Without Sin is a young adult gay romance by J. M. Snyder writing as J. Thomas. It's a short, fast paced novel that covers the tumultuous first semesteWithout Sin is a young adult gay romance by J. M. Snyder writing as J. Thomas. It's a short, fast paced novel that covers the tumultuous first semester at an all boys boarding school.
Jacob is a tough kid who's been through a number of schools for his fighting. The best way to describe him is a young, hot headed and naive "Squash" Bernstein. As Squash explains in Victor Victoria: "...if you didn't want the guys to call you queer, you became a rough tough sonofabitchin' football player." Avery, the boy of his dreams, is older, more discrete and more in control of his emotions. Somehow in the confines of the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Boarding School for Boys, these two will become a couple.
The novel is written in the present tense, first from Jacob's point of view and later from Avery's. As this is a romance and one with teens, the focus is almost exclusively on lust, angst and foreplay. Eventually there is sex but it's presented responsibly with thoughts of consequences. What is missing as the review on Rainbow Reviews points out is character development. Jacob and Avery's relationship is really one of convenience and while both profess their deeper commitment to each other and to their parents, there's not enough substance to back them up....more
Haven Stones: The Last Unicorn by Richard Carbajal is a YA fantasy set in a magical version of Las Vegas Nevada. Gilbert Foster, the young protagonistHaven Stones: The Last Unicorn by Richard Carbajal is a YA fantasy set in a magical version of Las Vegas Nevada. Gilbert Foster, the young protagonist is running for his life. His parents are missing and his sister has been murdered. He doesn't know why and he doesn't know who he can trust.
Fate, magic and perhaps good luck brings Gilbert to Dumpster who shows the boy into the magical world that resides in parallel with the normal world. He is like Door in Neverwhere who shows Richard Mayhew London Below.
In fact much of Haven Stones feels like Neverwhere but set in the desert heat of Las Vegas if it were mixed with The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. There's also a bit of Harry Potter in how magic is treated.
The setting and Carbajal's unique approach to magic are the strongest parts of Haven Stones. Carbajal lives in Las Vegas and that insider's point of view helps bring the city to life.
It suffers a bit from an abundance of flashbacks and info dumping in the last third of the book. Some of the motivation for the rivalry between the unicorn and the phoenix weren't clear to me.
Like Twin Stars is a collection of three science fiction short stories that center on bisexual characters and the interplay between sexuality and sociLike Twin Stars is a collection of three science fiction short stories that center on bisexual characters and the interplay between sexuality and society.
The first story, "The Dancers' War" by N. K. Jemisin is set in a matriarchal tribal society. Before men can be married they must prove their worth to potential brides by a public show of prowess. The young man who must prove himself today is going against an outsider, a member of an enemy tribe.
To prove themselves, they must dance just as male birds often dance to win a mate. The moves they perform have names based around the forest in which they live. The dance is intense and demanding. It's also invigorating, creating a sexual tension between the two would be grooms.
While there are probably private moments between couples in Jemisin's society, displays of sexuality can also be public, and certainly are for the course of this story. The sexual act is described in the same terms and moves as the dance and the goal is the same: winning the right to marry well. But there are other reasons too which are explained at the end of the story.
I thoroughly enjoyed "The Dancers' War" and I am looking forward to completing the second and third stories in the collection. When I have finished reviewing the other two, I will post my final thoughts on the book as a whole.
Too narrow of a focus. There are so many different women writing graphic novels / memoirs now and this book focuses on four or five. The first two chaToo narrow of a focus. There are so many different women writing graphic novels / memoirs now and this book focuses on four or five. The first two chapters seem to be there just for the shock value. ...more
It's just a catalog of excerpts. There's little to no explanation as to why or how these are the best. Also, an egalley is not the best way to read thIt's just a catalog of excerpts. There's little to no explanation as to why or how these are the best. Also, an egalley is not the best way to read this book. In fact it was damn near impossible....more
Blood Fruit edited by James E.M. Rasmussen is a collection of eleven queer, horror, short stories. A lot of them have a paranormal aspect to them as wBlood Fruit edited by James E.M. Rasmussen is a collection of eleven queer, horror, short stories. A lot of them have a paranormal aspect to them as well as the erotica.
