most personal of her essays and my absolute Favourite, this deals with Keegan’s struggles with Celiac Disease and her overprotective mother. As a kid, Marina used to shrug her condition off as no big deal, when to her, it actually was. The embarrassment of her mother coddling her and overbearing her with concern and affection, and the general wishing that she could be normal. As someone who actually is Gluten Intolerant, I share the same sentiments as Marina. Wishing you could eat all the foods that you’re strictly forbidden to is a frustrating thing. It was an easy read and by far her best essay of the collection.

As she’s the first to acknowledge, this is a timely subject with the popularity of gluten-free products and diets. Keegan reminds her readers that gluten-free might be trendy now, but it was little known and even less understood during her childhood. This story is as much about Keegan’s relationship with her mother as it is about gluten. Once aware of the problem, Keegan’s mother championed her daughter’s health. 

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What’s going to happen when the world ends? Marina tries to answer this question in a scientific manner. For those of you who want an concrete answer, the end of the world will happen when the sun explodes. Basically, this is a giant announcement for us to protect the environment. It might be a bit too political for some readers, but it’s interesting to hear a logical voice come into the debate.

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This was really Unmemorable. In fact, so unmemorable I completely forgot what this was about. So there’s not much I can really say about this one. I don’t remember a single thing about it.

perfect (26).pngThe age old question every college student asks themselves at the start of their career: do I major in a subject that I hate, but will lead me to a career that earns me a lot of money? Or do I follow my heart and major in a subject that I love, but will have to resign myself to the fact that I won’t be rolling in the dough anytime soon?

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When Marina and a friend went to India, they were constantly stopped by locals who wanted to take their picture. Why? Since she looked drastically different than them, she and her friend were curiosities. I loved this cultural anthropological study about how what we perceive as normal can be so different to others.

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Every generation thinks they’re special in some way because of all the advances that have been made during their life time. It’s so much fun to talk to an elder and listen to what they’ve been through. And yet, Marina says, we’re constantly jealous because they got to go through and see all these amazing things we’ll never get the chance to experience. The thing is, we shouldn’t be dwelling on what could have been; we shouldn’t even be dwelling on the “what will become”. We need to live in the now, preserve the memories now, so when the time comes. 

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That’s it for this review! This took a really long time to write up. Have you read this book? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.

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eARC Review: For the Love of Horses by Kelly Wilson

For the Love of Horsesby Kelly Wilson

cover96025-mediumFor the love of Horses by Kelly Wilson
Published by: RHA eBooks Adult
Publication Date:  October 3rd 2016
Genres: Nonfiction, Memoir
Format: eBook
Pages: 336
Rating: 3 Stars
Date Read: 8/05/2018
Links: Goodreads Amazon

Three sisters and their unforgettable journeys to rescue, tame and train New Zealand’s wild Kaimanawa horses. 

For the Love of Horses is a heartfelt story with humble beginnings in rural New Zealand. From the trials and tears of Pony Club to the joy of riding bareback, and the pressures of adolescence and competitive showjumping, it follows television stars and sisters Vicki, Kelly and Amanda Wilson’s rise to success at the highest level of competition. It is also the story of an unlikely childhood dream coming true.

In 2012 the Wilson sisters became aware of the plight of the wild Kaimanawa horses as they were rounded up and sent to the slaughterhouse. The sisters embarked on a courageous journey to tame horses that many people believed were untrainable. Can the Wilsons change these horses’ fate?

Share the heartbreak, the pain, the elation and the success as the sisters take on these great challenges in this touching and remarkable omnibus edition of two bestsellers.

I received a copy of For the Love of Horses from Netgalley for Review Consideration. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

This book interested me because I love horses. This book covers a brief story of the Wilson sisters childhood and their many horses they have owned and show jumped. This also covers the Wilson first time seeing the wild Kaimanawa horses and training them. This is an autobiography, based on the sisters childhood. It has interesting metaphors and onomatopoeia all through the book.

