ARC Review: Begging Ben (Love Letters #2) by Anyta Sunday

BeggingBen-f

Summary:

B is for Ben Spengler.
Brilliant. Bashful. Burned.
Brimming with desire for his BFF Landon, who is beyond compare.
But they aren’t the same Ben and Landon anymore. Not after what Landon did. And didn’t do.
Bitter about his unrequited love.
Bound by a night of drunken promises.

Will the chemistry between them change, or will Ben break first?

Add on Goodreads

book review - pink

★★★★

This book follows ex best friends Ben and Landon one year after their falling-out, so this had sort of a ex-best-friends—to-enemies—to-friends-again—to-lovers trope, except they’re never really enemies but still, that’s one of my favorite tropes EVER and I was NOT disappointed.

The other tropes used were also top tier, like the fake relationship element (fake marriage!!! But actually real!!!) (this is not a spoiler btw it happens in the first 10%) and the cute moments with Ben’s baby cousin. Also Ben and Landon have a science YouTube channel and I kind of wish this element had been a little more explored because I love YouTuber AUs but there was already a lot going on so that’s fine.

Ben and Landon also graduated in math and chemistry and they’re major nerds who speak in chemistry puns (don’t worry it’s not overdone) and honestly it’s like this book was written specifically to cater to my own needs?? Bless Anyta Sunday.

There was nothing I didn’t love except maybe some small element at the end (highlight with your mouse to read the spoiler)like how Landon eventually goes “I’ve always been in love with you too I just didn’t recognize it”…. I kind of don’t like that because I think it’s perfectly okay and normal to fall in love with someone after many years of being their friend and this “I’ve always loved you” element tends to always be there in friends-to-lovers but it usually feels unnecessary to me, like it’s trying to give the relationship a deeper meaning when it can be deep even if Landon only fell in love with Ben in the last few days/weeks/months. But that’s just a very minor thing and my own personal preference!(end of spoiler!)

Anyway, I genuinely loved this and it’s such a fun and fast read and I definitely recommend it!

Advertisements

Series Review: Violet Hill Series by Chelsea M. Cameron /// fluffy F/F romance novellas

Summaries

Second Kiss: Daisy Grace Webber’s life hasn’t exactly turned out how she thought. She didn’t think she’d drop out of college and come back to the small town she grew up in. To be fair, she didn’t think her love of baking would turn into a job at the Violet Hill Cafe either, but it did.

Something else she didn’t expect was for Molly Madison to walk back into her life, eight years after she moved away. They’d been best friends forever, or so she’d thought. But Molly is back in town and she’s looking… really good, actually. And that reminds Daisy of that one time at a sleepover when they’d kissed during a game of Spin the Bottle. That one kiss has been on her mind since then, but it’s irrelevant. Molly isn’t into girls.

But as Daisy and Molly spend more time together, feelings start to grow, and Daisy is wondering just how “straight” Molly really is…

Rep: lesbian MC, queer LI

Double Exposure: Anna Corcoran’s life is hectic, but that’s how she likes it. Between her jobs at the Violet Hill Cafe, the local library, and doing publicity work for authors, she doesn’t have much time for anything else. Until Lacey Cole walks into the cafe and she feels like she’s been knocked off her axis.

Lacey’s a photographer and writer and wants to do a profile on the cafe, including an interview with Anna. She’s game, but after spending a few days with Lacey, Anna is falling. Hard. The only problem is that Lacey isn’t going to be sticking around. She floats from town to town, never staying in one place.

But as they get closer and closer, Anna wonders if maybe this would be the one time when Lacey would decide to stay put. With her.

Rep: pansexual MC, trans bisexual LI

Second Chance: Serena Nolan’s summer isn’t going how she planned. Fortunately, her cousin, Anna, is there to rescue her from spending her time off from college with parents who don’t understand (or want to understand) her. Serena’s thrilled to be living with Anna and her girlfriend, Lacey in Lacey’s studio, and working in the Violet Hill Cafe. She’s even adores Lacey’s cat, Murder.
What she definitely didn’t plan was running into her ex, Fiona Davis. They’d been best friends that had turned into something else, but everything had crashed and burned before the end of high school several years ago.
Serena is still smarting from the heartbreak, but she can’t say no to spending some time with Fi. Against her better judgement, old feelings are mixing with new ones, and she doesn’t know what to do. Serena will have to decide if past heartbreak is going to keep her from a potential future with Fiona.

