Cover Image: Something Fabulous

Something Fabulous

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Member Reviews

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™
-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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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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