Book Review: Gone by the Board by August Li

Nathan is staying with a friend in a coastal town in South Carolina after his recent divorce, but he's still struggling with his ex-husband's betrayal and his worsening social anxiety. Meanwhile, Brume, a creature of the sea most humans don't even know exists, is feeling lost and lonely. When Brume saves Nathan from drowning one night, the two become drawn to each other and find their feelings growing as they both start to feel a little less lost.

Book Review: Gone by the Board by August Li | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, lgbt, m/m, mental illness, anxiety
Title: Gone by the Board
Pages: 111
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received an ecopy of this book from the publisher.  This has not influenced my review.*

I read this when I wanted something that would be quick and uncomplicated but still enjoyable, and this book fulfilled that purpose nicely. This was in fact a quick and easy read, and it had a sweet romance with characters who maybe didn’t leave the biggest impression on me but were still likeable while I was reading about them. And even with the inclusion of mental illness (Nathan had anxiety that was sometimes so bad he could hardly go out or be around people), it managed to stay pretty light.

I’m not really sure how well the mental illness aspect was handled; the descriptions that showed how he felt and how anxious he got about certain things were great, and he started seeing a therapist he liked, but then it almost seemed like he ran away from his problems in the end. But he did improve his mental health in some ways and explained it in a way that sounded like he was facing his fears. So that’s why I’m not sure and will let someone who’s had more experience with depression and anxiety comment on that. I do however feel like I should mention that *SPOILER & TRIGGER WARNING* Nathan kinda possibly attempted suicide twice? I’m not sure they were truly suicide attempts though. The first time, he was drunk (and I don’t think he even remembered it when he woke the next day). The second time, once revived, he said he didn’t want to die, he just wanted a rest from the constant struggle, and he knew it was a stupid decision. And he never had suicidal thoughts, they were both just kind of spontaneous happenings. *END SPOILER & TRIGGER WARNING*

As for Brume, it was fun to see his perception of human things since he wasn’t human. It’s not in the blurb but you find out around 10% (so I don’t consider this a spoiler), the first time you get his POV, that he’s an In-Between Person, which means he has a human form during the night but turns into water and is part of the ocean during the day. That was something different I’d never read about.

So overall, this was enjoyable as a quick, sweet paranormal romance.

Book Blurb

The sea is full of jealously guarded secrets, but everything washes up eventually….

Betrayed by a trusted partner, Nathan figures he might as well be lost and heartbroken in the sunshine, and he heads to the coast of South Carolina, to stay with a friend and find a new direction for his life. But despite his efforts, he is lost in the fog, unable to find a guiding light and sometimes unable to find a reason to go on. His only respite from depression and anxiety is the soothing rhythm of the tides and the comfort he draws from proximity to the water.

When the sea sends a lifeline in the form of a strange and beautiful man, it’s easy for Nathan to ignore all the things that don’t add up about his new friend. But the tides can turn without notice, and it’s those mystical traits that will either finally lead Nathan safely to shore or drown him in confusion and despair.

Basic Info

Book Author:
Genre: , , ,
My Rating:

More Info (Possible Spoilers)

LGBT+ Rep: ,
Disability Rep: ,
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Non-Human Type:


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  1. Ali

    It’s interesting that one of the characters had a mental illness but the book still managed to stay relatively light hearted. I don’t know that this one would be for me given that I don’t tend to read books that just have a sweet love story (I enjoy those, but I want there to be a bigger plot around them!). It’s cool that it’s from the perspective of a paranormal character, though!! I haven’t read a book like that before, though there are a few I know of that I want to read!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I feel like this wasn’t the first book I’ve read that was light even with mental illness included? But I can’t actually remember any specific others, so idk lol. Sweet isn’t my usual either, but these types of books are good palate cleansers for me. And for that purpose, it was good! I always like when a find a book that has a really non-human POV character.

  2. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Sounds like this was one of those reads which is great when you’re reading but may not necessarily have the greatest impact once you finish. Those kind of reads are great, I mean, this was obviously a really short read anyway so it doesn’t have as much time to stick with you but it was obviously enjoyable while it lasted and isn’t that what you want when you read? Brume sounds like a really weird kind of paranormal creature in that he only sometimes has an actual physical body. If nothing else that is original and it would be pretty cool seeing the human world from that POV.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yep, that’s pretty much what it was lol. These kinds of books are good palate cleansers for me. Yeah, I had never read about a creature who only had a human body sometimes, I don’t think, so that was different. And I love getting to read the POV of really non-human creatures who don’t quite understand human stuff!