Book Review: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Creekwood, #1)Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had really high hopes going into this book, and though it was a good story and a very creative idea, I can’t say I was blown away.

Let’s start with the positives: This is a very unique coming of age story about a gay teen in suburban Atlanta that I really, really identify with so much. I’m bisexual and live in Rural Georgia, so to us, Atlanta is the shining beacon of gay freedom. Every queer kid flees to Atlanta or Savannah at some point in their Georgia life, so this resonated with me. The culture, the types of people around Simon, and the way his parents are very accepting but he still feels iffy about letting them know because it’s a big deal out of relatively nothing. Simon is a great character who I entirely understand, and I loved him to bits.

The problem is everybody else. There isn’t a single other character, apart from maybe Blue in his emails, that doesn’t feel flat and one-note. Everybody is just exactly what they are: a name on a page. Nick, we don’t know much of anything about him except he’s Simon’s friend who plays guiltar. Leah is Simon’s kind of weird and bitchy friend. Abby is Simon’s new, non-native friend. Martin is a guy in theatre club that is blackmailing Simon. Nobody has any depths besides Simon! We know very little about his family, his friends, his classmates, and it’s even mentioned in the book that Simon DOESN’T KNOW them. It’s just unrealistic that a person wouldn’t know ANYTHING of depth about the people around him, no matter how secretive he is. And because of that, it makes all the characters besides Simon and Blue annoyingly flat.

Hell, the DOG is more dynamic than any of the other humans besides Simon and the anonymous Blue. It’s just so frustrating that such a great idea with such a good story lacks depth in anybody but the main character.

I would give it 5* for the subject matter and plot, and 2* for the characters. I’ll give it 3* just because I do like it more than I dislike it, but it’s not as well written as I hoped this beautiful idea would be.

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Book Review: One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying (B&N Exclusive Edition)One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let me start out with saying, HOLY CRAP! I’m angry I forgot to read this earlier. Second, even though I got spoilered because someone put trigger warnings outside a spoiler cut (my fault, I was trying to find other versions and saw a review when I ALWAYS avoid reviews before I finish reading; though I would def put trigger warnings below a spoiler cut, just saying), I was STILL shocked by the twist.

To start with, Bronwyn is one of my favorite YA characters I’ve read as an adult. I really, really liked her and identified with her, which means she may seem weird to actual teens but this is the life of reading YA when you’re 28, I guess.

Overall, One Of Us Is Lying is an absolute thrill ride of a mystery. I read about 1/3rd of this book over the course of a few days, forgot I had it, and then a week later, I read the other 2/3rds in a single day. It’s THAT much of a page-turner! I’m honestly sad I read this one before the book I’m reading now because wow, talk about a dip in quality!

I cannot recommend this one enough, and I feel like if I hadn’t been spoiled for the ending, I could have given this a 5* review for the shock twist I wouldn’t have otherwise saw coming AT ALL!

Read it! You’ll adore it!

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Book Review: Timing by Mary Calmes

Timing (Timing, #1)Timing by Mary Calmes

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book is terrible. Stephane is meh, most everyone else is annoying, the relationship is abrupt and uncomfortable, and everything is predictable and annoyingly stereotypical.

Even the (numerously) sex scenes are bad.

Seriously. Don’t waste your time.

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Book Review: Maelstrom (Whyborne & Griffin, #7) by Jordan L. Hawk

Maelstrom (Whyborne & Griffin, #7)Maelstrom by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s taken so long to write a review for this book that I don’t think I’m going to do it justice, so I’ll be short about it:

This is one of the better books of the series. I loved all the books in this series, but this is probably my favorite since the second one. Also, the scene at the end on the bridge nearly killed me.

The ONLY thing that throws me off is the damn librarians, oh my God. I couldn’t take it seriously when there was any mention of the librarians because I just died giggling over them. The army of librarians in carriages part made me stop and take a break from reading because I was just too thrown off by it.

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Book Review: An Unsuitable Heir by K. J. Charles

An Unsuitable Heir (Sins of the Cities, #3)An Unsuitable Heir by K.J. Charles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(I’m tired, so forgive the short review)

I thoroughly enjoyed the depiction of genderfluid/genderqueer characters in this book, and I really was surprised the author managed to fix this situation that the characters found themselves in, but overall, it was just more of the same from the series.

I did enjoy it as you can see by my star rating, but it was more a case of ‘if you liked the first few, you will like this one, too’ than anything special cropping up.

I still would recommend it if this is your kind of book.

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Book Review: An Unnatural Vice (Sins of the City #2) by K. J. Charles

An Unnatural Vice (Sins of the Cities, #2)An Unnatural Vice by K.J. Charles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First review of 2018 and I have to say, I really enjoyed this second installation of the Sins of the Cities series!

In the same story from the first in the series, this installation follows Nathanial Roy, friend of the protagonist of the first int he series, as he seeks to write an expose about spiritualists in London and instead finds himself once again entangled in the drama of the Missing Earl from an entirely different angle.

I have to say, I really liked the way that this second book had far more detail in the plot. There was more story going on than in the first, and though I liked the first, this was definitely a step up. The author took the intriguing story and made it something the reader can really delve into and get lost in. I was so caught up in ‘what happens next?!?!’ that I didn’t even realize how close to the end I was until I got there.

Oh yeah, and the romance in this one was equally as endearing and steamy as the first.

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Book Review: An Unseen Attraction (Sins of the Cities #1) by K.J. Charles

An Unseen Attraction (Sins of the Cities, #1)An Unseen Attraction by K.J. Charles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve had this one on my list for a while, and I decided to take a break in my reading of another fairly long historical queer fiction series to try this one, and I was not disappointed!

Following the story of Clem, the bastard son of an Earl, and Rowley, a taxidermist who lodges at the house Clem runs, An Unseen Attraction is a story of mystery, murder, and romance set in the dingy, foggy city of London. When one of Clem’s lodgers is murdered and Rowley’s shop is broken into, the question of what the killer is after turns right back around on Clem in the most unexpected way.

To start with, Clem is a very interesting character. Written in a way that makes it clear he is what we today would call autistic in a time where nobody knew that was a thing, he’s easily one of the most intricately detailed characters I’ve read in a book in quite a while. I really, really like him. I also really enjoy his romance with Rowley. Rowley is such a strange person in his combination of traits and interests, but he weirdly fits perfectly with Clem. Their romance is quite enjoyable to read. The story is very interesting as well, though it has a little less substance than I think it leads the reader to expect. I’m a big fan of mystery and historical fiction so this is generally just my kind of book.

Don’t let the 3* rating throw you off. I’m just really harsh on rating books. A 5* rating from me is really hard to come by (… even though I’ve had like 5 this year, okay, it was just a REALLY GOOD YEAR!!!) and I’ve already got the second one, so it’s definitely good enough for me to read on.

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