Cover Image: Something Fabulous

Something Fabulous

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Member Reviews

I read a lot about this book before diving into it and it seems clear from his own admissions on the subject that Alexis Hall was hyper-concerned about the patriarchal power dynamics at play in the period in which this book was set.  However, it's clear that this was a bit of an over-correction on his part, resulting in a pretty unlikeable female character who unnecessarily and unforgivingly makes the life of the main character totally miserable.  That said, there are a lot of things to like about this book - the romance, the humor, Hall's trademark wit - but I hope he's willing to try to find more creative ways to play with traditional power structures in future historical romances so that his characters don't feel so totally anachronistic and villainous.
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Something Fabulous was so good! It was so funny but also filled with so much heart. I loved the characters of Valentine and Bonny. They were written so perfectly and their relationship was everything. Bonny was so hilarious and I kept having to put the book down so I could laugh harder. I highly recommend all of Alexis Hall's books, but espeically this one!
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I didn't know what to expect from this book but overall really enjoyed it. Alexis Hall always surprises me as a writer and this book is no exception. This book is light, frivolous, fun, and I can tell that Alexis Hall enjoyed writing it. It's described as "ridiculous" by the author and it definitely is, in the best way possible. If you're looking for a serious angst-filled historical this book is not for you. If you're looking for ridiculous fun, then definitely pick up this book!

Thank you NetGalley for a copy of this book!
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Honestly, this book was not for me. I strongly disliked how Valentine was so hated for just laying low and living his life! Bonny is just straight up mean. I don't understand why reserved individuals are essentially told "smile more" and their life will be better. Valentine didn't need to be fixed. I just felt like this whole book was him apologizing (or attempting to) for doing the right thing. 

There was zero attempt to try to understand where he was coming from, and it was frustrating. I just thought it was weird to introduce a demi character in a historical setting and then spend the whole book treating him like a lesser being and insinuating that he needed to change. More of the book could've been spent allowing him to self-reflect. I feel like any attempt to reach out was immediately squashed with abuse. 

I liked the first 50 or so pages, but then the rest of the book just made me angry. Valentine was just so mistreated, and it was honestly heartbreaking. I don't think that was the author's intended effect, but it made me strongly dislike this book. I just feel like the modern sexuality was forced on this historical character. While it was funny at times, it just didn't work for me, for the reasons stated above.
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Hall’s story begins with Valentine, the Duke of Malvern, proposing marriage to Miss Arabella Tarleton. Valentine is the epitome of the sinister duke who is both the hero and villain of so many of Heyer’s works: cool, handy with a sarcastic phrase and utterly sure of his own appeal. Which is why it’s such a shock when he’s woken up in the night by Arabella’s twin brother, Bonaventure, who says his sister has run away. Bonny knows where she is headed, so Valentine finds himself propelled into an adventure to prevent his fiancée’s supposed ruin.

Instead, it’s Valentine who’s destroyed. The whole duke archetype is deconstructed piece by piece in a series of comic mishaps unfurled with impeccable authorial control. Because being a duke is a story, and if people don’t believe you — if you’ve borrowed a gardener’s coat and left your valet behind and given away your signet ring — then they quickly stop treating you as a duke at all. The takedown is terrifyingly thorough.

Except, of course, that Valentine has fallen for Bonny, a gorgeous chaos muppet who survived a lonely childhood by telling himself as many wild romantic stories as possible. Stories about men loving other men, and marrying handsome dukes. As he rebuilds his sense of identity, Valentine asks: What kind of story does he really want his life to be?

At seven to one, there is an unusually high ratio of queer characters to dukes in this book. I’ve often been in a room with multiple queer people, but I have never met more than one duke. So refreshing to see a romance approach these proportions realistically.
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A rompy road-trip regency romance (say that five times fast). Valentine Layton, the Duke of Malvern, has been promised to marry the daughter of one of his father’s good friends. His parents have since passed and he feels like he finally needs to make good on that commitment and propose to her. What he didn’t count on was that Arabella and her twin brother Bonny have a flair for drama. When his proposal isn’t romantic enough, she runs away. Bonny then forces Valentine to accompany him through the country to find her. Lots of zany hijinks ensue and through out their trip Valentine and Bonny begin to fall in love. 

