LGBTQ+ Books

Jordan L. Hawk “Stormhaven” | Whyborne & Griffin 3

2_stormhavenAuthor: Jordan L. Hawk
Title: Stormhaven
Series: Whyborne & Griffin 3
Genre: LGBT, Paranormal
Pages: 179p
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

If per chance you recall, I did not like the previous Jordan L. Hawk book in the series of Whyborne & Griffin. But as is seemingly a rule for me, that usually means I will like the next one. So, yes, “Stormhaven“, third book in the said series, was not an exception. Can anyone explain me why or how?

About: Whyborne keeps having these scary nightmares of an underworld city, with something lurking in the shadows. At times he can even hear someone sing, and it sounds almost like his mother. But, as is common in stories like these, he waves the dreams away as unimportant, and tells no one about them. Yet it seems he wasn’t the only one who heard the song. Allan Tambling, a kind hearted fella is found in a pool of blood, holding a knife and his beloved uncle’s body. According to him, he has no recollection of how he even got there. Which gives him first class ticket into a mental asylum. Here, being accused of murder, he fears for his life, for he will likely be sent off into the Fourth Floor ward, from where no one really ever returns. Griffin, having been in a situation like that, is feeling sorry for the man, and takes up to solve the case of who or what killed Allan’s uncle. His conviction that it wasn’t Allan is made stronger by the fact that Allan’s doctor is the same man who accused Griffin of being insane too.

My thoughts: The book seemed rushed. Most of the very good action took mere pages, where Griffin’s family and problems arising from that took whole chapters. I would’ve rather read more of this new cult on the rise (it’s not new per se), and the murderers working for them, or even the science behind summoning conducted there, than of whole that “let’s pretend we’re not boyfriends” stuff. But hey, at least Christine was as badass as always. Love that woman. She deserves her own book.

The book fell a bit short for my taste, but I can’t really complain, seeing how I saw the page number when I picked it up. But with all the cons in it, there were really decent plot twists that I absolutely did appreciate. So here’s 4 out of 5 from me, and let’s hope the next one isn’t bad again.

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Categories: 4-5, Books of Occult, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, Gothic Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

K.J. Charles “Spectred Isle” | Green Men 1

1_SpectredIsleAuthor: K.J. Charles
Title: Spectred Isle
Series: Green Men 1
Genre: LGBT, Paranormal
Pages: 271p.
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I had to wait for quite a while until I got myself a chance to read one of the newest KJC books, the “Spectred Isle“, first in the series. And even then it is thanks to a friend for all the help. It was definitely worth the wait though. This book is a fine piece of paranormal.

About: After the disgraceful discharge from the military, Saul is happy to have any job, really. Even if it means working for a crazy eccentric fella whose life goal, it seems, is to get in touch with real magic. He pores over books he claims anonymous sources sent him, maps, and whatever other things he got to find certain places. Then he travels there, drags Saul along, or just sends Saul there alone, to trudge through mud, forests, ruins, and other kinds of not likely magical places. But this time Saul’s conviction shook at the foundation of it. First of all, this was a rare time when he got to a place and knew exactly that he was in the right place. And second of all, if the colossal ancient oak wasn’t enough eerie in itself, it suddenly burst into flames and burned like no living tree should ever, ever burn. That, of course, attracted attention, people, among which was the last member of the great and old family of occultists: Randolph Glyde. From then on every adventure Saul got himself into seem to have led him to the man. It would’ve been funny if it wasn’t so irritating and strange at the same time. Especially when they met in the Camlot Moat, the most unlikely of all places, the island that was so incredibly difficult to reach that even Randolph couldn’t believe what he saw. For Randolph’s duty is to protect the isle within the moat, and he knew full well how unlikely it was for Saul to just stumble in there, and them meet. This only confirmed his suspicions that Saul is involved in something sticky and occult.

My thoughts: Loved these two to bits. Saul is a very interesting, strong and intelligent man. And Randolph pretty much leads the rebels. Well, resistance if you please. The occult kind who don’t want to be ordered around by nasty Shadow Ministry. Those people, after all, are responsible for this thinning veil between their world and the one under it. They forced occultists of all kinds to summon, use, and abuse all manner of creatures and monsters. In one of those summonings, one that Randolph refers to as the Great Summoning, whole Glyde family has died, leaving Randolph alone to cope with all the secrets and knowledge that his family possessed. Thus he takes care of those like him, including Saul.

