ARCs Book Reviews

[BLOG TOUR] ARC Review: These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy

Thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! These Feathered Flames goes on sale April 20, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Queer Fiction, #OwnVoices, Young Adult Fantasy, Retelling
Series: These Feathered Flames #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.

But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.

As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.


My Review: These Feathered Flames is a queer, #OwnVoices retelling of a Russian folktale, “The Firebird.” I have never read it but have played the composition of “The Firebird” by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky and love “The Firebird” section in Disney’s Fantasia 2000. So this was an interesting read with a compelling premise. I also appreciate the inclusion of a pronunciation guide.

The world Alexandra Overy has created is a harsh one overflowing with political intrigue and tension you can cut with a knife. Trust is a currency no one can afford unless you know how to play the game. This is especially true for our twin sisters and main characters, Izaveta (the queen to be) and Asya (the new Firebird). The plethora of suspicious characters – most notably the crooked Vibishop Sanislav – made for a great mystery to be solved. Chiefly, bad things kept happening that affected Izaveta’s standing with the cabinet and court.

The sisters had a somewhat pleasant life growing up until age 7 when their worlds drastically changed as taxing, unsympathetic duties were thrust upon them. It became an us against the world kind of situation, which sometimes had the two at odds with one another. It was sad, almost cruel, how the sisters were broken apart and struggled to make sense of who they’d become. Izaveta – cold, calculating, barely hanging on to power/control. Asya – kind-hearted but feared and hated due to the blazing Firebird residing within her. Both became a product of their environments and positions.

I love books with firebirds or phoenixes in them because they are such cool, beautiful magical creatures. In These Feathered Flames, The Firebird’s existence is an interesting dichotomy. The Firebird maintains balance in the world. It also makes sure that the price of using magic is paid, which has caused many to fear and despise the Firebird and whoever is unfortunately chosen to embody it. This is more apparent since the decline of magic in Tóurin (the setting), referred to as The Fading. The lack of magic causes a strain on the queendom because for years it had allowed Tóurin to be a force to be reckoned with.

The beginning I had a hard time getting into the story but was still curious by what was happening. I was invested in Izaveta and Asya’s relationship. For me, things didn’t pick up until almost halfway through (this book is nearly 500 pages so that might be why). By then the story had an iron-clad grasp on my attention. I did not expect the bit of romance to happen in such a bleak place! And all the huge revelations were mind-blowing! Those scenes were intense, pivotal changes to the plot that really spiced things up.The climax was amazing and the fallout left me with tons of questions (in a good way!).

These Feathered Flames is a solid beginning. I think it will only get better as the series progresses.

Photo by Sam Hardy


ALEXANDRA OVERY was born in London, England. Ever since she was little she has loved being able to escape into another world through books. She currently lives in Los Angeles, and is completing her MFA in Screenwriting at UCLA. When she’s not working on a new manuscript or procrastinating on doing homework, she can be found obsessing over Netflix shows, or eating all the ice cream she can.

SOCIAL LINKS: Author Website | Twitter | Instagram


BUY LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | IndieBound | Books-A-Million | AppleBooks

Bookish Memes Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – 10/14/20

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where you spotlight a highly anticipated book.

Happy Wednesday, Bookworms!

It’s been a couple of months since I did this bookish meme. I’m happy to feature today Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala as one of the books I’m looking forward to reading.

The title and cover for this queer young adult contemporary romance are spectacular. I love that the story involves a fashion competition. Based on the synopsis, this looks possibly be a friends to lovers to enemies to lovers.

I was recently approved on NetGalley for an eARC, which I hope to start reading in the next couple of weeks.

Be Dazzled is set to be published January 2021, from Sourcebooks Fire.

Image via Goodreads

ABOUTWho’s ready to sparkle??

Project Runway goes to Comic Con in an epic queer love story about creativity, passion, and finding the courage to be your most authentic self.

Raffy has a passion for bedazzling. Not just bedazzling, but sewing, stitching, draping, pattern making–for creation. He’s always chosen his art over everything–and everyone–else and is determined to make his mark at this year’s biggest cosplay competition. If he can wow there, it could lead to sponsorship, then art school, and finally earning real respect for his work. There’s only one small problem… Raffy’s ex-boyfriend, Luca, is his main competition.

Raffy tried to make it work with Luca. They almost made the perfect team last year after serendipitously meeting in the rhinestone aisle at the local craft store–or at least Raffy thought they did. But Luca’s insecurities and Raffy’s insistence on crafting perfection caused their relationship to crash and burn. Now, Raffy is after the perfect comeback, one that Luca can’t ruin.

