Silence in the library

A reader for pleasure and a reviewer to spread the love of great books. My mantras, 'you can never have too many books' and 'time spent reading is never time wasted'. Books are my passport to many times, places, and experiences, and I want to stamp them all. I focus most of my read on LGBTQIA and comics, so any comic with gay leads then I want to read it.

New to me superhero.

Blue Beetle Vol. 1: The More Things Change (Rebirth) (Blue Beetle (Rebirth)) - Keith Giffen, Scott Kolins

New to me superhero in that I'd heard the name but not read any previous issues.

 

This is a new incarnation of The Blue Beetle, Jamie Reyes, teenager, and he has a scarab beetle-type tech welded to his back. Unfortunately, someone wants it back and it appears it can't be removed without killing him.

Fun in the way a teenage hero should be. Lots of worrying about skipping school to do superhero duty and hanging with friends that know your secret (it's barely a secret, the world and his wife seems to know). Lots of banter between school friends and with his mentor, former Blue Beetle, Ted Kord.


We get his origin in several panels almost at the end of the book rather than a whole issue at the beginning.


The artwork is bright and well drawn. 


Impressed, can't wait to get the next issue.
 

Catlett Cove sounds like a great place to live...

The Real Thing: A Catlett's Cove Novel, Book 4 - Grant C. Holland

Unfortunately this book had many similar problems to book 3 in the series. The really important events in the story were skipped and told to the reader rather than shown so that it was hard to feel any connection to the characters. At least in this story the characters were slightly more engaging, although the situation with Dex's grandfather was more than a little strange.

 

On a positive note, Catlett Cove sounds like a great place to live.

 

I think it's possibly time for me and this author to part ways.

Short and sweet read

Dragon Home (Supernatural Consultant) - Mell Eight

Another sweet addition to the series. This time it's Aqua's turn to find a friend. 
Jealous of his brother's relationship with Nixie, Aqua is sent on an adventure of his own. The only stipulation is to avoid Texas. Of course Aqua ends up in the desert...

Half hour read. Sweet with nothing more than a few hugs. Ash is an interesting character, almost an outcast from his group. And Aqua's protective instinct is a contrast to his spoilt nature at the beginning of the story. 

This is the first Lane Hayes book I've read. It won't be the last.

A Kind of Truth - Lane Hayes

This should have been a 5 star read but any romance that has me so worried it makes me feel physically sick can't get 5 stars. I had to put the book down at various points because I simply couldn't carry on reading. Once Leah was out of the picture my sickness disappeared and I was able to finish the last part of the book in one go. Even though the last part of the book made me cry. But tears I can handle, pushy, conniving groupies I obviously can't.

 

While certain aspects of the background story had me floundering to finish, it was the relationship that made me determined to make it through to the end.

Will is an adorable confusing mix of adorableness all wrapped up in glasses and freckles, glitter and sequins. Since the book is written solely in Rand's POV we never really know what's going on with Will until he chooses to tell us. Rand is all about his music, he wants fame but more because he knows it will get recognition for his music than for the fame itself. He's loud and brash, doesn't always think about how things he does and says impact on others. And then he meets Will. Don't get me wrong, he's still all those things but tempered in some way. As the story goes on Rand's priorities change, and so do Will's. The relationship in this story is fun, the banter and playfulness between Rand and Will feels real.

No need to read other books in the series

Dragon Adventure (Supernatural Consultant ) - Mell  Eight

This is #5.1 in the Supernatural Consultant series. However I haven't read any of the other books in the series and I didn't find that the story suffered any for a lack of knowledge.

 

This is a short, cute read. It took me less than half an hour to read. It's sweet, as befitting a tale where the MCs are both 15.

 

And really there is little more that can be said without giving the story away. 

 

 

Another worthy addition to the series

The Heart of the Lost Star - Megan Derr

Title

The Heart of the Lost Star

 

Series name/number

Tales of the High Court #3

 

Author

Megan Derr

 

Date started

07-Aug-17

 

Date finished

08-Aug-17

 

New to me author

No

           

Reason for review

Netgalley & Fave Author & Series Read

 

Genre

Fantasy & romance

 

Length

5 to 6 hrs reading time

 

Cover

I adore these covers. Excellent.

