rivers_bend: (books)
posted by [personal profile] rivers_bend at 11:39am on 05/07/2016 under ,
Books I read in June

I did not start June well on the recording what I was reading front, because I started off June WONDERFULLY on the going on vacation and not bringing my laptop and lying around and reading by the pool and the ocean front, which meant that I didn't get around to doing my June book reviews until 4th of July weekend. Ooops.

Anyway, I did do quite a bit of reading in June, so here we go.

Books I read for the first time:

Manties in a Twist by J A Rock
The third in the subs club books, this one was not my favorite, and not just because of the title. I found it harder to believe that the couple in this one was actually working. In retrospect, I think it was because the narrator of this book had been painted as flaky by the narrators of the first two books, and it was actually a really interesting commentary on unreliable narrators, but it left me feeling like I was going to end up not getting an HEA, so I was anxious the whole time I was reading. There was also some aspect of your kink is not my kink, but that, too, turned out to be interesting and fun, and a good read on what makes something sexy. Not so id-fic-y as the first two, but still a good book.

Fish Stick Fridays by Rhys Ford
Yet another Rhys Ford book set in a Northern California where it always rains. A lot, heavily, and with thunder and lightning. Having grown up in drought-ridden Northern California, I get hung up on how weird this is. Idk, she seems to have a thing. But I enjoyed the characters, and the mystery plotline, and the writing. The wealthy bookstore owner/reformed petty criminal biker with a kid couple is a fun opposites attract center, and I like the people in their world. Like the other books of hers I'd read, I found it both hot and funny.

Dangerous Ground, Old Poison, Blood Heat, Dead Run, and Kick Start by Josh Lanyon
This series was good enough that I kept getting the next one when I finished the last, but I think that says more about my completionest ways than it does about how much I enjoyed them. They don't really have particularly satisfying endings, but then the next one starts months or more later, one of them had a surprise amnesia plotline (hate hate hate hate), and I spent a fair amount of time wanting to crack the couple's heads together. The last one was my favorite, when we got to meet one of the character's family and got some background. They gave me something to read on the beach, but I was luke warm about them.

But my Boyfriend is by KA Mitchell
This is the fourth one in the 'Florida Books' series, though it is actually set in Texas. It deals with the aftermath of a homophobic attack, internalized homophobia, and family drama. I had been looking forward to it coming off hold at the library, because I wanted to hear this story after reading the earlier books, and it didn't disappoint.

24/7 by JA Rock
The fourth in the subs club book series, and a very different (to me anyway) vibe from the first three. Though there is a lot of kink and sex, as with the other ones, it is much more a book about dealing with grief. Dealing with it in often unhealthy ways, not just for yourself, but for the people around you. Very good, but very heavy. Warnings for talk of suicide attempt and suicidal thoughts.

Right Back Where by CE Kilgore
I had to go back and read the summary of this again, because even the cover didn't give me any clue what book it was. Which I think says something. It was cute? Ish? Fluffy in a hmmm way (and this from someone who lives for fluff) and then BAM! A horrible violence at the end. I think this might have been the book that made me tweet about a need for books that don't have gay bashings in. I liked the idea of it more than the execution.

Cut and Run by Abigail Roux and Madeline Urban
I really enjoyed most things about this book. It had a good mix of romance and crime thriller, I liked the voices, and it had a good frisson of enemies to lovers. But it did annoy the hell out of me that although the killer murdered both men and women, the only deaths we got up close and personal with were female characters, and although the women were not explicitly targeted for their sex lives, there was that air of women being punished for sexual activity/thoughts that is so prominent in the crime genre. It had a feel of an episode of Criminal Minds but with explicit gay sex. A few years ago, I probably would not have even noticed these niggles, but I'm super sick of women dying for entertainment now. Having said that, I am also waiting with bated breath for the next one to come up in my library holds. so. :/

Almost but Not Quite by Amy Spector
I have no idea what to say about this. Even reading the summary on GR, I had no idea at all what book this was, and I had to dredge through the memory banks to come up with the answer. I gave it two stars, which basically means in my ratings system that it wasn't grammatically offensive but the story was pretty meh. I'm not really into the rich man takes homeless lad off the streets and gives him a new life and they fall in love trope, which is most likely part of the problem. If you are, it's probably worth another star.

Play Hard by JT Fox
this was awful. So awful. I read it waiting for my plane in the Savannah airport and I was grumbling to myself about the fact I was still reading it. This is what I get for persisting in trying the free books on Amazon. Not that it really even counts as a book. It was basically a prologue for a longer story I have no desire to read. It was just as smug and insufferable as its characters.

