3 Book Reviews: Trans representation

Title: I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST – Mason Deaver

Genre: YA Contemporary

Premise: This novel follows Ben, a teenager who is kicked out of their home when they come out to their parents as nonbinary. Following this they go to live with their sister Hannah, and her husband, who they haven’t seen for 10 years. Ben, struggling with anxiety, decides to only come out in their new home whilst keeping a low profile at school. However, Ben soon starts becoming close with a boy in their class, Nathan, and they have to decide how to navigate these new feelings.

Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found the writing to be excellent, this is the authors first novel but they did a great job in getting me to feel what Ben was feeling which I think is always a sign of a good author. Whilst Ben is struggling with anxiety attacks I found myself feeling helpless along side them. Don’t worry, whilst this book does deal with heavy topics there’s also a lot of beautiful moments and I think Mason did a fantastic job in making this book hit just the right tone. I loved the romance here, it’s quite clear early on that there is a mutual attraction between Nathan and Ben but these two take a while to realise it for themselves and I just loved watching them uncover their feelings. My only negative was that I would’ve liked more about the sibling relationship between Hannah and Ben. They have a very interesting dynamic to me, in them having not seen each other for so long and now Hannah is Ben’s guardian, that I would’ve liked to get more on that.

Overall, this was a fantastic read and i’m very happy that I did read it. This was the first book I ever read with a nonbinary MC and I do actually feel like I learnt a lot from it, books have so much power and influence that I cannot stress enough how important it is to get own voices representation in them. I think this was an incredibly important book and I hope i’ll be seeing more nonbinary representation in the future.

Title: STARTING FROM SCRATCH – Jay Northcote

Genre: Adult romance

Premise: Starting From Scratch follows Ben who’s beginning again at uni after transitioning. He’s living with a group of guys who he doesn’t allow himself to get close to because he hasn’t told them that he’s trans and he’s not sure how they’d react, but at the beginning of the new year he’s decided to try and put himself out there a bit more. On one of his first outings with his housemates their joined by some other guys, one of who is Sid. Sid is attracted to Ben fairly quickly but Ben is scared about getting into a relationship as he’s not sure how people will react to him being trans.

Review: This is book 5 in Jay’s Housemates series, although this can read as a standalone, and I have to say that this was easily my favourite so far. I loved the romance here. Ben and Sid’s relationship progresses very naturally and I loved seeing Sid, whose clearly used to things happening quicker in his past relationships, take the time to get to know Ben and make Ben comfortable before they begin dating. I also loved that Sid doesn’t show any negativity when finding out that Ben is trans, he takes the time to ask a couple of questions but always tries his best to make sure Ben is comfortable with whats happening between them.

Ben is struggling with dysphoria in this book, and his mental health is not always at it’s best, but that felt very realistic to me. I believe that Jay wrote this one whilst in the process of transitioning which doesn’t surprise me as this book does feel rather personal at times with things that Ben is feeling and struggling with. Again, I felt like I learnt things reading this as there were things Ben has trouble with that i’d never considered before so I loved that it opened my eyes more. This was definitely a strong romance novel, and less than 200 pages, so perfect if you want a quick and sweet romance read.


Genre: Adult Romance

Premise: This is a historical romance novel following two doctors. Researcher Doctor William Blackwood and retired Navy surgeon Doctor Augustus Hill are brought together when they are both tasked with curating a medical library but it soon becomes clear that there is an attraction between them. Augustus also works at a hospital and is distressed one day to find out that there is a new patient who has been brought in after being arrested for being ‘a woman impersonating a man’. He immediately knows he needs to do whatever he can to help this patient but the only person he can go to for help is William.

Review: First of all, I loved the diversity in this book – it’s not often that books have such diverse casts but it was especially rare to see in a historical – as Augustus is a gay, disabled man, whilst William is a black, gay man. I did also read Augustus as being a trans man, however it’s never stated whether him, and Moss, are trans or intersex and it can be read either way. I was also a big fan of the characters here, both William and Augustus were fantastic well-developed characters.

However, I had one major problem with this book and it was that I wanted more. This is a short novel – clocking in at under 200 pages – and I just felt like I would’ve loved it more if it’d been longer. At the length it is I never felt the depth that I wanted from the romance and I found that things cleaned up a little too nice and neat for my taste. Overall, this is a good novel with some great representation but it was lacking in the romance and plot development I wanted – I would like to try more from this author in the future though.

