rivers_bend: (books)
posted by [personal profile] rivers_bend at 09:02pm on 02/06/2016 under ,
Books for May

Finley by Ella Frank
For some reason I can't quite put my finger on, the plot of this book was constantly stretching my credulity. Or, well, the motivations? Idk. Sentence-level wise it was very readable, and there is some power play in the bedroom which I always love, so I did my best to ignore that. The main couple has a 9-year age difference and started out as professor/student (which is told in flashbacks), though now they are both 30+. If the student character kinked less on sleeping with his professor, I would have been more comfortable with the whole thing, but it was a case of your kink is not my kink rather than anything about their actual relationship making me uncomfortable. This is first in a series, and the setup for the second book looked like something I'll probably check out.

Timing by Ashley John
this was pretty much my dream in terms of lack of queer angst. Lots of queer people living their lives and having queer friends, and families who love them, being their queer selves and falling in love. I was a bit wary at first when one of the narrators referred to his BFF as "a gay", because that's a bugbear of mine, but it didn't continue, and after the spate of gay angst bullshit books I've been reading, this was a delight. There were a few places where I couldn't help thinking why do good words happen to bad phrases, but apart from the odd lips exploding in beer and passion moment, the writing was mostly fine, too. It super made me miss the trains in England, but not the binge drinking. Emetophobes beware, there aren't any details, but the end result of too much ~fun of an evening out is mentioned a few times.

Hexbreaker by Jordan L Hawk
Once I got into this, I couldn't put it down, and read until I finished it at 1am even though all I'd wanted when I got home from work was an early night. I really really super recommend that you read The 13th Hex first, though. It's available as one of the shorts in Charmed and Dangerous too, though I couldn't get in to several of the stories in that, so if you don't already have it, I'd pick up the standalone probably. But yeah. My main complaint about Hexbreaker is it throws you in a little bit too media res, and even though I've read 13th Hex a few times I spent the first chapter or so wondering what the heck was happening. I did soon catch up, however, and then we barreled along together. It's an interesting world with witches, familiars, hexmen, and then people with no magic at all, and as well as the magic, contains elements of soul bonding (between witches and familiars), shifters (familiars have human and animal forms), and procedurals (the characters work for the witch police force). The sex is super hot, turn of the (19th) century New York is atmospheric, and the politics are interesting. Warning for some cruelty to familiars in their animal form for those animal-harm sensitive.

Firewall by Sierra Riley
I still don't really understand why I finished this book instead of nopeing out of it, but I was kind of curious if it could get worse or would get better? If it had an editor, I'm horrified, and think I'll just choose to believe it didn't. There were multiple wrong words, and an alarming number of random ' sprinkled about, especially things like would 'have and could 'have. That is not how you contraction. One of the narrators had Asperger's, which we ~know because she tells us at least once a page in the first three chapters and at least three times a chapter after that, that he "doesn't do well in social situations" or "finds social situations stressful". Even when it's his bff's turn to narrate, we just get told how awkward Justin is, we are never shown. The sex is incredibly un-hot, the plot is bizarre, and even the forced bed sharing trope failed to charm me. AND it seems like she didn't know that the EMP museum is mere yards away from the Space Needle. Search engines are your friends. I finished it, which is more than I can say for the four books I tried to read before it, but I can't recommend it.

Saving Faithless Creek by Andrew Grey
I like me some tight-jeans-and-boots-wearing hotties, and this delivered. It was a breath of fresh air on the SPAG front after some of the books I'd tried reading and had to nope out of because of sentence structure nightmares, and the characters had chemistry. I also like a story where a character takes a look at what they've been living with and finds themself a new normal that makes them happier. I was happy to find this in my library's e-book collection, and enjoyed it enough to head over and check out more by the author.

A Shared Range, A Troubled Range, An Unsettled Range, A Foreign Range, An Isolated Range, A Volatile Range, A Chaotic Range, by Andrew Grey
This series definitely didn't benefit from me reading it in one stretch. Or so close on the heels of Saving Faithless Creek. The love interests in both that and the first book of the series looked almost the same, and the non-cowboy main in each had identical designer jeans with a sparkly eagle all down one leg. Like. Sir. Get some new fashion faux pas. The notion of this series is great for me. It basically tells a story of the coming together of a gay-topia ranch in the middle of Wyoming. Initially, I dug it. But every single book brings together two dudes who have instant attraction, fall head over heels in a matter of days, and within a week are moving half way across the country to be together. Everyone has a dead or absent mother, a dramatic relationship with their father, and the same dreams about what true love means. There is one great dad, but he's terminally ill. There are almost no female characters in the whole series, and every one there is, is some combination of sainted mother, awful mother, nurse, housekeeper, or "slut". Yes. The woman with a kid who flirts with gay men is called a slut. By characters we are supposed to like. I read them all out of pure cussed completionist stubbornness, and because they were in the library, but lordt, man, get some new material. And learn to like women.

Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton
Kindle was trying really hard to get me to read this for ages, and I ignored it, but then @LittleMousling recced it on twitter, and my library had it, so I decided to give it a try. It was really really good. Weird. Definitely weird. But good. It reminded me plot-wise of something you'd be more likely to see in a fan fic—in that way where fic writers are often free to be much more imaginative in romance than writers looking to get published. I knew literally nothing about it going in except that I'd had mixed feelings about some of the author's other books, and the cover didn't grab me. I had to ask for light spoilers a few pages in, because I got worried it was going to be a super creepy horror genre story, but it wasn't. I feel like talking too much about it would spoil it in not good ways, so I'm gonna stop there.