Rep: bisexual/demiromantic and demisexual MC, queer LI

series review (test)

My (average) rating:

★★★.5

When I started reading this series I soon realized I wasn’t really going to be able to review each book, and that I’d have to write a collective review instead.

It’s funny how all three titles play with the number two: second, double, second. It’s funny because for each negative thing I will say in this review, I will also say why I also found the same thing positive.

 

➖ The novellas are short, around 60 pages each. I usually prefer longer romance books because I enjoy spending more time with the main characters to get to know them and care about them.

➕ No matter if you’re working full time or if you’re on holiday, there’s always a time at some point when you might feel like reading something super short and that won’t keep you up all night. These novellas are perfect for that.

 

➖ The short page time also means that there’s not a lot of time to develop the relationships. It also means that there’s not a lot of time to be subtle about it: the MC always goes “wow she’s so hot” about the LI literally the first time they meet and then keeps going on about how hot she is and that’s most of the internal monologue. That’s not exactly something I’m a fan of because it gets repetitive fast.

➕ But it’s also so fucking nice and refreshing to read about attraction between women in a way that’s so explicit and uncomplicated and normalized. Misogyny tells us we are sexual objects but it’s shameful to embrace sexual attraction ourselves, especially when no man is involved in said attraction. To see this normalized, even if in a way that I found a bit over the top, is really damn important.

 

➖ I would find it more realistic if the relationships were shown the way early-stage relationships are: less “I love you”s and more “let’s be together and see where this goes”. I don’t mean that it’s impossible to fall in love that fast, but I feel like it should be more the exception than the norm. Especially since the characters find themselves taking pretty big and important decisions about their lives because of said relationship.

➕ On the other hand, I feel like sapphic stories need all the HEA they can get, so who cares if these short novellas end with a totally sappy and totally fluffy ending.

 

Now onto random stuff I liked and that doesn’t have a negative counterpart:

I loved the explicit use of labels! The pairings were diversified and I also appreciated the fact that in the second novella had a trans LI.

The sex scenes were also explicit and not fade-to-black, which I appreciated because of what I said before about normalizing sex between women.

The setting and common-thread of the novellas is a queer café in which all the MCs work. It’s literally a café where only queer people work and it’s super inclusive of everyone and it’s supposed to be a safe space for the queer people of the town, and it contributes to create a safe feeling for the reader too.

 

TL;DR: I would have probably given this series a slightly lower rating because of personal taste, but I appreciated it nonetheless because of the importance it has for sapphic girls and because sometimes you need to reminded that it’s okay to be a sapphic girl and that you deserve your happy ending.

divider-2461548_960_720

Have you read this series? What did you think about it? Do you usually enjoy reading novellas? What are some of your favorite ones (not necessarily romance)?

ARC Review: Admiring Ash (Love Letters #1) by Anyta Sunday

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by A Novel Take for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

AdmiringAsh-f

Summary:

A is for Ash Heartford.
Adorable, strong, and independent.
Abandoned by his parents and attached to only one person—his little sister.
Attracted to River, the sultry man who saunters onto his doorstep with startling news.
Always yearning for more River, yet afraid to let him in.

Should he play it safe, or claim his legacy and risk losing his heart?

Add on Goodreads

book review - pink

★★★★

The story follows Ash, who works a lot of jobs to be able to pay for food and bills and most importantly to give his sister the education she deserves to have, and River, son of millionaires, who is still mourning for the loss of the old man who has been like a grandfather for him. The man who’s biologically Ash’s grandfather, and Ash never knew.

The two meet when River gives Ash a letter from the old man, and the two start a friendship that eventually turns into something more.

I really liked this book and I found the sudden-inheritance theme was handled delicately for the two MCs. On one side Ash learns about one side of his family that he never knew and has to deal with the fact that he’s now the owner of Silver Pines and decide what to do with it. On the side River is still dealing with his grief and he just wants what’s best for Ash.

