Again, this week I began reading a couple of books and have not been able to finish them. It has been frustrating! A frustrating month. I don't even have a review ready today... sigh. So I figured I would give you an idea of what I've read so far this month which totals five whole books! (ETA: Guess I wasn't done whining)
- I began the month on a high note by reading Jeffrey Ricker's gay fiction debut novel Detours. This story is rather interesting in that it begins with the main character saying a hopeful good bye to the man who might be the love of his life two weeks after they meet, only to go home and become involved with another man right after he finds out that his mother died unexpectedly. From there the story really becomes a kind of road trip where this character comes to terms with his life, past and future, as well as his mother's passing, all while accompanied by his mother's ghost. Detours turned out to be engrossing, amusing, and in many ways deeply moving.
- Gears changed when the month became complicated and I picked up Terms of Surrender by Leslie Kelly. This is a Blaze and as such it's up there on the hot sexin' scale. I enjoyed it up to a certain point, but there were too many circumstances where plausibility became a problem. Marissa is a psychologist, an anonymous blogger on the side and a published author. She gets a job as a lecturer on an Air Force base and falls for Danny, a man who she thinks is a mechanic but turns out to be a pilot. There's the misunderstanding trope, the baggage, and the "I hate what you do for a living, but I'll do you anyway" theme going on in this book. These two were ripping their clothes off all over the base and everywhere else, but... Mari still had a problem with Danny's job, not the man himself. The story had its moments, but that's about all I can say.
- Then I decided to continue hitting my contemporary "to be read pile" and read Bending the Rules by Susan Andersen. I loved Playing Dirty, the third book in this contemporary trilogy, but unfortunately I had problems with this book. Let's see, I like the premise of the story itself, where Poppy and Jason's romance grows while they help unruly teenage "taggers" pay for bad behavior by working in a community project. It's one of those romances that begins with lots of suppressed heat that comes off as hostility and eventually it turns into hot steam. Why the problem then? A couple of problems with the characters themselves, beginning with Jason who calls Poppy the "Babe" from beginning to end. This irked me to no end! I'm sorry, but he really comes off as a chauvinist pig, insecure or not (he carries tons of personal baggage and doesn't think he's good enough for her). Then Poppy goes around feeling "diminished by him" but still allows him to run over her, through her and around her -- until almost the end. This was okay, but not my favorite read in this trilogy so far. :(
- As the month continued I totally went 180 degrees in my reading and picked up War by Sebastian Junger. This is a non-fiction read and not my usual choice of read during the holidays. However, again I was looking through my "to be read pile" and there it was... staring at me for the 100th time. I began skimming and couldn't stop reading. I already wrote a mini-review for this book, so I'm not going to go on about it. I'll just tell you that reading this book floored me and I do believe it is one of the reasons I couldn't continue to read anything else for while. The documentary really drove the whole thing home too. Great work!
- When I read War, I had already begun reading Sweetwood Bride by Pamela Morsi. I love this author, however, unfortunately this is not my favorite read by her. Eulie lies by saying she's pregnant and the community of Sweetwood, Tennessee forces Mosco to marry her. In fact, all they have shared is a sweet peck by the river. What Eulie really wants is to garner a secure future for her five siblings. Mosco has dreams! He dreams of going to Texas after he's done fulfilling his duties to his crippled uncle Jeptha, and a wife and children are not part of his plans. As much as I enjoy Morsi's writing, her deep character development and stories, I'm afraid that I just could not for the life of me get behind what Eulie did to Mosco. She forced him into a relationship and killed his dreams forever. I don't care if they fell in love, I just couldn't get past that initial feeling that Eulie was a selfish girl/woman. Even to the end I feel that Mosco wanted to get on that horse to ride west.
So, that's it... those are the books I've completed in December so far. I have read a few short stories here and there from Christmas anthologies. I also began reading A Place Called Home by Jo Goodman and The Hunter by Theresa Meyer, but have not finished them. Hopefully this weekend!