Member Reviews

DNF at 40%

I wanted to love this queertastic historic romance! But it just didn't work for me. Maybe it was too rom-com? Maybe it was that the plot seemed to depend solely on miscommunication? Maybe it was that Bonny and Peggy are the most interesting and they are relegated to supporting character status by the prose?

But I think mostly it was that Valentine is an idiot and kind of an ass for the entire boo. I don't understand why he doesn't know anything about anything... If there were other perspectives in the book I think I could have powered through but since it is entirely from Valentine and so far I hate him... I am going to call it.

Thank you to the author and publisher for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you so much, NetGalley and Montlake, for the chance to read and review this book in exchange of an honest review.

Valentine Layton is the Duke of Malvern and to follow his father's desire, he proposes to Miss Arabella Tarleton. But Arabella is romantic and growing up with novels and dreams pushes her not to accept a marriage of convenience and she escapes after Valentine's proposal.
Arabella's twin brother, Mr.Bonaventure "Bonny" Tarleton is also a romantic and he pushes Valentine to ride out after Arabella, proving he's not as she thinks he is. Convinced to chase Arabella, Valentine starts a chase to Dover with Bonny, but during their trip he starts to find the man more and more fascinating and beautiful, pushing him to question everything he thought he knew about himself and love.

I LOVED reading Boyfriend Material and I was over the moon when they accepted my request for reading Something Fabulous. It's AMAZING! Funny, brilliant, so well written and plotted and I loved everything.
Valentine and Bonny are very different from one other. While Valentine is introvert and reserved, Bonny is romantic, a bit overdramatic and so funny to read. Their interactions are my favourite part of the book, I laughed to much reading them and admiring how they slowly get to know one other, falling more and more for each other, Their romance is witty, moving and I loved everything.
I loved how they find, support, help and love one other and the story is so beautiful I wanna read it again right away.
I totally recommend this book!

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This book was absolutely a delight and I LOVED it. I knew after reading Boyfriend Material that this was going to be good, especially since it's a queer regency and I love queer regencies. But it surpassed my every expectation.

Was it over the top? Yes. Was it absolutely hilarious? Also yes. I highlighted no less than 58 passages as I was reading. Was it also surprisingly sweet? Also yes.

Valentine was exceedingly grumpy and tended toward the opposite of introspection, though he did eventually realize that he was demisexual and also gay. Bonny did not delude himself as to his sexuality but tended rather strongly toward the dramatic. Really he and his sister made quite the pair and were rather a trial for staid, determinedly practical Valentine.

Having nearly all the side characters be queer made this over-the-top story even more delightful, and made for plenty of comical 'of course they are' moments of realization for Valentine. I am here for unapologetically queer regency romance characters. Really there aren't enough of them.

Do you like Regency romance? Do you like queer romance? If yes, then do yourself a favor and read this. You'll thank me, once the hysterical laughter has subsided and you can breathe again. In case you need further enticement, Alexis Hall has described it as "Dude, Where's My Curricle," which is both hilarious and accurate.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Montlake for providing an e-arc for review.

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Something Fabulous is the kind of book you want to read when it's raining or you just had a bad week. It's the kind of book that will absolutely, one hundred precent make you feel better about everything in life. Even more than your usual romance, this is truly a remedy for your cold aching heart.
The greatest thing about Something Fabulous, though, is the LGBT experience. Or rather experiences. Because we have an mc who is deeply repressed and the whole book is basically about him discovering that yeah, he can fall in love with other man and no, there's nothing wrong with him not wanting to just hook up with strangers. But there's also the love interest who's a complete opposite of that. There's another achillean man who's a bit of a slut, but also has a heart of gold. There's an almost married sapphic couple. Another sapphic character who's not really all that much into romance. A character who we would describe as genderfluid probably, with our modern terms.
In a word, there's a lot! And all those characters have different background, live their queerness in different ways. Which is absolutely beautiful to see in a book, and especially in a historical fiction one. Frankly, there's like maybe one or two cishet characters who show up for half a chapter.
If you're looking for some angst, though; if you're looking for pacing that makes sense and is something that you're used to in romance novels; if you're looking for a story that will make you cry more than just happy tears - this is probably not a book for you. Because Something Fabulous is all fluff. If anything, it's a celebration of the LGBT community and the various ways in which we love.

