☀️ Hi, friends, I hope you’re having the most wonderful day! What a blessing to be able to write a post again after a few very busy days! ❤️ You know that writing always connects me with myself and makes me feel at peace, as well as I also really enjoy sharing with you about my readings, so I’m HAPPY & excited to be here today. 😍 Before starting, if you follow me on Twitter you’ll know by now, but I’ve wanted to share with you anyway here, that I’ve opened MY OWN BUSINESS!! 🎉 I’ll be sharing with you a lot about it, I promise, but I wanted to mention it since it’s the project that has been taking all my time right now, and it’s something that I’m very excited about and proud about, so obviously, I want to share the process with you. But today, what brings us here are two highly-popular book reviews, so we’ll focus on them.
On the one hand, we have a book with a romantic summer theme that involves two very different writers and that ended up being much darker and more intense than I imagined & On the other hand, we have a book with a highly powerful message which I’ve learned a lot from, I adore coming across those kinds of books that have a clear positive and conscientious message. 👏🏻
So very happy to share with you these two reviews, I hope you enjoy them a lot and that maybe you can add new books to your TBR! 🥰 Now without further ado … let’s get started! ☀️
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.
| Goodreads |
“And that was the moment I realized: when the world felt dark and scary, love could whisk you off to go dancing; laughter could take some of the pain away; beauty could punch holes in your fear. I decided then that my life would be full of all three.”
Well, this is one of those reviews where I would like to bring you only positive things about the book, but hey, I guess just couldn’t quite convince me, which is a totally unpopular opinion because I know most of you love it, so always remember this: It’s a personal opinion and nothing more. On the other hand, it is not a bad book at all, I think the author has decided to give an unexpected twist to a romance story by making it darker than light, and I liked that a lot as well as knowing a little about the personal stories of each character & the setting is very good, as well!
In this book, we follow two authors who are totally opposites, on the one hand, we have Augustus who’s an acclaimed author of literary fiction & on the other hand, we have January, a successful romance writer. The only thing these two have in common is that they’re spending a few months in their beach houses being neighbors and also sharing a terrible writer block. Because of this, their paths cross and they come to a deal, Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy while January will have to write something really dark. They’ll both try to write a book this summer without falling in love with each other.
I think the concept is fun, without a doubt it keeps you reading wanting to know how this experience will unfold and how it will end for each of the characters. It was very entertaining to see both writers get caught up in each other’s surroundings, and being completely opposite faces in the literary world is obviously fun to read. Even so, I feel that it gets kind of repetitive and dense in the middle especially, personally I feel things stagnate a bit and the plot takes a long time to start again, and that made it seem a bit boring to be honest. As you may have noticed, I didn’t love this book like everyone else seems to do, I just think it’s because I’m not a big fan of romance-centric plots, so I kind of knew this book might not be for me, but anyway I’m glad I read it as I think it has solid points and it was an interesting read anyway, taking out the romantic part, of course, that wasn’t my favorite.
I did quite enjoy the slightly darker scenes, which were a great surprise to me, I didn’t expect this book to become so serious and intense, but the author decided to go that way and I was quite captivated by her way of telling facts in such a moving and disturbing way . I can understand on the other hand, that this approach the author decided to give is somewhat confusing for some readers because I think there’s a somewhat strange mix of genres happening in this book, so at times we’re reading a book in a more pink-romantic tone, and after one scene to another, we find ourselves in a much darker and more dramatic environment, so that could cut the enjoyment of the reading at some point, it doesn’t bother me so much, though, because as I said, heavy romance bore me a bit, but even so, I wanted to mention it in case you’re looking for a light romance because I don’t think this book has it completely. I think basically the transitions between scenes are very dramatic and that can be a problematic point.
I like the author’s style is new and kind of weird, which I appreciate, I like weird lol, I like how she has portrayed the lives of the characters and has given life to the secondary characters, I also appreciate the way that describes the surroundings, I think it’s very well achieved, without a doubt I would read more of her work in the future. In fact, I have When the Sky Fell on Splendor in my TBR and I’m pretty excited for that book, I think it’s much more my style.
I’m not very sure about the characters, at the moment I like them and they have pretty scenes, but then I don’t know … as characters I don’t think any of them have captivated me or have anything that I could stand out about their personalities, I only remember January being a little know-it-all at times lol, and that’s fine, just a little annoying. The personal stories of each of them on the other hand, I really liked, especially exploring the family history of January and everything that has had to go through was very intense, I understand the pain and the frustration she feels, and I feel that’s very well explored. The development of the characters doesn’t surprise me much, I don’t think there’s a big difference from the romantic growth, but I still highlight Augustus a bit and appreciate that he opened up more towards the end, so I can get to know him a little more.
