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Venery #2

A Charm of Finches

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“I swear. Give me one more chance and I will make the most of it.”

Ex-hustler Javier Landes is asking for his third chance at love. The third time proves to be the charm when he meets a Manhattan art therapist named Steffen Finch. What starts as casual and curious deepens into a passionate, soulful relationship—everything Jav has ever wanted, and everything he fears losing.

Stef’s business card reads Curator & Sailor. His creativity and insightful nature have made him into a talented therapist, the one to call for tough cases. His professional success can’t conceal a deep need to connect with someone, but Javier Landes is the last person Stef expected.

Geronimo "Geno" Caan is Stef's most challenging case. After a brutal ordeal of sexual assault, Geno's allowing an alter-ego called Mos to make all the decisions, and now lives a double life within a web of lies. Under Stef’s navigation, Geno uses art to express what Mos forbids to be spoken aloud. But as Geno’s attachment to Stef gradually extends to Jav, the boundaries between professional and personal begin to blur.

Over the course of a year, Jav, Stef and Geno form an unexpected and unconventional triangle, revealing how men make love in times of war and how love is a great wisdom made up of small understandings. The long-awaited second book of the Venery series, A Charm of Finches is an epic tale of survival and secrets guaranteed to make you think and feel and remember.

From the author:
"This book contains adult subject matter including adult themes of sex and sexual violence, written in adult language. An Exaltation of Larks spoke of The Disappeared Ones of Chile. A Charm of Finches speaks to a different group of disappeared. An invisible demographic who often suffer in misunderstood silence. Geno Caan speaks as one who knows, but he also speaks for men who will never tell their stories. Or for men who told their stories and weren’t believed. These extraordinarily brave and resilient males possess strong hearts and I stood in awe of them during the writing of this book, knowing there was a lot more I could get wrong than right.
It’s my sincere hope I got it right."

546 pages

First published November 1, 2017

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About the author

A former professional dancer and teacher, Suanne Laqueur went from choreographing music to choreographing words. Her work has been described as "Therapy Fiction," "Emotionally Intelligent Romance" and "Contemporary Train Wreck."

Laqueur's novel An Exaltation of Larks was the Grand Prize winner in the 2017 Writer's Digest Awards, and won first place in the 2019 North Street Book Prize. Her debut novel The Man I Love won a gold medal in the 2015 Readers' Favorite Book Awards and was named Best Debut in the Feathered Quill Book Awards. Her follow-up novel, Give Me Your Answer True, was also a gold medal winner at the 2016 RFBA.

Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater. She taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog EatsReadsThinks in 2010.

Suanne lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children.
Visit her at suannelaqueurwrites.com
Her Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1TVNBrp
All feels welcome. And she always has coffee

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 312 reviews
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,282 reviews3,322 followers
December 13, 2019
**Spoiler Alert**

Update: Re-reading in preparation for A Scarcity of Condors

There's no contending that Suanne Laqueur was born to write.


First off and undoubtedly, this is how you write M/M romance. Although for me, labelling A Charm of Finches as merely an LGBTI romance seems like a misnomer because what Laqueur has done is to set the bar so high it makes other books in this sub-genre (with the exception of Captive Prince) seem sophomoric.

Secondly, this book has Jav as one of the main protagonists. Javier Landes aka Javier Gil deSoto. Oh em gee...I love him. So much.

A guy was at the top of the gallery’s stairs. Tall and built, in jeans and a black blazer. Taking off aviator shades to show his face. Whoa.....this was a guy who made your underwear sit up and beg.

Stef blinked as his hand reached in slow motion, extending a shake and his name. “Javier Landes,” the man said. “Hi.” The handshake was brisk and firm but his smile wobbled a little, as if he were shy.

If you've read An Exaltation of Larks (and if you haven't, we can no longer be friends) you know Javier crushed on Alex Lark, and with all the breath in me I shipped them so hard that, inevitably, I was left heartbroken when " she, who must be the most superfluous female book character- Val Lark- decided she was gonna fight for her man". *scoffs*

But Suanne has mended my broken heart by giving us, Stef Finch. Stef is an art therapist who works with (male) survivors of rape and abuse. Could he be the one Jav needs?

Thirdly and most importantly, this story is evocative. It will take you through a wide spectrum of emotions. Even now, as I write this, I vacillate between fury, joy, and sadness.

In all honesty, I was expecting a nice, feel-good story, interspersed with sex and stuff. Boy, was I wrong. Laqueur very nearly killed my heart within the first 3 chapters, to the point I needed to set aside the book for a good 24hrs. Yes, seriously. I was traumatised.

So, let's talk about this fantastic, heartwarming yet heart-wrenching book.

Spoiler Alert: it deals with male rape (on page), paedophilia (on/off page), child abuse (off page). Then we meet Geno. And my heart broke.

Stef. Jav. Geno. This story is about their circuitous relationship.

With all due respect, only a highly skilled yet empathic author like Suanne could have set up three subplots then have it dovetail neatly into one bristling, angry, beautiful, mesmerizing story.

Lastly, overall, this book deserves a new category: Books that ought to be in the hall of fame.

Best read of 2017. Absolutely.
Profile Image for Suanne Laqueur.
Author 22 books1,486 followers
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January 10, 2021


He wanted more ink. Wanted to cover himself in wards and spells and magic. He didn’t mind the pain of being tattooed. It was the vulnerability in taking his shirt off and lying down while the artist worked, together with the intense discomfort. This combination of skin and pain kept him from going back to the tattoo parlor for a long time.

Through the fall, he worked with his trainer at the gym. As his strength built up, his skin got braver, and now he went nearly every weekend to get a new charm. It was his reward for surviving the preceding days and his motivation to face the days ahead. Hebrew letters, mystical symbols and metaphysical signs crawled along his arms and across his back, creating a suit of armor that allowed him to move through the world as a normal guy.

Tattoos also provided a distraction for the girls he cautiously took to bed—it kept their interest literally skin-deep, held their fascination at the perfect superficial level. Female hands caressed him in the dark, running over his defined, illustrated muscles, yet they didn’t see him. Which was how he liked it.

Sometimes girls asked what the designs meant and sometimes he told them. Braver, more curious bedmates wanted to touch his stoma scar and he always told them not to.

“What happened?” they all asked.

He had a supply of answers he tailored to both his mood and the questioner:

I was sick.
I had an intestinal blockage.
I had cancer.
I got stabbed.


No one got the truth. I had a transverse colostomy after I got raped would kill the mood and who would believe him anyway?

“Please don’t touch,” he said again and again, moving solicitous fingers away from the round, livid mark on his abdomen. “I’m fine, but the scar still hurts.”

All of it still hurt so much.

Lying in the dark, a soft, sleeping girl in his inked arms, he blinked through tears and feared it would always hurt.
February 16, 2018
******6 STARS******

Unfiltered thoughts here https://wp.me/p7ZSCH-465

I know the scale only goes to 5 STARS but this book is off the fucking charts so I'm going to 6 STARS!

Some stories are important to tell and this is one of them. After reading the first book in this duet I had zero interest in reading book two. I'm not a big fan of M/M books because I can't connect to the romance part of it. What I decided to do was take a step back and figure out why. I figured it out but that's beside the point right now.

This story is deep, very deep. It's the kind of story that makes you question your own life choices. A Charm of Finches tackles social issues in a way that you don't feel like your having a topic thrown in you face but in a way that makes you feel it in your soul.

I thought I had read books that bought tears to my eyes but this story. . .it was everything.

Here's the thing. . . I don't enjoy M/M romance novels, I most likely never will. It's just not my thing. I prepared myself mentally before reading this book to find a way get some enjoyment out of the story. Suanne was very much aware of my feeling of M/M romance novels as we had some long chats about it but she still wanted me to read this book. 

There are three main characters in this book - Geno, a seventeen year old kid who experiences no doubt have and will change his life forever. Javier, a forty something year old escort/writer. Step, also a forty something year old guidance counselor.

Those three lives intertwine in the most amazing way possible.

I had a lot of trouble finding a way to review this book but in the end I decided to write the author, Suanne, a letter. Click the link at the top to read it.

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Profile Image for Judith.
724 reviews2,586 followers
November 13, 2017
4.5 Stars.






Another powerful and moving story from this highly talented Author.I found this a lot darker than book one and I went through a range of emotions reading it-definitely not always pretty but a story told so well.

This subject matter is harrowing at times and I really commend the Author for not portraying some events in graphic detail and yet still leaving the reader in no doubt about what has happened.Is it better for a reader to visualize events in their own minds? For me,it definitely was and I found it all the more impactful.






The story picks up from book one,that's not to say this can't be a standalone(imo), as events and background stories regarding the characters are well explained and introduced into this story without too much repetition.However I would recommend reading book one to fully appreciate the story here and especially Jav.


Having decided to retire from escorting Jav finds himself at a kind of crossroad here.It's time for him to find love...


"I swear.Give me one more chance and I will make the most of it."



I thought I couldn't love anyone more than Jav but Stef definitely comes a close second....
As a Therapist working with some very distressing cases,his work is demanding and draining.He seems to be missing something from his life but I don't think he even knows what it is.Stef is bisexual,Jav may be but I really think it's not necessarily about a label and more about who they fall in love with.


In a way this is two stories in one book.Stories and characters lives that intertwine.Alongside Jav and Stef's story you have Geno.....


Geno is a twin.Inseparable from his brother from birth and deeply connected,

Until they weren't,

Until a terrible betrayal would change Geno's life forever.


My heart broke for Geno and if ever I was routing for happiness for a character it was for him.


The 'relationship' between Jav,Stef, and Geno was complex at times but you never lose sight of the strong connection that forms between them as the book progresses.

A big shout out(again) for the research the Author must have done here,both Historically and Emotionally as there are very emotive issues in this story.

I've read these two books virtually back to back and I'm so impressed with her writing and story telling.

Highly Recommended...


I received an Arc of A Charm of Finches from Suanne Laqueur in exchange for an honest review.



My reviews are posted on DirtyBooksObsession

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Profile Image for Larry H.
2,440 reviews29.4k followers
November 13, 2018


Tell me about it. I think I just pulled myself together emotionally, and I finished this book last night!!