Kindle Unlimited Wishlist: Romance

After writing up my KU wishlist for crime/thriller novels I figured it made sense to also share some of the most anticipated romances on KU. I actually have a very long list of romance novels that i’m hoping to get to but these were the ones that most stood out to me when I looked through my Amazon wishlist, all are ones i’ve heard fantastic things about and can’t wait to see what I think about them!

Kate Stewart is an author i’ve been wanting to try for a while, but last year her book The Guy on the Right received such rave reviews from pretty much everyone I know that I can’t actually believe I haven’t read it yet! I also love the idea of an underdog romance, it’s such a fun and fresh take on the romance genre.

Strike One-My mother named me Theodore after her favorite chipmunk. Not cool, Mom .I‘ve spent most of my life answering to Teddy, because I couldn’t make Theo work. Except for here. College. The place where all bets are off, and I’ve managed to redeem myself. There’s only one problem, my new roommate, Troy, is football royalty and looks like he stepped off the set of an Abercrombie shoot. Doesn’t matter, I cook a mean breakfast for his panty parade, and we get along well. And anyway, this year I got the girl. And she’s perfect.That’s right. Theodore Houseman, former band geek, now marching band rock star has finally landed the girl of his dreams. Everything is perfect.

That is, until Troy takes a good look at her.I’m not going down without a fight. As a matter of fact, I’m not going down at all. As glorious as these days may be for my all-star roommate, Laney is my end game.I may not know much about play strategy, but I’ve been the good guy my whole life. I’ve been listening and I know exactly what women want. Framed in a picture standing next to me, Troy may seem like Mr. Perfect, but he’s underestimating the guy on the right.

Spoiler alert: In this story, the underdog is going to win.

Karina Halle has written a tonne of romance novels that i’m so far behind on that I could mention any number of them here but one that’s really taken my interest lately has been The Forbidden Man. I actually don’t think i’ve ever read a younger man/older woman romance so that would be a chnage for me! Also, I know that whilst this is a standalone it has some connection to her Love, in English book which is one I adored.

Forty-years old and still reeling from a public and painful divorce, Thalia Blackwood is looking for a fresh start, somewhere far away from her upside down life. When she’s offered a new job as the sports therapist for a football (soccer) team, she jumps at the chance. This is just what she needs to leave the heartbreak and shame of Manchester behind, trading it in for the warmth and hopeful vibrancy of Madrid.

Twenty-three year old Alejo Albarado is rising up the ranks in his career. As the charming forward for the Real Madrid team, Alejo’s life revolves around women, parties, and being a tabloid darling, that is until the new sports therapist joins the team. What starts out as a strictly professional relationship between Thalia and the young Spanish player, slowly evolves into something more. Much more.

Their relationship was forbidden.But their combustible chemistry and simmering sexual tension can only go so far—should Thalia give into Alejo’s advances, she’s at risk of not only losing her job, but succumbing to a much younger man will drag her through the spotlight again. Alejo might be worth that risk. Unless he breaks her heart in the process.

Jewel E. Ann is actually an author i’m currently reading my first book from, one of my current reads is the first book of her Jack & Jill series, End of Day. I’m enjoying her writing in the book in that one so she’s definitely an author i’d be happy to read more from and the one that most interests me is A Place Without You. I believe this is a different take on a student/teacher relationship, and i’ve heard it makes for a very emotional read.

Sometimes … fate is forbidden.

Everything feels temporary when you’ve experienced tragedy—until Henna Lane meets Bodhi at a music festival. Young and spontaneous, they have a lust for seizing the moment, falling hard and fast. When Bodhi is forced to leave without a goodbye, Henna thinks she’ll never get over him. But then she meets Mr. Malone, her sexy, new guidance counselor.

They are reckless. They are forbidden.

When their secret is discovered, Henna has to choose between finishing school—banned from seeing Mr. Malone—or dropping out to follow her nomad dreams. Henna chooses her dreams. Life is not a destination or a journey. Some things are more than temporary. Forbidden can never be ignored. But if she returns for him, will he still be hers?

Erica Lee‘s Anyone But Her is the only f/f romance on the list but it’s one that i’m most definitely eager to read. I haven’t read much f/f and if i’m honest a lot of the ones i’ve read I haven’t enjoyed much, but i’m always trying to find more that I can read, hopefully enjoy and then recommend to others. This is one that not only has great reviews but the synopsis also sounds super appealing to me.

