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 Reviews: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

This book was an experience for me. As someone who suffered through abuse and self-harm I could identify with this very well. The descriptions of Charlie falling apart weighed heavily in my heart as I listened. So too did her need to run away.

This story is so important. Hearing from someone who has scars the reason why we put them there was as rewarding as it was difficult.

Glasgow so accurately describes what it’s like to feel like you’re drowning in your own mental anguish. This book was so…it for me. It was so good. I can’t even begin to explain how it made me feel.

This was so well done. I will definitely be reading more Kathleen Glasgow in the future.

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 🏃🏻‍♀️🏃🏻‍♀️🏃🏻‍♀️🏃🏻‍♀️🏃🏻‍♀️
Plot: 🦷🦷🦷🦷🦷
Characterization: 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

More about Girl in Pieces

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

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: I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

I really liked this book, but the writing style was actually really hard for me to get into. So it took me quite a long time to read it because of this.

The romance was really sweet, I thought Ben and Nathan meshed really well together. And Ben really needed some good in their life after what happened with their parents after they came out. Like that for SURE broke my heart.

I wish Ben had a better relationship with their sister. I did really enjoy their relationship with their best friend, Miriam. Who was also my favorite character in the entire book.

I felt like a lot of the other characters outside of Nathan, Miriam, and Ben were very flat. Which makes sense since they were only supporting characters, but considering side characters always end up being my favorites in a book, I was a little sad about this.

And I don’t know if it’s because I listened to the audio book instead of reading an ebook or print book, but I really genuinely had a hard time getting into the story. It was very, very good, but I did struggle a little bit.

I felt like the narrative was a little lacking. The story was good, it was a very good queer story. And I loved how Ben spoke about being bisexual for males and other non-binary people because it is so rare to see people actually understand bisexuality.

Overall rating: ★★★★
(4/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 🥳🥳🥳🥳
Plot: 💅💅💅💅
Characterization: 👯‍♂️👯‍♂️👯‍♂️
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥

More About I Wish You All the Best

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.

Get your copy here on Amazon.

Book Review: Firstlife by Gena Showalter

The pining between Ten and Killian was kind of drawn out for a little too long, but other than that I really enjoyed this story.

I picked it up because the cover looked like one I’d done sketches of for a book I wrote. Plus, I love YA so reading about Ten and her fight against her parent’s wishes was right up my alley. Right out of the gate, this book is entertaining as heck!

I think my favorite part was the song Ten’s Aunt Lina sings and how that helps her later in the story. I knew it would come back to do something awesome and I was not disappointed. Ten is totally awesome in this story and I’m really glad Showalter didn’t opt for an Archer/Ten/Killian love triangle because I would’ve DNF’d this book so fast.

Instead of relying heavily on romance, Showalter tells a story worthy of her heroine. It is dark, intricate, full of action, and full of glittery beasts (done right, of course).

This was an excellent read!

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

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

I’m struggling through the second one right now, so I wish book 2 was a little better, but book one definitely held my attention very well!

Review: Not Your Villain by C.B Lee (Audible)

I got this title on audible like I do most of my traditional publishing reads and as much as it pains me because I adored the first one, I’m going to have to DNF book 2.

I love Bells and I would have loved to follow his story especially his whole Chameleon thing, but C.B Lee doesn’t do anything interesting with him. Most of the book he pines over Emma in the most annoying way possible.

Then he whines when she gets a boyfriend and starts acting like a bad friend. Which was so annoying to me and made even more annoying by the voice actor they had reading the book that I had to stop listening.

Not to mention, Lee completely mischaracterizes Jess. It’s like this book was written by a completely different person. In book 1, Jess loved running and training and she wanted to be a hero. In book 2, Jess is a whiny lazy grump who is useless on most missions.

This turned me off so badly because I really genuinely loved Jess and seeing her stripped down to a whiny comic relief archetype was horrible.

You’re better than this, C.B Lee and I really agonized over giving this book a bad review because I loved the first one so much, but I cannot continue to struggle through reading this.

Overall rating: ★
(1/5 Stars – DNF)

Rating breakdown:
Prose: 👍👍
Plot: 😄
Characterization:
Boredom meter:

I really hope the next novel C.B Lee puts out is better than this.