The romance itself was really sweet. I kind of got sick of Bonny and Valentine chasing the sister around and was hoping they would just let her go at some point, but other than that a fun, campy historical with a very large cast of LGBTQIA characters.
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When I first came across this book, I was so excited. A historical romance from Alexis Hall? Sign. Me. Up! Unfortunately, after actually reading the book, I was left feeling disappointed and angry.

Valentine Layton's father had one wish: for him to marry Arabella Tarleton. Valentine is determined to honour his father's wishes and proposes to Arabella, who unfortunately wanted something more romantic than just a standard proposal. So she runs away with her girlfriend, Peggy, who sometimes dresses as a man. Arabella's twin brother, Bonaventure aka "Bonny" wakes up Valentine in the middle of the night and forces him to go after Arabella, but not before laying into him for not being romantic enough during his proposal. Valentine is close to losing it, dealing with the Tarleton twins' antics. But then he starts to question everything he knew about life, love and himself.

I hated this book. Plain and simple. Every single character in this book can go to hell for what they have done or said to Valentine. Seriously. This wasn't funny or romantic in the slightest. Valentine gets criticised for every single thing he does or says, he gets tied up because Arabella convinces strangers that he's dangerous, he gets shot at, ridiculed, and so on. And then in the end, it's somehow Valentine who has to apologise for just trying to do the right thing. I was driven close to tears at certain points for how cruel everyone was to Valentine. Even Bonny, who claims to love him, thinks he needs to change and be someone else. That isn't love!

Hall really missed the mark with this one. Just an awful awful book.
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Alexis Hall + historical romance is the perfect pairing. The witty banter alone will keep you entertained, but add in the grumpy sunshine and SHENANIGANS, and I was extremely happy. I did get annoyed at the lengths Bonny would put up with his sister, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment too much. If you want laughs and warmth, here you go!
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I absolutely loved this. It was so fun and hilarious. I loved the outrageous hijinks and the two main characters and how much banter they had with each other. Multiple times this book had me laughing out loud. It was just great.
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I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

"If we lived life as though it were a novel, we'd spend all our time becoming embroiled in improbable adventures and spouting nonsense about filling our vast and empty souls with joyful aches."

This was my first Alexis Hall book and it's safe to say it will not be my last. This laugh-out-loud funny historical romcom follows Valentine (who is really a Duke), when his fianceé flees after his proposal he finds himself chasing her across England with her imaginative twin brother Bonny.

The first thing to say about this book is that it was extremely funny. I found myself laughing aloud on multiple occasions. I really enjoyed Hall's self-aware humour.

This book was incredibly beautifully written. I highlighted many phrases and paragraphs in this novel because I could not get over the beautiful writing. Hall is a master of language, I was surprised a book could be so poetic while also being humorous and even sexy at times.

That being said this book wasn't perfect. I felt like the pacing was a bit off in this one with them constantly catching up to Arabella then losing her again and the third act break up happening with just three chapters from the end. It didn't always flow naturally.

I also found some of the characters extremely difficult to like. Valentine makes a lot of bad decisions but he grows on you especially when he is able to admit his mistakes. I imagine many would struggle to like Arabella. Some aspects of her actions were understandable when you put yourself in her shoes but other times she takes things too far and it becomes extremely difficult to sympathise with her. That said I'd be interested in continuing in the series to see if she redeems herself later. Bonny and Peggy were extremely likable and I am so excited to read Peggy's book next.

Overall this was a highly enjoyable and beautifully written book. I recommend it to any adults who enjoy historical romance, romcoms or both!

Content Warnings: homophobia, violence, explicit sex
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I love Alexis Hall's writing so was eager to read SOMETHING FABULOUS. Historical romance is a weakness of mine especially when it features a grumpy/sunshine relationship and this book definitely did not disappoint. Full of heart and wit.
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I am 100% here for everything and anything Alexis Hall writes. Something Fabulous had all the banter, all the mystery, and a simply fabulous cast of queer characters. Seriously this is a must read
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Three stars might actually be too generous considering I spent over half of this book only reading it out of pure spite and hope that something redeeming would happen. I got so mad at certain things I nearly cried. The only good parts of this book were past the 60% mark and after that only whenever Arabella wasn’t around. Before the 60% mark she made an already painful story horrid. She was awful. I hope she’s not in the next book and if she is she’s…completely changed and is a brand new person. 

