The Perks of Being a Wallflower is an excellent YA fiction read written in epistolary style. First published in 1999, this short coming-of-age novel i...moreThe Perks of Being a Wallflower is an excellent YA fiction read written in epistolary style. First published in 1999, this short coming-of-age novel is as pertinent today as it was during that time. Chbosky's narrator and main character is young fifteen-year-old Charlie whose personal isolation and awkward social skills are only rivaled by his brilliant mind. The story begins when Charlie is about to start high school and finishes at the end of his freshman year. During that one year, within 213 pages, Charlie undergoes quite a few changes, (character growth) and makes some good as well as some pretty disturbing discoveries about himself. Along the way, he makes some great friends like Patrick, Sam and a few others, but Charlie's family (parents and siblings) are also there in a meaningful way.
This is a smart read, not just a quick one. Chbosky packs in key young adult and family issues, some quite serious, in very few pages while keeping his characters young and fresh as they "discover" and process issues and ideas in their own unique way. While Charlie is the narrator through the letters he writes to "Dear Friend," all the main characters involved in Charlie's life are very well rendered. I was touched by quite a few them: Charlie, of course, Sam, Patrick and Brad, Sam, Charlie's teacher Bill (I wish all teachers were like that!), Charlie's sister and his parents. This is a highly recommended YA fiction read. If you've read it, then you know why. If you haven't, give it try!
I collected quite a few quotes:
"In the hallways, I see the girls wearing the guys' jackets, and I think about the idea of property. And I wonder if they are happy. I hope they are. I really hope they are."
"We accept the love we think we deserve."
"I just think it's bad when a boy looks at a girl and thinks that the way he sees the girl is better than the girl actually is."
"Bob said it was all about our parents not wanting to let go of their youth and how it kills them when they can't relate to something." Hah!
"[e]ven if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them."
I read this book for my Internet Book Club. Thanks to Mariana, Lili, Maria, Christine, and Yinx for the recommendation.(less)
Originally reviewed at Impressions of a Reader My Favorite Uncle by Marshall Thornton is a combination of gay comedic romantic fiction, instead of a st...moreOriginally reviewed at Impressions of a Reader My Favorite Uncle by Marshall Thornton is a combination of gay comedic romantic fiction, instead of a straight up gay fiction story. It has a happy ending.
Take a single gay uncle used to privacy with little to no social life or contact with his closest family, throw in the unexpected arrival of a runaway nephew who on his 18th birthday signed himself out of a "gay rehabilitation" clinic where his religious parents sent him after finding him having gay sex, and there are going to be problems. Martin Dixon doesn't know anything about teenagers, he just wants peace and privacy, but going against his better judgment attempts to provide the kid with guidance. Carter wanted his uncle to be a buddy, not some old guy lecturing him about safety and a code of conduct. After feeling repressed by parents and environment, Carter ignores Martin's advice and goes wild on cruising escapades. They butt heads until each comes to the conclusion that if only the other had a boyfriend, all would be resolved. That's when the fun begins and real conflicts arise.
I first wrote some quick impressions for My Favorite Uncle immediately after finishing the book:
"I really liked this book and sincerely enjoyed the combination of humor and depth Thornton uses to engage the reader in this familial, generational tale of personal discovery and rediscovery."
I would like to add that Thornton has a knack for reeling the reader in with his characters' narrative, which becomes evident in this book soon after beginning the first chapter. Thornton utilizes two points of view that of the uncle and nephew, so the reader gains a full picture of events from both perspectives. Humorous scenes are driven by misunderstandings due to the generation gap between Uncle Martin and Carter as well as by the different lifestyles they've lead. However with the deeper, sensitive issues and resulting heartbreaking moments Thornton weaves with the humor, this novel becomes more than a cute comedic read. As Martin helps Carter navigate new waters, his own personal lifestyle comes into question and character growth (and I don’t just mean for the young nephew) becomes key to this novel’s successful conclusion. A B+ read for me, My Favorite Uncle by Marshall Thornton is a recommended read. (less)
I love books that explore generational differences through intimate relationships and the eff...moreRead original,complete review at Impressions of a Reader
I love books that explore generational differences through intimate relationships and the effects those differences may or may not have on the individuals. Stephen Greco's Now and Yesterday in-depth exploration of aging and the evolution of relationships through queer history from the 70's gay revolution to current times, partly met my personal expectations of this novel.
