Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What do Sue Brown, Spider Robinson and K. A. Merican have in common?

They are all authors I have read over the last two days!!

Telempath by Spider Robinson 3*
BLURB: Spider's 1976 first novel, in its umpteenth reincarnation.
Isham Stone is the second-best assassin left in a shattered world. He's many miles from home, half-dead, his left arm is gangrenous, and he possesses--like everyone else--a sense of smell 1000 times better than a wolf's. Ahead of him, in the stinking ruins of New York, hides Carlson, the greatest killer of all time. All Isham has to do is stay alive long enough to find Carlson and kill him. But Carlson is guarded by ghosts. They rode the winds when Earth was bubbling rock, shared the world with men for a million years, and though we sensed their presence we never truly believed in them--for in our arrogance we assumed life was an exclusive property of solids and liquids... Now they've declared war on us, and our species is nearly annihilated...thanks to the man Isham has come to kill.
The first third of this book, as "By Any Other Name," won the Hugo Award for Best Novella, the first of Spider's 3 Hugos.

My Review: I first read this one when it came out back in !976 and I hadn't realised how much my taste in reading had changed over the years. I don't know if it's because I wasa single teenage girl when I first read it and am now a widowed mother in her 50's but it wasn't as good as I remembered it. Don't get me wrong it was a wonderful book but the impact it had back then just wasn't there any more. I would recommend this if you enjoy nostalgia and the idea of peaceful solutions and a plot so twisted it makes your mind spin but otherwise I think it would have been better for me to have remembered this book rather than reread it.

Diary of a Teenage Taxidermist by K.A. Merikan 4*
BLURB: --- Too cool for school. ---
Ethan is a levelheaded, some might say ‘antisocial’, young artist-entrepreneur with a love for quirky taxidermy. He is close to graduating high school and at a crossroads. All he wants is to develop his business further, yet all his parents want is for him to go to law school. That is more than enough problems for Ethan, so any kind of love life is off his agenda. That is until Robert Hunter, the quarterback of the football team, comes crashing into him. Literally.
Robert drifts along in high school. He has good grades, he’s getting ready for med school, he’s even leaving potentially problematic dating until college. He’s gay, not ashamed of it, but he doesn’t want to stir up any trouble. His carefully laid plans might just go completely off the rails though, when he drinks too much at a party and causes irreversible damage to Ethan, the school’s weirdo.
Robert has to face the fact that maybe he isn’t the good guy he always considered himself to be. And maybe he doesn’t want to go to med school. And maybe, just maybe, he doesn’t actually want to wait with dating until college.

My Review: It was the title that first drew my attention with this book, then the blurb piqued my interest. This was an excellent coming of age gay romance even though it had a very strange start to the relationship. I really enjoyed both main characters albiet Ethan was a little bit on the socially inept side of life and Rob was a typical blind to the obvious kind of guy. Over all, having bought up four teenage boys, I truly identified so many quirks and behaviours that I felt the book had some true realism to it, although the irreversible damage with Ethan wasn't as central to the story as I had expected it to be.

Complete Faith (Morning Report #2) by Sue Brown 5*
BLURB: For Tommy Bradley, a hand working on the Lost Cow Ranch in rural Texas, admitting his sexuality is impossible, even if his bosses, Luke and Simon, are gay—Tommy has spent his entire life hiding the truth from his homophobic parents. Then Tommy meets pastor Noah Taylor in Luke’s father’s hospital room, and his difficult secret becomes that much harder to keep.
Noah is unlike any man of God—or any man—Tommy’s ever met. For one thing, his congregation is made up primarily of GLBT individuals and their families. For another, he isn’t afraid of the attraction he feels toward Tommy, and he makes his intentions very clear. But Noah won’t hide his sexuality or his love from the world, and he won’t start a relationship with Tommy while Tommy hides his, either. Faced with the choice of losing Noah or coming out to his parents, Tommy takes his first steps out of the closet.
But Tommy isn’t the only one facing challenges. Thanks to an outpouring of hatred from Pastor Jackson and a group of ranch owners, Noah must cope with the possible loss of his church and his livelihood.

My Review: This was a truly well woven story that was not preachy although one of the main characters was a preacher. One thing I really liked about this story was that Ms Brown drew the reader so deep into the story that every nasty thing that happened hurt like it was happening to one of my own. On the other hand she didn't fill it with angst and grief so I felt really good when I go to the end.

