Well-written, but increasingly problematic as it goes along. The main issue is: if you make Cinderella a dude, all the female characters you're left wWell-written, but increasingly problematic as it goes along. The main issue is: if you make Cinderella a dude, all the female characters you're left with are extremely unpleasant. No one gets their eyes pecked out by birds in this, but it's still not pretty. Also the ending is extremely rushed and suddenly (even more) unrealistic.
I really liked the fairytale quality of the first third, though....more
I enjoyed this a lot more than How to Howl at the Moon. I saw some other reviewers complain that it's weighHahaha guess who read another one of these?
I enjoyed this a lot more than How to Howl at the Moon. I saw some other reviewers complain that it's weighted much more toward plot than sexy stuff -- really, like 90/10 -- but that's exactly what I enjoyed about it. The wacky world of Mad Creek starts to feel like a real place in this book; a totally decent CW or MTV show could be set there. (It makes much more sense as a community than Beacon Hills tbh.)
Also, Roman is just a deeply endearing character. And this book is funny! And love interest Matt reacted a lot more normally to the whole "my boyfriend's a dog sometimes" revelation. Phew.
However, dear lord: Berkeley, the university in Northern California, is spelled B-E-R-K-E-L-E-Y. Nothing quite makes me feel like I'm reading a bad fanfic than seeing it spelled "Berkley."
This book is better than a bad fanfic. This book is like a good fanfic! (Seriously: a high compliment.) Get a better beta....more
True crackfic in book form. (In fact, I'm sure Teen Wolf fandom has gone there -- there's got to be a fic where Derek pretends to be Stiles' dog, righTrue crackfic in book form. (In fact, I'm sure Teen Wolf fandom has gone there -- there's got to be a fic where Derek pretends to be Stiles' dog, right?)
I really enjoyed how whackadoodle this was. The early chapters where Sheriff Lance is pretending to be Tim's dog Chance were hilariously awkward, sweet, and occasionally even psychologically interesting. (Uptight Lance enjoyed letting go and letting Tim take care of him!) Unfortunately, I had the exact opposite problem with this book than I had with Crossroads, the last romance I read: here, the plot was super engaging and fun, but the sex was awful. Borderline cringe-worthy. It did not help that when Tim finally finds out that his boyfriend and his dog are the same being, he's like, eh. No biggie. And then they immediately have more poorly described sexytimes.
Er. I am all for the cracky plot, really...but I needed more of a pause there. Considerably more....more
This is a story about MEN. Manly men who CUSS and drink BEER and fix MOTORCYCLES! Manly manly manly MEN!
This poor author tried so hard to butch up herThis is a story about MEN. Manly men who CUSS and drink BEER and fix MOTORCYCLES! Manly manly manly MEN!
This poor author tried so hard to butch up her heroes: STRAIGHT MEN who have never LUSTED after ANOTHER M-- oh wait! Alas, it was deeply unconvincing. Partly this was because the dialogue was terrible: no human beings have ever spoken like this, ever. It also didn't help that the book was just so much tell and so little show, meaning that we never saw the supposed connection building between these guys. The pacing was not good, and there were way too many scenes of one of the guys thinking very pedestrian thoughts that seemed almost like to-do lists: I have to shower and then go to work and then have suppressed lust for my male neighbor and then call mom! Henry James it ain't.
So why even two stars? The sex was hot. Until the sudden obsession with just how gosh-darn big one of the guys' cock was, it was even very hot.
Also, this was nowhere near as bad as the last two m/m romances I read. My, how swiftly my standards have fallen!...more
This is a friends-to-lovers/marriage of convenience story -- with bonus kidfic! -- which should be a blast, but instead the toneGod, this was boring.
This is a friends-to-lovers/marriage of convenience story -- with bonus kidfic! -- which should be a blast, but instead the tone was what could best be described as mopey. With something tropetastic like this, I usually find that the author's best bet is to embrace the silliness and have fun with it; there was nothing fun about Devoted at all. The reasoning behind everything was half-assed, the endless drippy angst was 99% caused by no one talking to each other, the sex seemed perfunctory, and friends-to-lovers doesn't work if the characters never feel like friends in the first place.
But most of all this just. wasn't. fun. So what's the damn point?...more
This was utterly bizarre. I was eager for the "law enforcement partners who are secretly in love with each other" plot, but at best this read like a sThis was utterly bizarre. I was eager for the "law enforcement partners who are secretly in love with each other" plot, but at best this read like a super OOC Due South fic. (It's set in Chicago; one of the main characters even has a giant wolf-dog!) Speaking of fanfic, this also reminded me of a terrible WIP, by which I mean it felt like it had been written serially, with little planning connecting the chapters. Miro and Ian, our U.S. Marshal protagonists, spend every other chapter getting shot at by some maniac; these "action" scenes would in no way relate back to their burgeoning relationship or do anything for character development. When the characters finally came together (pun intended?) it was without any real buildup and with disappointingly little heat.
This book also reminded me of a certain type of bad fanfic in that everyone was gay. The doctor who treats Miro's bullet wounds is gay. The small-town sheriff from a case is gay. A serial killer Miro put in jail is gay-for-him. (A plot point that is never returned to.) The witnesses Miro and Ian are protecting from the mob are gay. (Miro gives them sex advice -- and his personal supply of lube: ew!) Even Miro and Ian's boss is gay and Miro is shocked! shocked! Me? I was bored, bored. Everyone is super cool with Miro and Ian screwing each other, even though they're partners and fraternization is...all right as long as you bring enough lube for everyone, I guess?
There was no tension, the kink (mild BDSM) was confusingly written and ill-explored, and I couldn't recognize whatever bizarro world this was set in. Due South's magical realism Chicago made far more sense....more
I'm at a weird place with this romance series where I care far less about the relationship than I do the plot.