Through Peter's character, Greco focuses the romance aspect of his novel on struggles faced by survivors of an aging boomer generation of gay men who lost its vast majority to the AIDS epidemic, limiting choices to those looking for a meaningful relationship to a much-reduced group of contemporaries or men from a much younger generation. Additionally, because Peter's portrayal is largely anchored to the past, it affords Greco the opportunity to incorporate 70's post Stonewall queer liberation details and its resulting history through the same character.
Greco's novel touched a few unexpected chords. I love the frankness and truth that comes across through his character's musings on aging, as well as how tightly he weaves in the impact, cost and effect of recent queer history. On the other hand, I found the proffered views about the younger generation of gay men to be somewhat bogged down by retro thinking and a tendency toward generalization in their portrayals. Regardless, Now and Yesterday is unquestionably a beautiful piece of writing infused with nostalgia and multiple layers that deserve a reader's time to properly dissect and process. (less)
This historical western romance is set in Creek County, Colorado at the turn of the century in 1903, so it's a different sort of western. Townspeople...moreThis historical western romance is set in Creek County, Colorado at the turn of the century in 1903, so it's a different sort of western. Townspeople are settled, the law is enforced, and there's not much of the "wild" left in the West. Sheriff Eugene Grey, a local, has matters under control and lives a relatively peaceful life until the young, arrogant Federal Marshal Forest O'Rourke shows up with an ancient wanted poster looking to arrest a local resident.
"I considered punching Forest O'Rourke in the face, the first time, about two minutes after making his acquaintance."
The narrative in this novel is strictly from Gene's first point of view perspective. It is quick witted, engaging, and absorbing throughout the novel, so of course I immediately fell in love with Gene Grey's voice and character. Not so much with young, arrogant Federal Marshal Forest O'Rourke or his brand new shiny tin star. That changes as the story unfolds and Gene exposes Forest's truths and vulnerabilities.
"Still, I gave him the benefit of the doubt that day for a couple of reasons, though mostly I claim I was bedazzled by the sunlight sparkling off his shiny, new badge."
Gene and Forest's story is divided into three parts. It begins with "The Law & Rawley Scoggins" and includes that first meeting, Forest's stubborn determination to arrest the old-timer, the disturbing end to those events for Forest and old Scoggins, and a few days of intimate acquaintance for Gene and Forest. Conversations lead to unexpected private revelations from both sides, particularly from Gene who finds himself attracted to young Forest and takes a leap by answering with the truth when asked why he is not married: "Because I like men, not women."
What follows is a beautiful seductive scene where Forest takes the lead. This is a favorite scene where a tentative physical move with an almost tender quality builds into full-blown lusty passion between the two men. I found the depiction of this scene to be excellent, specifically in how well Wilson conveys sexual tension, lust, passion, and the emotions involved, without going into unnecessary minute graphic or explicit details.
In the second part of the book, "Diotima's Child," Forest returns to Creek County under false pretenses and moves in with Gene as his lover, eventually becoming Gene's temporary deputy. This section details a joyful period for Gene and Forest filled with passion and love. Their relief at having found each other, however, makes them a careless pair, so it's no surprise when all ends badly and the lovers end up making their way to Atlanta and Philadelphia in the final and, to my way of thinking, strongest section of the book "Lonesome Trail," where loneliness and terrible despair awaits them. And where Gene risks breaking the law, prison, and death for love.
