Books

Book 571: Just Julian (Romeo & Julian #2) – Markus Harwood-Jones

I started Romeo for Real the morning after I finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and I finished before I got to work. That afternoon on the bus home I read this one and finished it before bed. Not only are these short works, but they are hi/lo novels that are designed for reluctant readers with easier language and fast paced as I found out when I got them from NetGalley*

It’s hard to separate this from Romeo for Real because they are the same story from opposite perspectives. I wouldn’t usually be mad at a decision to write like this, but the fact that they are separated into two books is frustrating. Neither book can stand on its own without leaving SO many questions unanswered and even together the two books don’t have enough character development to make them worth it.

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Books

Book 570: Romeo for Real (Romeo & Julian #1) – Markus Harwood-Jones

This book and the next book are companion novels, so they are intertwined. They are also apparently hi/lo novels, novels “intended for reluctant and struggling readers. As such it is fast-paced, short, and uses high interest content with simple vocabulary to keep these readers engaged.” And even knowing this I’m not sure they hit the mark.

I grabbed copies of these from NetGalley last month and only just got around to reading them in early August* because who doesn’t love an LGBT retelling of a classic? I know I do. Unfortunately, this part of the story, at least to my memory, was at such a minimum and tangential level it didn’t really work for me. It mostly came across in the main character’s names, Romeo Montague and Julian Capulet, and the very short time frame of the book.

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Books

Book 567: Mary B – Katherine Chen

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this one. I’m always open for a bit of Austen fan-fiction so when someone from the publisher reached out to me about this one I figured why not?*

I’m not one of those who is obsessed with any particular character of Jane Austen’s like the author. I love the broad strokes of her stories and the general caricatures and stereotypes she works in across all her work. So when the fan-fiction gets super specific, like this one, I’m never quite sure what will come out of it. Will I enjoy this authors take on the character? Will they stay true to not only Austen’s works but the generally accepted views of the character? Will it be enjoyable and readable?

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Books

Book 561: Romancing Miss Brontë – Juliet Gael

I feel like I may have read this before, but if I did it was in my first year of blogging when I missed a few books in my reviews. Who knows, maybe I’m just so familiar with the Brontë’s story that it’s just become known to me.

Overall, I enjoyed this read and felt Gael did a great job embodying all of the Brontës, but I’m not sure how accurate the title was. It’s a little misleading in that I feel like more of the book should’ve come from Arthur Bell Nicholls’ perspective rather than from third person omniscient (I think)/Charlotte. Maybe a better title would’ve been The Romance of Miss Brontë or The Brief Romances of Miss Brontë, something that takes the emphasis from who the narrator would be. But blah, I’m sure this is just me. I had an issue with the last title I read too 😀 Continue reading “Book 561: Romancing Miss Brontë – Juliet Gael”

Books

Book 559: The Only Alien on the Planet – Kristen Randle

What a doozy! It’s been over a decade since I last read it and it still packs an emotional wallop.

I’ve had a copy of this book since high school when my best friend told me to read it. I’m still not sure what made me pick it up and read it, but I saw it and knew I needed to read it again.

I didn’t read it quite as fast as I read Autoboyography, but I did read it pretty fast. The subject matter of this book was just too heavy to binge even though I’ve read it before. I even had to take a break after reading it for a day or two before I jumped into the next one.

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Books

Book 558: Autoboyography – Christina Lauren

I can’t believe I binged this. I started it around 4 PM on my way home from work and was done by midnight. I wasn’t expecting to love this as much as I did, but it just hit all the right notes for me.

Books like this and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda make me sad that these weren’t around when I was a teenager, but also incredibly happy at how far we’ve (allegedly) come as a society and for the future LGBTQ+ teens out there. I have two more Freak Show and Geography Club that I picked up a few months ago and am excited to read in the next few weeks. Books like these and the more recent comics I read in No Straight Lines make me feel like those old LGBTQ+ individuals on YouTube who are in awe of the freedom we have today.

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Books

Book 557: The Brontë Plot – Katherine Reay

The Brontë Plot cover artThe downside with reading so many romance novels by the same author back-to-back is you quickly discover their strengths and weaknesses. As I read each of Reay’s works, they became less and less memorable even as I was reading them.

If I have to tie it down to the most basic its character development closely followed by pacing. I’m not one to need a “two months later” directional at every instance, but in Reay’s case it would’ve helped a lot. Toward the beginning of the novel the meet cute and the timing was so off I found myself having to re-read multiple sections to see if I’d missed the introduction or some major indicator of time having passed. (I hadn’t.)

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