Two weeks ago, I read Suanne Laqueur's An Exaltation of Larks (see my review), and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since. Amazingly, people told me that as good as this book was, I needed to read Laqueur's follow-up, A Charm of Finches, because it was even better. Some even called it the best book they've read so far this year.

Honestly, that sounds about right. I am loath to compare books, but I can honestly say that A Charm of Finches reminds me a bit of Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life (an easy pick to be the best book I've read this decade), although it didn't leave me a total emotional wreck. This book is a little more brutal than its predecessor, but it's also a little bit more hopeful, and it illustrates life's beautiful and painful moments so expertly.

"I think love is a big wisdom made up of small understandings."

Javier Landes has never believed himself worthy of love. That's why he was an escort for so long—it was so much easier to keep people at arm's length than allow them to see how vulnerable he truly is. After his first two attempts at love went horribly awry, he's not sure what he wants—until he meets Steffen Finch. They're clearly attracted to one another and enjoy each other's company, but as their relationship intensifies, they both pray they've found the one, although they can't believe how easy it all seems.

"From any direction, any angle, Stef rested on Jav's eyes the way a classic rock song always sounded good to your ears, even for the eight millionth time. You knew the words, you sang without thought, you air guitared or drummed on some available surface. Because you couldn't not. Your ears heard and your soul obeyed. Jav looked at Stef and goddammit, his soul started singing."

An art therapist working with male victims of sexual assault, Stef is excellent at his job, but he's always sought a connection, both physical and emotional, to help bring him back from the brink where his clients' problems take him. The more time they spend together, Stef realizes that Jav provides those connections for him—he just hopes that the anxieties of Jav's past don't keep him from falling as deeply as he wants to.

Stef's newest client is Geno Caan, a young college student whose brutal sexual assault left him psychologically shattered, physically broken, and more alone than he could ever imagine. The things Geno saw and experienced make it unbelievably hard to trust anyone, yet little by little he lets down his guard to let Stef in. But the more Geno becomes attached to Stef, the lines between professional and personal get blurred, and threaten both Stef's relationship with Jav and Geno's recovery.

There is so much more to A Charm of Finches than I've described. It's a beautiful story of finding love and self-worth, of realizing it's okay to depend on others, and of how redemptive that love can be. It's also a story of courage in the most desperate of situations, how our strength somehow allows us not to fully break and keeps us from losing the very best of us, even if it's buried deep under our scars.

This is a gorgeous, sensitive, sexy, emotional book, full of moments that made me smile, made me blush, horrified me, and made me full-on ugly cry at times (on a plane, no less). Laqueur's ability to pull you into her books so completely, to feel such attachment to her characters that you can't stop thinking about them when you're finished reading, is absolutely dazzling.

Suanne, now that you've hooked me, please say there's another book coming in this series. Don't leave me without Jav and Stef, not to mention Alex and Val, Roger, Stav, Trelawney, Ari, and Deane—how's a person supposed to cope?

Read these books. You've simply got to.

The author provided me a copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2017.html.
Profile Image for JAN.
1,095 reviews734 followers
January 27, 2022
3rd read Jan 2022

This right here is the reason why I read. It's what I seek when I open a book, to be taken away from my reality and to be immersed in somebody else’s life to the fullest extent.

A Charm of Finches felt like being in a giant kaleidoscope, but instead of shapes and colours, I was overwhelmed by emotions and feelings that deeply resonated in my heart.

This was my 3rd time reading this story, and I swear that I intended to focus on the romance between Jav and Stef and ignore the dark side of it - Geno's story.
Who was I kidding? Ignoring the dark shit is so not me! His story stood out and hit me a lot this time.

2nd read: September 2018

****** 6 Stars ******



I wish English was my first language right now and I wish to have a way with the words.

Alice Archer said beautifully in her review what I couldn't say:

"I had to pause to swoon between doses. I gave every sentence a lingering backward glance, reluctant to move on, even as the story drew me forward with promises of vulnerability and healing, wounds and salve, detail and depth."

Original ramblings September 2017

So many feels to gather and emotions to get hold of... trying to make sense of it and put it into words is harder than I first thought. A Charm of Finches is complex and intense and I feel that reviewing this is way out of my league.

SL starts this story kicking a bucket and spilling some shitty disturbing dark stuff that I was so not expecting. Because of that I dare to say A Charm of Finches is not for all.

For those whom it may concern Jav gets his so well deserved Happy End After. SL has gifted not only Jav, but all of us - readers who have been rooting for him - the most perfect match: Stef.



However, A Charm of Finches goes far beyond Jav and Stef’s love story.



Much more...

There was Geno and his twin Carlos - Los and Mos who lived in the starry world of Nos. SL was merciless crafting Geno. He smashed as a character! What a mean punch of angst.

There were also a few bunch of other characters that we got to know along the way. There was Stav, Micah and little Max. Sweet little Max! I can't even, people! And because there is nothing superficial in the way the author portrays and develop these people, we soon get caught deeply tangled in their story.

There were ugly crying moments too, but hey, I live for this kind of story.



There were moments where I caught myself in awe at the beautifully and carefully way the author approached and worked around mental health issues, together with a few other sensitive matters she also tackled but I won’t spoil here.

And finally, there were swoony moments filled with the most perfect combination of chemistry and love.




Yes, I do.

SL is a masterful storyteller.

ARC graciously provided by the author after I shamelessly begged requested it two days ago.
Profile Image for Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth.
792 reviews858 followers
November 1, 2017
It's LIVE!

Amazon

Review @ Vanilla & Spice Books


✮✮✮ ALL OF THE STARS ✮✮✮




“I think love is a big wisdom made up of small understandings."



So. This is it. I daresay that this will be my favorite book of 2017 because I can't see how you can top this story. Big words, I know and I'm already taking away the conclusion of my review but what the hell. Bear with me.


Apart from losing his mother at fifteen, Geno was a normal teenager. He has a deep connection with his brother Carlos that only twins have.


They had a name for their shared space, and within it, they had secret identities. Carlos was Los. Geronimo was Mos. Los and Mos lived in the starry world of Nos, Spanish for we. Nos rhymed with dos, Spanish for two.



In one night Geno's world comes to a screeching halt - forty-four hours of horror make him hand over his life to an imaginary alter-ego.





My heart burned for this beautiful, sweet boy who'd had nothing but kindness in him and felt so deeply, his loneliness devastated me. He was betrayed in the vilest of ways by somebody he couldn't expect to turn on him, unspeakable things were done to him.


Carlos took his broken heart where he wasn’t supposed to be. He walked out of the henhouse and left the door wide open, letting the Fox in.



Restoring a measure of sanity and trust is a Herculean task and takes a strong, resilient heart. Geno was broken nearly beyond repair and what he endured would have killed a lesser person. His way back to the surface after disassociating himself from his broken self is paved with spikes but he braves every obstacle and one by one loyal champions join his battles to see him through the worst time of his life.


"They didn't get the best of you." - Stef



One of those is Steffen Finch, an art therapist working the cases nobody else wants to touch because they know he is the best and if somebody can crack a case like this one it would be Stef. He is bisexual, divorced and we met him first at the end of An Exaltation of Larks , when he was being introduced to Javier Landes. The attraction is instant and it was sweet to see how they danced around each other until they felt safe enough to open up to each other. What then ensued was sheer beauty and bliss.


“Jesus, I can’t believe the shit I tell you sometimes,” Stef said.
“My ears are the round holes for your square thoughts,” Jav said.
“Dude, don’t make me like you.”
“Sorry.”




Stef is a wonderful character, uniting wisdom, kindness and strength. He finds Geno's cracks in his armor and slowly, slowly starts to fill them with light. Although he should keep a professional distance Stef's admiration for Geno turns into a brotherly love and soon the lines start to blur. I adored Stef and his love for his job. He is intuitive and an inexhaustible well of ideas how to make life for his patients a little more bearable. And even in the most heartbreaking therapy session Stef finds a way to Geno.


“Your heart is bigger than hate,” Stef said. “You tell the story. Words or pictures, nothing’s going to push me away, all right? If you can live it, I can listen to it. If your heart can survive it, mine can too.



When Geno's ordeal becomes to much for Stef, Jav anchors him and gives him peace.


Jav just ended his career as an escort and has a little bit of a midlife crisis. His life consisted of catering to his clients needs, socially and sexually. He identifies as bisexual but has never had a serious relationship and the two men he was in love with were never a possibility. So here he is, trying to figure out what to do next, yearning for a real connection when he meets Stef. I have no words for my love for Jav and Stef. Their chemistry was explosive!


Tonight their bedroom overflowed with magnificent sex. Death by sex. Grandiose, over-the-top sex. They were making love like architects of the universe. Fucking like mathematicians. Multiplying, dividing, canceling each other out and starting from zero.






They were yin and yang, two puzzle pieces who fit perfectly. Both of them good men from the tips of their hair to the tips of their toes, with a huge capability to love. We read about Jav's backstory in An Exaltation of Larks - he faced his struggles with courage and dignity and it's a miracle that he became such a kind-hearted soul. I also adored his brotherly bond with Geno.


Suanne's description of Geno's horrific ordeal may not be overly graphic but reading about it is a deeply visceral, unsettling and upsetting experience nonetheless. It left me hopeless at first - because how do you come back from this? How do you find the will to go on after you lose everything and most of all your innocence and youth? I have nothing but admiration and love for all the characters but Geno in particular. The way he clawed his way back into life was inspiring.


The most harrowing and disturbing parts will destroy you but those blows are cushioned by a cast with the ability to give unconditional love to a boy who has had his world turned up-side-down. I adored every single character in this story. And then there is the humor that is sprinkled throughout the story that helps you get past the hard parts. Despite the devastation and atrocity this is a story full of hope, love and beauty.


“Gee, Stef,” Geno said loudly. “Max sure looks mad at you.”
“Because Max is mad at me, Geno,” Stef said in the same tone.
“Why, Stef?”
“I’m afraid that’s confidential, Geno, but you could ask him.”
Geno leaned out of his chair to look under the table. “Max, why are you mad at Stef?”
“He won’t marry my mother.”
Geno straightened up and raised his eyebrows at Stef. “Now I’m mad at you too.”
“I know, I suck.”



