Cover Image: Something Fabulous

Something Fabulous

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Member Reviews

This book made me smile SO MUCH. A Regency romance full of hits, antics and giggles that will fill your heart with so much joy
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Something Fabulous is the first book in the Something Fabulous series by Alexis Hall.  Valentine Layton, the Duke of Malvern, has twin problems: literally. It was always his father’s hope that Valentine would marry Miss Arabella Tarleton. But, unfortunately, too many novels at an impressionable age have caused her to grow up…romantic. So romantic that a marriage of convenience will not do and after Valentine’s proposal she flees into the night determined never to set eyes on him again. Arabella’s twin brother, Mr. Bonaventure “Bonny” Tarleton, has also grown up…romantic. And fully expects Valentine to ride out after Arabella and prove to her that he’s not the cold-hearted cad he seems to be. Despite copious misgivings, Valentine finds himself on a pell-mell chase to Dover with Bonny by his side. Bonny is unreasonable, overdramatic, annoying, and beautiful? And being with him makes Valentine question everything he thought he knew. About himself. About love. Even about which Tarleton he should be pursuing.

Something Fabulous is a book that had some great moments, and some that just did not work for me. The story starts in mid proposal between Valentine and Arabella, and I felt like I might have missed some of the story leading up to that. Thankfully the information gaps were filled as the story continued, but it just felt a little disconnected at the start. I thought the complete obliviousness of Valentine was very well done, and led to some great moments of humor for readers, even as it often brought greater problems and frustration to the character. I loved Bonny's character, and found that the interactions Bonny had with just about every other character were highly entertaining and engaging. I have to say though that while I similarly loved most of the secondary characters  I did not enjoy Arabella's character in the slightest. In general I thought there were a great many high points, mostly when Bonny was on the page or Valentine was figuring things out, there were also some lulls that frustrated me or slowed down the pacing for me. I loved some of the character work and interaction so much that the issues I had diminished my love for the read a little, I do fully intend to continue reading the series because so much more when right than wrong.

Something Fabulous is a historical romance with some great moments.
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This book feels a bit like a parody of a historical romance. There's ridiculous adventures at every turn, but I was very much into it. I will say, I didn't love Bonny's sister. Everyone was ridiculous and over the top, but, she was pretty much where I draw the line. She was too much for me. 
Otherwise, I loved watching Valentine discover his sexuality. He's been so closed off to anything and I loved watching his eyes being opened to new things at every turn. I also loved how patient Bonny was with him. He was so gentle and kind, while also prodding him a little bit, and also, of course, adding to the overall ridiculousness of the story.

I adore Valentine. With my whole heart. I just wanted him and Bonny to find a way to happiness (of course they were going to, cause it's a romance), but, I was so happy when they finally did.
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Something Fabulous is a truly delightful book full of amazing characters that made me smile the entire time I was reading it. Alexis Hall does a fantastic job bringing this story to life.
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I aspire to be as funny as Alexis Hall. Which is probably part of why this felt like a loving parody of historical romance with favorite tropes stripped of their gravitas and smolder to leave only the slightly ridiculous. Prepare for awkward encounters, social missteps, and perilous situations like an incompetent duel and a hostage scenario.

Part of my excitement for this release (in addition to the obvious Alexis Hall factor) was the demi representation in Valentine. While I think seeing his experience included in the genre is inherently valuable, I did end up with complicated feelings towards his characterization. I love the sunshine/grump trope, but ace curmudgeons are becoming tiresome to me, even though I might be a bit of one myself. Valentine not only comes to terms with his sexuality on page but also must address his general inability to empathize or have patience with others' points of view. While I think this is more an area of growth for him due to the way he was raised and the immense, unquestioned power he holds as a duke, I am frustrated with how some of these qualities seem to be conflated with being ace in fiction or general social perception. I don't appreciate the feeling that my sexuality is anticipated to come hand-in-hand with general social uncomfortability or a struggle to make emotional connections of any stripe. It didn't feel pointed here but more like a symptom of a larger unfortunate pattern or even an unhappy coincidence. To shift from that broader critique, I did personally struggle with seeing Valentine's feelings of being unloveable as a result of his demi identity. He worries about being too odd even for the queer community he is just coming to learn exists. There's nothing wrong with it; tis but a flesh wound for this reviewer.