This was definitely a very great book, with very scary elements to it, so consider not reading at night. And, as is common for KJC books, the characters were indeed top notch. So here’s a 5 out of 5 for me, in hopes that second book won’t take too-too long. For it will take a while.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Burdett “The Godfather of Kathmandu” | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 4

1Author: John Burdett
Title: The Godfather of Kathmandu
Series: Sonchai Jitpleecheep 4
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Rating: 3-5 | Goodreads

Have you ever read a book twice, because by the end of it – you already couldn’t tell what it was about? That was the case for me with John Burdett book “The Godfather of Kathmandu”, the fourth book in Sonchai Jitpleecheep series. It wasn’t a bad book per se, but oh, brother, the lines to follow…

Sonchai has made a grave mistake. He got the Godfather movies for his boss, which then triggered a chain reaction of real ill trash luck. His boss kindly worked up Sonchai’s family with deals of good raise, and little to no change to Sonchai’s work, in attempts to make Sonchai his consilieri, like an adviser. Which then directly took a hit to Sonchai’s karma. That son, reincarnation of his beloved friend and partner, whom he wanted to put in a good school on his wife’s advice, with the new money he’ll be getting? Decided the world is too corrupt, and suicided. Wife? Guilt ridden ran away to a monastery to become a monk. FBI agent, his friend and former partner in USA? She felt disappointed in his new line of work, and due to broken arm – won’t rush to help him with the new case. As for the new case, Sonchai is determined to give this chance of promotion to his colleague, who hates his guts. Hates him for being the first choice for the boss. Hates him for being a better detective. And now also hates him for being morally superior about this promotion too, for showing this kindness and giving him the damn promotion. The only consolation Sonchai right now has is also not a spotless piece of sunshine. It is a a highest ranking monk who promised to teach him to reach the peace of mind. It’s just that this same monk has 14 mil worth of drugs he wants to sell to his boss.

As for the murder, now that’s something to get distracted by, no matter how unpleasant. A movie director was found dead, skull open, brain eaten. He was well loved in Bangkok by the bar girls, who describe him as kind, caring, loving, but a sex addict. He wasn’t visiting them for a while before his death, so they assumed he finally found that “something wilder” he was after. Did that wilder thing kill him too? And to top it all off, he left clues directly for Sonchai. Yes. Of course he did.

This was a strange book, with quite a few lines to follow, and Sonchai’s wasn’t the best. The murder was the most dull one though, so I had to remind myself this isn’t really a detective story to begin with a lot. But there were great points, like that monk, or such a shift in Karma. So all in all another 3/5, I guess.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Crime Books, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tag: Pride Flag

1. Red (Life) – A book with a spirited protagonist totally proud of who they are. Someone who gives you LIFE!
1– K.J. Charles “A Charm of Magpies“, Lucien Vaudrey being the character. Those books cut a hole in the wall I had between myself and the rest of the world, and apparently rainbow glitter started pouring out. I used to avoid pointing out why I liked this book or that one if it was a queer character who was the driving force. I’d concentrate on plot and just hint that this person is interesting. After I met Lucien – the world will just have to deal with it, much like I and anyone like I lived our lives surrounded by straight romance left and right (and I’m sure people of color can say the same about all the whiteness, for even I’ve had enough, thanks, but that’s exactly why KJC is life with her books).


 

 

22. Orange (Healing) – A book that made you, as the reader, find a deeper meaning or catharsis in your own life.
– I could give you the same answer as for red here. But for the sake of it… C.S. Pacat and the “Captive Prince” trilogy. Their dynamic just felt so natural, it unfolded without being questioned, and if it was, it was because someone out there decided they’re supposed to be enemies, because their fathers were. The rest was a matter of fact. The light bulb in my head not only lit up, it shattered. Because why WOULD anyone question heart’s matters, right? Right.

 

 


33. Yellow (Sunshine) – A book that fills you with so much joy it could brighten even your darkest day.
– Right now it’d probably be Becky Albertalli “Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda“. It’s a double edged sword, really, but sometimes it’s only through pain that we find bliss, so it fits anyway: the kid has an accepting family, he was born this tall handsome man (aka – fitting his mental gender too), his friends were really mature about everything, and even in the moment of heat, they managed to take a step back, and recollect things back into the shape of friendship. It’s a book about someone who, after holding his breath, could finally exhale. It took him 4 years. For me it was more like 12 if not more. That’s what breaks my heart. But I hang on the idea that at least now… And that gives me some semblance of sunshine.