Wilson's characters are a study in contrasts with Gene a confident, educated, working man from the West and Forest a hot-headed, almost illiterate (not-so-bright) well-to-do gentleman from the South. Needless to say, characterization is fine tuned as well, particularly Gene. Through Gene's narrative the reader experiences the full scope of the novel, as well as the inner workings of a self-assured man plagued by loneliness whose passionate love leads to such raging turmoil and despair that he will do anything for a smidgen of hope. To a lesser degree Forest's character, the man who inspires such passionate love, is also well rendered as he evolves throughout the novel. Wilson humanizes the characters by portraying their strengths and vulnerabilities during different sections of the novel, making them fit with each other, as well as with time, place, and setting.
A Shiny Tin Star is a romance with a hopeful ending. This historical western is memorable for its characters, its witty, engaging, straight-forward narrative style, and a sweet, passionate romance with conflicts that fit the historical period. It ends with one of the best memorable, quotable, last lines I've read in a long time. I would quote it for you, but don't want to spoil it. Read the book and find out!
I began reading Wingmen by Ensan Case on a Saturday afternoon and couldn't put it down until I finished it late the following day. It's that good!
The...moreI began reading Wingmen by Ensan Case on a Saturday afternoon and couldn't put it down until I finished it late the following day. It's that good!
The love story between Lt. Commander Jack Hardigan, USN and Ensign Frederick "Trusty" Trusteau begins in 1943 toward the end of the Pacific conflict during World War II, after Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Midway. The Navy is in the midst of reorganizing the fleet and reconfiguring their strategy against the Japanese. Experienced naval combat aviators are scarce with a majority falling under the young and untried-in-battle classification.
When Trusteau transfers to the VF-20, the fighting squadron of Air Group Twenty, aboard the fictitious aircraft carrier Constitution, he is an inexperienced aviator and his new skipper Jack Hardigan, a hotshot veteran of Midway with quite a few kills under his belt. Trusteau's admiration for Hardigan is immediate and on a grand scale. As events unfold and Fred becomes Jack's wingman, for Jack, the trust that develops between them in the skies translates to everyday admiration of a young man whose flying skills highlight personal qualities, such as loyalty, efficiency and an ability to think on his toes, while on the ground.
Fred is clueless about his sexuality, but knows he’s indifferent to women and doesn’t ‘fit in’ with the other men in his squadron. To fit, Fred follows their lead and has sex with prostitutes, including when he transfers to the VF-20 squadron where he gains the nickname "Trusty" after lasting 17 minutes and gaining a stud’s reputation. But Fred doesn't understand why the other men make such a big deal about women. Yet, Fred does everything in his power to get close to Jack, and although it takes him a while to figure it out, it quickly becomes clear that Fred’s crush on his skipper is enormous. Jack, on the other hand, is dating a wealthy war widow, and for him it's all about company while on leave. There's more of a friendship than a sexual vibe between them, and Jack prefers to spend time with his men than with her. Unlike Fred, Jack fits in with the men and it isn't until much later that he begins to equate his desire for Fred's company and fear of losing him in combat with a more personal attachment.
These are the 1940's, so the feelings that grow between Jack and Fred are kept closely guarded even from each other. There are two intimate scenes between Jack and Fred that take place away from the ship but, like in the old movies, everything fades to black when they hit the sheets. But feelings and emotions go deep for both of them, and before and after their intimate moments even when the two men are alone on the ship, conversations and physical contact are maintained on the buddy level. There's no outward acknowledgment of feelings, particularly under the circumstances since they were at war.
And it’s war! Ensan Case's Wingmen is a plot and character driven novel. His research of what transpired in the Pacific during World War II is fantastic and his take of life in an aircraft carrier is riveting. There is a particular vibrant atmosphere to his portrayal of the life men lead at close quarters on the ship, as well as when they are on leave -- the hard drinking and incessant smoking, the jocular ribbing and womanizing, as well as the desire to distinguish themselves during battle – that allows the reader to know these men. Additionally, Case gives them distinct personalities, making the reader care whether they live or die.