In terms of the romance, the banter was predictably 10/10, especially in conjunction with Valentine's very confused thoughts about what is going on re: flirting, innuendo, and social subtext. It's decidedly less amusing when he is harmful to other people due to the toxic concoction of his ignorance and sense of inherent, expected authority that perhaps only a duke can so completely personify. The emotional connection grows to be something sweet and pleasant in the latter half of the book, and the rejection of social expectations in favor of personal happiness was very satisfying to behold.

Thanks to Montlake for my copy to read and review!
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It was absolutely over the top but I had a lot of fun and thoroughly enjoyed it.
The author excels at witty banters and I started laughing since I read the first pages.
Highly recommended it you want to read some outrageous and hilarious Regency romance.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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Newest book from Alexis Hall. I would probably summarize it as queer historic over the top romance, it’s about a duke that while chasing his fiancée down the country starts developing feelings for the twin male brother and he doesn’t like feelings (at all). 
This was a fun read but maybe to outrageous to my liking. I was alternating between listening and reading and was able to finish it thanks to being able to listen to it at faster speeds. I have liked other books by Alexis Hall but I think I just couldn’t connect with how much drama and outrageous it was at times. I’m also not a fan of historical romance and will probably not read the second one in this series.
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Did anyone else binge Bridgerton on Netflix last year and think, what this show really needs is more butt stuff?

If so, it seems like bestselling author Alexis Hall had the same idea.

This queer love story set in Regency London is wish-fulfillment for gay fans of Julia Quinn across the globe.

The knife-sharp writing is a pleasure to read, but I would expect nothing less from the author of last year’s runaway hit “Boyfriend Material.”

Alexis Hall has a transformative voice, perfectly befitting of this Austen-esque tale, and is such an effortless storyteller.

Both Valentine and Bonny are such unique and relatable characters, and Hall somehow manages to flesh them out splendidly despite the bizarre plot.

A comedy of errors full of humour and heart.

But just a little bit too much of that aforementioned booty blarney for my personal taste.
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It’s Bridgerton but gay and on drugs.

Something Fabulous, or as I like to call it “Valentine discovers the LGBTQ+ community”, is about a rich duke (Valentine) who wants to make his father proud by marrying Miss Tarleton. However after his proposal, she suddenly disappears and Valentine is forced to team up with her twin brother (Bonny) to search for his fleeing fiancée.

Valentine could have easily been the world’s most irritating character on earth, yet somehow Alexis Hall made him into this three-dimensional character with layers. Sure, he could be incredibly annoying and entitled (as a rich Duke would be), but he grows to care for people and overall, always tries to do the right thing.

In a lot of “enemies” to lovers books, I always hate how the two characters are suddenly all lovey-dovey as if they hadn’t just been fighting for the last 150 pages. But in Something Fabulous, the teasing dynamic between Valentine and Bonny never disappeared even after their love confession, which I really appreciated. The constant bickering resulted in the most hilarious banter that at times had me laughing out loud.

It took me a longer time to get into this book than with Alexis Hall’s other books but I think that’s probably due to the language barrier. I am not a native English speaker and this is written in a kind of old English. Don’t worry! It’s perfectly understandable but it just took me a bit longer to read.

This book was hilarious, at times even absurd and maybe a bit weird. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at a flower the same way again.

Tropes: childhood best friends to strangers to lovers, one bed trope

TW: (internalised) homophobia, violence, sexual content

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a digital arc!
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Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book!

Absolutely fabulous! I loved pretty much everything about this ridiculous, dramatic little book. I laughed so much and had the best time, the queer rep was amazing (especially the demi rep, which was so lovely to read about in a queer historical romance). 