I understand 100% why people love “enemies-to-lovers” relationships, in fact, I love this trop too, but this time I’m not sure if it worked for me, I prefer this dynamic when there’s a stronger background or a story behind that has meaning or weight for the characters, here the reasons for this “enmity” are somewhat light and it doesn’t make much sense to me. I think in this moment of my life I need to see a very powerful relationship or a romance wrapped in something very dramatic or something darker to really hook me, or in a fantasy world, because for some reason that works better for me. Even so, I can see why people LOVE this relationship, they’ve very good scenes, but others have made me cringe a bit.
This book doesn’t move me, I think that the construction of the plot itself is already messy, which is not a bother for me, but it’s a distraction, I think that when the plot goes to darker places it manages to have an atmospheric tone that I enjoyed a lot, that makes me know that I’ll possibly read and love other stories by the same author, because I know that the talent is there, and there are points in which it resonates a lot with me in terms of writing style. On the other hand, the romance didn’t manage to touch me in depth nor did the characters convince me. But I can see a great commitment in the author to develop subplots and give meaning to the stories of each character and I love that, they just weren’t the type of characters for me, you know? And that’s fine, I accept it and I share it with you.
I recommend this book if you want to read a crazy romance involving writers and a competition to write different genres and get their books finished. It’s a very unique and original plot idea that comes alive at times in rather strange and unexpected ways. It’s a bit atmospheric which I love, and I know that it’s also a point that many of you like as well, the characters aren’t something from another world, but I’m sure you’ll be able to be captivated with their stories and I hope that you’ll also be able to do it with their relationship. A good story, I still recommended it, but not something memorable that has marked me in any way.
From Stonewall and Lambda Award-winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time.
Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.
When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….
But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.
Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve.
| Goodreads |
“I’m not flaunting anything. I’m just existing. This is me. I can’t hide myself. I can’t disappear. And even if I could, I don’t fucking want to. I have the same right to be here. I have the same right to exist.”
This is a book I appreciate so much that it simply exists, I think it’s super informative and it teaches you a lot too, I think I’m wiser after reading it. The discussions about gender are very well developed, the author has really decided to go deeply into this aspect and give us the raw faces of what it means to choose to live as your true self despite the adversities along the way. I really liked that side of the book, I think it’s extremely important that I highlight this point before starting with everything else. It’s a content-rich book that portrays the story of a trans boy, but we also follow a super diverse group of characters so that’s wonderful. On the other hand, there are some points that I didn’t really LOVE that much: like the romance & the main character.
In this book, we follow Felix Love that secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many — Black, queer, and transgender — to ever get his own happily-ever-after. When a student starts sending him homophobic messages and also posts photos of him before his transition, Felix plans his revenge, but he doesn’t expect it to lead to a tangled love triangle. But while he tries to understand what he’s feeling, Felix is immersed in a journey of self-discovery where he’ll redefine his relationship with the most important person: himself.
I think this book, as I mentioned before, is a beautiful journey of self-discovery, to learning to love yourself and be proud of who you are and that’s wonderful, there are many positive things that I can say about this book and what it tries to do because it’s very obvious how committed the author is with what he wants to tell, it’s very clear and concise and leaves no cracks for questions. I think that this story has taught me many things and I’m deeply grateful that books like these are released into the world to be read by all kinds of people so that we can all open our eyes to the valuable and incredible diverse groups that fight every day to have their place in the community and for being heard. In this book, we focus a lot on the trans community, but there’s also a lot of diversity, there are lesbian, gay, bisexual characters. We also have black & biracial characters. So it’s a book that I know will help a lot of people feel seen and heard, which is beautiful.
Now I want to leave this in the background for a bit since obviously that’s super valuable and nobody can argue with that, so I want to focus a little more on the plot itself, to give you my opinion on that also. As the plot of this book gives us a lot in terms of personal research, Felix is trying to understand himself, discover what he wants to do with his future and how he feels about who he is and his relationship with others. Therefore, it’s a great point of view to tell a story full of feelings and emotional moments of great significance, many of them I must say are very well portrayed, managing to convey a lot to the reader. In addition to seeing everything that a black, transgender & queer boy must live, it’s very interesting to see how the other characters interact with him, from his friends to his family, as well as other members of the community. This topic is very well addressed, we see scenes, where he’s marginalized, discriminated and even minimized by other characters obviously from an ignorant and terrible place, in such a real and hard way that it really makes you open your eyes to a whole new reality. On the other hand, we also see absolutely wonderful and golden scenes where characters grow in understanding and love, and others that simply support no matter what, giving unconditional love above all things. That’s absolutely incredible. Both faces are real and exist, that’s why I think they’re very important to portray and in this book, it’s done in a wonderful way.
