Book Review Top Ten Tuesday

Eight Recent Reads I Loved But Never Reviewed

20200811 Books I Loved But Never Reviewed

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Hi everybody, and welcome to a new Top Ten Tuesday!

Today’s post is about some recent books I loved but haven’t reviewed yet (which to be fair, happens quite often because for a book blogger, I’m terrible at reviewing books).

But on the plus side, you can now enjoy these clear and concise mini reviews instead of paragraphs and paragraphs of my rambling and raving, so yay for that!

Upside Down by N.R. Walker

Upside Down by N.R. Walker

Jordan O’Neill isn’t a fan of labels, considering he has a few. Gay, geek, a librarian, socially awkward, a nervous rambler, an introvert, an outsider. The last thing he needs is one more. But when he realizes adding the label ‘asexual’ might explain a lot, it turns his world upside down.

Hennessy Lang moved to Surry Hills after splitting with his boyfriend. His being asexual had seen the end of a lot of his romances, but he’s determined to stay true to himself. Leaving his North Shore support group behind, he starts his own in Surry Hills, where he meets first-time-attendee Jordan.

A little bewildered and scared, but completely adorable, Hennessy is struck by this guy who’s trying to find where he belongs. Maybe Hennessy can convince Jordan that his world hasn’t been turned upside down at all, but maybe it’s now—for the first time in his life—the right way up.

Mini review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was the cutest book. I loved the romantic ace rep and the banter between Jordan and Hennesey was absolutely adorable. They meet at a support meeting for asexuals and then bond over books and it is the best! Really, this book made me feel all warm and happy and deserves to be talked about more!

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The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.

Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.

Born in a lab, M0Rr1S (Morris) was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.

Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.

Mini review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book reeled me in because of the premise: a girl who loves books working together with an alien who loved pop music to try and save the world. As a firm believer that books and music could save the world, this book felt like it was written for me. But add in multiple references to favorite books and songs, well-done demi-ace and anxiety rep, a lovely romance, non-binary representation and a haunting commentary on racism and oppression, and this book becomes a real gem.

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Felix Ever After by Kacen Callendar

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve. 

Mini review:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Felix Ever After was such a powerful story, dealing with transphobia and the gender binary about a trans boy who one day receives transphobic messages from an anonymous student and decides on a plan for revenge. I loved Felix and his gang of friends, but especially Ezra, who is the best, most supportive friend ever. This is one of those books that should be mandatory reading in all schools, but also just by everybody.

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Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Luc O’Donnell is tangentially–and reluctantly–famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc’s back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.

To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.

But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that’s when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don’t ever want to let them go.

Mini review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I ADORED THIS BOOK! It was the perfectly executed fake dating trope I needed in my reading life, but it also had so much amazing humor and banter and an amazingly supportive yet hilarious friend group. I laughed out loud A LOT. Also, Luc and Oliver were adorable together.

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The Switch by Beth O’Leary

The Switch by Beth O'Leary

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

Mini review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

BETH O’LEARY DID IT AGAIN! The Flatshare was one of my favorite reads of 2019, and The Switch is one of my favorite reads of 2020. This is one of those books that is heartwarming and hopeful and will just make you feel good. It’s both light and fun and yet dealing with some heavy issues at the same time. I loved both Eileen and Leena and never wanted to skip any of their chapter because I was equally invested in both their stories. Though the romance is mostly only near the end, I still swooned and adored it. Basically, if you ever watched and loved The Holiday, I’m pretty sure you’ll love this as well.

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Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (The Aurora Cycle #2)

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.

Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.

And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.

Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.

When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.

Mini review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I LOVE SQUAD 312!! I loved this sequel just as much as I loved the first one, and maybe even more so, because I fell even more in love with this wonderful squad. That ending was just pure cliffhanger-hell and I can’t believe the authors did that to us. Also, I need my fave Finian to be on the cover for the next one, pretty please?

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Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined. 

Mini review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I LOOOOOOOVE THIS BOOK! I don’t even think I can review this properly yet because I’m still in the hearteyes, CAPSLOCK, lovesick phase where all I want to do is rave about this book. This book, that is worth all the hype and I should have read ages ago. I listened to it on audio, but I got a hardcover for my shelves because I NEED IT OKAY? The libraries, the books, the sass, the characters, I love them all so, so much.

