Howl by Lucy Bexley

Published: 6/1/22
Home of the Wayward Lovers. I Heart SapphFic Pride Collection Book 7

Clem has finally made it out of Maine and is ready to start a new life in Boston. The world is her oyster, the sky in the limit, or maybe life is still a shitshow. On day one her old Toyota gets stolen. Even car thieves are accepting mediocrity. Her new sweatin to the oldies roommate, Alyssa, invites Clementine to Howl, Boston’s only remaining queer bar. Clementine takes one look at Lou, the bars gorgeous owner and is smitten like a kitten. Maybe this place isn’t so bad after all.

Between trying to save her failing bar and checking in on her grandmother, Lou, doesn’t have the time or energy for anything other than a hookup now and then. Clementine is the perfect candidate for a little extracurricular in  the storeroom, since she is crazy hot and only in town for the weekend and thus they will never again cross paths. Lou may have gotten a wee bit confused as to how long Clem will be around but it doesn’t matter because she has no interest in anything that will detract her from saving the bar that is the only place she has ever felt she belonged.

Just when I think I couldn’t possibly love Lucy Bexley’s writing more, she brings Clem and Lou into my life. This book has everything I have come to expect from her books, moments of laugh out loud laughter, main characters who are relatable and deserving of love. And supporting characters who are so perfect I wish they were real so I could make them friends, like Alyssa and Sam.  I think the character who captured my heart the most Lou’s Gram, Eleanor, who reminded me so much of my late Gram it made me smile and tear up at the same time.

I love this book. I love Lou and how much she wants to preserve the bar for all those who never felt like they had a place where they could truly be themselves. I love Clementine, who has finally decided to live for herself and even if everything she owns has been stolen, she is determined to live her best life. I love how this book made me feel, how it made me smile and how it reinforced that Lucy Bexley is one of the most gifted authors in our community. This is a must read and the perfect book to celebrate Pride month.

An ARC was received from the author for an honest review.


No Strings by Lucy Bexley

No Strings
Published: 1/13/22

Lucy Bexley has a beautiful mind. Not like that math guy Russell Crowe played in the movie, back when Russell Crowe was relevant. No, Lucy Bexley’s mind comes up with amazing things like puppet sex jokes, a cat named Ratatouille and accidental pot gummy ingestion. All of these and more make No Strings the first must read of 2022.

Elsie Webb is the creator and puppeteer for Fangley Heights, a popular kids show. The show is in its third year and Elsie’s contract negotiations are stalled. The latest contract offer from the network is insulting and she is done being undervalued. When the head of the network dies and his daughter is put in charge temporarily, a new contract is far from the only thing she finds herself wanting.

Jones Haelstrom flies back to New York for her father’s funeral and is only planning to stay a few days. But soon she finds herself taking care of her six year old brother when his mother needs some time away and also running the network. The more time she spends with Elsie and Bentley the more she begins to feel like she has finally found a home.

The first meeting between Elsie and Jones is a metaphor for their relationship. Jones braces for the worst, but then gets hit with the hammer Elsie throws at her, a prop hammer that bounces right off. Elsie constantly surprises Jones in the best way. Jones has dealt with anxiety, depression and hypomania for years and people either want to fix her or simply don’t understand her. Elsie washes her dishes, takes her for a walk and is just there for her.

Elsie is the perfect mix of serious and silly. She takes care of Jones while wrapping that care in a joke. Jones feels like she skipped childhood and went straight to middle age. With Elsie she can let go and have fun and begins to see life in bold colors instead of the boring gray she was existing in.

The supporting characters are wonderful. Bentley is adorable and you can’t help but feel for him. At six years old he loses his father and then his mother disappears. His sister, who is decades older is now taking care of him. He wakes up with nightmares each night, but with Elsie’s help, Jones and Bentley begin to forge an unshakable bond. Bentley gains a sister but also a fun, puppet making playmate in Elsie.

Elsie’s roommate and best friend, Avery, is the best. They tell Elsie when she’s being unreasonable and point out Elsie’s feelings when “casual” is no longer an option. And they also leave edibles lying around so we can experience Jones really letting go.

Lucy Bexley is absolutely hilarious, and I laughed so much reading this book. But what makes her special is how well she combines comedy with serious subjects. Jones depression and anxiety are handled beautifully, and Elsie’s reaction is how everyone should handle dealing with someone who has mental health issues. Elsie doesn’t treat Jones as a burden or someone she needs to fix, she treats her as if she’s perfect exactly as she is. She lets her be vulnerable while bringing out her delightfully absurd side.

I have had this book for a few weeks and have already read it three times. It makes me happy, and I know it will do the same for you. Thank you, Lucy Bexley for sharing your quirky, beautiful mind with us!

An ARC was provided by the author for an honest review.