Reagan Cooper has been an out and proud lesbian since high school, but can’t say no when her gay best friend, Jamie Miller, asks her to pretend to be his girlfriend for his family reunion. Jamie has been there for her through everything. Plus, she’s interested in learning more about the family he never speaks of.

Living in California for eight years, Charlie Miller has been able to live authentically, but being back in her small Maryland hometown with her conservative family means going back into the closet. What she didn’t expect was to be so attracted to her brother’s girlfriend.

Giana Darling is the author of The Evolution of Sin series which is a series that i’ve previously read and enjoyed, but I know her most popular books by far are her The Fallen Men series. The first book Lessons in Corruption which is a student/teacher romance and another younger man/older woman so ticking two boxes there for me. I know her books generally have a forbidden trope in them which is one of my personal favourite romance tropes!

He was eighteen.

The heir to a notorious, criminal MC.

And my student.

There was no way I could get involved.

No way I could stay involved.
Then, no way I could get out alive.

Jenna Hartley is a newer author but i’ve already heard so many wonderful things about her debut romance Unexpected. I’ll be honest this one initially drew me in just because of the cover as I think it is beautiful! However, since then I have also seen that so many of my romance reading friends have been loving this one. This one is another forbidden romance following a single parent and her child’s nanny.

He’s so hot.
But off limits.

Younger than me.
Yet still so mature.

Worst of all…
he’s my daughter’s new nanny.

I don’t mix business with pleasure.
Or at least, I’ve never been tempted to until him.

Joely Sue Berkhart‘s Queen Takes Knights is the final book on this list and it’s a little different to the others but another that i’m super excited for nonetheless. This one is a reverse harem, paranormal romance novella that is the first in quite a long series. I love paranormal romance, it totally works for me so this one originally caught my eye because of that. However, this is also a reverse harem which is something I actually haven’t read before so i’ll be interested to see how I find that.

A lost virgin vampire queen. Two vampire knights sworn to protect her.
It’s about to get very hot… and bloody…

Ever since her mother was murdered by monsters five years ago, Shara Isador has been on the run. Alone, scared, and exhausted, she’s finally cornered in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Out of hope with nowhere else to turn, she’s ready to end it all when two men come to her rescue. They say she’s a lost queen descended from Isis, and they’re her Blood, vampire knights sworn to protect her. It all seems like a crazy nightmare, until the alpha offers his blood. Then she realizes she’s never wanted anything more. Except maybe his body… and his friend’s, too.

But they’re not the only ones searching for a lost queen. Shara must learn how to wield her new powers quickly and conquer her fears if she intends to keep them all alive.

Do you use Kindle Unlimited? What’s your favourite romance on there? Let me know!

March Haul

I brought a lot of books in March, like a whole lot, but I did get pretty much all of the physical books for cheap second hand and pretty much all of my ebooks were free so not as much damage was done as it looks like. I’m really happy with my purchases and I can’t wait to start working my way through all of my new reads.

Stephen King halloween editions boxset including Christine, Bag of Bones, The Shining and Cell.

All the Beautiful Lies – Peter Swanson

The Nightmare Girl – Jonathon Janz

Vein of Love (Blackest Gold #1) – R. Scarlett

Halo (Fallen Angel #1) – Ella Frank and Brooke Blaine

Monster in His Eyes and Torture to Her Soul (Monster in his Eyes #1 and #2) – J.M Darhower

The Girl with a Clock For a Heart – Peter Swanson

A Second Harvest and Tender Mercies (Men of Lancaster County #1 and #2) – Eli Easton

NOS4R2 – Joe Hill

Last Call (Bad Habits #3) and Hardcore (Full Series) – Staci Hart

Red Hill – Jamie McGuire

The Last Letter – Rebecca Yarros

The Devil Crept In – Ania Ahlborn

The Bird and the Sword – Amy Harmon

Full Tilt and All In (Full Tilt Duet) – Emma Scott

The Birthday List – Devney Perry

What He Doesn’t Know – Kandi Steiner

The Score (Off- Campus #3) – Elle Kennedy

A Chip and a Chair (Seven of Spades #5) – Cordelia Kingsbridge

The Silver Swan (Elite King’s Club #1) – Amo Jones

Aftercare (Ever After #1) – Tanya Chris