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.

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.

 

 

A-freaking-dorable

Puss in Prada - Marie Jacquelyn

< 1 hour read.

 

This story is funny, cute and adorable but still managed to have me on the verge of tears for much of the second half. 

It's a fairy story/morality tale. A fable of second chances and learning to give rather than take. 

The narrator, Alex, has been turned into a talking cat (a la Puss in Boots) by a witch, and he's got no one to take him in apart from his ex-boyfriend, who, as it turns out, he's still very much in love with. 

Ethan, the ex, is an adorable, oblivious baker, who everyone thinks has named his cat after his ex. Weird. 

Oh, and Alex wears clothes, which he buys himself.

 

Well written, amusing and slightly melancholy at the same time.

 

I did wonder why Alex had taught himself to type with his paws (he's an author). Why not just install a speech to text program. 

More substance than I expected.

All For Show: A Fake Boyfriend Gay Romance - Rachel Kane

This is sold as a romantic comedy but I have to disagree. I was expecting light and fluffy and did get amusing one liners, however the story looked at more serious issues of poor self esteem, depression, and manipulative relationships.


I have to confess that by 40% I was wondering if I would be able to finish, the MC's both had rambling internal musings that were distracting me from the flow of the story, and I found little to no chemistry between the MCs. But like I say there were some excellent one liners that pulled me along and I really liked Owen. Then at some point before 65% I found myself rooting for the MCs, and determined to ensure I saw their HEA.
On a side note, I'd have liked more dialogue tags, especially with alternate 1st person pov.

 

Well written with more substance than I expected.

Chat Line - Clare London

Sweet, sexy, and so satisfying. A short read that will leave you smiling.

Sweet romance

Afternoon Americano (Coffee Boys Book 3) - Becca Brant

1st person pov for both main characters.

This story is about Vincent, an author of gay romance who claims he is straight. Until he gets set up on a blind date with Skye, who he assumes will be female. I don't think I'm giving much away by say Skye's not.

 

The author insights were amusing, as were Skye and Vincent's attempts to set up their friend, Landon. Vincent's constant questioning of his new 'bi' status started to grate after a while, but luckily there was enough other things happening to detract from that.

 

I much preferred Skye to Vincent, he was sweet and patient.

 

Technically there were a few mixed up words in the first third but mostly it was well written and edited.

 

Overall, a sweet, low angst romance with the added enjoyment of one MC being an author.

 

 

 

LGBT Book Challenge 2017 ~ Day 21

Reblogged from ⚣ MM Does MM ⚣:

 

 

Day 21 - A summer/winter read (to account for both hemispheres):

 

~ Theory Unproven ~

by Lillian Francis

 

 

Read: August 9th, 2015 - August 20th, 2015

The Backstagers #1 - James Tynion IV, Rian Sygh

I was given a copy of this on Netgalley. Unfortunately, I thought I was getting the entire Vol 1 but it was just the first issue as a sample. This doesn't really make it easy to review or recommend the graphic novel which is out in August. What I would say is this issue was wacky, amusing, well drawn, with an interesting mix of characters. 

Jordy is a new boy at school and, needing to find an after school club, he joins the drama club. But what he finds is a magical area behind the stage,  a group of lads who might possibly become his friends, and a place to belong.

I'd certainly consider buying the graphic novel when it comes out.

Highly recommended

An Unnatural Vice (Sins of the Cities) - KJ Charles

It’s possible that this is my favourite KJ Charles book to date.

 

This is the second book in the Sins of the Cities series and I would say this can’t be read as a standalone. The relationship is a new one, but the storyline is connected to the previous book, and also continues into the third and final book.

 

This is the tale of Nathaniel, the journalist and friend of Clem that we first meet in An Unseen Attraction, and Justin Lazarus, a shameless shyster and medium. It hard to discuss the storyline without giving away the plot of the previous book, because they are run on from each other. In fact, this one starts just before the end of Clem and Rowley’s story.

 

This book has one of my favourite tropes, enemies to lovers and it gives us an excellent example of an unexpected (and initially unwanted) attraction and the perfect opportunity for some quite glorious hate sex, and some wonderfully biting banter. It also has another of my favourite themes and that is flawed characters. Nathaniel is drowning in grief for a lover he lost five years previously, while Justin is a product of society, dragged up from the gutter by whatever means necessary and determined not to return.

