Review: Nick and Charlie (Solitaire #1.5)

Title: Nick and Charlie (Solitaire #1.5)
Author: Alice Oseman
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT, Novella
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 16, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A short novella based on the beloved characters from the graphic novel Heartstopper and Alice Oseman’s debut novel Solitaire, which was praised as ‘The Catcher in the Rye for the digital age’ by The Times.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

CHARLIE: “I have been going out with Nick Nelson for two years. He likes rugby, Formula 1, dogs, the Marvel universe, the sound felt-tips make on paper, rain and drawing on shoes. He also likes me.”

NICK: “Things me and Charlie Spring do together include: Watch films. Sit in the same room on different laptops. Text each other from different rooms. Make out. Make food. Make drinks. Get drunk. Talk. Argue. Laugh. Maybe we’re kind of boring. But that’s fine with us.”

Everyone knows that Nick and Charlie are the perfect couple – that they’re inseparable. But now Nick is leaving for university, and Charlie will be left behind at Sixth Form. Everyone’s asking if they’re staying together, which is a stupid question – they’re ‘Nick and Charlie’ for God’s sake!

But as the time to say goodbye gets inevitably closer, both Nick and Charlie question whether their love is strong enough to survive being apart. Or are they delaying the inevitable? Because everyone knows that first loves rarely last forever …

Review:

Nick and Charlie have been the perfect couple for two years. Now that the school year is ending, and Nick will be heading off to university in September, they can feel things changing. After another couple at their school breaks up because they don’t want to have a long distance relationship next year, Charlie thinks that’s what him and Nick should do too, even though neither of them want to break up. A misunderstanding separates them, leaving them questioning if they should be together.

These characters are so lovable. I can see why there have been many stories written about them. Nick and Charlie love each other so much, but they have a hard time communicating, like many people. This was one of those stories that made me want to shout at the characters to just talk it out. Luckily this is a short story so it doesn’t take long for their problems to be resolved.

Though this is a novella, it has a complete story arc. Sometimes, novellas or short stories within a series feel like they’re lacking the plot that the full length stories have. There was a clear problem (Nick and Charlie wondering if they should stay together when Nick goes off to university) and a solution at the end. This story made me love the characters even more.

Nick and Charlie is an adorable novella!

Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper, Vol. 1 by Alice Oseman

Other books in the series:

Have you read Nick and Charlie? What did you think of it?

Review: A Spindle Splintered (Fractured Fables #1)

Title: A Spindle Splintered (Fractured Fables #1)
Author: Alix E. Harrow
Genre: Fantasy, Novella, LGBTQ
Publisher: Tordotcom
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 5, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s Zinnia Gray’s twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it’s the last birthday she’ll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no one has lived past twenty-one.

Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia’s last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate.

USA Today bestselling author Alix E. Harrow’s A Spindle Splintered brings her patented charm to a new version of a classic story.

Review:

Zinnia Gray never expected to live past her twenty-first birthday. She has a rare medical condition, which destroys her organs. No one with her condition has ever lived to twenty-two. As a child, she became obsessed with Sleeping Beauty, who also had an expiry date on her life. Since it’s Zinnia’s last birthday, her best friend, Charm, throws her a Sleeping Beauty party, that ends in Zinnia pricking her finger and ending up in an alternate universe. Zinnia goes to another version of the Sleeping Beauty story, where she must save the princess to return to her world.

I love any fairy tale themed story so I was excited to read this one. I went into it without knowing what it was going to be about. Zinnia goes into the Sleeping Beauty universe, where all versions of the story live. She had to interact with a few different girls who are living through that storyline.

A big theme of this story was the toxic masculinity surrounding the Sleeping Beauty story. There are versions that are much more terrorizing than the Disney version that we all think of. The whole idea of a woman being awoken by the non-consensual kiss of a man is problematic enough, without looking at other versions where the men did more than that. This story had a good twist on that ending that made it more pleasant and feminist.

A Spindle Splintered was a great modern fairytale. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Have you read A Spindle Splintered? What did you think of it?

Review: The Annual Migration of Clouds

Title: The Annual Migration of Clouds
Author: Premee Mohamed
Genre: Science Fiction, Novella
Publisher: ECW Press
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 28, 2021
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In post-climate disaster Alberta, a woman infected with a mysterious parasite must choose whether to pursue a rare opportunity far from home or stay and help rebuild her community.

The world is nothing like it once was: climate disasters have wracked the continent, causing food shortages, ending industry, and leaving little behind. Then came Cad, mysterious mind-altering fungi that invade the bodies of the now scattered citizenry. Reid, a young woman who carries this parasite, has been given a chance to get away – to move to one of the last remnants of pre-disaster society – but she can’t bring herself to abandon her mother and the community that relies on her.

When she’s offered a coveted place on a dangerous and profitable mission, she jumps at the opportunity to set her family up for life, but how can Reid ask people to put their trust in her when she can’t even trust her own mind?

