Review: Deal Maker by Lily Morton


Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, M/M
Pages: 335
Series: Mixed Messages #2 (Can be read as standalone)
Release Date: December 22, 2017
Publisher: Lily Morton

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3.5 Stars


I’ll admit that, after how much I loved Rule Breaker, and after seeing the wealth of positive reviews this book has received, I may have had high expectations. But I don’t think that’s coloured my opinions much. At least, I hope it hasn’t.

And I wanna add that the reason for the lower rating in this case may be more subjective than it usually is. Something I’ll elaborate later.

The book is about two guys, as one would expect from an M/M romance, and a kid. Jude is a highly successful model. We met in him in Rule Breaker and I loved him. His apartment is having some… maintenance done after a bathtub fell through his ceiling. Due to family reasons, he needs to find a cheap place to live in until the apartment gets fixed. One of his model friends suggest his cousin, Asa.

Asa is actor who’s been taking some time off for the past few years to raise his son, Billy, who is now seven years old. Asa agrees to let Jude stay in his house as long as Jude helps him with some assistant stuff.

The two of them are attracted to each other. The point of contention is that Asa is very prejudiced against models. He thinks they’re all shallow and dumber than a bag of bricks. Can’t entirely blame him since his ex and his cousin fit “shallow” and “dumber than a bag of bricks” respectively, almost to a T. That’s doesn’t mean Jude has to put up with him being as ass. And instead of trying to prove Asa wrong, Jude decided to prove him right.

This is followed by a very fun segment of Jude messing everything up on purpose and Asa having to resist the urge to strangle him. This book was funny and both Jude and Asa were good and likable characters. I also loved everything that involved Billy, who was absolutely adorable and had an equally adorable relationship with Jude.

I also liked the story. You know, the history with Asa’s ex and how it affected him, as well as the things that were going on with Jude’s family. There were only two things that I didn’t like but they weren’t small things.

First is the humour. It wasn’t my kind of humour, I guess, since I’ve read reviews saying they loved it and I know the author is funny after reading the first book in the series. It just didn’t work for me. It felt like the book was trying too hard and worse, it kept telling me that a certain things was funny. Like a character would laugh or snort, indicating that I should be doing the same. It was almost like a laugh track, but in a sitcom that I didn’t find entertaining. It didn’t always bother me, but often enough to be grating.

The second issue is Jude’s career. I don’t claim to be an expert in how often models have to work, but it’s more than once a month, right? They have to make certain appearance and all that? But if one were to believe Jude’s life, models barely have to work at all. He doesn’t even work out much! And the I-don’t-gain-weight-no-matter-what-I-eat excuse only works to an extent.

Overall, this was an entertaining book and I still thinks you should give it a shot because it might work for you. But for me, it wasn’t that funny or that memorable. In fact, the misfiring humour even took away from my investment in the characters. I definitely liked Rule Breaker more and because of that, even though this one was a bit of a miss, I’m still excited about the third book, which follows Henry.


Review: Rule Breaker by Lily Morton


Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, M/M
Pages: 302
Series: Mixed Messages #1 (Can be read as standalone)
Release Date: August 17, 2017
Publisher: Independently published

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It’s also on Kindle Unlimited.

5 Stars


I love this book. Yup, that’s totally how I’m starting the review because I love this book and that’s very important to me. And I might say it a couple more times.

For protagonists, we have Dylan and Gabe. Dylan’s been working for Gabe for two years and hates the guy. The book is from Dylan’s perspective and the first line is “I want to kill my boss”. The reason he hates him is that Gabe is an asshole. The guy is never happy and never says a nice word. What makes things fun is that Dylan doesn’t just let Gabe get away with being a dick. He gives as good as he gets and it makes for some hilarious banter and it’s one of the main reason I freaking love this book.

Each chapter starts with a little snippet of sorts. It doesn’t really have much to do with the chapter, it’s just an email from Dylan to Gabe or vice versa that gives us an additional taste of their relationship. Here’s the one before the first chapter (it’s from Gabe):

Do you have the Houghton file to hand, or should I tell Mr Houghton that I’ll be activating my crystal ball today?