The stories all share an element of dangerous hook ups where the promise of sex comes with a price. The encounters are usually between a human and something that appears human but either isn't or is undead.
It's a relatively quick read. One could read a story a night before bed or plow through the entire collection over a lazy afternoon.
The stories are:
"The Lure of Dangerous Woman" by Shanna Germain "A Different Kind of Monster" by T.A. Moore "Just Past Winter" by Nathan Sims "Hemophobia" by Trent Roman "The Diarist" by Mark Silcox "After All" by Laramie Dean "Happy Anniversary" by Stephen Osborne "Tombstone" by Raymond Yeo "Captive Magic" by Garry McLaughlin "Hollow" by Jamie Freeman "For Her Eyes" by Quinn Smythwood ...more
My first introduction to Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery was a beat up paperback with cover art from the TV series. I found the book when walkMy first introduction to Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery was a beat up paperback with cover art from the TV series. I found the book when walking to my grandmother's house from high school. I felt sorry for an orphaned book about an orphaned girl. I figured it was a sign that I should read the book.
I re-read the battered book and the other books in the series through college and on to graduate school when I was newly married. Then I put the books aside and got on with my life. That was until 2010 when Nanowrimo was rolling around again. I decided to work my way through the book as inspiration for my own novel in a month.
I wanted to re-read my old battered copy (yes, I still have it) but it was in storage. So instead I downloaded a scanned copy from the 1908 edition and read it on my computer.
In the almost twenty years since I last read Anne of Green Gables I had of course forgotten details and misremembered others.
I still remembered the basics: Martha and Matthew wanting a boy to help around the farm. Instead of a boy, they get Anne and can't decide what to do with her. I remembered Gilbert Blythe and his pranks on her early on.
What surprised me most about the re-read was the novel's episodic nature. After a couple introductory chapters in which the major players are surprised, the book settles into relating a bunch of different scrapes Anne gets into.
The next thing that surprised me was just how much Anne babbles. I remember her talking a lot but the first third of the book is mostly her monologs. My goodness does she babble!
This third read through Anne of Green Gables was my most critical in that I was trying to see how it was put together and what made it tick. In the past I was reading it first for curiosity and the second time to revisit with Anne. My taste in books has evolved somewhat over the years but I'm still glad I re-read it....more
Just Breeze by Beverly Stowe McClure is a tween fiction about a girl, Breeze, who just wants to survive the eight grade. She's tall for her age, has bJust Breeze by Beverly Stowe McClure is a tween fiction about a girl, Breeze, who just wants to survive the eight grade. She's tall for her age, has big feet, red unruly hair and a popular older sister who is on the cheerleading squad. Then there's the new boy Cam that she's crushing on. Oh so much drama for eighth grade!
The reviews and blurbs I've read says this is a book that all teen girls will relate to and that will appeal to boys and girls alike. Maybe it was the method of reading (ebook instead of printed) or maybe it's that I don't have any sisters and my friends and I never talked about boys when were teens, but the book was just ok.
I dare authors to write a book about an eighth grade book that doesn't have: her being boy crazy, jealous about her sister, or being taller than everyone else. It's been done and done to death. It's time to move on.
Just Breeze reads like a book where Junie B. Jones is now in eighth grade but otherwise hasn't matured much.
The Sevenfold Spell, an ebook by Tia Nevitt, re-spins the tale of Sleeping Beauty from the point of view of a spinner affected by the proclamation banThe Sevenfold Spell, an ebook by Tia Nevitt, re-spins the tale of Sleeping Beauty from the point of view of a spinner affected by the proclamation banning all spinning wheels after the curse is put on the newborn princess.
Doesn't that sound like a brilliant way to rethink a well known fairy tale? I was excited to dive into this novella. Coming in at 97 pages it's a fairly quick read, although slower for me because I'm not much of an ebook reader.
