Friday, December 5, 2014

Liesmith by Alis Franklin

I received this book as an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I have to admit I have a weakness for a certain kind of main character. All the stories with main characters that start off big, bad, and kick ass are fine. They make sense in a certain context, but I've always found it boring, and anti-climatic to read about someone who you're pretty sure is going to triumph over whatever the plot throws at them. I also understand the books about people who long for adventure, and challenge. I mean most of the time it's that desire for something new, and different that drives the action of the story, and it's usually hard to write about someone who'd rather stay home, and read than slay dragons. This book however found my personal favorite main character: the reluctant, ordinary person.

It's probably pretty easy to see this love from my favorites list; from Arthur Dent who would rather have a nice cup of tea than intergalactic travel to Richard Mayhew whose act of kindness sends him on an adventure he never wanted, I love the main character who has to almost be dragged into the action of the plot. I think I identify with that kind of person much more easily than the invincible swordsman or the girl who sets off to find her destiny without a backwards glance. I'm a bit of a coward, and I like tea, and reading by the fire. Sigmund Sussman, for me, fit the bill perfectly. I liked that he was not immediately excited about the prospect of intrigue, and mystery in his life. I liked that he was an ordinary guy, a bit of a nerd, who didn't feel too much like a complete stereotype. He was not defined by his interested, and I didn't feel like the author overwhelmed the story with references to prove their nerd cred.

The relationship between Sigmund and Lain was well done, and I liked the pace at which it developed. It never felt like instant love, or that they were destined to be together, which all things considered, is a very good thing. Another thing I appreciated was that the love story never took over the plot. It wasn't a romance novel thinly disguised as an urban fantasy, but fully fledged urban fantasy with a bit of romance. The plot was nicely developed, and I loved the twists, and turns. It kept me guessing, and I enjoyed that. The mythology fit very nicely into the plot, and story. It was well integrated, so it never felt like awkward information dumps or stilted exposition. I liked how the mythology fit into the modern setting, and how much it added to the plot, the setting, and the characters. I also loved reading an urban fantasy that wasn't set in the United States, or England. It made for a nice change of pace. Overall I really loved this book, and am really looking forward to reading more from this author.


Doctor Who: Lights Out by Holly Black

I received this story from Netgalley for an honest review.

Black just didn’t get twelve’s feel right. I think could do ten or eleven better, they are more manic and she does manic well. The mystery wasn’t much, and just not odd or creepy enough for it to mesh with the overall emotions of season eight.
I just expect more from Black, and have a high expectations for a Doctor Who story with the writers of the show doing it so well.

Rating: ⋆⋆


Sheepsquatch by I. Ronik

I received an ARC of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

So, I requested this book on a dare from Liz, and ended up enjoying it way more than I thought. Becky was a fun main character, and I appreciated the fact that she wasn't the typical helpless maiden that usually populate these books. I thought the romance was well done, and better than a lot of serious romance novels I've read. I liked the plot, and the ending made me happy. I was expecting silly, nonsense monster porn, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that this had much more going for it.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

If it Drives by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov

I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book. I'm not usually a fan of such a large age gap, but the respect that James and Cal have for each other, and the genuine connection that they share beyond the physical made this relationship work for me. Kink played a large role, but it wasn't the entirety  of their connection, and I liked how much each man clearly cared for the other.

The kink in this story worked for me because of how grounded it felt in Cal's feelings for James. He knew it was something James needed, so he makes the decision to seriously learn about James's needs, and desires. Cal wants James, and in wanting James he wants to understand all of him, and I respect that. I did like that it became more than that, and Cal learned as much about himself and his own desires as his did about James. Maybe more. I liked that it wasn't about Cal being a martyr to James's needs, and sacrificing his own desires to please another. Cal has his questions, and reservations, but he understands that it is a learning process, and he is willing to seek help, and ask questions which just made me respect him even more.

I loved seeing Nick, and Spencer again. I liked the role that they played in this story. Nick's guidance really helps move the story along, and I liked seeing other sides of both him, and Spencer. I liked that Nick's sexual preferences don't define who he is as a person, and don't prevent him from being caring or kind. He isn't just a sexual sadist, but a fully formed human being which is a nice change from so many erotica. I liked that domination and submission were something to be learned, and to be understood rather than presented as something people just knew by instinct. The mistakes, and the miscommunications made everyone seem much more human, and relatable to me.