The author did her research on art therapy and the historical facts. I also loved her figurative analogy of a hen house for Geno's home before and after this horrific event.


Suanne Laqueur has found her niche in this so competitive profession. She writes intelligent stories about unconventional characters who have depth and profound stories to tell. Even the side characters are multi-dimensional and equipped with a backstory. She has been gifted with buckets of talent and really makes the most of it. If you follow Ms Laqueur's posts on social media you see a strong, smart, outspoken woman who is funny as hell and her personality shines through in her storytelling.

While this book can be read as a standalone I urge you to read An Exaltation of Larks - the beauty of A Charm of Finches will be enhanced. If you haven't been introduced to her writing yet please prioritize her - Suanne Laqueur is one of a kind.





Profile Image for Shile (Hazard's Version) semi-hiatus.
1,070 reviews750 followers
March 11, 2019
Man is a centaur,
a tangle of flesh and mind,
divine inspiration and dust.


Infinity Stars

description

“Just be prepared not to find love on the first try,” she said. “Love doesn’t always play nice. Love plays games you haven’t had to deal with before. Love is going to serve up a buffet of emotions you neatly avoided for decades.”
“I know,” Jav said. “And love isn’t going to leave me an envelope on the mantel for my troubles.”


Gloria is the best.

WARNING! Gushing I call review.

This is how it is done!!

Have you ever loved a book so much that you got no words to say, other than Loved it! Loved it. Yeah that is me right now.

description

This is the best mm relationship story I have ever read. I don’t think any words can do this justice. I got to experience an effortless, easy going relationship. Jav and Stef, two people who communicate, tell each other their fears, support each other and come back home to each other, make love like they have been doing it for years and sometimes fuck like bunnies. GAAAHH! I can’t express how much I loved this drama llama free uncomplicated relationship.

The writing is magnificent, out of this world. I got transported to another universe with words, this made it easy to create an Oscar worthy movie in my head. Suanne did that! She is an amazing author. The words touch your soul, well, mine was touched. The story flows page to page, the scenery description made me feel like I was there with the characters. GAAAHHH! Suanne!

Now as much as the story of Jav and Stef is great, we have other ongoing story arcs. We have Geno!! Dear lawd! Geno’s story is a difficult one to read. Then we meet Max and I was just about to turn homicidal maniac. Pedos, Child molesters should just burn in hell.

description

Back to Jav and Stef, Have I mention how much I loved their relationship? If not! I freaking loved their relationship. Their conversations, watching each other work and get into their zone. The banter, Gawd i Love me some good banter and humor. They say make it dark, make it grimm but for the love of God tell a joke. I think Suanne listened.

“Say pony in Spanish,” he said.
“Pony in Spanish.” Jav closed his eyes just as Stef’s mouth touched his.
Stef held his leftovers. Jav held the handrails. The kiss was tilted and off-center. Slightly awkward. And so utterly perfect, Jav wished for an instant that the entire rest of his life could be here in the darkened stairwell. No touching, no nakedness, nothing but his head leaning back and twisting up into Stef’s mouth.


description

The sex scenes! The sex scenes GAAAAAAAH! Who the fuck write scenes like that? Me gots phantom orgasms! Yes! That is a thing. We got some hot! HAWT Sex scenes.

description

description

The best! The best of the best ever. These characters have become family. Thanks you my friends for encouraging me to read this series and for listening to my rants.

Disclaimer! DON'T READ THIS WITHOUT LARKS, PEOPLE! 😍😍 Jav story starts in Larks. 💖
Profile Image for Emma Scott.
Author 40 books7,534 followers
October 29, 2017
NO ONE WRITES LIKE THIS.

I've been trying for a long time to come up with a better opener, or a some sort of all-encompassing statement about this book in particular, but the simple truth is...no one writes like this. I didn't highlight any specific parts of the Finches in order to provide an example because the entire book is quote-worthy. It's a CTR+A situation, but I'll just randomly open it to a page and grab something...

“No,” Jav said. “Why?”
“You’re sighing a lot.”
Stef turned sideways and put his feet on an empty chair. He went back to reading. Jav went on looking at him, finding tiny vulnerabilities juxtaposed against the big, solid frame of Stef’s body. Broad in his chest and shoulders, secure in his brazenly inked skin. Yet the fingers curled around his coffee mug were soft, fidgeting a little. Beneath the harsh, stern frames of his glasses, he was biting on a corner of his lower lip.

Unlike the Compass, Jav thought, the Finch’s mind went down fifteen flights of stairs into a warren of secret rooms and passageways..

I swear to God, I picked this at random, and what do we have? A small moment. Two men sitting at a table having breakfast which becomes a perfectly rendered description of one character's masculinity cracked to reveal his human insecurities, as keenly observed by another character who is clearly a writer, who creates little vignettes in his mind; casting the people in his life as characters in some future work.

The entire book is like this, sucking you in with incredible prose in these little moments, so that it's impossible not to dive headlong into their world. Other reviewers have said this, and I agree, that you don't just read a book from Suanne, you experience it. You become a part of its weave, and you bleed and cry and laugh and hurt with the characters as if you were right there.

Those of you who know that I am friends with Suanne, and you might think I'm touched by bias. But we became friends because of her writing. I read The Man I Love and wrote a review; she replied, and we got to talking and it went something like this:

Her: Loved your review.
Me: Loved your book. Friends for life?
Her: Okay!

But if not for her artistry, that review never would have been written. I don't even think it's subjective. Even if one isn't a fan of the certain plot points, or dislikes a character, I don't think one can deny the craft at work here. NO ONE WRITES LIKE THIS and after careful consideration, I'd say her genre (which is NOT ROMANCE btw) is Therapy Fiction.

Like Give Me Your Answer True which is still my favorite, Finches is about healing. It's the journey of one broken boy, Geno, who experienced something so horrifying, it defies the imagination. Except it doesn't, here. Without being overtly graphic, Suanne paints Geno's ordeal with broad, yet harsh colors and shadows, whispers and stray hands, not black and white words that the readers would flinch from. Instead, we sense what happened to him, and once that happens, he becomes ours to keep; to stay with him and see him through this.

And the characters that see him through this are Javier, the writer from An Exaltation of Larks and Steffon Finch, an art therapist. Much has been made of Jav--he's a reader favorite from Larks, and with good reason. I wanted so badly for him to find his place in the world and to find the love he'd been seeking. That journey, taken with Stef, if beautiful to watch in its subtle build of connections, little by little, into a strong fortress of everlasting love and belonging.

But it's Stef to whom, for me, this book belongs. He's the hero, the knight in shining armor who rescues Jav from his uncertainty and loneliness, and who literally saves Geno. He is Geno's art therapist, and it is THAT story that I felt encompasses the crux of Suanne's work. Therapy through fiction. Daisy goes through it in Give Me Your Answer True and Geno goes through it with Stef here. And in both instances, WE go through it.

In Finches, we are torn apart by what happened to Geno and put back together with him as Stef fights to help him rediscover his broken identity. By the end, WE feel somehow more whole than we were before, our empathies squeezed dry on a micro level with Geno, and even a broader level with the atrocities of the Holocaust as presented by a survivor in Stef's circle whom Geno meets. Broadly and intimately, we come face to face with what humanity is, what it means when tragedies befall one of our fellow humans--or many millions of our fellow humans--and how the battles we each carry within us, are as broad and wide and dark sometimes as an entire night sky.

No one writes like this. Right now Suanne Laqueur is a bright star in a constellation. But someday, hopefully soon, some agent or publisher or producer, is going to snatch her up and skyrocket her to another stratosphere, and I'm just glad I'll be here to see it happen.
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
516 reviews34.4k followers
September 14, 2020
”Listen and learn it, learn to tell it, and tell it to teach it.”

I think I’m just beginning to realize that no matter what I say about Suanne’s books, it will never be enough. I feel kind of unworthy to talk about her stories because they are just so, so, SO amazing and believe me when I say that in all the years of my existence I never read anything like them... EVER. There are books that are epic, there are stories that have wisdom, there are tales that take you to another world and narratives that make you think and feel, but there is nothing, I repeat nothing that even gets moderately close to how I feel when I read Suanne’s wonderful books.

I can try to describe them but all the words in the world won’t do them justice. Nothing I say will suffice. They are filled with so much humour, with relationships that are so real you can taste them on your tongue and feel them in your heart, they make you ache and bleed, but they also console you and hold you when you’re breaking down. They are pure joy and your darkest hour! They are all the good and bad things and all the nuances in between. They are life! In all its facets and with all its ups and downs. They feel like a living and breathing thing, like a beating heart you’re holding in your palms while you read it.

Suanne’s books are everything and even more and I can’t believe I just discovered them because quite honestly I can’t even imagine a life without them anymore. (I already dread the day when I’ll run out of them, because sooner or later I will. At least when I continue at this pace. *lol*) I love “An Exaltation of Larks” and I adore “A Charm of Finches” and if all of Suanne’s other books are that good I’ll probably die about a thousand deaths until I’ve read them all. It will be worth it though. XD

This said I decided to make this one of my long reviews because I have so many thoughts and feelings that need to be written down. I know this is going to be a huge mess with lots of emotions that will run all over the pages but it needs to get out. XD I’m pretty sure the goodreads word limit won’t suffice so I’ll post the link of my full review on here as soon as it’s on my blog. ;-)

The characters:

Warning: Don’t cross this border! There’ll be lots of emotions, even more feels and plenty of spoilers. Of course it’s up to you if you continue or not, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! ;-)

Jav:

Jav exhaled heavily. “Twenty-three years I had this perfect social life. Perfect date after perfect date. I’m really becoming aware of what an act it was. What a repertory of roles I played and none of them were really me. It’s kind of put me in a mini existential crisis. I have moment s when I don’t know who the fuck I am.”