Case also hits the right note when focusing on the politics of command and strategies used by the Americans to hit the Pacific islands -- beginning with Marcus and moving on to Wake, Tarawa, Kwajalein, and Truk -- by incorporating details without, for one moment, slowing the pace or the excitement of the novel. Those details make this novel what it is, as he also incorporates what is critical to the men: the maneuverability of Hellcats, Corsairs and Avengers, dangers of landing on the aircraft carriers, the terrible accidents, lack of supplies. All of those details lead to the strategic air battles in the skies, as well as the one-on-one situations which become some of the most tension-filled and exhilarating moments of the story.
Case ends the book with a postwar section written in letter format that gives the reader a broad idea of what happens to the main characters after the war and an epilogue that ends in 1969. I would have preferred if Fred and Jack’s story had ended a bit earlier, but frankly that did not influence my love of this book one way or another. Wingmen by Ensan Case is a fabulous fusion of historical fiction and romance that I recommend to everyone, but particularly to those who love exciting, well-researched tales set in the Pacific during World War II, as well as to readers who love a war time, tension-filled romance.(less)
Any Other Name begins as Walt's daughter Cady is waiting to give birth and Walt is due to travel to Philadelphia for his first grandchild's birth. In...moreAny Other Name begins as Walt's daughter Cady is waiting to give birth and Walt is due to travel to Philadelphia for his first grandchild's birth. In the meantime his old boss Lucian asks him to accompany him to Gillette in Campbell County to help investigate the alleged suicide of a friend's husband -- semiretired Detective Gerald Holman. The by-the-book Holman was working the County's cold files and his widow, who doesn't believe the forensic reports or the sheriff's assertion that her husband committed suicide, insists that there is some sort of cover-up going on. Lucian warns her to make sure she wants Walt involved in the investigation because “he’s like a gun; once you point him and pull the trigger, it’s too late to change your mind.” And, that's exactly what happens. Once Walt becomes invested in the investigation he's relentless and no matter the results, good or bad, there's no stopping until he's done.
Walt quickly comes to the conclusion that Holman committed suicide. But his question is why? Once he begins digging deeper Walt realizes that Holman may have been hiding information that connected the disappearance of three women, all three investigated as separate crimes. Why would a by-the-book lawman knowingly hold back that kind of information? With the assistance of his Undersheriff and lover Vic Moretti, best friend Henry Standing Bear, Dog, and a rookie from Campbell County, Walt's investigation begins to make sense of the information trickling in until it all takes a dark, unexpected, and dangerous turn. And as the countdown begins to the time when Cady's is scheduled to give birth, the anxiety builds for Walt who won't give up on solving the case or hoping that he will make it in time to get to Philadelphia.
The timeline for solving this mystery is short, a few days, so the pacing is quick and just as relentless as Walt. The bulk of the novel is taken up by the mystery with an anxious Walt trying to find out why a man like Holman would commit suicide while knowing that no matter what happens, he has to be there for over-emotional and demanding Cady. Both the mystery and action are great -- peppered with high octane dangerous situations, Walt's witty narrative, humanity and determination. As in other books, you can count on excellent contributions by Henry, Vic, and Lucian, which are accompanied by a few of Johnson's atmospheric, signature mystic moments. If anything is lacking, in my opinion, it is the page time dedicated for Vic and Walt to discuss the events with which Johnson closed A Serpent's Tooth-- a situation that brought such deep despair to them both.
Any Other Name is another great mystery installment in Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire Mystery series with less of the personal overall story arc involved. Still, I gobbled up this book in one sitting. There's a big revelation at the end of the book that foreshadows what's to come in the next, or in future installments, for Walt. I can't wait to find out how that turns out. If you're a fan, I know you won't miss it. If you're not, I definitely recommend this western contemporary mystery series as a whole. (less)
This anthology features sixteen authors writing about all different types of relationships between gay men and others, including, but not limited to,...moreThis anthology features sixteen authors writing about all different types of relationships between gay men and others, including, but not limited to, lovers, family, friends, and acquaintances.