Will David and Isaac stay together? Don'I'm at a weird place with this romance series where I care far less about the relationship than I do the plot.
Will David and Isaac stay together? Don't care. Will they reconcile with their families and find emotional stability? I must read more!
This is the middle book in the trilogy and kind of a downer -- there's the expected spiral into bad communication and *gasp* drinking your feelings. I'm hoping the third and final volume will be more dynamic....more
Lots and lots of sexy repression! Andrews obviously did her research; the Amish setting feels authentic. Too bad one half of this pairing feels like aLots and lots of sexy repression! Andrews obviously did her research; the Amish setting feels authentic. Too bad one half of this pairing feels like a bit of a cypher -- it might have helped if, as in Beyond the Sea, the POV had alternated between both guys. The ending is also rushed and seemed too easy. Nevertheless, I will definitely be checking out the sequel....more
An excellent slow-build romance, balancing the ridiculous (boy band member and hot older pilot stranded on a desert island!) aWell, this hit the spot!
An excellent slow-build romance, balancing the ridiculous (boy band member and hot older pilot stranded on a desert island!) and the serious (survival! past trauma!) smoothly and enjoyably. Fanfic-quality smut (honestly: this is the highest compliment I could give) with lots of hot dirty talk. The ending was slightly cheesy, but the book was so much fun I read it in practically one sitting. I will definitely be trying Andrews' other work.
I've seen some people complain about the "Gay For You" trope, which I completely understand -- it can be super problematic and squicky. Fortunately, I think this book is much more in the realm of I Didn't Know I Was Bi! Which is a TV show I would absolutely watch....more
I read this on my phone over a ridiculously long period, pretty much any time I had to wait in line anywhere or my friends were in the bathroom. So itI read this on my phone over a ridiculously long period, pretty much any time I had to wait in line anywhere or my friends were in the bathroom. So it's to the book's credit that I never lost track of the story or the characters. This is a tropey, feel-good gay romance, featuring first times, almost fake dating, and a twist on the Canadian shack. (American RV?) It was a little sappy for my tastes, but I liked that Noah and Adrian had real issues to work through -- and I especially liked how they were handled on Noah-the-closeted-repressed-professor's side. Additionally, Pixel is an extremely cute name for a small dog.
But I must admit that I almost put the book down forever when, in like chapter two, a supposed Angeleno describes Santa Monica as "right outside Los Angeles." NO....more
This is a really nicely written coming-of-age story, but oh man: I hate, hate, hate the art style. I realize this is completely a matter of personal tThis is a really nicely written coming-of-age story, but oh man: I hate, hate, hate the art style. I realize this is completely a matter of personal taste, but it looks to me like something you would find a 12-year-old posting on DeviantArt. To me it was distracting in its badness.
The same text, illustrated by a different artist, would have been much more powerful and affecting for me....more
Wrenchingly honest in a way I only wish I could be. I found this collection extremely relatable (her anorexia was exactly like my anorexia! we feel guWrenchingly honest in a way I only wish I could be. I found this collection extremely relatable (her anorexia was exactly like my anorexia! we feel guilt and shame about so many of the same things!) and that's always an incredibly comforting thing to discover: you are not alone. ...more
Judging by this book, the average young boy can, before the age of 15, look forward to being approached for sex by:
*A 12-year-old "straight" baby jockJudging by this book, the average young boy can, before the age of 15, look forward to being approached for sex by:
*A 12-year-old "straight" baby jock who's really into anal *Not one, but two separate camp counselors *A "special" student who wanders around with a constant erection, which everyone just accepts, like, "Oh hey, it's whatshisname with his perma-boner" *A teacher and his wife looking for a three-way *A totally different teacher *A female black prostitute *A guy in a park who's actually just trying to con you out of $200
I think I'm forgetting someone, but hey, you can always fill your downtime with sexual fantasies about your own father!
Look, I get that my experience does not in any way equal the universal experience, least of all that of a young gay man from half a century ago. Still, the sexual content of this book is so over the top that I started to feel like, instead of one of the Classics of Gay Literature, I had accidentally acquired an A/B/O fic* in book form.
A Boy's Own Story is supposed to be an autobiographical novel, but it has very little narrative: mostly it's a series of incidents, loosely tied together. (The novel's notes reveal that several of the chapters were originally written and published separately, and it shows.) This format only serves to make the narrator's adventures seem more crazed and unlikely -- you reach a point in almost every chapter where you start to distantly hear the bow-chicka-bow-wow music playing. ("Dear Playgirl, all I did was order a pizza, but you'll never believe what happened!")
All that said: White can be a beautiful and descriptive writer. I read this because I loved The Flaneur: A Stroll through the Paradoxes of Paris, a work of nonfiction about wandering around Paris and the history of several marginalized groups there. There are flashes of what made me respond to that book in A Boy's Own Story -- descriptions of the hotel the narrator lives in with his mother and sister, of summer at his father's lake house, of a woman who runs a bookstore. These passages are filled with brilliant, vivid observation. I will definitely be seeking out more of White's nonfiction work.
But I eyerolled throughout all of this novel's sexual shenanigans. I must be getting old.
(Elderly and cantankerous as I am, I have one last bone to pick, although not with White. Staring out at me from the front of my edition was this blurb from the Chicago Sun-Times: "The best American narrative of sexual awakening since The Catcher in the Rye." Um. Did you readThe Catcher in the Rye, anonymous Chicago Sun-Times critic from 1982? Or did you just catch the A/B/O AU on AO3? Just checking.)
*If you don't know what this is, bask in your innocence...more