My review about “An Exaltation of Larks” was an ARC review so I was careful not to spoil anything but since I read this without the aid of NetGalley I can finally gush about Jav!!! I love this man so damn much and I think that’s mostly due to the fact that we’re very similar. Jav experienced so many things, he was hurt, he was lost, he knows loss and pain and even though my experiences might be different than his, the feelings and emotions we share are still the same. I can relate to him and there were countless moments my heart truly ached for him. It was so beautiful to see his journey, to see that he finally accepted himself and was ready to fall in love with Stef. Jav is such a compassionate and wonderful man and it was so good to see that he was finally loved back!!! I just love the way he thinks and feels and when he zoomed out writing things in his head or used his journal I was like: This is me when I write! XD I adore him for always being there when someone needs him, the way he helped Geno out even though they were kind of at odds at the time and how nervous he was! He didn’t want to screw up and this only made me love him even more. <3 I swear, when he opened up to Stef after meeting his aunt... Oh gods!!! I cried buckets reading that scene!! Jav was hurt so badly by his family’s actions and he suppressed it for so many years. I was so glad Stef was with him and was able to catch him when he fell. >_< This man deserves all the love and I just want him to be happy for eternity!!! <333

”This is how I was born to love.
The world can call me whatever label they want. I know who I am.
I’m Stef’s.”


”Everyone just leaves,” Jav said. “I don’t get to say goodbye to anyone. I don’t get a say at all. They leave and I just sit around making up stories to explain why.”

Stef:

”I didn’t choose this particular road, it kind of chose me.”

I never thought I’d love another character in “Venery” as much as I love Jav but then Stef came along and I had to revise my opinion. *lol* This man is perfect in every sense of the word! I even told Suanne as much! XD But I don’t mind because ahh he’s so great and I just adore him! I don’t know how he does his job but I’m glad there exist some Stefs in the world because they are needed! I mean he passed out after he saved a girl that wanted to kill herself and even scarred his left eyebrow when he fell. That’s a true hero right there!! Also can we appreciate his love for books?! I mean one of his first thoughts when he met Jav was ”Dude, if you don’t read, we ain’t got no future anyway.” *LOL* Of course he didn’t know that it was Jav’s book he was reading so yeah. XD There are so many things that make Stef special and his compassion, his calm nature, his way to deal with problems, they are just a few of them! =) Plus I loved how self-confident he is. Stef takes everything in stride and knows exactly who he is, which was wonderful and made him a perfect man for Jav! So at the risk of repeating myself: Stef is perfect! Period! <333

”Connect, he thought. I want to connect.
His heart closed around the thought like catching a firefly.
I’m lonely and I want to connect with someone. Mind and body. Something that means... something.”


”He was wearing a grey shirt today. It would fucking have to do. He went straight from work to the bar. No going home to shower, shave, pick a blue shirt and hang out in front of the mirror like a twink.
Dig me, dig my crappy shirt.”


Geno:

”Someone has to be in charge. I am Mos, rhymes with dos, and I’m in command here. I have the strength of two now.”

Geno’s story moved me so much I can’t even put it into words. This boy went through something no one should ever go through and even though it broke him, he came out of it stronger in the end. I don’t know how he did it but I agree with Stef: ”they didn’t get the best of him”. I’m not going to sugar coat it: The first 10% of this book were so damn hard to read, because we get a good glimpse at Geno’s ordeal and it was tough to read. Rape is horrible and for Geno... it was pure torture. What those men did to him, what he had to endure... I can’t even imagine what this must have done to him. There is this 17 year old innocent boy and they raped him until he almost died. T_T And believe me when I say that I want them all to rot in hell for it! To hurt a young boy like that! It’s unforgivable! Geno suffered so much! This poor boy! His twin died and he had to live with the aftermath, with knowing that his own brother brought him to them. I could understand why Mos came into being, why it was better to let it happen to someone else. >_< Carlito’s death, his own ordeal, the death of his father... gods it was just too much for him to endure. I have no idea how Geno managed to survive but he did it, he fought, he clawed his way back into life and he’s one of those characters that will stay with me forever. Whatever he’s doing now, I hope he’s happy! And that he’s still friends with Micah, because their friendship was everything. Two different generations that survived ordeals no one should ever have to survive and they still made the best of it. When they hugged and Geno cried in his arms I was crying with them. T_T

”I’m all alone here.
He stood again, his view free of the bars but still feeling just as caged.
I want to go home.
I want all this to be happening to someone else. Why can’t this be someone else?”


The relationships & ships:

Jav & Stef:

”Crying out loud, Landes, what?” he said.
“What?”
Stef’s smile broke apart laughing. “Stop looking at me.”
“No puedo dejar de mirarte,” Jav said, tackling him. Because he was a fucking hot mess and couldn’t keep his hands off the guy.


There is so much I want to say about those two men and I’m really afraid it will become an essay! lol* BUT oh boy!!! They were so great together!!! After everything Jav went through it was so good to see him in such a solid and healthy relationship! It was a great contrast to the heavy parts of Geno’s story and Suanne managed to find a balance which is searching for its match. (Suanne, did I ever tell you that I love you? No? Well, I do! ;-P) I loved to see their first meeting from Stef’s POV and haha his reaction to seeing Jav for the very first time was priceless! <3 They were so truly and madly in love it was overwhelming and made me giggle like crazy. I loved how they got to know each other, how they accepted each other’s boundaries and talked things out! Yes, they spoke about their problems and fears and it was AMAZING!!! They were so attuned to each other they noticed the smallest gestures of discomfort from a mile away. XD And their conversation about how being bi feels for them! It felt so true and real that I found myself speaking to the pages saying: Yes!! Yes, that’s it! They were each other’s safe haven and whenever the sea got unsteady and tempestuous they could rely on each other. <3 That moment Jav broke down in Stef’s arms?! Ahh it hurt so much but I was so happy he was with him guiding him through the rough sea! Those two men! I can’t get enough of them and I’ll make sure to read all the accompanying stories I can find. I need more of their happiness! So, so much more! XD

”The attraction is tougher?” Jav said. “More tenacious?”
“Yes,” Stef said, his voice rising. “Tenacious. Exactly. It can take my weight. I can push on it hard, be rougher with it. It’s not a connection I overlap or fall into. It’s something I lean on. Hard.”


“You’re the last chapter,” Jav said. “I went from the prologue to you. I skipped everything in the middle and now I’m in love with you and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.”
A rush as everything in Stef’s body dilated, returned to normal levels, and then rose up. “Jesus Christ, Jav,” he said, rubbing his face. “I swear, I’m going to kill you or fuck you. Pick one.”


”You didn’t know I’d end up fucking for a living. Making me waste twenty years of my life when I could’ve been something to somebody...”
Then he was crying.
Stef pulled him in tight and stood still against the storm, his hand running in slow circles between Jav’s trembling shoulders. “You’re something to me,” he said. “You’re everything to me.”


Stef, Jav & Geno:

”They got him.”
“It’s over.” Geno slid off the couch, onto the floor and into Stef’s arms. “It’s over.”
Stef caught him up tight, a hand on Geno’s head. “They got him,” he said, rocking their bodies side to side.


Now the three of them certainly had an interesting dynamic. Especially because Stef had a professional relationship with Geno and Jav’s relationship with him was rather a friendship. And once again I’ve to praise the fine nuances of Suanne’s stories. Their relationships to each other were so palpable and they felt real and true. I loved that Stef got all protective of Jav when he discovered that Geno had read his journal and therefore his personal thoughts but I also loved them both for still being there for Geno even though he violated Jav’s privacy. I always knew that Geno finding out about Jav and Stef’s relationship would end badly, but after everything he went through it was no surprise. Still, I’m glad they managed to sort things out in the end and I’m so happy Geno has those two as his friends now. Stef being there for him as his therapist was so important but I think Jav being his friend was at least as vital for his healing process as Stef’s therapy. <3 You need friends in your life and with Jav and Stef at his side Geno kind of won the friendship lottery. =) True friendships between men! I think the bookish world needs more of them.

”I’m on guard, little brother.
You fought hard and brave. Rest your heart now. Don’t be afraid.
I’m here.
They’ll have to come through me to get to you this time.”


Alex, Jav & The Larks:

”And if you met someone, and it feels easy and you’re waiting for the axe or the shoe or the whatever to drop, it’s because you think you don’t deserve easy. What did I tell you about that?”
“Yeah, I know,” Jav said, exhaling.
“Say it.”
“I’m worth more and I deserve it.”
“Damn right you do.”


Ahh the tension between Alex and Jav is still tangible. I can’t help but wonder if they’ll ever get over it or if it will be one of those relationships that will always have that special spark. Sometimes you meet people that draw you in and no matter how much you try to get some distance between you, it’s bound to fail. You’re drawn like a moth to the flame or like a moon that’s pulled into the orbit of a planet. So you either find a way to live with that involuntary attraction or you don’t and put some distance between you. And let me tell you this as someone who’s tried to live with it, it’s tough!!! I managed to do it for a few years but then the contact broke because it was just too much to handle. For both of us. >_< So I can’t help but wonder how the relationship between Jav and Alex is going to develop. Still, despite all the things that are going on between them and Val basically watching them like a hawk they are a family and support each other. Which is truly amazing! Val definitely has all my respect for forgiving Alex and Jav and for trying to give them space. This woman is a saint!!! Period!

Jav hugged them both. “Thanks for coming.”
“Wouldn’t miss it,” Alex said.
“We’re your family, dumbass,” Val said. “We’d do anything.”


Conclusion:

“A Charm of Finches” was INCREDIBLE and I just couldn’t get enough of it. The many thoughts, ideas and feelings that went into this, the way Suanne managed to put this on paper! How she writes life the way it is and creates characters that feel like real people! (For me they actually are!) The heavy topics she’s addressing! With so much respect and care. I’m in awe of Suanne Laqueur’s mind and writing style and I’ll never get tired of advertising her books! Seriously, more people need to read her books because they are so, so, so GOOD! All the stars! All the stars, por siempre jamás!
Profile Image for James.
Author 19 books3,483 followers
April 14, 2019
If there were ever a review that I found difficult to write, it would be for a book written by Suanne Laqueur... simply because she is such a phenomenal writer, and I know I will never do it justice. A Charm of Finches is the second in the Venery series, and the second book I've read from the author to date. While nothing will ever surpass the first one, this comes very close. This is not a book for everyone. It addresses many topics which will be awkward, painful, invasive, and too raw for those who prefer something lighthearted. But at the same time, Laqueur is such an intense and powerful writer, every moment is packed with beauty and emotion that will make any and all readers cry. If you do not bawl while reading this, you need to speak with someone about getting your tear ducts repaired.