The grumpy vs sunshine trope is my absolute favourite and this book delivered! The sunshine one is also a chaotic, dramatic mess and I loved him. The grumpy one is a secret sofitie who is also a dramatic mess, I loved him too. 

The plot was wild and fun, the writing style exactly my sort of thing, the banter was exquisite, the characters fantastic. Overall I had a great time and I can't wait for the next book!
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Quick synopsis: Valentine Layton, the Duke of Malvern, has botched his proposal to his childhood friend Arabella Tarleton. Their fathers, now both deceased, thought it was a good idea for the children to marry, and Valentine, wanting to honor both his father and the marriage agreement, decides to finally follow through with the proposal. Valentine is unceremoniously ripped from sleep by Arabella's twin brother, Bonny, who painstakingly pulls the details of the disastrous proposal out of a disheveled Valentine. Then Bonny breaks the news that Arabella has run off into the night to try and catch a boat to American and escape the marriage to Valentine. Thus begins a whirlwind adventure into the countryside to find Arabella before it's too late.

The Things I Liked About Something Fabulous:
1. Almost every character in this book has a queer identity. This seems a bit unusual for historical romances - or many books for that matter - so I ATE. THAT. UP. 

2. Alexis Hall's sense of humor is FANTASTIC and you can tell he had a lot of fun writing this book and playing with the tropes of regency fiction. I do have to note that I've not read many regency novels, and feel like I may have enjoyed this book a little bit more if I had. At least pick up on some of the jokes that went over my head otherwise.

3. The thoughtful exploration of various topics such as gender, gender roles, sexuality, and class. However, I particularly appreciate how this book explores the courage it takes to live your truth. Valentine had a difficult time understanding and accepting that his need to be prefect, blend in, and not make waves was suffocating him. I loved seeing him discover that opening up, sharing your "ugly" - or the parts of yourself you'd rather keep hidden to avoid rejection and humiliation - and allowing yourself to be vulnerable with people will allow others to truly and fully love you for WHO YOU ARE, self-perceived warts and all, is one of the best feelings in the world.

4. "Purple looks good on you." That is all. Own-voice authors for the win.

Things I Found Challenging About Something Fabulous:
1. It took me a little while to get into this book because everyone seemed a bit mean. I think this may be down to me a bit needing to manage my expectations of this book. I don't know if I was quite prepared for the level of silliness here, but once I figured it out, the book was much easier to enjoy.

2. Arabella was a HUGE CHALLENGE. I'm all for over-the-top drama, but I had a very difficult time with her. Particularly during a couple scenes when she flat out lies about Valentine to garner sympathy from others. Perhaps this has a bit to do with the fact that we don't get to spend a whole lot of time in her head, but most of the time I was wondering why the hell any of the other characters put up with her. 

And, I guess, that said, she is a woman being forced to marry during a time when women were considered property in a lot of ways, so who am I to judge, really? However, she was still a bit much for me. 

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a copy of this book.
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Ok. This was super cute and hilarious… for the most part.

Valentinian Gervase Lancaster Layton, Duke of Malvern, Marquess of Ashbrook, Viscount Summersby, Viscount Cheverell aka Valentine is betrothed to Arabella Tarleton since childhood. But he’s never forced the issue, indeed he doesn’t see himself getting married to any woman and treats the betrothal to defend against any other eligible women from approaching him. However, he needs to get married, he’s a Duke after all. It is his duty. And considering the marriage to Arabella a forgone conclusion, intimates her that they are getting married. Ofcourse, that leaves Arabella, a spirited, imaginative with only one option- flee.

Now Valentine and Arabella’s fabulously gay twin brother, Bonny must chase Arabella all across the countryside and bring her back. Bonny would take his pleasures wherever he can. And Valentine is shocked to find out, there are other ways of life! (Frankly, I think he’d be clutching his pearls of he has any on) And why does he feel irritated by Bonny’s dalliances and flirtation with others?

