Cover Image: Something Fabulous

Something Fabulous

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This book was absolutely DELIGHTFUL and so overabundantly queer and magnificently campy and I adored it so freaking much. From our two leads, one absolutely radiant and magical gay, to our primary hero, a grumpy and incredibly repressed demi-sexual, to a sapphic couple and a sarcastic gender-fluid little dream, I absolutely loved these characters. 

Somehow, Alexis Hall managed to take a hero like Valentine, who was rude and brash and selfish, and make you fall in love with him because while he was rude and brash and selfish, he wasn't truly rude and brash and selfish, he was just a Duke who didn't know he was allowed to be anything other than that and allowed to be himself while still also being a Duke. And he didn't know that his feelings were perfectly fine and normal and he didn't know that not everything is black and white and he didn't know any other way to be, until he met Bonny. And boy oh boy did Bonny light Valentine's perspective on life on fire and then throw it in the sky with about a million fireworks and a ticker tape parade. 

This book was that absolutely hilarious dry kind of funny that had you giggling, but it was also very tender at moments, and from start to finish, I was smiling even if I was crying. And yes, I did cry. A few times. Something Fabulous was truly silly and over exaggerated, but that's what makes it so much fun. It laughed at itself, while also making you FEEL so many THINGS and then you realize it's ridiculous but you still love it and I'm rambling again but my goodness this book was so much fun. These characters just ARE and their sexuality just IS and there is no apologizing and nothing deeper than that and there didn't need to be. It was a beautiful example of why own voices authors are so important, and it was a beautiful example of how to live your best and happiest damn life by being unapologetically, and in Bonny's case, LOUDLY, you.  

The ONLY thing that held me back in this entire book was Belle. I wanted to love her, truly I did, but some moments with her just hurt my heart and not in a good way because, while we understand towards the end the "why" of it all, the lengths she goes to in order to prevent any of everything from happening was borderline maddening and I grew increasingly frustrated with her. We didn't get enough time with her for her to be a bit more than 2-dimensional (unlike Bonny and Valentine who we spent immense time with and grew to love and know and care for), and with this book, primarily, being one POV, and seeing how desperately she was torturing Valentine along the way, it made it difficult to see her perspective on, well, anything. 

This book was so much fun, though. I'm still laughing thinking about the bee and the pigeon and Periwinkle and the teasing and the frogspawn and I am absolutely in love with so many of these characters and I hope to everything that is good in this world that you do, too. 

[Thank you to the publisher for my review copy!]
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I'll keep this short and sweet: it was a complete miss for me, but there's definitely an audience for it. I DNF'd because I was clearly not the right reader for it - it's more ridiculous and LGBTQ-centric than anticipated - so I won't be leaving a formal review.
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DRC provided by Montlake via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Representation: queer demisexual demiromantic white protagonist, gay white deuteragonist, queer white tertiary characters, queer non-binary tertiary character, lesbian white tertiary character. 

Content Warning: mentions of parental death, violence, anxiety. 

Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall is a charming, hilarious, historical novel, the romantic and comedic alternative to a high-speed chase, full of adventures, heart-warming and introspective moments and hysterical hijinks. 

Valentine Layton wants to do right by his father and the friendship his family maintained with the Tarletons by marrying Arabella. After years of no seeing each other, Valentine finally decides to formalise their engagement and asks for her hand in matrimony in the most nefarious of ways and this is what sends Arabella running up the hills to escape Valentine and his absurd proposal. Together with Arabella’s charming twin, Bonaventure, Valentine will begin a chase for the woman that will help him discover a lot about himself. 

This was only my second time reading Alexis Hall’s writing, but I can tell without any doubt that he is going to become one of my favourites very soon. I want to read Boyfriend Material before inducting him (officially) into my personal literary Hall of Fame though. 

Something Fabulous was exactly what the title anticipated: something fabulous and an uproarious (and all the other synonyms for hilarious) romance which caught my heart and pressed it until all the juicy feelings flowed out and converged into the puddle I became when I finished this book. Because, while definitely comedic, the novel did not lack all the emotions one (or at least I) could expect from a romance novel, that thrilling roller-coaster of sensations and the beautiful resolution (plus all the fun steamy scenes). 

Probably predictable, but Bonny was the shiniest star in the firmament that this novel represented. He exuded so much queer joy, I managed to get happy by osmosis. While Bonaventure was definitely my favourite, I loved each and every character Alexis created. Furthermore, I was especially delighted by Alexis’ inclusion of demisexuality and demiromanticism in the text. 