 


A Darker Shade final for Irene

4. Green (Nature) – A book that is set out of this world — a reality different to our own.
– V.E. Schwab “Shades of Magic” trilogy. It’s mostly set in the Red London, while there’s  two more (one of them being ours, mundane, magicless), and one that is more a legend than truth. A crown prince who is madly in love with previously a son of a respected man, now a… well, a pirate, I guess. I love how they allowed each other to explain things when the opportunity happened, something that rarely happens in books. And then there’s wonderful Kell, a mage so powerful he might as well be a black-eyed god, and yet so constantly scared for his loved ones that it drives him mad whenever they actually encounter danger. And of course, Lila. That is the most wonderful female character I have ever read. Ever. She’s strong, independent, and will do whatever she sets her mind on. You can’t tell her she can’t. Because, oh boy, she can. And you may come along, because she sure as hell won’t stay put just because you’d like her to.


55. Blue (Peace) – A book where one of the characters finds peace with a difficult truth.
– Austin Chant’s “Peter Darling“. It’s hard for me to dwell on this book, because it would’ve fit Orange answer too – I reached a point of breaking together with the character. We both had to admit to ourselves that some of the things we do, we do because it’s part of our idea of how we’re supposed to justify our words. While truth is, we don’t have to justify our words to begin with. This is a book about a transgender character having to accept the truth, stop try to justify it with faux gestures, and move past the fact that there’s people, even very close people, who can’t accept it.

 

 


6

6. Purple (Spirit) – A book that deals with LGBT+ themes and religion.
– Well, in a sense John Burdett’s books “Sonchai Jitpleecheep” fits, it’s just not the religion  we’re so used to. They’re Buddhist there, and I enjoy the logic behind it. For instance, Sonchai has a partner who is what we’d define as transgender. To him it’s a simple matter: either a) your spirit left your body, and another spirit inhabited it to keep you, as a person, alive, and that spirit was of different sex than you, or b) you simply reincarnated into a body that didn’t fit your mind gender, possibly to learn something, and it is likely one of the hardest reincarnations you’ll have, thus not such a common one (for a lot of spirits have a choice, and avoid this one as much as they can due to discomfort it causes). Other choice of mine would be Shane Dawson’s memoir book “It Gets Worse” where he speaks of his own bisexuality in the face of being a firm religious Christian.

Categories: Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

K.J. Charles “The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal”

3Finally I got me another chance for some leisure with K.J. Charles. This time I read “The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal” (ASIN B06XVF3GW8; 232p.; Goodreads), a sort of a prequel to Green Men series I’ll be starting right after this. It’s a very sherlocky book, but all cases are supernatural, and clients are mostly angry spirits.

Robert Caldwell worked as a journalist when he met Simon Feximal. You see, he inherited this old, crumbling little manor or castle, or whatever the hell, and a raging spirit of his angry ancestor with it. I mean, one can deal with many things. Things moving, doors closing, sounds and moans. But once the walls start bleeding, well, most of us would probably draw a line. So Robert called for help. Simon showed up, with his mysterious demeanor, body of a boxer, and impressive knowledge on the occult. He made them a circle and told Robert to not put a finger out, whatever happens. Spirit started raging, strange symbols appeared on Simon’s skin, and… Well, of course, Robert broke the damned circle.

From there on adventures and cases begin. Robert soon learned what World under the World is, and just how much more there is than meets the eye. And it’s not just angry spirits! There’s angrier zealous colleagues, England’s Secret Service, and even a war at the gate.

If you fancy a supernatural detective, than this is definitely for you. It was damn great, with lots of amazing characters and secrets. 5 out of 5 from me, can’t go any less.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Historical Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Burdett “Bangkok Tattoo” | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 2

3I really didn’t feel like reading anything, so I picked up second book in John Burdett series Sonchai Jitpleecheep, “Bangkok Tattoo” (Sonchai Jitpleecheep 2; ISBN 1400032911; 320p.; Goodreads). I loved the first one phenomenally. But this one just didn’t feel right. In fact, it felt normal, like many other thriller detectives. For, somehow, the characters lost their characters.