The book is short and I’m glad that not a lot of time was wasted on the “conflict” part of the romance that’s always there around the 70-80% mark. It was mostly a light, feel-good read and it was also nice to first meet the protagonists of the next two books, Ben and Chance. It set up the atmosphere for the rest of the series in a nice way that makes the reader crave for more. It was fast and light and a perfect summer read.

 

Dreamy Book Covers Tag

img_3326

I realize I don’t talk about covers like, at all, so I’m so happy that my lovely friend Ash @ Wild Heart Reads tagged me to do this fun tag, which was created by Tiana @ The Book Raven (who also did the stunning tag image here above!) Please check out both their blogs!

The Rules: 

1. Thank the lovely person who tagged you, spread the love!

2. Mention Tiana @ The Book Raven as the creator of this book tag!

3. Use the original tag image in your post. (However, Feel free to add whatever other graphics your heart desires!)

4. At least tag 1 fellow blogger for this tag.

5. List the rules

divider-2461548_960_720“No Ideas But in Things” A book cover that perfectly expresses the novel inside it

19486412

I had to think about this question for a bit and decided to go with the cover for Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I think it perfectly expresses how the novel deconstructs the on-the-surface perfect lives of the suburban families that are portrayed in the book.

“Dark and Lovely” A book cover that is so creepalicious you just want to eat it up

29906017

I don’t read a ton of creepy novels lately but I had to go with Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh. I’m not much into creepy stuff but this cover makes it clear that the themes in the book are not going to shy away from punching you in the gut while also giving you a soft pink background to soft it down (because despite all the heavy stuff, this book is also hopeful).

“Sugary Sweet” A cute cover that is so fluffy you want to give it a hug

28096541

The Nowhere Girls – look, I can’t really claim that this book is fluffy, at all, but the cover is so pretty and it makes me feel all fluffy inside because I associate it with the book itself and it makes me think of female friendships and girls supporting girls and intersectionality and fighting against everything that’s wrong with society and that makes me want to give this whole book a big hug.

“The Simple Aesthetic” A book cover that stuns with the most minimalistic of design

I love the new cover of Vicious that matches the upcoming Vengeful. It’s just so simple and it perfectly gives off the vibes of the series (also if you happen to also own the Shades of Magic trilogy, you can have your own color-matching V.E. Schwab shelf and that’s one of my long-term life goals tbh)

“Cover Envy” A book cover you wish you had on your shelves, but don’t yet

20958632

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black is a book I adored and I also find the cover so pretty. You all know I don’t own many physical copies for many reasons but this is absolutely one of those books I’d love to have on my physical bookshelf.

“Traveling Abroad” A beautiful book cover featuring a country outside of your own

40961551

Calling Calling Calling Me by Natasha Washington features San Francisco on the cover and it couldn’t be more fitting since a lot of the novel almost feels like a love letter to this unique city. I loved this book (it’s going to be out on September 4th) and its descriptions of San Francisco somewhat reconciled my own (mostly negative) impression of the city when I visited it last year.

“The Color Wheel” A cover that showcases one of your favorite colors 

10305156

I can never decide on a favorite color but I usually answer with purple, so for this answer I chose this edition of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I love the purple feathers on this and I think it’s such a relaxing cover to look at.

“Switching Gears” A cover change you absolutely adore 

Hear me out, I find the first cover of Carry On easier on the eye and I generally prefer a cover that’s more minimalistic, but I think the new paperback gives a better idea of the book inside. I’m also not someone who can see faces in her head so I absolutely LOVE having canon art of characters, especially for books I love so much, and I adore Kevin Wada’s art. This cover also means we’re getting the stunning matching cover for Wayward Son with older Simon and Baz and with both of them being absolute fashion icons so……..

“Oldie but Goodie” A favorite cover of your favorite classic

51msi62q9ml-_sx362_bo1204203200_

I don’t have a favorite classic but the first cover that came to my mind when I read this question is this cover of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi (I guess you could say it’s my favorite classic from when I was a kid). Like with all books illustrated by Luzzati, probably the most famous modern artist from my hometown, he didn’t only do the cover art but he illustrated the whole book in his very unique style, and I think that makes this edition so special to me, not because I particularly love his art style but because I’ve basically grown up seeing it everywhere in my town and it just feels like home.

