This one isn’t for the faint of heart. The story starts off with a scene that made me queasy, and right away I knew this book would be going some darkThis one isn’t for the faint of heart. The story starts off with a scene that made me queasy, and right away I knew this book would be going some dark places.
Horror readers (which is not me usually) will be right at home. LA Stockman gives us a damaged but still strong hero to take on this monster, and David finds an unlikely ally in his fight against the horror stalking the children. An Interpol agent with a larger scope than most, Dallan Jaeger is both attracted to David and willing to give him the space he needs to be ready for a relationship. Dallan’s almost too good to be true, between his skills, knowledge, his unexpected kindness, and a pack of really scary backup.
The Catholic church comes off very badly here: what’s happened to David at their hands is truly atrocious and comes with no apologies. It was pretty awful, and the sad part is that after all the recent real life scandals, it isn’t even that surprising. This is one of the very dark places the book goes, and I’m interested to see how the uneasy relationship with the church that was his everything progresses now that David’s come a long way from the scared child he was. I will read books two and beyond to find that out, no matter how dark it goes.
The series is titled The Wild Hunt, and while the band of spectral hunters does show up, only the leader has a large role here. This is book one, so a lot of things are being set up that I’m ready to follow into future books. I’m really anxious to see these guys kick ass and take names.
While I could only feel for David, and applaud for his triumphs and get queasy with his trials (it took me three days to finish reading his encounter with the Sluagh, because I’m kinda squeamish), Dallan had more issues for me. He’s very touchy-feely understanding, considering his other role. I’m not quite sure that works as characterization, but it was exactly what David needed. That and a few things that made me check who’s head we’re in were issues for me.
However, LA Stockman has created a world and characters that definitely intrigue me. This book is much darker than my usual reading preference, so extra win for pushing me out of my comfort zone and making me want more....more
Another series I’m starting in the middle and have to go back for the first one! This was some good reading, and if Michelin and Lucky have parts elseAnother series I’m starting in the middle and have to go back for the first one! This was some good reading, and if Michelin and Lucky have parts elsewhere, gotta catch up now. This book stands alone, but more is good!
I loved this take on the “fake boyfriend”. Michelin, who’s a full time resident of Narnia he’s closeted so deep, gets convinced that the only way to defuse the horrendous outing he’s just taken is to embrace it fully, and along with it, to embrace Lucky, or pretend to. Neither of them is sure this is a good idea, but the sharp-tongue’d publicist in charge of damage control swears this will improve Michelin’s image and contain the fallout.
Lucky is the opposite of thrilled here: once again he’s being mistaken for a hooker, and it’s hard enough to be a go-go dancer without getting groped as it is. Michelin’s outing derailed Lucky’s plans for his own career, and the next time someone waves money at him for something he's not selling, he’s going to go ballistic! Both guys have their attractions and their reasons for keeping apart.
The author plays these guys like a well-tuned guitar. Each “come a little closer” from one of them gets a brief moment and then a “back away farther”, all the while fulfilling the public expectations that they’re a couple. The tension is fierce and the going is rough.
I did want to smack Michelin sixteen or eighteen times for being a passive player in his own life, but fortunately, he gets over it in a spectacular way. Lucky’s more aggressive about what he’ll tolerate, which becomes a really good thing, considering how many people are trying to meddle with his life for their own reasons.
The guys are hot together—they figure out how to push each other’s buttons in the best ways, and if they could just get to the same page about what they are to each other… It’s a great story.
The name Michelin was kind of unsettling: all I can picture is a puffy tire monster, and the image did keep rearing its head. I suppose after the character appears in other books it’s an established fact, but puffy tire monster and hot dancer is an image you just don’t want at certain moments.
The tweetstream at the beginning of each chapter does a lot in a few words to inject the rest of the world into the story. It's a great device here to keep us posted on what's happening elsewhere without devoting a lot of scenes to people outside the immediate circle.