This book is set in a little farm in the North Island, with a few acres of land. The family couldn’t afford paddock fencing, so they used fallen logs instead. As the sisters got older, they travelled around the country. This book starts when the sisters were young and grew up with horses. The book carries on to tell us about Vicki and her sisters competing in shows. It then goes into them travelling and going to university. Their early struggles and humble beginnings were fascinating. 

In conclusion, I think that For The Love Of Horses, is a very interesting and informative book about the lives of Vicki Wilson and her sisters. This is a story of three sisters’ love for horses and their determination to get the most out of what life has to offer.

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this book? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.

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Review: More Happy than Not by Adam Silvera

More Happy Than Notby Adam SilveraMore Happy than Not

More Happy than Not by Adam Silvera
Published By: Soho Teen
Publication Date: April 26th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary,  LGBTQIAP+
Format: Paperback
Pages: 300
Rating: 2 Stars
Date Read: January 28th, 2018
Links: Goodreads | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | BooktopiaAmazon

In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving New York Times bestselling-debut—also called “mandatory reading” and selected as an Editors’ Choice by the New York Times—Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again—but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely. 

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is. 

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

Trigger Warnings: Suicide, Homophobia, Depression, Cheating, Self-harm, heavy violence, Death of parent. 

More Happy Than Not was my first Adam Silvera novel and I was keen on finding out what all the hype is about! My feelings are all over the place on this one. It had really important representation, but ultimately, I was let down by this book. This was nothing of what I was expecting. To be honest, I don’t know exactly what I was expecting but this was absolutely not it. This wasn’t a terrible book. It was a really fast read, enjoyable at some points and all of that but I can’t hide my huge disappointment. I had high expectations that weren’t reached. This book also contained themes I wasn’t too excited by. 

This book is about Aaron, a Puerto Rican gay kid, who lives in very poor circumstances and in an area where homosexuality is NOT accepted. There is an institute that can erase and alter people’s memories and Aaron wants to go through with the procedure to erase his sexuality and become straight. It took a while for me to get into this book and figure out the point of the plot and its direction. I wasn’t a fan of the magical realism or sci-fi element that was included, if you can call it that, of the Leteo Institute. 

Aaron has a girlfriend but when he meets Thomas things and feelings start to get complicated. Aaron’s only solution to forget about being gay is a thing called Leteo procedure, a new memory alteration that’s supposed to help you forget about traumatic events and memories, to help you live a better life.

It’s an age old ‘be careful what you wish for’ tale that shows you can’t erase who you are. What if there was a way to erase your past? To forget the bullying. Forget your sexuality. Can you really erase part of your identity without consequences

Something seemed to be off. The book was feeling more like a Dystopian than a Contemporary, like I thought it was; Aaron coming out as gay almost out of nowhere also felt off, specially because I was seeing things in a way that was fitting. Nothing seemed to be adding up with my expectations, with the reviews I had seen.

Thomas is perhaps the character I liked most. I always thought he was a really good friend. Thomas never really felt like a love interest. He wasn’t fitting in that category. I love the scenes between him and Aaron but there was no chemistry between them. To me he looked like just a really good friend and a really good person in a world of bullies, and hateful people

So I don’t really know what to say anymore and I don’t want to give away to much about this book. This book wasn’t what I was expecting and I admit that I can be harsh and too critical. I have to admit though, I’m lowering my expectations for They Both Die At The End and History Is All He Left Me, I still want to read his other books. It’s a shame, because I really like Adam and I wanted to love his books too but I just didn’t and I’m afraid his next books will be of the same type as this one. This book just wasn’t really my cup of tea, it just wasn’t for me. It’s just not really my kind of book unfortunately.

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this book? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? Do you think I should give his books another chance? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion. Also, let me know what you think of his other books and which one you think I should read next. What’s you’re favourite Adam Silvera Book?

 

 

 

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eARC Review: Scorpio Hates Virgo by Anyta Sunday

Leo loves Aries by Anyta Sunday

ScorpioHatesVirgo-f-web-220x330Scorpio Hates Virgo by Anyta Sunday
Publication Date: August 30th 2017
Series: Signs of Love, #2
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
Format: eBook
Pages: 245
Rating: 4 Stars
Date Read: March 11th, 2018
Links: Goodreads | NetgalleyB&NBook Depository

This year is all about healing the heart, Scorpio. It’s time to leave negative attitudes and stoic facades at the door and let others see the real, more vulnerable you.

