Book Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

This is my FAVORITE Creekwood book. Like, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda was great, but this one spoke directly to my soul.

Leah Burke is LITERALLY me. In high school I was the impoverished bi girl who had severe mental illness issues and preferred to BURN EVERYTHING TO THE GROUND rather than let anything slightly inconvenience me.

She, of course, has more supportive friends and family than I did, but her character resonated so much with me I literally cannot stop yelling about it.

All her fears, her wants, her needs…everything. She’s literally perfect. Or…well…fundamentally flawed, which is how I like my characters.

Her relationship with Abby literally had me SCREAMING for most of the book. They’re so cute and so precious. And I really wish they’d gotten together in book 1, but alas. It wouldn’t have been as sweet, in my opinion.

But seriously, Leah is my absolute favorite. And I feel like she really got shafted in the Love, Simon film because they made her openly like Simon. That does not fit her character at all, she only liked Simon when they were really young. Then she had a crush on his older sister.

I did spend a little bit of the book hoping she’d fall for Simon’s younger sister, but Leah/Abby is my OTP for life now.

This book is one of my absolute favorites!

Overall rating: ★★★★★★★★★★
(10/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Plot: 💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜
Characterization: 💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

More About Leah on the Offbeat

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

Get your copy here on Amazon.

Review: Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Oh my hecc, I don’t know how I waited so long to read this book! I even saw the movie first, but the book is so much better!

I feel like the movie really missed a lot of the best things about the book. Like, Abby being a literal cinnamon roll and Leah having Borderline Personality Disorder. Plus, the whole arc between Simon and his nemesis Martin was way better in the book.

In the movie it made things more about Simon’s relationship falling apart with his friends, but in the book it was more about Simon and his friends rallying around him surrounding this. There were other ways where his friendships sort of fell apart and mended throughout the story and none of it revolved around Simon’s sexuality. Not really.

The love letters between him and his love interest literally melted my whole heart. This was such a good coming of age queer story I literally am so mad at myself for not reading it until NOW. Like how could my gay ass miss this?

I absolutely LOVED it too. Simon is such a sweetheart, but my fave is Leah! Obviously. Haha. I can’t wait to read more books by Becky Albertalli!

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Plot: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Characterization: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

More about Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Get your copy here on Amazon.

Book Review: Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

This book was so sweet and so cute. I absolutely love books that are in a series, but aren’t completely related to one another. I don’t know why, I’m just a total nerd for these types of books.

That said, I didn’t read the first book in the royals series. Mostly because it wasn’t LGBT and I’ve really been on an LGBT kick lately. BUT

This book. Was ADORABLE.

Millie and Flora are basically my endgame. When Millie was wasting her time with her friend Jude or whatever in the beginning of the book I literally wanted to punch her in the face. Like Go to Scotland and find your true love, Millie!

Flora in the beginning was high key annoying, but once she stopped being such a jerk to Millie I was like “Oh no she’s just prickly because she doesn’t trust people easily!” and honestly, same. I can totally relate.

This book was so sweet and cute and such a fun read. I did wish there was more of it. I don’t really like it when books end on the “We’re together!” part. And while this one didn’t technically do that, it sort of felt that way.

Millie and Flora have so many cute moments in the book, but I felt like their story needed more to really feel wrapped up at the end. Because there were a lot of people that opposed their relationship, including Flora’s own mom and that never really got resolved, so that sort of felt up in the air at the end.

Other than that, and a few minor complaints (Like how did Flora NOT know the animal of Scotland was the Unicorn when she is LITERALLY the princess of Scotland? Like I know that, Flora. And I’m an American. Yes, I know my family is Scottish & I’m first gen. Don’t @ me.) I thought this book was FANTASTIC.

I hope to read a lot more cute books by Rachel Hawkins!

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 👍👍👍👍
Plot: 👩‍❤️‍👩👩‍❤️‍👩👩‍❤️‍👩👩‍❤️‍👩👩‍❤️‍👩
Characterization: 👭👭👭👭👭
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

More About Her Royal Highness

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?

Get your copy here on Amazon.

Book Review: Red, White & Royal Blue

I literally cannot even explain in words how much I loved this book. I listened to it on Audible because I never have time to actually sit down and read and finished it in a day then turned around, bought the paperback and it’s coming soon and I cannot wait to sit down and read this again.

This book is everything I’ve ever wanted to read. And I literally cannot recommend it more. It was so fantastic and sweet and I even forced my best friend to also read it. I literally logged into UK Amazon, bought a gift card for the book amount and sent it to her so she could ALSO buy the book and read it.

We literally have not finished screaming about this book and it has been an entire week and I’m still posting about it on my social media and pushing my book club to read it too honestly this was just everything.

This book meant everything to me.

Overall rating: ★★★★★★★★★★
(10/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Plot: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Characterization: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

I literally cannot wait to read this book all over again in a few days.

More about Red, Write & Royal Blue

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius―his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

Get your copy here on Amazon!

Book Reviews: Death of a Bachelor by M.A Hinkle

Oh my gosh! I loved this book. I loved every second of it.

I am obsessed with Cathal. Like he and I are pretty much the same person. And Felix! I loved him so much.

Literally, this book is like a breath of fresh air! There is so much LGBTQIA+ representation in here that I really felt seen. There is acespec representation, bisexual representation, gay representation, lesbian representation, and I think there were even some straight people?

The romance is a juicy, juicy slowburn that took just enough time to woo me as a reader and convince me that Damon and Cathal belonged together. I was rooting for them for the whole book because these two broken men need each other to survive.