“And the Winner is…” Which book cover meantioned above is your favorite?

10305156

WHY IS IT SO HARD TO CHOOSE ONE FAVORITE. Look, I went for this because I love a simple style and there’s just something about it that makes it exactly the type of cover I adore.

divider-2461548_960_720

I tag:

Sakhile @ Sakhile Whispers

Acqua @ Acquadimore

Elise @ The Bookish Actress

Jess @ Beaucoupbooks

Marie @ Drizzle And Hurricane

If you’re not tagged, consider yourself tagged if you want to do this too! Also no pressure if I tagged you!

July Wrap Up

july2july1

Hey friends!

July was a really good reading month for me. I had a lot of free time after my exam in the second half of the month, so after I was done studying I just gave in and read a lot of things that I’d been wanting to read for ages and generally read for pleasure instead of out of some sense of obligation that I’m sure most readers who eventually start blogging can relate to.

I want to continue reading with this mentality in August and that’s why I sort of made myself a TBR that includes some rereads I’ve been postponing for a while (except I’m not sharing my TBR here because then it would feel like an obligation again).

Anyway, my numbers in July were:

25 books read total (this also means I completed my reading challenge of 100 books this year! Yay!)

• of these, 3 were short stories/novellas

• 10 were graphic novels: 1 issue of Fence (24 pages) and 9 volumes of Banana Fish (200 pages each)

• 2 were audiobooks

I’m really proud of myself 🙂

highlights

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan: this HAS to be one of my favorite books of all times, no joke. Look, I know I’m generous with my stars and especially with my five stars at the point where it’s no fun because I don’t seem to be able to convey the nuance that every five-star has for me, and this is one of those books I wish I could give it a five stars plus because it’s so special to me. It has everything I look for in a book for it to become one of my favorites: character-driven, humor, and an unique writing style. The last element is especially what made it so fun for me to read, and it’s not just how wittily it was narrated but also the fact that throughout the novel I never saw the hand of the author. It was Elliot who was narrating the book, not Sarah Rees Brennan, and it was he who seamlessly matured from a 13-year-old to a 17-year-old. That’s not something every author manages and wow, I’m so impressed by SRB’s skills. ★★★★★/5

Sweet on the Greek by Talia Hibbert: The secret to making me love M/F romance? Make it queer! This is a M/F romance where the male MC is bisexual and the female MC is black and fat (bless Talia Hibbert) and I freaking loved it. Seriously, I can’t wait to read more books by her! ★★★★★/5

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum: I’d been wanting to read this for so long and it was my first read after being done with my exam. It was one of those books you read in one afternoon and then you kind of need to breathe and let it sit before you can form coherent thoughts about it. Except I still don’t have coherent thoughts about it! Just. I loved it. And this is mainly about the relationship between two boys but it also sets the ground for the poly relationship they have with a friend of theirs and apparently the author’s next book will be in the future and one of the protagonists will be their child. Um yes please. ★★★★★/5

Banana Fish (#1-#9) by Akimi Yoshida: if you’re unlucky enough to follow my twitter, you’ll know that I’ve been obsessing over this manga since I watched the first few episodes of the anime adaptation (which is coming out on Amazon Prime Video with a new episode every Thursday). After watching three episodes I really needed to know how it continued so I started reading the manga which consists of 19 volumes. The story is truly beautiful and intriguing but also really heartbreaking. There’s also a TON of trigger warnings to be careful about so I definitely can’t recommend it to everyone. I myself don’t know all of them because I still have 10 volumes to go, but if you need a list you can leave me a comment or DM me on twitter and I’ll try to list most of the ones I’ve encountered so far. Average rating so far: 4.75★/5 

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan (reread): I’m rereading this series as audiobook (the first two aren’t great, there’s also three different narrators but at least the third one is REALLY good). All I have to say is that it’s even better upon rereading and after having read everything else by RR. ★★★★★/5

Begging Ben by Anyta Sunday: this cute M/M romance was just so much fun to read! Friends to lovers and fake relationship are some of my favorite tropes, plus the two MCs are chemistry nerds and speak in science puns (but it’s not overdone) and it was just a delightful read. ★★★★★/5

current

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani: I’m audiobooking this. I heard really good things about it but I must say I’m not really loving it. It’s not bad at all but there are a few things that bother me and I never feel like continuing it. The narrator is really good though so if you wanted to try this I’d recommend it in this format.

