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posted by [personal profile] rivers_bend at 08:45pm on 03/08/2016 under ,
July has had some lovely weather, so I've spent a lot of time reading in my hammock. Which is pretty much heaven. If I can't be floating in water, lying in my hammock is my dream location. The advantage it has over water is that there's no danger to my kindle (or to paper) there. This month was back to reading a lot of books.

Books I read for the first time:
First Class Package by Jay Northcote
this is a short little story, cute and fluffy, with a somewhat ridiculous plot, but sweet characters.

Coming Home by Jay Northcote
another cute short by Northcote, free on most booksellers and smashwords, and it made me smile.

Down and Dirty by Rhys Ford
The fifth book in the Cole McGinnis series, and the first with a new POV character. As I mentioned in my review of the first four last month, I struggled a little to connect with Cole or to see why his bf was in love with him, but it's easier with Bobby (cole's bff), and his new lover (Cole's brother). I do think the rest of the series is important to really understand what's going on here, but I was glad for the change in POV.

Helping Hand, Like a Lover, and Practice Makes Perfect by Jay Northcote
This series features roommates in two adjacent student houses in a UK University town (I forget which one), and is filled with tropes in that way that makes a fangirl smile. The first one features roomates who watch porn and give each other the titular helping hand, and surely that's not queer, right? (spoiler: it's queer). The second is delightfully tropey and minimally angsty hooker fic, and the third features a neuro a-typical lad trading math tutoring for sex tutoring from the boy next door, with lots of mutual pining. Not overwhelmingly amazing, but a delightful day's reading.

Why Love Matters by Jay Northcote
this is a charity offering, with proceeds going to LGBT charities in the UK and the US, and is a short with a premise that manages to be both fairly ludicrous and kind of adorable. It's mostly about sitting through a cuddle therapy class, which I really wasn't sure was going to work, but yeah. It did.

Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North
I feel like I read a lot of books this month about people in the closet for various reasons, and this was small town religion closeting. Not really my thing, but then I really liked where it went. One of those stories that it seemed like there was no way there could be a compromise that would actually work for both characters, and I was actually afraid for a bit there couldn't be a HEA I could live with, but I loved how it worked out. One of the characters has a bad stutter, which I thought would annoy me written out, but it actually didn't at all, and it is always nice to read about gay men who aren't perfect specimens in every way.

Because It's True by Mari Carr
I didn't realize this was the third in a series when I read it, and just spent the whole time wondering why it was such a mess. I was not even a little bit curious enough to seek out the first two parts.

Fast Connection by Santino Hassell and Megan Erickson
I was looking forward to this so much, even moreso after re-reading the first in the series last month. I really enjoy how these authors write together—they have complimentary strengths, and the finished product feels like they enjoy each other. I was not a fan of one of the mains in this when he was a minor character in the first book, but I had complete faith that I'd change my mind, and change my mind, I did. I loved this. One thing I've learned I love in my year and a half of reading is a romance where the pairing characters are surrounded by friends and family who feel real and who impact the story and their characters, and this is a great example of that. It's such a different reading experience, and is the main reason I'll find a book re-readable.

Sticks and Stones, Fish and Chips, Divide and Conquer, Armed and Dangerous, Stars and Stripes, Touch and Geaux, Ball and Chain, Crash and Burn by Abigail Roux (and Madeline Urban through Divide and Conquer)
I also had to go back and re-read Cut and Run (which is the name of the series) because there was too long a wait from the library for book two. The too long a wait thing persisted (anything longer than 30 seconds was too long, it turned out) so I ended up buying the whole series, and the whole adjunct Sidewinder series too. Before I discovered gay romances, I spent my youth and 20s reading crime/thriller/mystery books. These are books from my youth that also happen to be gay romances. I couldn't stop. This series is totally found family porn, with military BFFs who have ups and downs over the course of the series, and the FBI agent boyfriend gets adopted by the gang. So many feels. I was pleased that the relationship tension could be sustained over nine books without needless relationship angst. We get time to meet bio families as well as found families, go from New York to DC to the Appalachians to Scotland to Texas and then on a cross-country road trip. There's even an ace and a demisexual character. They're a little bit pastede on, but it is still nice to see romance writers acknowledging all kinds of queer variations. This series was funny and hot and exciting, and I can't regret buying it, because I'll almost certainly be re-reading.

