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(Spires Universe #4)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,639 ratings  ·  342 reviews
Alfie Bell is . . . fine. He’s got a six-figure salary, a penthouse in Canary Wharf, the car he swore he’d buy when he was eighteen, and a bunch of fancy London friends.

It’s rough, though, going back to South Shields now that they all know he’s a fully paid-up pansy. It’s the last place he’s expecting to pull. But Fen’s gorgeous, with his pink-tipped hair and hipster glass
Paperback, 1 edition, 405 pages
Published October 10th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published October 8th 2016)
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NP I am with Nastassia here. Why don't you like Fen? Are you one of those people that thinks if one of the beautiful people has turned their attention to…moreI am with Nastassia here. Why don't you like Fen? Are you one of those people that thinks if one of the beautiful people has turned their attention to you, you should drop to your knees grateful for their gaze? One of the best things about this book is Fen makes Alfie earn his forgiveness. It is that strength of character and dignity, despite his attraction for Alfie, that makes me love Fen. (less)

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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
I've had an interesting relationship with Alexis Hall's books. There have been some that I've raved about and adored and others that I've really, truly disliked. I think part of that is because Alexis Hall tries a huge range of genres and styles, and some of those seem to work for me better than others.

I was hesitant about trying Pansies for a number of reasons, but I was so intrigued by the blurb that I decided to give it a shot. I mean, if I don't try things that I'm not sure of, I'll never e
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~

Pansies is about coming home and making amends. It’s about finding a boy and falling head over heels in love, and wanting to do the RIGHT thing—even if it hurts, even if it makes you cry.

Alfie believes real men don’t cry. It’s just how he was raised. His parents love him, but they don’t understand this whole gay business. When Alfie shows an interest in cooking, his mum tells him not to tell his dad because blokes don't cook; you need a woman for that.

Alfie was a bully growing up. He was
5 HUGE stars

Another amazing story by Alexis Hall!

This review has been posted on Dirty Books Obsession

I was hooked from the first pages. I loved every chapter, every word. His writing style is. JUST.PERFECT! I have no words to describe how much I love it!

Image result for gif painful men

This story had it all: broken dreams, drama, family problems, but also it had hope, forgiveness and so much sweetness!

Alfie was so sweet and kind. He is not happy even if it seems he has it all: an expensive car, an amazing house, a great jo
Alexis Hall
Oct 05, 2016 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Since I write all over the map I recommend checking out Riptide's extensive tags when it comes to my books. But this one is a novel, Spires series, contemporary setting, m/m (both cis), HEA, sort of closer to Glitterland levels of smexing than For Real. Trigger warnings for bereavement, assisted suicide, bullying, homophobia, biophobia. Some dialect but less than Glitterland.

Another book what I wrote.

Out soon.
Oct 10, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
Other than reading a novelette in an anthology, I haven't read anything full length by this author. If I'm honest I was a little leery after reading this blog post by the author, but at the urging of a friend who's more familiar with his writing, I decided to give him a fair shot.

DNF @ 15%. (Please bear in mind this is well over 400 pages).

Unfortunately Pansies didn't start well for me. Yes, my reason is personal choice, but it's something that I've commented on before and likely will again: I'
True Loveislovereview
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, lgbtq
5+++ Pansies by Alexis Hall
The first page made my shiver already....

Amazing....this is poetry from the highest shelf. gives me goosebumps....

After Alfie flies away from his best friend's wedding he ends up in a bar.
Besides him sits a stunning beautiful young man who he offers a drink. This drink were hateful refused. When Alfie is leaving the bar, the young man comes after him and what follows is a very swoony lovely hot and sexy night. They are amazing together. And Alfie is under
Kat, short for Clara
It was about six weeks after unexpectedly losing someone when I started reading Pansies for the first time. I was grieving but coping. I'd stopped getting up extra early so I could have a cry before going to work. I'd stopped allowing myself an hour of crying when I got home as a reward for making it through the day without breaking down. Six weeks after unexpectedly losing someone and I was doing fine. Which made me feel guilty because it didn't feel like I was grieving in the Right Way.

So get
29th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalist

DNF at 30%


I have A VERY DIFFICULT relationship to the author's works.
His debut novel Glitterland belongs, FOR ME PERSONALLY, to one of the best books that MM romance genre has to offer. But all his following works didn't convince me 100%.
I admire the courage of the author to experiment and to remain true to himself, but I have to admit that his experiments were very often not my cuppa.

Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Reread October 2019

What a treat! Again.
Loved Fen from the bottom of my heart. Again.
Totally adored Alfie. Again. He is just the most wonderful mix of tall and strong and shy and soft and thoughtful and confused and sweet.
All the yesses!!!