But when Raffy is forced to partner with Luca on his most ambitious build yet, he’ll have to juggle unresolved feelings for the boy who broke his heart, and his own intense self-doubt, to get everything he’s ever wanted: choosing his art, his way.

As Always, Happy Reading!!!

CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Instagram

Book Reviews

Book Review: Something To Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA+ Fiction (F/F)
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Maybe
Favorite Quote: ” ‘Sometimes things are hard,’ … ‘Really hard. Sometimes you have to work at them. Sometimes you have to fail first. But that doesn’t mean they’re not worth doing.’ … ‘Go for what you want. No matter what anyone says, no matter what anyone thinks. I know you…and if you put your mind to it, you can do anything.’ ”

ABOUTHollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time—threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.

As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.

With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all…but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames?


*I had trouble getting my thoughts down for this review, so I hope it makes sense.*

My Review: Something To Talk About is a good read but I expected more, especially with such heavy topics the main characters deal with.

The beginning was rough as I didn’t like that those closest to Jo and Emma – people who have known them best for years – teased them at their expense about the rumors. As supportive as these characters where throughout the rest of the story, I never completely lost my dislike of them because the teasing never stopped.

Jo is a tough woman; she’s had to learn how to survive in order to thrive in Hollywood. Despite being a household name, Jo is immediately discredited as being not good enough to write the next installment of a well-loved film series/franchise (like how Marvel or Star Wars movies have so much canon and fandom that spans decades and generations), so she has to constantly fight (against racism, sexism and misogyny) to not give anyone a reason to think she can’t do this project even after decades of successful acting, writing and directing in television.

Emma is hardworking and loves her job. But the rumors don’t spare her from its thrashing. She too faces a lot of sexism and misogyny about being Jo’s personal assistant and how she might have gotten there.

Their feelings clash against what is appropriate in the workplace, causing a lot of assuming, miscommunication and lack of honesty. Jo can’t communicate emotionally and Emma is insecure. This results in too much back and forth anytime a problem would arise (which was a constant).

Jo is an Asian woman in her 40s and a big name in Hollywood. Emma is a white woman in her mid-20s and an assistant to someone famous. By industry hierarchy Emma is essentially a nobody. Sometimes they expected too much or too little or not enough from each other. So over and over there’d be a fight and a quick resolution. I’m not sure if 317 pages was enough to fully capture what takes places while at the same time parts of conflict between Jo and Emma could have been cut.

All things considered Jo is actually a great boss and Emma has a big heart. There were some lighthearted moments here and there that I liked. Jo and Emma are a great team and I’m hopeful for their future.

At the end are discussion questions at the end to go along with the book. While this story didn’t wow me, Something To Talk About opens a dialogue for important issue in Hollywood (and the entertainment industry) to be discussed.

About Books

More Cover Love? Yup!!! – “One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston

*not spons/not ad*

Excuse me while I fangirl in bookish glee: 100% cover love

Image via Goodreads

Cynical twenty-three-year old August doesn’t believe in much. She doesn’t believe in psychics, or easily forged friendships, or finding the kind of love they make movies about. And she certainly doesn’t believe her ragtag band of new roommates, her night shifts at a 24-hour pancake diner, or her daily subway commute full of electrical outages are going to change that.

But then, there’s Jane. Beautiful, impossible Jane.

All hard edges with a soft smile and swoopy hair and saving August’s day when she needed it most. The person August looks forward to seeing on the train every day. The one who makes her forget about the cities she lived in that never seemed to fit, and her fear of what happens when she finally graduates, and even her cold-case obsessed mother who won’t quite let her go. And when August realizes her subway crush is impossible in more ways than one—namely, displaced in time from the 1970s—she thinks maybe it’s time to start believing.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

♦    ♦    ♦    ♦    ♦

Over the weekend, the cover for Casey McQuiston’s next book was revealed. It’s so pretty and certainly fit the title/story.

I’ve been looking forward to reading more by this author after falling head over heals in love with Red, White & Royal Blue. So when One Last Stop popped up on my radar I instantly added the book to my tbr. This story sounds amazingly sweet!

I’ve never seen the movie Kate & Leopold, but it sounds interesting and has Hugh Jackman in it. I’m debating whether to watch the movie now or after I’ve read One Last Stop.

I wish we could read this book now but, alas, it’s pub date is June 1, 2021.


