Monday, June 9, 2014

May's Reads: Romance, Short Stories, SF & LGBT

My reading picked up significantly in May! A few things happened during the month. On the personal side of things, my husband went back to work and we are, slowly but surely, getting back on schedule. Blog-wise, my 5th blogiversary was May 8th and surprisingly I missed it this year! I guess it's time to stop celebrating.

In May, I also read 5 new contemporary (plus 1 reread) and 1 western historical romance which made me happy. It has been a long while since I read that many mainstream romances in one month. I guess I'm getting back in the "mood," and I'm hoping it lasts.

So, without further ado, here's my list of reads for the month of May 2014:

Total books read: 18
Contemporary (Romance/Fiction): 5
Historical (Romance/Fiction): 1
SF/F/Speculative Fiction: 3
LGBT: 8
Reread: 1

May's Favorite Books:


It Happened One Wedding by Julie James: A-
The Girl with All the Gifts (extended free preview) by M.R. Carey: A-
In Want of a Wife (Bitter Springs #3) by Jo Goodman: B+
The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere by John Chu: B+
Reverting to a Wild State by Justin Torres: B+ (Free Fiction at New Yorker Magazine)
Naming Ceremony: Stories by Chip Livingston: B
The Will by Kristen Ashley: B
Grunt Life: Task Force Ombra by Weston Ochse: B
Scrap Metal by Harper Fox: B

Superhero by Eli Easton: B
Superheroes is worth mentioning. It's a well-written LGBT YA romance with an emphasis on friendship and love that I enjoyed because of the sweet relationship between the two main protagonists -- childhood friends whose love for each other changes and grows as they grow. You can't go wrong with this one.
The Enlightenment of Daniel (Sex in Seattle #2) by Eli Easton: B
This is a more complicated friends to lovers M/M romance by Easton. This time the male protagonists are adults, one married with children and the other, a man in his 30's who comes to the realization that he's gay. Well, being the type of man who does his homework, he actually goes to a sex therapist for confirmation and is rather hilarious in his pursuit of the truth -- I enjoyed those moments more than I can say. But the plot also involves a dying father, and a vicious wife as well as two children. Thankfully, Easton works all of these conflicts and the romance quite satisfactorily before the end.
Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley: C

Sun-Kissed by Laura Florand: C
Sun-Kissed is my first try at a Laura Florand book, or in this case a novella. It covers the romance between Mack Corey and his long-time friend Anne Winters. The setting is the wedding between Mack's youngest daughter Jamie and Dominique (Snow-Kissed, Amour et Chocolat series). And of course other protagonists from Florand's series also make appearances, but, the novella is all about Mack and Anne.

Mack finally works up the gumption to to let Anne know that he's (has been) hot for her. They are both 53 year-old adults with grown, married children, so what's to stop them from changing what has basically been long-term platonic dating to dating with a physical relationship? Only Anne's need to fight stands in the way. First thing I thought when I began reading was that Anne's character was based on Martha Steward -- craft television mogul, convicted for lying about insider trading, blond, cool, collected, blah, blah, blah -- and unfortunately I couldn't erase that thought from my mind. However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the dialogue, the romance, or the characters. I actually enjoyed the mature romance in this novella, particularly the emotions and feelings faced by Mack, the empty-nester. It's just too bad "info dump" in the guise of internal monologue was used so frequently to drive the story forward that it really slowed down the pacing of the novella down to a crawl for me. Not a good beginning to my exploration of Florand's works, but I will still try one of her full-length novels.
Fighting to Stay by Kasey Millstead: D-
I thought of this piece as a poor imitation of Ashley's Motorcycle Man. Enough said.
May's reread:
Slow Dancing on Price's Pier by Lisa Dale

Reviews to come:
Fairs' Point (Astreiant #4) by Melissa Scott
Best Gay Stories 2014 ed. by Steve Berman
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In bookish news: The Lambda Award winners were finally announced. Congratulations to all the winners! Particularly to Alex Jeffers, winner of the Gay Erotica category with The Padişah's Son, and to Melissa Scott & Amy Grisswold winners of the SF/F/Horror category with Death by Silver.

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