 

Tropes

Long distance relationship, long lost heir, pining

 

Heat level

Some scenes, more sensual than graphic

 

MC1

Jadar. Previously Deputy High Commander. Taken over as High Commander since Lesto hung up his sword. An Islander in all but birth. Loves pretty things. Family is important. Never sleeps with somebody more than once.

 

 

 

 

 

MC2

Kamir. Sweet but strong divorced father of two. Abused by his former husband & with a family that tries to control him into doing his bidding. Kamir is FTM transgender. Kamir has low self-esteem because the High Court and is parents treat him like damaged goods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relationship

Kamir has been in love with Jader for a long time but thinks he is below Jader's attention.  Jader isn't used to wanting the same lover more than once or twice. And just when it appears that maybe he wants more with Kamir, Jader is dragged off to another country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What worked

Megan Derr's world building is excellent and her characters are rich and diverse. All of the previous characters appear in various degrees in this story and it's great to catch up with them.

 

 

 

 

 

What didn't

The lovers are apart for about 50% of the book and only carry on their relationship through letters. This makes for some great pining.

 

 

 

Extra info

This is book 3 of the series and I highly recommend reading the other books first. They are excellent in their own right but also provide background information to the ongoing political climate and character relationships. There will be at least two more books in the series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

Excellent addition to the series. Jader's surprise as he falls in love is adorable. Kamir is strong despte the abuse he suffers and yet he learns that it is okay to accept help. And it is fun to catch up with all the other couples in the series so far. Well-written with some amusing scenes to temper the parts that made me mad and the ones that choked me up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Star rating

4.5

 

                 

 

Audio review

Crooked Tree Ranch: Montana, Book 1 - RJ Scott, Sean Crisden, Love Lane Books Limited

Crooked Tree Ranch is a low angst and sweet story. It's very much a simple tale of a 'city boy' and his family (sister, niece, nephew) moving from New York to Montana to take a job after he gets laid off. There he encounters many things that are new to him: Mountains, horses, and, of course, cowboys. 

 

Sean Crisden's smooth and sexy narration really brings the story to life. Definitely a comfort listen.

Too short for the tale it's trying to tell.

Unforgettable - Max Hudson

In order to do this storyline justice this book should have been at least twice as long.
As it stands there isn't enough connection between the MCs in either time period in the story to believe in them as a couple.
The characters weren't really engaging enough to hold my interest. And the writing was trying too hard and, imho, failing.
I'm afraid I can't recommend this. If you feel this story may be for you, read the sample.

I can't recommend this highly enough

Spectred Isle - KJ Charles

Excellent.


The world building of a London a hairs-breath removed from our own, in a time just after the First World War is unobtrusive and perfectly constructed. The plot is excellent (seriously, I had plot-envy).


Saul and Randolph are the perfect couple, men so broken that they aren't sure they can trust their judgement, or indeed are worthy of the others regard and affection.

 

There were moments of, not terror per se, but suspenseful chills that made me scared to breath for fear that something bad would happen if I dared.


And to counter that there were moments within the relationship that were an absolute delight where I found myself smiling at the book like an absolute loon.

 

I can't recommend this highly enough.

Cover promises much but the inside fails to deliver.

The Hellblazer Vol. 1: The Poison Truth (Rebirth) - Simon Oliver, Moritat

Collects issue 1 - 6

 

I've not read any Constantine before, so this is my introduction to the character.

 

        FYI. This is the correct cover.

 

Not exactly what I as hoping for. For the most part the story was boring. And just as it started to get more interesting it finished. The magic was pretty much non-existent or so low key as to raise little more than a meh from me. There seemed to be a lot of talking and not a lot of action. Swamp Thing shared a lot of the page time. The author had much to say on the political climate, being anti-Trump, anti-Brexit, and anti-Tory but I found it laid on with a trowel and it just served to make me roll my eyes and pull me out of the story.