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So basically at this point I will read anything that Alexis Hall writes. Every book she writes is different from the last and yet they are all amazingly adorable! This is the joyous Story of two men finding love in a time of unacceptance. Valentine and Bonny belong together and I was rooting for them almost immediately. This book was a joy to read. They were charming the pants off each other and me at the exact same time! And my only wish is that I have been given a chance to hear Bonny’s POV.

Thank you to #NetGalley For the ARC in exchange for an honest review

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Perfect for fans of:
- The grumpy meets sunshine trope
- Cheerful queer representation
- Laugh-out-loud banter
- Ridiculous shenanigans

If only classics were written as engaging and unputdownable as Alexis Hall’s Something Fabulous, then I wouldn’t have had to bullshit my way through so many essays in my Classic Lit uni seminars. Alas, while you won’t need to consult Sparknotes when picking up this book, you’ll need some dedicated reading time because Something Fabulous is a read-in-one-sitting-story if there ever was one.

Something Fabulous follows Valentine Layton, the reserved Duke of Malvern who’s betrothed to one twin and finds himself falling in love with the other. It was always his father’s hope that Valentine would marry Miss Arabella Tarleton. But unfortunately, that hope is squashed when Valentine realises that Arabella has no interest in a marriage of convenience and instead wants something Valentine shudders at: real romance. Desperate to get out of the impending nuptials, Arabella flees into the night. Arabella’s twin brother, Bonny Tarleton, unfortunately, has also grown up as quite the romantic. And fully expects Valentine to get up on that high horse of his to ride after Arabella and prove to her that he’s not as cold-hearted as he pretended to be during his horrid attempt at a proposal.

So suddenly, Valentine finds himself on a chase to Dover with Bonny as his companion. Bonny is unreasonable, aggravating, overdramatic and…well, quite beautiful. What starts as a chase after his betrothed turns into Valentine questioning everything he thought he knew about love and obligation—and might just end with him pursuing another Tarleton altogether.

The drama Hall delivers in this novel, oh my. You need to suspend your disbelief before starting this book but once you do, you’re good to go. All the crazy twists, the ‘shaking-your-head-because-oh-my-god-how-is-this-happening’ are literally the best part of Something Fabulous, next to the romance, of course. The amount of times I had to put this book down because I was tearing up from laughing when Bonny would say something that got Valentine’s knickers in a twist or someone ‘detained’ Valentine so he wouldn’t marry Belle which he didn’t even want to do is unreasonably high. Something Fabulous is so ridiculous but in the best possible way. Valentine really seems to stumble from one disaster into the next and a lot of that can be attributed to the way his foot just always lands in his mouth in the most inopportune of times. Yet you can’t really feel angry with him for long because just like Bonny, you kind of do see why Valentine has such a hard time expressing himself and it’s as endearing as it is infuriatingly frustrating. Reading this book, you kind of want to roll up a newspaper and thwack Valentine over the head with it but you also see why he is the way he is and suddenly you want to wrap him in a blanket and that might not sound like the perfect comfort character to you, but to me he certainly was.

Also, the romance. THE ROMANCE (Yes, this needed all caps, I’m sorry). I loved all the discussions around sexuality and society’s expectations. While Bonny is very open and honest about being attracted to men, he also shows his vulnerable side to Valentine and doesn’t shy away from pointing out how hard it can be to find like-minded people. While I like to think that we’ve made some strides concerning this topic in today’s society, I’m also well aware as a part of the LGBTQIAP+ community that there is still a lot of prejudice and danger around when it comes to trusting someone with this part of your identity. While Valentine doesn’t just put one foot in his mouth (honestly, there aren’t enough feet in the world when it comes to that) when he discusses Bonny’s and even his own sexuality, there’s also this underlying sense of yearning to be and do better, to be supportive in the right way and my heart went out to him for that. It’s not about getting it right the first time so much as listening and learning, and most of all becoming better. And Hall definitely showed this progression in Something Fabulous, which I adored.