Something Fabulous is undoubtedly a book I whole-heartedly recommend, particularly if you are looking for a very joyous reading experience set in rural England (Regency era).
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Valentine is supposed to marry Arabella. It's what their fathers wanted. So when he proposes, he can't really fathom why she's so against the idea. Yet she doesn't refuse, exactly, so he considers them engaged. Until the next morning, when Arabella's twin brother, Bonny, tells him she's run away. Presumably to America. So Valentine and Bonny try to catch up with her before she can board a ship. On the road, a friendship develops between them. Will Valentine realize in time that Bonny is the one he belongs with, and convince Arabella she has nothing to fear from him?

This adventure romance is a hilariously funny romp. There's a lot of physical humor and misunderstandings, but mostly Valentine, a pampered duke, is just clueless about how things work in the real world. His people skills are not the best. His logical approach to life contrasts sharply with the romantic outlooks of Bonny and Arabella, who are just as clueless about the real world but in a different way. Be prepared, this is a long book, but worth the time.

Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.
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Something fabulous is an over the top trope-tastic screwball comedy that romps along with great banter and a relatable hero in Valentine. 

While putatively a Regency I found the language and attitudes relatively modern which will no doubt make it more accessible to the Bridgerton generation. If you are happy to throw away disbelief and just jump in and enjoy the ride it’s a fun trip with no real villains to ruin the day before the characters reach their happy ending. After the upheaval of the last few years Something Fabulous provides a great low angst escape from reality. Light and sweet this is a proper meringue of a story, possibly not for everyone however very entertaining and rather fabulous.
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It’s a big ole gay romp. There’s not much more to say than it’s an absolute delight. Something Fabulous tells the story of Valentine who is betrothed to Arabella who doesn’t want to marry him so she runs away. Arabella’s twin brother Bonny insists that Valentine join him on the search for Arabella and the pair develop feelings for one another. That’s it. That’s the entire book. It’s low stakes, low angst, and just a wonderful read.

Alexis’s writing style is so filled with humor that reading his books are just fun. The sarcasm and general humor in this book had me snorting with laughter. I absolutely loved both Valentine and Bonny and didn’t want their story to end. I loved that pretty much everyone the pair ran into on their chase was also queer. I was pleased to find that this was not a closed door romance. I didn’t want the book to end. I can see myself rereading this one.
Thank you to NetGalley and Montlake for the ARC.
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**Received review copy** 
This book is a fucking delight.   It is part romp, part soul searching, part road trip & forced proximity. 
Bonny is the absolute most. I adored him from the moment he saunters onto the page. His life has been rather confined but he has found a way to thrive. He is smart and funny and very sure if who he is.  He is not ashamed of anything he wants or who he is.  
Valentine is a Duke. He’ll tell you so at every event. He believes in duty and expectations and how things are meant to be done.  There is only black and white.  He has never heard of grey.  He’s not particularly attracted to anyone but knows society expects a marriage. He is a Duke after all. 
Watching Bonny unravel Mr Darcy, I mean Valentine was just a delight.   I have read a more uptight hero who is so unaware.  He has no idea what attraction is or how it works. He never comes across as uptight as much as he is just completely unaware.  It is a depiction of an ace character that I’m not sure I've seen before. 
I must admit that I do not like Belle at all. She is the worst kind of drama queen and I hope that Peggy finds happiness elsewhere. Belle is a brat who only cares about what she wants and runs roughshod over everyone else.   I was sort of hoping she would accidentally get shot or just disappear. 
Although I hope there will be more stories involving theses characters, I am not hoping that Belle gets an HEA. I’d rather she get a swift kick in her flower.
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I loved the journey for these characters but the journey did verge on the ridiculous in some parts. I loved Valentine and Bonny and was so happy with the conclusion. But for how long it took for the characters to get there, the conclusion wrapped up rapidly and it left me wanting a bit more.
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this was very cute and very enjoyable! I read 80% of this book in one sitting, it was very addicting. there's basically no plot, nothing major was going on, but that didn't really matter because the characters were amazing. I laughed out loud so many times. I adored Bonny as a character, he's so incredibly funny oh my god. and our main character, Valentine, ohmygods. he's demisexual 🥺🥺. I loved to see that representation!! while I thought the novel was enjoyable and funny, it wasn't anything really special and I think it could have been a lot shorter. but overall I really liked it!
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4 stars

 Something Fabulous is many things - over-the-top, fluffy, quirky, sexy, fun - and I loved it for every single one of those reasons.

