July reviews

Another month gone and I haven’t posted since my last reviews… Must do better! Anyway, here are July’s offerings.

Films and TV
Either I didn’t watch much this month or I forgot to record my viewing which means it was forgettable anyway. I think most of my TV time was taken up with politics… UK politics in July veered between horror and farce and was definitely the only thing to watch! I did apparently see:

The Lawyer.*** I’m giving this three stars. I can’t remember a single thing about it but I evidently found it worth noting.

Books

The very good and the good:

I binged on the Mad Creek series by Eli Easton. Dog shifters and humans in a remote town. Lots of humour and lots of thrills. Highly recommended and I hope she writes more!
Mad Creek*****
How to Howl at the Moon / How to Walk like a Man / How to Wish upon a Star / How to save a life and How to run with the wolves.

All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot***** I used to live in the Yorkshire Dales so there was a nostalgia element, but another pleasure was the information about pre-WW2 veterinary methods. You don’t need to have seen the TV series to enjoy the book.

Hot Summer Nights **** This was a charity anthology of mm stories by various authors including JL Merrow. As usual with any anthology the standard varied but I enjoyed the book, and her contribution in particular.

Love, Jamie by AKM Miles**** A pleasant mm romance involving thriller elements with a stalker.

Frank at Heart by Pat Henshaw **** Another pleasant mm story in the Foothills Pride series. Well written and I might read more if I ever get far down my tbr list.

Cutie and the Beast by EJ Russell**** A nice urban magic mm twist on Beauty and the Beast – I may well try more of this Fae Out of Water series if only because urban magic appeals to me (it’s the genre I mostly write in).

Total Recall by Sara Paretsky**** VI Warshawski, the Chicago PI, investigates a case that necessitates long flashbacks to WW2 Germany and England by one of the principal (present-day) characters. I could see the point of them but for me they detracted from the pleasure of the novel.

The acceptable. All well written but not particularly recommended.

Burning Fall by EJ Smyth*** Short mm story set in Frankfurt, seen through the eyes of an American who is one of the main characters. Ultimately unmemorable. I won’t be reading any more of the series (Volume 1 of Frankfurt Hot Seasons)

Fire Thief by Jordan Castillo Price*** An unusual short story but I was left vaguely dissatisfied. Clever but perhaps too much focus on the ‘twist’ and not enough on the characters. It was a ‘freebie’ and as I read most of what she writes, I read this. If you do, go ahead and read it. If not, it isn’t the best introduction to her work.

Loathing Leo by Ash Penn *** An mm ‘romance’ centred on an abduction supposed to be for the good of the relationship. I got very irritated with all the main characters and frankly disliked the story.

Imperfect by Cassidy Ryan***
Another short with the main focus on trying to please parents who held erroneous beliefs.

Fleeting Moments by Nic Starr*** A sweet short story about a couple and the mother of one of them. The mother has dementia.

A Blind Eye by Jane Gorman*** An ultimately boring thriller (yes, honestly) set in Poland where a Polish-American police officer is on some kind of diplomatic mission which seemed unlikely, and gets involved with old family problems. (Volume 1 of the Kaminski mysteries which I shall not be following.)

And the abandoned. None of these were well enough written to hook my interest.

Child of the Theatre by Caleb. Some sort of Regency mm – boring because it was too erotic even before we had any idea of the characters.

Castro Jack by Mark Cartwright. Experiences of a gay Brit in 70s San Francisco. Simply boring.

Tear Down and Die by Joanna Campbell Slan. A boring cozy mystery. The author claims to write ‘clean’ books with no explicit sex or bad language. Pity they also lack character and plot.

Off Broadway by Sarah Kay Moll. This was written in a strange style and I couldn’t get into it at all.

Hero in a Halfling by William Tyler Davis. A derivative and boring lotr style epic.

Crude Magic by Michael D Young. Magical, maybe, but it didn’t grab me and was too hard to get into.

Fanfic

As so often, the fanfic I read depended on a reasonably knowledge of the canon (the original shows or books). In fact I abandoned a long fic by astolat, whose work I would normally adore, for this very reason. I enjoyed some of what I read and left kudos on AO3 but would not review the works here for general readers. The only one I would like to mention is
Written by the Victors by Speranza***** https://archiveofourown.org/works/15 It’s an SGA fic and does require knowledge of the show but if you have seen that, then this is worth reading. It is clever and interesting, purportedly written many years later with all kinds of references. It consists of various articles etc. which pinpoint the way history can be skewed by the perceptions of writers. The articles are interspersed with apparent slices of ‘what really happened’. Whilst the idea and execution are brilliant, it won’t be accessible to anyone who doesn’t know the original story.

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