Speaking of things I adored, Bonny and Valentine’s banter will forever live in my head rent free. Bonny is adorable, incredibly witty and honestly a cinnamon roll. There are no other words for it. Imagine the most wholesome person you can and double that, and you still wouldn’t even be close to Bonny. And then you get to see Bonny literally charm the pants off of grumpy Valentine who’s so set in his ways and thinks he has this duty to his father’s legacy and it’s just the most fun you can have watching him realise that none of that matters when it comes to having Bonny in his life—and at his side for the rest of it.

Also, can I get a hallelujah for some lovely demisexual rep? I loved how Valentine grappled with his sexuality, even before realising that he had feelings for Bonny. Societal pressures really do a number on Valentine and I loved how supportive Bonny was when it came to Valentine opening up about his fears of not being “enough” for anyone. My heart melted watching these two find their way to each other, especially considering all the misunderstandings, the bee incident (you’re not ready for it, believe me), and the hurdles they have to jump. Honestly, this is the top tier of grumpy meets sunshine trope.

We also get incredible side-characters like Belle, who, yes, I wanted to strangle sometimes but like, with love, and her snarky genderfluid friend, not to mention sapphic ladies (to whom Valentine is so incredibly oblivious that I was the embodiment of the cry-laughing emoji) and a man with a…very interesting hunting lodge. Honestly, there didn’t seem to be a character that wasn’t slightly queer and yet there was never any negativity about it, despite the time this story was set in. Of course, Valentine grapples with some internalised queerphobia, but other than that, everyone seemed to be “in on the joke” that really, no one is as straight as they have to pretend to be and I was living for it.

Also, if all of that didn’t convince you, let me just say that it’s impossible to read this book without having a huge grin plastered to your face the entire time, so keep that in mind when adding this to your TBR.

Whether you’re a long-time fan of historical romance or a total newbie, Something Fabulous is guaranteed to leave you in stitches and clutching your chest dramatically as you follow reserved duke Valentine trying to honour his obligation to marry a suitable woman—while falling in love with her twin brother. Hilarious, gloriously overdramatic and unputdownable, Something Fabulous needs to be on anyone’s shelf who’s looking for a comfort read that’s one hell of a good time.

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I am a huge fan of Alexis Hall but for some reason, this book did not work for me. I have absolutely no idea as to why. It's quirky. and I love quirky. But that's about it. That's all I've got.

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Okay, so I must confess- when I grabbed this book, I didn't realize it would be historical fiction. And they seem to be written a little fancier than my usual romances. So it took me a couple chapters to adjust, and once I did I settled into the flow.

This was funny AND made me cry. Bonny and his twin are so dramatic and over the top. Valentine is at times just unlikeable, straight up. But when he gives in, he's so loveable. This was honestly filled with so many interesting characters and the whole story was an adventure. There was a chase, and a duel, and storms and so many fun things. It was a very entertaining love story. While I still don't see myself reaching for a lot of historical romances in the future, this one did sweep me off my feet.

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What a delight this book was! I read another book by Alexis Hall in the past, Boyfriend Material, and totally loved it.
This one was also so good, but it's no surprise to me since I love historical romance books. This one has a very original spin, since the main character, Valentine, is promised to Arabella Tartleton in marriage, only to fall in love with her quirky twin brother, Bonny.

The premise was so interesting, and I'm so excited to read more LGBTQIA+ historical romance novels, and this totally slayed in my opinion. I also loved the representation and the characters very much. I have to admit at the beginning I was not the biggest fan of the humor, hence my four stars, it was a bit too much for my tastes, but going on with the book I found myself caring so much about the character and their lives.
Valentine and Bonny were definitely my favourite, and I think they had an amazing character development. Valentine was the one who certainly had the best growth out of all the characters, but Bonny was the one who stole my heart. He was so inclined to dream and put love above all, he really warmed my heart.