This was my first Alexis Hall book and LET ME TELL YOU, it will not be my last. I was just absolutely enamored by his incredibly humorous voice throughout this book and I am kicking myself that I haven't prioritized some of his backlist books that I have been sitting on my TBR. The fact that he is planning on writing quite a few more queer historical romances makes my heart very, very happy indeed!

Did I occasionally think that the plot got a tad repetitive during the road trip portion? Yes. Did I wish that the third-act conflict had been moved up so we could have gotten a longer ending with Bonny and Valentine? Yes. However, in the end, that didn't matter to me because I was enjoying the ride through this sunshine-filled world that Hall created. If you're looking for a romance to chase those winter blues away, I think Something Fabulous should definitely be on that list.

Thank you to NetGalley and Montlake for an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review!
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QOTD: What is the last book that had you laughing?! 
SOMETHING FABULOUS is one of those books that I picked up and finished in one day. It was hilarious and well written. Alexis Hall writes a character driven novel that has you caring about every single person. Hall allows readers to journey into the countryside and witness fights and meadow side love stories. This novel drops TUESDAY and is one I will recommend for many. 

Duke Valentine has come to marry Arabella, as both families wished years ago. The issue? Arabella has refused and run away with her best friend. 
Her brother, Bonny, has refused to let her be captured by pirates or run away to America! The option? Persuade Valentine to travel and find Arabella, setting her mind straight. 
So becomes the journey between Duke and Bonny, racing across countryside. Valentine NEEDS to find her for his reputation. But what he realizes is that maybe he isn't truly meant to be with her.... maybe he's meant to he with someone... more fabulous. 
Thank you Montlake publishing and @netgalley for this arc in exchange for my opinion! All thoughts are my own.
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This was a very fun  regency romp - Hall's voice and humor came through so well in this style of book.
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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
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Readers looking for romance, mad cap adventure and boundless misunderstandings set in Regency England will enjoy Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall.  Valentine is the stuffy, reserved Duke of Malvern who sets out to "do his duty" by proposing to Miss Arabella Tarleton who has been living in Surrey with her beloved twin brother Bonaventure aka Bonny.  It was the dying wish of his father that they marry so he can merge the two families. This will also provide Arabella and her brother financial security as they have been orphans since they were children.  However, it has been years since he has seen either sibling and things do not go well. When Arabella runs away in the night, Bonny and Valentine set out to bring her home. Adventures ensue, mostly at the expense of the Duke.  I really enjoyed the development of Valentine's character throughout the book as he learns what it means to be more than a Duke but a human. While I can sympathize with the frustrations of Arabella's character, her antics became increasingly annoying and I don't really feel like she ever redeemed herself. I loved Bonny and his strong belief in himself, his honesty about his sexuality and his determination to find love and unwillingness to bend on what he wanted.  This was a delightful romp! Thanks to NetGalley for the book.
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This was, in fact, a chaotic and fabulous book, full of nothing but vibes.

I absolutely loved all of the representation, and while it was a little slow to start for me (the writing style/voice took a few chapters for me to settle into) it was an easy story to get sucked into, even if the pacing was all over the place. If you're looking for something completely over-the-top and dramatic, but in a humorous way, this is for you! There were many times when it felt like too much for me, but every now and then there would be the most sincere and soul-deep phrases that pulled it back. I think I would have really enjoyed this story more if it hadn't been for Arabella. I'm sorry, I have to say it, I could not stand her. I'm not saying her feelings aren't justified, but no. She took things too far and it pulled me away from the story and from Bonny and Valentine!

I think in the end I would have preferred this to be a fun romp of a novella, rather than a full-length novel because I was really ready for it to be over at the end, which is never a feeling you want to have while reading! However, I know I'm probably thinking too hard about it, and I know so many people will be delighted by it! It was definitely an experience, I can say that!
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I unfortunately ended up having to DNF Something Fabulous.

I don’t know if it was the writing style or if it was because it felt a bit like nonsense.

I found myself skimming and not really enjoying the story so I’ve decided to shelve this for now.

I may try it again in the future when I’m more in the mood for something silly.
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Alexis Hall is a fantastic writer and I've enjoyed this fun historical romp! I really love the grumpy/sunshine trope and both Bonny and Valentine fit it so well. I definitely enjoyed the goose chase around Surrey this book took us on and can't wait to read what Alexis Hall writes next!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an arc for an honest review!
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The banter is incredible and so so funny. The relationship builds up so nicely and the fact that the duke begs, omg I can't. Sometimes the sister annoyed me and the roadtrip problems were insane. Loved Bonny so much, he's perfect.
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If you’re looking for an historical romance with a complex plot, serious characters and a bucket-load of angst, then move right along, because Alexis Hall’s Something Fabulous isn’t it.  If, however, you’re up for a frivolous romp through Regency England bubbling with wit and brilliant comic timing that, for all its ridiculous trope-y-ness, contains an achingly tender story of self-discovery, then dive right in.