Dirty Kiss, Dirty Secret, Dirty Laundry, and Dirty Deeds by Rhys Ford
This series (there are two more I hadn't gotten off my holds list by the end of June, but the narrator changes in book five, so this is a good place to review as a bunch anyway) is an older one by Rhys Ford than some of the others I've been reading, and imo it shows. We all improve as we go along, which is a great thing, obviously, but same as I don't read a lot of my early fic efforts again, I won't be going back to these I don't think. The hints of humour are there, and I really enjoy the secondary characters and the overarching detective plots, but I can't for the life of me figure out why the love interest is in love with the narrator, and while I am repeatedly told that the narrator is in crazy love with the love interest, I never feel like I see it except that they have a LOT of sex. This author has a little bit of a problem with love-at-first-sight-itis anyway, but usually I can feel it. Here, not so much. The fifth book (which I will review next month) switches over to the POV of this narrator's BFF and his love life, and it's much more compelling.

Spy Stuff by Matthew Metzger
I love love loved this. A book about a trans boy in a new school, making friends and falling in love and coming out and making a life for himself. I've seen a bit of crit about it being "too idealized", in that most of the people in the book are pretty awesome, but I say fuck that. a) queer people are allowed (and should be encouraged) to write worlds better than the ones we've lived in; why shouldn't we write fix-it fic for our own lives, and b) the world is changing, and yes if you look at the news it seems like it's all for the worse, but in a lot of younger circles, it's for the better. As my pop-star hero Olly Alexander is always saying, the young people now know so much more about gender and sexuality, and they're cool with it. ANYWAY. I thought this book was great. It seems we much more often get stories about trans girls/women, so it was nice to get a story about a trans boy. And it was well written and sweet and touching and sexy and just lovely. The characters are 15/16, so if you're in the age of consent being 18 mindset that might ping for you, but the burgeoning sexuality and sexual exploration felt age appropriate to me.

Cross & Crown by Abigail Roux
I read the short where these two got together last month, and got the impression from it that this one would kind of pick up where that left off, but this starts a while later. Which is good. I love me some established relationship 'fic', and this hit all those buttons. They've done the falling in love and negotiating a lot of what that means for them, and the romance plot of this is more about why and how they stay together. With added bonus that they were BFFs for years before they fell in love, so lots of great history. I also really enjoyed the police procedural aspects of this story, which had a little bit of the Da Vinci Code meets National Treasure about it, in a good way.

The Only One Who Knows by Cat Grant
ngl, I spent some time reading this imagining that it was written by Supergirl's boss. She's sitting at her desk musing about quivering members and snapping at people to go away and leave her alone. (not that this book has quivering members, or crimson cloaks or similar. It's pretty good on that front.) All that aside, this book falls into the category of military men banging that I seem to have fallen into lately? Much more out of that being what seems to be available from the library or in the cheap/free amazon books than because I'm seeking it out. This one had interesting shifting power dynamics as the characters change ranks over the course of the story, and also have different needs in the bedroom over time. It did promise pain kink and then spectacularly fail to deliver, and I could have done with more power play, but if a little vanilla for me (when I thought I was getting kink), the sex was otherwise well done. I probably would have enjoyed this more as a movie, as actual military stuff is pretty boring to me in books, but it did have me googling stuff about how the Navy works, and what the drop zone is for jumping out of planes, so I was clearly at least a little interested :)

Wireless by LA Witt
I got this ages and ages ago as the free book of the day from Amazon, and then it got shifted out of the first pages of my kindle and out of my memory until recently. It's set in a future hellscape where all physical contact has been outlawed, and you get sexual satisfaction (to keep you sane) from VR and electrodes. Some people, of course, aren't into this, so there is an illegal and dangerous underground sex club scene. It's another one that I think I might have liked a bit more as a movie than a book. It needed the atmosphere that I just can't create in my head. And I've just realized that my lack of visual imagination might be why I generally am not into fantasy fiction. Hmmm. Anyway. There's some good stuff if you have an exhibitionist kink, and while I'd say it has a more hopeful than happy ending, that's because of the whole hellscape thing, and it still felt satisfying.

Bound by Honor by SE Jakes
I wanted to like this book more than I did, but I can't really put my finger on what fell flat for me. I think that the initial premise didn't really work, so everything leading from that had me a bit hmmm. The characters get together to honor a promise made to a man who died a year ago, and it's not that I don't buy such a thing could happen, I just... didn't really buy it in this case. It also leads to pushing the line of dubcon a bit close for me. There were some hot scenes later in the book once they'd worked themselves out, and I liked that the characters found each other, but I'd have liked more if the journey felt more real life.

Books I re-read:

Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
The next one in this series comes out next week, so I thought I'd give this a re-read in the run-up to that. Very enjoyable a second time, and one of those books where I definitely was like... how is this angsty bit so short? It was a HUNDRED YEARS the first time, when I didn't know what was going to happen! (I like it when it's short lol) I really love the characters in this, and though it focuses on a minor character from this book, I can't wait for the sequel. This book does feature a character with debilitating social anxiety, so beware if that might be triggery for you.

And that's it for June! I've already read seven books for July, so should get started on that review list lol


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