I liked Peggy just fine, and in the end I even begin to care a bit about Arabella, a character I could not stand for half of the book (almost the entirety of it, to be honest).
Also, Hall's writing style is one I really enjoy, I tend to really devour his books, and that certainly put him in my list of auto-read authors.

If you like adult historical romances you should definitely pick this one up!

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If you love banter heavy Alexis Hall with hilarious back and forth and swoony leads, you'll absolutely love this. I lol'd a lot and coudn't get enough!

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This read was a bit of a peaks and valleys situation for me. How I was feeling when this book started was not how I felt all throughout but definitely by the end I had come back around so many times that I ended on the same note I began. Which is to say.. it was fine.

“<i>You doubt my capacity? How infirm do you think I am?</i>“
“<b>I never said you were infirm. You’re very firm. Almost.. excessively firm, really.</b>“
“<i>I understand you’re trying to be reassuring, but stop it at once.</i>“

But there was so much greatness in and around the fine-ness.

What really ruined this for me was our male love interest’s sister, the one Valentine, our protagonist, is meant to be marrying. While we do — riiiight near the end — get some general insight as to what is driving her, beyond the obvious, to avoid this marriage, I’ll admit.. the damage had long been done. She was just too frustrating and ridiculous and dramatic and honestly I was glad we didn’t have more scenes with her than we did.

“<i>I’m relieved that one of you at least is blessed with some modicum of sense.</i>“
“<b>I mean, she could be captured by pirates or highwaymen or.. or vampires or anything.</b>”
“<i>Forgive me, I spoke prematurely.</i>”

Whereas Valentine, our Duke, for all that he was seemingly in the wrong.. I didn’t think he deserved half his bad rep? He broke my heart more often than not. Maybe that’s the benefit of having his perspective vs the others but honestly he didn’t deserve the half of it.

The twin, Bonny, well. He was a slowburn warm up, at least for me. I was tickled by his early interactions and then just mildly tolerant but overall I did enjoy him. He was definitely the right amount of outlandish sunshine-y silliness to Valentine’s.. well, Valentine.

“<i>I can’t believe you like me</i>.”
“<b>If it’s any consolation, neither can I.</b>“

I will warn you that this is a bit ridiculous, a lot of camp, even some satire. Hall deploys all the usual tropes with a twist while also making this historical incredibly and enthusiastically, and unabashedly, queer. But heavy emphasis on the silly and ridiculous. Just know that going in.

I wish I had loved this a little more but Belle honestly did too much damage to my sanity to rate this higher. But. The good times? Were great. As was most of the banter. I’m not at all mad about the time I spent with this one. I don’t quite know if it’s to be a series, not GR definitely lists a “one” next to the series, so I’m keen to see who we would read about next. But if it’s Belle’s story.. well. Maybe not.

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Gay. Regency. Romance. Say no more - 3 words that make me want to drop everything and read! I am a big fan of Alexis Hall, I read Boyfriend Material and loved it and Something Fabulous was nothing different.

Alexis is such a fun and witty writer, I love how quickly the books go by. (I mean I guess I also kind of hate it because I want them to last longer, but you get the point.) I feel like the foray into regency makes a lot of sense, and I can’t wait to read more.

Bonny and Valentine are such a fun pairing as well. I never get old of the grumpy sunshine pairing as well as the classic over the top-ness by the members of the tonne or peerage or whatever they called Dukes back then. I read the books for the steam, not the historical accuracy - forgive me.

Thanks to Montlake for the ARC, and congratulations to Alexis on another fantastic book.

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Something Fabulous is utterly ridiculous in the best possible way. A gloriously queer regency romp for the ages.

love, sex, friendship, kindness, laughter: they were all stars to be strung in constellations of your own making

Something Fabulous follows Valentine, the reserved and uptight Duke of Malvern, who goes on a cross-country hunt for his fiancee, Arabella, who flees after his proposal. He’s joined by Arabella’s twin brother, Bonny Tarleton, who’s unabashedly himself in every way - cunning, flirtatious, a hopeless romantic. Everything that Valentine isn’t. Together, they get into insane situations that leave Valentine questioning who he has become…and who he wants to be.