I liked the conclusion. It fit the characters, and felt happy without feeling to fairy tale romance, or Cinderella. The moment that Cal shares with Spencer, and Nick cemented their place as my favorite characters from this series. My apologies to the other characters who I like, but not as much as I like Nick and Spencer. Another strong addition to the series, and I'm hoping that this is not the end for Market Garden. That would be too sad for me. 


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Straight Shooter by Heidi Belleau

I received this story as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was really an interesting story. I didn't know what to expect going into it seeing how Austin acted throughout the rest of the series. I was looking forward to seeing things from his perspective, and I wasn't disappointed.

I was really pleased by what a complicated person Austin turned out to be. It was easy to see him as almost a stereotype in the earlier books, but seeing things from his point of view made me realize exactly what drove his words and actions. I really felt for him and the fear, and self loathing that drove him. I can't imagine how scary his feelings were, and seeing how much he punished himself for his own needs and desires almost broke my heart. He makes so many mistakes, and bad decisions because of this it was hard for me to read in parts.

I was surprised by how much I liked Liam as well. I appreciated how much Liam seems to care for Austin, and how much Austin's self loathing and fear hurts his heart. I loved that Liam wasn't the stereotypical cold, perfect dom. Liam made mistakes, and messed things up like Austin, and it made Liam more human to me, and like him that much more for it.

I love that this series continues to explore a wide array of sexual expression. That the lines are a bit blurred, and it's more than just gay, and straight or even gay, straight, and bi. It makes for such rich characters, and story lines. The relationship between Liam, and Austin might not be traditional, but the feelings and needs that drive it are real, and work for both of them. I appreciated that the Austin and Liam connected not just on a sexual level, but on a personal one as well. I liked that they were friends, and that when real feelings arose it wasn't just based on physical need.

I also appreciated that this book didn't just focus on Austin and Liam's relationship. I liked seeing how Austin and Bobby's interactions change over the course of the story as well. I liked seeing what colored Austin's view of Bobby, and how he learns, and makes a sincere effort to change. Their friendship was really one of the highlights of the story for me. I liked that it wasn't about Liam making Austin accept himself, and how his friends played a role as well. Austin's hockey is well integrated into the story, and I like how big a part it plays. It adds a lot to the story, and seeing Austin interact with the team gave me a better appreciation for his character. 

Overall it was a really well told story. Austin frustrated me at times, but I understood where he was coming from. The stress, and the pressure he put on himself, and the terror of discovery that colored all of his actions, and relationships felt honest. I appreciated seeing his growth over the course of the story, and seeing him learn to fully accept himself was wonderful. The ending was well done, and it left me feeling good about where things ended up.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Remembrance by Rsvon Silvius

I recevied a copy of this book from the author in exchnage for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book. The world building was complex, and interesting. I love how the author's writing really fit the post disaster world she had created. The people, and places just seemed to fit, and make sense in that setting. I like how people had such varied reactions to their situation. They all seemed to act differently according to their personality, history, and character. I appreciated that. I'm not a fan of books where only the main characters have any sort of development. It makes for stale reading for me.

I really liked Aldric. I liked how his past was slowly explored over the course of the story, and how his history worked with the history of how the world came to be as it is. I appeciated the author's sensetive handling of his trauma, and how that impacts his relationship with other people, and his personality. It felt honest, and it really gave me an appreciation of how hard it has been for him to just keep moving on.
I liked the bond he formed with Daniel. Nothing felt like instant love, and I appreciated the time they took to get to know, and trust each other before love came into the picture. Anything faster would not have fit either one of the characters.

I liked Daniel as well. I loved the role he is playing in the world, and how hard he is working to perserve the stories of the people around him. I had a little more trouble with his backstory, and since we never really get into his head some of his changes of heart later felt a little more awkward to me. Nothing too serious, but I would have liked a little more into his past relationship, and how he moved on.

The plot was engaging, and well paced. It gave me a real feel for how the world came to be like it is, and what impact it has had on the people of the world. The history of this world is well reasoned, and I really loved how rational and cold the final decision was. I'm really looking forward to reading more of this series. A really well done first instalment.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dity Deeds by S.E. Jakes

I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really like S.E. Jakes. Something about her writing, and the sense of humor mixed with danger makes me a happy girl. This one had to be my favorite of all her books. Why? Mal.