Herr der Diebe by Cornelia Funke: I started this before my German exam and I’m reading it slowly but I really like it! It’s my first Cornelia Funke book but I can see why so many people love her.

Because You Love to Hate Me (anthology): I’m only reading this half-assedly tbh, I found it at the library and there were stories from a few authors that I wanted to read but we’ll see if I’ll read the others. I also hate that it’s written so fucking small (at least in the edition I found), it’s truly a pain to read.

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan: as I said, I’m rereading the series and I’m on the last book now. Love it love it love it.

blog

I took a small blog hiatus so I could focus on studying for my exam, but I also wrote a few posts I liked:

• I shared my favorite reads so far this year (even though now the list would probably be slightly different)

• I talked about my most anticipated releases for the months of July through September.

• I started a new series called lgbTBR+ (I’m proud of the name ghskh) in which I share books on my TBR for a given category, in this case contemporary F/F romances. Next up will be fantasy F/F romances so make sure to check my blog again soon.

That said I’m going to spend August at home in Italy and I plan on going to the beach as much as I can, enjoy being with my family and enjoy my birthday and most importantly my birthday cake, so I will try to keep a relaxing 2-post-a-week schedule for my blog throughout August (there may be exceptions!)

watched

93074

 

I haven’t really watched much besides the few episodes of Banana Fish that are out. So far it’s basically the same as the manga, I’m glad they didn’t change much except they set it in modern times (the manga takes place in the early 80’s). I kind of like Ash’s design better in the manga because I think it makes him look more like he’s 17, but then some of my friends think the exact opposite so I guess it’s just a matter of perception.

divider-2461548_960_720

How was your month? What was your favorite read? Is it also super hot where you are? Europe is currently under a massive heatwave and it’s been really bad for my productivity, which meant I was happy to lie in bed reading all day with my precious companion (a fan).

 

Secret Release Blitz: Love Letters (#1—#3) by Anyta Sunday

LoveLettersFromGreenville_A-C (1)

Surprise! Anyta Sunday just released not one, not two, but  t h r e e  new novels in her all-new series, Love Letters!

Letters A, B and C are out today, July 31st, and here are the covers and info about them! Reviews are coming out on the blog soon, in the meantime you can enjoy an excerpt at the end of this post.

divider-2461548_960_720

Series blurb:

Feisty. Nerdy. Sexy. Secretive.

Greenville has them all.

A small town with big hearts, Greenville awakens at the mercy of Millionaire Row, the wealthy neighborhood across the tracks from Poplar Low.

Bad-tempered boys meet cheeky lovers.

Colliding worlds spark a fire of emotion. Heat rages. Hearts mend. Love is lost. And found.

Love Letters are playful, sexy, contemporary M/M stories that can be read as standalones.

Welcome to Greenville. Come for the sexy boys. Stay for the HEA.


Admiring Ash

AdmiringAsh-f

 

Series:  Love Letters #1

Publisher: Anyta Sunday (self-published)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): July 31st, 2018

Length (Print & Ebook): 41600 words / 222 pages

Subgenre: Light-hearted, sexy gay romance

Direct Link: https://www.anytasunday.com/projects/admiring-ash

 

Book blurb:

A is for Ash Heartford.

Adorable, strong, and independent.

Abandoned by his parents and attached to only one person—his little sister.

Attracted to River, the sultry man who saunters onto his doorstep with startling news.

Always yearning for more River, yet afraid to let him in.

Should he play it safe, or claim his legacy and risk losing his heart?

A is for Admiring Ash.