"Gold Mine" by Michael Graves Gold Mine is an engaging and deeply emotional read written from two points of view. First, we have the boy anxiously waiting for his lover's return from the Iraqi War, and then we have boy's grandmother whose keen observations are shared with the reader. Graves uses both perspectives to explore the boy's relationship with his lover, the grandmother's love and acceptance, as well as the rejection he experiences from family members and the lover's family. This piece is engrossing in style with a political flavor that feels a bit dated, but not so much that it is not pertinent today. Particularly since there are lovers still waiting for their loved ones to come home safely.
"In Pride" by Lewis DeSimone Lewis DeSimone's In Pride focuses on today's issue of gay marriage and all the changes that the new laws bring to individual lives and to the gay community as a whole. It's a beautiful thing and San Francisco is celebrating. But it all comes down to analyzing change and effect in the life of his main character, and as he joins the throngs of those celebrating, the effect it will have on a few of his friends who come from an older generation as opposed to the younger members of the gay community. There are questions: Is this something he wants in his life? Should he settle for the young lover who's already in his life or should he search for the right person? Does he want to? Is there still a chance for him? This is a fantastic piece by DeSimone who hits the right tone while addressing the new choices available to the modern gay man from the perspective of an experienced, mature generation.
"Werewolf" by Michael Carroll Werewolf by Michael Carroll is one of those stories that just about anyone can relate to. It is about childhood friendships, you know, the ones that we let go with almost a sense of relief and later regret, usually when it's too late, because there are unresolved issues and feelings. In this case, Carroll's main character got there in time to say those last loving words to a dying friend and came to terms with rough realities. This is a deeply emotional, reality-based story that touches on the truth of those teen-year friendships that span years and in so many ways shape us.
I only highlighted three short stories as examples. It took me a while to finish this anthology because I read each story between other books. As a final assessment I will say this, the editor chose the right stories and writers for this anthology, and each one of the 16 stories included is definitely worth reading. As a bonus, I found a few new-to-me authors whose works I will be reading. This is B+ read for me. (less)
In December, I also read The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout, another contemporary fiction book that lingered in my Kindle for much of 2013. In The B...moreIn December, I also read The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout, another contemporary fiction book that lingered in my Kindle for much of 2013. In The Burgess Boys, Elizabeth Strout tightly weaves factual, controversial events that occurred in Lewinston, Maine in or around 2006 involving the sudden influx of Somali and Buntu immigrants to the area, with her fictional story about the three Maine-born Burgess siblings and the dysfunctional relationship that has existed between them since childhood. The two stories are tightly woven and, although Strout utilizes multiple perspectives to develop her story, -- intimate family and individual struggles, and community controversy -- the ultimate focus remains the same.
Of course the fictional story about the Burgess siblings is the core of the book and the one that immediately grabs the reader's attention. There's Jim, the eldest sibling who seems to live a charmed life as a famous criminal defense attorney in New York City, with his wife Helen acting as the perfect foil for such a man both at home and in social situations. In sharp contrast to his brother, Bob, an attorney working in the appellate division of Legal Aid in New York City, leads the lonely, sad, and rather pathetic life of a divorced man who can't seem to move on, and whose dependency on his brother's presence and approval is constant and obsessive. They both hate Shirley Falls for different reasons, but find themselves heading back when their divorced sister Susan asks for help with her teenage son Zach who is in big trouble. He threw a pig's head into a mosque where the local Somali community worships, supposedly as "a joke," and the situation is rapidly getting out of hand.
Strout's main theme poses many questions about "understanding." Do you really understand your parents, siblings, spouses, children? How about your community? Do you really know who they are?
