Posts Tagged With: lgbtq+ literature

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

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

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

KJ Charles – An Unnatural Vice | Sins of the Cities 2

2Long overdue that I finally continue with Sins of the Cities by KJ Charles, so don’t let me digress, let’s talk about “An Unnatural Vice” (Sins of the Cities 2; ASIN B01M0HH1IH; 250p; Goodreads), second book in the trilogy. I loved the first book, but I loved this one even more. KJC, much like one of her protagonists here, is mighty capable of playing just the right strings for me, and likely – most.

Justin Lazarus is a famous seer of London. Lost a loved one? Want to talk to a dead relative? It’s him you come to. Much like this woman, of seemingly no interest. She wished to find her runaway twins, and instead of taking her meager savings to a detective, she took a drawing of them straight to Lazarus. Drawing, which Lazarus kept until the lady, whom he consoled as best he could, vaguely promising her that they’re alive and well, got back home to bring him the money she owed. For it seems, someone robbed this village woman out of her pennies. The fact she never returned didn’t surprise or concern Lazarus either. It happens. Up until he ran into journalist Nathaniel Roy, and his detective friend Mark.

Nathaniel Roy dedicated his time to expose people like Lazarus, thus the interest and crossing of paths happened naturally. The less natural was Lazarus appearing at his doorstep, cold, shivering, and seemingly worse for the wear, in need of help. For he nearly lost his life over that damned lost woman, and her runaway twins, it seems. Turns out, neither the woman, nor Mark, are the only people searching for the pair. And by far not every seeker has their well being in their hearts.

This was a very fine piece of detective work, and two mighty fine characters. I really loved the plot, and I loved the development of both it, and the people in it. Characters had substance, they filled another out well, tugging at flaws, and seeking best ways to mend what’s mendable. 5 out of 5, and I think I’ll jump straight to the third right now.

Categories: 5-5, Books: LGBT, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

K.J. Charles – Think of England

3When tired and not feeling like choosing next book to read, I just pick whatever I have by K.J. Charles. So I just grabbed “Think of England” (ISBN 9780995799004; 239p.; Goodreads) audiobook, muted my game, and propped my ears up. Whatever I expected, I did not expect such an intense plot full of spies, blackmail, extortion, and bluffs!

A faulty shipment of guns that exploded upon use has left Captain Archie Curtis maimed, lacking fingers, with dead comrades, friends, and many questions. Not the least one is: was it an accident or has someone sabotaged them? On a quest to find answers Curtins soon finds himself in a company of a poet, Daniel da Silva, at an isolated country house party. He has full intentions to find a way to break into the office of the host, in hopes of finding any proof on either guilt or innocence.

The thick-walled house hides many secrets. Under guise of night, determined to uncover at least one of them, Curtis sneaks out of his room and towards the office. Just to run into the poet, and a whole different secret. The poet, as it turns out, is not who he seems to be. And while neither trust another enough to share their secrets, they both seem to have a common goal inside the host office. It’s firmly locked, and booby-trapped, and since there’s now two men trying to get in, they both can be sure of one thing at least: the hosts do have something to hide.

This was a great damned book! Thieves, soldiers, spies, plots, sieges and lies! Like a small-scale James Bond movie with a dash of Agatha Christie vibes. I can happily give it a 5 out of 5.

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

Mackenzi Lee “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” [1]

29283884I waited for “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” by Mackenzi Lee (ISBN 0062382802; 513p.; Goodreads) even before it was released. Which is a mighty rare thing for a first book (or a stand alone, we’ll see), and not, say, second or third in the series. Luckily, I didn’t get disappointed either!

Henry Montague is a fine man, an heir to a fairly great estate, and a son of great disappointment to his father. He was kicked out of school for, allegedly, starting a fight. He dallies with anyone on two legs, men, and women. He’s rarely ever sober, and shows little to no interest in running the estate! His father’s last hope is a voyage across Europe on which he sends Henry out, together with a very strict guardian, his sister, and his best friend. With whom Henry is secretly in love with…

The tour starts out pretty boring at first. Their guardian keeps his word, and makes sure everyone’s in line. Henry can’t go party, he’s not allowed to drink, and he’s going crazy. Yet he’ll surely miss these simple days once adventures come uninvited. Highway men, pirates… And all due to a damned box he pocketed!

The story was very fun, and often – very funny. It was easy to read, and I’m real happy about everything in it. So I’ll give it 5 out of 5, and won’t mind a sequel if such comes to be.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, Friday: Diversity, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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