 

John Constantine is a chain-smoking, hard-drinking foul-mouthed antihero. And yet all the swear words were censored (apart from one occasion when Swamp Thing referred to JC as a 'total wanker'). I didn't understand the need for this, it diluted the impact of everything else. This is not a child-friendly character, stick a 'parental guidance'  statement on it and let the parents do their job. 

 


Two different artists worked on this volume. The artist for issues 1-4 had a sketchy style with a darker tone and a more rugged, haggard JC. 

 

It probably suited the character better then the artist who pencilled 5 & 6. These had much cleaner lines and was more cartoony in nature. The colouring was brighter and JC seemed more clean cut.

 

 

With an unapologetic bisexual character I was hoping for something more diverse in my reading. Instead we get just one panel that implies his sexuality. And then it was a taunt by a racist, skinhead, bovver boy (cliche, anyone?) 

 

 

I'm hoping his bisexuality will get more positive treatment in future issues.


An okay read but nothing special. Overall a disappointing introduction to what should be a diverse and interesting character.

 

If you're looking for dark visuals and super-serious Batman then you're in the wrong place.

All Star Batman Vol. 1: My Own Worst Enemy (Rebirth) (Batman - All Star Batman (Rebirth)) - Scott Snyder, John Romita Jr.

If you're looking for dark visuals and super-serious Batman then you're in the wrong place. This is a massive road trip with Batman taking Two-face to find a 'cure' but thanks to Two-face's intervention everyone (villain, friends, and strangers) is trying to kill Batman and free Two-Face.
The artwork is okay but strange in places. But the colouring is great. Bright and inviting compared to other Batman comics I've read.

 

Batman: Night of the Monster Men (Rebirth)

Batman: Night of the Monster Men (Rebirth) - Tom King, Steve Orlando, Tim Seeley, James Tynion IV, Riley Rossmo

Apparently, this is the first crossover episode of the Rebirth branding and I’m afraid it’s kind of underwhelming. It’s not bad, it’s just… not great.


Collects Batman 7-8, Nightwing 5-6, & Detective Comics 941-942.


It might be called Batman: Night of the Monster Men but I’d be more inclined to rename it Team Batman vs a Japanese Monster Movie.


Following on from the recent Detective Comics storyline involving the death of Tim Drake (Really, who the hell would willingly put on the Robin costume? That’s 3 of 4. Either Batman is a really careless responsible adult or he’s a serial killer. Of course, it could be Dick, bumping off all others that replaced him in Bruce’s affection. Batman should never have slapped him. But I digress.) Batman is in ultra-protective mode. He has his team around him and is determined to save Gotham from a flood caused by a hurricane. Yes, people Batman is concerned with global warming. He couldn’t save Tim but he won’t lose another person, not even to a natural disaster. Of course, this rain splattered night is the very night that Dr Hugo Strange decides to attract Batman’s attention by unleashing a quartet of animal/reanimated human corpse hybrids on Gotham.


The Bat team consists of Batman, Batwoman, Nightwing, Orphan, Spoiler, and Clayface, with Gotham Girl (Tim Drake’s sister?) a chap called Duke (who suits up later on) and Albert all hanging in the Batcave. Batman keeps sending the other members of the team away to carry out more ‘safe’ parts of the job and they keep ignoring him.


The writing by Steve Orlando is okay (I prefer his Midnighter and Apollo stuff), but I don’t quite understand why they didn’t have a collaborative writing team of the writers who write the individual issues to write their particular characters. This would keep a consistent character voice. From what I’ve read after finishing the comic this storyline was one that was used in a Batman comic in the 90s, I don’t know how close this stuck to the original storyline.


As for the art, they at least kept the original artists for the individual runs. Unfortunately, this gave the overall look of this volume a patchwork vibe.


I didn’t like the artwork in the Batman issues, it was wishy-washy with almost a watercolour style yet without any of the colour you would expect from a that art style. It was a study in beige and grey, which did reflect the constant rain quite well, but gave the artwork an almost blurry quality. The figures were indistinct and poorly composed and I found myself squinting at the panels to try and make out the background.


By comparison I much preferred the art for the Nightwing issues. The artwork was much clearer and the characters more defined. It made for a much more enjoyable reading experience. And the art for the Detective comics issues hovered somewhere inbetween with some interesting panels and others not so much.