Original review:

I always loved them. So colourful and dependable. So hardy, even in the roughest climate. (And yes there is the double meaning) Such a fitting name in every way for this book.

This. Was. Absolutely, 500 percent sigh-worthy. This is the lightest
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
I'm not sure if that's the fact I'm coming back to class tomorrow after a medical leave of two weeks or just Alexis Hall's novels' effect on me, but I'm feeling oddly vulnerable tonight. Probably a little bit of both, I guess. There's just something so incredibly undoing about his works, a lingering of feelings I cannot quite name, but, really, in the end I think that I just admire him very much because he takes risks. With his characters - never thoroughly likeable, sometimes very hard to love ...more
Lyn❤Loves❤Listening #AUDIOBOOKADDICT
Audio – 5+++ Stars!
Story – 4.25 Stars!

The story was a bit wordy and a bit long winded, but Alexis Hall’s combination of humor and angst is irresistible. A truly gifted storyteller!!!

I’m not a fan of a character falling for and forgiving a past bully, but it worked for me this case. I felt that Alfie was truly remorseful, and I liked that Fen gave him a hard time at the beginning. Most of all, I loved how very affectionate they were with one another once they got over their past. I completely f
Yeah. So. *coughs* This book is everything. Go read it. Um, that is all.

I’m sorry but I’m weird with reviewing books by Alexis. I’m so full of love I get silly and swoony and gah… (I fear this review is gonna be long. ) This book is perfect! Pansies is even better than Glitterland, my so-far favourite contemporary, and I’ll try to tell you why now.

It’s in the big and little things. And because I have difficulties talking about the big ones (consider me still speechless), I’m gonna start small. T
Kaje Harper
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars, rounded up because I love the guys, the low-key build of the story, and the writing.

Enemies to lovers is a tough thing to write well, and particularly past childhood bully to lover. The scars of childhood bullying linger, set deep, often shaping behavior decades after they are past. It's a difficult balance to allow that to have its full impact, and yet to achieve a reconciliation that feels real. This book did a good job of having Fen pulled between his long-standing hurt and anger,
Apr 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommended to Christelle by: Ariana
Tough to rate : will go with 3 stars (please, don’t “tomato” me : remember that bullying is not nice !).

Why more than 2 stars ? Because I read it in a row and never felt bored. I also enjoyed all the Britishness of this book. And there were some nice feelings and moments and some funny situations and dialogs.
Why no more than 3 stars ? I never fully click with the characters, nor the story and let say it, the writing style. And to be honest, I oscillated between thinking the characters were in th
I left my MM mystery-hole for this book, and boy am I glad I did!
So Alfie is a 30 yo brilliant, but clueless character. He works in finance in London, he only realised two years ago that he is gay, and he's sort of estranged from his family after coming out.
His best friend is getting married, and Alfie finds himself back in the wee town in northern England where he's from, in a melancholy mood.
He ends up coming out to the whole party in a spectacular fashion, and I was laughing my head off. Grea
dammit, liz
This book encapsulates all my favorite things about AJH's writing. If you're not a fan of the Spires books, you might not love this, but I adore the flowery, descriptive writing. The characters were flawed but lovable, and at times a little subversive. This is a somewhat quiet romance, which I like. The conflict that arises isn't due to an over the top plot, it's just about people being human, making mistakes, and growing. Witty, charming, and romantic. Definitely recommend. ...more
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can't wait to read the final version - I Beta read an early draft. I loved it so much! As with all things Alexis Hall - beautiful prose, fully developed, interesting and unique characters and a sense of geographical place that is just gorgeous and is part of the story. I have reminisced over conversations between characters in this story many times since my initial read and can't wait to revisit the scenes that unfolded in this very lovely story. ...more
Lovely writing, as always. It's the main theme that doesn't sit well with me (view spoiler).

I'm still contemplating my rating and full review.
Sam (AMNReader)
There were several times through this book that I couldn't figure out how I felt about it. I mean, it's so so good, of course, but so much of it was painful that I can't quite say it hit me the right way right now.

Some other day? Maybe. Or maybe this one isn't it for me.

The prologue is stunning. Fen's letters are stunning. I loved Greg and Kitty, but I found a couple of conflicts unconvincing, partially because these characters know so much of love. It was well-written. Complicated and not. An
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was really sweet - felt like I was in another time & place as it had a very old world feel to me. The story of Alfie and Fen, reconnecting after a terrible youth, where Alfie was the bully and poor Fen was on the end of daily harassment and pain. Apologies, life changes and sincerity helped them both move on to become the people they were meant to be. Really enjoyable
3.5 stars

I’m a little bit in shock. I was so sure I would love this, just like I loved every other story of the Spires Universe.