Percy Freedman is not grieving. Absolutely not, take that back at once. No, he’s entirely sure that selling his dead aunt’s home and leaving the neighbours he’s known for years is the sane thing to do. Who in their right mind would keep the house that smells like all the hugs he’ll never have again?

Nobody, that’s who.

Well, except his cul-de-sac neighbours. They all seem to think some paint and new furniture will clean the emotional slate. They all want him to stay.

Even his nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Especially his nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Lured into a game of Sherlock Gnomes, Percy finds himself hanging out with his neighbors more than might be considered healthy. Along with juggling new and surprising verbal grenades from Cal, and his burgeoning friendship with Gnomber9, Percy is starting to wonder if selling might have been the grief talking after all . . .

That’s right, Scorpio. With a little patience, heartbreak might be a thing of the past .

“Scorpio Hates Virgo” contains sarcasm, sexual content, a slightly sappy HEA, and an unhealthy obsession with dinosaurs.
It can be read as a standalone.

Themes: friends-to-lovers, slow burn
Genre: New Adult, light-hearted contemporary gay romance

I received a copy of Scorpio Hates Virgo from Netgalley for Review Consideration. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

When his aunt passes away, Percy inherits her home – the home he took shelter in and found endless love and support as a teenager, when he was kicked to the kerb by his own parents for being gay. Percy has to decide whether he wishes to sell the house and move on, or whether being in this place – with these quirky yet lovable people – is where he truly belongs.

Scorpio hates Virgo is book two in the Signs of Love Series but it can be read as a standalone because it featur3es different characters than Leo loves Aries. But there is a nexus between this installment and book one, and that is Crystal, Theo’s mom, who now delivers her beloved horoscope to another couple. This book also features appearances from Theo and Jamie. 

It’s not a secret that I love Anyta Sunday, I harbor “strong feelings” towards her stories. I am a huge fan. Her stories make me smile. With the Cute Romances and Banter between the Characters.  The woman knows how to deliver well-written slow-burn romances, and I don’t usually enjoy romance novels.

So, Our MCs have been neighbours for a few years and when this story starts, Percy is dealing with grief and Cal with a breakup and some family drama. They are not enemies, they are friends. Or something similar to Friends. So we can conclude that they are neighbours who like to call each other “nemesis”. 

Percy also battles with his complicated feelings towards his long-time nemesis neighbour, Cal. I particularly enjoyed all the cul-de-sac fun and games that the cast of characters engaged in over the course of the book.

“I want to feel everything you´re willing to give me, and I hope you´re willing to give me everything”

Despite Percy’s insistence that Cal is his nemesis, Percy and Cal are not enemies. I really liked the interactions between the main characters but even the secondary characters were a joy, I liked the way not only the relationship but the story developed, we had time to get to know and really understand Percy and Cal before we saw them as a couple.

Callaghan is a Virgo; he likes dinosaur T-shirts; he puts his family ahead of everything (including his education); and sometimes he lies just a little to get what he wants. Cal isn’t afraid of his burgeoning attraction to his long-time nemesis, per se, he just needs some time to wrap his head around the attraction and see if it’s something he truly wants to pursue.

Perseus is a Scorpio and doesn’t trust easily. Returning to the cul-de-sac where his beloved aunt lived, Percy wants to sell her house and move on; he can’t handle the memories. Percy is prickly and keeps people at a distance. He is thoroughly convinced that everyone will leave him. Always. So not only is he afraid of his attraction to Callaghan because Cal is straight, but also because he fears putting himself out there, only to be rejected in the end.

“Cal had helped him up, and instead of asking if Percy was okay or needed an ice pack, he’d shaken his head and delivered the first verbal grenade, ‘All elegance, that was.’”

