Where to Buy*:
It should be noted first thing that this book contains the Gay For You (GFY) trope. Some people love it, some do not, and that’s fine either way. I’m more or less indifferent to it; it’s not my favorite trope, for various reasons, but I don’t outright hate it on sight.
So why did I grab this one knowing that it was GFY? The cover is gorgeous, and I’m a known cover whore. But the blurb also grabbed me, too. And even though I wasn’t always on board with the GFY trope, I’m still very glad I read Fierce and Fabulous.
I loved Ansel and his confident, flamboyant (and fluid) ways. Honestly, we need more romance characters that fall into different areas on the gender identity spectrum, but that’s a discussion for another time. I’ll leave it at I’m glad Varlet gave Ansel a story that shows readers, like myself, how fluid gender identity can be, and how it’s nothing to be ashamed of or disgusted by. Also, that love is love. J
Anyway, Ansel was great, very much, well, fierce and fabulous. And sexy, too, to be honest. But man, he did not have an easy life. His parents, especially his bitch of a mother, are terrible and treated him like complete shit all through his childhood. It nearly broke my heart to hear about it, and I definitely wanted to give Ansel a big hug. When he starts building a relationship again with his younger brother, I once again wanted to give him a hug, this time a combination of heart ache at their lost years and warm fuzzies at seeing them finally bonding.
Fitch’s near constant denial in the first 20%+ of the book did bother me a bit. I get that he didn’t feel that he was bi or gay, but if he felt such a connection to Ansel, regardless of Ansel’s gender, why question specific labels so much? I get that as a cishet woman, this topic is not my area, so again, I won’t get deep into it, but I did want to mention the thing that bothered me most about Fitch. If he didn’t want to be labeled at all, that would have been okay. Some people do not want labels on their sexuality identity. But his thoughts seemed, to me, more along the lines of “No, I can’t be gay because GAY, ugh. But I like Ansel....” And that gave me pause.
Though he did start to grow on me as he accepted, slowly, that labels were not important: the important thing was being there for Ansel, building a possible future together, and to hell with society’s opinions of his boyfriend. By the end, I liked Fitch, but I’m still giving him some side eye for all that heavy denial.
There’s quite a bit of angst and emotions – Ansel’s family, his struggles with homophobic dicks (that is, people who are dicks, not actual homophobic DICKS….), as well as his coping issues with it all; Fitch’s struggle with his sexual identity; and various bumps that popped up during their journey to a HEA. If you’re looking for a light read, this isn’t it. But if you want the angst and feels, you’re in the right place.
There are some lighter, fun moments sprinkled throughout, too. Such as:
Varlet also brings the heat in the bedroom. So much heat. DAMN. I can't even pick a snippet to share, it was all so good. Even better, the tension between Ansel and Fitch is delicious, even from the very start. And very much satisfying.
For an emotional, angsty read, Fierce and Fabulous is definitely worth picking up. (As long as you don’t mind GFY undertones.) I enjoyed the peek into the other Sassy Boyz heroes and will be looking forward to each of their books.
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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.
*Note: The quotes used belong to Elizabeth Varlet; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them. Any mistakes or typos in the quotes are my own fault.
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Honestly, I'd say this was straddling the line between 4 and 4 1/2 stars. I really loved this book, and while finalizing this review I ended up rereading a lot of passages. Like, most of it. Oops.
Also: Elizabeth on the blog July 6th with a quick interview and a giveaway!
Until Next Time,
*TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!