Thursday, May 28, 2015

For Real by Alexis Hall

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

I have to say that I was pretty sure I was going to like this story, but I was blown away by exactly how much I liked it. I was intrigued by the change in the usual dynamics, and I liked the idea of an older submissive, and a younger dominant, but I was thrilled that this book was so much more than that. The kink is different, and refreshing after all of the same old same old. I really loved that the author didn’t fall into so many of the stale topes that seem to pervade this genre. I really appreciated that the author didn’t play into the notion that topping was an inherently dominant act. It made for a much richer reading experience.

For me, though, as much as I liked the kink the characters were the real stand out. They were just so well developed that they felt like real people. Neither one of them felt like a type, or trope. Toby wasn’t just a Dom he was a young man; smart, insecure, talented, caring, and scared. He wasn’t in control all of the time, and he wasn’t afraid to admit what he didn’t know, and to ask questions, and to learn. He was just starting out, and trying to find his place in the world, and I could really empathize with him. Laurie wasn’t just a sub he was a smart, competent professional, caring, and afraid to trust in Toby, and himself. Laurie’s fears about their relationship, and the age difference felt honest, and not like silly angst. It takes time for them to learn to understand, and trust each other. Their sexual chemistry doesn’t equal instant love, and I liked that. I also loved the lack of any sort of abuse/rape back story. Not that I’m against that, but sometimes it feels a bit overused in the genre.

I also loved that the characters didn’t exist in any sort of bubble. The secondary cast is vital to the story, and they are a rich a varied bunch. I loved that Toby’s mother, as unconventional as she is, still loved Toby in her own way. She wasn’t perfect, but she wasn’t a terrible mother either just because she wasn’t the domestic sort. Laurie’s friends were great as well, and I really liked the Oxford crowd. Jasper was a personal favorite sort of wonderful, and terrible at the same time. The kind of larger than life person you’re afraid of, but want to like you at the same time.

The plot was well done, and I really liked the natural feeling to the progression of the story. Nothing felt like it moved to quickly, or was drawn out for too long. It fit the characters, and their personalities well. The writing was amazing. It was one of those books that I kept interrupting my very patient best friend, and reading her the parts that had made me laugh. If this hadn’t been an ARC all of my updates would have been quotes, and there would have been many. Oh so many. I also loved that it wasn’t just funny, but it was such a blend of humor and pathos. That it was such a picture of the fullness of the human experience. It wasn’t one thing or another. Romance, coming of age, kink, and learning to trust yourself and others after you’ve been hurt. Of what it means to let go of the past, and what it means to embrace the future. I really loved this book, and I’m glad I set aside my usual reservations about large age gaps and requested this book. It’s been an amazing ride. In short this book was



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Black Science, Vol.1: How to Fall Forever by Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera (Artist), Dean White (Colorist)

Dark, and strange story about imperfect people trying to do their best despite the odds. Grant McKay is not a good person, but, at the same time, he isn't a cartoon villain. He makes mistakes, so many mistakes, but he doesn't really blame anybody else for them either. The plot is fast paced, and interesting, and I liked that I felt dropped in the middle, and gradually had the situation explained to me. It saved a lot of information dumping, or awkward exposition. The twists were nicely done, and I'm still not sure what's coming next. The art style isn't my favorite, but I cared enough about the characters, and the story to keep going. Can't wait to read more.

PS - I did love this #1 Hastings Variant by Greg Tocchini.


The Midnight Mayor by Kate Griffin

An excellent second book in one of my favorite series. The plot is well drawn, and fast paced. I love how magic works in these books, and how it has changed with the times. I love how much of a character the city of London is in these books, and I love Matthew's relationship with the city. The writing continues to amaze me, and I love the sense of humor these books have. They more than hold up on repeated reading for me. On to the next one.



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Necromancer (Johannes Cabal #1) by Jonathan L. Howard

I really liked this book. The writing is dense, but darkly smart and clever. The characters are well drawn, and complex, and I love how the author used the language they used to help define them. I also loved the difficult relationship between Johannes and Horst. The secondary cast was interesting, and added a lot to the story. I appreciated their insight into the story, and the characters. Having views other than Johannes' helped me to understand Johannes, and how he is perceived. The plot was nicely convoluted, and well drawn. It drew me in, and I found myself ordering the next book before I finished this one. Here's hoping it arrives with the library loans today.

picture credit to cdranger at Deviantart


Monday, May 18, 2015

Mark of Cain by Kate Sherwood

I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley.

