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.

The Locked Room - RayeAnn Carter

Interesting novella. At first I thought it was going to be more or less fade to black on the sex scenes, until the end. I don't know if this was a conscious decision on the author's part but it worked. The only scene we see in detail is the one where West has revealed the secret that he has been hiding, so we see and understand the importance of that one scene and of Klin's acceptance.

I think Klin's easy acceptance was helped by the way the first half of the book was written. The disjointed half scenes gave a great sense of stolen moments, and the broken up narrative showed the strength needed to stay together. And despite having spent more than a page or two on any scene, that start gave the relationship the solid foundation it needed to weather both West's secret and West meeting Klin's brothers.

I guessed West's secret long before the brothers broke into the locked room. Probably because I knew (hoped) it couldn't be either of the options the brothers put forward.

The brothers, twins Jack and Harry were hard work. Jack seemed sweet and accepting but he was easily led by Harry, who was smarter but manipulative. The way Jack was written implied to me that he had possible social or learning disabilities but this is purely my conjecture and wasn't written in the text. Both brothers certainly acted much younger than Klin, even though they weren't. Harry's manipulation seemed to stem from a desire to have both his brothers with him at all times and he was willing to wreak both their relationships (and anything else) to do this.

At 20,000 words this book was easy to read all in one sitting. It kept my attention throughout and was well worth an hour or so of my time.

Clueless and adorable

Leo Loves Aries - Anyta Sunday Leo Tops Aries - Anyta Sunday

Clueless and oblivious, Theo doesn't realise that the easy sarky banter he slipped into with his new roommate is actually flirting. After all he's never been attracted to a guy before.

This story was cute, light, and low-angst. The guys had perfect chemistry both in bed and out of it and a great banter between them. I loved the notes and texts, the horoscopes from Theo's mum and the 'quote of the day. 

The side characters were equally endearing: Theo's blind sister and Jamie's best friend, Sean, the gay couple, Ben and Kyle (and yes please to their story), and both mums. Didn't really like any of the exes, but I guess they served their purposes.

The follow up short story, catches up with the boys a month or so after the end of the first book. Still as sarky and bantering brilliant together but Theo has backed himself into a serious case of blue balls due to his competitive nature. Then a run in with Jamie's arsehole ex and a dance with the green-eyed monster makes Theo realise that he doesn't need to be best at everything, not when he's already won the most important thing.

Adorable.

 

Great book.

FREEBIE: "Morning My Angel" (Angel Enterprises, #1) by Sue Brown

Reblogged from ⚣ MM Does MM ⚣:
— feeling money

 

~ Currently FREE on Amazon. ~

Frostbite - Alexandria Bellefleur

Adorable fairy tale. 

 

The cover is gorgeous and very striking.

Endearing MCs, even the 'dragon' who was gruff at first.

An interesting take on a fairy tale with all the aspects you'd expect of the genre, including a damaged hero, a virginal hero, a tragic backstory, an evil witch, and a sacrifice. 

 

There were occasions when there were time jumps of moments that I would have loved to read.

 

Overall this was a glorious, short, sweet read with a lovely HEA.

 

Slow Burn

Conflict Management - Rachel White

Pros: 

  • I liked Law once we started to get his POV. He wasn't perfect but he did try to do his best by people.
  • I liked the crime part of the story and would have liked more to be made of this.
  • Christian. Law's brother was unapologetically rude and not just because of his illness.
  • The slow burn
  • Not everything was resolved at the end.

 

Cons: 

  • The slow burn was exceptionally slow which isn't a problem, but Morgan couldn't make his mind up. I'm surprised he didn't give himself whiplash.
  • I'd have liked for them to work on the 'crime' issue together
  • Anita. Bro this, bro that. It got old really quickly.
  • I don't understand [spoiler]why Law got fired for whistleblowing. I'm sure there is protection in place for employees. [/spoiler]
  • Things were repeated, a lot. I'd have liked these to be streamlined for a tighter storyline.

 

Ultimately a story about two insecure men with poor dating history, one who knows what he wants but doesn't think he can have it, and the other unable to decide what/who he wants.

 

I'd be interested to read a story about Christian finding his special someone. He was an interesting secondary character.

The Flintstones (2016-) Vol. 1 - Mark Russell, Steve Pugh

Well, that wasn't what I was expecting. Rather than a funny look at stone age life a la the cartoon I remember as a child, I was faced with an interesting commentary on social issues.

