Books: A lot of good reads last month, but of course this is from a list of authors I already know and trust! I don’t seem to have read any fanfiction in May that wasn’t so enmeshed in canon as to be impenetrable to general readers.
The absolutely excellent:
Envy and Other Cravings by TJ Nichols***** Third in the series. I’m so impressed with the sci fi/fantasy element – basically, the Hadron Collider caused the world of the ‘mythos’ to collide with ours and somehow they have merged… Edra is a lesser dragon (shifter) and is the mythos liaison officer to the San Francisco police. His colleague and soulmate is Jordan, a human cop. The crimes are fascinating and the solutions are not at all conventional. The romance is well developed with a lot of angst. I am devastated that the fourth volume is still only on pre-order.
The very very good:
Trusting Jack by Ruby Moone**** A lovely story to start a series set in the city where I live. I guessed the crime well before the protagonists were clued in and kept wanting to kick them. Slightly marred by an inability of the author’s spell checker (machine or human) to differentiate all the time between ‘of’ and ‘off’, and I must tell other readers that Denton (where I have worked) is not between Gorton (where my daughter lives) and Longsight… Apart from those nitpicking details, a gripping mm romance and crime story.
Even Stranger by Marilyn Messik**** Another exciting slice of life (and a wedding) for the heroine with paranormal abilities. The mundane police are now involved but Stella can solve things they can’t. And the third in the series Stranger Still****. This was apparently going to be a trilogy but the author has been inundated with requests for more. I shall certainly read them. Stella has an apparently normal childhood in post war London in a small Jewish family. But she can fly and she can hear what people are thinking…
Ghosts Galore by Fiona Glass**** A really fun read. Expanded and altered, based on a short story from ages ago but I didn’t feel cheated (having read the short) – in fact I felt enriched by the addition of details and mm romance. Grandfather’s ghost is delightful.
Romantic Recon by Blake Allwood**** Another in the ‘romantic’ series. Very tense story with lots of situations involving CIA, FBI. Mafia, guns, etc. and a lovely romance at the centre that is constantly put at risk by violence and betrayal. In some respects it’s a sequel to Romantic Renovations and Romantic Rescue and readers should probably read those first, though this could be read as a stand-alone if you don’t worry about some mystifying references to past events. (I had read the others first.)
Centauri Doll by Wendy Rathbone**** Four stars for the standard of writing and the plot which is clever and unusual. The narrator is a vat-grown human on sale as a pleasure slave. The book seems at first to be a typical ‘slave’ fic romance but ends up exploring what it means to be human, and on the way treats the reader to a lot of exquisite world building. There is also a thriller element, which kept me reading. However, for me personally, there was too much sex, sensuality, etc. in a lot of detail and I didn’t completely enjoy it even though these were essential to the story. If you don’t mind (or if you enjoy) frequent mm sex scenes, I would recommend the book.
Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain**** Excellent mm romance that addresses a lot of issues with homophobia, religious attitudes, coming out, etc. Good development of minor characters including family and cats, which is always a plus!
The Actor and the Earl by Rebecca Cohen**** Nicely written mm romance between an actor in Shakespeare’s London and an earl. First of the books in the Crofton Hall series and the author tells us it is ten years old this week! Faint echoes of Twelfth Night: Sebastian masquerades as Anthony’s wife in place of his twin, Bronwyn. But other plays (and sonnets) feature in the text as does the newly built Globe.
Shades of Sepia by Anne Barwell**** I was a bit doubtful because this is a vampire novel and I don’t much like vampires (too much mention of blood) but there are werewolves, ghosts and humans, too, and an interesting serial murder case. So I was engrossed and will get the next in the series which features some of the same characters but is by a different author.
And the readable:
Signs of Spring by Rachel Ember*** (Wild Ones Book2) Another fairly gripping story in the series. Again, use of present tense doesn’t endear it to me, and in this volume we were treated to a lot of flashbacks at the beginning. If you’d read Long Winter these were unnecessary and if you hadn’t they weren’t sufficient to explain all the issues. However, I did stay up past bedtime to finish this and will probably read the next in the series provided it’s on KU.