Constitution Check – eARC Review

Title: Constitution Check
Author: Katherine McIntyre
Series/Number: Dungeons and Dating #4
Genre: Romance
Age: Adult
Publication Date: September 20, 2022
Themes: WW Romance, Past Abusive Relationship, Past Death (Off Page), Geeky/Nerdy Characters, Roller Derby, Sports Injury (On Page), One Night Stand to More,

Synopsis:

One night was all Kelly promised. One night was all Tabby offered. And yet one night wasn’t nearly enough…

Kelly Hernandez is on the mend. After the loss of her girlfriend to a car accident, everyone expects her to be destroyed. The worst part is—she isn’t, and the guilt plagues her more each day. All she’s looking for is a little distraction, something to take her away from herself, even if it’s only for a spell.

Tabby Reynolds is on the prowl, searching for her flavor of the night. Everyone sees the roller derby stud, not the geeky accountant who secretly wants a relationship. However, when she spots Kelly by her lonesome at the bar, some flirtation turns into one hot as hell encounter in the back alley.

Except Kelly and Tabby run in the same circles, and all too fast, they see each other again and then again, until they both cave to their desires. Casual and easy—that’s what they agree on. However, when Tabby tears her ACL, taking her out of roller derby, the relationship between them starts to deepen beyond what either of them planned. However, the past trauma Kelly’s running from and Tabby’s growing insecurities might cold snap any chance of something real before it can bloom.

Roll the Dice on Romance at Tabletop Tavern…

Thank you to GayRomanceReviews and the author for an eARC of this book.

This was a really sweet sapphic romance and I really enjoyed it. I am someone who love board game cafes and table top games, so a romance with a main character that works at a board game cafe and a nerdy love interest was everything I hoped for.

I loved seeing Kelly and Tabby as they had a random meeting on New Years Eve, and slowly their time together grew into something else. It was heartbreaking to see Kelly’s inner struggle with her friends and family, while navigating her own complicated feelings. I loved how the information about Kelly’s past, and Tabby’s past, was given to us in small pieces as the story went on and as the two of them got closer to each other.

I would definitely read the other books in this series, but it was so sweet to see this found family group together and how they supported and cared for each other. I really, really liked this story and all the ways that the friends and sports teams supported the people they loved and cared for. It was so lovely to see both Kelly and Tabby grow to accept love from the people around them.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Fangscreen – eARC Review

Title: Fangscreen
Author: Ellen Mint
Series/Number: Holidays of Love #5
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Age: Adult
Publication Date: July 19, 2022
Themes: Exile, Vampires, Tropical Island, Toxic Relationship, Gaslighting, Grumpy/Sunshine Romance, MM Romance,

Synopsis:

Summer bites.

What could be more pathetic than a vampire trapped on a tropical island? Jareth Hale despises everything about his exile to Samaná from the tourists’ necks slathered in sunscreen to the blaring sun overhead. He’ll do anything to return to his vampire castle in the forest until he falls onto Laiken, a sun-kissed beach himbo.

Laiken is sweeter than spun sugar and hotter than Adonis in a Jacuzzi. He’s perfect…except for one tiny thing. He is a vampire hunter—possibly. Jareth isn’t certain. Despite his vampire leader and ex telling him to stay away, Jareth believes flushing out this nest of hunters will earn him back his castle. And, if it keeps him in the orbit of the adorable, golden-skinned Laiken, then all the better.

Unbeknownst to him, Laiken is hiding a secret that will change everything in Jareth’s undeath. All Jareth thought he wanted and deserved was solitude, but Laiken’s opening his eyes to a whole new world. Can an old vampire open his heart and coffin in time to catch this impossible love?

Thank you to Gay Romance Reviews and Ellen Mint for a review copy of this book

Fangscreen caught my attention because it was about vampires and this one didn’t disappoint. For starters I loved how the vampire tropes were being presented in a little bit of a campy way. It plays with the tropes of vampires in a way that felt fresh and not just rehashing the same things over and over. This might be because Jareth is exiled to a tropical island as a result of losing a bet, but either way I loved it.

I really liked Jareth as a character. He is moody and sad, pining over the vampire that turned him who treats him badly, and doesn’t have much of a life. He’s not the charming vampire that a lot of books would make you expect. He’s a bit awkward and doesn’t want to talk to any of the sunscreen covered tourists. I also really liked the discussion of toxic relationships. Vampire books often has these relationships that have a lot of power dynamics, and toxic dynamics. Jareth’s relationship with his sire is toxic and complicated and he’s struggling with it, whether he realizes it’s toxic or not.

I also loved Laiken. It was very much a grumpy/sunshine situation, that I really adore. Laiken is sweet and bubbly and curious. I love that he and Jareth created this friendship about shared interests and experiences, and it eventually developed over time. I think that this book was so lovely in talking about self-acceptance, moving on, leaving toxic relationships, and making your own way in the world.

I really enjoyed this book and I think if you like a campy vampire romance this is definitely the book for you.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Never Been Kissed – eARC Review

Title: Never Been Kissed
Author: Timothy Janovsky
Series/Number: N/A
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Age: New Adult
Publication Date: May 3, 2022
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Themes: Movies, Drive-In Theater, Demisexual Rep, Gay Rep, MM romance, Self-Discovery, LGBTQ+ Side Characters, Alcohol Consumption, First Kisses

Continue reading “Never Been Kissed – eARC Review”

Hell Followed With Us – eARC Review

Title: Hell Followed With Us
Author: Andrew Joseph White
Series/Number: N/A
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Dystopia,
Age: Young Adult
Publication Date: June 7, 2022
Publisher: Peachtree Teen
Themes: Friendship, Religious Trauma, Body Horror, Gore, Trans MC, Autism rep, LGBTQ+ rep,

Synopsis:

Prepare to die. His kingdom is near.

Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him—the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. Desperately, he searches for a place where the cult can’t get their hands on him, or more importantly, on the bioweapon they infected him with.

But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.

Still, Nick offers Benji shelter among his ragtag group of queer teens, as long as Benji can control the monster and use its power to defend the ALC. Eager to belong, Benji accepts Nick’s terms…until he discovers the ALC’s mysterious leader has a hidden agenda, and more than a few secrets of his own.

Thank you to Netgalley and Peachtree Teen for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t even know where to start with this review. I have put off writing this review for so long because I just loved it so much I don’t even know how to talk about it. Hell Followed With Us absolutely exceeded my expectations. I expected to really enjoy it. YA horror is a genre I have loved everything I’ve read so far, but this book totally blew everything out of the water. I really enjoyed the discussions of religious trauma, being queer and trans, and being a teen trying to survive in the world. I am not a religious person, but this hit so many feels and fears regardless of being not religious. It made me feel so many things in so many ways.

This book is not for the faint of heart. It is gory and filled with a ton of body horror. It is definitely the kind of horror book that doesn’t explain everything, and for me that was totally okay. I loved being thrown into the story with no explanation and just having to figure it out as I went along. I honestly didn’t need the explanations for things because I was just so intrenched in the story and was devouring it.

This book was cathartic in a way that I didn’t know I needed. It hit the shy, scared, little queer kid in my chest that I didn’t know wanted to feel anger and revenge for the missed opportunities and for the fear of judgement. This book is all about queer, disabled teen rage and I wanted it all. This is the horror I want. I want gory, raw, and queer as hell violent horror stories that are about revenge and vengeance and rage. This book is going to sit with me for a long time and is definitely something I will need to reread and annotate going forward.

If you can handle the gore and body horror, I think you absolutely need to pick this up.

Rating: 5/5 stars