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Charming2020

Charmingly Euphemistic

I am currently reading mostly gay romance, mysteries, science fiction, etc.

Currently reading

The Soldier's Scoundrel
Cat Sebastian
Brobots
Trevor Barton
Dark Space
Lisa Henry

Axel's Pup by Kim Dare

Axel's Pup (Werewolves & Dragons Book 1) - Kim Dare Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts - Lyn Gala

The most interesting part of this book for me was the treatment of werewolves in society.  The system of laws was similar to apartheid or Jim Crow, where the wolves have to follow all the laws humans do and many more, but no human has to follow laws with respect to wolves.  It brings to mind the famous Dred Scott case that said slaves and descendants of slaves had "no rights which the white man was bound to respect."  Werewolves aren't slaves anymore, but they aren't citizens either. There are signs toward the end of the book that a civil rights movement is beginning to gather momentum, which made it easier for me to read about.

 

Werewolves do have some natural advantages that help them survive in this nasty and unfair world.  They are naturally tough and strong - good fighters and hard to kill.  Many of them make a living with sex work or fighting (or both).  They take the view that since they aren't owned anymore, they always have a choice, even if it is only the choice to submit to poor treatment rather than bringing more trouble on themselves. I admired their coping mechanisms, though it was hard to read about.

 

Bayden is a werewolf and a natural submissive, and it makes things very hard for him when he falls for a human dominant, Axel.  Everything in his experience says don't trust humans, and certainly don't give them any control over you or let them find out anything they can use against you. It is a long process for him to learn to trust, and that made sense. The book dragged for me during this part because I am not that interested in motorcycle riding, bars, or BDSM scenes.  

 

I actually picked up this book because I am always looking for 24/7 BDSM books that I can really get.  The idea kind of fascinates me, but usually I just can't relate.  The best book on that score has been Claimings, Tails and Other Alien Artifacts (and its sequel). The alien culture is so different, while making so much sense on its own terms, that it worked for me.   I figured this book, where one of the characters is a werewolf might work for similar reasons.

 

This book didn't work as well for me as Claimings, but it was less confusing and annoying than most, because I did feel that everything Axel did was in Bayden's best interests.  Axel made mistakes, but he plainly wasn't being selfish or self indulgent. I still don't get why they each want and need this kind of relationship, but if I take it for granted that they do it seems like a good one. I definitely liked this book better than Duck! The world building was much better and the dom was much more competent and likable.

 

I am not sure if I will read more books in the series.  If the civil rights aspects are emphasized I probably will, but if it is mostly motorcycles and sex scenes, probably not.  Since 90% of the readership would probably prefer it the other way around, I am guessing I will be disappointed!

 

 

Highfell Grimoires by Langley Hyde

Highfell Grimoires - Langley Hyde

Really excellent, gripping steampunk flavored book.  There were a few issues - the pacing got a little slow in the middle, and too fast at the end. Some of the characters were a bit two-dimensional.  The plot was a little here and there toward the end.  But I felt pinned to my chair with breathless anticipation, and I will have to read it again soon because I know I missed some details while whipping through the pages to see what would happen next.

 

I am very much looking forward to this author's next book - and steampunk isn't usually a genre I really enjoy, I think because it is based on the Victorian era, and that was a dark, grim time. This book definitely captured the dark-grim.  The poor are treated like animals, upper class women are treated like pure-bred animals, justice is a laughably dim hope, everything is polluted and dirty - yeah, Victorian mood all right.

 

But the right writer can sell me on just about anything, and Langley Hyde is plainly the right writer.

Play It Again by metisket

Play It Again - metisket

Very good alternate reality story with a PTSD BAMF Stiles from a reality much harsher than canon and a sweet Derek from a much gentler reality.

 

Cover credit: by 

http://archiveofourown.org/works/1924842

Next chance to vote for M/M in DABWAHA
Next chance to vote for M/M in DABWAHA

Devil of Mercy by KouriArashi

Devil of Mercy - KouriArashi

Teen Wolf Fan Fiction

 

I put off reading this because it includes Stiles being a rent boy and that just doesn't appeal to me at all.  However, I was convinced to read it anyway, and it turns out that occurs before the story begins and Stiles, while damaged and gun shy, is a survivor on a mission.