The snark and banter in this second book felt much more subtle than it did in Theo and Jamie’s story. Also, this story is much more of a super-slow burn in the romance Department. Overall I loved this quirky, funny, and endearing story.

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this book? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? What is your Star Sign? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.

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Manga Review: One Piece by Eiichiro Oda – East Blue (Omnibus’ 1-4; Volumes 1-12)

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One Piece  Eiichiro Oda
Published By: VIZ Media LLC
Publication Date: December 1st, 2009 – May 4th, 2010
Genres: Manga, Adventure, Fantasy
Rating: 5 Stars
Date Read: December 1st, 2009 – May 4th, 2010
Links: Goodreads

Volume 1: Get ready to set sail!

One Piece

As a child, Monkey D. Luffy dreamed of becoming King of the Pirates. But his life changed when he accidentally ate the Gum-Gum Fruit, an enchanted Devil Fruit that gave him the ability to stretch like rubber. Its only drawback? He’ll never be able to swim again–a serious handicap for an aspiring sea dog! Years later, Luffy sets off on his quest to find the “One Piece,” said to be the greatest treasure in the world…

The treasure trove of high seas adventures just got bigger with this collection of the first three volumes of One Piece!

I love One Piece so much. I’ve been a fan of One Piece for years and been watching the anime continuously. I thought of checking the manga, the original work of Oda. It’s amazing! Check it out if you never did.

One Piece is one of the funniest manga I’ve read. Eiichiro Oda is one of the absolute best mangakas and has created this wonderful universe and characters. It’s funny and it can hit your heart in ways you never expected. The characters are also really loveable, exposing parts of their childhoods, their burdens, piece by piece until you can fully understand them.

This one ends at the beginning of Usopp’s story. I really enjoyed that entire arc when I first started watching the anime. This manga can get very emotional. It’ll make you cry and laugh right along with the characters. It’s very funny and entertaining. The characters were so unique in voice and tangibility that I loved each of them. 

The only problem I have with this edition is that ‘Zoro’ is tanslated as ‘Zolo’! Although I mostly just ignored that and still pronounced it a Zoro. So I mean I wasn’t too bothered by it. 

A fun and silly adventure begins in these three volumes, enemies are beaten and new friends are made. But mostly its just a series brimming with fun.

In this volume, Luffy meets Nami, a thief, and excellent navigator. Part of this volume takes place in a small town that has been over taken by pirates; Buggy the Clown in this case. He too has eaten a Devil Fruit, making conflict with him more interesting. I’ll let you discover what his power is. Luffy is drawn into a fight with Buggy’s group, as expected. There’s a lion and a man on a unicycle and other such weirdness that only pirates led by a clown can provide.

The real star of the volume is Buggy the Clown and his goofy band of pirates. Their gags are very funny and the fights they provide are unique and action packed. Buggy will have you laughing out loud with his paranoia of nose jokes and the punishment that follows. His connections to Luffy through a past friend are also very intriguing.

Volume 2: The Boy who cried “Pirate”

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Usopp is the local liar who likes to stir up trouble by shouting “The pirates are coming!” But he never expected his harmless prank to become a reality! Captain Kuro of the Black Cat Pirates has been lying low, posing as a mild-mannered butler while waiting for the right time to strike it rich with his devious plan. With no one believing him, all hope seems lost for Usopp–until he has Luffy on his side!

Containing Volumes 4, 5 and 6 of One Piece!

I’m having so much fun reading this series. I remember watching it on Toasted TV before school years ago. This Volume contains More character development, The end of Usopp’s arc also speeds things up and more information about the grand line raises the stakes.

Basically one long fight, as is pretty common so far in this series, as the group attempts to defend a girl who is being murdered for her fortune. 

The slow pacing is quickly remedied in this volume! The story advances with humour and action as its central villain steps out to claim the spotlight. Oda does a great job showing us how truly different a villain like Kuro can be. His cunning tactics and ruthless blood lust is the polar opposite to the comedic and zany Buggy. He quickly shows us why he is a threat, to not only our heroes, but the other villains as well. The supporting characters do great as well with Kaya having great emotional moments and the Usopp Pirates bringing in a surprising yet refreshing loyalty.