And here’s one from Dylan:

Mr Simmonds rang for you. Due to the strange noises coming from your office since Fletcher came to visit, and a strong desire not to have to bleach my eyes, I took a message.

And that’s how a lot of their conversations go. They’ve got all of the sarcasm and I, having a deep love for sarcasm, was living for it. But that’s just the humour aspect. There are lots of other parts to love. Like the fact that even though Gabe is often a total dick and he screws up many time, it’s really hard to dislike him.

One reason for that is the fact that he’s very honest about his intentions. He knows he’s too messed up emotionally to have a real, committed, relationship and he’s upfront about that. And what’s just as important is how obvious his feels for Dylan are. You can see it so clearly, that he absolutely adores Dylan and the last thing he wants is to hurt him. So when he does screw up, you’re mad but you also feel bad for him. And for me, personally, there were lines I was afraid he would cross that he never did. Did come pretty close though.

Moving on to Dylan. I love him. He is funny and sarcastic, but also the nicest, most giving person you’ve met. He’s also strong and self-aware. He knows that things with Gabe won’t end well, but to him, spending time with Gabe (after the romance starts, that is) is worth it because it makes him happy. He’s willing to risk heartbreak for happiness and that’s admirable, to say the least.

I also love the story. I’m not usually one for the boss-and-employee dynamic because of the imbalance of power. But I never felt an imbalance here. Gabe didn’t treat Dylan like an assistant. Gabe did have a boyfriend for a significant portion of the book but there was no cheating. Dylan had a best friend who was brilliant. There was angst due to all of Gabe’s issues but it was balanced by the humour and the romance, both of which was great. And overall, I loved the book and I highly recommend it. It’s sweet and engaging and entertaining and just… a really good read.

Review: The Knocked Up Plan by Lauren Blakely


Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 302
Series: None
Release Date: June 23, 2017
Publisher: Lauren Blakely Books

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I’d been excited to read this book for months just because the synopsis sounded perfect. The female protagonist is Nicole and she’s pretty tired of the dating game. She just doesn’t see herself falling in love. But she wants to be a mom and, to her, using a donor seems like the best option. After a long time spent looking through lists, she finally decides on Ryder Lockhart …who isn’t on any file. He’s a co-worker and she plans to ask him to knock her up.

And that’s what I loved. I love people who are self-aware and confident, who know what they want and take initiative. I can also relate to Nicole wanting children but not having the patience to wait for the “perfect guy”. So it’s an obvious win-win.

Now, if you’ve read any of Lauren Blakely’s contemporary novels, you know that these books are funny, they have a simple story, and are always enjoyable reads with likable characters and not much angst. They’re the kind of books that you’d read if you need cheering up or have just about had it with drama. Had-it-with-drama is my default setting so the books are perfect for me. And this one was awesome. I loved the story, and Nicole and Ryder were perfect.

And yes, Ryder agrees to be the donor. They strike a deal of sorts since her needs help with his work. But mostly he agrees because he’s a really good guy and he respects Nicole a lot. And let’s focus on that part. I love that the author writes about guys who are just… good. I’m not saying I don’t like the cocky and sarcastic guys, but it’s refreshing to read about the really good ones. You know, the ones who are charming and confident, but also respectful and nice and sweet without putting up a front that makes it seem like they don’t care. Who aren’t “players”.

That’s not to say that Ryder is open to a relationship. After the way his ex-wife hurt him, he’s not ready to put himself out there and he’s not sure he ever will be. But he’s still a great guy despite what happened to him. And it makes sense why Nicole wants him as  a donor. He’s got the looks, and a personality to match.

As for the romance, it’s everything you’d want to see in a relationship. They both like each other, they have a lot respect for each other and they genuinely enjoy spending time together. I mean, Nicole thinks of Ryder highly enough to want him to be the father of her child. And the reason Ryder is willing is because he thinks she’d be an amazing mother. It’s only a matter of time before they fall in love and the only conflict is their hang-up with relationships, ones that have nothing to do with their feels towards one another. It’s a very healthy and happy dynamic, and I was all for it.

Overall, this book was exactly what I wanted it to be. It also put me in a better mood after the terrible luck I’ve been having with finishing books, and I definitely recommend it.