Tropes: Slow burn, virgin, one true love, happily ever after, related but not, hurt/comfort, forbidden love

Themes: Sudden inheritance, broken family, insta-dad

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance


Begging Ben

BeggingBen-f

 

Series: Love Letters #2

Publisher: Anyta Sunday (self-published)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): July 31st, 2018

Length (Print & Ebook): 41000 words / 220 pages

Subgenre: Light-hearted, sexy gay romance

Direct Link:

https://www.anytasunday.com/projects/begging-ben

 

Book blurb:

B is for Ben Spengler.

Brilliant. Bashful. Burned.

Brimming with desire for his BFF Landon, who is beyond compare.

But they aren’t the same Ben and Landon anymore. Not after what Landon did. And didn’t do.

Bitter about his unrequited love.

Bound by a night of drunken promises.

Will the chemistry between them change, or will Ben break first?

B is for Begging Ben.

Tropes: Pretend boyfriend, friends to lovers, virgin, brother-like, jealousy

Themes: Science, geek, alcohol induced oblivion

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance


Challenging Chance

ChallengingChance-f

 

Series: Love Letters #3

Publisher: Anyta Sunday (self-published)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): July 31st, 2018

Length (Print & Ebook): 32000 words / 182 pages

Subgenre: Light-hearted, sexy gay romance

Direct Link: https://www.anytasunday.com/projects/challenging-chance

 

Book blurb:

C is for Chance Roosevelt-Sutton.

Chiseled jaw. Smug attitude. Wild ways.

Chained to his ego—or so everyone thinks. Except his personal assistant, Brook. He knows better.

Chance is challenged to make his father happy for once, but he needs Brook’s help.

Choosing honesty is too risky, so instead they choose secrecy.

Choked by their pasts, they dream of a better life . . . and

Charm each other into submission.

Will their pasts ruin what they have, or will they grow together?

C is for Challenging Chance.

Tropes: Alpha male, millionaire bad boy, athlete, help/comfort

Themes: Basketball, coming out

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

divider-2461548_960_720

Excerpt from Begging Ben:

“What do you want from a real marriage?”

Ben paused, clawing back the “you” desperately trying to escape him. Not Landon. He was over that. “I want to have someone who supports me, and vice versa. I want conversations and shared interests. I want common goals, my husband and I, a team. Us against the world. I want to be so close to him that I can guess what he is thinking. I want a man who sees I have failures and flaws but loves me anyway. Who has a fantastic sense of humor and finds joy laughing at the silly things. And . . . .”

“And?”

Ben couldn’t hold Landon’s deeply curious gaze. “I want to be his first choice. Not a backup when the guy he really wants doesn’t want him back.”

The silence that followed felt thick and taut, and Ben struggled to breathe.

Landon sat back with a determined stare toward the road. He licked his bottom lip and his hand rested on the wheel, thumb tapping. “You deserve all that, Ben. That and more.”

Author website  |  Author newsletter signup  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

lgbTBR+: Contemporary Books Featuring F/F Relationships

lgbTBR+++

Welcome to a new series of posts! 

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I love giving book recommendations, especially when it comes to LGBTQIAP+ books. Writing rec post requires reading a lot of books of the same category (for example, with F/F romance) and that you find enough that you would actually recommend to others. Needless to say, that takes a lot of reading time.

Since I’ve done a couple of rec posts recently, I won’t be able to write one again for a while, so I thought instead I’d share the books that are on my TBR and that have been recommended to me by friends or that I’ve found on goodreads. I might not even get to read all of these for a while but I hope this list will be useful if you’re looking for more contemporary F/F recs, and if you’re looking for fantasy recs, stay tuned because that post is going live next week!

Click on a title to go to its goodreads page and add it to your TBR.

Amelia Westlake 

The Summer of Jodi Perez 

Everything Leads To You 

First Position

Under the Lights 

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel

We Are Okay

How To Make a Wish 

Her Name In The Sky

Style

Second Kiss

The Paths We Chose

Out On Good Behavior

Roller Girl

The Love Song of Sawyer Bell

The Summer I Wasn’t Me

And Playing the Role of Herself

Dating Sarah Cooper

The Paths We Chose

The Summer of Us

A Story of Now

Skylarks

Long-Distance Coffee

divider-2461548_960_720

Have you read any of these books? Is there any you recommend I start sooner rather than later? Let me know!

 

 

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com