PTSD in soldiers

Treatment of immigrant labour

Consumerism

(Gay) Marriage - Kudos for Fred standing up for the 'non-breeders' right to marry.

Government manipulating troops into attacking innocent tribes just to get their land.

Bullying politicians

 

It was darker than I thought it would be. I was grinning as I started, because Fred had to show a group of Neanderthals a night on the town and one of them had such joy at being in Bedrock. Everything was new and exciting to him and you could see the joy on his face as he skipped over to buy a balloon from a stand on the street and won himself a hat from a grabber machine. And then they killed him off on a whim from Fred's boss and the whole tone of the comic changed for me.

The artwork was bright and bold but the story was far from this and the humour was dark.

 

 

 

 

The Return of the Earl - Sandra Schwab

 

Well, this was a pleasant surprise. I'd not heard of this author before requesting this book from Netgalley. And when I did some research I found that most of her titles were m/f romance. This is only her second gay romance title. As soon as I finished this book, I purchased her first gay romance title. 

 

Pros:

  • An easy read. I read it all in one sitting. 
  • I'm not a history buff of that era but it felt authentic. 
  • Bryn, He was adorable. And he never gave up.
  • The slow burn of their reacquaintance.
  • HEA 
  • Lovely epilogue

 

Cons:

  • Con. Whiney. Entitled. I understood the reason, but he was an arse for too long. Especially when it was clear to even the most obtuse that his 'staff' were really pleased to have him back.
  • The cover. Hideous. 
  • Bryn had two different coloured eyes. Yes. I got that the first 10 times you told me!
  • Did I mention the cover?
  • I'd have liked Bryn's pov.

 

There were a couple of errors in the first 15% of the book. A spin when it should have been spine. And Con referring to himself when I think he meant Ross. But I didn't notice any errors after this.

 

Occasionally things were mentioned that had already been covered and this seemed unintentionally repetitive e.g. the fencing master story. 

 

I got the impression at the beginning of the story that Ross was also gay. Con mentioned that Ross had been destined for the church but that wouldn't suit his inclinations. But after that at no point did Con confide in Ross or did Ross imply he knew the situation between Con and Bryn, so I assume I misunderstood the author's intentions.

 

All in all an enjoyable read. 

 

The Return of the Earl - Sandra Schwab

Well, this was a pleasant surprise. I'd not heard of this author before requesting this book from Netgalley. And when I did some research I found that most of her titles were m/f romance. This is only her second gay romance title. As soon as I finished this book, I purchased her first gay romance title. 

 

Pros:

  • An easy read. I read it all in one sitting. 
  • I'm not a history buff of that era but it felt authentic. 
  • Bryn, He was adorable. And he never gave up.
  • The slow burn of their reacquaintance.
  • HEA 
  • Lovely epilogue

 

Cons:

  • Con. Whiney. Entitled. I understood the reason, but he was an arse for too long. Especially when it was clear to even the most obtuse that his 'staff' were really pleased to have him back.
  • The cover. Hideous. 
  • Bryn had two different coloured eyes. Yes. I got that the first 10 times you told me!
  • Did I mention the cover?
  • I'd have liked Bryn's pov.

 

There were a couple of errors in the first 15% of the book. A spin when it should have been spine. And Con referring to himself when I think he meant Ross. But I didn't notice any errors after this.

 

Occasionally things were mentioned that had already been covered and this seemed unintentionally repetitive e.g. the fencing master story. 

 

I got the impression at the beginning of the story that Ross was also gay. Con mentioned that Ross had been destined for the church but that wouldn't suit his inclinations. But after that at no point did Con confide in Ross or did Ross imply he knew the situation between Con and Bryn, so I assume I misunderstood the author's intentions.

 

All in all an enjoyable read. 