Review: Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander


Genre: Adult, Romance, Mystery, Crime, M/M
Pages: 360
Series: Shattered Glass #1 (Can be read as standalone)
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Dani Alexander, via CreateSpace

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3 Stars


Does anyone else think that the cover of this book gives a distinct ‘Twilight movie poster’ vibe? Like if Bella was a guy, or maybe Edward and Jacob decided they’d had enough of her whiny ass and hooked up? Because that’s what it looks like to me.

But that’s just the cover. The book is very different. There’s no sparkly vampire who stalks underage girls. Instead we have a very human cop who finds himself inexplicably attracted to a guy wearing bunny slippers. Austin is working on a case that involves human trafficking. Peter, of the bunny slippers, is just a guy he sees at a diner and wants to bone. There wouldn’t be a big problem if Austin wasn’t totally sure he was straight, and if he wasn’t engaged.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems between the two. The engagement is actually resolved a lot simpler than one might think (don’t worry about cheating) and him being “straight” is only an issue when we come to the reason for why he never knew he was gay.

The real issues are regarding Austin’s case and how Peter is involved in it. There are also the infinite number of trust issues because of bother of their pasts; and all the ways in which the two of them are fucked up. Seriously, these two couldn’t have a heartfelt and honest conversation if you held them at gunpoint. It actually got frustrating how difficult their dynamic was. Austin was an ass a lot of the time, even if his narrative was quite funny, and Peter, for the life of him, could not tell the truth. But the reason for why they were the way that they were… it was well explained, and I enjoyed reading about them and their relationship. It was interesting.

I wasn’t much attached to any of the characters, though. I wouldn’t even say I liked them much. The whole thing was just interesting to read. I wanted to know more and to see how things would end up, even if I didn’t have any particular fondness for either protagonist. The experience was a little unusual.

The thing that I didn’t like about the book was how disjointed it felt. The mystery/crime element was there but for most of the novel, it felt like one event taking place after the other with not much connecting them other than the main characters. I couldn’t have told you what the overarching plot was and how each indecent connected to the next. We did find out the connection toward the end but it wasn’t a light-bulb moment. The connection was flimsy and didn’t change the fact that, for most of the book, it was just stuff happening. The plot lacked cohesion. It also came off as convoluted because we couldn’t see the cause-and-effect.

Overall, this book had issues but I enjoyed reading it. It was funny and a “page turner”, you could say. I liked it.

Review: Heaven by Jet Mykles


Technically, the cover has art of two mostly naked guys who resemble the MCs. I’m just not putting on my blog.

Genre: Adult, Romance, M/M
Pages: 123
Series: Heaven Sent #1 (Can be read as standalone)
Release Date: May 30, 2006
Publisher: Loose Id, LLC

2 Stars


I read this one for a reading challenge and while I don’t regret it, some things really didn’t sit well with me. It was readable and the writing was okay enough. I guess it had some entertainment value, mainly because it’s a really short read.

It’s about a band called Heaven Sent. They’re performing at the opening of a club and Tyler is one of the owners of the club. Not to mention, a huge fan of the band. Tyler’s father is dying and his hotel is suffering. The club is his only hope so it means everything that they got such a popular band to agree to play at the opening. Tyler didn’t expect to be so attracted to Johnnie, the lead singer, because he thought he was straight. He thinks it’s just hero-worship, that he’ll get over it. Little does he know that Johnnie has other plans.

There were two main things that bothered me. One was Tyler’s whole “I’m not gay” insistence, all the while he was practically salivating over Johnnie. He kept saying that he was attracted to women, which, of course, would mean he was bisexual. Only, he’s didn’t seem familiar with the concept. He kept telling Johnnie that they couldn’t sleep together or whatever because he liked women. It was stupid. Then the term bisexual actually came up …and was promptly forgotten in favor of more “I’m not gay” bullshit. As if no other sexuality exists outside of straight and gay.

The second thing I didn’t like is worse. The GR synopsis insinuates that Johnnie would seduce Tyler. I don’t think seduction means what the book thinks it means, unless it mean pressuring someone. It was in one scene and I wouldn’t call it rape since there was no sex and there was some form of consent (I think), but it definitely toed the line, enough for me to not approve at all.