Papa's Boy (Morning Report #3) by Sue Brown 5*
BLURB: Sequel to Complete Faith Morning Report: Book Three
When Ray Sloane tires of the men in his usual club, he finds himself in the Pink Palm, an inauspiciously named spit-and-sawdust dive, not the sort of place an elementary school teacher and pastor’s assistant should be seen in. On the other hand, Ray needs a fresh face. But what he gets is a closeted, desperately unhappy divorcĂ© named Zeke.
Losing his teaching job and his kids has left Zeke bitter and in denial about his sexuality, but Ray is determined to get under his skin. Just as Zeke starts to relax, life interferes with Ray’s plans: Lee, the teenage organist from St. Mark's, tells his parents that he was abused as a teenager by a prominent congregation member from his old church, and Ray becomes the target of bullies at school and has to worry about his own job. With the specter of what happened to Zeke hanging over him, Ray must protect Lee and his own reputation, all while trying to convince Zeke that he doesn’t need to run away when their relationship grows more intense.

My Review: This was, yet again, an excellently written complex story that gives the reader plenty to think about and manages to bring to an end the story arc started in Morning Report. Ms. Brown manages to give the reader an excellent romance between two men who couldn't have been more different in their approach to being gay. I liked that as in the previous book the religious aspects didn't bog the story down, nor was it ignored as it played such an important role in the lives of everyone involved. I must say that the book gave me a happy, well rounded finish that I truly liked.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Reviewing Frankie And Al by Sue Brown.

Frankie & Al (Frankie's Series)by Sue Brown 4*
BLURB: Dumped by his boyfriend, Frankie Mason goes out with the girls, gets totally trashed, and ends his night by falling in front of a taxi. He’s rescued by a man with beautiful green eyes who takes care of him until he’s put into an ambulance. Frankie curses himself as he realizes he doesn’t have the man’s phone number. Still in pain a few days later, he is dragged out to a club only to be saved by Green Eyes once more. This time, he isn’t letting the man go.
Unfortunately Frankie has to attend a team-building exercise, nicknamed Womb Weekend, organized by his company. Al is working so he doesn't mind, until he discovers who the team leader is. Al has a lot of explaining to do!

My Review: I picked this because it sounded like a short fun read and I was right. I enjoyed it even more than expected because it was a rarity in the m/m genre in that it is quintessentially British! I especially liked that the characters used the British language as it should be, idioms and slang included. Unfortunately I have come across a great many books set in Britain that have been ruined by the publishers (or editors) removing said language, so as not to confuse their American readers. So glad this one got through as it made my day to read it.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Retracting my words

I said just yesterday that nothing had moved me to want to review the books I've been reading but then today I read and finished one that needs me to say something about it.
On Deaf Ears by Penelope Rivers 4*
BLURB:When James Brandon, writer for Paradigm Shifts magazine, is sent to Port Coquitlam, Canada to do a research article on a werewolf, he is eager to write yet another skeptical piece about the supernatural. After all, that's what sharp tongued James is known for—skepticism, and disdain to boot. But when he arrives in Canada, he realizes he's going to be more than hunting a werewolf. He's also going to be hunting the sexy innkeeper, Vincent Tyrone. James is turned on by the man's strength and the fact that the man never lets his deafness get in the way of his dreams.
Soon, though, James's life is turned upside down when he realizes that werewolves may exist after all—and that the man he's now calling his lover may just be one of them.

My Review: I felt moved to say something about this book because I really want readers, and the author, to know how good it is. It was a werewolf story that avoided all the usual tropes, but it also had a deaf MC that wasn’t portrayed as stupid or slow. The thing I loved the most was how accurate the deaf character was, to the point where the other MC often forgot he was deaf and spoke with his back turned. Having interacted with people who have been deaf and are excellent lip readers, I found this portrayal was realistic and a refreshing take on the characterisation. The whole story was equally realistic and well done even with the paranormal element of werewolves.

I have also finished listening to
Audiobook: The Final Key: Triad, Book 2 by: Catherine Asaro Narrated by: Catherine Asaro, Suzanne Weintraub Narration 5* Story: 5*