Cathal especially since he can’t cook and spends all of his “alone time” eating instant ramen and not knowing what half of the stuff Damon cooks is. I love how clueless and adorable he was about cooking, but how smart he was about space.

At the end of the book, I’m pretty sure even Era shipped them from beyond the grave. She had a hand in getting them together, after all. I like to imagine her ghost chatting with Felix casually about it over a box of Lucky Charms. Her two broken boys finding comfort in one another after her loss.

Great, now I’m crying again.

Seriously, though. This book was incredible. It was a little slow in the beginning, but once it picks up it picks up FAST and I read the bulk of it in just a few days. I cannot wait to see more from M.A Hinkle!

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 👍👍👍👍👍
Plot: 😄😄😄😄😄
Characterization: 🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

I cannot wait for the next book in the series that focuses on Felix and the twins. I know it is going to be as incredible, if not moreso than this one. I love M.A Hinkle and I’m willing to bet I’m going to be a life-long fan.

Review: Return to Sender by Roberta Blablanski

I am literally still happy sobbing as I type this. I am so glad I read this book!

This story is so beautiful and kind from the very beginning. I’m not a fan of M/M stories, which I know is really unfair because I’m an LGBTQIA+ author, but I find that most M/M stories are not written by people in the community and aren’t a good representation of gay culture as a whole, but that was definitely not the case with Return to Sender.

From the very beginning, this story had me hooked. The romance and family and just love in this book had me crying happy and sad and just emotional tears almost the whole time I was reading it.

I read this story in literally a single day. It’s a novella, so it wasn’t that hard, but that is a feat for me. I usually have to keep putting books down to do other things, but this book in particular just really spoke to me and was always on my mind.

I loved that all the smut scenes were fade to black because that was so on brand for Drew and Wes! They deserved all their privacy and their secret stolen moments after everything they’d been through.

The writing was amazing and expressive and full of emotion and I didn’t ever once think “this is a first-person POV novel” because I was never pulled out of the narrative long enough to ever question anything about the mechanics of the book. I cannot praise Return to Sender enough. It was truly an amazing read.

Roberta, this story was literally brilliant. I cannot think of a story more deserving of a 5-star review from me. I loved it so much and I cannot wait to see what you write next.

Overall rating: ★★★★★
(5/5 Stars)

Rating breakdown:
Prose: 👍👍👍👍👍
Plot: 😄😄😄😄😄
Characterization: 👨‍🔧👨‍🏫👧👨‍🔧👨‍🏫
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

This book brought me so much joy and so much pain. Honestly, I recommend it to everyone who loves LGBT lit.

Book Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

A lot of the reviews I’ve seen for this book on Goodreads and Amazon whined about how badly written Jazz was. And, to be honest, I was a little surprised by this.

I am very hard to please when it comes to female characters and I had 0 problems with Jazz’s personality. Yeah, she was a bit crass and really full of herself, but women can be crass and full of themselves.

I believe in equal opportunity, folks.

Plus, it helps that Jazz reminded me a lot of myself. Cause I’m kind of a little shit too, so I felt more than a little validated by her less than savory behavior. Maybe that’s a bad thing?

Usually, when I’m reading a book written by a man I get pissy when they write women this way, but that is not the case with Jazz Bashara. I mean, who doesn’t love a little shit smuggler with a heart of…uh…chloroform?

Maybe that’s not the right term? I don’t know. I just really liked Jazz Bashara, ok? Okay.

All this being said, there are a few problematic things that gave me pause, but no more than most books. There are a few racial-type things I was like “Um what?” on, but I don’t know if that was problematic or not because I’m not part of or educated on any of the cultures involved.

I do work with a few Ukranians though and they would be the first to tell you that if you want someone to perform a crime, you go to Moldova. Not Ukraine. Just saying Andy.

Though, the fact that Svoboda (the Ukranian in question) is a scientist and a damn good one at that, is exceptionally Ukranian. Considering both of the Ukranian dudes I work with are physicists and smart as heck.

Incidentally, Svoboda is my favorite character out of the whole book. Though, I’m a bit partial to Rudy too. Sorry, Jazz.

I genuinely enjoyed this story. I love science and I love science fiction so, every second of this book was exciting to me.

I loved Jazz’s letters to Kelvin and their whole relationship. I do wish Kelvin could be a bigger part of the story, but considering he’s on Earth while Jazz and company are on the moon, that’s understandable.

I think it might be interesting to read the story from his point of view, though. Where Jazz’s story is more actiony and life or death, Kelvin can be the doting best friend worried shitless about her and the entire colony of Artemis. It would be beautiful.

I was sad about Trond, but I do know you reap what you sow and even though he wasn’t a big bad, he did piss off some really influential people. Post-Trond, though, everything gets a whole lot more exciting. So it wasn’t completely in vain.

Still made me really sad though, especially for his daughter. Though she really stepped up after that. At the behest of one hardheaded Jazz Bashara.

At the end, when Jazz fucks everything up, it was such a big mood. I love how she is both completely clueless and way too damn smart for her own good throughout the book.

If she ever decided to team up permanently with Svobota they would own the entire settlement of Artemis. Fingers crossed?

Well, they would if Ngugi let them. She’s no force to be trifled with and other than Svobota, she was my favorite character in the book. She was just so super cool and smart as shit. I kind of even loved how manipulative she was.

This book was really great, honestly.

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 👍👍👍👍

Plot: 😄😄😄😄

Characterization: 👩‍🚀👩‍🚀👩‍🚀👩‍🚀

Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Artemis was gripping and amazing from start to finish! (With very few boring parts in between).