"The key to contentment is never to ask why; she had learned that long ago." Helen
Strout delves on the consequences that arise from not understanding, or knowing. She does so by first presenting the characters as they appear to each other, slowly deconstructing them for the reader by digging into their relationships and struggles for truth and understanding and finally revealing the results. The main characters, Jim, Bob and Susan Burgess carry burdensome guilt due to a family tragedy that occurred in their childhood, and their families are unknowingly affected by this burden. Jim and Helen, Bob, Susan and Zach struggle with the consequences of not understanding, not knowing, as do the Somalis, the Buntu and the rest of the community in Shirley Falls. The story flows with little down time and excellent characterization. As far as sympathetic characters go, there are a couple, but most are portrayed as terribly human with flaws and faults -- warts and all.
The Burgess Boys is a book I really wanted to read last year, and I'm glad I did. It asks some excellent questions of the reader, and the story is good from beginning to end with tight writing, great revelations, and deeply explored characters -- some likable and others that I truly loathed. Recommended. (less)
This contemporary fiction/romance has received some attention. I enjoyed that Simsion uses the first person point of view from the male's perspective...moreThis contemporary fiction/romance has received some attention. I enjoyed that Simsion uses the first person point of view from the male's perspective in this romantic fiction piece. It makes for a great change and it's kind of refreshing. And the fact that Don's point of view is skewed because he suffers from Asperger's Syndrome makes this novel an even more interesting read.
Simsion uses humor, tenderness, warmth, and the main character's personal frustration to develop the romance. The reader sees Rosie from Don's perspective and, in my opinion, this distances her from the reader to a certain degree. However, Simsion does a fairly good job of letting the reader "see" Rosie. I understood Rosie's need and insecurities, but frankly when it came to Rosie falling in love with our man I found there to be a disconnect... and hmm... maybe that was on purpose. I mean, if Don could not figure out what being in love felt like, how could he recognize it in her?
Is an adult with Asperger's stereotyped in this romance? I wouldn't know, but, I do know that Simsion's novel is an enjoyable read all the way from beginning to end. Don, if not necessarily Rosie, makes it so.(less)
Tim Z. Hernandez bases his novel Mañana Means Heaven on the story of Be a Franco, the young Chicana woman Jack Karouac meets while on his way to Los A...moreTim Z. Hernandez bases his novel Mañana Means Heaven on the story of Be a Franco, the young Chicana woman Jack Karouac meets while on his way to Los Angeles from San Francisco, during his travels across the United States, and who later appears in his famed novel On the Road as Terry, or "the Mexican girl."
"Mañana," she said. "Everything'll be all right tomorrow, don't you think, Sal-honey, man?"
"Sure, baby, mañana." It was always mañana. For the next week, that was all I heard --- mañana, a lovely word and one that probably means heaven. -- On the Road by Jack Kerouac
The title of the novel is taken directly from one of the passages of Karouac's novel, but this is Bea's story, not Jack's. That is made perfectly clear from the beginning. Hernandez takes Karouac's short chapter, and following the same timeline, cleverly weaves in Bea's background and breaths life into the woman by exposing the extreme emotional and familial circumstances that pushed her into opening up to a man like Jack, a gavacho "college boy," during that particular time in her life. A time that lasted but a blink in time, but one that changed both of their lives irrevocably.
Meeting Jack gives Bea hope while she is trapped in what seems like a hopeless and desperate situation that Hernandez utilizes to build tension throughout his novel. Franco's short time with Jack changes her. It gives her the determination and resiliency that may have been there all along, but that she learns to use to become a woman who expects better for and from herself. For Jack, much later that moment in time becomes the stepping stone that helps to propel his career as a writer when the Paris Review publishes his short story "Terry, the Mexican Girl," and well, the rest is history.
If Franco and her family are well researched by Hernandez, then so are the historical details. Hernandez takes the reader to a post WWII Los Angeles that comes alive with all of its paranoia and multicultural prejudices. But nothing comes alive more than the San Joaquin Valley and the plight of the pickers -- the smell and paranoia in the tent camps, the fear of immigration raids, the hatred for the implacable owners and the need for work, the child workers, the stultifying poverty, and through Bea, the desperation.
