Review: Tash hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

 Series: Standalone

Genre: LGBT (asexual heteroromantic character), YA

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Cover: I love the pink hearts in combination with grumpy Tolstoy!

Links: goodreads

Trigger warnings: Cancer

Description: After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?

Review: A truly splendifying read!

Splendifying is a word that Kathryn used in Tash hearts Tolstoy (maybe even invents? I at least haven’t heard it before) and it truly describes this book perfectly. It’s such an amazing read, but at times a little bit terrifying. In a good way.

Tash is an asexual heteroromantic and I haven’t read about this orientation before. If you know my blog you know I love ace books but before Tash all characters were not heteroromantic. It’s so great that this orientation is featured in this book, because there are asexual heteroromantics and they belong in the LGBTQIA+ community (I will fight you on this!).

The way Tash handles her asexuality and especially the way other people handle it is so very true… I had to stop reading at times and simply breathe, because I was moved to tears. Those parts are the terrifying parts btw. And at other times I had to stop reading and simply press this book against my chest. Those are the splendid parts btw.

After asking Kathryn told me she had an asexual heteroromantic beta reader and lots of ace readers to check her manuscript and it really shows. I wish more authors would be like this!

I will reread Tash hearts Tolstoy again and again and again and I’ll probably love it more with each reread.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy through the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

A Bookworm’s Dream Lair

A few days ago I was approached by Molly Kay from Arhaus who asked me if I was interested in sharing my dream reading space. Since I’m working towards moving out again (I do like to press the again) I jumped onto this reason to look at yet another furniture shop. And since it’s for blog work I’m not ‘wasting time’ dreaming about all that furniture I wanna have, you know?

 

So let’s start, shall we? I of course will totally ignore such unimportant stuff like how big my flat will have to be to fit everything into a room or prices.

 

Book Shelves

Most important thing in a home library – because of course I’m dreaming about a room just for books and reading! – aside from thousands of books are book shelves.

 Interestingly enough, Molly and I both fell in love with the Athens Library Collection. Although she prefers this one in black, whereas I want this one in white. I don’t know why, but I really, really love white or white-ish furniture. Especially if it’s dark on the inside. My newest bookshelf looks exactly like this to be honest. And I’d end up painting this one dark grey on the inside, too.

And yes, I do need a bookshelf with hiding space because

1) clutter stuff

and

2) books of shame.

C’mon, be honest, we all read some books we don’t want others to know about. May those be erotica novels, self-help books, guilty pleasures, you name it. And yes, there are some books in my room I have kinda hidden. Sue me!

 

Some place to sit

 I have forever dreamed about a big, comfy armchair to curl up in and read. So of course I dream of buying one as soon as I’ve moved out again. This one in saloon dove grey has caught my eye. It looks comfy and sophisticated at the same time, fitting perfectly together with the white Athens Library Bookshelf.

 

Pillows! All the pillows!

I always need something on my lap (I use my backpack when I’m sitting somewhere that is not home), so of course I want to have tons of them. I’m especially interested in fandom pillows. This is the first one I’ve ever bought (bonus points if you know the pairing this is relating to). Arhaus ‘surprisingly’ doesn’t sell fandom or reading related throw pillows so I would have to stay true to Redbubble and the likes. There are worse things, though.

Somewhere to put my tea or coffee mug

 If you’re interested, my newest mug is this one and I love it so much! How could I say no to a Marauders’ inspired mug? For anyone interested I’m a Slytherin. Anyway, I’ll have to put my mug somewhere and I’d choose this table.

 

 Lightning so my eyes’ll thank me

The right lightning is so very important if you read a lot… my eyes could tell you stories… but I have learnt! I love adjustable lamps, because I change position a lot and I don’t like to be hindered by a non moveable lamp. So I don’t know why I keep looking at a lamp that’s put on the wall. I don’t need it, so why do I like it?!

Blogging Space  

Since I’m a book blogger I of course need a desk to write at. I could write sitting in my armchair as well, but that would not be healthy if I did it for a long time, so I’ll need a new desk. And yes, it has to be new because my own is old. Which isn’t the problem, but it doesn’t look nice anymore plus my Dad had to repair it a little. It simply broke on one side… Anyway, new desk. How about this one? It’s not too spacey but I can still storage my notebooks inside it and the like. I could use my current desk chair, but if I had the chance I’d buy this one as well.

 

 

 

I could go on and on about my Bookworm’s Dream Lair, but I think I’ll stop now. Of course there will be decor as well, but that’ll change so very often… not my Yankee Candles and Funko Pops though! They will stay forever! Well, the candles won’t really, because I do light them, but that’s beside the point.