What do you think of this cover? Will you be reading One Last Stop in the distant future?

As Always, Happy Reading!!!

CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Instagram

Book Reviews

Book Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Image via Goodreads

Genre: LGBTQIA+ Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Quote: “But the truth is, also, simply this: love is indomitable.”

ABOUT: First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?


***As in my last review, this is another long one so feel free to just read the bold text. Thank you for reading!***

My ReviewI loved loved a million times loved Red, White & Royal Blue! Why did it take me so long to read this book? This romantic story had me laughing and tearing up and feeling way too many feels. I am beyond amazed. It was *chef’s kiss* magnificent.

Alex and Henry are my new favorite couple. They are so cute together and utterly perfect for each other. They have such great (seamless) chemistry. I loved their hilarious banters in their emails and how they expressed their feelings for each other through quotes by (I think) queer figures (or at least seemingly) throughout history. Their passion and desire for one another was a raging inferno at times but super sweet. I loved how relaxed and open they could be while together. Alas, this dynamic duo’s relationship is fraught with tension, insecurity, and anxiety at being found out.

Every single character is lovable. All the young adults – Alex, June, Nor, Henry, and Pez – are basically talented geniuses. One I believe is an overpowered magical being who’s good at everything. I loved that Alex, June and Nor’s close relationship was dubbed by the people as the “White House Trio.”

President Ellen Claremont was the most inspiring to me and I loved her backstory of how she got into politics while still maintaining her integrity. She is strong, fearless, and quirky when not in president mode. She is just a great character. But no more PowerPoints (oh my goodness haha!!!). Also, she has the most fearsome and wickedly wonderful right-hand woman in Zahra who also provided a lot of comic relief.

You can’t talk about this book without talking about politics because it’s a big part of the story but I’ll try to be brief. Red, White & Royal Blue was an eerie parallel to reality at times. Looking at just the US, the book takes place during the US 2020 election year. The country is led by its first female president, Ellen Claremont, aka Alex’s mom. It’s an incredibly important year with (different but important) high stakes. In my opinion, this book is a more positive version of what could have been after the 2016 elections though still having its share of political corruption and social issues. And now in 2020, in the most crucial election in US history, imperative choices and changes need to be made for the betterment of the American people and the world.

I became a nervous wreck about Alex and Henry’s relationship because I worried a certain thing would happen to ruin things. And when it did it was as devastating as I feared. I owe those feelings to the brilliantly dispersed tension throughout the book.

There is so much to love about Red, White & Royal Blue. It’s an incredible story with awesome queer rep and diversity. Post-read, I’m feeling a little more hopeful for the future. McQuiston is a talented storyteller and writer. I’m so thankful she wrote this book. I hope more people get to read and fall madly in love with this story and its characters. Red, White & Royal Blue is a must read!

Bookish Memes Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – 8/12/20

Happy Wednesday, Bookworms!

Today’s Waiting On Wednesday meme I’m featuring Ana On The Edge by A. J. Sass, a contemporary, queer, middle grade fiction novel.

What interests me about this book is that Ana is a competitive ice skater and – from what I’ve read in early reviews – there is non-binary and transgender rep. Also the cover is pretty cool. I love seeing more diverse voices and rep in middle grade books.

Ana On The Edge is set to be released October 20, 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: Twelve-year-old Ana-Marie Jin, the reigning US Juvenile figure skating champion, is not a frilly dress kind of kid. So, when Ana learns that next season’s program will be princess themed, doubt forms fast. Still, Ana tries to focus on training and putting together a stellar routine worthy of national success.

Once Ana meets Hayden, a transgender boy new to the rink, thoughts about the princess program and gender identity begin to take center stage. And when Hayden mistakes Ana for a boy, Ana doesn’t correct him and finds comfort in this boyish identity when he’s around. As their friendship develops, Ana realizes that it’s tricky juggling two different identities on one slippery sheet of ice. And with a major competition approaching, Ana must decide whether telling everyone the truth is worth risking years of hard work and sacrifice.

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where you spotlight a highly anticipated book.

As Always, Happy Reading!!!

CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Instagram

Book Reviews

Book Review: Rick by Alex Gino

*LGBTQIAP+ resources below*

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade, LGBTQIAP+
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Passage: “You are the person who knows yourself better than anyone else. There are lots of different ways of being. Lots of different kinds of people, and lots of different kinds of relationships.”

ABOUT: From the award-winning author of George, the story of a boy named Rick who needs to explore his own identity apart from his jerk of a best friend.

