Monthly Archives: June 2014

Title: B. Quick
Author: C.S. Laurel
Publication Date: November 2, 2005

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
College professor Bill Yates is on his way home after being stood up on Halloween. Having wallowed in his sorrows just a bit at the bar (the only gay bar in the area), he opted to take some backroads and drive slowly, not entirely certain he should be on the road at all. But when he passes someone stopped on the bridge and is fairly certain he sees them throw something over the edge into the river below before driving off, he can’t help stopping to see what it is. And with that, he’s pulled into adventure and a murder mystery like nothing the little town of Lythia has ever seen.

I enjoy a good mystery, especially when it’s one that keeps me guessing and doesn’t leave me with everything figured out in the first half of the book. And this one definitely met that criterion. Also, the cast of characters has a level of intrigue, as does learning how everyone in the small town of Lythia seems to be connected. The m/m romance elements ebb and flow a bit throughout the story, and serve as a nice background or complement to the main mystery in a way that just feels right on so many levels. Basically, the main story seems to be the mystery and C.S. Laurel wisely didn’t try to make the romance be the driver (something I see so often in m/m stories – the author figures that’s why the reader picked up the book, so they assume it needs to be the most prominent aspect of the story), but treated it as just another aspect of the characters lives. Making it all have a level of realism that helped support the main plot.

Definitely recommend this one. Even if you’re not an m/m person, I think you might like it, since the mystery is what holds the plot here.

Title: The Deja Vu Experiment
Author: J.G. Renato
Publication Date: January 31, 2014

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
This was a quick but interesting read. I requested it on NetGalley because it was categorized a science fiction and the description was intriguing. After reading it, I don’t know that I’d call it science fiction – it’s almost more of a commentary on philosophy and metaphysics. There were moments where I found myself trying to sort out if it was fiction or non-fiction just due to the narrative which is, I think, a testament to the way the author was able to give us a complete and distinct character using first-person storytelling.

Overall, this book made me think and raised some interesting questions, but I’m someone who enjoys thinking about the nature of existence. But it didn’t deliver what I expected and I think it has a limited audience that would truly enjoy it. And I don’t recommend picking it up if you’re expecting a good science fiction tale.

(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Title: Bad Company
Author: K.A. Mitchell
Publication Date: June 7, 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
Hearing Kellan Brooks say “I need a boyfriend” was probably one of the last things Nate Gray ever expected to happen in his life. He and Kellan had been friends when they were younger, but they quickly drifted apart when Nate started getting targeted by his classmates for being gay. Nate has witnessed Kellan’s playboy antics on television and in magazines, but Kellan’s father has finally cut him off for his philandering – something Kellan hopes to undo by pretending he’s gay to upset his father. And Nate’s even more surprised when he learns that Kellan expects him to play a starring role in this charade.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this one based on the description. I shared some of the same discomfort with the overall situation as some of the characters express during the course of the story. And while I would have liked to see a bit more depth to the development of the two main characters, their feelings about the situation, and their relationship, I did enjoy it overall. I’ll definitely be giving the next book a read when I get a chance.

Content warning: [Dubious consent]

Title: Seconds
Author: Megan Derr
Publication Date: January 19, 2010

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
Viscount Alexis Mariemont finds himself calling on the mysterious ‘Dragon’, Haven Linwood, Earl of Chelsea, in the very early morning hours. The two have been named as seconds in the duel of two young friends of of theirs, Henry and Otis. Through these less-than-ideal circumstances, they each find an unspoken interest in the other man, but are both left wondering if they dare speak it. After all, Alexis has rules about this sort of thing and Haven doesn’t really feel like he fits in as a ‘society gentleman’. And yet they seem destined to be repeatedly drawn together by Henry and Otis’ continuing squabbles – will this simply lead to continued awkward encounters or could it become something more?

This is the third work I’ve read by Megan Derr, and I’ve enjoyed them all. Derr has a way of writing that easily conveys what the characters are thinking and feeling – you can really get into their heads. Both the situations and characters come across as realistic, complete, and believable, even when there’s just that little touch of the fantastic involved. Highly recommend this for those interested in historical m/m romance (especially regency era historical fiction). 