 

Would you shop any of this? Or maybe there is something different that you would buy if you could. Tell me all about!

 

Disclaimer: All opinions are my one and I was not paid to write this post.

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Review: Under Parr by Andrea Bramhall

 Series: Norfolk Coast Investigation Story (book 2)

Genre: LGBT (f/f), Romance, Crime

Rating: 5/5 stars

Cover: I really love the picture, but I’m no fun of its shiny-ness.

Links: goodreads

Trigger warnings: Suicide mention, acid assault

Description: December 5th, 2013 left its mark on the North Norfolk Coast in more ways than one. A tidal surge and storm swept millennia-old cliff faces into the sea and flooded homes and businesses up and down the coast. It also buried a secret in the WWII bunker hiding under the golf course at Brancaster. A secret kept for years, until it falls squarely into the lap of Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon and her fellow officers.

A skeleton, deep inside the bunker.

How did it get there? Who was he…or she? How did the stranger die—in a tragic accident or something more sinister?

Well, that’s Kate’s job to find out.

Review: Better than the first book!

I would love to tell you so much about this book, but I can’t because I would spoiler all the fun for you. So let me simply tell you, that there is a very pressing social issue in it. Maybe even more than one – it depends on how define those issues.

But I can tell you how great it is that there are so many interesting female characters. If you have read my review of Collide-O-Scope, you know I didn’t really feel a lot about Kate and Gina’s relationship. This has changed.

They now have a believable pace and – what’s more important – I could understand Gina way better. There is something happening in the first book (I’m not saying more in case you haven’t read it yet) and she has to learn to deal with this. I really enjoyed her dealing with it, well, enjoy might be the wrong word, because it’s really sad… Let’s say it was important how she dealt with it?

Overall it’s great that the things happening in Collide-O-Scope aren’t forgotten, instead they are ‘everywhere’. That’s not that usual for crime novels…

Speaking of crime: I criticized the last book’s crime case for being way too obvious. It’s better done this time! Third book now, please.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy through the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Review: One Bullet by Casey Wolfe

 Series: Standalone

Genre: LGBT (m/m, bi character), Romance

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Cover: I love its artsy feeling.

Links: goodreads

Trigger warnings: mention of conversion therapy, PTSD

Description: When Ethan Brant was shot, he found himself dealing with severe PTSD and unable to do his job as a police officer any longer. With the aid of Detective Shawn Greyson, the man who saved his life, Ethan not only finds himself again but discovers love as well.

Shawn’s life growing up was less than ideal, however, he overcame that to become who he is today. That doesn’t mean he isn’t missing something in his life. What Shawn hadn’t realized, upon first meeting, was that Ethan could give him all that and more.

One bullet changed both their lives.

Review: A short but feel good read.

I enjoyed Ethan and Shawn’s story, but especially Ethan’s PTSD and the way he works to overcome it were of great interest of me. This book manages to be a fluffy read without romanticizing PTSD or mental illnesses in general. Yay!

But its shortness does not work in its favour. A lot of important and interesting plot points are glossed over. I didn’t get too invested in their relationship as well, because it develops rather quickly – and if you know me you know I need a realistic development to root for a pairing.

One Bullet is still a nice one time read, maybe even more because you’ll read it real quick.

The portrayed therapy is a huge bonus point to me, because therapy sessions aren’t that often portrayed in books. Plus maybe there are readers out there who learn something from it and they can try it themselves? The musical approach could be of benefit for quite a lot of people, not only those having PTSD.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy through the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Review: This is no a Love Story by Suki Fleet

  Series: Love Story Universe (book 1), but works as a Standalone

Genre: LGBT (m/m), Romance, Drama

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Cover: I love how it looks happy and at the same time depressed. Fits the story perfectly as well.

Links: goodreads, author

Trigger warnings: Prostitution, Rape, Drugs

Description: When fifteen-year-old Romeo’s mother leaves one day and doesn’t return, he finds himself homeless and trying to survive on the streets. Mute and terrified, his silence makes him vulnerable, and one night he is beaten by a gang of other kids, only to be rescued by a boy who pledges to take care of him.

Julian is barely two years older than Romeo. A runaway from an abusive home, he has had to make some difficult choices and sells himself on the street to survive. Taking care of Romeo changes him, gives him a purpose in life, gives him hope, and he tries to be strong and keep his troubles with drugs behind him. But living as they do is slowly destroying him, and he begins to doubt he can be strong enough.