So yeah, I read it and it wasn’t terrible experience. I still want to change the rating to one star but for now, I sticking with 2.

Top 3 Thursday: Book Quotes That Stuck With Me

Sorry about the mini-hiatus. I was in the mood for procrastination (more than usual, that is) and kept putting off the reviews. I’m back now …until the next time I go AWOL.

This topic has to be one of my favourites because I don’t just love books for their stories and their characters, it’s also for the sentences that are sometimes phrased in a way that’s so amazing that you want to take some cans of spray paint and write them across town. It’s for those profound things that are said in just a few works.

I never start a book with the intention of highlighting the lines I like most. I wish I did but I always forget. And it’s only when something really sticks out to me that I think to maybe mark it or write it down. And I’m going to post three such quotes.


1. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I always side with the Good Guys. And I am never swayed by sob-stories. If someone crosses a line and does something truly bad, it doesn’t matter what he or she has been through in life, what adversity they’ve faced, I will not cut them any slack because I believe that, in the end, we always have a choice.

It doesn’t matter if you were wronged and betrayed in your adult life, or if you had a horribly traumatic childhood; unless someone was literally controlling your mind when you did what you did… you deserve to be punished. I’m an extreme believer of choices and that’s why this quote is my favourite. It tells us that we’re not defined by what we were born with, but what we choose to do with it.


2. I long for exclamation marks, but I’m drowning in ellipses.

— Isaac Marion, Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies has a very unique concept and, when I read this line, I so badly wanted to tell everyone how freaking brilliant it was. I mean, how awesome is that phrasing? And then you consider what it represents. With context, it could simply be about the protagonist, who is a zombie, not being able to speak. But it’s also the perfect metaphor for someone with anxiety. When you feel like you’re choking on all the things you want to say but you just can’t say them. And what a clever way to express that…


3. “It’s a sin.”
“No, hurting someone is a sin.”

— Sarina Bowen, Goodbye Paradise

This one is a little different from the previous two, in that it doesn’t seem like a typical quote. But for me, it’s a way to distinguish between right from wrong. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve been conflicted about something, only for these lines to replay in my mind. And I ask myself, does it hurt anyone?

It’s so simple yet so accurate that it still baffles me sometimes. I wish everyone could ask themselves this whenever they decide to condemn someone for their sexuality or race or gender. Being gay doesn’t hurt anyone but the hate you give someone for being gay most certainly does.

Review: Dawn of Eden by Julie Kagawa


Genre: New Adult (though the series is YA), Fantasy, Paranormal, Dystopia, Romance
Pages: 122
Series: Blood of Eden #0.5 (You can read it before the series)
Release Date: July 1, 2013
Publisher: MIRA

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3 Stars


I could easily divide the book into two parts, plot-wise. One I found to be very interesting, the other I more or less hated.

The one I liked was related to the world building. There is a deadly plague that has spread and it is dangerous enough to be an apocalyptic event. Kylie is a doctor. She has set up a free clinic to help the sick. There’s no cure and there are (very) few who recover, but she’s wants to at least be doing something; even if it’s just making them comfortable until they die.

Ben comes to the clinic with a heavily injured friend, asking for help. Kylie knows there’s something going on with the two when she sees the nature of the injury and when Ben is less than forthcoming about what happened.

That’s the part that was good. This is a well-written novella that does a good job of introducing us to the world that it’s set in. Things are bleak and getting no better and I found that plot of the book to be interesting and I definitely wanted to read more. I still do actually, which is why I’m going to be reading the series despite the part of the novella I didn’t like.

That was the romance. It was pretty obvious that there would be one, from the moment Ben showed up. And I wouldn’t have minded; I like romances. But this was so poorly done. It was beyond rushed, the attempt to make Kylie and Ben like each other was transparent, and things got way too serious way too fast.

I think it was the author trying to give a well-rounded story without any open endings regarding the characters and how they would end up. But sometimes, when it’s just a novella and the romance isn’t even the main plot, you have to leave it open, especially if the protagonists have just met. I get wanting to write a complete story—open ending can be annoying—but it’s better to suggest what would happen or give an epilogue, than to rush things. The romance, by the end, was just gushy and gross. Didn’t like it at all.

