Tag Archives: romance

Book Review: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde


Published in 2017

Pages: 263

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.
While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.
Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.
My thoughts:

This was such a cute read, I loved how passionate each character is about their fandoms, and fandom life in general so that’s definitely something I could relate to on all the levels. And I love that both Charlie and Taylor learn to speak up for themselves too, both female characters went on a great growth journey through the book. 

It was told in split points of views, from both Taylor and Charlie’s perspectives, and that was great because I felt like I was feeling all their emotions and thinking what they were thinking. On a personal level, Taylor is one of the most relatable characters ever, not just for her geekiness, but for her social anxiety and her constant overthinking. Throughout her chapters, she internally vocalises her thoughts, fears and feels, and that’s something I definitely understand. I was so proud of her as she learnt to accept herself and see herself ad the amazing girl she is, and she once posted the most uplifting messages to everyone on Tumblr after she was bullied. 

Charlie herself was a great character too! It was amazing to have a diverse character that is just so open and comfortable in herself. Whilst trying to escape her ex boyfriend, Charlie runs into her vlogger idol and it was amazing to see what happened next. 

There were two sets of romance in this book, and it was so cute seeing both develop. There’s something in this book for everyone, and it is something I’d definitely read again! It was definitely refreshing and will become a bit of a comfort read! I found Alyssa and Charlie’s conversations to be empowering, and these characters felt like friends! I also loved the banter between the trio of Charlie, Jamie and Taylor, they have such a beautiful friendship and they’re definitely there for one another through it all. 

A fantastic book that I recommend to all! And that concludes my review, until next time, happy reading,

Brooklyn 🙂 

Book Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Published: 2014

Book 1 in The To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series

Pages: 355

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My thoughts:

This was honestly such a fabulous read, I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I did, but I found the characters and the writing addictive! 

Lara Jean Song is one of my favourite characters, ever. She’s so relatable, with her eager to please nature and she prefers to stay in and read, as we learn when she’s forced along on a skiing trip. 

I love the relationship the three Song girls have, Kitty, Margot and Lara Jean all balanced out so nicely together and you can tell throughout the book how much each one cares about the other, even though when Margot is slightly distant when she comes back from studying abroad. This here for me raised a lot of questions, I wondered what she had been up to and what she’d think about what had happened when she returned. 

Lots definitely happened in this book, there was plenty to keep me interested and I found the scenes with Lara Jean and Kitty so funny! It was great how Kitty, even though she was the youngest sister, she had so much attitude and she interacted so well with Peter and of course Josh.

Josh, is the Song girls’ closest friend, is a character that I enjoyed all the way through, though I liked Peter, there were some scenes where I thought he was a bit immature: but then he did help Lara Jean a lot in terms of stepping out of her comfort zone, even if it didn’t go according to plan. 

I definitely think this book is more character orientated than plot, each character interacted really well with one another, and the book was definitely filled with equally amusing and emotional scenes. One of the many things I liked about this book is how Jenny Han is able to immediately get the reader to connect with her characters, and also how each chapter, being so short yet rather impactful, flowed and made the reader not want to put the book down.

Definitely the start of a special series, I think! Can’t wait to read books 2 and 3 and see what’s in store for these characters! 

And that concludes my review. Thanks for reading. Until next time, happy reading, Brooklyn 😊

Kilby Blades Blog Tour Week 2: Chrysalis


Chrysalis Blurb
We both know what this is, even if we’ve never said it. I was so close to telling her. Then my promotion came through. I thought we had more time. Time to choose one another willingly–not because my move to Sydney forced our hands. Not like this. 
I’m not proud of all the rules I broke, the half-truths I let her believe. I did what every guy who likes a girl does: showed her the best parts of me out of desperation to get her to like me back. Fixing things between us now isn’t about overcoming the distance—it’s about overcoming the lies. I’ve hidden more than she has. And there are things she wants to know. She was right about me all along.
NOW IT’S MICHAEL’S TURN…

Chrysalis rips open a new chapter in the romance genre, presenting complex characters, intense attraction, complicated choices and modern love for the real world. It is for anyone who struggles with competing priorities and demands on their time, but who wants to believe in love. It is told from Michael’s point of view and its prequel, Snapdragon (Book One in the Love Conquers None duet), is told from Darby’s perspective.
CHAPTER 3 EXCERPT: ANGER MANAGEMENT
“Randy.” 
I hear the guilt in my voice as I say my friend’s name. He’s been trying to get a hold of me for weeks. He knows how busy I get, but this is the first time I’ve been so slow to respond.

“You’re alive! I was starting to worry.” 

“I know. I’m sorry. Things have been nuts. I should’ve at least texted.”

“Cringer was ready to put out an APB,” he says, speaking about his ten-year-old tabby cat who was named for He-Man’s shapeshifting battle cat in Masters of the Universe. Randy lives, eats and breathes comic books. 

“What are you doing up? It’s, what, 6AM there?”