Overall the volume was okay. I didn’t clip and post and panels that I loved, or that made me laugh, or that were meta, which is an indication that I don’t love the story. I don’t regret reading it but I’m unlikely to read this again or recommend it to readers over other titles.

 

Titans still remains my favourite volume from the Rebirth series to date.

 

Heartbreaking in places

True Colors (True Love) - Anyta Sunday

When I started reading this book the whole set up with the pirate play sounded familiar. Checking the blurb I realised that I had read the previous book, True Luck, back when it had been called Bottle Boys. And even in my review back then I had wondered, what's the deal with Marco. Well, this is Marco's story and it is told purely from his pov. It also runs in tandem with the events in True Luck. 

Marco and Oskar had been best friends until something happened to tear them apart. What this thing is we the reader don't really know and we find out in fits and starts as the two friends turned enemies try to come to terms with Oskar's return to the neighbourhood.

 

The forgiveness Oskar seeks is a hard won battle and the romance is slow-burn, more so because Oskar is already in a relationship when he returns. The secondary characters have a lot of page time as their families still live next door to each other and Marco's family is Oskar's family and vice versa. 

 

Not only must they overcome what happened in the past, but Marco also needs to address his own body issues due to the scarring he received in an accident when he was a teenager. This also means we get a virgin MC, and the deliciousness that goes with this.

 

There were a number of missing/wrong word issues, but not enough to drag the reader from the story.

 

Overall this was a lovely, hard fought love story which managed to break my heart in places. 

The Experiment (Catlett's Cove #3)

 

Disappointing

 

I thought Jamie was selfish and self absorbed. He treated his boyfriend and his sister badly and didn't do enough to redeem himself in my eyes.

 

Aside from a unsympathetic MC I found the story didn't flow very well, important scenes were told rather than shown, their space given up to yet another sex scene. The beginning was very infodumpy. The author used some very strange word choices, for example, Jamie dances with a handsome man who is described as having a 'tall, slim, elongated body'. Yeah, sounds really attractive.


As far as the editing quality I would hazard that this never saw a proof reader. There are any number of punctuation errors. Extra full stops and question marks, missing commas, speech marks in the wrong place.


I was disappointed because I love small town stories with a strong supporting cast where I can get to read every bodies love stories in a connected series.


I'd recommend reading the sample before purchasing.

 

 

Hockey romance with little to no hockey

City Boy (Hot Off the Ice Book 1) - A. E. Wasp

Sweet and sexy with low angst. Bryce and Dakota are adorable together. And their friends and family are great. I'm hopping the next book is Robbie's.

Cover has nothing to do with the story

Bad Beginnings (Anchors) (Volume 1) - Nicole Field

The cover had nothing to do with the story that I could see, although it did make me hungry.

 

This is the second story in the Anchors' series. I haven't read the first story as it is M/F and not a genre I read.

 

This was a 2 to 3 hour read but I have to admit that it felt longer, I think this is because the story got bogged down in unnecessary parts of the story.

 

I enjoyed parts of the story more than others and I think the author missed an important focus of for story, and one that she had set up at the beginning of the story.

 

Pros:

Dante - come on, he owns a comic book shop, he needs a 'hobby' so decides to open a drop in place for trans/queer teens, he's respectful and considerate to his partners. What's not to like?

Did I mention the drop in centre for trans/queer teens?

The relationship between Dante and Kit. Very sweet. Respectful.

The relationship between Dante and Con (his brother, who is trans) and the support given between the two. 

The 'family' dynamic was perfect. 

 

Cons: 

Story got bogged down in too much information when it came to the law suit. I skimmed a lot of the law suit information. It had no bearing on the relationship and added nothing to the story.

The teen centre idea was introduced early on but wasn't given full rein until the end. I would have liked this to be a partial focus of the story rather than the law suit.

Not enough on-page relationship development. This links into my next point...

Time jumps. There were several annoying time jumps where you would expect important relationship developments to take place. In fact after one of the most important events there was then a 4 week time jump, which was disappointing.

 

Overall I enjoyed this story but it could have benefited from a deeper/stricter edit.