I really enjoyed this book. I was a bit apprehensive with the religious aspects of this book, but I was pleasantly surprised it wasn't preachy at all. Mark is deeply religious, but his is the sort of faith that he build his life on. It is his rock, his source of strength and comfort. He isn't the sort of person who feels the need to push his religion onto others, or judge others for their faith or lack thereof. He is a good man struggling to find his place in his church, his family, and his community. I loved how he much he struggled to hold himself to the principals and values he believes in. He struggled to be the kind of person he believes his God has called him to be. He fails, but he doesn't keep trying.

I really liked Lucas as well. His struggles to be a different, and a better person. He never excuses what he did. He never makes excuses, passes the blame, or expects people to forget His support system is nearly non existent, and his friends from before only make things worse, but he doesn't use it as an excuse for not trying to do better. He is bound and determined to be different, and does all he can to make it happen no matter how many people seem to be waiting for him to mess up even slightly.

I liked their connection. There was no hint of instant love, and it takes time for them to learn to understand each other. Mark needs to learn to see Lucas as he really is, and not as he imagined him to be. They both have to learn to trust each other, and seeing them fall in love was beautiful.
The plot was rich, and complicated. I appreciated that things were difficult, and messy. That there were no simple solutions or easy answers. Life isn't always about innocence or guilt or even right and wrong. I liked that the secondary cast was richly developed, and their stories were an integral part of the story. I liked that characters could, and did change, and not always for the better. It made Mark and Lucas's story feel more real, and more honest. The ending was well done, and didn't feel fairy tale happy or fake. It was a genuine sort of happy ending. Not an easy read, but a realy strong one.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Shadow Revolution by Clay, and Susan Griffith

I received this book from Netgalley in trade for an honest review.

The farther I got into this the more, and more I kept thinking of Full Metal Alchemist.


Which is cool, cause I love FMA! The first anime, when you get to that scene...if you have seen it you know the one...I balled my eyes out. This book has homunculus, alchemy, gadgets galore, a guy that can start fires with his hands, a woman who loves guns...

description yeah FMA!

Anyways this book started off rough, but once you get past the forced beginning it smooths out pretty quickly. The storyline is interesting, and the characters are realistically flawed, but smart.

I really enjoyed Simon, Kate, and Penny. I am hoping in book two Penny and Simon get some face time together, cause I think their banter would be epic.

So if you are looking for a book with a lot of action packed werewolf fights, and creepy insane asylum dungeon crawls you have found the right book!

Now off to read book two, and hope that Netgalley loves me enough to give me book three!


Rating: ⋆⋆⋆

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Seventh by Rachel White

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I liked that the rejection Hynd felt was real, and had more to do with fear of the disease he was in remission from than his disfigurement. Hynd wasn't simply moping away in his home, but faced persecution, and harassment when he went outside. My introduction to Julius wasn't promising, but I liked that he grew over the course of the story. I appreciated that both Hynd and Julius had to learn to trust each other, and both men had their own issues and problems to deal with. Julius may have been beautiful, but that in no way made his life perfect. The side characters were also interesting, and well developed.

The plot of the story was interesting, and I found myself drawn into the mystery as much as the characters. I liked the time they spent researching, and how it served to help the characters understand each other. I liked how the secondary cast fit into the plot of the story. They weren't merely props, and some grew as much as the main characters. The ending was well done, and I appreciated that things didn't work out quite the way I was afraid they might. Overall a really nice story, perfect for my weekend away.


Where There's Smoke by Cari Z.

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

I really enjoyed this story. The romance was nice, and I appreciate that it was instant attraction not instant love. the characters were well developed, and I liked that both Edward and Raul were well developed, and interesting. The highlight for me was the world building though. I love the author's exploration of super heroes and villains, and how corporations and the government fit into the mix. It was nicely nuanced, and almost a little too real to life in parts. The plot was mature, and well developed. It was interesting to see Edward's development throughout the course of the story, and seeing him learn more about the city, and the people around him. I'm looking forward to reading more.


Friday, May 1, 2015

Deadly Class, Vol. 1: Reagan Youth (Deadly Class #1-6) by Rick Remender, Wesley Craig (Illustrator), Lee Loughridge (Illustrator)

A dark, gritty tale that isn't for the faint of heart or stomach. Drugs, violence, and sex fill this story, but it's still a very human story. Not so much a celebration of darkness, but more of an acknowledgment of the darkness that exists in the world. The art style is nice while still fitting the story. The plot is interesting, and the characters complex in personality, and morality. Not an easy story, but a strong one.  I like the 80's history, fashion, and pop culture that's in the story.



I'm not expecting a happy ending, but I'm going to keep going. I don't think a happy ending would work, and would almost trivialize the story.


But more interesting.