“Early flight,” he explains. “Sac Comic-Con is this weekend. Seems like you’ve got quite a fan base in Northern California.”

Getting up from the sofa where I was having my dinner, I walk into my office and fire up my Mac. A nudge on my mouse causes the huge screen to light up and it doesn’t take me long to navigate to my Andrew Dufrain e-mail. It’s the account Randy uses to send me stuff about my book.

“I’m weeks behind,” I admit. A quick scan of seventy unopened messages shows that at least ten are from Randy. I’ve ignored this account for so long that I have a backlog of fan mail, too.

“You’re losing your edge, kid,” he says. “What kind of hack can’t juggle a high-powered job, a non-profit, a bestselling graphic novel series and a hot-as-Violet girlfriend?”

I can’t even bring myself to tell him to shut the hell up and quit ribbing me about comparing Darby to Violet. The second he met Darby, he knew. 

“Me, apparently…” I mutter, sweeping my hand over my face. And I do feel like a failure. I hate the feeling of letting people down.

I know he’s just giving me shit—trying to get me to quit being such an overachiever just like he’s been doing for the better part of twenty years. But he’s more right than he’s ever been. I have too many balls in the air and, one by one, they’re starting to drop. 

“Think we should delay the launch?”

“No,” I say reflexively. “We’re already pushing a year since The Architect came out.”

“Yeah, you’re right. Your asshole publisher will probably drop you if you don’t deliver on time.”

The asshole publisher Randy is referring to is none other than himself.

“You know I work best under pressure. Nothing would ever get done if I didn’t have a deadline.”

“You have a deadline now, and nothing’s getting done,” he points out. “If I had to decide whether to spend my time with a fake girl and a real girl, I’d make the same choice.”

“Yeah, well, that’s no longer an issue. The real girl is 10,000 miles away.”

There’s no point in concealing the misery from my voice.

“How’d she take it?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t talked to her.”

I don’t say that I’m starting to worry. She’s texted me, but it’s not the same thing. I’ve been resisting the urge to call her all day.

“Why the hell not?”

“It’s only been four days.”

“Have you learned nothing from my life?”

“I know, I know. Clarine. The only woman you ever loved. The one you let get away.”

I still remember the day Randy had gotten the invitation to her wedding. I’d been about thirteen. It was the only time I’d ever seen him cry.

“I still see her at Cons sometimes,” Randy mutters, and now it’s his turn to sound miserable. “The first thing I look at is her left hand. Every time, that ring is still there. I put it there. Because I was the idiot who was so busy building a future for us that I didn’t remember to make sure there would be an us to enjoy it. At least I needed the money. What the hell is your excuse?”

I swivel around in my chair. I’m not looking at the monitor anymore anyway. Instead, I look down at the city. 

“It’s not the money.”

“Then what is it? Any idiot can see you two are in love. Why did you take a promotion you don’t need?”

“You know what we agreed to.” 

“Yet, you fell in love with her.”

“Yes.”

“And she fell in love with you.”

“I think so.”

“And your clean, no-strings-attached breakup is messy as hell.”

I don’t gratify his sarcasm with a response.

“Sometimes it’s hard to believe you have an IQ of 142,” he says with a bit of reproach.

“Not helpful.”

But he ignores me.

“You should have gone with Plan A.”

Plan A had been half-baked, but I’d liked its simplicity, and the movie reference would have been apropos. I still would have done the thing with the flowers and presented her with the necklace. But I’d have told her it didn’t have to be over. From there, I’d have given her a choice.

I’d wanted it to be a nod to her favorite movie, Before Sunrise. In the movie, two strangers spend a single night walking the streets of Vienna together and fall a little bit in love. But they each have their own lives to get back to, and things to work out if they decide to be together. So they agree to meet again in the Vienna train station in exactly one year if they still want something more.

What I would have told Darby is that if she wanted a different ending for us, she could meet me in the Vienna train station, on Platform 7, just like in the movie. A year would have killed me, so I’d planned to give her three months. I would have told her that I would show up, because I already knew what I wanted—that part would have been true. I also would have told her that if she didn’t show I’d be okay—that part would have been a lie.

“Plan A is off the table. I’m focused on Plan B.”

“Plan A had a nice romanticism to it. You could still do it, you know.”

“Knowing about the transfer kills the sense of possibility. If she thought choosing me meant choosing a long distance relationship, she’d feel like I was already too far gone.”

“She already thinks you’re gone.”

“She knows I had to go. There’s a difference.”

“Which is…”

“I want her to know that me being called here is separate from what happens with us.”

“Yet instead of showing her a path for the two of you to be together, you left her in limbo.”

“No,” I say slowly. “I laid the first stone on the path. I killed an agreement that neither one of us was sticking to. One that can’t possibly work from 10,000 miles away.”

When Randy doesn’t fire back, I know he’s letting up a little. 

“So what does she think your status is?”

“Right now? Undefined.”

“Says the man who hates ambiguity.”