A CIA agent is killed and mutilated in a room of a bar girl. They had a one-sided love history and a romance, with kind enough parting between them. And Chanya just doesn’t seem to have a heart for such a violent act, even if circumstances seem to point at her. Yet due to him being an American CIA agent in Bangkok, and this world being set just after the tragic 9/11 terrorist attack, there’s a chance that if there’s any of those evil group members around – they wouldn’t have missed a chance either. But forwards come the Muslim community, prepared to do whatever it takes, whatever means necessary, to keep this blame off of them: it’d destroy the solid community out here. So Sonchai does what Sonchai does better, he picks up whatever strings are left for him, and heads out to see what tangles he can rustle up. What could get a man like that killed anyway?

Apparently, a tattoo. And it might just not be over. Out there, in the dark underground, a good classic / traditional tattoo artist is valued, and so are their works. To the point where murdering and skinning is almost a norm, for owning a piece is a sign of status. The agent had one. And so does Chanya. Yet she’s still alive.

In some dumb sense, Sonchai got too simple for my liking. He lost his fatalistic self, settling down, calming down. And since he’s the one telling the story, and he’s the main hero in it too, it hits the whole tale quality over the head. I can’t give it more than 3 out of 5, but I’m also not ready to give up on the series just yet.

Categories: 3-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books: Everything, Crime Books, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peter Monn “The Before Now and After Then”

2I watched Peter Monn on YouTube for a while before I actually learned that he wrote a YA romance book called “The Before Now and After Then” (ASIN B00M8B6CLE; 304p.; Goodreads). As Peter in his videos points out, sometimes YA falls into that category, because the protagonists are young adults, while in truth the book might by for adults, merely having teens as characters. Maybe that’s the reason this book felt like a mature piece of work, a well polished piece by someone, well, like Peter. There’s a lot of him to be found here, and it’s likely made better by his vlogs, for you can really see where the things are coming from then. But even without them, this is a fine book.

Danny is a twin. His brother died in an accident, getting hit by a drunk person while going home from a park. Park was part of the plan. Sam wished to help Danny come out to their parents, so he got away from home, giving Danny time. Afterwards he was supposed to come back, crack a silly gay joke, and relief any possible tension. Thing is, they didn’t even expect tension, it was just a precaution. And yet that precaution got Danny’s life upside-down.

He found his parents fighting over his father’s affair. He blurred out that he’s gay. And then a doorbell rang, there – an officer here to tell of Sam’s death. Now, six whole months later, Danny is waking from the death’s stupor. He’s starting to realize that he has no idea who or what he is. Everyone around him seem to define him by these too broad or too narrow titles. Before it was so much easier: Sam’s friends were his friends, Sam’s hobbies were his hobbies… But new school (or new school year?) means new experience. He soon meets a charming girl named Cher, who befriends him right away. And then there’s the handsome Rusty for whom Danny is head over heels in mere moments. Time for the living to figure the damn life out.

It’s a beautiful love story. At points it got a little too idyllic, but it worked with the general way author wrote and described things. I really loved the evolution of characters, that was pretty damn brilliant. At the end of the book I preferred the bully more than the love interest. Merely because that one took actions when action was needed, while Rusty ran off without even trying, and next thing you know, came back expecting everyone to take him back. Yes, expecting. He stated the fact first, and asked later. I give this book a very solid 4 out of 5, one point away due to something greatly missing in the whole picture. And be sure, when Peter finishes his next book, I’ll be there to snag it.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Becky Albertalli “Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda” | Creekwood 1

1I have troubles watching movies based on books if I have not read the book. And since seeing “Love, Simon” is on the agenda, I had to go ahead and read it. So I took myself a little vacation with this simple book “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli (Creekwood 1; ISBN 0062348671; 303p.; Goodreads). I say “simple“, because, really, there’s many books like this, with light romance, fair amount of stress, and stories of friendships getting rejuvenated. The only different thing is that instead of Simon in all of those we’d have a girl.

I can’t recall what it was exactly, but once, on Tumblr, Simon found a post he could relate to, and replied with his email. The author of the post replied, and soon their internet friendship became something more, I’d go into as cheesy a line as “a breath of air” for Simon. For due to anonymity they agreed upon, Simon could be completely open about everything with the boy he only knew as Blue. And since they both seemed to have been developing crushes on each other, it only makes sense that Simon seeked to check his email wherever he could, thus one day forgetting to log out. This is where the stress begins.

