Do you know how much sitting down with a book and not being able to put it down A Joyfully Jay review 5 starsHow is it a story about a half fae and his vampire boyfriend can be so wholesome Not only is Darren adorable, but he manages to be charming and sweet and good Vlad may not be Prince Charming, but he has some smooth moves, such as coming to visit bearing chocolate after Darren mentions it in passing as a wonderful way to start a relationship, though he s talking about an almost boyfriend from when he was thirteen Darren is a little oblivious and Vlad is a little subtle fortunately, though, Darren eventually manages to catch on After Vlad tells him what he s trying to do It s cute.Darren is a good person He s willing to give everyone he meets a chance and is willing to forgive most slights so long as they weren t intentional Even when he s showing Vlad his magic, it s not so much showing off as sharing with great joy and enthusiasm He honestly, truly, and sincerely wants Vlad to be happy, to come out of his shell and out of his room and make friends with people When Darren realizes he has feelings for Vlad, he s reluctant to confess them because he doesn t want to make Vlad uncomfortable, or take away Vlad s only friend himself , or have Vlad feeling obligated to humor them He isn t selfish, even in his most self centered moments.Read Elizabeth s review in its entirety here. Darren Is Your Average Half Human, Half Fae Trans Teenager, Busy Figuring Out His Powers And Puberty While Trying To Survive Finals When Vlad, A Newly Turned Vampire, Moves In With The Witch Down The Street, He And Darren Get Off On The Wrong Foot Darren Is Always One To Give Somebody A Second Chance, Though, And As They Become Friends, He Realizes Vlad Is Just Lonely And Struggling With His New Powers That S Something Darren Can Definitely Relate To, And He S Happy To Lend His Support But While He Coaxes Vlad Out Of His Shell, Darren Ends Up Learning About Vlad S Past And The Danger Vlad Is In Darren Only Wants To Help Help Vlad Feel Comfortable In His Own Skin And Help Him Feel SafeHe Hadn T Planned On Falling In Love I started reading this on the Kindle app, and I liked it so much that I had to buy a physical copy Then the physical copy arrived, and it was so tiny just over 170 pages and I already knew I was gonna be disappointed What was good was VERY good, but the length of the story, and therefore the pacing, left me really dissatisfied The story is about Darren, a half fae trans high schooler who s just doing what half fae trans high schoolers do And he meets Vlad, a newly turned vampire who just moved in with the witch down the street Vlad is running from something They become friends, develop crushes on each other, help each other through the trials of being supernatural teenagers supernatural problems and regular human problems both , and deal with some brief terrifying experiences together There are lots of laughs and feels throughout, as well as SASS.Darren is a sort of hyperactive type, he talks constantly and sometimes awkwardly, but he is a good person, and often than not he s talking so much to try to make Vlad feel comfortable He s a total teenager At some point in my notes, I described him as bubbly and honest.Vlad is troubled due to the trauma of his past and his constant fear that it is going to catch up with him However, he s very compassionate and polite, and a total gentleman He first meets Darren when Darren is going to Tabitha the witch Vlad lives with for herbal remedies for his severe period pains He s pretty confused that Darren is menstruating yet is male, but he never says anything bad about it In fact, he s very supportive without being too annoyingly enthusiastic about it Notable examples below Darren uses a glamour to make himself appear male, though it doesn t work on everyone depending on their own supernatural abilities Vlad expresses early on that he s glad he can t see through Darren s glamour, because I d rather see the real you.At one point, Vlad compares Darren s ability to summon forest animals to being a Disney princess, but he quickly amends himself to say prince instead, because he recognises that referring to Darren as female in any context could potentially be unpleasant for Darren.Near the halfway point, Darren and Vlad have a conversation about what Darren s options are for his future regarding the physical aspects of his gender Darren says he s relatively happy with his body right now, and it would only be a problem if he tried to date anyone which it has been in the past He makes a comment that he can t glamour up a penis , and Vlad, the great lil boi that he is, tells Darren that whether or not he has one shouldn t matter.Vlad develops an obvious crush on Darren long before Darren starts crushing on Vlad And the vampire lad is so sweet, honestly He does the chivalrous thing when Darren is suffering terribly through his period Actually several chivalrous things He makes him a special herbal tea, makes sure he eats, stays with him through all the loopiness that comes with the herbal painkillers, and even puts a ruined bed sheet into some cold water to make the stain easier to get out HE S A KEEPER He also brings Darren a chocolate bar after Darren jokes that all good relationships start with chocolate, brings over flowers and then dandelions because he knows Darren loves them , and even orders ice cream in a cone as opposed to a cup Vlad cannot eat the cone, but having it in the cone means he can hold Darren s hand while they re on their date I just contracted DIABEETUS And of course, Vlad makes The Jokes sometimes, such as when Darren is explaining about the birds and the bees, and how being fae in springtime makes basically being horny prominent, and Vlad asks Your fae side is making you want to have sex with birds One super tropey romantic thing I like is when Character A is just loving life, in their element joyful and happy, and Character B just watches and falls in love with them Such as on page 96, when Darren is PSYCHED