I gobbled this book down, and want the rest of the series. 4.5 marbles
Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review....more
After Sex On the Hoof, I was ready for another story in this paranormal universe. Foxy's has another couple and another look at the way economic upheaAfter Sex On the Hoof, I was ready for another story in this paranormal universe. Foxy's has another couple and another look at the way economic upheaval and the new reality of shifters in society are affecting the world. Again there's a law enforcement angle, with Silas, a babyfaced cop who's much tougher than he looks, and foxy Luke, whose family is definitely into some shady business.
Silas is everything Luke feels he shouldn't want and can't really have: honest, kind, human and breakable. Luke doesn't do relationships, being a love'em and leave'em guy means they don't get entangled in his dirty family secrets. Silas is going to mess with all that, and as a cop, he's already involved.
We have first person, present tense in this story, from both Luke and Silas, which pushes the story along at a quick clip. We get to see a lot more of the shifter side than in the first book, which was a lot of fun. Luke as a fox gets into and out of trouble, and there's a fun but dangerous sequence where cop work and shifter work collide head on. These guys are hot in the sack, where their preferences fit together. Luke especially has a strong, entertaining voice--he's bad boy though not a bad guy, and he rocks the attitude.
I enjoyed this story the more for having read the first one and knowing some of the characters. Drew the vampire detective and Jason the stag shifter crime lab tech both have secondary parts. I'm settling into this series for the long haul, I enjoyed the read and need the third book. And a fourth, when Sylvia Violet writes it. :)...more
This book had me at the title - how could I resist a smilodon shifter? Connor was everything I hoped he would be and more, a man of culture and a sabeThis book had me at the title - how could I resist a smilodon shifter? Connor was everything I hoped he would be and more, a man of culture and a saber-toothed panther. Michel, the hooker turned cop, was equally amazing, with his history, his climb to a better life, and his doubts about himself, his mission, and his new companion.
The prose was beautifully evocative, putting us right into the heart of Paris, from elegant offices to dank alleys, zinc rooftops, and the smoke filled clubs where aging torch singers put on their drag and mesmerize the audience. I felt transported, every bit as much as in the Maigret detective novels. Certain turns of phrase added to the effect, perfectly understandable but just a little strange to the ear, a "foreign language translated" effect. The few words of French make sense in context even if you don't know them as I did not.
There is a murder mystery here too, perfectly mysterious to those who don’t believe in vampires, and chilling to those who do. Connor believes, and his midnight patrols to protect the streetwalkers put him front and center as a suspect. His shifting form is just as unimaginable to the police as the undead.
Connor is a lovely character, with his very mixed heritage (he spent his extreme childhood as a kitten), his dark skin and thin dreads, and beautiful erudition. His music and understanding of art transfix Michel as much as his sensuality. Particularly excellent is that Michel sees him as a complete person, not as a fetishized collection of physical traits. He lives on a houseboat on the Seine, which can't possibly get more romantic.
Michel knows less of the City of Light than does this American transplant: for all that he grew up in Paris, his experiences were of the seamier side rather than high culture. He’s been through the streets, paying for his addictions with his body, and only the intervention of Captain Thierry Plouescat gave him the chance to redirect his life. Now, in his first case, he’s faced with going undercover in the very life he escaped.
The story itself pits the two men against each other in every way—Connor wishes to protect this crazy prostitute from the evil force Michel courts so blatantly, while Michel still cannot rule out the man who’s stealing his heart as a murder suspect. The heat between them is enough to scorch the ereader, while the trust between them is chilly enough to crack the screen. They must come together in spite of their shock at each other's true roles in this dangerous game.
I tried very hard to read this book in one sitting, and I think I’ve found my newest auto-buy authors. Connor's litter has 3 siblings, and I hope they all get stories!...more
I do love some Hornblower and Jack Aubrey, and also some Alex Beecroft and Charlie Cochrane, but let me say right now that Perilous fits in with thisI do love some Hornblower and Jack Aubrey, and also some Alex Beecroft and Charlie Cochrane, but let me say right now that Perilous fits in with this company.
Cari Z gives us a perfectly plausible way to get our two characters together, and to let them have some stolen moments of happiness. While Captain Knightly is aboard, the endless blockade work and the stealthy attacks on the French have panache and derring-do. And the celebrations afterward have to be very, very quiet, because an 18 gun sloop is a very small ship.