This is the story of their struggle to find a way off the streets and stay together at all costs. But when events threaten to tear them apart, it is Romeo who must find the strength within himself to help Julian (and not let their love story turn into a Shakespearean tragedy).

Review: Have my heart and destroy it physically as well…

I have read Foxes (still need to write a review) by Suki Fleet before this one and I wasn’t sure if I would be bored by it or not. Because in theory Foxes and This is not a Love Story sound kinda the same. Two guys living on the street in London, bad things happening to them, them falling in love…

But it really is not the same! The characters are totally different and the drama as well. The only thing both books have in common is the pain you’re going through while reading.

But it’s not only pain you’ll be feeling. There’ll be rage at society in general, hopelessness, sadness, and happiness as well.

I really enjoyed how realistic everything is portrayed and I loved all characters. Even though I liked to throttle some of them at times as well. But not because of them being stupid. They were just being human.

This is one of those books I’ve read mostly in public on my way to work and back home. Don’t do that. I had to stop reading so many times and blink as inconspicuous as I could… Do not read it in public.

What more is there to say? I love Suki Fleet’s writing and I’m sure I’ll end up reading every last one of their books. I just need to decide which one will be next. And I have to read something light and fluffy in-between.

Gosh, my heart.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy through a blog tour in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Three Things on my Reading Wishlist

Like always this meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Go and take a look at their blog!

It’s been ages since I’ve done a TTT, but I’m back! Kinda. I don’t know if I’m able to do it weekly, but I simply had to do it because of this week’s theme.


More LGBTQIA+/MOGAI variety!

There is more than gay men, you know? I especially wish for more f/f pairings and asexual characters, but I would love to read about demi, aro, pan, genderqueer, poly, (you name it) characters as well.

Healthy relationships!

I’m so sick of abusing relationships being romanticized. What’s so hard about writing a healthy relationship? It’s important and they are very fun to read about. And shockingly there can still be drama, you know? I’m sick of love triangles as well.

Mental Illness!

I like books with mentally ill characters, but for God’s sake portray them correctly. No more stigmatizing and no more romanticizing, okay?


I could go on and on about my reading wishlist, but I’ve decided to choose those three that are most important to me right now.

Are there some things you want to read about more often in books?

Review: Thaw by Elyse Springer

 Series: Seasons of Love (book 2), Standalone

Genre: LGBT (f/f, asexual character), Romance

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Cover: How many times have I mentioned how much I love this series’ covers?

Links: goodreads

Trigger warnings: none

Description: Abigail is content with her quiet life as a librarian. But when she’s invited to a high-profile charity auction, she finds herself dancing with one of the most beautiful women she’s ever met. Abby’s sure she’ll never see her again, but then Gabrielle calls and asks her on a date. And soon after, another.

Supermodel Gabrielle Levesque has a reputation as the Ice Queen—cold and untouchable—except she warms up whenever she’s with Abby. Only Abby isn’t interested in the heat between them; she’s asexual, and she’s worried that admitting as much to Gabrielle might spell the end of their blooming romance.

They’re two different women from two very different worlds, but Abby knows she can love Gabrielle. Her passion for books, travel, and theater prove there’s more to the Ice Queen than meets the eye. But they’ll have to overcome Abby’s fears—and Gabrielle’s own threatening secrets—in order to find their way to love.

Review: An ace book by an ace author!

I was so excited for this book and then I finally could read it. I was not disappointed. Of course not.

I simply devoured this book without noticing how time flew by. While the first book was rather dramatic this one’s really soothing somehow. One of the reasons is Elyse Springer’s writing but another was how easy Abby’s asexuality was accepted by her friends, how not a big issue it was.

Well, it is an issue at first for Abby because she doesn’t know if a relationship with a not asexual partner can work or if she has to have sex in a relationship – but that are thoughts and doubts every ace person has, I’d say.

As one can expect from an ace book by an ace author there are some… let’s call them pointers for non asexual people in it. But they’re not patronizing. They’re simply offering a different kind of view. Like for example there’s this discussion how there is always sex in society and… there truly is always sex in society. It’s fucking everywhere!

I could go on a rant regarding this theme, but I want to keep talking about Thaw itself.

I do have to add how great it is that there is no one-true-way-to-be-asexual portrayed in this book. I think it can be a real eye opener for some people – if they’re willing to have their eyes opened, that is.

So, it’s really a feel good book – exactly what I needed at the time of reading. The only bad thing about it is its shortness. Shortness in general because I could have read about Abby and Gabrielle for ages, but shortness in a specific way as well. Near the end it felt a little bit rushed to me. I honestly was surprised that it’s finished.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy through the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.