Okay, the facts: a multi-day gang rape of a young teenage boy, death of someone's family, survival after Auschwitz, divorce, suicide attempts, new love, discovery of homosexuality, addressing fears head on, psychology / art therapy for the truly physically and mentally abused... BUT, forget what the story deals with and focus on the path that our beautiful and tragic characters take to climb deep into a hole and thrust themselves through the pain to find the one ray of shining hope. It doesn't come easily. It doesn't always happen. But when it does, your heart will feel such an immensity of relief, you don't ever want to put the book down.

But you have to. Not because it's not a page-turner. It absolutely is. But you can only handle so much reality at once. I might never complain about anything again after seeing what others have gone through. While some of this is fiction, there is a huge component of truth. This has happened to people. Probably people you've met. But you never knew. And now, an amazing author can deliver it, and while what Laqueur has dropped in our laps, though some of the best writing I've read in years, is probably minor compared to what victims truly experienced. Laqueur has given us gift in this series... a way to understand people we might not know in person.

It's not all emotionally-wrecking behavior. There are moments of levity. Laqueur captures those early new relationship feelings when we don't trust ourselves that someone can love us. She highlights what we do wrong and what we do right when trying to share our love through both physical and mental methods. Whether she's comparing fellow members of a rape-survival group to the Easter Island statues protecting us from anyone getting in or out, to the flight of a finch or a lark, you will connect with this author.

The only reason someone shouldn't read the book, or doesn't like it, is if he or she can't handle the topics. Other than that, this is a finely crafted, must-read book for true literary fiction fans who can immerse themselves in the world of people you will grow to love like family. But do it the right way... buddy read it with a friend, like I did. Nina and I carried each other through this book for a few days. Almost chatting like two awkward teenagers who share a language no one else understands. It was the words we didn't say that explained our mutual feelings... and that's exactly what happens in the book, too... it's what the author purposely doesn't say that shows how awesome she is and how she should be on the top of the charts for all to see. I don't often praise this highly, but this is a series that I will never forget, and I will always recommend.
Profile Image for Hulya Kara Yuksel.
870 reviews1,049 followers
November 14, 2017
-Brutally realistic and so beautiful-

Whenever I read one of Mrs.Laqueur's book, I end up just like this...


And I forgive her for making me cry (again) because my god, it was so worth it. She's in my all time Top 5 authors list and can't wait to read more from her... :)

Ps. I highly recommend all books of hers. Trust me, you won't regret for reading it. <3


“You’re the last chapter,” Jav said. “I went from the prologue to you. I skipped everything in the middle and now I’m in love with you and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.”



------------------------------

"I think love is a big wisdom made up of small understandings.”

"I swear. Give me one more chance and I will make the most of it."

“Your trust is heavy in my hands.”

“Remember you asked me once if I ever made love with a guy, and I said no?” Jav nodded. “Can’t say that anymore.”

“Geno needs you,” Jav said. “But so do I.”
“I know. I love my work, but coming home to you is now the most important job I have.”
November 3, 2017



A wonderful, wonderful story about friendship, hope, love, trust, fear, courage and so much more. 'A Charm of Finches,' is an exquisite example of storytelling in the field of contemporary fiction. It’s a complex story full of passion for life and love juxtaposed against traumatic thought provoking content. A story that has layers of intelligence, heartache and emotion all weaved into an evocative narrative that engaged my thoughts and convincingly took hold of my heart.

The narrative centres largely around Javier Landes, Steffen Finch and Geno, with a supporting cast of characters who all add a little something to the story ensuring a full bodied, rich flavoured meaningful prose. Anyone who has read the first in the series will know that Javier was once an escort who had his heart broken more than once. My longing was that he found someone to love and that someone soon looked very much like it may be art therapist Steffen Finch, a character whom I absolutely fell head of heals in love with. His charisma, his charm, his manner and the way he works as a therapist totally enamoured me to him. He is a beautiful soul, perfectly matching the beautiful soul of Javier, a man whom I already loved. When these two characters first meet their chemistry is incredible. I could feel their pull towards one another, their passion, and became completely invested in their story, in their fear, their thoughts, their words and their love as they navigated through their relationship.

The character of Geno is a layer that takes this story to the next level. He is one of Steffen’s cases, his most difficult one yet. What Geno has experienced in life is beyond horrific, difficult to read, and equally very important in raising the awareness of male rape, a subject which is not often discussed in an open forum. It made me think greatly and offers a high level of poignancy that I felt deeply. Geno not only shows his own fortitude but also helps to depict the positive nature, the strength of character and resilience of Steff and Jav, both as individuals and as a couple.

I could wax lyrical about this story forever and still not truly convey the depth, tone and beauty of the narrative and the story arc within or the complexities of characterization and content that all perfectly gel together to produce an exquisite piece of writing by Suanne Laqueur. Her use and combination of words mesh together to create the most beautiful and meaningful story, one that should be experienced as it unfolds. The reader should be allowed to unwrap each layer as it is presented and experience the relationship of the protagonists, their feelings for each other and how they deal with the life and the happenings that are thrown their way. It is truly a remarkable, multifaceted story that is worthy of all the glowing reports it is receiving. A Charm of Finches is the second novel in the Venery series and can most definitely be read as a standalone, although I believe my reading experience of this second novel was heavily enriched by my complete knowledge of Javier’s background and all the details and nuances of, ‘The Exaltation of Larks.’ If you appreciate great writing and intricate, well thought out story telling then both stories of the Venery series are absolute must reads, I cannot recommend them highly enough.


Buy Links
Kindle: http://bit.ly/ACOF
Print: http://bit.ly/Finches_Print
iTunes: http://bit.ly/Finches_IB
Nook: http://bit.ly/Finches_BN
Kobo: http://bit.ly/Finches_Kobo
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/Finches_Smash

Release Week Giveaway
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/disp...?

#Standalone #Contemporaryfiction #Literaryfiction


Advance copy provided for my honest review thoughts *
Profile Image for warhawke.
1,273 reviews1,910 followers
June 17, 2019
Genre: General Fiction/MM Romance
Type: Standalone Book 2 of Venery series
POV: Third Person
Rating:




Javier (Jav) Landes had an existential crisis. After being an escort for years, he was ready to move on and do something for himself. Lucky for him, opportunity came just at the right time.

Steffen (Stef) Finch directed lives on a daily basis. As a therapist, he helped his patients find connections and closure. But he never realized what his own life needed until he got a glimpse of how it could be.

Geronimo (Geno) Caan never thought a simple act would turn his life completly around. The nightmare of his past took him hostage and refused to let go. His road to recovery brought him head on with two men and their lives would forever be entangled.



“Remember you asked me once if I ever made love with a guy, and I said no?” Jav nodded. “Can’t say that anymore.”


I absolutely love Jav in book 1 and been looking forward to this book since then. While I enjoyed the book as a whole think his story was underplayed. I crave more connection and intensity between him and Stef.

When it became clear Geno wasn’t going to die anytime soon, it became clearer never living again was the only way to survive.


The star of this book was Geno. It was his journey coming full circle on a long, winding path. I felt everything for him, from wanting to hug him and cry with him, to strangle him with my bare hands.

“How did you endure it?”
“You tell me.”
“You made it happen to someone else,”


The book also brought up an important but less talked about real life issues. I could put myself in that situation and feel the pain and the frustrations. I also love the part where one character talked about humanity and the will to survive.



A Charm Of Finches follows the journey of three men toward self-actualization. It would appeal to readers who enjoy being immersed in poignant stories of real life struggles.

Books in the series:
An Exaltation of Larks (Venery, #1) by Suanne Laqueur A Charm of Finches (Venery, #2) by Suanne Laqueur



🕊 ☘️ 🕊 . . . (F)BR With Twinsie CC . . . 🕊 ☘️ 🕊





For more reviews/reveals/giveaways visit:

Profile Image for Malene.
1,172 reviews499 followers
November 8, 2017
I know that when I read a book by Suanne Laqueur, that I need to prepare myself for something unique and brilliant. This was also the case with A Charm Of Finches. Laqueur is truly a gifted writer and storyteller.
Already at 6% and my emotions were in turmoil. I quickly established a connection with her characters and then there was no way back. I immersed myself in them and their story they had to tell.

Every character I met were deep and complex. Laqueur peels layers off these people meticulously which allows the reader to see a vulnerable and exposed side of them. When they’re at their worst and best.
Laqueur weaves world events into the story effortlessly so it’s applicable for the characters. It becomes a part of their history which shaped and influenced them.

I lived and breathed for Geno, Stef, Jav, Stav and Micah. I could continue mentioning names cause there were so many fabulous characters. As they became each other’s tribe they immediately became mine.
Their separate stories slowly intertwined with each other’s and it was executed flawlessly.
My heart broke for Geno and how his innocence was stripped and taken away from him. His journey to reclaim his voice, accepting his past and present was the heart of the story. Stef was his therapist but became so much more to Geno. As did the other characters.

Along their story another powerful one unfolded. A love story between Stef and Jav. I loved Javier in An Exaltation Of Larks and in A Charm Of Finches he and Steffen Finch captured and stole my heart completely. Their relationship was a thing of beauty. Their love was honest and real to me. Something truly remarkable thanks to Laqueur’s eloquent and exquisite prose that made me fall in love right along with Jav and Stef.

Yet again Suanne Laqueur has left me in awe. Her storytelling is brave and her narrative strong and on point. She has a vision for her story and with A Charm Of Finches she excels.

5+ BadAssDirtyGelangStars


ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Mo.
1,348 reviews2 followers
March 14, 2018
Weird. I literally just finished my review and Lyle Lovett comes on the radio ... I have not heard that song in years...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpM8F...

------------------------------

Not for the faint hearted. My heart broke many times reading this. I feel I have bombarded you enough with updates that my review should be short! Yeah, you heard that one before.


"Do you believe everything happens for a reason?"


I did not read ANY reviews prior to reading this so my review will be quite vague.


Let me live to to find out who I really am.



"I don't want to be anymore."



Trust is heavy ...