The book opens with a delightfully – although somewhat more barbed - Heyer-esque proposal-gone-wrong in which Valentine Layton, Duke of Malvern, has decided it’s time to honour his late father’s wishes and become formally betrothed to Miss Arabella Tarleton, who has been intended for him since birth.  Miss Tarleton, however, has no intention of accepting Valentine’s proposal and makes that clear in no uncertain terms:

“There is no fashion, Your Grace, in which you could propose that would render it anything other than profoundly repugnant to me.”

Valentine is both astonished and affronted.  A refusal is something he had never remotely considered – after all, what impoverished young woman wouldn’t want to secure her future and that of her family by marrying a wealthy, young and handsome duke?

Later that night – or rather, in the early hours of the morning – Valentine (having made liberal use of the brandy bottle) is awoken by Arabella’s twin brother, Bonaventure – Bonny for short – who informs him that Arabella has run away and that they should go after her so Valentine can save her from ruin and propose again.  And that he’d better make a good job of it this time.  Valentine is not keen; it’s not that he doesn’t want to retrieve his wayward intended, he just doesn’t want to go without due thought or preparation. Or his valet.  Bonny, however, is something of a force of nature, and won’t take no for an answer, so before long, Valentine is being hurried along and into a curricle wearing a coat borrowed from the assistant gardener and a hastily tied – courtesy of Bonny – cravat.

That’s the set up for the fluffiest, silliest and most outrageously charming road-trip / grumpy-sunshine romance I’ve read in quite some time. (Or ever.) It doesn’t take itself seriously – even though it does have some serious points to make – and focuses entirely on the relationship between Valentine and Bonny, and on Valentine’s journey towards reaching a deeper self-awareness, understanding  how attraction works for him and that being seen and loved for who he is as a person is not impossible.

The writing is deft and insightful with plenty of clever nods to the genre, the dialogue sparkles and the two leads are superbly characterised.  Valentine, the repressed, dutiful duke has no idea of his own privilege but is somehow endearing in his cluelessness;  he’s deeply lonely but doesn’t realise it, and he has very little experience of sexual attraction until Bonny, and the sudden wealth of feelings that assail him when Bonny is around completely blindside him. Watching Valentine slowly learn that he is allowed to have feelings, that he can feel attraction and affection - and the way Bonny accepts him exactly as he is and without question - is simply lovely.  As for Bonny, well, he’s just adorable; free-spirited,  vibrant, charming and kind, he’s not ashamed of who he is and what he wants, and isn’t willing to settle for anything less than to be loved in the way he loves – with his whole heart and soul.

There’s a small, but well-drawn secondary cast. I particularly liked Peggy, Arabella’s best friend and some-time lover who is a welcome voice of reason in contrast to Arabella’s frequent and overblown histrionics, and Sir Horley, the rakish older gentleman with an eye on Bonny and a heart of gold.  As one would expect from an Alexis Hall book, the queer rep is varied and excellent;  Peggy is genderfluid, Sir Horley is gay,  I got the impression Arabella is aromantic, and there are two delightful ladies who are married in all but name.

Sadly, the book’s biggest flaw is Arabella.  I understood her frustration and where she was coming from – no legal rights, no right to an opinion, no rights over her own body, even – but rather than making the attempt to explain herself or just talk to Valentine, she screams and throws tantrums and melodramatic fits, she makes ridiculous and unfounded accusations and generally behaves like a spoilt brat.  If she’d been the heroine of a book, it would have hit the wall before the end of the first chapter!  It’s rare for me to have such a visceral reaction to a character in a book, but I honestly couldn’t stand her and felt sorry for Bonny having to put up with her all his life.  And this leads to my other issue with the story, which is that the catch-up-with-her/she’s-run-away-again is a bit repetitive – although I fully accept this may be because I so disliked Arabella that I just wanted her to run away and stay gone!

Other than that, however, Something Fabulous certainly lives up to its name.  It’s funny, sexy, daft and just a bit over the top, but it’s all done with obvious love and affection and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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This is such a fun and frothy regency romp! It's absolutely ridiculous in the best of ways. There is a diverse abundance of queer rep which always makes me happy, including a demisexual main character and a non-binary side character. 

**Received an eARC via NetGalley for Bonkers Book Club**
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