Really very good, much better than I expected. I don't know if all Sierra Riley's books are like this, or if I just got lucky on this one, but the wriReally very good, much better than I expected. I don't know if all Sierra Riley's books are like this, or if I just got lucky on this one, but the writing style was excellent. It was a slow beginning, but I actually liked that. I enjoyed being inside the heads of both MCs. All the Bay Area details seemed realistic and right, and the sex scene toward the end was an absolute scorcher. I just wish we could have been in Martin's head a little more and felt his pleasure as the relationship heated up. Travis took over the narrative a bit, but that's OK. They were an adorable couple and their backgrounds dovetailed nicely.
The one book of hers that I have to give a "meh" to, I'm afraid. There wasn't enough interplay between the two lovers, and as one reviewer said on AmaThe one book of hers that I have to give a "meh" to, I'm afraid. There wasn't enough interplay between the two lovers, and as one reviewer said on Amazon, Hawk's world is just getting too complex....more
I just wanted to try to say a few words (!) about this exhaustive, and exhausting, book. I loved Philip Norman's biography of John Lennon. This doesn'I just wanted to try to say a few words (!) about this exhaustive, and exhausting, book. I loved Philip Norman's biography of John Lennon. This doesn't quite match up, but that may not be Norman's fault. McCartney has lived 36 years longer than Lennon now, and is quite a different character. Part of what must have made the biography a difficult task is that it is very hard to pierce Paul's shell and the people around him have been discreet.
But what I came away with was an appreciation of McCartney's immense talent and work ethic, as well as a greater understanding of what makes him tick. He's someone who's lost the three people closest to him (his mother, John, Linda). Norman skillfully shows that his relationship with Jane Asher was quite hollow in some ways and that issues of control emerge in his relationships, which is why I think Norman dwelled so much on the awful relationship with Heather Mills, who really exposed Paul at his worst. (But also it's very revealing that Paul would have gone for a "bad girl" like Heather in the first place.)
Still, I can't help liking someone who when asked if marrying Heather was the greatest mistake of his life, replies, "It would have to be a prime contender." It makes me want to know what his other great mistakes were--but such transparency is rare with this guy. Yet he "tacitly approved" of Norman as his biographer, which shows some good judgment. I wonder if he thought he would outlive Norman, so that the secrets that are revealed after his death won't be added to the biography! Sir Paul is a very calculating person, it's clear, and Norman seems to deplore his actions much of the time. But this is no hatchet job and there's plenty of careful analysis that rewards the reader. It was good to fill in the gaps. For example, of course it makes sense that the "Paul is dead" period was after the Beatles broke up, but I'd never quite got this before. In fact, Norman's narrative of the Beatles breaking up *from Paul's viewpoint* is fascinating. He does a fine job discussing Paul's music as well.
After I finished I realized to my astonishment that Norman is the author of the memoir "Babycham Night," about his childhood with a narcissistic father on the Isle of Wight. More people should read that—it's excellent. And my hunch is that Paul has read it. He would be someone who would do his homework, and the oddly compassionate, familiar way he treats Norman (despite Norman's earlier rudeness towards him) seems to prove this. I think biography is such an intimate task, and Norman shows restraint and some empathy in his portrait of Paul. Recommended for Beatles fans.
PS. Norman is quite venomous about George, so any great fans/friends of George may be infuriated by his put-downs....more
I loved this book, so I am giving it five stars. It's definitely more litfic/YA than MM romance. Two boys fall in love in the Bay Area 15 years ago anI loved this book, so I am giving it five stars. It's definitely more litfic/YA than MM romance. Two boys fall in love in the Bay Area 15 years ago and their families are thrown into disarray. In each family one parent can't accept it while the other partner can. The boys have a tender romance while feeling the weight of their parents' anger/disappointment/confusion. This is one book I would love to see a sequel to.
"Feeling Himself Forgotten" begins formally. The unnamed narrator, who we soon realize is the tattooed young painter, Auden, from "Stealing Wishes," i"Feeling Himself Forgotten" begins formally. The unnamed narrator, who we soon realize is the tattooed young painter, Auden, from "Stealing Wishes," is reflecting on his artistic process. Auden sees himself as a true artist, one who only paints for himself rather than giving others what they want. “Real artists usually let the muse take over,” he muses.