Not sure I am ready for any more from this author just at the moment. Some of of the reading was heartbreaking. My son was due home from school as I was just about to finish the book. I was in tears... I mean, my family already think I am pure daft as it is ... so for him to come in and find me in tears and ask "what's wrong?' and for me to say, "a book I am reading" - I knew he would just roll his eyes to heaven!! LOL.
Profile Image for SueBee★bring me an alpha!★.
2,417 reviews13.8k followers
Want to read
November 1, 2017
LIVE! | AMZ US | AMZ UK | B&N | KOBO |


Per Author: “Trust me when I say Jav is being kept very busy in the sequel—he's getting spectacularly laid and meeting a lot of new people.”

Stand-alone, book 2.
LIVE! | AMZ US | AMZ UK | B&N | KOBO |
Blurb:
Geno Caan, an eighteen-year-old survivor of abuse, now heading toward to a future he’s not entirely sure he wants.
Steffen Finch, an art therapist guiding Geno through the destruction of love, while attempting to build a new relationship of his own.
Javier Landes, a former escort unsure of his ability to love and be loved, consumed by his priceless passion for Stef and fearful of what it will cost if he loses it.
The second book of the acclaimed Venery series weaves three lives together in a gripping novel about how men make love in times of war.


Books in Venery series are stand-alones, but most enjoyed if read in order:
Book 1: An Exaltation of Larks
Book 2: A Charm of Finches
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,337 reviews1,822 followers
February 3, 2018
What was one more tragic scene in this story? You piled pain on top of pain and eventually it plateaued out.

A CHARM OF FINCHES is hard to read. Horrific, even, at times. This is a sad, dark, wonderful book. But it's a sad, dark, wonderful book about an important and not-often addressed topic. Laqueur has served up a particular devastation you cannot imagine -- don't want to imagine -- until you dive in head first. She shows us some of the worst of humanity and what they can do to another human being, both in times past and times current, and gives those victims of this particular violence a voice. However what's almost worse is experiencing the recovery, the aftermath and the healing, of those featured in this book. But she handles every situation, every emotion, every dialogue or expression of art, every low moment where the idea of living, of facing another moment with these experiences, these losses, these violations, when it's all too much; she handles it all with this incredible care and passion and understanding. It's raw. And it's hard. It stares you in the face, unblinking, and forces you to make eyecontact and hold it when all you want to do is look away. But you can't. I guarantee that for the most part you won't be comfortable reading this. This is not a curl up warm, safe and snuggly kind of book. But it is an experience like no other.

"If anyone deserves to skip straight to the happy ending, it's you."

Like in the first of the Venery series, Laqueur tackles issues and situations that connect people separated by nationality, language, sexual orientation, and time. But in a much darker, less quirky, way. The witty lightheartedness is still there but it's harder to see, rarer to experience, and made the more precious for it. She infuses her already-rich world and characters with so much depth, so much history, that it immerses you so completely you feel like you're living these moments. It's a whirlwind filled with emotions of rage and heartache and heartbreak and suffering.

"Just freestyling my feels. As one does."

I've said a lot about these more 'negative' feelings and I think that's because sometimes those are easier to feel, to express, to think about. To be overwhelmed by. But Laqueur's writing was just as rich in the moments that made me smile, made me laugh, made me cry in joy and delight and relief and triumph. She brought so much love to this story, so much light to the darkness of reality and the tragedies of life, and she gave one character in particular an ending that was so well deserved -- readers of AN EXALTATION OF LARKS will be very happy. But I knew this had to be more than just Javi's story. There had to be a bigger picture, something more, and yet nothing could have prepared me for what that scope would be. Ultimately, in a lot of ways, this story actually focused a lot more on a newcomer to the Venery world than it did our beloved ex-escort but it was so so right to be that way. The way this story unfolded, the way it peeled back all these layers and made these connections, in unpredictable but perfect ways, it was just.. incredible.

"I think love is a big wisdom made up of small understandings."

I don't know what to say in this review, really. I know I've said a lot but it's a lot of nothing in particular. This isn't a story you can sum up in tidy words. You can't put it in a box. You can warn a reader, sure. 'Be prepared. Pack the kleenex. Potential triggers. Dark subject matter. May cause spontaneous kindle hugging.' You can put all sorts of labels on this and make it one thing or another but it's so many things. It's so many moments. Every good is earned, every bad is an event for these characters to overcome or live with -- or not. It's messy and fucked up and goddamn beautiful. Maybe it'll change your life, maybe it won't. It doesn't matter what I say it will do for you. I just know this story is in my skin, imprinted on my bones, my soul, and I won't be shedding any of what this made me feel in seven years, maybe not even in seven decades (that would make me way old, but just go with it, don't bring math into this).

The pain was part of it. The pain was a thing to get beyond, because on its other side was a pleasure that defied description. A pleasure that couldn't be without the foundation of pain.

I could not have survived this without my buddy and even with her help, with her guidance, with her voice on the other end feeling everything I felt, hurting every time I hurt, loving all the love, even with all that, it was still a struggle and we barely made it out alive. What is found inside the pages of A CHARM OF FINCHES, all of it, the quiet casual sharing of a day, the dark basement of a betrayal, the statistics and the hopelessness and being unseen in your pain, of taking a chance on yourself, lashing out in the face of your hurt when the person across from you isn't suffering, of being selfless and selfish and brave.. everything resonated. Every word, every moment. But it's also more than that. I could give Laqueur a standing ovation until I'm numb from the wrists down for going as deep as she did into these topics and handling them with such care and sensitivity. But she also finds the humour in the shittiest (I use that word deliberately) of situations and proves that she isn't just bringing awareness to tragedy.. she's showcasing hope. Life gets us down, it kicks us when we hurt, but laughter lives on; and she managed that balance so beautifully.

"I can feel you living."
"Lean on me."

As traumatic as this book was at times, it's also one of the best books I think I've read in my life. I'm left feeling so rewarded by the ending in a gasping, broken, and reborn kind of way. A CHARM OF FINCHES is the equivalent of being out of shape and pushing yourself that extra mile. You might be sick to your stomach, you might cry (I know I did.. endlessly). You'll hate everything, maybe even yourself, you'll hurt and think nothing could possibly be worse than what you're feeling at that moment. But then you'll meet that goal, cross the finish line, clock that time.. and nothing has ever felt so good.

endless "namaste, motherfucker" stars


** I received an ARC from the author (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Profile Image for Robin Hill.
Author 3 books286 followers
November 3, 2017
I DID NOT WANT THIS BOOK TO END. Geno’s story—heartbreaking and tragic AF—is expertly woven into the perfection that is Stef and Jav. I was a huge Alex fan in An Exaltation of Larks, and I wasn’t sure if Stef could fill his swoony shoes. He did, and then some. Jav was the best version of himself. He grows into his skin, forgives his mistakes (as did I), and allows himself to be vulnerable while falling in love.

“You’re the last chapter,” Jav said. “I went from the prologue to you. I skipped everything in the middle and now I’m in love with you and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.” 🠈 See? #SWOON

description

Unlike my one-sided love for Alex in Larks, I fell hard for both Stef and Jav in Finches. As individuals, they are magnetic, loveable characters, but together they are pure magic.

Geno gave me every possible feel under the sun. He always kept me guessing, sometimes with a lump in my throat and my eyes half closed.

Humanity is quickly lost, slower to get back.

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He is the poster child for character development. Terrified, brave, broken, bandaged, hopeless, hopeful. Laqueur nails it, and I only had to read the first chapter to know it. This story. Laqueur’s writing. It’s extraordinary.

I can be sympathetic to your pain. But I do not have to feel it for you. 🠈Bullshit. You will feel everything!

The Larks make an appearance, as does Ari. Roger makes a few appearances too, and if his scene at the end is a question, my answer is👇👇👇
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Profile Image for Christelle.
808 reviews
December 16, 2019
Reread just because this is so brilliant. It's still very evocative, very poignant, very overwhelming.

Jav and Stef......***sigh**
Geno, oh my Geno,...and Micah and the bond between Geno and Micah...no word for them...

The impact is REAL !!!!
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**5 +++ stars**
A roller coaster of emotions that deeply resonated for me : this very-well written and evocative life and romance story stirred so many feelings that it will stay in my mind for quite a long time.

Imo, this is not a standalone and An Exaltation of Larks should be read before (it’s also a beautiful life story including the journey of Jav who plays a huge part in this instalment).

Warnings : there are some topics that can be triggers : abduction and gangrape, child abuse, atrocities perpetrated during WWII and in the concentration camps. This is NOT a piling of dire experiences for the sake of it, was never graphic, but evocative enough to be unsettling.

This is a mix of a romance between Jav and Stef and a life story about mainly Geno, a young man whose life changed in a dramatic and heart-breaking way and is on a difficult path to build the rest of his life – and also other characters such as Max, a six-year old abused child or Micah, a survivor of the concentration camps. Their paths cross briefly or lead to a connection, just like it happens in life.
All the characters are important and I cherished all of them. But Geno…No words to express how I was moved by this character.

Just like "an exaltation of Lark", the writing is superb, the prose beautiful, even better imo here. The characters are so well fleshed out that they feel real and I deeply related to the sense of loneliness, of mistrust, of low self-estim, of rage, of fear,…pouring all over the place.

It was a very reflective read, not depressing, but a bit dark, with some oppressing and suffocative moments.
Maybe some other readers won’t share my feelings about this book, nor experience the same level of immersion, because it’s very personal. But for sure, this reading left a huge impact on me.

“I want to go home so bad. But I can’t get there. Because nobody’s there. Nobody’s left. The road keeps going on and on and I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t know who’s going to love me.”
Profile Image for Holly.
1,392 reviews928 followers
September 5, 2019
4.5 stars

Well, this book ripped my heart out, stomped on it, and then put it back into my chest. This book is emotionally exhausting. I highly recommend it. You do have to read the first book in this series though (which I also recommend and although it is pretty much nothing like this book, it is also wonderful). This book absolutely deserves it's current 4.78 avg rating, and I went ahead and put this series on my 'favorite series' shelf. I'll definitely be re-reading in the future.

Oh and this line in the blurb for this book is terribly misleading:
"Over the course of a year, Jav, Stef and Geno form an unexpected and unconventional triangle, revealing how men make love in times of war and how love is a great wisdom made up of small understandings."
This is NOT a book about some kind of love triangle.