The emails get found by his class mate. The class mate is ready to swear upon the graves of his heroes, that he has nothing against Simon, nor his orientation. All he wants is for Simon to help him hook up with his friend. So, no pressure, but pressure. Not blackmail, but some blackmail. Simon feels like this guy just took away his choice on how to come out and whether to come out at all, which results in him trying to get any semblance of control over the situation, aka start telling people, before that guy told everyone. But if only it was all so simple. Apparently there’s more drama in coming out than just the possibility of hidden homophobia!

Title plays into the book real nice, since you can see how people make Simon’s coming out about themselves in most of the cases: you didn’t tell me first; you should’ve told me sooner; oh wow, that’s a big deal; you didn’t trust me! And yet none of them ever had the strain of coming out, due to heterosexuality being commonly considered default. In general the book was sweet, fluffy, and simple, much like a chick-flick would be, but with a protagonist being a young gay guy. I can give it a 5 out of 5, even if it’s not the Mona Lisa of books on gay teenagers.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jordan L. Hawk “Threshold” | Whyborne & Griffin 2

2I enjoyed the first book in Jordan L. Hawk series Whyborne & Griffin, so it was only a matter of time, and finding the time, until I got into the second one, “Threshold” (Whyborne & Griffin 2; ISBN 0988564971; 249p.; Goodreads). I must say, this was the most unexpected turn of events. And yet I didn’t like it so much. But I do enjoy the Lovecraftian vibe the author has.

Whyborne’s father was never overly fond of his younger son. Especially not after he decided to make his own life, and not follow the path he provided. That slightly shifted after the battle with monsters from another dimension, where Whyborne showed immense knowledge and great courage. Still, even with that little bit of mending, Whyborne is mighty suspicious when his father hires Griffin to investigate supernatural happenings in one of his coal mines.

Miners hear buzzing, vibrations behind the walls. Some claim there’s voices telling them of rich coal veins nearby. People disappear or die in strangest accidents. Some return, strange and different. A lot of these strings lead to excavation site in a cave system nearby, so that’s where the trio heads. There’s nothing real special there, nothing archaeologists haven’t already taken account of. Up until the floor breaks under Whyborne’s feet, and he is plunged into the darkness of the caves below. Here walls are all covered in drawings of strange creatures enslaving humans. And there’s something lurking just behind the band of light…

SPOILER: this is a personal preference, but I really do not like when mild fantasy meets mild sci-fi, and results are aliens vs cowboys. END OF SPOILER. I think the biggest peeve here was the romance line. I really hate the whole “but I thought this, so I did that, because I thought…“, for as a reader you know exactly how that’ll go. There’ll be spilling sand between the fingers, then making up, and apologies, and in romance novel cases: make-up sex. Other than that, the events were very unexpected, so while I can only give this book 3 out of 5, I will definitely read the next one.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Fantasy, Books: Horror, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, Sci-Fi Books, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

K.J. Charles “An Unsuitable Heir” | Sins of the Cities 3

4Yes, I’ve read this book forever ago. Yes, I was too lazy to review it. Yes, it was very good. And if you’re not buying into it just yet, let me just say this one thing: K.J. Charles book “An Unsuitable Heir” (Sins of the Cities 3; B01MZ7SF83; 246p.; Goodreads) has a gender fluid character, and the fact alone could’ve made my day. But good plot harmed no one, ever.

A murderer continues to lurk in London’s toxic fog. Their goal is pretty clear to Mark, who is fully involved in the investigation of Clem’s brother’s death, marriages, and living heirs. The killer is surely after the next in line, and if Mark wasn’t motivated enough by what’s at stake already – Clem’s livelihood, for instance, then the deal was sealed by the heirs themselves. Twins. A male and a female in the most loose sense one can put genders into. Pen being the one murderer would want, with his beautiful long hair, well trained body of a trapeze artist, Mark’s dream, in other words.

Pen has absolutely no wish to be no damned heir. To be one would mean to be part of the gents society: cut your hair, wear a suit, contain yourself in a single shape and form forever now. Behave. His love for Mark is too strong to just toss it all away for a case of gold anyway. But then, if he does choose his freedom and Mark over the earldom, he will betray his sister. Sister, who wishes to stop being a trapeze artists, who wishes a calm and peaceful life, a home, a husband, on whom she already has an eye set.

The book was so very great. And while I’m aware someone gender fluid might not be defined by he/him pronouns, for most of the time Pen did refer to himself in such a manner, so I’ll just hope he wouldn’t mind if he read my review. For this was a fine end to a great series, with people getting what they deserved left and right! 5 out of 5, of course.

Categories: 5-5, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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