 

This book is funny and exciting and the romance builds quite beautifully. At 67% the chaps go for a walk in the woods together and I got quite choked up, without even the London fog to blame.

 

I love that Nathaniel could adore Justin but still despise his job, yet for all that he didn’t attempt to take it from him. I love that Justin is unapologetic in what he does and how he cares for those he feels responsible for.

 

 

And the discovery of the Earl? Well, I can honestly say that I didn’t see that coming. But that really is more Mark’s tale and I for one can’t wait to read it.

 

A good story but lacking in romance

Pete and the Werewolf - Cassandra Pierce

I liked the story and the world-building but unfortunately the romance was underdeveloped. Time jumps in the relationship and not even fade to black romance meant that it was hard to feel any chemistry between the leads. I'd have liked several more chapters to fill in the blanks and give us just a modicum of heat.

The Last Light of Day: A Gay Gothic Romance

The Last Light of Day: A Gay Gothic Romance - Rachel Kane

This is a 'new to me' author. It appears they have released 10 books since Dec 2016 which always makes me wonder if it is another writing collective. Anyway, regardless I'm here to review this book not the entire back catalogue. 

 

The cover of this book is deceiving, I thought this was an historical. Then when I first started reading I did wonder if maybe it was a paranormal and Cornell had actually gone back in time. What it is really is a contemporary about a family stuck in the past and clinging to its former glory by its finger tips. For some its about the money, for others it about the prestige and legacy. For our MC, Hayes, it's about protecting the land.

 

As the subtitle (which is a self-publishing marketing technique that I hate btw) tells us, this is styled on gothic novels of old and brings it up to date. The tone of it is moody, atmospheric, and creepy.

 

I liked that we got most of the story (in 1st person) from Cornell's pov, the outsider pulled by circumstances into the strange atmosphere of the house. However every so often we get a 1st person pov from Hayes, the broody son and heir of the house. These chapters are important in our sympathy for Hayes' situation, without them some readers may find Hayes a difficult character to like. 

 

There is a degree of suspension of disbelief required, the whole family seems stuck in another century with no internet/mobile phones etc.

 

I really enjoyed this book. It was fascinating watching the family reach breaking point as Hayes 30th birthday approached and terms of a will needed fulfilling. And honestly those chapters in Hayes pov quite often broke my heart, this man trapped in his upbringing, and tied up in his desire to protect his property, and fighting his true desires.

Cyborg Vol 1

Cyborg Vol. 1: The Imitation Of Life (Rebirth) (Cyborg (Rebirth)) - John Semper, Will Conrad, Paul Pelletier

Disappointing. We get a recap in memories of Cyborg's origin story. Then Cyborg discovering that his father is worried whether he saved his son or has simply created a machine with no humanity. This thread is quite an interesting idea, but I don't think it was fully explored before it was buried under the story of the machines that want Cyborg to denounce his humanity and join them. There are several story threads here that aren't finished in this collection, in fact nothing is really resolved, which is a disappointment. I like to have some part of the story arc resolved even if we are left on a cliffhanger on another part.

 

Artwork: This started off well (although Vic looked older than 21 to me). A different style to the type that I really like but it seemed to suit the story and characters. Then the artist changed and in the last two issues (especially the second half of the final issue) the artwork got much more carton-like and didn't even try to emulate the style in the first four issues.

 

Will I pick up the next collection? yes, probably, but only because I want to know what happens. 

City of Dreams

City of Dreams - Sydney Blackburn

I was really enjoying watching the arrogant Bastian fall in love despite himself. Then the sorceress got involved and I felt like we all got manipulated. I wanted the guys to work it out for themselves, not due to a spell that promised deception. This was a HEA but in the end I was left strangely dissatisfied.

 

I also had a couple of lesser issues that I could have lived with if the ending had been stronger for me:

  • some editing issues; extra/missing words, an occasional word order that didn't seem right. 
  • the world-building could have been stronger.
  • an issue with magic and art not mixing that made a mockery of the resolution. Would either artist blessed with 'the eye' risk losing it by using a magical item? Neither even considers it as a possible side effect, and neither does the author. 

 

Overall this story had the ability to be more than it was. The writing was fine, it was the resolution that bothered me.