Rick’s never questioned much. He’s gone along with his best friend Jeff even when Jeff’s acted like a bully and a jerk. He’s let his father joke with him about which hot girls he might want to date even though that kind of talk always makes him uncomfortable. And he hasn’t given his own identity much thought, because everyone else around him seemed to have figured it out.

But now Rick’s gotten to middle school, and new doors are opening. One of them leads to the school’s Rainbow Spectrum club, where kids of many genders and identities congregate, including Melissa, the girl who sits in front of Rick in class and seems to have her life together. Rick wants his own life to be that … understood. Even if it means breaking some old friendships and making some new ones.

As they did in their groundbreaking novel George, in Rick, award-winning author Alex Gino explores what it means to search for your own place in the world … and all the steps you and the people around you need to take in order to get where you need to be.


My Review: Rick by Alex Gino was a wonderful read that exceeded my expectations!

In Rick’s first year of middle school, his world immediately turns upside down as he begins to – for the first time – question his identity and his place in the world.

He wonders about all the people in his life, if he’s doing the right thing and being the right person. And he struggles to fit into the normative mold, any mold, that will allow him to be his true self. I like that Rick – though afraid of retaliation from Jeff – takes it upon himself to find answers to all his questions by going to the Rainbow Spectrum club. But it near broke my heart seeing him struggle.

I enjoyed reading the parts that take place during the Rainbow Spectrum meetings. I feel I’ve learned so much more about gender identity and how those in the LGBTQUIAP+ community feel about it.

I loved watching Rick bond with his Grandpa Ray, how his grandfather went from this obscure, quiet relative to an awesome person Rick can share important things with. Those were sweet and tender moments.

This story takes place over a relatively short period of time but Rick’s character develops exponentially. He’s very relatable and was a joy to read about.

The author’s note at the end was really insightful about the story as a whole. Gino writes:

“…we as a culture are learning more comprehensive ways to talk about ourselves. And there’s more language to come. The question becomes: How do we talk about our community in ways that are both aware of the value of commonly understood language and respectful to people who deserve to have language that works for them?”

Another terrific story by Alex Gino! Discovering who you truly are is hard, but I like that Gino leaves us with an assurance that it’s okay to be unsure and that there is no deadline towards self-discovery. A super quick but captivating read, I would highly recommend Rick.

More by Alex Gino (my reviews)



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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review! Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall is now available!

Image via NetGalley

Genre: LGBTQIA+ Adult Contemporary Romance, M M Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

One (fake) boyfriend
Practically perfect in every way

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.


My Review: This is not your average fake dating story – Boyfriend Material is a sweet, slow burn contemporary romance of awesome that I was utterly captivated by. The hype is real!

The book is told solely through Luc’s self-deprecating POV. We get a front row seat to the psychological downfall of having celebrity parents. It’s a well balanced perspective of fiction versus reality.

Luc is pessimistic and stuck in a rut. He doesn’t know – doesn’t have the confidence – how to live, so he wallows in a barely there form of human existence. He undervalues himself time and time again, making it difficult to even form a working fake relationship. You want to root for him regardless because – even though Luc can’t see it – the reader quickly sees his value as a person, a friend, a son, and a partner. I like Luc and enjoyed following his well written, exponential character growth.

Oliver is eloquent, outwardly posh, and an incredibly good person. The total handsome and perfect package. He sounds like a walking dictionary but that’s a part of his charm I love so much. You can see in the little things he does the kind of person he is and sneak peeks into his personal struggles. He’s remarkable but I have bittersweet admiration for him because he can see the good in things – in Luc – for what they are even when he can’t see them in himself.

Luc and Oliver were meant to be!

I adore Luc’s friends. They are such an odd mix of wacky wonderfulness – the ultimate squad goals!

Luc’s co-workers are an interesting bunch but I didn’t care for the offhand “polite” homophobic comments and extremely disliked what led to Luc needing a fake boyfriend in the first place.

I think most people will be able to relate to Luc and Oliver in some small way. I definitely did and that’s why I was so invested in the story and characters, fervently wishing for some sort of HEA.

Boyfriend Material is the perfect summer read. It’s a delightful story but a sluggish journey that will make this book hard to put down. I would read more books by Alexis Hall. He is an inventive storyteller and creates such endearing characters.

ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune

Thank you to Tor Teen and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review!
Note: *NEW* Pub Date: on sale July 14, 2020.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Queer Fiction, Young Adult Fantasy
Series: The Extraordinaries #1
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: YES!!!