Very strong trigger warning :
Profile Image for Nazanin.
1,039 reviews587 followers
November 20, 2017
4 Stars

"Listen and learn it, learn to tell it, and tell it to teach it."

As Jav said, his relationship with Stef was so easy! I know the point was that but it was too easy! I wish in reality everything was like their relationship! God, someone here is jealous! Before I started the story I thought of it as a complicated one (like the first book and Jav’s relationship/friendship with those two others) but I was wrong! Jav and Stef was so sync with each other! Somehow they were complementary to each other! Loved them both! But on the other hand, reading about Geno was really hard. How he lost everything, how he lost himself, how he couldn’t find the right thing/path, how he lost his trust in others… My love to you, Geno.

"Someone has to be in charge. I am Mos, rhymes with dos, and I’m in command here. I have the strength of two now. I’m the one with the common sense in this family.
Things happen to Geno.
I only watch."


I think Ms. Laqueur Did a good job with balancing the happiness and sadness in this story. You don’t get bored. on the contrary, you lost the track of time! The thing is I’m not good with too long stories and even though this one was really too long for me but I really enjoyed it and loved it but compare to the first book, I loved that one more than this actually! Told in multiple POV, 3rd person. It’s the second installment in the "Venery" series and it should be read in order. All in all, I had a good time with this book and hope you love it as well!
Profile Image for Bookphenomena (Micky) .
2,350 reviews365 followers
February 3, 2018
Deep, dark and beautiful.

A CHARM OF FINCHES has hit me so hard from venturing into the first pages to the last; there is a high emotional price to reading this book but it is worth it. This book has some of the most beautiful writing I’ve encountered in contemporary fiction. It’s not pretty-beautiful but ugly-beautiful and if none of what I say makes sense, then I’m sorry but I am unwilling to spoil a moment of this for potential readers.

This book is set around a context so foul and hideous that it’s hard to look and also hard to look away. The story is difficult to navigate but so very important. What is between these pages has the potential for your average person to see a marginalised and violated population, small but in need of recognition and voice. Suanne Laqueur draws you into this difficult world through characters that are tragic, wonderful and they feel like your family by the end.

If you’ve read AN EXALTATION OF LARKS, then you’ll be expecting Javier and in this second book, his character becomes something else and I grew even more in crush with him than before. Stef was a man that I admired from the beginning and I moved to be in awe when seeing him at work. He was a genius in his field and a very real person in his home life.

“I want this feeling I have with him. When I’m around him, I feel honest. I feel authentic. I feel myself and I see so clearly who I want to be and the life I want to lead. And the kind of person I want to have with me on the ride. A curator and a sailor.”

The other character that is all-consuming in this book is Geno. In fact, most of your thoughts in this book centre around Geno. If you want to experience character development then this is the book to read and Geno is the one to watch. I would like more of Geno in a future book. Then there’s Micah, his past touched me hugely and I admired this man’s ability to help another heal. So really, this book is all about the men, the good, the bad, the ugly.

I’ve buddy read this arc and I’m so grateful to have had a virtual hand to hold, the ability to share tears and discuss chapter to chapter with. We lost ourselves in this book and we felt in free-fall from about 60%. How Suanne Laqueur wrote the content of this book, sensitively, beautifully, finding the light amongst the darkness, I do not know. I am awestruck at her writing, of how she wrote a love affair amidst the dirt of the worst humans, of how she made me laugh, then cry and then sigh with the feelings of it all. This is the best book I know I’ve personally experienced in recent years and I award it all the stars in Nos.

A copy of this book was provided by the author, in return for a honest review.

Reviewed for Jo&IsaLoveBooks Blog.
Profile Image for Moony Eliver.
286 reviews156 followers
March 23, 2020
I’ve been sitting here with my fingers poised over my keyboard for a few minutes. Occasionally I’ve typed a word or two, then deleted. I don’t know how to review this, so I’m starting with that inaneness.

I often begin thinking of my review while I’m reading a book, especially toward the end, wondering what (if anything) I have to say. At 80% of Finches, I thought I wouldn’t write one at all. My thoughts just felt too incoherent, too impossible to put into words.

Then, during the last couple of hours I spent with the story, I was struck with some breathtaking feelings, like I was walking through a gallery and being overwhelmed by the artistry. This book, this series, is a work of art. Or even a thousand works of art, all coming together in a perfectly cohesive masterpiece.

I have no idea how Suanne Laqueur’s brain works, to be able to write a book like this. It has so many freaking layers, and it’s all so connected that it feels wrong for it to have a front and back cover. In truth, it should present itself more like a slide carousel. And I’m a babbling idiot.

So much insanely difficult and profound subject matter is covered here, all with intense reverence. Laqueur didn’t take any of these topics lightly, and I can’t imagine the effort and the emotion that must have gone into the research. Your trust is heavy in my hands. Being as spoiler averse as I am, I am choosing not to list those topics, but there are plenty of other reviews with content warnings you can reference if you’re concerned.

It has amazing romance elements, but it isn't a romance book. It has the darkest of dark elements, but it isn't a dark book. It has gut-wrenching suspense elements, but it isn't a suspense book. I smiled, I laughed, I got nauseated, I got brain-explodingly angry, I got butterflies, I got hungry, I got turned on, I cried, I got hope.

I’m as conflicted about how to wrap up this review as I was about how to begin it and how to write it. I feel... actually changed. I experienced the characters and their stories inside and out, but moreover, I learned about my own character and my own story along the way.

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March 2019 reread: Everything. Ev.er.y.thing.
Profile Image for Jenny - TotallybookedBlog.
1,777 reviews2,012 followers
November 1, 2017
description

‘I know you, he thought, wounded. I see you. I was born tangled with you. We started as one cell before becoming two.’

‘He felt nothing but conviction he was right. This was how it had to be. He knew no other way to survive what couldn’t be understood, other than to have it happen to someone else.’


A Charm of Finches by Suanne Laqueur was a masterpiece which we will never forget, our hearts may never recover but we wouldn’t want them to. We honestly have no words for how intensely overwhelmed we feel about this vivid and emotional story of high importance. Incredibly well written; this is a story of survival. Of tragedy shaping futures, of friendship, understanding, compassion and acceptance. This is not a romance in the ‘usual’ sense of the word rather this is a story of the ugly side of life and how friendships and soulmates are the true thread that binds us, giving the cloth of our humanity love, strength and methods of survival.

‘Just let me come home. Give me this chance. Please let me live to find out who I really am.’

The topic of this story is very –very- real and what we truly admire about this Author is how she writes about the harrowing soul destroying psychological as well as physical after effects whilst highlighting the truth that many turn their backs on: men get raped too. This is not something we often come across in the books we read and we applaud her wholeheartedly for it.

‘I am looking for you. Breathe in the air. Can you smell me? Do you taste me? If you do, then you are mine.’

Suanne Laqueur highlighted the disparity between the perception of female rape and male rape for both the victim and in regards to societal beliefs. Yet what she manages to do is weave hope and inspiration into the dark, gritty and quite frankly soul destroying reality. It was a heroic journey that left us exhausted.

‘She brought in a tall stack of blank, white masks’… “The way one fits snug on top of the other…We don’t just wear one mask, we wear many. First the mask we show to the outside world and under it, the mask we put over our feelings. Under that…”

Not a word was written purely for the purpose of creating a dramatic effect, of that we are adamant and convinced. This is a story that has indisputably been researched to the ninth degree making every single character and their individual as well as combined stories come alive in front of our eyes making us feel like we were part of their story. We became the story and the story became us. This intense feeling had us crying till we couldn’t breathe whilst feeling the shivers, shakes and despair, the hopelessness, the fear, the anger and the pain. As hard as this was, we wanted to feel it, we wanted to take every single step alongside the characters.

“Do you believe everything happens for a reason?”

“I do…but not everyone gets the privilege of liking the reason. Of feeling the reason was worth the ordeal or experience.”


Oh the characters; Geno, Steffen, Javier, Micah, Stav and the rest of the heroes; the survivors of atrocities and circumstance each with their own story and part to play; heavily entwined in an account of life with such depth and detail. We took them all to heart; we came to know them, experienced their stories and struggles, whilst rejoicing with them in their moments of beauty and bliss. Steffen Finch, this man became our North Star, a man we will never forget. A man like no other. We haven’t cried over so many wonderful yet pain tormented characters in a very long time; every tear and aching heartbeat belonged to them.

‘I’m on guard, little brother. You fought hard and brave. Rest your heart now. Don’t be afraid. I’m here. They’ll have to come through me to get to you this time.’

In the overwhelming darkness we were able to see the stars, the hope, the purity, the inspiration and the light. The gift Suanne Laqueur gave us is quite simply astounding, masterful, confronting, exhausting and one of the best we have ever received as readers. She obliterated our hearts and we thank her for that. We forgot to breathe – Suanne Laqueur slayed us emotionally. There are not enough stars in the sky to give…..

‘You are here and nowhere else. Nothing else exists. No other thought. No other feeling. No other moment in any other time but now. No other man but him. No other love but his.’


The Venery Series is available to purchase below
An Exaltation of Larks Book One
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Our 5 Star Review

A Charm of Finches Book Two
Amazon US
Amazon UK


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Profile Image for Optimist ♰King's Wench♰.
1,759 reviews3,831 followers
March 17, 2019
This is what's known as the quintessential turtle vs. hare buddy read. Annery was the hare and her review is lovely and you should totally read it. I am the turtle who turtled out at 18% for close to two weeks.

Annery said to push through, that it would be alright, but I was skeptical and I needed a minute or a couple of weeks. Whichever.

"Do you believe everything happens for a reason?"

"I do," Have said. "But not everyone gets the privilege of liking the reason. Of feeling the reason was worth the ordeal of the experience."


I can now verify that it was ok. Annery didn't lie but after my experience with An Exaltation of Larks I felt once bitten, twice shy. I couldn't envision how Stef, Jav and Geno wouldn't evolve into something I didn't want to be a part of and I think that may be a misconception about this book. I've read a slew of other reviews and no one really addressed that this is not a menage story. To be clear, I have zero issues with menage stories. I do, however, have a serious issues with a therapist entering into a romantic relationship with their client and I haven't the words to express how profoundly happy I am to have been wrong in my assumption on that front.

