The Upside of Falling Review

The Upside of Falling by Alex Light

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This book came as part of February’s Book Box Club. I am not big on contemporary reads and romance (if I am reading romance, I usually go full romancelandia), so I wasn’t hoping for much here (not that the book would be bad, more that I may not enjoy it much because it is just not my type of book).

However, it surprised me. It was easy to read, just quick, light reading. I could be reading, drop the book and come back to it and not have to read back a little to make sure I was in place. And it was fast to read.

The story is cute and predictable but still, easy to read, fluffy romance. A fake relationship that may not be fake after a while, which was nice to read and see them discover that they aren’t so different after all and how good each is and their strengths (and weaknesses).

Also, this book made me want to bake and eat cake a lot. Becca’s mother owns a bakery, so there’s always some kind of baked goods in there and gosh, you will be hungry!

All in all, it was a nice read for a romance and not too bothersome or over complicated just for the sake of. It kept the cuteness and the happy ever after, and all that making you want out of romance.

Hideous Beauty Review

Hideous Beauty by William Hussey

When Dylan and Ellis’s secret relationship is exposed on social media, Dylan is forced to come out. To Dylan’s surprise they are met with support and congratulations, and an amazing reception at their highschool dance. Perhaps people aren’t as narrow-minded as he thought?

But Dylan’s happiness is short-lived. Ellis suddenly becomes angry, withdrawn, and as they drive home from the dance, he loses control of the car, sending it plunging into Hunter’s Lake. Barely conscious, Dylan is pulled free of the wreck, while Ellis is left to drown.

Grief-stricken, Dylan vows to discover what happened to Ellis that night and piece together the last months of his boyfriend’s life – and realises just how little he knew about the boy he loved.

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I won this book out of a lotery during YALC, however that doesn’t change my review or do anything for or against it.

To start this review, at least one of the foxes given is purely due to the fact that I usually cringe at books that center on romance/a relationship and somehow this one didn’t annoy me, or make me frustrated or anything like that. I enjoyed the romance,so kudos to the author because somehow a 4 fox review has come out of a contemporary romance book. Someone save this one for posterity.

Maybe that should be the whole review, this book made me like contemporary romance. (But I am not going to go test the waters and ruin the experience I got out of this one book).

Now on to an actual review of it. It is a very interesting book, with a coming out, a high school dance where they are officially out, and then disaster. Both Ellis and Dylan were fleshed out as full characters and neither was just a ploy or just there, you could see and feel what they were going through. There are several parts of the story to follow. One is Dylan’s best friend and their friendship, which I enjoyed but also boy, was that intense (and no, no filthy thoughts).

Another part is what made Ellis to elusive and what was he keeping from Dylan? Why is Dylan suddenly getting pages from the sketchbook Ellis had? The mystery is there ever present but it is also something that is keeping Dylan going and in some ways keeing him from plunging deeper into his grief, but at the same time, he’s not letting go of that grief because he wants to keep searching for answers.

And of course, the last one, is grief (another grief book, definitely my type of book). It is on how his family and the rest of the world interacts with him, and it is about him reacting or interacting in return. On processing the grief, and trying to find a way in and out and somehow untangle the big tangle that grief is.

The book in general does well exploring the three points and the final discovery both surprised me in one of the things and was not that surprising in another. But it didn’t feel too far away from what could possibly be.

This is not a happy book, it is a book that is steeped in sadness an in discovery and just finding your place in the world and learning who you are and who your boyfriend was/is.

Still, definitely worth a read.

Lovely, Dark, and Deep Review

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Lovely, Dark, and Deep by Justina Chen

What would you do if the sun became your enemy?

That’s exactly what happens to Viola Li after she returns from a trip abroad and develops a sudden and extreme case of photosensitivity — an inexplicable allergy to sunlight. Thanks to her crisis-manager parents, she doesn’t just have to wear layers of clothes and a hat the size of a spaceship. She has to stay away from all hint of light. Say goodbye to windows and running outdoors. Even her phone becomes a threat when its screen burns her.

Viola is determined to maintain a normal life, particularly after she meets Josh. He’s a funny, talented Thor look-alike who carries his own mysterious grief. But the intensity of their romance makes her take more and more risks, and when a rebellion against her parents backfires dangerously, she must find her way to a life — and love — as deep and lovely as her dreams.

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You know how they tell you to write the book you’d like to read and haven’t found? For me this is the book I wanted to read but hadn’t found. However, I did not write, instead Justina did.

We follow Viola’s story through this book, she is a browncoat, which in geekspeak means a fan of Firefly, and is also crazy about doing bake sales for charity (that is something I am not that familiar with except as a concept but all the food she cooks throughout the book made me hungry and I wish we had some recipes to go with it). Then as she is having a normal day, she collapses and voila, turns out she is allergic to the sun (and light).

Now, in case you didn’t know, I am photosensitive myself (I was born like this) and I have written a little about it on a reality check post. And I really want to highlight that this book does a wonderful job at representation of photosensitivity. It is well researched, it is good at explaining how it affects and changes your life (it was very intersting for me, since I have adapted to it as I grow, rather than having to do so in one go, and I kept nodding at the things they would try and going “yeah, done that”) and it is also a good story. It follows her journey to coping with her new life, and how her family relationships change, but it also has a romance subplot which I enjoyed (even if at times it was quite sweet) that in itself deals with loss and grief.

Lovely, Dark, and Deep is a very uplifting book, it keeps reassuring you that you’ve got this regardless of how many lemons (or killer sunrays) life throws at you.

Moon recommends

That if you know me, or are curious about photosensitivity, you go and buy this book and read it. It genuinely is the book I didn’t know I needed. And if you’d like a younger and more sweet book, try The Ice Garden.

Making Faces Review

I can’t remember why I decided to preorder this book, but I did (I definitely like supporting authors and preordering as many books as tempt me and can be afforded), and trust me, past me who preordered gets all the kudos from present me.

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Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have…until he wasn’t beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast where we discover that there is little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

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I started this book not expecting too much, for some reason I thought it was set in WWII times (don’t ask me why, well, somehow I put it close to the WWII books so yeah, past me had her moments). Thinking it wouldn’t hook me too much, I started as I went to bed.

Oh boy! I stayed up until 2 am just to finish it. I seriously could not put it down, my boyfriend came to bed and I barely acknowledged him, this had to be read. I needed to know what was going to happen.

There were a couple of interesting things in the book beyond the “B&B” retelling. It spoke of feeling ugly/not interesting/attractive and never really realising you’ve grown out of it, not in a crazy ugly duckling to swan but more of a “people will like you and some won’t, but it’s okay”. Then it also has a character that is in a wheelchair and that is amazing to read and I was so invested in the character. Family isn’t totally absent in this book, which was refreshing. Parents and family exist and aren’t there just to drive the plot. It also touches on guilt, beliefs, and a lot of things that I was not expecting here.

I thought this was a historic romance kinda book, and it was so much more than that.

Moon recommends

If you’re feeling up to preorders and love Beauty and the Beast, try A Curse So Dark and Lonely. Obviously Making Faces has to be recommmended. One of my other favourite B&B retellings is Hunted and Beauty.