Dec
28

Title: How To Repair A Mechanical Heart
Author: J.C. Lillis
Published: September, 2012
Pages: 255
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Eighteen-year-old Castaway Planet fans Brandon and Abel hate bad fan fiction—especially when it pairs their number-one TV crushes of all time, dashing space captain Cadmus and dapper android Sim. As co-runners of the Internet’s third most popular Castaway Planet vlog, they love to spar with the “Cadsim” fangirls who think Cadmus will melt Sim’s mechanical heart by the Season 5 finale. This summer, Brandon and Abel have a mission: hit the road in an RV to follow the traveling Castaway Planet convention, interview the actors and showrunner, and uncover proof that a legit Cadsim romance will NEVER, EVER HAPPEN.

A Brandon and Abel romance: also not happening. Brandon’s sick of his struggle to make “gay and Catholic” compute, so it’s safer to love a TV android. Plus Abel’s got a hot new boyfriend with a phoenix tattoo, and how can Brandon compete with that? But when mysterious messages about them start popping up in the fan community, they make a shocking discovery that slowly forces their real feelings to the surface. Before they get to the last Castaway Planet convention, Brandon’s going to find out the truth: can a mechanical heart be reprogrammed, or will his first shot at love be a full system failure?

Final Thoughts:
So, this was fanficcing-tastisc. Aside from, maybe, Fangirl, I’ve never seen so much fanfic love in a book. And here, both the main characters were gay! It had me gripped in the best possible way. I should lament—but I’m won’t—the poor disintegrating Sunday that met its demise when I started and finished this book that day. With so much to love about this book, from the cross-country convention road trip, flirting, internal warring over a religious upbringing, the geeking out and more flirting, I can’t help but want to recommend this book. I don’t want to let go of these characters—Brandon and Abel (and Bec) forever.

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Dec
27

Title: A&B
Author: J.C. Lillis
Published: November, 2016
Pages: 318
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: Kindle

Eighteen-year-old Barrie Krumholtz is a super-tall optimist hell-bent on a single goal: securing a slot on Pop University, a reality show for singer-songwriters helmed by her #1 musical idol. When she humiliates herself on national TV and loses a spot in the finals to smug balladeer Ava Alvarez, the door to Barrie’s well-hidden dark side swings open. Never a quitter, she uses her bitter envy of Ava to shape a bold new artistic direction, and people love it. But when Ava ropes her into a secret collaboration, it sparks feelings neither girl expected—feelings that might threaten their creative identities and distract them from their professional goals.

Can love and ambition live side by side? Is happiness an art-killer? They’ll figure it out with the help of a blue guitar named Fernando, a keyboard named Rosalinda, and a few new friends who feel like home.

(Rated R for Rivalry, Romance, and Really Neat Subplot featuring Brandon and Abel from HOW TO REPAIR A MECHANICAL HEART.)

Final Thoughts:
Being the companion to my much loved, and favourite book read this year, How To Repair A Mechanical Heart, I’m probably going to judge this one harsher than if it were a standalone. Barrie and Ava were great characters, but fresh off the first book, my heart still lies with Brandon and Abel. Luckily for me, they did more than just cameo briefly—they got their own subplot! A decade has passed and the guys are now my age, so seeing where their lives had taken them was heaps of fun. But the heart of the story lies with Barrie, and her jealousy/humungous crush on the reality show contestant that knocked her out of competing in Pop University, Ava.

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