I have to say Mal just did it for me. The anger, the snark, and the edge of crazy is just what I want in a book like this. I liked how his past was slowly revealed over the course of the story, and there was no one moment of sobbing revelation. Mal is not the sobbing revelation sort. Thank heavens for that. I liked the way his mind worked. It made for compelling reading. I also liked that they kept his edge even when he started to fall for Cillian. I'm hoping that continues in the next book as well. I'd hate to see him submit to Cillian completely.

It's not that I didn't like Cillian, I did. I liked that he wasn't quite the suave spy he seemed to be, and that underneath that veneer he was a hard, and angry boy. I understood where his controlling nature comes from, and I liked that he wasn't weak or whimpering, just that some of his controlling tendencies got to be a little much for me, and I'm hoping that Mal turns the tables on him again in book two.

I liked the balance between the two men. Both have controlling tendencies, and the need to let go, so it was never really about one man totally dominating the other. I liked that they were both strong, and fragile at the same time. Both men grew hard, and I liked that it wasn't about one whole person fixing the other broken man.

I liked the action of the story. The men are apart for most of the story, but I liked that. I think the anonymity of the internet interactions allowed to very guarded men the freedom and space to open up to each other, and get to know each other on a deeper level than they would have had this all been in person. The twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat, and I loved watching things unfold. Just a friendly warning, but this book ends on a major cliff hanger, and if that isn't your thing you might want to wait for book two. Me I will be waiting not so patiently for the next one. I must know what happens next, and I need to know how the major revelations at the end play out.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Song of the Spring Moon Waning by E.E. Ottoman

I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really liked this story. It had the feeling of a legend or a fairy tale, but I like how the more magical aspects were balanced with the more mundane. It made the story feel a bit more real to be. The characters were well drawn, and developed. They felt like real people rather than shallow stereotypes or tropes. I liked that even though I guessed Yu's secret fairly quickly it wasn't nearly as simple as I first expected. I liked that added diversity this story had. It was more than just a simple m/m romance, and I appreciated that the characters were treated with the respect, and dignity that they deserved. It was short, but it felt like a complete thought. I'm really hoping that there is more to this story though. I'd love to know where things go from here.


Second Star to the Right by A.F. Henley

I received this story as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really did find myself enjoying this story. I really liked that Jack wasn't the sweet innocent I thought he might be from the synopsis. He was more bitter, jaded, and resentful of growing up than a pretty little man child, which was I appreciated. I liked his sharp tongue, and sense of humor. I liked that it was Mason who was the sweeter of the two. I found him to be a truly good, and caring person. I liked that even though things moved quickly it didn't feel like instant love, and I found the sex to be truly sexy. A nice short love story. Perfect for a cold winter day.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

In Discretion by Reesa Herberth

I received this book as an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this story. The plot felt nicely tense, and well developed. I like how Thanson and Kazra's past was worked into the story, and revealed in bits and pieces instead of one big awkward information dump in the beginning. It helped to draw me into the story, and the characters.

I liked both men. They had a great connection, and I liked learning what happened between them. It played a big role in the story, but never felt like it took over the plot. I really liked Thanson's profession, and the complexity of what it means to be a Discretionary. Sex and secrets are a potent combination.

The writing felt nicely tense, and it fit the nature of the story, and the characters well. I loved the sense of humor as well. Thanson and Kazra had some great byplay, and was just what I was looking for.

The ending was nicely done. It wrapped up the action well, but there were no huge out of character heroics, and they had to rely on others to save the day. The epilogue was set nicely ahead of the ending, but not in the too distant future. It added a happy note without being too sappy or feeling like a fairy tale ending. Overall a good science fiction tale with a little romance and more than a little danger, and intrigue.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Payoff (Market Garden #8) by L.A Witt and Aleksandr Voinov

I received this book as an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed the conclusion to Tristan, and Jared's story. It felt like just the right ending to the arc of their relationship, and it left me with a feeling of closure. I liked seeing their feelings for each other develop of the course of the three stories. It felt natural to me, and I liked that this felt happy without feeling too sappy or out of character. I liked how Tristan's jealousy, and love were dealt with, and how that worked into the job they were on. The sex was truly hot, and I ended up with a lot of respect for Rolex. I'm really hoping that he is the boss in the next Market Garden book. I liked the respect he seems to have for Tristan, and Jared. This is fast becoming one of my all time favorite series. I was a bit hesitant for the next one, after reading this I am a lot more excited.