for this thunderstorm and goes outside to frolic in it, and Vlad just watches like some kind of lovestruck fool Not that Darren notices he s lovestruck, but we KNOW D Along the same vein it s funny because VAMPIRES , Darren is ranting about something at some point, and Vlad is just watching him with that dopey look on his face when he interrupts and asks to kiss Darren, like the gentleman he is I had to pause to aw.Anyway, predictably, Vlad s past catches up with him It was really spoiled by how short the book is and how fast those two dramatic climaxes were, but once the Big Bad showed up, it was with a really sickening jolt that I realised how deeply Vlad s abuse ran The few times Vlad briefly talked about the vampire who turned him it was a point of intrigue since chapter 1 , it became clear he was turned against his will, and suffered a lot under her control And when she shows up, that awful oh moment just hit me so hard Bitch is messed up tbh Don t want to spoil it to much though Some of it was very emotional, such as when Darren and Vlad talk about Vlad s parents They believe he is dead, and Vlad says that it s probably better this way better to think he s dead than know they have a vampire for a son You see, they aren t terribly accepting of differences, as was proven when Vlad kissed a boy and his parents did NOT react well However, some of the heavy emotions were cut really short by how short the book was The short aftermath of the Big Bad scenes didn t give Vlad a lot of time to experience the feelings he d no doubt be feeling Plenty of time passed of course, but because we are in Darren s head all of the time, and because these scenes just flew by, it feels like Vlad s experiences aren t really addressed or explored Particularly near the end, with less than 50 pages to go without the climax, I just knew things would be rushed And I was right It left me really disappointed The author spent a long time lovingly developing the friendship between Vlad and Darren first, fleshing them out as characters, then leading them into their romance, only to just hurry through the action and the parts that would show the characters in a different light Not only that, the characters dealing with what happened is rushed too.I really liked this book, but the fact that it s so short and the climaxes are so rushed is likepbtbtbtbtbt I m upset I was really looking forward to a queer vampire romance, but the last third of the book let it down I keep repeating myself, but I M JUST SO DISAPPOINTED BECAUSE IT WAS ALL SO GOOD UP TO THAT POINT And even that point was okay and enjoyable and scary when it needed to be, but it WASN T ENOUGH.I think that Darren as a character will be super enjoyable for trans guys It s good representation, and I think it normalises a lot of the experiences of trans guys Even despite the fact that Darren is half supernatural creature and he eats flowers.Good book Would have liked of it though Peace oot. I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK FOR MY READING PLEASURE Reviewed for Divine Magazine Showers, Flowers and FangsAidan Wayne 190 PagesPOV 3rd person, one characterWould I read it again Of course Genre LGBT, YA, Fae, Trans, Fantasy, MM, Paranormal, VampirePairings MM Ugh, this was justlovely, sweet, and everything I needed from a book.First off, kudos to Aidan Wayne for writing a trans, FTM main character who is REAL And for understanding the plight that is period week I mean, thank you This was everything I hoped for and everything teenagers need Whether a trans kid picks this up and feels better about not being alone in the struggle, or a cis kid picks it up and can understand their trans friend better, this story has a lot to give It has the understanding, a non lecturing exploration of trans life as a teenager, and a really beautiful romance and self discovery plot that leave you with the warm and fuzzy feeling that says this was so good I ll read it again It had real struggles for a teenager going through puberty, while dealing with the emotional and physical fallout of being a trans teen Binding, periods, the self doubt and self acceptance, the self image issues, and all while being a half Fae, adding in magical abilities to everything else Darren is going through AND exams This story felt so much like an authentic ownvoice story that I had no trouble connecting to, embracing, appreciating and relating to Darren as a main character Some of his struggles are universally teenager and high school while some were specifically trans related, and yet, I m a cis, white, asexual female and I never once had trouble connecting to him or understanding his journey That s a sign of good writing, right there.The writing was just my style It gave me what I needed to understand and follow the story, without being overbearing or overly descriptive It had characterisation that didn t require stopping for info dumps, and it had real, honest to God awkward teenage conversations It was like being taken straight back to high school all over again, and remembering the stuttering, uncertain way it felt to be a teenager, never knowing what to say or do, never sure how to act, or what was appropriate Yet, Darren and Vlad both talk openly argue plenty, too about Darren s transition, Vlad s background, race, orientation Just in that really awkward way that teenagers do Through misunderstandings, misjudging, misinterpreting a conversation, and then having to actually spell it out when things boil to a head.The plot is really original I ve never seen vampires explored in this way before With a teen vampire, recently turned, trying and floundering through learning how to be a vampire Making mistakes Nearly killing himself with those mistakes It was really cleverly conceived and well written I loved that it didn t linger throughout school classes, since Darren and Vlad s interactions all happened outside of school And though there were time jumps of a few days at a time, quite often, it felt natural for the story We got to see enough of Darren s