He’s right, of course. But I didn’t see any other way.

“In order for something better to live, the agreement had to die.”

CHAPTER 4 EXCERPT: IT AIN’T OVER ‘TIL IT’S OVER
When I walk back into my apartment that night, I’m exhausted. It’s only six-thirty, but I’m seriously considering crashing. I drop my bag on the floor next to the elevator, untuck my shirt and start to unbutton it as I make my way to my bedroom. Dropping my jacket and leaving it on my dressing bench instead of hanging it up makes me feel like a slob, but I’m that tired, and I feel kind of grimy and in the short distance between the elevator doors and my closet, I decide I want a bath. I turn on the spigot, rummage around for some epsom salts, and squeeze in a dropper-full of an oil I found in an apothecary in London that I am pretty sure was run by a witch. When the water is ready, I ease myself in slowly. I hope I don’t fall asleep in here.
I haven’t been in the tub for two minutes when I hear my phone chime. It’s the special tone I hear whenever Darby sends a text. But my phone is on the sink all the way across the room. I’m so warm and comfortable that if it were, literally, anyone else—even the twin sister I shared a womb with—I would let it go. But it’s Darby. So I pull myself out, walking gingerly—I don’t want to slip on the marble floor. 

When I look at the screen of my phone, my face breaks out into a grin. The picture she just sent me is totally worth it. It’s a close-up of her holding my book. She’s hugging it to her chest and the back cover faces the camera. Her eyes are cut off, and the picture shows her from her nose down. Her lips curve in a contented smile. She’s in her bed—I can see her sheets around her—and I realize it’s four o’clock in the morning in Chicago. After I slip back into the water, I swipe the screen so I can view the full picture. That’s when I see her text.

You’ve restored my faith in endings.

TRADE SUMMARY OF CHRYSALIS
Honoring the pact they made to let their careers come first, Michael and Darby end the casual sex part of their relationship when he lands his dream promotion in Sydney. Determined not to let their connection fade, he lays plans for a new kind of friendship. But he can’t get Darby out of his system. When he realizes the move was a mistake, he begins to maneuver the chess pieces that will let him reverse his decision.
But the distance is only half the problem. There are things about Michael that Darby doesn’t know, and he must find ways to reveal his authentic self from 10,000 miles away. Complicating matters are the re-emergence of Michael’s own estranged father, who suddenly wants back into Michael’s life, on top of a chilling revelation about Darby’s father, Frank Christensen. 

With more now at stake than merely winning Darby back, Michael must prepare to take down a powerful insider crime syndicate and decide what lengths he is willing to go to, to take back his beloved neighborhood on the South Side. Destroying Frank could mean endangering Darby, and Michael may have to choose between the two things he loves, all while facing the moral dilemma of how much vigilante justice to serve—after all, Frank is still Darby’s father.

Chrysalis Buy Links:
Amazon: https://goo.gl/aXP8YX
Nook: https://goo.gl/28SPJD 

Kobo: https://goo.gl/7vx7kT

Book Review: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Published: 2014

Pages: 292

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. 

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

My thoughts:

This was such a heartbreaking read, from the start. Lydia’s death sets the foundation for the novel and what follows is utterly remarkable and and something I won’t forget for a long time now. 

These characters, from the complex back story of Lydia’s parents; complex being a white American woman and a Chinese American (they fell in love at a time when interracial marriages were forbidden), therefore Marilyn’s mother was horrified at this and refused to acknowledge her daughter after that, purely because she disagreed with her daughter’s choice of a husband. 

The book jumps between past and present, after Lydia passes away, there’s her funeral and her beloved brother coming to terms with what happened to her, self blame (we learn why exactly as the story goes on), and the reaction of Nath’s (Lydia’sbrother) and their little sister, which was so sad as she seemed so fragile, so scared to put a foot wrong, my heart ached for her too. 

So as soon as I started this book and learnt of Lydia’s death, I was wondering “why?”, as in “why would she do this?” But as I read on things started to come together, and it was really heartbreaking to go into Lydia’s thoughts as we had a taste of what things were really like for her. 

SLIGHT SPOILER AHEAD 

While their was a sad undertone throughout the book, the whole story was utterly heartbreaking as it reached its end, especially living Lydia’s last moments. I’m still unsure of what she was thinking, I mean, she knew she couldn’t swim, but I think everything had just hit her and she thought she couldn’t turn back. Part of me will believe that she was hopeful, though that could be a delusion on my part. 

Nonetheless I think this book should be compulsory reading for all and even though there weren’t many chapters at all, it felt like it was the perfect length. Read it and I dare you NOT to be moved. Definitely something I’ll be revisiting. I adore how Celeste Ng wrote so naturally, all her characters were flawed and brought out so many emotions in me, from anger to frustration to immense sadness. But in turn I think we all could learn something from this book, this is certainly a life affirming read.

And that concludes my review, until next time, happy reading,

Brooklyn 🙂