Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Brothers Bishop by Bart Yates

Title: The Brothers Bishop
Author: Bart Yates
Publication Date: July 1, 2005

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review: When Nathan Bishop’s brother Tommy informs him at the last minute that he’s coming to visit for the weekend with some friends from the city, Nathan can’t help but groan and roll his eyes. But even though he knows it won’t be all fun and games, he’s hardly prepared for everything that the weekend will bring – not only in terms of confronting his past (and his brother’s) but also for their present and their future.

There’s a lot in this book that pushes boundaries and it’s nothing if it’s not an emotional roller coaster. But it is very well written and it tells a story that I think could move a stone. I wanted to reach into the pages and change the course of events so many times, but I knew they were headed the way they needed to go.

Content warning: [mentions of incest, child abuse, statutory rape, suicide]

(Aside: I wasn’t very keen on the author having a character use ‘retarded’ as a pejorative. I could have just chalked that up to a method of demonstrating the character’s ignorance if it wasn’t for the fact that he used the term himself in a similar way in the dedication at the beginning of the book.)

Title: Understanding Fandom: An Introduction to the Study of Media Fan Culture
Author: Mark Duffett
Publication Date: November 15, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review: As a longtime fan with a recent interest in fan studies and acafandom, I figured this would be a good starting point in gaining an overview of the major theories, works, and scholars in the field of fan studies. I certainly was not left disappointed. While Duffett’s text didn’t really say anything that surprised me, putting it in the context of scholarship and history was very helpful. Duffett takes the time to explain the origins of fan studies and the breaks down the study of fans and fandom into a number of different areas before concluding with ideas on new frontiers for fan studies going forward. Though sometimes it seemed like he was mostly just quoting or paraphrasing Henry Jenkins (a pioneer in the field and one of the foremost current scholars in the area), Duffett contextualized Jenkins’ statements and offered some of his own perspectives into the discussion as well.

I definitely recommend this for someone wanting to get an overview of the current state of fan studies – it’s a relatively recent publication so is up-to-date. It does skew a bit more toward an academic and scholarly audience, but I think it’s still a beneficial read for any fan.

Title: The Stable Boy
Author: Megan Derr
Publication Date: January 17, 2013

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
I’m a huge fan of Megan Derr and I think I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read that she has written. And I did enjoy this one, too, though it doesn’t measure up to her other work. The biggest issue, I think, is just how short this is. There are a number of things going on this story and things that happened before this story and it all comes across as rushed and, at times, is even a bit confusing. But it does come together in the end, which is what I think redeems it enough to get 3 stars from me.

Title: Forgotten Soul
Author: Natasha Duncan-Drake
Publication Date: September 12, 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
John works as an escort for vampires, peddling both sex and blood. He’s good at his job and has managed to survive for a while in the business. But one night when he meets three clients, one of whom – Michael – grabs his attention in some interesting ways, he finds himself faced with a choice and some surprising results.

I enjoyed this quite a bit. There are a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming (largely because I didn’t read any descriptions of the book or the series before I read it), which is something I always enjoy when I’m reading as long as it doesn’t seem too out of place. Yes, it’s m/m romance with vampires, but it seems to be done in a classy and intriguing way, so I definitely recommend this one and am looking forward to the rest of the series.

Title: Into the Bermuda Triangle
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Publication Date: May 11, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
Another first installment in a serial. I really should plan to attack these by just reading all of the installments in succession because the problem I have is that they don’t always tell enough of a story in each installment. I’m very curious about what’s going to happen with Paul, but in this one we barely meet him and don’t really get a sense of him as a protagonist at all before it’s cutting off for the next installment. I do intend to read the next one (I already have the entire series ready to go), but I’m skeptical at this point because of the way this first installment ended.

Title: Being Chase
Author: J.J. Scotts
Publication Date: February 23, 2014

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
Being Chase is one of those books where since I’ve finished it, I still haven’t decided exactly how I feel about it. It’s rather short, and as a result, I don’t feel like it got the chance to tell a real story. I know that it’s a serial, but even with serial fiction there should be small arcs in each installment. This one did quite a bit to set up the rest of the story, I’m guessing, but it just sort of let me going ‘Huh?’ at the end. That said, I’m intrigued. I was pulled in quickly (which is probably why I was so disappointed when the story just sort of cut off) and I’m interested to see where things go.

Title: Love Means… Courage
Author: Andrew Grey
Publication Date: October 2009

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
I absolutely loved this prequel to the Farm (Love Means…) series. Even though I had a basic idea of what was going to happen having previously read the first two books in the series, that didn’t stop me from hanging onto every page. The story of Cliff and Len is heartwarming and I think even more so having read about Geoff’s life before going back to hear about the love story that started it all.

Title: A Case of Possession
Author: K.J. Charles
Publication Date: January 28, 2014

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
The second book in the A Charm of Magpies series, A Case of Possession picks up shortly after the end of The Magpie Lord. Lucien and Stephen are continuing with their relationship, though Lucien can’t help but feel like there’s a limit to their connection – there are things Stephen is keeping from him. Before they get a chance to try to sort this out, they get pulled into another mystery surrounding several murders and a suicide and attempts by one of Lucien’s former associates to blackmail him, Stephen, and one of Lucien’s good friends. There more paranormal adventure here as well as a number of further tests of Lucien and Stephen’s young relationship.

While I liked The Magpie Lord, I feel like this one is even steps above it. There is more depth in this book and while there’s a lot that happens, I found it easier to follow. Meeting Stephen’s associates was also a great touch that added more depth to the world in which Lucien and Stephen live. Another great historical paranormal mystery romance.

Title: The Dragon’s Tamer
Author: Megan Derr
Publication Date: March 15, 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
Fantasy. Royalty. Dragons. Betrayal. Romance. A combination that I usually cannot turn down and this is no exception. Megan Derr’s fantasy m/m romances are some of my favorite to read. Even though this one isn’t very long, I got a sense of this rich world that Derr has created for these characters. And the characters of Alaith and Rythe themselves are so fun (and frustrating) that it’s really easy to get into this story. I found myself wanting to know what happens next for these guys…

Title: The Fix
Author: Anne Tenino
Publication Date: December 17, 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
A short sequel to Whitetail Rock, The Fix gives readers a glimpse into life for Nik and Jurgen after the events of the initial book. Nik has moved back to his hometown to be with Jurgen and living together has certainly led to some adjustments needing to be made for both of them.

Personally, I enjoyed The Fix better than Whitetail Rock even though it was shorter. I feel like this installment provides readers with more insight into the characters – Jurgen especially – and focuses more on their relationship than the first book did. I certainly wouldn’t mind reading more with these characters, hoping that things would only continue to get better.