 

Painting the Cowboy: A friends-to-lovers romance - Riley Knight

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I'm afraid I had too many issues to rate it higher than a 2.
I love a damaged cowboy story which is why I jumped straight on this. I also love a book that focuses on the development of a relationship and that is what this book should have been. The relationship is the focus but we are shown very little development. Events that happen to the characters develop the relationship but in this book nothing really happens, the relationship almost exists in a vacuum. The only thing that propelled the relationship forward was intense extended periods of navel gazing, but nothing happened to cause them.
There were other issues that I had problems with that a good beta reader/editor should have picked up on.
Excessive use of 'the older/younger man'. That is bad enough in itself but at no point did the author tell us how old either man was or the age difference between them.
Karl's constant over protectiveness towards his 5 yr old son. Yet at one point he sent him out on his own 'to play in the front yard' (of a ranch?) and when they went camping the 5 yr old had his own tent while the two guys slept together in another tent. No. Just wouldn't happen. And every night the men 'messed about' in the tent.
On the subject of the son, he sounded like no 5 year old I've ever had the pleasure to meet.
Oh, and then a decision was made about not using condoms without any consultation with the other party. And don't even get me started on the use of the word 'clean'.

 

I really wanted to enjoy this book but unfortunately it simply had too many problems for me.

Crazier than a box of frogs

Harley Quinn, Volume 1: Die Laughing - Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti

I had mixed feelings about this.
Pros:
HQ and Poison Ivy. Although Harley and her merry crew made Ivy seem sane.
The Artwork. Excellent.
Red Tool. By far my favourite character. Come on. He's a parody of Deadpool, who is already a ripoff of Deathstroke. It's perfect. He needs his own comic!
Cons: The stories get a bit confused and random in places. Maybe this intentional to reflect Harley's mind. It just came across as messy to me.
How is Harley in two places at once? Coney Island in this and locked up with the Suicide Squad in the other comic.

 

Not my favourite title but not awful either.

Integrity (Men of Virtue Book 1) - Cait Forester

Matt is weak and Jackson is manipulative. 

Started skimming at the halfway point.

 

I liked Trevor, the man-whoring best friend, though.

 

There are grammar/spelling issues that I could have let slide in a more engaging story.

Lone Ranger / Green Hornet: Champions of Justice - Michael Uslan

First off, I didn't realise that The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet were related. Turns out they are.
When I picked up this title I was imagining some sort of time travel storyline. I didn't expect the Lone Ranger to be an old man. However there was enough flashbacks to get a sense of him in his prime.
I enjoyed the artwork and the action sequences. The storyline while simplistic seemed to reflect a lot of what is happening in politics today. In fact TLR makes a comment about 'jews, people of colour and homosexuals being persecuted', and while I agree with the sentiment it it's unlikely to be something that would have been said in 1936/7, what with homosexuality being against the law. (Had there been an indication of a more intimate relationship between one of the partnerships I'd have even let this slide)  Apart from this slip the history seemed to be pretty much on the money.
Where the story fell down for me is that it seems to get bogged down under its own backstory and on occasion took itself too seriously.
Overall an interesting title.

Honeymoon Hoax - Devyn Morgan

Suspension of disbelief is required before you start reading this.

Coincidences abound in this piece of feel-good fluff.

Acceptance of the story is helped by the length. 

But in the end it's a cute filler story with a previous undiscovered bisexual MC.

 

#bisexuals are not unicorns

#best friends to lovers

#fake marriage

#gay virgin 

 

 

Death Goes Overboard

Death Goes Overboard - David S. Pederson

Well worth a read. I hadn't read the first in the series. This didn't affect my enjoyment at all.
Pros: Good sense of period.
Interesting sparse style which fitted the story and the noir style.
Cons: I figured out what had happened at the half way marker, about 40% before the narrator. For a crack detective he wasn't so hot.
The will he/won't he marry a woman to divert attention made up a big part of Heath's thoughts for the first part of the book, but it then seemed to just get dropped.
Heath and Alan have a lot of their 'private' conversations in public places. And Heath cries when Riker is shot. No wonder people speculate about his predilections.
There was little to no passion between Heath and Alan (in fact the only scene where Heath seems tempted is with Riker). I had trouble believing in their relationship. Just one scene behind closed doors could have changed that.
All in all I enjoyed this as a historical mystery with gay characters. I wasnt sold on the romance though.
I am interested enough to buy the first book.

 

Book provided by Netgalley for an honest review.

Deathstroke Rebirth Volume 1 The Professional

Deathstroke Vol. 1: The Professional (Rebirth) - Christopher Priest, Carlo Pagulayan

2 stars. And it's all for the artwork.