Part and Parcel by Abigail Roux
I'm a total idiot, and I didn't realize that this series was part of the cut and run series until I was a couple of chapters into this book, at which point I realized with a jolt that it was very clearly set AFTER some of the cut and run books I hadn't read yet. So I stopped reading, bought the rest of the cut and run books, bought the sidewinder books, and set to doing it all in the right order. Which was good, because this turned out to have big spoilers for later cut and run books. Nick and Kelly, the lovers in this, are part of the BFF crew above, and there's a lot to navigate because of their decades of history together. They deal with PTSD, state secrets, violence, repressed feelings, and long-distance relationship problems. On the one hand I can see why technically this is a different series, because of the POV characters, but neither series is really complete without the other idt.

Blow Down by JL Merrow
The latest in the psychic plumber series I read earlier in the year, I've been looking forward to this for a while. I was a little disappointed with it, but I'm not sure if it wasn't quite as good as the previous ones or if it's because I read it in the middle of the cut and run books, and it is such a different style so it was harder to get into it. It still has the light wry British voice I so enjoyed in the first ones, and that village setting. And the notion of a psychic plumber remains delightful.

His Royal Secret by Lilah Pace
This was a rec from twitter (thank you @no_detective), and I really enjoyed it. I'm not hugely into the Royal AU trope, but I do like a good one, and this was a good mix of familiar British royal family and unique family dynamics. Another of the books that featured a strong closeted storyline, this one the expected fame and fortune (and royal lineage) reasons. I liked the contrast between the Prince and the political reporter, and the sneaking around was used well for added hotness. This is the first book, but the sequel will be out soon, which is good, because while the ending isn't a cliff hanger exactly, you're definitely left wanting more. WARNINGS for graphic descriptions of self harm and severe social anxiety in a secondary character.

Roller Girl by Vanessa North
Roller derby is a great backdrop for found family, and this makes use of that. Also it's hot. And a book with a trans main character that treats her as a woman and a lesbian and an athlete, and also deals what felt sensitively and appropriately with trans specific issues like dead naming and misgendering. Technically the third in this series, but I took her at her word that they could be read in any order. I did like the side characters who it seems are the mains in some of the other books.

Gays of Our Lives by Kris Ripper
This is part of a series, so has rich side characters, which we've established I really like. One of the mains has MS, and so it deals with being sexual and sexy when your body doesn't cooperate with your self image, which isn't something I've seen a lot of. I was a little disappointed in the fact that it seemed to promise more of a power dynamics kink content than we got, but I'm a big fan of explicit sex scenes and super kinky kink, and I don't think there was less than the story needed, just less than would have been my preference. I really liked the characters, the way it dealt with having a progressive illness, and found family and community. I'm very eager for the book about some of the women in this story to come out.

Trowchester Blues, Blue Eyed Stranger, and Blue Steel Chain by Alex Beecroft
this was maybe not a good series to read when I was already feeling anxious. The first book contains graphic aftermath of child murder with PTSD, the second has a character suffering crippling anxiety and self doubt with self-destructive tendencies and near catatonia, and the third has murderous-level partner abuse, cheating, sustained violence, non-con, and stalking (none of these between the end pairing). So uplifting :/ On the plus side, the first has a lovely dose of ~older (in their 40s) men who've been around the block and find love despite being nominally on the opposite sides of the law. The second has a black man obsessed with viking era history who does historical reenactment and brings his father's Sudanese culture into play, and it addresses the patently false notion that only white people have a role in history. And the third book is a romance with a wholly asexual (homoromantic) character, and it's made explicit that he is NOT ace because he was abused. He is ace AND he was abused. Issues that can come up when a sexual person is dating an asexual person are addressed and worked through. All together, none of the characters were your typical run-of-the-mill romantic heroes, and I do always love reading about people whose experiences/bodies/lives/etc. fall outside that narrow ~norm. Maybe next time with a whole lot less trauma tho.

Second Chance Iowa by Spencer Spears
I got this one on the last day of the 99c sale, and it was a lot lighter than the trowchester series, which was just what I needed. On the other hand, it's pretty light in all senses. I read it a couple days ago, and already had to go back and refresh my memory as to what it was about. Second chance trope has that established relationship thing I love, but it also has that mfeo couples who spend years apart which I hate. I'm never sure which side it's gonna fall on, yet I keep reading it. This one was pretty in the middle.