Unlike "Stealing Wishes," told from the open, authentic, yet slightly obsessive perspective of Blaine, Auden’s co-worker in The Latté Da coffee shop in Memphis, FHF is Auden’s book, and it is swimming in literary and artistic references. Auden’s mood in the first few chapters is cool and solipsistic, worrying only about his “art” suffering in Savannah, where he left Memphis to teach a year earlier.
But then comes a breakthrough: “My muse was back in Memphis, and he was a man, an erratic coffee barista named Blaine.”
Auden prides himself on being elusive, keeping relationships with other men ever-casual, but over the course of this book he is schooled—by none other than the ghost of Tennessee Williams, whom he meets in New Orleans as he stops over for a day on the train trip to Memphis.
Every aspect of this book is beautifully done. The New Orleans details are great: “Tom” appears in a bar on Bourbon Street; Auden doesn’t know who he is. Yarbrough has done a fantastic job of raising a gay literary figure from the dead and making him one of the most vivid characters in the novel. The tobacco-stained, whiskey-sodden ghost is the voice of humanity and vitality, questioning Auden’s sometimes arrogant assumptions about what he will find in Memphis. He is an excellent foil for Auden.
The theme of the book slowly becomes about the regaining of lost love. While Auden’s memories of Blaine and Sallie, the Latté Da’s owner, are powerful, one of the great shocks he encounters on his return to Memphis is that the people that he loved and the place he remembers are no longer where they used to be. It is an existential crisis for Auden, who was so sure he could pick his life back up just as it was.
Penniless, Auden moves into a tenement building called the Sawland Milieu in a seedy neighborhood. What should have been a scene of devastation and desolation becomes one of artistic renewal (he begins to paint again, at first for money). He revisits Bachardy Park and its iconic fountain, where Blaine had photographed him, and strikes up acquaintance (and more) with a hunky guitar player. He makes friends with the sometimes grotesque inhabitants of his building, who counsel and console him. He keeps his cards close to his chest, only confessing his true desires of finding Blaine to the ghostly figure of Williams.
The Sawland Milieu is not as dangerous as it looks, though. It is a fertile place of sexuality and artifice. I loved this part of the book for its acceptance of oddity. The characters here are beyond colorful, yet they are all living their lives as best they can according to their own philosophies. Yarbrough is skilled at showing the delicious comedy of the place and the ultimate generosity of the people.
Once found, Blaine is not the same, and Auden has to adapt to a bewilderingly different reality: “Tom was right. If I wanted to be with Blaine, I had to start over.” He also must face his own selfishness at leaving Blaine behind to what could have been a disturbing fate. “Men never listen to their hearts, and they ignore the hearts of others,” he concludes. While the last section of "Feeling Himself Forgotten" is a tender love story, with a major dramatic episode centered around the park fountain, the book ends on a note of holding and release. Being safely held, Auden reluctantly releases his friendly guide, Tennessee Williams, who in turn is finally released. As are we readers.
But I felt sad to let this book go. It is a deeply felt meditation on the importance of balancing life and art, and how precarious that is in this day and age. The implication is that Auden, the artist, is more resilient than Blaine, who struggles with the problems of daily living and has no “art” to fall back on. But Auden needs Blaine. Art indeed has great powers, but one needs love to survive. Memory, too: “We are so afraid of forgetting because life steals everything.”
"Feeling Himself Forgotten" is a memorable work of queer fiction....more
I enjoyed The Power Paradox. I felt the book was remarkably perceptive in many ways. However, I thought it was too short, and it missed certain thingsI enjoyed The Power Paradox. I felt the book was remarkably perceptive in many ways. However, I thought it was too short, and it missed certain things, painting with too broad a brush. For example, Dacher Keltner's analysis doesn't explain why men catcall at women on the street (surely that behavior is not to the "greater good," but it seems to increase their status in other men's eyes), or the way women can act in a toxic manner to each other. In his view, gossip is a healthy corrective to other people "getting ahead of themselves," and perhaps this is true, but there is a predatory way that people can act in environments like high school, prison, the workplace, etc, that Keltner does not cover.