Pansies has many of the things that made me love the other books: the beautiful writing, the flawed, complex characters and that something, unique to Alexis Hall’s stories, that usually speaks to me on a deep, intimate level.
But this time his magic didn’t work on me. It was there, lurking under the surface, just enough to keep me going, but still out of reach.
I can’t r
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4,5 stars

Pansies is like a celebration of the main thing I love about Hall's books, meaning how humane they are. It's like he is not afraid to make his characters completely uncool by romance standards and, in doing so, they come across as extra human and relatable.
Like, take Alfie here. He is good-looking, rather muscular and tough, he moved to London from his small town, has a very well-paying job, great car, posh apartment, a good taste in wine... Many books would make him into this kind of s
❧A Bookish Berkeley Girl❧
Sweet, Sweet Thiughtful Alfie!

Alfie...just wanted to make it right...and he was determined. I adored him from page 1

Finn.....the prickly pink tipped hair guy, was hard to like...but, Alfie completely and utterly stole my heart. He was truly book boyfriend swoon-worthy adorbs. The romance~OMG, was super sweet! My favorite quote happen at first kiss....

“Kissing like Alfie had always imagined it was supposed to be. Movie-star-magic-silver-screen-fireworks-in-the-sky kissing. Endless and restles
Suki Fleet
Achingly sweet. And such gorgeous writing^^

(view spoiler)
Oct 27, 2016 rated it liked it
2,5 stars.
There were such diametrically opposed reviews about this book from my friends that I got so curious I just needed to read it :) And well... When I started reading it, I loved it so much. For the first, like, 20% I was so happy with this book. I was afraid I'd be bored out of my mind with it because I'm easily bored and I don't like slow books... but at first it felt great. The writing was beautiful, and I felt very involved. I really, really like stories about a former bully and a form
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m
3.5 stars

Alexis Hall can be a hit and miss for me, and I'm glad this book worked. I found it to be enjoyable and full of feels and without much drama to speak of. It's just a sweet story of enemies becoming lovers, but that's not all this story is. Fen's hurt at the loss of his mother cuts deep and I love how Alexis portrayed Fen's relationship with his mother and his mother's all encompassing love for Fen, even without us having the opportunity to see her alive after Fen was born.

Fen and Alfie
Skye Kilaen
(Some people just cannot with redeeming-a-bully romances, and I totally understand that, so if that's you then skip this review.) Alfie's a successful Londoner, having escaped his hometown for upward mobility. When he's forced to visit, he has a one night stand with a gorgeous stranger named Fen... who, as it turns out, isn't a stranger at all. Alfie bullied him throughout high school, back in Alfie's closeted self-hating days. To make things more complicated, Fen is grieving his mother's death ...more
I've given this a B+ for narration and an A for content at AudioGals

I finished listening to Alexis Hall’s Pansies with a happy sigh and the biggest, sappiest smile on my face. I know several people who cite this as their favourite of Mr. Hall’s books, and now I can see why; it’s a funny, awkward, sexy, poignant and gorgeously romantic story featuring two wounded, lovely and lonely people that had me smiling one minute and tearing up the next – and sometimes both at once.

Alfie Bell left his home
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
5 stars

This book was a joy and a delight to read, but I often feel that way reading an Alexis Hall book. I often find that the best thing about Alexis' stories is how true they are to the characters and the landscape. Whether he sets his stories in northern England or on a ship that prowls the sky, you truly get a feel for the people and the setting. Pansies is no exception. I can hear Alfie Bell's rough hewn northern inflections in my head and how he tempers it for his southern co-workers and f
I LOVE ALEXIS HALL!!!! I wish I had words to to show the extent of my appreciation for this story, i am again amazed. Alexis has his way of writing characters you want to know everything about, my heart breaks for them he can make me feel their love and happiness, fears, yet he has me dead from his sharp humor. I found both MC's lovable and their histories, what made them fascinating but I fell in love so hard with Fen, he was beautifully strong, true, witty, quick he was perfect. Thank you for ...more
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Genrequeer writer of kissing books.

I use Goodreads incredibly sporadically, which means I review when I remember. If at all.

Other books in the series

Spires Universe (6 books)
  • Glitterland (Spires, #1)
  • Waiting for the Flood (Spires, #2)
  • For Real (Spires, #3)
  • Rough Ride
  • Fool's Gold

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