And then I got a bee in my bonnet to re-read the three main Magpie books by KJ Charles, so I did. And then it was August.
There are 6 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
isweedan: White jittering text "art is the weapon" on red field (Default)
posted by [personal profile] isweedan at 04:07am on 04/08/2016
PSYCHIC PLUMBER.
rivers_bend: (men: Harry thumbs up)
posted by [personal profile] rivers_bend at 04:34am on 04/08/2016
I LOVE THE PSYCHIC PLUMBER. He's very funny, and has some great friends :D
isweedan: Barbara from Doctor Who in Aztec dress. (Barbara is Awesome. - Doctor Who)
posted by [personal profile] isweedan at 05:02am on 04/08/2016
Persuasive points! :D :D

(PS, I think the Wells and Wong murder mystery series by Robin Stevens would charm your socks off! They are girl detectives at a 1930s english boarding school. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22546619-murder-is-bad-manners
For when the next KJ Charles books is too too far away? :D? :D? #ivouchthattheyshouldbeaworthydiversionfromyourusualfare)
lucifuge5: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] lucifuge5 at 01:14am on 03/09/2016
It turns out that Helping Hand by Jay Northcote was a free read on Kindle this weekend so I went ahead and snagged it. #HereshopingIliketheseries

Aaah, Fast Connection totes surpassed the awesomeness factor of Strong Signal, imo. I've stopped wondering how Santino gets me to fall and cheer for a character that I totes despised in a previous book. Tehre was a lot about it that I liked, very little that I didn't, and it was scorching to boot. I'm call it an all-around win, LOL!

I've only finished the first two books in the Psychic Plumber series (oved the first one, liked the second one OK.) Have heard some grumblings regarding the fourth novel--which has made me v. curious. After reading 3 standalone novels by JL Merrow, I've figured out that I only like her writing when it's centered on this series.

Being a HUGE sucker for Royalty AUs, I was totes dying for His Royal Secret. But then I learned that only one book (out of the duology) had been released. So I patiently waited until the second one dropped and snagged both.

Have no idea when I'll read that one, Roller Girl, or Gays of Our Lives. Hopefully, sometime before this year ends.

Alex Beecroft was one of the first M/M romance authors who made me really pay attention to that genre. Her book False Colors is deffo one those novels for which I'll forever have a tremendous soft spot for.

She's branched out by writing historicals, contemporaries, and even a sci-fi/fantasy series that didn't do too well. Although I've snagged the entire trilogy, other books keep jumping ahead of those three. I should make a firmer commitment to reading them since I do find her writing to be quite pleasurable.
rivers_bend: (books)
posted by [personal profile] rivers_bend at 04:17am on 03/09/2016
I'm definitely going to have a care before reading Alex Beecroft again. Very good writing, but lots of dark looking plot summaries. I was not in a good place for that this month, idt.

I think my fave plumber books were one and three. I think I have now read 90% of her back catalogue, some of which I super loved, and some of which not so much, and one of which was so bad I kept laughing out loud. I really have to do this month's book post. Last month's. It's September now (HOW)
lucifuge5: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] lucifuge5 at 04:40am on 03/09/2016
I don't mind the dark tone of some of Beecroft's books because I love her writing style so much. From what I know, she's focusing on a self-published space opera series. The first book has a romance between a bi dude and a close-to-middle age Latinx woman. The second book will have an F/F couple and the 3rd one will have an asexual dude/non-asexual dude romance.

As for Merrow, I've learned my lesson (3x now) to stick to the Plumber series only. :(

If you're looking for lighter fare, you might want to check out Tia Fielding's One Step Forward. It's a contemporary about a bisexual horse whisperer who is a widower and a gay dude whose horse the bi guy is trying to rehabilitate.

Despite a couple of somber themes (the bi guy's wife committed suicide before the book begins, the gay dude is severely depressed), the book is on the fluffier scale of things. Also, it has a handful of female characters and no misogyny!

To me, it's the kind of book that works well after an intense or angsty read. Although I didn't like it too much (gave it 2 stars on GR), I think the mellow pace and overall theme of healing will be something you:all enjoy. :)
Edited (Had to fix my grammar.) Date: 2016-09-03 04:41 am (UTC)

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