Review:

Many years in the future, the world has faced climate disasters, resulting in food shortages and parasite diseases. Reid lives with her mom, and both of them are infected with Cad, a parasite that tries to control what they do with their bodies. When Reid is accepted to a university in one of the only preserved cities left, she’s eager to leave. Most of the people in their community are proud of Reid, but her mother is suspicious of this too-good-to-be-true offer. Reid has to figure out how to make sure her mom is taken care of while she’s gone, while also contemplating if she should leave her mom and the community.

This story has a disturbing look at what the future could look like. They didn’t have any of the conveniences we take advantage of, including available food and running water. There had been viruses that had killed people, and Reid was currently infected with a parasite. This story had a creepy possible future that could happen if we don’t look after the planet.

I predicted the way this story ended fairly early on. It was a literary style book, and it had an open ending. I didn’t get the closure that I wanted. I would have loved to see this story continue because I want to know what happens next, though I know that’s the style of the story.

The Annual Migration of Clouds is a creepy dystopia story.

Gutter Child by Jael Richardson

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Have you read The Annual Migration of Clouds? What did you think of it?

Review: Believe Me (Shatter Me #6.5)

Title: Believe Me (Shatter Me #6.5)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Novella
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: November 16, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The devastatingly romantic fifth novella in the New York Timesand USA Today bestselling Shatter Me series, chronicling the events after Imagine Me, the explosive sixth novel.

Juliette and Warner fought hard to take down the Reestablishment once and for all. Life in the aftermath isn’t easy, as they and their friends at the Sanctuary work with their limited resources to stabilize the world.

Warner has his sights set on more than just politics. Since he proposed to Juliette two weeks ago, he’s been eager to finally marry her, the person he loves more than anything and has endured so much to be with. But with so much chaos around them, it’s been nearly impossible for them to have a wedding. And even Juliette has been distracted by everything they need to do.

At long last, Warner and Juliette’s future together is within reach, but the world continues to try to pull them apart. Will they finally be able to be happily, officially, together?

Celebrate the tenth anniversary of Tahereh Mafi’s bestselling Shatter Me series with Believe Me!

Review:

Juliette and Warner are ready to begin their new lives at the Sanctuary. Their first task is to get married. However, their clothes are destroyed and they have to suddenly postpone the wedding at the last minute. Warner is devastated, and he’s certain that Juliette is hiding something from him. The world keeps pulling them apart, but they have to figure out how to be together.

This novella follows the events of the final novel in the Shatter Me series. It was a little slow at times, since the main plot has been completed in the series. There were a lot of scenes of just Warner speaking to other characters. However, I loved reuniting with these characters one last time. There was still loads of tension, even though there wasn’t as much of a plot. It was fun to revisit these characters living their new lives.

Believe Me is a great final book in the Shatter Me series!

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard

Other books in the series:

Have you read Believe Me? What did you think of it?

Review: Wrapped Up in You

Title: Wrapped Up in You
Author: Talia Hibbert
Genre: Romance, Novella, Contemporary
Publisher: Kobo Originals
Source: Purchased
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 16, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

William Reid is nothing special, except for his billion-dollar acting career and his, you know, face. (Apparently, it’s a good one.) Winning ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ was nice, but this Christmas, he has more important goals in mind… like finally winning over his best friend’s little sister, the super-smart and kinda-scary Abbie Farrell.

When a blizzard leaves Will and Abbie alone at Grandma Farrell’s house (if bunking with 27 pets counts as ‘alone’), it’s the perfect opportunity to pull off a Christmas miracle. Convincing clever, frosty Abbie to give Will a chance will take more than mistletoe, but hiding his lifelong crush on her is no longer an option.

Review:

Abbie Farrell goes to spend Christmas with her grandmother early, and finds her childhood best friend, Will Reid, there too. Will is an actor in California, who stars in superhero movies, but he’s returned home for the holidays. What Abbie doesn’t know is that Will is prepared to confess his lifelong love for Abbie this Christmas. When they’re the only ones together at the house, they have to come clean with the feelings they’ve both had for their entire lives.

This was a short and sweet holiday novella. Abbie and Will were well developed characters with an extensive backstory that was mentioned throughout the story. I was rooting for them to get together throughout the whole story.

This was a friends to lovers story, and I haven’t read many of those so I really enjoyed this one. The ending of the story also had Talia Hibbert’s signature steamy romance.

Wrapped Up in Christmas is a fun holiday romance!

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Booked for Christmas by Lily Menon

Have you read Wrapped Up in You? What did you think of it?

Review: Christmas with Hamish

Title: Christmas with Hamish
Author: Sophie Penhaligon
Genre: Romance, Novella
Publisher: BooksGoSocial
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 1, 2021
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Christmas has never been the most wonderful time of the year for Verity Robinson. When her younger sister sends her an invite to her Christmas wedding on the other side of the country in Vancouver, she decides to kill two birds with one stone and plans a ski trip to Whistler with some old friends. However, her dreams of a snowy Christmas on skis are thwarted by her sister’s dog sitting crisis.