The penalties for their activities in those days were severe, so the captain and his lieutenant had to be extremely careful. When duty to King and family rears its ugly head, Captain Knightly has little choice in obeying. Duty above all, to those in the Royal Navy, and Thomas does his to his lover as best he can. Heartbreaking for both of them.
The style will be very familiar to Hornblower readers, descriptive and a little distant. The story has more of what they’re doing than the details of ship-handling, which is fine, I didn’t feel deprived of leewards and starboards and such, I can get that from Patrick O’Brien. The romance is satisfying, and the ending both heartbreaking and endearing, when happiness is at last in reach.
I was a little concerned how Captain Knightly advanced to his rank without being much of a shiphandler, because how would he have the opportunity to demonstrate his tactical skills? Once I stepped back and let him wow me and (and fluster the French!) it was fine. I had a raised eyebrow for some of their private moments. A little more sensory input would have been nice but I did cheer for the Perilous and her gallant officers....more
How to break your heart in one easy step: watch a youth who’s sure love is conditional try to stay within boundaries too narrow for him.
This passage fHow to break your heart in one easy step: watch a youth who’s sure love is conditional try to stay within boundaries too narrow for him.
This passage from early in the story defines poor Robert:
His mother loved him. His father loved him. Just like Jesus did—so long as he made sure he always deserved that love.
The dread of maybe, possibly failing to live up to that expectation seized him. It stayed with him until the service was over, until the entire congregation emptied out and traveled over to a nearby park for a church luncheon. It stayed with him even as he avoided looking at Jeremy Irons—or any other boys, for that matter.
Instead, he rounded the luncheon table a second time, a third time, and then a fourth. When the boys took off with a soccer ball, he sat beside his parents, nibbling on a brownie, or a piece of cake, or some of Ms. Henrietta's famous peach cobbler.
Bite, chew, swallow. Distract himself.
So by the time Robert gets to college, he’s a studious young man who’s packing a lot of extra pounds because binge eating has become his defense. He’s studied his way into a scholarship and eaten his way out of a social life, and he’s completely unprepared for his new roommate.
Pete’s a charming young man, much more comfortable with his orientation, and really fond of men with some heft to them. If Robert fails in any way to be the man of Pete’s dreams, it’s due to his insecurities, not his waistline. And oh, is he insecure.
We have only Robert’s POV, but that’s okay, we know when Pete’s upset or happy or tearing his hair out, because Robert is so focused on him. And together they have to find a way through the minefield of Robert’s fears. Pete likes Robert just the way he is. What a concept: Robert’s never met this before and doesn’t know how to handle it.
Perhaps the absolute black and white of this story is due to being YA and aimed at a demographic that isn’t good at nuance yet, but everything is drawn very broadly. Robert doesn’t eat one or two candy bars, he eats a dozen and chases them with just as many cupcakes, to the point where I got queasy every time he started eating. This may be perfectly accurate. His parents aren’t just judgy: they’re pray-you-straight Christians, horrible people, and Robert still wants their acceptance. Pete’s adorable: bouncy, kind, accepting. He’s concerned about Robert’s overeating from a health standpoint, but love handles are just a place to put his hands. He does have limits, which is good, because it’s way too possible to whipsaw him emotionally.
The path to true love isn’t easy of course, and here it includes sex, which is sometimes on page but with an extremely light touch, so something I wouldn’t feel squidgy about putting into even a young teen’s hands. (I know they read explicit stuff. I’m just not going to be the one giving it to them.) The focus is definitely on the emotional aspect of a college freshman figuring out who he is and how he can have most of what he needs.
There is an HEA, which isn’t without its costs, but the best part is that Robert not only survives paying them, he thrives. We’re definitely left happy, and so are Pete and Robert. ...more
Once again, I’m coming in late on a series I now have to devour completely. I grabbed the first two Panopolis stories in a single volume, so I have goOnce again, I’m coming in late on a series I now have to devour completely. I grabbed the first two Panopolis stories in a single volume, so I have goodies for later. Because I just enjoyed this book so much.