Hernandez utilizes mañana, tomorrow, as the main theme of his novel. The word mañana represents many different things to the different people who inhabit the novel. To Bea and her brother Alex it represents the possibility of a future and the realization of a dream. To the pickers in Selma it represents the basics, work, food, a warm place to stay. If not today, tomorrow things will work out. To Jack it is always a way to gain time, to learn more, to see more. To little Albert, it comes to represent lack of money, a lack of hope. However, Hernandez also uses partings, abandonment, leaving and returning as a secondary and more subtle theme throughout the novel.
As an award winning poet and writer familiar with Franco's cultural background, Hernandez was already well equipped to write a story about Karouac's muse. However, Hernandez's research into her life and his insights into the person Franco was, into the woman she became, takes her story beyond that of a myth. (less)
Claire goes to the YMCA to attend a support group after having been diagnosed with breast cancer, instead she ends up at a group for erotica writers -...moreClaire goes to the YMCA to attend a support group after having been diagnosed with breast cancer, instead she ends up at a group for erotica writers -- this is a fabulous beginning! She meets Justin, a younger man who tells her he's there attending the AA group, not because he's an alcoholic, but to pick up women. Claire is a 40 year-old, divorced woman who dedicated her whole life to raising her son Max who just left for college. She never made time for sex or herself, and now that she's ready to begin, feels that her body has betrayed her. Justin convinces Claire that before she goes through surgery, she needs to make a wish list of sexual fantasies and go through with it, ergo the "Now or Never List" is born. Now, let's get this straight, Justin doesn't plan on being part of Claire's sexual explorations, he is to be her wingman. He plans and helps with fantasies, and in the process they become friends.
Now or Never is short, but what a fantastic short it is! I've previously enjoyed Logan Belle's works, but this is different, it's more a combination of contemporary fiction with erotica than straight up erotica. There is depth in Claire's story, a 40 year woman who has been a "mother" for so long she has forgotten what it is to be a woman. She comes off as a woman with real fears, doubts and lacking in confidence -- all of this resonated with me, like part of a normal stage that women go through at some point in their lives. Justin is the mystery here. The male who you want to throttle one moment, but really makes you think the next. I cannot wait to see what happens next.(less)
In His Secret Life is a fantastic romance with forbidden love, sexual tension, intense yearning, and angst. It's one of those all-encompassing, sweepi...moreIn His Secret Life is a fantastic romance with forbidden love, sexual tension, intense yearning, and angst. It's one of those all-encompassing, sweeping, lasting romantic love stories between two men who are also selfish enough to cheat and lie to be together. They pay a high price, but in the end find their way back to love. The execution in this romance is fantastic, as Bossa follows through with all the characters, the choices, consequences, life and love. My favorite LGBT romance of the year to date... I highly recommend it.
I picked up The Tilted World because the setting and time period caught my attention. The whole story takes place during the "Great Mississippi Flood...moreI picked up The Tilted World because the setting and time period caught my attention. The whole story takes place during the "Great Mississippi Flood of 1927" in the fictional town of Hobnob, by Greenville, Mississippi. It's really a love story (a romance with a happy ending) that takes place between a bootlegger and the government man who came to town to make an arrest. There's murder, betrayal, saboteurs, an orphaned baby, and a flood that would change the course of history.
What I loved and remember the most are the historical fiction details in this book. There were also times when I enjoyed the suspense and different characters, plus the joint writing by Franklin and Fennelly is quite good. However, there was a lack of plausibility to the story as a whole that kept it from becoming more than a solid read. On the other hand, the romance, for some reason, worked for me. It is one of those warm love stories that seems to fit with time and place. I recommend it if you're looking for something different that will keep you reading. I read it in one sitting.(less)