ABOUT: Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra. TJ Klune’s YA debut, The Extraordinaries, is a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.

Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?

After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).


My Review:
The Extraordinaries is my new co-number one read of 2020. This unforgettable story had me laughing from start to finish. With a remarkable and precious main character at the end, readers will walk away from this story with a whole new – dare I say it – extraordinary sense of self.

Nick is a character after my own heart. He is beyond kind and incredibly quirky. He has the best group of friends that are the ultimate squad goals. Klune illustrates a well-rounded representation of ADHD.

Nick’s journey to be as extraordinary as the superhero, Shadow Star, is a journey unlike any other. His infatuation is the very definition of fanboy and I was loving every minute of it. Nick’s character growth drives home the point that disabled does not mean one is able.

Nick’s dad is my new father fictional dad/father figure. The love for his son is so beautiful. He only wants the best for his son, to be able to independently navigate life without getting into trouble. And Cap, Nick’s dad’s boss, is also an incredible father-figure to Nick.

This might be a cooler superhero story than The Incredibles, which is saying a lot. The existence of superheros, aka Extraordinaries, is so effortlessly a normal aspect of every day life. Plus Nova City, the setting of the story, sounds like a classic name for a place you’d read about in any superhero comic. And then there’s the names give to the two heroes focused on in the story: Shadow Star and Pyro Storm!

I did not see the plot twist coming! I thought I knew but was pleasantly wrong. It made the story even more amazing and meaningful – almost allegorical!

Also, poor Officer Rookie! He was not prepare to take on a person like Nick Bell and his friends. Their interactions were hilarious!

Also, also, the obvious romances was just too adorkable – loved it!

The Extraordinaries is an phenomenal story that everyone should read. With likable characters, a creative plot, hysterical dialogue, and feel-good moments, you will not be disappointed.

More TJ Klune Books I Reviewed

The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania #1)
A Destiny of Dragons (Tales From Verania #2)
The Consumption of Magic (Tales From Verania #3)
A Wish Upon the Stars (Tales From Verania #4)

Wolfsong (Green Creek #1)
Ravensong (Green Creek #2)
Heartsong (Green Creek #3)

The House In The Cerulean Sea

ARCs Book Reviews

[ARC Review] The House In The Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune

Thank you to Tor Books and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review! The House In The Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune is  on sale March 17, 2020.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Queer Fiction, Contemporary Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


ABOUT: A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.


My Review:
Wow! T. J. Klune continues to impress me with his seamless mastery of the written word and storytelling. The House In The Cerulean Sea exceeded expectations and turned out to be a really great read.

The House In The Cerulean Sea was an auto-read for me because I LOVED Klune’s ‘Tales From Verania’ and ‘Green Creek’ series – both paranormal romances. I just had to read more by Klune. I was apprehensive at first because this book’s genre was far different the aforementioned series (they are the only books of his I’ve read).

The beginning was slow for me and hard to get into. You quickly learn the kind of person Linus Baker is: meek, a rule follower, compassionate, and highly observant. His job as a casework mirrors that of a social worker but, in this case, for magical youth. At first, he seems like a dull person for a main character. But you (and Linus) gradually see that there is more to him than what’s on the surface. The more his character developed the more I grew to love Linus as a character and person. This man is sassy when he wants to be. He was such a badass by the end of the story.

I highlighted so many well-crafted quotes about life, humanity, home, family, personal character, and self-worth. As much as I loved the philosophical exchanges of dialogue, it came off a bit preachy or too much (not in a bad way). The first half of the story was like this. I was reminded post-read that this is Klune’s style – long sections of exchanges for whatever reason – which I had forgotten. The House In The Cerulean Sea was more engaging in the second half.

I adore all of the children of Marsyas Island: Lucy, Talia, Chauncey, Theodore, Phee, and Sal. A wonderful mix of personalities. They’re such good kids despite all the prejudice, abuse and trauma they’ve been through. It’s wonderful that they have a place and people, Arthur and Zoe, to help them heal.

I love that the name of Linus’ department is called the Department In Charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY, for short), which is overseen by the big bosses, Extremely Upper Management. I don’t know what it is about these names. They’re just amazing that only someone like Klune would come up with.

And that slow burn romance! So good and I totally ship it.

The House In The Cerulean Sea aptly defines what family and home really mean. I’m so happy I got approved for this title. I ended up loving it a lot! The House In The Cerulean Sea is a must-read for your 2020 reading list.