Tag Archives: published: 2014-09

Outing the Quarterback by Tara Lain

Outing the Quarterback

Outing the Quarterback by Tara Lain

Series: Long Pass Chronicles, Book 1
Published by:
 Dreamspinner Press on September 18, 2014
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Will Ashford wants to be an artist. And he’s good enough to make it. But it doesn’t fit into the life his father has laid out for him. He’s the quarterback for the SCU football team and a business major, with the expectation that he will continue to play professionally and eventually take over his father’s business. So he attends art classes in secret, even using an alias to help ensure he won’t be found out. But there’s something in his newest class that might make it harder to keep his other secret: Will is gay, and he has designs on his classmate Noah Zajack. Will is hoping he will be able to secure a prestigious scholarship so that he can leave his father’s life (and money) behind to pursue his dream. But Noah also hopes to get the scholarship, as he may not have the means to continue his studies without it. Will is torn, not only when it comes to living his truth (and figuring out exactly what that truth is) but also when it comes to his own designs on the scholarship and the direct conflict with the man he loves. But the fact that one can’t always have everything is a cliche for a reason, and there are some decisions Will must make.

I can’t say that there were a lot of unexpected twists and turns with this story, but I found myself glued to the pages from beginning to end. The situation is ripe for drama and conflict, and it certainly delivers. But there are some great moments between the characters (not just Will and Noah, but many of the supporting players as well), and I found Noah particularly endearing. Definitely worth a read.

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Broken Monsters

Book Info

Title: Broken Monsters
Author: Lauren Beukes
Published: September 16, 2014
Pages: 442
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Author’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★


Detective Gabriella Versado knows this is going to be no ordinary case when the first body is found. Someone took half of a young boy and half of a deer and fused them together. And things only seem to get stranger from there. But Gabriella isn’t hunting down this bizarre killer in a vacuum. There’s a journalist, Jonno, hot on the story, hungry for redemption and hoping to break this story. And somewhere along the way, the killer may be getting help from other people, whether they understand what’s happening or not. On top of this, Gabriella still needs to keep an eye on her daughter, Layla, who may just be wandering into some dangerous territory of her own. As they all everything comes together and the truth is revealed, everyone is about to learn that sometimes the truth really is stranger than fiction.

This case plays out to be truly bizarre. The story is constructed in a masterful way, with all of the layers that come in as readers spend a little time with each character. There’s definitely a steady build to the climax, and it’s one of those books that keeps you on the edge of your seat, not entirely sure what might happen next. Although this is dubbed a horror by many, I would point out that it’s not really gruesome or anything like that. Although there are some mutilated corpses (though not described in graphic detail), it felt more like a paranormal thriller to me. And I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys that type of story.

Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer


Book Info

Title: Acceptance (Southern Reach, Book 3)
Author: Jeff VanderMeer
Published: September 2, 2014
Pages: 341
Publisher: FSG Originals
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★


The Southern Reach, the organization responsible for studying and overseeing the mysterious Area X, is falling apart. In his time since taking over the outpost, Control has stumbled across more than a handful of secrets within the organization but is nowhere near close to understanding Area X and what makes it tick. The conspiracies run deep and the paranoia is starting to run even deeper. There’s only one option let: to go into Area X and find out what lies on the far island not visited by any previous expeditions. There’s no guarantee the answers lie there, but it’s the only shot left.

What a climactic conclusion to a trilogy. Things have built to quite a head here, leaving the characters and readers not really knowing where to turn or how to find the answers that they seek. And VanderMeer isn’t just going to hand those answers over, either. Be prepared to have assumptions challenged and to go on not really knowing the answers to all of the questions you might have. If you want everything wrapped up in a nice little bow, you’ll probably be disappointed. But if that’s not a requirement for you as a reader, you will be in for quite a treat.

Love Comes Around by Andrew Grey

23153207Title: Love Comes Around (Senses, Book 4)
Author: Andrew Grey
Published: September 19, 2014
Pages: 200
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Connor grew up in foster care and has worked hard to make good for himself. He’s started his own business as a carpenter and has found success in his work. While completing some repairs at the local orphanage, he meets Dan who is there dropping off one of the kids after a brief stay at his house. Dan wants to hire Connor to make some renovations to his house, but Connor is initially reluctant because of what he thinks of Dan’s character. But what starts as a misunderstanding paves the way for friendship and possibly for something more as Connor is asked to help Dan make his home ready for a new addition.

The fourth book in Andrew Grey’s senses series, this is yet another great installment. The way these books tell complete complex stories that focus not only on the relationship but also what it means to find love, to love yourself, and to be a part of a family is wonderful. I feel like there’s no other word for it. I’ve enjoyed every one and this is no exception.