But that doesn’t dissuade me from the series because even though there will likely be a romance there as well, the author will be able to take her time with it. I liked all the other aspects and that’s what’s important. I can’t say whether fans of the series will like it, but I thought it was pretty good.

Review: Trick by Natalia Jaster


Genre: Romance, Fantasy, New Adult/Young Adult
Pages: 310
Series: Foolish Kingdoms #1 (Can be read as Standalone)
Release Date: November 4, 2015
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

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I came across this book about two years ago, maybe longer, and the synopsis intrigued me. Yet for some unknown reason, I didn’t pick it up until a few days ago. Still, I had a feelings it would be good and I’m super happy to be proven right.

The book is set in the kingdom of Spring. There are four kingdoms: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. I don’t think there’s any other fantasy element, except that. The book is mostly romantic and political. The latter was unexpected. The story is about the Court Jester of Spring, Poet, falling for Princess Briar of Autumn.

Ordinary people aren’t allowed to travel between kingdoms, much less migrate. Royals can only do it if there’s a big reason, like, in this case, a peace talk. There’s already peace between the kingdoms but they still get together to discuss matters.

Poet and Briar don’t get off to the most amicable start. Poet is, of course, a jester so he’s going to joke around and entertain. Briar is a very prickly sort of person. She’s not tolerant of people kidding around with her, for personal reasons. She can also act quite superior, what with her being a princess and most people being “beneath” her. That’s one of the things that bothered me about her, that she too often said that Poet was “lesser”.

But as a whole, I liked her. Most of her behaviour can be attributed to her need to maintain the facade of the perfect, composed princess. You see, the society we see has many flaws. It’s not sexist or homophobic at all, which is awesome but the social divide is extreme. It’s not even acceptable for a princess to befriend a commoner.

Another issue, an infinitely worse one, is regarding the mentally challenged. They’re called Born Fools. Anyone suffering form a mental disorder from birth, on discovery, is considered property of the Crown. Then they’re used as slaves or locked up, if they’re dangerous or too erratic. They’re not even thought of as humans. And it’s a major conflict in the novel, trying to change these inhuman laws and maybe change public perception.

That’s why I said the novel was political. The world is very well-developed, as you might already be able to tell from everything I’ve mentioned, and I’m really glad there are more books set in it because I would love to explore the other kingdoms.

The romance is also great. Poet is so much fun. He’s quite arrogant because of all his talents but he has soft sides. He also has quite the way with words. I also love that when he and Briar argue, which is often, and she says something really mean, he retaliates in the same way. I’m tired is seeing guys who just accept bitchiness and simply flirt back, because the book is usually being pandered to woman. It’s annoying. And I loved seeing that it wasn’t the case here.

Poet and Briar, despite their differences, come to see each other’s true self, and I loved how much they cared about each other even though there could be no future for them. They were both realists, you see, and knew that being together in any capacity was pretty much an impossibility. Yet they always cared. It was beautiful; as was the writing.

I’ll be honest, though. This wasn’t my preferred type of prose. I prefer simpler stuff and this was very lyrical. Lots of metaphors. It gave me a limerick-like feel. I know there are lots of people who would eat all this up and while I liked it as well, it was still a bit too lyrical for my taste. That, and the bit I mentioned about Briar’s meanness, are my only two complaints with the novel. I loved the book, especially for the well-rounded world, and I highly recommend reading it. Seriously, the e-book is less than a dollar on Amazon, you gotta give it a shot.

Top 3 Thursday: Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud

Another ‘Top 3 Thursday’! I didn’t do one last week because it was about the top 3 characters I’d like as roommates and I didn’t have any answer. I put up with people because I have to, I just don’t see myself choosing to have a roommate.

But this week’s topic is great because funny books are the best. It’s not easy to write something that makes people laugh and I admire any author who tries and accomplishes it. So without further ado, let’s get on with the list. I also have a couple honorary mentions.