Keltner's insights about chronic stress stemming from powerlessness and leading to ill health were the most compelling takeaways for me. I also looked back and thought about careless actions in my own life where the reaction to what I had done surprised me. I like the idea that power and status are continually being negotiated between people, so one always has another chance. It's an optimistic book about a rather dark subject....more
Fast-paced and suspenseful. Way, way better than the second book in the series; this one was well constructed. I love what Hollis Shiloh does with hisFast-paced and suspenseful. Way, way better than the second book in the series; this one was well constructed. I love what Hollis Shiloh does with his/her empath characters. (Fear and lack of safety is definitely a huge motif in Shiloh's books, which I must be drawn to as well.)
I wish I had reviewed this closer to the time of reading, but I was impressed with it—the depiction of the cops with their negativity and anger issues seemed very real. Remind me never to work in a police station, OK?
As for the relative lack of sex, the emotional dynamic between the two MCs and the tight plot made up for it. I enjoyed the scene in the gay club, also....more
An exquisite book. I feel very lucky to have gotten it for .99 (thanks, Rainbow Shelf!).
All through, I kept wondering, who IS Kay Simone? Is she DonnaAn exquisite book. I feel very lucky to have gotten it for .99 (thanks, Rainbow Shelf!).
All through, I kept wondering, who IS Kay Simone? Is she Donna Tartt slumming? :) She writes like an angel, and the references to Alabama and The Secret History made me think there might be some Tartt connection. But no matter—I loved this story of an English teacher and his student who stumble into an affair after hooking up at a bar. Both have dark sides. Will, the teacher, refers to himself as an asshole often, but I never thought that. Daniel tired me a bit, but I'm not particularly in love with 18-year-olds and their energy. I thought Simone portrayed him and his tech-obsessed yet fundamentally decent generation very well.
A couple minor things bothered me: the way Daniel lied to his parents repeatedly about his whereabouts (the parents are completely shadowy figures, too, I guess to make Daniel's lies seem more inconsequential). Neither he nor Will seem bothered by this. And then the epilogue is a bit lengthy and veers into "tell not show" territory, with a third person omniscient POV taking over in a slightly stodgy way. It distanced me from the characters, but maybe that was the point. It didn't distance me enough to give the book less than a five-star review, though. I thought it was a beautiful read. It's going to change young LGBT people's lives.
A strong 3.5 for me on this one. I loved "Fireproof" and was hoping for a really juicy read, but sometimes I find that Hollis Shiloh's books are erratA strong 3.5 for me on this one. I loved "Fireproof" and was hoping for a really juicy read, but sometimes I find that Hollis Shiloh's books are erratic on the eroticism front... and "Still Fireproof" had much less sexual tension/description than the first book. (Even Levi's dirty talk is toned down!)
But what I loved about this book was the appealing, unusual character of Jett. He is a product of the foster care system and an introvert who thinks people don't like him. He's prickly and shy, and yet he is in a man's world, doing construction, with all of this internal angst inside him about his identity (being abandoned at birth) and his "powers," not to mention his sexuality.
While Levi has a role in this book, it's really more about Jett figuring out how to be comfortable in his own skin. I enjoyed the portrayal of these two gay/bi men working in hypermasculine jobs and having to do some external and internal adjusting on how co-workers see them as a couple.
There is a plot twist with Levi's ex that could have been soap opera-ish, but was ultimately handled in a realistic way.
More heat between Levi and Jett would have made this a five-star read for me, but I was glad to have read it. Copy graciously provided by the author for an honest review....more
Much better than I expected. The strong writing pulled me through, though it was never explained why Bristow hired Cormoran Strike in the first place.Much better than I expected. The strong writing pulled me through, though it was never explained why Bristow hired Cormoran Strike in the first place. Loved the London detail.
In general, though, her books are way too expensive! This literally stops me from going on with the series....more
Bottom line: I loved this book and will probably read it again. It's that good.
Two straight men, a musician and a pilot, are stuck together on a deserBottom line: I loved this book and will probably read it again. It's that good.
Two straight men, a musician and a pilot, are stuck together on a desert island. They slowly fall for each other, consummate the relationship, and then they are rescued before they can fully work out what they are to each other going forward.
My only quibble: I thought the fact that Troy was half Filipino was done really well, but I would have expected Brian to notice his beautiful skin more, that kind of thing. Some of the sensory details were rushed over, but the dialogue and pacing was excellent, as was the research into planes and crashes that the author had to have done.
No insta-love here :) This was a very slow-building, slow-burning book and the author has to be commended for not rushing it....more