Volume 3: Chef’s Special: The Kick of the day

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The Straw Hat crew makes a pit stop at the oceangoing restaurant the Baratie, where the cooks are as rough-and-tumble as the pirates who frequent it. Don Krieg, a notorious pirate whose ship was battered in the treacherous seas of the Grand Line, has set his sights on the Baratie, but sous-chef Sanji isn’t going to stand idly by while these ruthless pirates take the ship by force!

Containing Volumes 7, 8 and 9 of One Piece!

This one is very centred around Sanji. We learn about his fighting style and his past. It’s nice and you can see how once again Luffy found someone who has a big dream to recruit in his crew. I love how they all have their own motivation. And their paths are going in the same direction so it’s only logical to make their way there together. 

Volume 7 and half of 8 are the end of the getting Sanji story while the second half of 8 and all of 9 are the beginnings of the truth about Nami. These have great fight scenes, wonderful character development, and some interesting plot developments.

The artwork is excellent. Eiichiro Oda’s art style is very distinctive, which is a good thing. Something else that strikes me about this series is how diverse the information is in it. You have Sanji who waxes eloquently about cooking and uses french terms for his kicks, to Nami who talks about navigational information, to naval practices that are at least partially based on historical information. There is so much packed into this manga. 

The Arlong Park arc continues in volume 9 as Luffy edges closer to Cocoyashi village in an attempt to get his ship and friends back. The story does a great job selling Arlong as the main villain. His hold on the island and its people deliver a new dynamic the overall story has yet to have. Usopp learns full well why Fishmen are not to be trifled with when he is captured by them. Zoro goes on a hunt for Usopp after breaking free of his captivity.

Nami’s backstory, like Sanji’s, is tragic and pulls the veil on Nami’s well hidden feelings. This back story is definitely one of the best in all One Piece. As hope fades all she can do is ask for help from the friends she betrayed.

Volume 4: Fishing for Trouble

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There’s something fishy going on in Nami’s hometown that’s led her to turn her back on her family and friends. But her betrayal is all for naught when the unscrupulous captain of the fish-man pirates, “Sawtooth” Arlong, goes back on his word. When her fellow villagers gear up to challenge a merciless foe who can easily crush them, her only hope for peace is to turn to the very people she has been lying to… the Straw Hat Pirates!

Containing the last volumes of the East Blue saga: 10, 11 and 12 of One Piece!

Volume 10 is a great action oriented instalment. It shines the spotlight on Luffy’s crew and the hardships they take in these fights. Seeing what they’ll go through for a friend just gives these characters a real charm.  

Volume 11 starts in the middle of Luffy and Arlong’s big battle which consumed most of the previous volume as well. Sanji has been paired against a Shark fishman that practices Fishman Karate; while Zoro has been matched up against Hatchi. Luffy is risking it all just to make Nami his permanent navigator.

Zoro’s fight with Hachi shows how determined and strong the three style swordsman is. Sanji’s fight with the Fishman Karate master, Kuroobi, lets the cook have a suspenseful battle under water. 

ʟᴜꜰꜰʏ: ɪ ᴅᴏɴᴛ ᴋɴᴏᴡ ʜᴏᴡ ᴛᴏ ᴜsᴇ ᴀ sᴡᴏʀᴅ
ɪ ᴅᴏɴᴛ ᴋɴᴏᴡ ᴋɴᴏᴡ ʜᴏᴡ ᴛᴏ ɴᴀᴠɪɢᴀᴛᴇ ᴇɪᴛʜᴇʀ
ɪ ᴄᴀɴᴛ ᴄᴏᴏᴋ. ɪ ᴄᴀɴᴛ ᴛᴇʟʟ ʟɪᴇs
ɪ ᴋɴᴏᴡ ɪ ᴄᴀɴᴛ ʟɪᴠᴇ ᴡɪᴛʜᴏᴜᴛ ʜᴇʟᴘ ꜰʀᴏᴍ ᴀ ʟᴏᴛ ᴏꜰ ᴘᴇᴏᴘʟᴇ.

