Monday, April 11, 2016

LGBT Monday: The Queen and the Homo Jock King

The Queen & the Homo Jock King (At First Sight, #2)Author: T.J. Klune
Series: At First Sight, #2
Released: February 29th 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 350 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Dreamspinner Press

Do you believe in love at first sight?
Sanford Stewart sure doesn't. In fact, he pretty much believes in the exact opposite, thanks to the Homo Jock King. It seems Darren Mayne lives for nothing more than to create chaos in Sandy’s perfectly ordered life, just for the hell of it. Sandy despises him, and nothing will ever change his mind.
Or so he tells himself.
It's not until the owner of Jack It—the club where Sandy performs as drag queen Helena Handbasket—comes to him with a desperate proposition that Sandy realizes he might have to put his feelings about Darren aside. Because Jack It will close unless someone can convince Andrew Taylor, the mayor of Tucson, to keep it open.
Someone like Darren, the mayor’s illegitimate son.
The foolproof plan is this: seduce Darren and push him to convince his father to renew Jack It’s contract with the city.
Simple, right?

What on Earth did I just read? I swear my head is still spinning…

The Queen and the Homo Jock King was one of those sequels that I’ve waited a very long time to read, and that I finally picked up with no small amount of trepidation. You see, the first book, Tell Me It’s Real, is one of the funniest, most endearing books I’ve ever read, and writing something that could at least come close was likely very difficult. However, it would appear that TJ Klune was more than up to the task. The Queen is hilariously funny, and as usual, TJ had me laughing myself into stitches mere minutes after I started reading. Seriously, I almost died laughing. He named a drag queen character Sofonda Cox, for heaven’s sake. And that was one tiny detail of many.

However, if you pay attention, The Queen and the Homo Jock King is a pretty serious book underneath – admittedly far, far, far underneath. But TJ manages to slip in loss and grief, deep insecurities and even increase awareness about drag queens. He does it all in his typical way, with much humor and by refusing to pull back punches. Avoidance of issues isn’t in his repertoire. He pushes them right in your face and makes you deal with them… with style.

In terms of plot, QATHJK leaves a lot to be desired, only you don’t desire it in the least. When you think about it with a cool head, you realize that it’s just a flimsy excuse to push our protagonists together, a romance cliché if there ever was one, but while you’re reading, you simply don’t care. Besides, TJ made even the cliché his own and he hid several small surprises within.

If I have to point out one objection to this book, I’d say it’s a tiny bit too long. You just can’t laugh that much at once so it must be read in smaller doses, which isn’t something I normally do. Every concession is worth it, however. This book is a treasure, just like Tell Me It’s Real before it. Read it and enjoy.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Tell Me Three Things

Tell Me Three ThingsAuthor: Julie Buxbaum
Series: Standalone
Released: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Delacorte
Length: 336 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?
It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.
In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?
Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends. 

Grief is a very strange thing. It makes people behave differently, uncharacteristically and unpredictably. Grief often causes us to act out and neglect those we care for the most. In order to write about it, truly write about it, one must understand it completely and intimately, otherwise it’s just an empty plot device that leads absolutely nowhere. Julie Buxbaum fully understands the subtleties of grief, the isolation and odd behaviors that come with it, and because of her thorough understanding, Tell Me Three Things stands out among others of its kind. It is, in fact, quite extraordinary.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Audiobook Review: Calamity

Calamity (Reckoners, #3)Author: Brandon Sanderson
Series: The Reckoners, #3
Released: February 16th 2016
Publisher: Audible Studios
Length: 11 hrs and 51 mins
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Audible

When Calamity lit up the sky, the Epics were born. David's fate has been tied to their villainy ever since that historic night. Steelheart killed his father. Firefight stole his heart. And now Regalia has turned his closest ally into a dangerous enemy.
David knew Prof's secret and kept it even when Prof struggled to control the effects of his Epic powers. But facing Obliteration in Babilar was too much. Once the Reckoners' leader, Prof has now embraced his Epic destiny. He's disappeared into those murky shadows of menace Epics are infamous for the world over, and everyone knows there's no turning back....
But everyone is wrong. Redemption is possible for Epics - Megan proved it. They're not lost. Not completely. And David is just about crazy enough to face down the most powerful High Epic of all to get his friend back. Or die trying.