Title: In the Land of the Living
Author: Austin Ratner
Publication Date: March 12, 2013

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
Sometimes you read a book and it’s not particularly great, but it’s not terrible, and you reach the end going ‘What was the point, exactly?’ And In the Land of the Living is definitely one such book. A story covering the life of Isidore Auberon and his two sons (though one far more directly than the other), this was one that was difficult to connect to or relate with on any level for me – not because the characters didn’t go through things that I can personally identify with, but because there just wasn’t a depth to them that really allowed the reader to get beyond the surface.

The narrative has some interesting moments, but has just as many that weren’t all that engaging. And the characters themselves were posited in such a way that they seemed like they were meant to be larger-than-life, but their actions weren’t congruent or consistent with that and it made the whole story seem even more distant.

That said, I didn’t really dislike the book, which is why I’ve given it 3 stars. It’s possible someone else might read it and find it easier to relate to, but otherwise it’s just a quick, somewhat mindless read, to me…

(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Title: Delivery With a Smile
Author: Megan Derr
Publication Date: June 20, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
This is only 4 stars instead of 5 because I wish it was longer – not because there are any elements missing from the story, but because I really want to know what happens next for these two.

Jack is a dedicated delivery driver who seems content with his life. He does his job well, even though sometimes he bends the rules to spend some time with one of his customers who bakes him cookies (and tells him he would be great for her own son). But when he walks in one day on a bit of a situation and finally meets her son, he learns a lot more about him and reveals a lot more about himself than he would have expected.

Brilliantly executed, the dynamic between Jack and Allen is wonderful and author writes the face paced story quite well. As I said, the only real drawback is that I want MORE. Highly recommend this one.

Title: Tales of the City
Author: Armitead Maupin
Publication Date: 1978

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
I’ve been interested in reading this series ever since I saw the television adaptations. It’s been a while since I’ve seen those, now, so I find it difficult to make too many direct comparisons. But I daresay the books are at least on par with what I remember of the teleplays.

What I love about Maupin’s writing is the way he is able to connect the reader to the characters right away. It didn’t take long to get pulled into the world that he’s created for these people and to ride along on their journey. While the story shifts frequently between the characters and their perspectives, it’s never a jarring transition and everything seems to build together toward some rather surprising ends. Definitely prepared to pick up the next book in the series.

Title: Love Means…No Shame
Author: Andrew Grey
Publication Date: September 14, 2009

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
I’d heard many great things about this series and had been meaning to start it for a while. I believe I even read a short that comes after the first book a while back. And really, I have to say this book does not disappoint. Andrew Grey once again delivers a touching story that engages the reader in the characters and the world in which they live. I found myself with Geoff and Eli every step of the way and I’m very excited to continue with this series to see where things end up.

Title: The Foxhole Court
Author: Nora Sakavic
Publication Date: January 15, 2013

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review: Much like many of the reviews I’ve read since I finished this book, I picked it up without any real expectations. It was available for free and looked mildly interesting, but it definitely surprised me and made me incredibly glad I took that chance.

Neil Josten has been running from his past for as long as he can remember. When his skill in a sport known as Exy get the attention of a recruiter at Palmetto State University, however, he has a decision to make: keep running or take some time to pursue playing the sport he loves. And the fact that the team’s new star player is someone that he knew in his past seems like a point in the favor of either decision.

The way Nora Sakavic builds the world and slowly introduces the characters is something that really keeps the reader engaged (at one point, I sat down to read a chapter and got up nearly 10 chapters later) and demonstrates a skill in storytelling that I haven’t seen in a while. One has to suspend some disbelief to accept aspects of the story (I just settled on the idea that it takes place in the near future to explain some of the differences in societal norms and regulations), but Sakavic makes it very easy to do so. For a book that is touted as having m/m romance elements, it is a bit light on that front (they’re mostly hinted at in this book), but I expect they will continue to build in the future books in the series.

Title: The Herald
Author: Ed Greewood
Publication Date: June 3, 2014

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
I’ve been picking up every book in The Sundering series as soon as it’s been available to me and have really enjoyed it as a reintroduction to Forgotten Realms. The characters that have been introduced (or built on) are ones that I’m excited to follow as they make their own way in Faerun.

That said, this one didn’t really hit me in the same way. I’m not sure if I was just expecting too much with this being the final book in the event series or it just really didn’t resonate, but I didn’t connect to this one or its characters. It was great to finally get a glimpse into what was going on in Cormyr, but the story just didn’t feel as ‘epic’ as many of the others. But when I think about it in the aggregate, I still have very much enjoyed The Sundering overall.

(egalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)