Something Fabulous is truly a gem and I feel so lucky to have read it early (many thanks to Montlake and Netgalley for the arc). It's one of the easiest 5 stars I've given this year. It’s over the top ridiculous, full of fun cliches and an overabundance of heart. I found myself laughing aloud the entire time, while reveling in the complex emotions and thoughts carefully laid out. I rarely highlight or make notes while reading, but I couldn’t help myself from highlighting lines the entire book - just so I could go back in time and remember how I was feeling in that moment.

If you’ve been around me for any period of time, you know that the grumpy x sunshine trope is one of my absolute favorites and Hall executes it masterfully here. It’s truly one of the best interpretations I’ve seen. Bonny Tarleton quickly became one of my favorite characters of all time. He is a bouquet of sunflowers disguised as a man and I couldn’t love him more. I love how he’s unashamed to be himself, but he also encourages Valentine to come out of his shell - to be the man that he knows he can be. And Valentine…this grumpy, demisexual disaster. He’s so naive and unaware of the world around him…and unaware of just how lonely he’s become. With Bonny’s help, Valentine begins to blossom like the flower he is into such a complex and character. Their relationship is beautifully captured, giving us explorations of every facet of one’s identity and purpose, and it was truly lovely to experience.

I haven’t read many books with demisexual leads and I absolutely love how it was presented here. Valentine is also a virgin with absolutely no experience and I truly appreciate how that didn’t deter Bonny from loving him. The love scenes are written with so much compassion and heart (which is truly a testament to Hall’s ability), but they still maintain that sense of over-the-top joy that I adore about this book.

The side characters are also a lot of fun. Belle was…a handful…and I didn’t personally relate or like her as much, but I appreciated her perspective. Peggy, Sir Horley, Miss Fairfax, and Miss Evans were absolute joys to read about and fleshed out this world.

Also, let’s just say that there’s a scene where Valentine runs away away from Bonny because there’s a bee…that I may or may not relate to from past experience.

I loved this book from the very first page. So much so that I pre-ordered a physical copy less than 40% in. It quickly became one of my favorite reads of the year, which is impressive given that I completed it in late December.

In Something Fabulous, Alexis Hall further proves himself to be a powerhouse in the literary world. There are few people who could pull off a story like this and it’s a testament to his writing ability that Something Fabulous doesn’t come across as ingenuous. Alexis Hall is one of my favorite people on social media, full stop. His voice is so distinctive and comforting that you feel like you’re being wrapped in a blanket from the very first line. I cannot wait to add this book to my re-read repertoire and further dive into Hall’s backlist.

Read this book. Read it if you’re feeling down, or if you’re on top of the world. It’s genuinely so much fun and I can’t wait until the rest of the world can experience it.

There was something, he was beginning to think, a little terrifying about someone who could be at once so indomitable and so fragile.

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Something Fabulous was a delightful 18th century adventure around England filled with such wonderfully-described joy (and some heartbreak, naturally). I loved how simple plot was, giving every main and side character to really shine. I wish the ending wasn't so abrupt, but sequels would easily rectify that - I need more Valentine and Bonny in my life.

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Thank you so much to Montlake and Netgalley for providing an e-arc copy! All thoughts and opinions are still my own.

I absolutely adore Alexis Hall and was so excited to see that they were writing a historical romance! This was such an adorable and laugh out loud funny addition to the genre and I really hope they write more in the future.

I have a few mixed feelings about this book so I'm going to break this into what I loved and what I didn't.

What I Loved

1. This book is hilarious. There were so many moments that had me laughing out loud. The banter was fantastic and there was just so much charm and wit to the dialogue and writing style. This book didn't take itself too seriously and it was just so much fun to read!

