Happy Sunday, everyone! I had a very good week of reading.
First up, I read a freebie that’s been on my TBR since October 2015. Learning to Feel by N.R. Walker ★★½ is a (Twilight!) fanfic-turned-pro story about an emotionally repressed doctor meeting an artist and falling in love! And it’s kind of…iffy. See, I like the idea, but I didn’t like the narrative style, and some of the word choices kept throwing me off.1 However, I liked the personal development each hero had– coming to terms with falling in love, basically– and it ended in a very cute way. You can read it for free, if you wanna check it out for yourself!
To cleanse my palate, I next read a middle grade scifi comic: Cleopatra in Space vol. 1: Target Practice by Mike Maihack ★★. It’s cute! It’s got a teenage Cleopatra getting sucked into the future where everything’s run by cats and there’s some sort of prophecy that only she can deal with. This first volume is mostly about Cleo settling into space!school, reluctantly making friends, and shooting a lot of things with a laser gun. Not a whole heap of plot or character development, but it’s cute.
At this point I couldn’t put it off any longer and dove head first into Lord of the White Hell, Book Two by Ginn Hale ★★★, the continuation of Lord of the White Hell, Book One! It starts immediately after the cliffhanger from the previous book, thank goodness, and there is much delicious, delicious angst. For a little bit, anyway, and then it gets better! Romance-wise, I was very satisfied with LotWH2. Plot-wise…eh. The mystery was dragged out a little too long, there are way too many suspects, and the emotional satisfaction of the solution ended up being rather subdued. However! I liked everything else. In book two we move to the non-misogynistic country and there are PLENTY of women characters! And there’s some very interesting character development relating to religion and personal relationships and whatnot. And LOTS of friendship and personal drama, which I also liked.
The next set of books stars one of the secondary characters from this book, and I definitely want to read it because he’s a huge emotional doofus in these two books and I want to see him happy and in love.
While at work, I spotted this ADORABLE picture book: Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds by Marianne Dubuc ★★★★. It’s a simple story of a mouse making deliveries to various animals, but the real cuteness is in the art! Each animal has a unique house– the snake, for instance, has a long, tube-like house (he also swallowed a TV). The little decorations inside the houses are adorable, too! And the colors are so nice, like watercolors but slightly deeper.
Next I read an eARC from NetGalley, which I had requested partly because of Memory’s reviews of other Jane Kindred books, but even more partly because the summary had the word “con” and I am a SUCKER for cons and heists and thieves and all that jazz, especially when there’s romance added on! The Water Thief by Jane Kindred ★★★, a historical (kinda) fantasy, doesn’t come out until March, so I won’t say much more about it yet. But I DID enjoy it, though it was also completely bonkers. But a fun bonkers! A gleeful sort of bonkers, not a hate-read sort of bonkers like with Signed and Sealed.
So at this point I was craving more fantasy, and I went deep into my TBR and snagged something that’s been lurking there since October 2014: Sacred Fate by Eressë ★★. It has princes! and a small conspiracy! and drama! Which was pretty fun. Its claim to fame is having “dual-gendered” protagonists, but since everybody uses male pronouns I’m not so much sold on that as I might’ve been if they’d used gender-neutral or a mix of male/female. Also, everybody is stereotypically masculine, so instead it just reads like there’s no female characters and all the male characters have two sets of genitals for no reason. I have lots of other complaints2 but I don’t particularly feel like getting into it because it’d be a huge downer. Sooooo, I liked the characters, I liked their romance, but I hated the world-building.
Continuing onward in my quest for fantasy romance, I picked another TBR book and it was SUCH a pleasant surprise! I’d gotten Nor Iron Bars a Cage by Kaje Harper ★★★★ for free back in October 20133 and put off reading it because of the terrible cover. But I recommend ignoring that creepy cover!! Because this is actually a wonderfully sweet story of trauma recovery, love, and magic!!! And it’s very well-written, with wonderful characters, I loved everything about it, and I can’t wait to read other Kaje Harper books!
So at this point I ran low on GLBTQ fantasy romances (send me recommendations!) but I DID have a scifi romance: Clockwork Heart by Heidi Cullinan ★★★½ which I got from NetGalley! It doesn’t come out ’til February 2nd, so, again, I won’t say much about it yet, but I WILL say that it’s very different from the other HC books I’ve read, and not just because it’s steampunk instead of contemporary. But is it different in a good way? Check back in like two weeks to find out!
My last book this week was Status Update by Annabeth Albert ★★★★, which I again picked up based on a review from Memory! It’s about a video game designer who gets stranded in an RV park by his terrible boyfriend, in the meantime meeting a potentially wonderful NEW boyfriend! A closeted geoarcheology professor with a Southern accent! Oh my GOD it is so cute and adorable and a perfect pick-me-up. It’s like drinking a fancy cup of hot chocolate. There’s some angst, some self-doubt and repression and drama, but there’s ALSO lots of nice cuddling scenes and long-distance cuteness and it has a happy ending! And some really cute phrases, like: “Noah was deep and loyal, like some slow-moving turtle that mated for life.” (34%)
What did you read this week? And seriously, I need more GLBTQ fantasy recommendations. Bonus points if they’re chunksters, SUPER bonus points if they’re L/T instead of G!