Our POV character is Freight Train, almost never known as Craig Haney, a Hero in a city that requires all augmented persons to choose sides. Stumble into, or choose, a superpower, and you have to be either a Hero or a Villain, no middle ground. In Panopolis (nice touch, this is Gotham City, Metropolis, Your Home Town, and a touch of ancient Rome all rolled into one), the Heroes not only protect the citizens from the Villains, they’re the bread and circuses too. It’s not a real rescue unless the cameras are watching, is it? But it’s not scripted so it can go down the toilet fast, and the real powers that be, GenCorp, don’t care what it does to the people who fight the battles.
The force field that’s become part of Craig prevents almost everything from passing in or out, but his invulnerability comes with some serious limitations on survival, and intimacy is another casualty. He can neither touch nor be touched, and he’s so much a victim of his celebrity and his power that to be called by his real name becomes the most human contact he can hope for. And he almost never gets it. How this author turns something so simple into heartbreak is an art.
Dr. Ari Mansourian does call Craig by name, and he knows a few things about his force field. But who is this mysterious scientist, and what is he really doing in the GenCorp labs? That force field makes their burn slow enough to answer questions.
GenCorp happily pits their manufactured heroes against one another, offering this one a reality show while that one languishes in obscurity, or poverty. There’s a grim undercurrent of favoritism, keeping everyone off balance and asking the wrong questions.
All is never as it seems, and there are twists, turns, betrayals, saves, and some smiles, in true comic book hero style, with depth and a wry humor. Characters from the first two books have parts to play here, which neither spoil the earlier books nor overwhelm this one.
The writing is wonderful, and the situations are classic superhero seen through the jaundiced eye of the person who has to live them. The plot twists are canny, and one major issue was resolved with such audacious perfection that I gasped out loud and then screamed YES! at my Kindle.
The chance conversation that led me to this book was a happy one, because I quit watching Batman 4 movies ago and might not have picked this one up. But I’m off to read the rest of the Panopolis stories, because this was a terrific tale in every way! ...more
Theo’s not looking for love, he has this flower shop that’s eating up his life and his sanity. Valentine’s Day from a florist’s point of view = stressTheo’s not looking for love, he has this flower shop that’s eating up his life and his sanity. Valentine’s Day from a florist’s point of view = stress x 1000, all those perishable flowers that somehow have to get into sweethearts’ hands.
I really loved peeking into Theo’s head, not just for the romance, which I loved, but for a look at an industry that I mostly don’t think about beyond walking in and paying for a bouquet. All the work that goes into that bouquet never crossed my mind. I will never look at a flower shop the same again. Everything had the ring of “author has done this.”
And Sam—oh, I loved Sam. Nomadic and living out of a Porsche (icky details and all) while he hits the various casinos, he’s an interesting guy. In his guise as Samantha, he’ll liberate cash at the poker tables, with less risk of getting his winnings beaten out or him, usually.
These guys come together when Sam parks his flashy red “mobile home” behind the shop, and Theo needs another set of hands. Sparks fly while Sam learns the tasks, and Theo’s kind enough to give him a bed indoors. Not with him, until a LOLworthy/screamworthy situation arises. This author inserts some great humor in places, with some lines that really zinged.
Sam’s alter ego confuses the heck out of Theo, who isn’t sure what a taste for frilly panties and lipstick means. Watching him flounder around is fun, painful, and sad all at once. Sam isn’t in such a hurry to pin labels on himself, which is delightful self-acceptance. His ability with disguise and cards has a big role to play here.
I thoroughly enjoyed how these two come together, even though they remind themselves how Sam is a drifter and not for long term. With every scene, they show how this might need to change, even if admitting it is hard. The language is beautiful, the settings vivid, and the characters endearing....more
This story is giggleworthy! We’re in the head of Nathan, the squirrel shifter, part of a clan that gets very, very nervous about drama. So of course,This story is giggleworthy! We’re in the head of Nathan, the squirrel shifter, part of a clan that gets very, very nervous about drama. So of course, snacking on sunflower seeds while peeping on his handsome human crush in the shower will create a bit of drama. Put down your drink while you read this, unless you like wet Kindles.