ᴀʀʟᴏɴɢ: ᴡʜᴀᴛ ᴀ ʙᴜʀᴅᴇɴ ɪᴛ ᴍᴜsᴛ ʙᴇ ꜰᴏʀ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴄʀᴇᴡ ᴛᴏ ʜᴀᴠᴇ sᴜᴄʜ ᴀɴ ɪᴅɪᴏᴛ ꜰᴏʀ ᴀ ᴄᴀᴘᴛɪᴀɴ. ᴊᴜsᴛ ᴡʜᴀᴛ ᴄᴀɴ ʏᴏᴜ ᴅᴏ?!

ʟᴜꜰꜰʏ: ɪ ᴄᴀɴ ʙᴇᴀᴛ ʏᴏᴜ.

The brief Roguetown/Loguetown arc is wrapped up with a very, very touching filler story, the crew entering the Grand Line, core mechanics of the world being explained, and the introduction of the new central antagonistic group. 

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this? If so, What did you think of it? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.

I am linking up to Manga Monday, which is a weekly meme hosted by Bookish Owlette. Click  here to find out more about that.

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Review: Alice in Poetry by Michaela Morgan (editor)

Wonderland_ Poetry in Poetry by Michaela Morgan (1)

Lewis Carroll’s Alice has been enchanting children for 150 years. Curious Alice, the bossy White Rabbit, the formidable Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter are among the best-loved, most iconic literary creations of all time.

In Wonderland: Alice in Poetry, we celebrate the poems of Lewis Carroll, from the sublime to the surreal, including popular favourites such as Jabberwocky , The Walrus and the Carpenter and Tweedledum and Tweedledee. In addition to these classic, beloved poems, this beautiful collection features many contemporary poems from editor Michaela Morgan and a host of popular poets, including Roger McGough, John Agard, Grace Nichols, Rachel Rooney, Tony Mitton, Vivian French, Cheryl Moskowitz, Joseph Coehlo, and Jan Dean, each one putting their own spin on these classic texts.

When I saw this book, I immediately bought it because I am a big fan of Alice in wonderland and so I thought I would give this book a chance, I’ve have never seen Alice in wonderland in poems before.

I love the story of Alice in wonderland and the poems in this book were very good and fun to read, all the authors did an amazing job with the poems in this book. It was really interesting to see Alice in Wonderland  told as poetry. 

How wonderful to revisit the world of Lewis Carroll through such a collection of nonsensical eyes. Each poet brings their own perspective to bear and each poem is a triumph.

An excellent book, especially if you are a fan of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The Alice in Wonderland books made a huge impact on me as a child. I loved them, and Lewis Carroll’s fantastic and quirky poems. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realised that Carroll’s verses were often parodies of poems of the day.

Michaela Morgan has taken Carroll’s poems and found a whole host of contemporary poets to add their versions, alongside the originals. From Joseph Coelho’s You’ve Got So Big and Horrible to Roger McGough’s Six Impossible Things to Do Before Breakfast. It’s a pity that the book hasn’t been given a more classy look, making it a book to keep and treasure, rather than a cheap-looking paperback. 

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves Alice in Wonderland. 

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this book? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.

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eARC Review: Leo loves Aries by Anyta Sunday

Leo loves Aries by Anyta Sunday

32053864Leo Loves Aries by Anyta Sunday
Publication Date: December 4th 2016
Series: Signs of Love, #1
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
Format: eBook
Pages: 278
Rating: 4 Stars
Date Read: March 3rd, 2018
Links: Goodreads | Netgalley |

A new person will enter your life in the early year, Leo. Look past any moments of frustration they might bring and laugh—this could be the start of a thriving friendship.

Theo Wallace usually laughs at the horoscopes his mom sends. Still hung up on his ex-girlfriend and practically friendless, this one begs him to reconsider. Because a friendship that stuck, that thrived…

Well, that would be a reason to leave past pains behind and look to the Bright Future.

When his sister Leone challenges him to find her the perfect date for a spring wedding, Theo uses it as a chance to make new friends. Theo’s ex economics tutor and newest roommate Mr. Jamie Cooper seems to be a possible and convenient match. Real convenient. Like written in the stars, convenient.