But believe me when I say, the first 20% is the 7th circle of hell divided by a dumpster fire. Trigger warnings for rape, child abuse, pedophilia, homophobia, suicidal ideations and drug usage. I still have plausibility issues surrounding the crisis call given the fact that there was a 5 state manhunt involving the FBI and this case was being broadcast to every farmhouse, outhouse, henhouse and news organization from here to kingdom come and somehow when Geno calls in and begins to tell his story not one bell rings?

*squints intensely*

However, as I continued on with the story I saw how as a plot device it dovetailed into being integral to Geno's characterization. Geno's story is in equal measures brutal and beautiful. You'd have to be made of metal to not be affected by his story of survival. The author has a knack for getting at the heart of not just emotions but the human condition and nothing illustrated that more than Geno's internal turmoil. I really loved the henhouse metaphor too.

Stef and Jav's relationship is without artifice, authentic. It was refreshing to read about two adults who use their words and don't indulge in dramatics. However, I still think there could've been less monotonous daily living. Less dinner, dishes, watching TV on the couch, running, taking Roman out, showering, shaving, which clothes they wear, etc. Though I really liked Stef and Jav I didn't lurve them like my friends. They have their moments and I was by no means unaffected by them but there was no swooning or face leakage where they were concerned at Casa de Cupcake.

Micah, though... every time he was in a scene I got emotional. Hells bells, I'm getting emotional now just thinking about him and everything he's endured. In my own defense, I do have a obsession thing with all things WWII so... grain of salt. Nonetheless, I'd sit in the basement of the Bake and Bagel with him every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

The truly good times happened in kitchens, Geno thought. Life was conquered and feted in the triangle of stove, sink and fridge. The room where people came both to cry and celebrate.


Besides Micah I truly loved how cooking was intrinsic to the storyline and how it was used as both a bonding experience and a respite from all the kaka going on internally and externally.

At the end of the day, I'm glad I persevered. I regained a little trust in this author and am curious about The Voyages of Trueblood Cay even which is saying a lot.

If you enjoy gritty and emotional stories that are heartfelt and packed with genuine emotion, give A Charm of Finches a try, but carry a big stick and maybe invest in some armor for that first 20%. #protip
Profile Image for Ariana  (mostly offline).
1,320 reviews35 followers
April 6, 2019
*5 stars +++*

Sometimes a book is so good I flow over with words and writing about it comes easily.
But sometimes a book is so good it just leaves me stunned and completely ‘speechless’. ‘A Charm of Finches’ is one of the second variety.

So I slept on it. But tbh, it’s not any better today. I still feel massively overwhelmed. I really loved book 1, but this one just knocked me off my seat and left me emotionally drained – to put it mildly.

@ It’s all the layers and different stories that come together to one powerful and amazing message.

@ It's the huge variety of emotions tugging at my heart like ...



@ It’s the beauty and lyricism of Suanne Laqueur’s language. I sometimes just reread whole passages three times to savour each word. Even if you might have no idea what this quote is about (I don't want to spoil it as it is a crucial moment ...it hopefully shows you what I mean)

... Like coming home. His head quiet. No voices at his shoulder. No memory. Only bright golden light spilling out of his pores. Soft like soap. Luscious like butter. His skin glowing pink then red. Then with a pop, a bright marigold of yellow and orange behind his eyelids.

@ It’s the detailed realism(never have seen therapy described in such depth !) she injects into every single scene, be it the absolute horror of Geno’s abuse, the shocking retelling of Micah’s story or the swoon-worthy way Stef and Jav interact with each other.

It says in the acknowledgements that her writing has been described as ‘Therapy Fiction’ and ‘Emotionally Intelligent Romance.’ That’s a perfect description from where I am standing. Her words, her imagery, her characters and their stories simply hit your heart, slip under your skin and make you laugh, cry, suffer, smile, swoon and cry again.

And they educate . I had no idea what issues raped men face. It was a huge eye-opener!
I didn’t keep a record how often I wiped my eyes. whether for Geno and the horrific trauma he is living through or ...

Jav and Stef and their epic love story. THIS is how mature (they are both over 40) adults behave. They are honest right from the start. They talk about their issues, their worries, their insecurities and most of all about what they need from each other. And sometimes, the things these guys say to each other totally floored me!

"I mean it,"Stef said. "It is corny as shit but I don't care. Anyone can be a boyfriend. I'm your curator. Your mate." His fingers eased down the back of Jav's collar, caressing inked letters and numbers. "And your Trueblood."

(Stef) "You make me a better man. A better son, a better friend, a better therapist. I work better because of you. I move through the world differently during the day because at night I'm with you."

"Jav's fingertip drew across Stef's eyebrow. "Loving you is the best thing I do."


It is breath-taking and beautiful. Really.

And as for the end – the hope, the love, the cherished understanding between so many of these characters make me believe in people and the power of love.

I don't think I've done this book justice, so let me leave it at that ...

Absolutely brilliant.
Highly recommended.

A huge THANK YOU, Jan for your generosity and giving me the shove to finally go for this!
Profile Image for JAN.
1,095 reviews734 followers
January 27, 2022
This right here is the reason why I read. It's what I seek when I open a book, to be taken away from my reality and to be immersed in somebody else’s life to the fullest extent.

A Charm of Finches felt like being in a giant kaleidoscope, but instead of shapes and colours, I was overwhelmed by emotions and feelings that deeply resonated in my heart.

This was my 3rd time reading this story, and I swear that I intended to focus on the romance between Jav and Stef and ignore the dark side of it - Geno's story.
Who was I kidding? Ignoring the dark shit is so not me! His story stood out and hit me a lot this time.

****** 6 Stars ******



I wish English was my first language right now and I wish to have a way with the words.

Alice Archer said beautifully in her review what I couldn't say:

"I had to pause to swoon between doses. I gave every sentence a lingering backward glance, reluctant to move on, even as the story drew me forward with promises of vulnerability and healing, wounds and salve, detail and depth."

Original ramblings SEP/2017

So many feels to gather and emotions to get hold of... trying to make sense of it and put it into words is harder than I first thought. A Charm of Finches is complex and intense and I feel that reviewing this is way out of my league.

SL starts this story kicking a bucket and spilling some shitty disturbing dark stuff that I was so not expecting. Because of that I dare to say A Charm of Finches is not for all.

For those whom it may concern Jav gets his so well deserved Happy End After. SL has gifted not only Jav, but all of us - readers who have been rooting for him - the most perfect match: Stef.



However, A Charm of Finches goes far beyond Jav and Stef’s love story.



Much more...

There was Geno and his twin Carlos - Los and Mos who lived in the starry world of Nos. SL was merciless crafting Geno. He smashed as a character! What a mean punch of angst.

There were also a few other characters that we got to know along the way. There was Stav, Micah and little Max. Sweet little Max! I can't even, people! And because there is nothing superficial in the way the author portrays and develop these people, we soon get caught deeply tangled in their story.

There were ugly crying moments too, but hey, I live for this kind of story.



There were moments where I caught myself in awe at the beautifully and carefully way the author approached and worked around mental health issues, together with a few other sensitive matters she also tackled but I won’t spoil here.

And finally, there were swoony moments filled with the most perfect combination of chemistry and love.




Yes, I do.

SL is a masterful storyteller.

ARC graciously provided by the author after I shamelessly begged requested it two days ago.

Profile Image for Dia.
534 reviews133 followers
August 20, 2019
All the stars!!!

“Do you believe everything happens for a reason?” “I do,” Jav said. “But not everyone gets the privilege of liking the reason. Of feeling the reason was worth the ordeal or the experience.”


I've finished the first book in this series, An Exaltation of Larks, at 5 AM. I went to sleep thinking I will be able to go to work at 7. I wasn't. I called in sick and I am SO happy that I did, because I was able to dive right into this second book.

I've finished it in one sitting and it's not a short book. 500+ pages full of angst, pain, gut wrenching scenes. I loved it even more than the first one. Maybe because we get Jav's happy ending, or maybe because of Geno's story. It felt SO real and unbearably painful.

I loved everything about this story! I highlighted a lot! If I could I would share this whole book. That's how much I loved it!

Superb writing and absolutely amazing characters!!! I adore Javier, but also Stef!! Again, I thought I had the whole ending figured out, but the author surprised me again! I love the hopeful ending! Great job!!!
Profile Image for Deanna❤Pink Lady❤️.
813 reviews829 followers
November 8, 2017
5 “Amor”Stars


The Art of Storytelling......Suanne Laqueur has the magic touch. Telling the story of characters and how they weave into each other’s life is done with the greatest of ease at her fingertips. Multiple characters, multiple storylines that all eventually intersect with beauty and grace. Love, Sexuality, Fears, Secrets, Lies, Hope, Sadness, Unthinkable Horrors, and Unimaginable Connections.....this book, this storytelling within storytelling penetrates deep within your emotions to fully feel for each and everyone of these characters.

This book is over 900 pages. It’s very long but it reads with a simple ease. One part of this story deals with heartbreaking horror. It’s not for the faint of heart and it definitely exposes the filth that some people in this world are depraved and vile and what they do to the young and vulnerable is a true act of evilness. It kept my heart heavy and fragile during this read. Then there is the other part of the story that made my heart feel giddy and happy and hopeful. My heart felt every emotion under the sun during this read. The good with the bad, the fear with the hope, and most of all......the love with the love.

Javier Landes, Steffen Finch and Geronimo Caan.......three individuals that will all come together in the most amazing of ways. The neighborhood of characters in this book come from all parts. Some are new and others are from An Exaltation of Larks. They all mix and mingle with Jav, Stef and Geno to create a beautiful and hopeful story of love and redemption.

I believe if you love a story with a profound and deep meaning, A Charm of Finches is a must read. It’s hopeful in a world that sometimes is dark and evil. It’s love in a world when thoughts of loneliness and helplessness can overwhelm. It’s a beautiful story.......one that made me think and be sad, and yet, it completely turned to hope and love. I loved this book and I would highly recommend to all....... storytelling like this must be experienced.

*advanced copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review*


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