Being short, this story is mostly set up and meet cute, which is unbelievably cute. And some sigh-worthy smooch stuff, mustn’t forget that… Short, but it introduces the characters for a longer piece, which of course I'm off to buy.
Not claiming it's great literature, but this is the most fun I’ve had reading in a long time....more
This is a love story more than a romance, exploring what happens after boy gets boy and the worst thing happens. The author sure puts her characters tThis is a love story more than a romance, exploring what happens after boy gets boy and the worst thing happens. The author sure puts her characters through the wringer.
After Henry and his companions get stranded, it’s no Gilligan style picnic, they have to scramble for survival. Fortunately, Henry knows a lot about the local flora, having paid attention to Sam’s expertise in South Seas botany. I like this touch, because in a very real way, Sam keeps Henry alive, even though he’s miles away grieving. Not only that, but Henry rescued a baby boy from the wreckage, and having a family was a tension point for them as a couple. Now Henry’s thrust into the fatherhood Sam longed for and Henry wasn’t so sure about.
We see a lot more of Henry’s situation than Sam’s, because survival, but we know how hard Sam’s grieving and how much it takes for him to close a chapter of his life when there’s no real closure. Getting someone presumed dead back after years and years has to be a horrible shock, even if it’s exactly what you’ve been hoping for. The author chose not to go into the details of getting Henry’s life back, such as drivers’ licenses for a “dead man” because finding out where he stands with Sam is more important. Still, some issues resolved with amazingly little discussion.
Sam’s between a rock and a hard place, and I had a little trouble connecting with this section, possibly because we’re not in his head the way we are with Henry. Still he’s got some very real conflict, which would be hard not to, after working so hard to accept his loss.
The author definitely learned her stuff about the island’s biology, which Henry uses to keep his companions alive. This comes over a little heavy handed in places, but the island sections are vivid. The storm sequence had the hair on my arms standing up. Each of Henry's fellow castaways has his strengths, and they have to depend on each other, because the dangers they face are so real.
This couple's happiness is hard won, and it's bittersweet that someone else had pain amidst the joy. Maybe he'll get a story too? I enjoyed reading this adventure in survival of body and heart, and was left smiling. ...more
Here we have a talented barista raising his younger siblings after their parents died. Brady’s twenty-three, overwhelmed, and trying to make his familHere we have a talented barista raising his younger siblings after their parents died. Brady’s twenty-three, overwhelmed, and trying to make his family function in spite of considerable challenges. Time enough for a relationship is tough to come by: he’s lucky if his eighteen year old sister doesn’t flake out on being the designated adult for the evening if he’s working.
Evren overlaps a little with work hours, especially when he comes in for a themed evening at the coffee shop, where he quickly becomes the apple of everyone’s eye, including Brady’s. His Turkish background makes him exotic, his knitting skills are his livelihood, and his particular interests make him both very exciting and nearly impossible for Brady to hit his radar. He’s come to Portland to care for the ailing aunt who helped raise him.
We get a long, slow burn, because both men’s life situations have made free time a rare commodity. Friendship looks like a better bet, because Brady comes with what Evren considers a deal breaker: he’s bisexual. Evren has some bad experiences to reinforce some negative stereotypes, making Brady wonder if he can ever convince Ev he’s a good choice for a partner.
For everyone who's been clamoring for bisexual books without erasure, here's your story. For those who say Ew! We only love the bi guys without encountering ladybits, this is your story too. This is in no way contrived, it's very organic to what's going on, and Brady is hiding nothing.
We get Brady’s POV for most of the book, which is fine: he’s a colorful character and very bright on the page. Evren’s POV comes through in snippets of his knitting blog posts, heavy with subtexts. It’s a clever take on alternating POVs and the effect is charming, letting us see Evren’s mind changing, event by event. He still advises putting a ring on the boyfriend before knitting him a sweater.
I ended up loving both these guys, and breaking my heart as theirs did, both with each other and with their home situations. The romance is lovely and heartrending all at once, and slow, while trust grows. If you require lots of ass-pounding in your story, look elsewhere, but I found the intensely emotional and everything-but sex scenes to be wonderfully refreshing.