Calamity! I can’t believe it’s over! I’ve waited so long to read this… When this trilogy started, I’d been mostly unfamiliar with Mr. Sanderson’s work, but his easy style and humor won me over in a heartbeat. This trilogy has been a favorite of mine since the very beginning, and while the ending didn’t quite provide the entertainment I was hoping for, it was nevertheless a satisfying finale that gave me answers and more or less the type conclusion I was hoping for.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Review: Brotherhood in Death

Brotherhood in Death (In Death, #42)Author: J.D. Robb
Series: In Death, #42
Released: February 4th 2016
Publisher: Piatkus
Length: 400 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

Sometimes brotherhood can be another word for conspiracy...
Dennis Mira just had two unpleasant surprises. First he learned that his cousin Edward was secretly meeting with a real estate agent about their late grandfather’s magnificent West Village brownstone, despite the promise they both made to keep it in the family. Then, when he went to the house to confront Edward about it, he got a blunt object to the back of the head.
Luckily Dennis is married to Charlotte Mira, the NYPSD’s top profiler and a good friend of Lieutenant Eve Dallas. When the two arrive on the scene, he explains that the last thing he saw was Edward in a chair, bruised and bloody. When he came to, his cousin was gone. With the mess cleaned up and the security disks removed, there’s nothing left behind but a few traces for forensics to analyze. 
As a former lawyer, judge, and senator, Edward Mira mingled with the elite and crossed paths with criminals, making enemies on a regular basis. Like so many politicians, he also made some very close friends behind closed—and locked—doors. But a badge and a billionaire husband can get you into places others can’t go, and Eve intends to shine some light on the dirty deals and dark motives behind the disappearance of a powerful man, the family discord over a multimillion-dollar piece of real estate . . . and a new case that no one saw coming. 

First of all, thank you, Nora Roberts, for being consistently amazing. Getting the latest J. D. Robb book is practically a holiday in my house. No more than six months pass between her books, and yet somehow they always seem like an eternity.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Review: Midnight Marked

Midnight Marked (Chicagoland Vampires, #12)Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland, #12
Released: March 1st 2016
Publisher: NAL 
Length: 368 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

As the Chicagoland Vampires series continues, Merit and Ethan find themselves in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, where winning may require the ultimate sacrifice...
A vampire’s grudges don’t stay dead long...
Merit is one of Chicago's most skilled vampire warriors; these days, she doesn't scare easily. But she and Master vampire Ethan have made a new and powerful enemy, and he won't give up until he owns the Windy City.
With his last plan thwarted, he's more determined than ever to watch Cadogan burn. Ethan has put the House's vampires on high alert, but their enemy will stop at nothing, including pitting vampire against vampire...
In this deadly game of cat-and-mouse, the stakes are life or death—and winning might mean sacrificing everything...

As the Chicagoland Vampires series comes closer to its big finale, the excitement is reaching an almost unbearable level. Midnight Marked, the penultimate book in this excellent, beloved series, brings just a tiny bit more of everything: more romance, more action, more friendships, more enemies, and more danger than ever before.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Review: Catch a Tiger by the Tail

Catch a Tiger by the Tail (THIRDS #6)Author: Charlie Cochet
Series: THIRDS, #6
Released: February 5th 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Source: Publisher for review
Length: 216 pages
Buy: Dreamspinner Press

Calvin Summers and Ethan Hobbs have been best friends since childhood, but somewhere along the line, their friendship evolved into something more. With the Therian Youth Center bombing, Calvin realizes just how short life can be and no longer keeps his feelings for his best friend a secret. Unfortunately, change is difficult for Ethan; most days he does well to deal with his Selective Mutism and Social Anxiety. Calvin’s confession adds a new struggle for Ethan, one he fears might cost him the friendship that’s been his whole world for as long as he can remember.
As partners and Defense Agents at the THIRDS, being on Destructive Delta is tough at the best of times, but between call-outs and life-threatening situations, Calvin and Ethan not only face traversing the challenges of their job, but also working toward a future as more than friends. 

