Flowers and Keyboards #1: Her Elysium Review

Her Elysium (Flowers and Keyboards 1)
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Her Elysium is a romance novel by Emmy Engberts about two girls who find each other by playing an MMORPG. Fleur thinks that the tank of the guild is a cute guy named Alex, and she starts to fall for him before even getting the chance to meet him. To her surprise, Alex is a pretty girl who has been crushing on the talented healer who recently joined the guild. Fleur has never had a girlfriend before, but she can’t seem to stop thinking about Alex. She fell for Alex the person; does it matter if Alex is a boy or a girl? Alex knows that she and Fleur could work well together, but she wants to make sure that Fleur is ready for a relationship first.

I randomly stumbled upon this book, and I am so glad that I did! Not only is a LitRPG book where the author actually knows a lot about games, it is a really sweet YA romance novel! When I heard that Fleur was going to be a healer, I was bracing for the typical “gamer girl” stereotypes to come out. The healer can’t do anything, and so girls choose to be healers so they can rely on the guys in the game to do everything. Some girls might do this, but I personally don’t know any who have. Instead, Fleur is a really talented healer! Good healers have to make sure that they stay out of harm’s way while keeping the whole team alive. Fleur had to know the battles by heart in order to learn the boss’ patterns and be a better healer for the team. This is what real healers and people who play these sorts of games would do, and I was happy to see this represented in this book!

Back to the romance. I like that the author didn’t make this an ultra-sexual romance novel simply because the two characters were both female. In fact, she went on to discuss in the novel how people unfortunately believe that LGBT+ couples are more sexual than straight couples. Alex and Fleur were just two normal high school aged girls who liked each other and were happy going out with one another. They became close friends first because of the game, and then they continued to play as they fell for each other.

Overall, this has been one of the best F/F YA romance novels that I have ever read. I would definitely recommend it, and I am definitely going to read more books by Mrs. Engberts!

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books


Illusions Blog Tour Plus Review

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by Madeline J. Reynolds
Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Victorian
Release Date: November 6th 2018
Entangled Teen


Dear Thomas,

I know you’re angry. It’s true, I was sent to expose your mentor as a fraud illusionist, and instead I have put your secret in jeopardy. I fear I have even put your life in jeopardy. For that I can only beg your forgiveness. I’ve fallen for you. You know I have. And I never wanted to create a rift between us, but if it means protecting you from those who wish you dead—I’ll do it. I’ll do anything to keep you safe, whatever the sacrifice. Please forgive me for all I’ve done and what I’m about to do next. I promise, it’s one magic trick no one will ever see coming.


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My Review

I came to this book expecting an exciting story about the lives of magicians entertaining people in the late 1800s. As someone who loves stories about old show business, I just KNEW that I was going to love this one. What I got was so much more than what I could have ever dreamed of.

When I started reading the novel, I was reading chapters flipping back and forth between Thomas and Sav’s diary entries. They hadn’t met yet, and I wasn’t sure when they were going to meet. All I knew was that they were both magicians apprentices and that the magicians the boys worked for were competing against each other. Then, they cross paths. Thomas starts wanting to talk to the mysterious stranger who keeps coming to his shows, and Sav needs to know how Thomas and Neville pull off their disappearing trick. Sav never plans to fall for Thomas, and Thomas definitely doesn’t plan on falling for him. But they do, and Sav has to decide whether to abandon his master and stay with his magic boy, or to reveal Thomas’ secrets and ruin his life.

I haven’t read any LGBT Victorian romance novels, so I didn’t know what to expect once I saw how romantic that this was getting. It was interesting to see their relationship dynamic, and how almost freeing it was for them. Without the internet, they were able to keep more under the radar of the local homophobic citizens. They could just stay in their flat or go on dates at night, and barely anybody would be out to see them. It seemed like a normal YA romance novel, except I thought that Thomas and Sav had more chemistry than most YA couples usually do.

Thomas has magic, but I felt that his magic could have been explored a bit more. The book never explains why Thomas has magic, how he found out that he had magic, and how he was able to use/control his powers. The story was still long without this bit of filler, but I would have liked to know a little bit more about how his powers specifically worked.

Sav also has a “rags-to-riches” backstory that is mentioned a few times in the novel, but is again never explored in depth. Since the book was set up in diary format, I think that there were opportunities for Sav to reflect on his past more.

Even though the book didn’t discuss the characters’ backstories as much, the characters’ current personalities were developed in amazing ways. Thomas was a shy apprentice, but he got stronger as he fell harder for Sav and continued to help Neville in his performances. The outcome of the performances reflected his emotional state. When he was upset, the performance didn’t go well. When he was happily in love, the performances went perfectly. Same with Sav. He started the story being strong, stoic and refusing to open up to Thomas. He had to learn how to break out of his shell, opening up to and trusting Thomas.

There was just so much depth to this book. I have never read a book about show business or magic shows just like this one. I would literally recommend it to anyone who is interested in historical fiction, or YA LGBTQ+ romance.

I received an advance copy of this book, and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


madeline_reynolds.jpgAbout the Author

Madeline J. Reynolds is a YA fantasy author living in Chicago. Originally from Minneapolis, she has a background in journalism and has always loved storytelling in its various forms. When not writing, she can be found exploring the city, eating Thai food, or lost in an epic Lord of the Rings marathon.



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