While these books are part of a series, they can be read as standalone books, too. The main characters in one book are secondary/background characters in others, but knowledge of the rest of the series isn’t necessary.

Doctor Who: Silhouette by Justin Richards

21481543Title: Doctor Who: Silhouette
Author: Justin Richards
Published: September 9, 2014
Pages: 256
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

After a string of mysterious murders in Victorian London, Madame Vastra and her associates find themselves on the case.  The only connection they can seem to find is the Carnival of Curiosities, an attraction visited by all of the victims shortly before their deaths.  Add to that a curious power spike, and the Doctor finds himself on the case with Clara in tow.  But who (or what) is killing people?  And to what end?

This is the second Doctor Who novel that I’ve read and it has definitely redeemed the idea of media tie-in novels for me.  I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  The characterizations of the team we know and love from the show were spot-on and this felt very much like a good episode of Doctor Who while I was reading it.  (In fact, I do kind of wish this could be made into an episode–I’d love to see it and it’s much better than anything Steven Moffat has come up with in at least the past two seasons.)  It’s a unique and engaging Doctor Who adventure and I’d recommend it to anyone who considers themselves a fan of the show.

Doctor Who: The Blood Cell by James Goss


Title: Doctor Who: The Blood Cell
Author: James Goss
Published: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Broadway Books
Pages: 256

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

The Governor, warden of an ultra secure prison on a remote galaxy, is used to dealing with some of the worst criminals. And he’s certainly seen them all. When a prisoner 428 arrives–insisting on being called The Doctor and immediately taking to regular escape attempts–he knows this one is different. But as his arrival also seems to bring a sudden increase in system failures and other mishaps, the Governor soon realizes he’s dealing with something far beyond one prisoner and the young woman who keeps showing up hoping to get a visit with him.

Though I am a long-time Whovian, this was my first foray into Doctor Who novels and probably the first novel spin-off/tie-in that I’ve ever read for a media franchise. And I count myself pleasantly surprised. James Goss has certainly captured the elements of a Doctor Who adventure here in these pages and the story itself is engaging. The characters at the prison are unique and well-developed (and some are even endearing).

As a book released early in the Twelfth Doctor’s run, it was certainly interesting to get another glimpse at him to add to what I’ve seen on screen. That said, I struggled a bit with his character and felt that of all the characters, he lacked depth. Since this was a Doctor Who story, it’s a little disappointed to feel that way about the starring character, even though the rest of the story was enjoyable. Which is precisely why I’m giving this three stars instead of four.

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett


Title: City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, Book 2)
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Published: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Broadway Books
Pages: 464

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book was on the periphery of my radar for a while after it came out; I heard some discussions here and there but only a few bits here and there. So when I saw it as an option to request from Blogging for Books, I decided to give it a chance. And I’m so very glad I did.

The city of Bulikov used to be the seat of a great empire but after the gods who protected it were defeated, the city finds itself conquered and made subservient to those it formerly oppressed. When a senior diplomat is murdered inside the city walls, Shira Thivani is dispatched to investigate. And as she starts to poke around, she finds evidence of something much bigger going on beneath the surface and eventually must face the truth about the city, her country, and her family’s past.

I found myself immersed into the world that Robert Jackson Bennett has created almost immediately. There is a rich history here that just flies out onto the pages and the characters are dynamic, life-like, and engaging. Layer that over the top of a well-written high fantasy novel with a strong female protagonist and there’s no wonder I’m sitting here giving this five stars and an incredibly high recommendation. I definitely look forward to reading more from this author (and certainly wouldn’t be opposed to hearing more about Shira’s world and what happens next).

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Rise of the King
Author: R.A. Salvatore
Publication Date: September 30, 2014

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
I’ve very much been enjoying the story of the reincarnated Companions of the Hall, started in the first book of The Sundering and continued in The Companions Codex (of which this is book two). Drizzt and the Companions always makes for an epic story and what we have here seems largely no exception.

While I’ve been enjoying the story thus far (Night of the Hunter – Companions Codex, Book I was one of my favorite books so far this year), this one didn’t really seem to pull its weight. Much of this story seems to be set up. Instead of continuing along the lines of the epic showdowns that occurred in Gauntlegrym, there’s a lot of moving, talking, etc. here but no real major plot points. It’s clear to me that it’s all moving toward something major in the next book, but I was just struck by how little really seemed to happen in this installment overall.

I do plan to continue with the series – I really need to know what happens next. I just hope the next book brings us back to the type of story we saw in The Companions and The Night of the Hunter.

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