On the other hand, I have to mention some things that I didn’t like, the most important point and number 1 of my mini-list is Felix. It was a surprise to me that this character doesn’t resonate so much with me, I understand where many of his negative attitudes and emotions come from, even towards his own friends who support him because I know that he has had to go through a lot since her mother left him, until this revolution within him for not being entirely sure of his identity. But there’s a moment where it seems to me that Felix could be selfish, self-center, and even cruel. Above all there are scenes with his father, where I can see that his father tries to understand him, learn and be there for him, but Felix continues to see all the negative side and refuses to listen, choosing to be quite hurtful with him or assuming things that he doesn’t know, such as that his father doesn’t accept him, being so that his father has paid for all his treatments and has always been there for him. I think there’s a very fine line there, and I would have liked to see Felix more open to understanding the transition that his father is also going through. Still, I’m glad they finally have that talk at the end, they should have had all along. On the other hand, there’s also a time where Felix treats Ezra (his best friend) in rude ways just because he comes from a rich family, making it clear that Ezra’s problems aren’t as valid as his own. Like these two examples, there are several scenes where the attitude that Felix calls “being Slytherin” goes a little further and ends up being a rather difficult character to understand at times. I absolutely want Felix to find his happiness and I was rooting for him throughout the book, but even so, I don’t really like the way he is with others, and the negative approach of him all the time can be somewhat annoying and hard to understand.
The second thing that I don’t quite like is the romance (no one is in shock lol). The weirdest love triangle I’ve ever seen lol, is so messy all the time that if you don’t pay enough attention you won’t even know what’s happening most of the time. I LOVE Ezra as a character, his way of being so free and his way of seeing life is so dreamy and thoughtful, I love that, he’s the type of person that I would love to have in my life for long talks about existence, but his position as a love interest it’s just not good for him, I understand his position and his thoughts are always the same, which I respect, but the romance, in the end, doesn’t make much sense to me, I prefer that things have been unraveled in another way. On the other hand, I have to talk about Declan, this character is quite complex and I would have liked to know him even a little more, I think that towards the end the author has chosen to give him a negative tone to justify certain Felix’s actions which I’m not sure about. On the other hand, Felix is Felix, you know? He’s messy, he doesn’t know what he wants and in a certain part, I understand him because he’s a teenager and I was probably like that at his age, but at times I feel that he plays a little with the feelings of everyone around him. The romance in general terms and not to reveal too much is insta-love for me in all directions. I read several “I LOVE YOU” on the road in just a few pages, and I was like “OMG, THIS SCALE FAST” LOL, but it’s just my opinion, obviously. .It also has lovely scenes, plus: beautiful discussions about who you are, what you want to be and the meaning of your identity, and the importance of self-love. So something positive always comes out of all this
I loved the author’s style, he gives us an extremely important story full of messages to remember, so obviously I would love to read more of his work in the future, I have King and the Dragonflies in my TBR so let me know if you’ve read it and what you think about it! & I also want to highlight the way in which this group of friends in this book is portrayed, they’re all queer, and diverse, so I think you’ll find a way to feel identified and seen with this reading.
Without a doubt and despite some Felix attitudes, and the fact that romance doesn’t seem to contribute much, it’s a wonderful book in terms of focus, it’s built for the reader to learn things and have a jolt of reality. It’s revealing in many ways, getting to know in the first person what the daily life of a transgender person is like and the meaning of self-love, family, and friends is wonderful, hopefully, everyone decides to read it at some point. I confess that I have decided to up my rating, just because of the weight that this book has in terms of content, I think that approaching the life of a transgender person and taking it through these multiple scenarios where many things are put to the test, it’s magnificent, makes you feel really part of what’s happening and it’s that kind of reading that opens your eyes and leaves something with you. I hope that you give yourself the opportunity to discover this story and that, as happened to me, leave you with some teaching or some positive thought to share with the world. Remember that love is love, we are all valuable and wonderful regardless of our sex at birth. Don’t let anything define you just be yourself and move on, you’re powerful!
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