All he has to do is make sure this Jamie is good enough. Could really be The One for her, and the friend for him.

But watch out, Leo, the stars have a surprise in store…

Leo Loves Aries” is a sweet slow burn M/M romance with HEA. This New Adult college friends-to-lovers novel can be read as a standalone.

I received a copy of Leo loves Aries from Netgalley for Review Consideration. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Theo Wallace, and his twin sister, Leone, are living together and still dealing with the betrayal of their exes. Theo and Leone thought they’d each found the one they’d spend the rest of their lives with. Unfortunately, Samantha and Derek discovered they belonged with each other instead. Theo and Leone have been – unsuccessfully – trying to get over their last relationships. Theo and Leone have been invited to the wedding and as much as they do not want to go, they also want to show them that they no longer hold power over Theo and Leone. But only if they find dates! And thus starts the mission of Operation Wedding Date. It coincided nicely with Operation Find a Roommate.

This is my first Anyta Sunday book, and to say that I’m blown away is a huge understatement. The writing is effortless and all consuming. You are cocooned in her world, with her characters, the moment you start reading.

“You’re so organized. No wonder I drove you up the wall.”
A few seconds passed before Jamie responded. “That’s cute.”
“What is?”
“Your use of past tense.”

A lot of the early story revolved around how both siblings had tried to move on, but couldn’t quite get there, as they were still a bit stuck in the past romantically. Enter their mother, with a horoscope for both of her darling Leos for the coming year. 

“Aries and Leo are so passionate together – and the intimacy. The intimacy. There is a tendency to get jealous and possessive but it’s compensation with absolute loyalty these two have for each other. Really, you couldn’t find a better match. Aries feeds your need for attention while remaining steadfast in their own character. Both of you need to prove how amazing you are, and while doing so, Aries energizes Leo. And Leo in turn cherishes Aries. Despite the battle for dominance, the relationship flows with warmth, passion, and playfulness.” 

I’m not a horoscope reader, and you don’t have to be to love this story. Although ‘ve always been quite fascinated in Horoscopes  and the Star Signs. Actually the thing that interested me mostly in this book is the fact that I’m an Aries myself. 

What worked for me the most was the amazing build-up between Theo and Jamie. They had a teasing, caring, evolving friendship that moved into something bigger, and I think Anyta Sunday pulled it off effortlessly. It wasn’t rushed or forced, and I loved how everything seemed so inevitable. The chemistry was wonderful. 

I adored that Theo didn’t angst once he figured out that he was attracted to Jamie. I loved that once he figured out he had fallen for Jamie, he went with it, full speed ahead. Yeah, it took him ages to get there, but that makes victory all the sweeter.

The connection between Theo and Jamie was obvious to everyone but Theo. Theo went from trying to set Jamie up with his sister to pretending they were merely BFFs-with-benefits.

Theo – the Leo – is still recovering after his 2 year girlfriend dumped him to be with his sister’s boyfriend. Theo and Leone are twins, living together and trying to move on. They realized they need another roommate, and so Theo in need for a tutor, went hunting down his ex-tutor to become their new roommate.

Jamie is an Aries. He’s sure of himself, smart, patient, always right and very kind. Jamie has been burnt by roommate romances before. Well, once, anyway, and as much as he knows it is probably a bad idea, he can’t help but be drawn to the quirky guy who will do anything to get out of cooking and laundry, but seems to find reasons to hang around Jamie. And Jamie definitely wants to spend time with Theo, he just needs to find a way to guard his heart. When Theo admits he is ‘curious’, but doesn’t see himself falling for another man, Jamie says he’s not looking for love. 

One of my favourite scenes in the book was where Theo went on a date with his sister’s friend, Liz, inviting Jamie and Leone along, in hopes of jump starting their romance, too. Theo really was just that clueless, but the date worked out great — for Theo and Jamie!