This was so cute. I was constantly shaking my head at the Duke and laughing uproariously at Bonny’s antics. The banter is fluid. And the characters are endearing and well fleshed out. The only character I probably didn’t love was Arabella. She’s too flighty, dramatic and selfish. But she provides ample opportunities for conflict and hilarious situations. So I am inclined to forgive her. I was engrossed reading the whole book, except somewhere towards the end. I can’t put my finger on why but it felt a little dragged on. However, the ending recovers the story well.

And the way they keep arguing about fictional characters, I’d have picked this book up based on those excerpts alone.❤️
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ALEXIS HALL WRITES DELIGHTFUL BOOKS. But in case you're wanting more information, read this book for its:

- demisexual hero
- sunshiney love interest
- road trip vibes (in curricles and carriages)
- one and only bed
- sexual awakening moments
- honey bees
- valet named Periwinkle

If you don't mind ridiculous, over the top antics, this book will definitely make you smile so much your cheeks ache. I flew through it in less than 24 hours because I loved Valentine and Bonny so much.
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This book was a fun escape.  I LOVED Valentine and Bonny - they were such great, endearing main characters.  The story was unique but predictable.  However, I found myself getting pretty bored throughout.  There was so much potential here with what the author calls a "big gay regency romp about a overly dramatic beautiful rainbow sunshine unicorn + a overly dramatic demisexual grumpy duke, going on a cross-country chase." I love regency romances and the grumpy duke is one of my favorite tropes but I just found myself not that eager to get back to it, but I did LOVE the characters. 

*Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an advanced copy.
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Erin’s Take
Heat Factor: I don’t think I’ve ever read (highly enthusiastic) rimming as the first interlude, and it was a refreshing change of pace 

Character Chemistry: In its essentials, the grumpy one is soft for the sunshine one. Or, rather, the rigid one is soft for the free spirited one. 

Plot: A very bad proposal of marriage leads to a road trip of personal discovery

Overall: I laughed, I cried, I laughed some more, and then I sighed with happiness

Holly’s Take
Heat Factor: Unexpectedly explicit about arseholes

Character Chemistry: Utterly irritating, utterly captivated

Plot: Valentine finds himself the villain in a gothic novel

Overall: I found the silly first half a slog, but my heart went pitter-pat in the end

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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I had a good time reading but the writing was a little bit too much for me. If you wanna funny and cute romance, this one is for you!
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Alexis Hall can do no wrong for me! This writing was over the top and dramatic, which might not be for everyone but I loved it. Hall's dry sense of humor shines!!
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This is described as a campy romp, which it is. It's HILARIOUS in parts. I can't remember the last time I busted out guffawing this much at a book. It's also so touching and tender and validating -- it contains multitudes. It is about exploring to find your true self, uncovering incorrect assumptions, and freeing yourself from external expectations. It's a literal journey across the countryside and also a journey of self discovery. And, it contains such queer joy that my heart is bursting with happiness. I hope you can tell I loved this.
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In Something Fabulous, Alexis Hall utilized their trademark wit, over the top storytelling, and a healthy dose of fun making this book a great weekend read.

I found myself being a bit... addicted to the book, which I didn't foresee. I seriously couldn't put it down! The plot is so much fun, and the writing so ridiculous which made for a unique reading experience. 

I did find the characters to be a bit annoying at times; Bonny is written kind of immaturely, which made it hard for me to like him. Valentine was my favorite character, but Bonny was honestly badgering him a lot, and I didn't love them together.
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Ok, I would be lying if I said that there was banter here that did not make me laugh out loud. I did laugh out loud quite a few times reading this. It is so ridiculous that it is hilarious at times. That said, while I was fairly amused, I did not quite connect with it. I think this may be because Bonny and Belle are fairly unlikable, and really I did not want Bonny to end up with Valentine because I thought Valentine deserved better.

I mean, the ending is incredibly sweet and I also would be lying if I said it did not bring a smile to my face but... Valentine deserved better. That is my stance and I am sticking with it. I mean, I am all for ridiculous characters and over-the-top situations, but not at the expense of treating a perfectly nice character poorly.

Thank you to Netgalley and Montlake for this read in exchange for an honest review. It was amusing if somewhat disappointing.
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