This story will run you through every emotion you have, leaving you with a sigh of satisfaction for love fulfilled with happiness....more
Oh no, I can’t be gay, oh dear, I am gay, and oh my, I think I love you. Oh no, pushback from world. It’s not a new story, but one that can be given nOh no, I can’t be gay, oh dear, I am gay, and oh my, I think I love you. Oh no, pushback from world. It’s not a new story, but one that can be given new life.
The execution is competent, and in places even inspired, but I’m not seeing enough to make me feel there’s a different twist on the old formula. Issues that were brought up that could have lifted this out of the pack got little attention until they resolved with a thud. Any one of them, with more care lavished, would have mattered more than all of them with only lip service. Jonas’ uneasy relationship with numbers, his father’s political campaign, Tate’s sister’s isolation, any one of these had enough heft to be more than background noise. All of them together should be beating readers’ emotions to a pulp. Instead, I struggled to recall the characters' names three days later.
I did catch cameos from characters from other books that made me smile, although this book seems to be from a different series. A few of the new characters were more stock, such as Jonas’ father and the young woman played by Evil Harpy #4.
Fans of this author will enjoy this book greatly, and more casual readers will also find something to enjoy. We may have to chalk my reaction up as an anomaly.
This should have been a slam dunk review for me, but because I love the entire series so much, I had to refresh myself with a complete run-through ofThis should have been a slam dunk review for me, but because I love the entire series so much, I had to refresh myself with a complete run-through of the first four books. I do love Bo and Lucky, and this fifth book really puts them through the ringer.
Here they’re back from Mexico and a hellacious undercover operation (details in Manipulation). Bo in particular has been damaged by this operation, since their nemesis Stephan has a way of hitting people at their most vulnerable points. Of course, if Bo gets scratched, Lucky bleeds. And Lucky’s not used to caring so much for anyone.
This book has so much character growth for Lucky. He has to be the one to keep things going, to be the strong one for Bo, who isn’t used to being down and damaged. He thought he’d gotten past all that when he remade his life, and it’s bitter to him to be the one who needs help now. He has to come back from all the crap the Mexican operation threw at him, and he can’t do it without Lucky, little though he wants to depend on someone else.
This is a more introspective book compared to the action packed adventures of the first four, but these two have been through a lot and need time to heal. Watching Bo come back to himself with the help of his commitmentphobic lover, a giant scene stealer named Moose, a smartmouthed agent friend who makes a scary concoction called pot liquor, makes for a heartstring pulling read. Which of course, Lucky being Lucky, comes with a heavy dose of banty rooster cockiness. Bo’s made of layers all the way down, and poor guy is stripped so raw.
A couple of times I was on the edge of my seat when someone had a chance to make a horribly bad decision, so I can’t say Eden Winters didn’t keep my heart pounding. There’s justice done, and maybe a lingering mystery solved, and very little is as it seemed.
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I like anthologies: I get a tasting menu of styles and voices. Most of these autI received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I like anthologies: I get a tasting menu of styles and voices. Most of these authors are new to me.
*Celibate Cold (Lynn Townsend) was a nice choice for leading off the anthology. The story had a real reason for putting the strangers together, they had chemistry, and the whole was a nice hot adventure with a hopeful future. I last saw this author’s work in a short that showed a lot of imagination and this one was even better.
Falling For Love (Jessica Chase) was friends to lovers, when the two MCs were finally both in a position to make something of the attraction. However, a physical issue and how it was handled completely destroyed the credibility of the scene. I’m pretty sure the author doesn’t have first hand experience of broken bones.
This Winter’s Night (Kassandra Lea) started strong, with one lover feeling neglected by the workaholic upstairs. Then the lover joined the scene, and while he demonstrated he cared and valued their relationship, his dialog did not sound like anything that would actually come out of someone’s mouth.
*Snow Angels (Leigh Ellwood) was just fun. Unless you don’t like m/m/m but I do, and this was handled nicely. Snow angels and hot chocolate, and an established couple with a taste for their hunky neighbor. Smile.