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Loveless by Alice Oseman

Loveless by Alice Oseman

Georgia has never been in love, never kissed anyone, never even had a crush – but as a fanfic-obsessed romantic she’s sure she’ll find her person one day.

As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, in a whole new town far from home, Georgia’s ready to find romance, and with her outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, her ‘teenage dream’ is in sight.

But when her romance plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia ends up in her own comedy of errors, and she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her – asexual, aromantic – Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever.

Is she destined to remain loveless? Or has she been looking for the wrong thing all along?

Mini review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I wish Alice Oseman’s books had been around when I was a teenager, but I am happy they are here now, because I believe Alice Oseman is THE BEST YA CONTEMPORARY AUTHOR right now. Loveless was again another win! It’s an amazing aro-ace coming-of-age story with a wonderful focus on friendship that made me cry a little. Also, there’s a sapphic enemies-to-lovers which was everything.

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Tell Me:
Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think?

Lindsey xoxo

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27 Comments

  1. Upside Down looks fun! The Sound of Stars and The Switch (love that cover) looks really good too.

    I love the sound of Loveless, I need to read more alice Oseman. That one sounds great.

    1. I hope you’ll love Loveless when you get to it! It’s definitely one of my favorite Alice Oseman books!

  2. What you said about Sorcery of Thorns made me smile so much because I feel the exact same way. It will always be one of my favorite books!

    1. Ah yes, Sorcery of Thorns was so good, I’m so happy you also love it as much!

  3. Great list! Sorcery of Thorns is one I’d really like to cross off my TBR, and The Sound of Stars and Felix Ever After both sound so good. The Switch sounds so cute! As a Yorkshirewoman, I might have to check it out and see if my home county’s been done right…

    1. I hope you’ll enjoy all these books when you get to them! I don’t think I’ve ever been to Yorkshire, so I couldn’t help there, but I hope you’ll enjoy the representation! 🙂

  4. Mini-review is a format I’ve been embracing lately! I can just get my quick thoughts out there. The Switch is one I want to read!

    1. Yes, I definitely should do more mini-reviews as they seem so much more doable for a lot of books instead of long reviews. Hope you’ll enjoy The Switch when you get to it!

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  6. What an awesome list and so many queer books! I’m dying to read Felix Ever After and Boyfriend Material. I’d not heard of The Sound of Stars before but it looks right up my alley. The Switch sounds sooo cute as well!

    1. Thanks! I really hope you’ll enjoy Felix Ever After, Boyfriend Material and The Sound of Stars! The Switch was definitely very cute.

  7. I am yet to read a looooot from this list. I hope I can di it asap!!

    1. Hope you’ll love whatever books you pick up next 🙂

  8. I haven’t read any of these, but Boyfriend Material is on my TBR. I’m happy to hear you loved it!

    1. Ah, I hope you’ll love Boyfriend Material as much as I did! 🙂

  9. I love how you gave these mini reviews. I got Sorcery of Thorns for Christmas last year, but haven’t read it yet. Someday.

    1. Hope you’ll love Sorcery of Thorns when you get to it!

  10. Tanya Atkinson says:

    A big YES to everything you said about Boyfriend Material. I love that book so hard! 🙂

    1. Ah I loved it so much, already in the mood for a re-read 🙂

  11. notesbyj says:

    I LOVE Felix Ever After! It was one of my favourite reads of 2020 so far. I didn’t review it either. 🙈🙈 I’ve heard good things about Boyfriend Material and I’m curious to read it

    1. Felix Ever After was so amazing, I didn’t know how to review it properly 🙂 Hope you’ll love Boyfriend Material!

  12. Sometimes it’s harder to review the books I love. The words just won’t come. 😉 Mini reviews are the perfect solution!

    1. Exactly! I want to do more mini reviews 🙂

  13. I just finished The Switch a couple of days ago and thought it was fantastic! All of the other books are still on my TBR.

    1. So glad you loved The Switch too!

  14. Oooh, I’ve seen Felix Ever After around, and I really need to read that! Soon as I get my hands on it. :3 I reeeeally need to read Aurora Rising and Aurora Burning, OMG! I love that you loved it.

    1. Hope you’ll love Felix and Aurora as much as I did when you get to them 🙂

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