Peggy though can stay because she has sense. And isn’t absolutely ridiculously unbearable.

What did earn this three stars? Once Bonny…got his head half out of la la land and truly paid attention to Valentine and realized how he needed to approach their friendship and relationship things got marginally tolerable and sickeningly adorable.  The switch was kind of very sudden but I was very willing to look past it because at least I wasn’t hating my life anymore. 

In the end if basically every character besides Valentine hadn’t had horrible personalities and the whole book hadn’t felt like a “how many times can we beat down this poor Duke” I would’ve liked it but unfortunately that seemed to just be the basis of the story. Maybe the concept they were reaching from was “quirky ridiculous queer historical romcom romp through the countryside” but it leaned was too into ridiculous and didn’t seem to realize it was drowning in it.

So yeah…three stars is probably too generous but it had a cute ending and that’s making me feel friendly.
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Love love LOVED IT!!! Alexis Hall is by far my favorite queer romance author! I was so excited to read his latest novel and the fact that it’s a historical romance got me even more excited! And boy I was NOT disappointed! Something Fabulous has EVERYTHING! Road trip, one bed, purple adult toys….oodles of delicious steam, fantastic humor and a genuinely heart felt romance that tugged at my heartstrings! I couldn’t stop with this one! Definitely one of my favorites so far this year!
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I absolutely love Alexis Hall's writing and this was just nonstop fun. My only quibbles were that the first half felt almost frantic and that Arabelle needed a little more consequences for me to feel totally satisfied by the ending.
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Alexis Hall did it again for me, with a refreshing take on regency. As always, his writing is fresh, funny, emotional, and well-paced. This book demonstrates a mastery of the craft of prose, but also plot. The reason I keep coming back to his books is the emotions excite me. It's almost impossible to skip his books. What is different about this book is how exciting it is, but the adventure and romance do not detract from each other. Rather, they work together to create a beautiful story.
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I tried. I wanted to love it as I've loved two others of Alexis Hall's books but this one is just not for me. I can't get on with the style
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So, I’m just gonna get right to it…I absolutely LOVED this book. 

It’s a M/M regency rom-com and let’s just say, Alexis understood the assignment. His rom-coms are some of the select few that actually make me laugh out loud. You’re going to get a tropey romp that’s funny, smart, inclusive, outrageous, steamy and charming all at the same time. I loved every minute. How can I explain that it just….it had the vibe. It’s that thing where you are a Duke and you’re kinda, sorta betrothed to this girl only she doesn’t want you and runs away. Then you set out to find her, with her whimsical hottie of a twin brother in tow and realize, whoops…you might could be into him actually.   

Shenanigans & tropes you can expect: 
-M/M, white, cis gay couple 
-one is demisexual
-opposites attract
-a Tarleton Foot Stomp™
-grumpy/sunshine
-I AM A DUKE™
-road trip, only one bed
-a$$ eating as a love language
-a sexual awakening 
-basically everyone is queer
-a chase, a duel, a shooting, some bees
-amethyst  s e x  toys

But did I swoon? I really, really did. Bonny & Valentine absolutely cracked my heart wide open, then sprinkled flower petals and stardust inside of it. In closing, read this book. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Heat level: 🔥🔥🔥
Swoon factor: 💖💖💖💖💖

CW: explicit on page s e x, someone gets shot on page

Thank you to Montlake and Netgalley for the early review copy!
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This was my first Alexis Hall book and let me tell you, I have never cackled so loudly while reading a book, so this certainly won’t be my last. I’ve seen this book called a romp and it is absolutely that, a regency version of the road trip adventure that is made even better because of the delightful main characters. Bonny is the buoyant, and delightfully colorful twin brother to the attempted betrothed of the Duke of Malvern. The duke himself, Val, is so buttoned-up and has spent years assuming any emotions made him weak, while he went through the motions of being a model duke, aside from any of the rakish tendencies we often see from them. Bonny comes along to shake him from his pedestal and ruffle his feathers in a way that cracks his facade and brings happiness bubbling to the surface. I’ve now read this book and listened to it twice and it was a joy bomb every time!
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A fantastic regency romp! This was a really fun book, with engaging and witty characters and plenty of action. Bonny and Valentine seem so very different but somehow they work as a pairing and I adored Valentine's grouchy yet slightly clueless side. This is a light-hearted and humorous read that is definitely worth picking up.
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