Dear THIRDS Nerds, the time has come. We now hold in our hands the long awaited, breathlessly anticipated new THIRDS book and the second one that strays away from Dex and Sloane, albeit not very far. Calvin and Hobbs’ story has been brewing for quite a while, what with their fear of change, Ethan’s selective mutism and social anxiety problems, and all the mayhem surrounding Destructive Delta on a daily basis.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Review: Manners & Mutiny

Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School, #4)Author:Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School, #4
Released: November 3rd 2015
Publisher: Atom
Length: 328 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

Lessons in the art of espionage aboard Mademoiselle Geraldine’s floating dirigible have become tedious without Sophronia’s sweet sootie Soap nearby. She would much rather be using her skills to thwart the dastardly Picklemen, yet her concerns about their wicked intentions are ignored, and now she’s not sure whom to trust. What does the brusque werewolf dewan know? On whose side is the ever-stylish vampire Lord Akeldama? Only one thing is certain: a large-scale plot is under way, and when it comes to fruition, Sophronia must be ready to save her friends, her school, and all of London from disaster—in decidedly dramatic fashion, of course.
What will become of our proper young heroine when she puts her years of training to the test? Find out in this highly anticipated and thrilling conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Finishing School series!

It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series, albeit knowing without a doubt that this wonderful author will give us so much more to enjoy.

It was very easy to fall in love with these characters and their quirks yet again. Each of them is a small work of art, an unforgettable combination of oddities and personality traits. Sophoronia in particular is very easy to love, and so very competent to boot! I loved her in this book more than I ever loved her before. As silly as this series was most times (and really, silliness is what Carriger does best), we’ve still seen Sophoronia grow up to become a skilled, self-assured young woman. No more than a mischievous girl when we first met her, we’re leaving her as someone else entirely, a highly trained, sophisticated girl, but still with that familiar devil-may-care attitude.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Review: Anna and the Swallow Man

Anna and the Swallow ManAuthor: Gavriel Savit
ISBN: 9780399553042
Released: January 27th 2016
Publisher: Knopf BfYR
Length: 240 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon
         The Book Depository

Kraków, 1939. A million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. This is no place to grow up. Anna Łania is just seven years old when the Germans take her father, a linguistics professor, during their purge of intellectuals in Poland. She’s alone. 
And then Anna meets the Swallow Man. He is a mystery, strange and tall, a skilled deceiver with more than a little magic up his sleeve. And when the soldiers in the streets look at him, they see what he wants them to see. 
The Swallow Man is not Anna’s father—she knows that very well—but she also knows that, like her father, he’s in danger of being taken, and like her father, he has a gift for languages: Polish, Russian, German, Yiddish, even Bird. When he summons a bright, beautiful swallow down to his hand to stop her from crying, Anna is entranced. She follows him into the wilderness. 
Over the course of their travels together, Anna and the Swallow Man will dodge bombs, tame soldiers, and even, despite their better judgment, make a friend. But in a world gone mad, everything can prove dangerous. Even the Swallow Man. 

Gavriel Savit’s literary debut is one of those rare, gorgeous little gems that leave you completely in awe of the author’s talent. Savit is incredibly skillful with words, a true artist fully aware of the importance of every single sentence. Each one is a small work of art, poetic and beautiful in its simplicity.