I loved most of these characters and the plot was never boring. Also there was some awesome representation besides the one you would normally except in a MM romance: Leone is blind and I oved how Leona’s her disability was included but wasn’t shown in a patronizing way, she’s such a great and funny character; also the Main Character never gets too caught up in labels when it comes to himself. I know some people want to see clear words like “bisexual” in a book, but for me I really like it when things are seen as more fluid and not set in stone. That’s the kind of representation I recognise myself into so I’m always really happy when I see it.

I also liked that there was no major freak out at the discovery to be attracted to a man, and to top it off perfectly, Theo even acknowledges that he has that kind of privilege since his family is extremely accepting. I don’t know, it was a nice touch that the author didn’t really need to include but I’m happy she did because it’s important.

As for the steam, this book did have some steamy scenes, but the scenes tended to happen fairly quickly, then move on, without lingering over lots of description.

Leo Loves Aries was brilliantly done. Humorous, original, and the banter was nothing short of epic! I loved this story from beginning to end.

It was a pleasure reading Theo and Jamie’s story. I found myself late at night with the need of reading more. I was hooked and I really enjoyed the development of the characters. 

I recommend this to anyone who is in mood of reading a light LGBT romance read and a bunch of side characters who you will enjoy reading about as much as you love reading the banter between these two. 

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this book? Did you get an ARC of this? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? What is your Star Sign? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.

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eARC Review: The Haunted Heart of America by Logan Corelli

The Haunted Heart of America by Logan Corelli

cover127209-mediumThe Haunted Heart of America by Logan Corelli
Published By: Llewellyn Publications
Publication Date: April 8th 2018
Genres: Non-Fiction, Travel, Paranormal, History
Format: eBook
Pages: 240
Rating: 3 Stars
Date Read: January 5th 2018
Links: Goodreads | Netgalley | Booktopia | B&N | Book Depository | Amazon

An ironing board jumps off the wall and flies straight toward an investigator’s head at the famous Villisca Axe Murder House. Shadow figures rise out of the ground and run between the gravestones of a haunted cemetery. The mischievous spirit of a deceased child pulls the blankets off an investigator, humming a song from the other side the whole time.

Featuring investigations of famous paranormal hotspots like Waverly Hills, Myrtles Plantation, and The St. James Hotel–as well as many lesser-known though equally fascinating locations–this riveting book details years of creepy stories, hair-raising experiences, and intriguing physical evidence from one of the heartland’s most experienced investigators.

I received a copy of The Haunted Heart of America from Netgalley for Review Consideration. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

I was perusing NetGalley and once I saw this cover, I had to have it. I am always interested in reading about the experiences of others who have ventured to “Haunted” Locations, although I’m still very Sceptical about it. Once I got into the book I had a few issues.

The first is the clunky writing. I did this. Then we did this. This happened. It’s not really bad writing, it was just hard to read. Essentially the point of the stories got through, but the execution could do with some work.

Also for a book about ghosts and hauntings that leaned towards ‘there is definitely something out there’, I felt like there were a few too many ‘we did this but nothing happened’ moments. I guess it makes the stories more real, but it wasn’t very exciting most of the time.

The subtitle itself is a bit misleading. Many of the investigations are not in-depth, and I feel like the Myrtles Plantation was placed on the cover to catch peoples’ attention because it is so well-known. There was hardly more than few paragraphs about it, and not much evidence collected. That was the issue with a lot of the places the author discussed. There were some investigations he could have left out of the book entirely. I understand he likely included some of those places to show that not every investigation will yield evidence, but there were so many that it was repetitive and unnecessary.

While I found I do not believe what is said in this book, there are some parts that I could half believe. I’m one of those that usually needs to see it for myself to believe in it. Though, having said that, this was still a fun read. The writing was a bit choppy. But, If you take the story lightly and not be all so serious about it, it’s, as I mentioned, a fun and interesting read.

All in all I felt like this was a good subject for a book and I learned about many mysterious places in America. It’s enjoyable but I’d only recommend it if you’re in the mood for a silly, bit of fun, type of a story. Unless of course you are a firm believer in Paranormal then you will probably enjoy this.

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this book? Did you get an ARC of this? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.