*Snow Job (Logan Zachary) has a stranded motorist taking shelter at a diner, and being taken home for an evening that includes an interesting encounter with an unusual toy. Points for characterization and imagination.
Taking the Fall Line (Tray Ellis) While starting off a couple by throwing one of them into an extended encounter with the other’s family is certainly different, I just wasn’t buying the whole thing.
Snowy Reunion (Emjay Haze) Nice concept, execution over the top. I don’t believe Jonathan could have actually done the things he did to get back to Steven.
Adventures of a Yeti Hunter (L.J. Hamlin) Cute concept that got turned into a public service announcement for acceptance of all sexualities. Not everyone will care for the first person present tense, though it worked okay when the MC got off his soapbox. Loved the ending.
As with all anthologies, appeal will vary. The authors had a short word count to tell the story, so they had to put a lot in a small space.The anthology was assembled with some nice flow from story to story, which doesn’t always happen, that’s a plus. A few of the stories were quite good, a few okay, a couple that needed to have a stern “Really now?” at the editorial stage.
Rather than rate each story individually, you’ve read this far, you already know which is which, I’m going to mark my favorites with a * and rate the anthology as a whole at 3 marbles....more
Bookbub brings me some interesting things. I’m not sure I would have found this otherwise, though I am glad I did.
Unreachable is told from the adult’sBookbub brings me some interesting things. I’m not sure I would have found this otherwise, though I am glad I did.
Unreachable is told from the adult’s POV, and this is a story of Janice Rosenthal’s growing up as much as it is about her student. Even after eight years of teaching, or maybe because of them, Janice starts out making some assumptions about one of her students and how things will work out with Andrew in the class.
Andrew has the reputation of being difficult, unreachable, someone to teach around and hope for minimum disruption for the rest of the class. It turns out that each infraction has something legitimate and redeeming behind it, and their encounters force Janice to reevaluate herself and her assumptions.
The intertwining of student and teacher’s growth is mostly lovely, although I think Janice should have been a little less emphatic in her assumptions, because frankly declaring that someone is trans* is a darned big leap, and isn’t it the person’s choice to say or not? But forgive it (a little) for the sake of speeding the narrative.
Speeding the narrative is a good idea—while the story could stand to shed about 15k words, it is a powerful story shot with hope and eventually with love, and it needed to be told. Andrew starts as a kid with every hand raised against them, and while the arc is not yet done, this book ends with the acceptance of true self and an adult’s love and protection.
The novel is occasionally difficult reading, detailing the challenges of teaching in a poor, urban environment. The portrayal of the foster system is bleak and probably accurate for all its horror, a system trying to make do with inadequate resources and some really hideous people.
There’s a second novel following on from where this leaves off, and while I’m not up for an immediate second serving of this author’s style, I plan to read it....more
This charming retelling of the Cinderella tale gives us a Cinderfella with wonderful period feeling and just enough magic to make it all work.
We all kThis charming retelling of the Cinderella tale gives us a Cinderfella with wonderful period feeling and just enough magic to make it all work.
We all know the premise, but here, the author puts us into the sixteenth century French court, complete with politics, scheming and deception. Our hero has been stripped of his birthright, and in truly wicked fairy tale fashion he’s also been forced to dress and live as a woman. Even his fellow housemaids aren’t too clear that one of these servants is not like the others. Overwork and undernourishment keep our hero slight of frame, so the deception persists.
Fairy godmother turns up, right on cue, to send Cinder to the ball in silks and satins and the obligatory glass slippers, with the usual admonishments, and for the usual reasons. But however shall his Prince deal with the discovery that his princess is no lady?
This does all work out-of course! We need our HEA!-but not before our emotions get yanked all over the place with the additional worry of gender, succession, and some sixteenth century political intrigue. The author is historian enough to make us believe completely in the time and setting, so even though we’ve all known how this story works out since we were six years old, the how and where reads fresh.
We do get to see Prince Charming aka Henri’s POV a bit, and cementing in the HEA. The ending lurched a little for me, but all works out well, and I would happily spend another chilly evening wrapped up in a blanket with this author’s work....more