Monday, January 25, 2016

LGBT Monday: Tackling the Tight End

Tackling The Tight End (Long Pass Chronicles, #3)Author: Tara Lain
Series: Long Pass Chronicles
Released: January 15th 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Length: 200 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Dreamspinner Press

Everyone wants the best for SCU student and tight end Raven Nez—and they know exactly what that is. Enter the NFL draft, become a big football hero, promote his tribe’s casino, and make a lot of money to help people on the reservation. Just one problem. Raven’s gay and he really wants to work with gay kids. Plus he figures a gay Native tight end will get flattened in the NFL. Then the casino board hires a talented student filmmaker to create ads for the tribal business and asks Raven to work with him. But the filmmaker is Dennis Hascomb, a guy with so much to hide and a life so ugly it’s beyond Raven’s understanding. Still he’s drawn to Dennis's pain and incredible ability to survive. Captivated by Raven’s stories of the two-spirited and by the amazing joy of finally having a friend, Dennis knows he has to break free from everything he’s ever been taught was good—but that’s a struggle that could kill him and Raven too. Is there a chance for “the great red hope” and the “whitest guy on earth”? A future for the serpent and the raven? 

For the most part, Tara Lain writes romance after my own heart. There is something so alluring about her characters, these men that always exude incredible loneliness, but show bravery when it’s most needed. While I can do without Lain’s shifter romance (or anyone’s, really), her Long Pass Chronicles are a guilty pleasure of mine. Hot, lonely football players, closeted or not, are bound to steal my heart.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Review: The Dirt on Ninth Grave

The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson, #9)Author: Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson, #9
Published: January 12th 2016
Publisher: Piatkus
Length: 352 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

In a small village in New York lives Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she's more than a little taken aback. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook, a devastatingly handsome man whose smile is breathtaking and touch is scalding. He stays close, and she almost feels safe with him around.
But no one can outrun their past, and the more lies that swirl around her—even from her new and trusted friends—the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. A force that absolutely will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. But that doesn't help in her quest to find her identity and recover what she's lost. That will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. The disarming fry cook who lies with every breath he takes. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him. Either way.

If there's one thing Darynda Jones knows better than pretty much everyone else, it's how to keep a series fresh and exciting through more pages than one can count. Charley Davidson never gets old (no, really, she's more or less immortal), she never gets tired (supernatural beinh, duh), and she never gets bored… or boring, for that matter. There are very few series I love more at this point and I don't see that changing any time soon.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Review: Thicker Than Water

Thicker Than WaterAuthor: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Standalone
Released: December 29th 2015
Publisher: Kensington
Length: 322 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.
Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years. 
The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.
Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

After her very successful Elementals series, which I loved dearly, I’ve been waiting for Brigid Kemmerer standalone project with bated breath. It promised to have everything I’ve come to love about her work: small town mystery, forbidden romance in dual point of view and plenty of excitement to go around.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Audiobook Review: Of Dreams and Rust

Of Dreams and Rust (Of Metal and Wishes, #2)Author: Sarah Fine
Narrator: Alexandra Bailey
Series: Of Metal and Wishes
Released: August 7th 2015
Publisher: Audible
Length: 7 hrs and 53 mins

In the year since the collapse of the slaughterhouse where Wen worked as her father’s medical assistant, she’s held all her secrets close. She works in the clinic at the weapons factory and sneaks away to nurse Bo, once the Ghost, now a boy determined to transform himself into a living machine. Their strange, fragile friendship soothes some of the ache of missing Melik, the strong-willed Noor who walked away from Wen all those months ago - but it can’t quell her fears for him.
The Noor are waging a rebellion in the west. When she overhears plans to crush Melik’s people with the powerful war machines created at the factory, Wen makes the painful decision to leave behind all she has known - including Bo - to warn them. But the farther she journeys into the war zone, the more confusing things become. A year of brutality seems to have changed Melik, and Wen has a decision to make about him and his people: How much is she willing to sacrifice to save them from complete annihilation?

Of Dreams and Rust is the second part of Sarah Fine marvelous fantasy duology. Fine is an author of considerable experience and strength, who’s proven herself more than capable of executing even the most elaborate plots while paying much attention to the psychological development of her characters. With a PhD in psychology and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brown University, Fine puts her extensive knowledge to good use. Her characters are works of art in their own right, with layer upon layer of true personalities and consistencies in their behaviors.