1. Sustained by Emma Chase

22926485One of the best things about Emma Chase is how good she is at writing from the make perspective. And in this book, we not only have a male protagonists, Jake, with a brilliant sense of humour, there are six kids added to the mix and it’s one the best things ever. Here’s a sample of a scene in which little Rosaleen is contemplating a sleeping Jake:

There’s pressure against my eyelid. And then it’s pried open—revealing Rosaleen’s blurry, peering face.
“Are you dead?” she yells.
Apparently she suspects I’m also deaf.

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2. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

11This book would make the list for a lot of people. It would also make the list of some of the weirdest books. It’s absolutely genius but takes a little time to get used. It’s basically about two guys, one human and one alien, trying to survive in space after Earth gets destroyed to make a galactic freeway. That right there is perfection. Then you have the depressed robot, who’s my favourite, and the part from the perspective of a whale… I can’t recommend the book enough.

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3. Every Single Rick Riordan Book Ever

Uncle Rick is one of my favourite author for many reasons. He’s an amazing writer and has some of the best characters. He also seems to have a never-ending supply of fresh humour to add to his books. I mean, I’ve read over 20 of them and they’re all hilarious and packed with actions. Never has there been a better way to learn about various kinds of mythology than with Rick Riordan’s urban twist. I’d recommend starting with The Lightning Thief because it’s the first book and it’s narrated by Percy (a.k.a. Persasssy) Jackson. The sheer amount of book he has may seem intimidating but you’ll love and won’t want to stop reading.

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In the end, I gotta mention The Deal by Elle Kennedy. It was really as toss-up between this one and Sustained and I couldn’t leave it out. I also wanna mention Cassandra Clare because I love that she incorporates humour in every one of her books, even though they’re not of the humour genre. It’s one of the things that make her stand out for me.

What are some of the books that made you laugh out loud? Be sure to leave a comment below.

Review: Switched by N.R. Walker


One might argue that the cover doesn’t deserve Random-shirtless-dude status because most of the cover is the guy’s face. But you can see enough to tell that he’s shirtless; unless he’s wearing a very low tube top.

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, M/M
Pages: 269
Series: None
Release Date: December 25, 2016
Publisher: N.R. Walker

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This is the last review (finally!) from my N.R. Walker binge. Finished the book over a week ago and then procrastinated reviewing it. Which sucks because I hate reviewing books so many days after finishing them, especially when I’ve read five more in between. But let’s try anyway.

Israel Ingham has had a difficult life. His family has always been far from loving and their rejection has deeply affected his self-worth. Then he finds out that, due to a mistake by the hospital, he was switched at birth (there’s a TV show by that name, right?) and that his birth mother wants to meet him. It’s a huge blow to the already fragile foundation of his sanity.

His one saving grace is his best friend, Sam. The two of them have been inseparable since they were fourteen and even though Israel’s father doesn’t approve of the friendship, he and Sam have always been there for each.

Now this is a very, very difficult time for Israel. The book’s from his perspective and your heart breaks for him. His family screwed him really bad and then finding out that they’re not even his birth parents? He’s left questioning everything about who he is and where he stands in their lives. He’s not even sure if his father will take this as an opportunity to remove Israel from his life for good. Things are falling apart and he wants to cling to Sam.

But there are these new feelings he has for Sam and he constantly feels like he’s a burden to his best friend. It’s sad. But not angsty, surprisingly. That’s one of my favourite things about the author. Even though her stories are emotional, following her characters’ journey, they’re never over-dramatic. The aim is to tell a story, not tell it in an angst-filled way.

That’s not to say that you don’t feel for the characters. I definitely empathized with Israel. Everything that he went though and the way he was trying to deal with his problems, it was all written very well. Israel is a very well-developed character and his friendship with Sam is precious. You can tell  how much they care about each other and how much it hurts Sam to see his best friend in pain. You can also tell that Sam is totally in love with Iz, even if Iz can’t. I loved seeing Israel’s development throughout the book and seeing his and Sam’s relationship.

This was a really good book with a great story. I’m totally a sucker for characters stories and this was one of the best kind. I also love when importance is given to mental health, because it’s something that’s still mostly overlooked in the our world. And I, overall, loved the book and highly recommend it.