 

I can't tell you how much I was looking forward to this title. And that makes the resulting mess all the more hard to stomach. It's my own fault really, I should have paid closer attention to the name on the front cover. Not the artist; Carlo Pagulayan's art is the sort I like. Clear and concise. Reader friendly with plenty to look at but not so busy that things get lost in the detail. Some really great panels.

No, my issue was with the writer, Christopher Priest, and he's a writer I've had issues with before. I dnf'd his collection of Black Panther stories for being incomprehensible, boring, and written from a random pov.

In Deathstroke I found myself at a total loss. The story, such as it is, jumps about in timeframe with no indication where the reader is in the timeline. There is no attempt to explain to the reader who any of the characters are or their connection to Slade Wilson. For a first book in a new line I would expect some attempt to fill in backstory for the new readers in manner that doesn't have them scrabbling for wiki at the first opportunity. (I held out until the appearance of Wintergreen, and then found myself reaching for my phone.) There is no attempt to explain who Deathstroke is, what happened to Slade to make him become DS, what his enhancements are, where they came from, who any of the side characters are. With no prior knowledge of DS and his origins, the reader is completely lost in this comic.

For a character with no moral compass to work the reader needs to have some empathy for them. With little to no explanation for his actions, and such a fractured telling of his backstory it is impossible to have any empathy or understanding for Slade.

Also, almost every character in the story seems to have their own agenda so you literally have no reliable narrator to hang the 'story' on.

 

For something I'd been so looking forward to, I finished this book frustrated as hell.

 

 

While Christopher Priest continues to write this line I think I'd be better served going back in time and checking out some of the earlier Deathstroke titles.  

 

(Series review) Treading the Boards by Rebecca Cohen

Overly Dramatic (Treading the Boards) - Rebecca Cohen Summer Season (Treading the Boards) - Rebecca Cohen He's Behind You - Rebecca Cohen

Overly Dramatic #1 – 3*

Summer Season #2 – 4*

He’s Behind You #3 – 4*

 

A series based around an amateur dramatics group based in Greenwich, London called the Sarky Players. These books are low on angst, with amusing stories about life in an Am Dram group.

 

The first book, Overly Dramatic, is told solely from Andy’s POV. He’s recently moved to London after leaving his cheating boyfriend and to fill in his time he decides to join the Sarky Players where he gets cast as a vicar in a bawdy farce where he plays opposite a paper maiche goat. Sounds ridiculous? That’s kind of the point. At any given time in the UK you can find an ‘Oops. Where’s My Trousers? Oh Er, Vicar.’ style play being staged somewhere.

 

There is a large cast of side characters in this story and with only Andy’s POV it is unclear at first who the love interest will be, as he meets both Ryan (actor) and Phil (props man) through the Players. In the end, it is Phil who catches his eye but this is also the area where the story falls down for me. With so much going on the romance gets left behind. Andy and Phil don’t get enough on page time together for me to really believe in their romance (and I wanted to so badly). Because of the low-key romance this is probably the least favourite of trio for me but it does give a solid background to the theatre group and introduces us to the lead for the second story: Summer Season.

 

Summer Season focuses on the flirty Ryan from the previous story. The Sarky Players have taken to the road and headed for Cornwall to perform Shakespeare for a couple of weeks at a coastal theatre. There Ryan meets Stuart, a local recently back in the village while he looks for a job. They get off on the wrong footing but soon put that to rights and embark on a summer fling. Turns out Ryan isn’t quite the slut that his friends think he is. In this book, we get both MCs POV and a much more romance focused storyline, and because of that I enjoyed both the couple and their story much more than the first.

 

The final book in the series takes up pretty much where the second finishes (in fact, the three cover the space of a year) with Stuart dragging his new work colleague, Craig, to the Sarky Players as they get ready to cast their Christmas panto. (This is not a spoiler. The clue is in the title. Oh, no, it’s not!)

Craig is a nerd, heavily into Warhammer, and resigned to his belief that everybody leaves. So, when he gets together with Jason, who is older than him and has only just started exploring his sexuality, Craig is already prepared for the relationship to end before it properly begins. This, more than the age gap and the difference in their hobbies, is what puts a strain on their relationship. In this one I’d have liked to see more of the theatre side of things, however, it was good to see Stuart and Ryan playing matchmaker and Phil providing an ear for Craig’s worries.

 

Overall this series was a fun, light read with little to no angst, aside from some internal insecurities brought on by past events/previous relationships, with humour that is distinctively British in feel.