Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

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Title: The Goblin Emperor
Author: Katherine Addison
Published: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 446

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:
Maia, fourth son of the Emperor of the Elven lands, was exiled from the Imperial Court and relegated to an outlying estate as a child following the death of his mother.  After all, with three sons before him (and the fact that he was half-goblin), there was really no need to have him present.  And because of these facts, he never expected he would see the Court again.  But when the Emperor and everyone in the line of succession before Maia is killed when their airship crashes, Maia finds himself suddenly returning to the Imperial Court for a purpose no one–including Maia–ever would have expected: to take his now rightful place on the throne.  But becoming Emperor certainly isn’t easy.  There are those who certainly oppose Maia’s ascendance to the crown.  And his absence from Court means he missed out on much of the necessary education to fully understand all of the requirements, expectations, and duties of his new role.  Add to that the revelation that the death of his father was not an accident, and Maia certainly has his work cut out for him if he’s going to keep his realm prospering and his people inspired.

Talk about some well-written fantasy here.  Katherine Addison has created a wonderful world with a rich history and a very complex set of relationships between these characters.  While not poised as a mystery per se, it also contains a whodunnit plot line that certainly kept me guessing until the end, too.  It’s very easy to become invested in these characters, to see all of their dimensions (including their flaws), and really understand what motivates them.  The players here are certainly not stock characters by any means and the storytelling is masterful.

It can be easy to feel intimidated by the 12-page list of names at the end of the book: but I say don’t be.  While there are a lot of names (some of which are a bit similar due to family relationships), I found it is always very easy to understand who is who by relationships.  In pretty much every scene, it is apparent the role each person plays either in relation to the Imperial Court or to Maia and thus it’s easy to track the major players that way.

Something Shattered by Bailey Bradford

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Title: Something Shattered
Author: Bailey Bradford
Published: November 30, 2010
Publisher: Loose Id
Pages: 200

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:
I wanted to like this one more than I did – it’s a story that I felt could have been incredible, but it just didn’t seem to come together that way for me. The characters of Jesse and Caden are both complex and have a lot of great backstory that I felt got lost in the whole ‘insta-love’ story line that at time was almost bordering on creepy on Jesse’s part. I would have liked to see that complexity play into the relationship and relationship-building a bit more but it seemed like the author knew where she wanted this to go and it was headed there full-speed ahead (even with an ending that just seemed a bit flat to me, too).

That said, I didn’t dislike the story (despite my criticisms above) and think it would definitely be enjoyed by someone who really likes m/m romances where one partner is seen as helping the other get over past trauma (however authentic this particular telling might actually be).

Worthy by Lia Black

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Title: Worthy
Author: Lia Black
Published: June 15, 2013
Publisher: Goodreads M/M Romance Group
Pages: 144

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:
I never thought I’d be too keen on slave stories (by which I don’t mean the master-slave/BDSM sort, but the actual ‘owned person’ sort), but I’ve read two in the past month and have been pleasantly surprised. The fact that this one is set in a dystopian fantasy world certainly plays even more into my interests.

The characters here are wonderful – they’re dynamic, easy to connect with, and are very much a part of their world. Sev and Demetrie are great and the way they interact with others contributes not only to the reader’s understanding of them, but also of the world in which they live.

I highly recommend this one.

Lost in the Echo by Jack L. Pyke

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Title: Lost in the Echo
Author: Jack L. Pyke
Published: June 6, 2013
Publisher: Goodreads M/M Romance Group
Pages: 68

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:
This one really confused me. There wasn’t nearly enough exposition to really understand what was going on when William was kidnapped – even so much that the names thrown out in the beginning had me still going ‘wait, who is who and how are they connected?’. By the end I’d sorted that all out, but I still feel like this could have been a bit more powerful if it wasn’t so disjointed. Content warning: non-consensual scenes.

Goodreads M/M Romance Group Members’ Choice Awards

It’s that time: 2014 is quickly drawing to a close.  One of the greatest things about the end of the year is that we start getting list of all of the great new works that appeared over the past twelve months.  But also just as great is the opportunity to contribute to those lists ourselves.

If you’re a reader of m/m romance, one such opportunity is the M/M Romance Group Members’ Choice Awards over at Goodreads.  They’re currently accepting nominations in a number of categories (see below for the full list).  All group members are allowed to nominate one book in each category and you only need to have a Goodreads account and be at least 18 years old to be a part of the group.  (And by joining the group you also get access to some great discussions, daily postings about discounts and new releases, reading challenges, and general camaraderie with fellow m/m enthusiasts!)  The nomination period runs through November 22nd, so stop over today and nominate your favorite m/m romances of 2014!

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BTW I Love You by Nico Jaye

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Title: BTW I Love You
Author: Nico Jaye
Published: June 3, 2013
Publisher: Goodreads M/M Romance Group
Pages: 51

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:
Another sweet and wonderful read from Nico Jaye. The idea of meeting and forming relationships online is such a reality for so many people, and I enjoyed seeing a story that really puts that idea front-and-center. Taking that first chance, allowing yourself to connect with someone through a screen, and finally meeting in person for the first time: it’s all here and it’s authentic. This is a bit of a fluff story, so those who shy away from that may not enjoy it as much as I did, but I’d still encourage giving it a chance.

The Touch of Hope by Brandon Shire

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Title: The Touch of Hope
Author: Brandon Shire
Published: June 19, 2013
Publisher: Goodreads M/M Romance Group
Pages: 46

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:
I was really left with mixed feelings on this one. The setup was something that really pulled me in – teenage runaway is about to give up on the streets when a kindred spirit finds him and is willing to take him under his wing. There is definitely a lot of potential in there. But the character of Erik really irked me – the way he treated Jonathan was bothersome and the inconsistencies in his behavior left me wondering if he really was up-and-down like that or if his character just wasn’t well-defined.

In the end, it’s a cute story – hence the 3 star rating – but I really would have liked more character development and bit more down-to-earth and less scattered approach.

Man-to-Man Coverage by Nico Jaye

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Title: Man-to-Man Coverage (Man-to-Man Coverage, Book 1)
Author: Nico Jaye
Published: 2012
Publisher: Goodreads M/M Romance Group
Pages: 36

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:
Two college football rivals become professional football rivals and the intensity of that rival seems only to increase right along with the level of play. But what if there’s something underneath the tension that means something more?

I thoroughly enjoyed this. The dynamic between Brad and Cam is wonderful and the transitions in their relationship are portrayed masterfully. I’m left looking to pick up more by Nico Jaye in the future and immerse myself in the worlds she creates.

Wallflower by Heidi Belleau

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Title: Wallflower (Rear Entrance Video, Book 2)
Author: Heidi Belleau
Published: October 19, 2013
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages: 178

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:
This one was definitely a bit different than I had expected but I can’t say I’m disappointed by it. It’s definitely easy to connect with the characters and even those moments that might be a bit out of my own comfort zone or realm of experience were well-written. There are a few points where the story seemed to drag or was slow to come together (and also a few plot points that just seem to show up for convenience’s sake), but I’d recommend this one.

Content warning: Attempted sexual assault

New Home; New Adventures

After over a little more than a year of blogging about books on tumblr, I’m excited to move things to this new space.  The past few weeks have been spent importing everything from the old blog to this one and even though there are some reviews queued to still go up at tumblr through the end of the month, this is now the new active home of Convergence.  There are still some tweaks going on with the layout and a few more static pages to get added, but things are settling and moving forward.  You can still expect daily posts (most of which will be reviews) but I’m hoping to bring in some additional content and features in the near future, as well.

Happy reading!