Instead of spending Christmas enjoying the après ski alcohol, she is instead stuck minding Hamish McDuff for the next week. They say that every cloud has a silver lining and for Verity, the silver lining comes in the guise of her sexy new neighbour, Nikau Taylor. Nikau seems determined to help Verity eradicate her ghosts of Christmas past, but what will happen when her time is up and it’s time to go home to Toronto?

Review:

Verity Robinson travels from Toronto to Vancouver for her sister’s wedding before Christmas. Verity has never gotten along with her sister or the rest of her family, but she goes for the trip home and to visit friends for the holidays. However, when her sister’s dog sitter backs out at the last minute, she insists that Verity must look after her dog, Hamish. The good thing is that Verity gets to stay in her sister’s penthouse apartment, with Nikau Taylor for a neighbour. Nikau does his best to help Verity move past the trauma in her past and finally have a happy Christmas.

This story had some cute moments, but I found a lot of it exaggerated and extreme. Verity had a horrible childhood, with physical and emotional abuse. Her relationship with her family was purely negative and they had very exaggerated reactions to each other. Their interactions were extreme and didn’t have any hint of hope for reconciliation over the holidays.

There were some plot holes that I just couldn’t look past. Verity’s sister hated her, yet she insisted that Verity was the only person who could look after her dog while she went on her honeymoon. Their neighbour and friend Nikau (who also had a dog, unlike Verity who had never spent time with a dog) was there constantly and spending all of his time with Verity. He would have been a much more likely choice as a dog sitter, so I don’t know why Verity would have been chosen in this situation, other than to create a story.

Christmas with Hamish was an awkward and contradictory holiday read.

Thank you BooksGoSocial for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read Christmas with Hamish? What did you think of it?

Review: Once More Upon a Time

Title: Once More Upon a Time
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Novella
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 5, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Once upon a dream, there was a prince named Ambrose
and a princess named Imelda who loved each other…
But alas, no more.
“What a witch takes, a witch does not give back!”
their friends and family warn.
They resign themselves to this loveless fate…
A year and a day pass.
And then their story truly begins…

Embark on a perilous journey with Imelda and Ambrose as they brave magical landscapes and enchanted creatures on their quest to reclaim their heart’s desire… But first they must remember what that is…

Review:

Ambrose and Imelda were a Prince and Princess who married and were given their own kingdom to rule. However, when Imelda got sick, they made a deal with a witch to give up their love for each other but stay together for a year and a day. Once the time is up, the witch makes another deal with them to give them their freedom if they can get her a special potion from another kingdom. The couple agrees to pretend they are still together until they can get the potion. They have to eventually learn what their hearts truly desire.

This fairytale story was short and concise. Though it was a novella, there was great character development. Ambrose and Imelda weren’t the heroes of their families, but they became the heroes of their own story.

This story was also hilarious. The narrator made sarcastic comments on what was happening and the fairytale tropes in the story. This funny narrator made the story so enjoyable!

Once More Upon a Time is a fun fairytale story!

Thank you Sourcebooks Casablanca for providing a copy of this book.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Have you read Once More Upon a Time? What did you think of it?

Review: This Winter (Solitaire #0.5)

Title: This Winter (Solitaire #0.5)
Author: Alice Oseman
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ, Novella
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 5, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A short story, based on characters from Solitaire – praised as ‘The Catcher in the Rye for the digital age’ The Times
I used to think that difficult was better than boring, but I know better now…

I’m not going to think about the past few months, about Charlie and me, and all of the sad. I’m going to block it all out. Just for today.
“Happy Christmas, ” I say.

The festive season isn’t always happy for Tori and her brother Charlie. And this year’s going to be harder than most.

Review:

The Spring family is going to have a difficult time at Christmas this year. Charlie has just returned from treatment for an eating disorder. Tori wants to make sure he feels included in the holiday, but everyone else makes a big deal out of it. Meanwhile, their little brother, Oliver, just wants to play Mario Kart. The Spring siblings have to figure out a way to get through this tough holiday.

When I first picked up this book, I didn’t realize it was part of the Heartstopper series. I’ve only read the first graphic novel in that series but I loved it. This edition of the book also included some illustrations of the characters that looked like the graphic novel.

This story had a brief look at mental health and disordered eating in males. Usually in fiction, disordered eating is only portrayed in female characters, though it could happen to anyone. I appreciated this unique look at this disorder.

The difficult holiday that the Spring siblings experienced was so relatable. There are often relatives at holiday events that ask inappropriate questions or make hurtful comments, like they did with Charlie. Sometimes the best thing to do in that situation is to just remove yourself, which is what Charlie had to do.

This Winter is a great Christmas novella!

Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper, Vol. 1 by Alice Oseman

Other books in the series:

  • Solitaire

Have you read This Winter? What did you think of it?