2. The way this book discussed gender and sexuality was perfection and honestly so refreshing for the genre. I loved this queer cast of characters and this discussions Alexis Hall had throughout this book.

3. The romance was everything I wanted. This has a fantastic opposites attract, grumpy/sunshine romance that you won't be able to help but fall for. These 2 have so much chemistry and I really loved them together.

What I Didn't Love

1. It got to be a little repetitive. I could have done with a couple less scenes of them "catching" the sister. But part of that may be because....

2. I really couldn't stand Arabella... I'm sorry but she was unbearable. While I understood where she was coming from at times, she was too outrageous and unreasonable for me. I grew really frustrated with her character by the end because I just couldn't understand why she wouldn't just explain how she was feeling. Rather than acting like a petulant child (sorry...)

But despite that, I really enjoyed this historical romance! Alexis Hall always writes hilarious romances full of fantastic characters and timely themes. And this was no exception! If you want a refreshing, queer take on historical romance, full of duels, carriage chases, and laugh out loud banter, definitely pick this book up!

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Regency Romp…
Delightfully wry, entertaining Regency Romp with well drawn characters that leap nicely from the page and a galloping, pleasing storyline. An entertaining, lighthearted parody. Much fun to be had.

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This book was an absolute joy to read from start to finish. A hilarious regency romp with a beautiful, tender romance at its heart. I loved Valentine as a main character--I laughed at him, I hated him, I loved him. He broke my heart with how lonely and lost he was in the beginning, but it only made his journey with Bonny more satisfying. Does not get much better than this.

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**I was provided an electronic ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for honest review.**

Actual rating: 4.5

Alexis Hall returns with Something Fabulous, a Regency era romantic comedy that is unrepentantly ridiculous, hilarious, and utterly gay. Readers follow Valentine, a Duke who has come to make good on his arranged betrothal to Arabella Tarleton. Arabella has other plans in mind and when she flees into the countryside, her twin, Bonaventure called Bonny, alerts Valentine to the situation. Bonny and Valentine have no choice to pursue Arabella with the hope of stopping her before she leaves England, and if they fall in love with each other along the way then that just adds to the adventure.

Hall has such clever, witty writing in all of his works. I have found this to be especially true for this type of period writing. Not only does Hall manage to write in ways that are smart, but he also manages to make you care about the characters and is truly funny as well. Certainly, humor is subjective and often goes wrong, but this variety of humor was exactly what I needed. Hall employed so many tropes characteristic of historical romance and wrote them well. Despite how funny and entertaining the book was as a whole, Hall did not sacrifice chemistry between the characters or the connection between them for the sake of the humor. The open communication between Bonny and Valentine was lovely to read and clear when it counted.

Fans of KJ Charles and Cat Sebastian are likely to love Something Fabulous as well. I already came into Something Fabulous as a fan of Hall's and it was such a joy to have the opportunity to read his newest work early. I will, of course, be looking forward to whatever Hall puts out next.

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Oh this was such a delightful romp! A Regency road-trip for the ages. Historical romance is the perfect vehicle to deploy Alexis Hall's comedic voice. It's bonkers, at times absurd, over the top in the very best way, and just the right amount of haughty. There is such great queer representation and conversation during a time where so much of the vocabulary we have today was not available. Valentine is the perfect grump to Bonny's sunshine. I love Hall's focus on privilege and heteronormativity and how it related so much to Valentine's initial confusion and eventual self discovery. There were so many fantastic, colorful side characters to love too. Something fabulous is tender and chaotic and meaningful and swoony and wonderful and I absolutely loved it.

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I wanted to like this book a lot more, but I unfortunately did not. I loved the fact that it is a historical romance that features lots of LGBTQIA+ characters, it was definitely an aspect that I very much appreciated. What didn't work for me where some of the characters, especially Belle, who I could not stand for the life of me. But the thing that really didn't get me was the humor, it was a bit silly for my taste and it's not the kind of humor I enjoy, unfortunately it did influence negatively my reading experience.
I would surely read more by Alexis Hall in the future, this just wasn't the book I was expecting it to be.

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