When the book stays focused on the task at hand: describing how the curse has affected the kingdom it's a page turner. Unfortunately it has these huge lags in the plot devoted to sexually explicit filler. I'm not against reading sex in books but it has to have a point. Here it really doesn't except to add about twenty or thirty pages to the book.
What could have been there instead would be more character development for Talia. Her friendship with Rose could have been expanded. Her relationship with Willard could have been given some depth to make their sex scenes actually meaningful.
A few days ago I had a nice email from author Rhonda Parrish asking if I would review her upcoming short story "Sister Margaret" which she described iA few days ago I had a nice email from author Rhonda Parrish asking if I would review her upcoming short story "Sister Margaret" which she described it as a story of a vampire hunter and a half-incubus swordsman. I was a bit wary only because vampire books (beyond Dracula) aren't my normal fare but I said yes and was in for a very pleasant surprise.
"Sister Margaret" is in deed about a vampire hunter and his hired swordsman who may very well be half-incubus. They are sent to kill a local "leech" (vampire) who is demanding protection money from the local temple girls who have been saved by Sister Margaret from a life on the streets. The story is set in Haven, one of those fantasy metropolises like Ankh-Moorpork or the Bazaar on Deva. The vampires therefore are just one of many different species living in the city and are not presented as the mysterious lust-worthy nobility with a dark side as they so often are these days. Instead, they are desperate creatures who are superstitious and from the hunter's point of view, predictable but dangerous.
"Sister Margaret" reminded me favorably of any number of fantasy short stories I've read in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story mostly reminds me of these stories in terms of tone and setting: Catamount by Marc Laidlaw and Dance of Shadows by Fred Chappell. ...more
Most of the story is told via interviews between Dr. Joe and Mia. These extended romps through history are pretty standard fare for modern day vampireMost of the story is told via interviews between Dr. Joe and Mia. These extended romps through history are pretty standard fare for modern day vampire stories but it's not my favorite vampire trope. cover art (Link goes to Powells)Cara Mia by Denise Verrico introduces readers Mia and Kurt, two vampires (or "Immortyls") with a long history. In seeking help the have voluntarily agreed to be studied by Dr. Joe who wants to learn what makes vampires tick.
As Mia and Kurt have a relationship spanning generations, much of the book is told in flashbacks. Joe will ask Mia a question and her answer is given as an extended flashback. Readers who enjoy historical fiction, especially paranormal romances, that span many different eras, will like Mia's long answers.
I am not much of a reader of historical fiction and I found myself longing for more of the present day tale. Joe has potential to be an interesting character, as is the world in which he, Mia and Kurt live. This is a world where science knows about vampires and is trying to study them. Usually it's an occult society or similar. I'm hoping book two and three expand more on the present day world.
In the middle of summer I received an email from Artie Van Why asking if I would be interested in reading his memoir That Day in September, a personalIn the middle of summer I received an email from Artie Van Why asking if I would be interested in reading his memoir That Day in September, a personal account of the attacks on the Twin Towers. As I was gearing up for my craziest semester in school, I reluctantly said yes but made no promises as to when I'd get the review posted. I'm glad he said yes to those terms.
Rewinding to September 11th, 2011, I can't make any dramatic claims to being an eye witness to events. By the time my radio alarm clock when off in California, both towers had already fallen. What I can remember is Carl Kassell saying in his usual dead pan way that to those of us waking up in California, the New York skyline that existed when we went to bed no longer did. From there he went on to outline the timeline of events up to the point where the towers fell.
Artie Van Why was in a building across from the towers. He felt the and heard the impact. He saw the initial carnage. He describes it all in a gut wrenching but respectful way.
Besides describing what happened that day, he also builds his life story to explain the circumstances that brought him to being at Ground Zero. Afterwards he describes how he coped, how he grieved and how he finally was able to get back to living his life.
His book is also a stage play and the theatrical connections comes through in his pacing, word choice and imagery. The book reads likes a Spaulding Grey monologue. If I had a chance to see That Day in September performed live, I would buy front row tickets.