Meridian by Kirby Crow
I both really liked this while I was reading it, and found it a little boring once I'd finished. I think it mostly failed to find a good balance on the fence between romance and crime thriller, and after ramping up the latter, fizzled a little in favor of the former. Well written, with not only main but supporting characters I really cared about and enjoyed, and lots and lots of location color, so it felt like it couldn't have taken place anywhere other than where it did, all of which are important to me. The main characters are kinky, but come at kink from very different backgrounds, and acknowledge and talk about that in their negotiations. Kink negotiation is my jam, as is pain kink, D/s play, and negotiating what goes on out of the bedroom in contrast to what goes on in. A+ there. Not available from my library, but well worth the pennies.

Murder and Mayhem by Rhys Ford
I loved this SO MUCH. Apparently my huge kink for cop/criminal a la the Fast and the Furious translates to other mediums. It was super well written, both in that way where the language was totally unobtrusive and in the way where you're like, DAMN that was a good sentence, and also very funny. And walked the line between romance and crime thriller perfectly. The supporting characters were vibrant and interesting and lent not only texture, but plot and meaning to the story, and they all had distinctive voices and lives. The sex was hot and the chemistry crackling, and I desperately hope there's another in this series planned.

Fish and Ghosts by Rhys Ford
The library (nor bookstores) didn't have a sequel to Ford's Murder and Mayhem, but they did have more books by him, including this delight. It is nerdy and goofy and funny and hot and has that (for me) right level of ghost story scare, where things get terrifying for a hot minute, but then it's okay. It has the fun of good early SPN, in a universe where the writers really like women. It's also set in SF/Marin County, so brought me a little bit of home. I love the premise (Ghost hunter skeptic meets man who can see ghosts), the setting, the characters, and the writing. I'm not sure it hit me QUITE as hard as M&M, but probably because of my aforementioned hard-on for cop/criminal, which this didn't have.

Duck Duck Ghost by Rhys Ford
Second in the Hellsinger series, and it BETTER HAVE A THIRD COMING. More of our stubborn ghost hunter Wolf and stubborn ghost-seeing Tristan, more of Wolf's unusual family, more ghosts, more hot sex, and a camel. (the camel is not involved in the sex at any point) Also highland cows, lots of mud, and a grumpy cat. This series is just such good FUN, but seriously. There needs to be a third book now.

Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux
This is a bit weird in that it's a somewhat abrupt novella followed by a somewhat abrupt short story in one volume, but it has some of the hottest bffs-to-lovers sex I've read in forever, and there is a sequel which I am hoping will be less abrupt (it's on hold at the library atm), so I rated it more highly than I might have if just judging on structure. Warnings for some very mild recreational percocet use (sharing with injured party), and pot smoking. Oh, and the noun come spelled cum.

Diving in Deep by K A Mitchell
this book is about 85% sex scenes so is not one for those of you who tend to skip over the sex. Well written and hot, with enough of a plot to make me care about the sex, and want a happy ending for the main characters. And I loved the one character's best friend/ex boyfriend. Which is just as well, because he was one of the mains in the next book in the series.

Collision Course by K A Mitchell
This one had more plot and hotter sex, because kink. Toys, including what sounded a whole lot like a knotting dildo, spanking, and some power play of the wink-and-what are you going to do about it variety. Also hot descriptions of blow jobs and rimming with a tongue piercing. Also some stuff about kids in care, child abuse, traffic accidents, wounds, etc., because one of the characters is a social worker and the other is an ambulance driver with a history of DFS being involved with his childhood.

Frat Boy and Toppy by Anne Tenino
The title of this is pretty representative of the tone, but despite what seemed like a pretty 'omg what' start, it was quite enjoyable for the most part. It dealt with self discovery and coming out in a way that felt relatable to me, and i'm always kind of a sucker for a college story. Though the title almost put me off, I was glad I read it.

Wedding Favors by Anne Tenino
I liked the above enough to try another of Tenino's books (and also I'm rapidly eating through my library's gay romance collection) and this was also good. It didn't go for the LOL tone, and I enjoyed the characters. The female BFF was a delight, and the parents were ridic, and it was a fun read.

The Subs Club by JA Rock
oh my god. OH. MY. GOD. If kink or bdsm are your bag, you must read this series. The writing is fantastic, the sex is hot like the fires of a thousand suns, there are a lot of complex relationships: friendships, parent/child, sex partners, play partners, and I was COMPLETELY sucked into this world. My one complaint, and it may be just that I read too fast and missed it, was it wasn't until WELL into the third book I had any idea what part of the country they were in, and I do love me a sense of place. This first book focuses primarily on discipline kink, and I can see why it's won kink awards and stuff. It's like the anti 50 shades in terms of lived kink experience.

Pain Slut by JA Rock
hi. HI. Did you see the title of this book? Yeah. I really fucking loved this book. That's all. Bye.

Third in the series coming with next month's reviews because I didn't finish it until the 1st of June. The blurbs say you can read them in any order, but they aren't contemporary to each other, and each one does build on things that happened in the last so I would read in order. Because I'm like that ;)

Lol the only book I re-read this month was Think of England, which hardly seems worth mentioning every month. I also read quite a lot of Harry/Draco longfic. Hearteyes and hearteyes.

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