friendship with the girls, Trisha and Beth, to get a real sense of their personalities as well as their connection and friendship.Darren s friendship with Vlad, in a similar way, was really nicely explored throughout the book It wasn t until nearly 70% that things became than friends and especially awkward for it Until then, we got to watch these two kids drift from total strangers to grudging companionship, to best friends, and then into boyfriends And it was really lovely to see To watch the chemistry build over time, while they battled other issues, learned about their magic, and began to trust each other I loved that Darren and Vlad were each strong in different ways, they each had their own talents and strengths, and they supported each other Darren didn t allow Vlad to get away with false bravado, while Vlad didn t allow Darren to remain too reckless, yet they each supported and cared about the other, looking after each other, when things didn t go to plan.The story artfully broke down gender expectations, subtly and without show, to a point where there was no obvious gender divide Beth was female, but a future Alpha figure Trish was female, but romantic and thoughtful Darren was FTM, yet was strong, adventurous, and sometimes dramatic Vlad was male, but nervous, afraid and unsure There was a freedom of voice in both the main and secondary characters that made it honest and real.And all wrapped up with a beautiful, totally fitting, cover One that I ll be making space on my bookshelf for, so I can buy the paperback the minute it s available Favourite Quotes Shut up, your face is dumb I didn t almost die, Vlad muttered, following Darren You are exaggerating Darren clutched at his chest I would never I do not even know why I like you But you do like me Vlad smiled at him, stepping closer I suppose Right, Darren said, leaning in Because I m delightful. 4.5 stars I have one word for this adorable This was such an enjoyable read Due to the shortness of this book the worlbuilding is a little bit I dunno what word to use,maybe brief but actually not in a bad way we get enough information that we need to understand what who the main characters are,the supernatural elements are explained and I really liked how unique this little world is The fae stuff especially was delightful I would love to read in this universe because I loved all the little glimpses into some other supernatural creatures Darren,the main character,is incredibly likeable I was in love with him from page 1 basically I don t want to make false assumptions about the author but judging from the use of they them in the description,this is an ownvoices story It showed I liked how Darren being trans wasn t just used as an afterthought this is Darren,he is trans and then it s never mentioned again or something like that I ve seen that in other books It plays a big role because you have the experience of a trans person combined with the unique experience of a supernatural being I loved that Vlad is a great character too Naturally we don t really spend a lot of time in his head but we learn enough about him through Darren s eyes Vlad s initial shyness combined with his empathy and him being so acceptance made for a winning combination He and Darren are a perfect fit then The friendship between them is super cute and the budding romance,albeit a bit on the short side,too For my taste it took them a bit too long to get there but that s the only criticism that I have Charming, interesting, sweet Loved the pacing, how things unfolded gently while still moving forward and including drama excitement Loved the matter of fact exploration of Darren s being trans, and explanations of magic felt very natural to the story, not didactic And I loved the care everyone took with each other Would love to read about these characters. So much cuter than I thought it would be Darren is a half human, half fae transgender teen and when we first meet him on the first page, Darren is suffering from menstruation cramps I don t know why, but I really love that the author adds this scene to the book Anyway, Darren then meets this newly turned vampire, Vlad the Vampire he s from Ukraine , who s also a newcomer in town Their first meeting is not exactly meet cute Darren thinks Vlad is sniffing him, which is RUDE laugh but then Darren befriends Vlad, because he seems lonely, this vampire.This is a delightful and wonderful read I LOVED Darren so much I loved his positivity I loved the way Darren approached Vlad, and slowly coaxed this vampire out of his shell I loved how their friendship bloomed I loved how Darren sometimes acting a bit dramatic yes, he s a teenager after all when he thinks he hurts Vlad or when he thinks Vlad is being sad.I think I spent reading this book with a lot of smile to my face because Darren is just ADORABLE and his moments with Vlad were super cute There s a slight mystery behind Vlad elusiveness, on why he seemed to want to keep himself secret from people, and I thought it added to a fun time near the end Especially because it also showed a new aspect of Darren s power as half human half fae.I love Aidan Wayne s stories that I have read so far and this one is another winner for me.PS This falls into low steam category of Young Adult book only couple of kisses A Guest Review for The Blogger Girls The ARC is provided by the publisher for an exchange of fair and honest review No high rating is required for any ARC received. DNF at the end of Chapter 1.Although I am sure the story did turned out to be as cute as the other reviewers say it was, I couldn t get past the Meet Ugly aspect at the start of the story.TL DR A YA featuring diverse characters and a premise that sounded hella adorable Unfortunately for me , I felt such bad secondhand embarrassment at the beginning of the novel that I lost all of my enthusiasm for the rest of the book I borrowed this from the library.
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- 190 pages
- Showers, Flowers, and Fangs
- Aidan Wayne
- 17 September 2018 Aidan Wayne