 

Peter and Stiles make a great couple in this.  They are both ruthless and devious and very. very determined.  Stiles has strong instincts to protect the weak and save victims.  Peter doesn't, but he has strong instincts to make Stiles happy, and enjoys the plotting and scheming required to accomplish Stiles' plans. They are both brave to the point of insanity, and willing to take on absolutely anyone.

 

The story is good too - there is suspense and a mystery around what Deucalion is up to and what happened to the Sheriff.

 

Recommended.

Pride and Modern Prejudice by A.J. Michaels

Pride and Modern Prejudice - AJ Michaels

I have been a huge fan of Jane Austen for years, and I've read and reread all of her books.  I must have read Pride and Prejudice 20 times at least.  I've also watched nearly all of the adaptations and read many books based on P&P - modern and historical, mysteries, comedies, even crossover fan fiction. I even recall a cartoon called Wishbone doing a short bit.

 

All of this is, of course, fan fiction, though the term isn't usually used.  "Clueless" is fan fiction in the form of a movie (although of Emma, rather than P&P).  Bridget Jones Diary is a fan fiction novel. 

 

What makes a good adaptation of Pride and Prejudice?  For me, it has to capture the spirit of the book.  The romance is lovely, of course, but so is the character development, the humor, and the close relationships with family and friends beyond the romance.  Darcy and Lizzie aren't broken Heathcliff sorts.  They have loved family members and friends, they are intelligent, decent people who generally enjoy their lives.  They each are a bit lonely and a bit too arrogant and sure that they perceive everyone's character and true motivations. They don't need each other in order to change who they are, but to be each others' match, to broaden each others' horizons, and to be happy.

 

So how is Pride and Modern Prejudice?  Not bad.  I liked the main characters.  I laughed a lot.  I had a good time. I didn't have the worry for the characters and the deep satisfaction of seeing them finally together that the original always gives me - but that is a high bar!

 

It was fun to see how the author approached various plot points in her retelling - she pretty much always went for the funny and offbeat option rather than trying to stick too close to the original, which in many places wouldn't make sense in modern times. The plot points didn't always make a lot of sense, and many of the characters shared little but a name with the originals. I was also sorry the sex was closed door - I don't need a lot of sex in my romances, but sex is an important part of how characters falling in love relate to each each other and I miss it when it isn't there at all.

 

So I would recommend this with the caveat that it does better with fun and humor than with plot and character.

 

 

 

Brute by Kim Fielding

Brute - Kim Fielding

I read a Cracked article recently about how, as you grow older, it becomes harder to enjoy certain things in movies.  Instead of enjoying the car chase you feel feel bad for the people being plowed down. Instead of admiring the loner who picks up and leaves, you think he's a dick for abandoning his family.  That sort of thing.

 

I don't know that it is really age related, because I have always had a soft spot for the bystanders and side characters in stories.  And that is why I had a hard time enjoying this book.  Brute's world is horrible, not just for him but for everyone who suffers any sort of misfortune or disability.  

 

When the story starts, we learn how abused and mistreated Brute has been.  He is big and ugly, and his parents were despised by the locals, so he is picked on, abused, cheated by his employer and miserable in every way.  His town is an awful place, and it is a relief when he leaves.  But then he gets to the big city and you realize that it isn't the town that is awful - it is the whole society.  People starve and freeze to death.  A guy who has lost both hands is left to sit in the street and beg.  There is apparently no hint of any sort of safety net, and no one has any problem with this.  At one point, Brute tries to get someone in charge to help him find a beggar who is about to freeze to death, and the guy in charge refuses and points out that people would be pissed if they were asked to help beggars.

 

It's a good story, it's well written, and I liked the two main characters.  But I am just too soft hearted for this sort of story.

50% rebate sale at ARe today only

There's Something About Ari - L.B. Gregg Double Hue - Briana Lawrence Duet - Eden Winters Highfell Grimoires - Langley Hyde Mountain Prey - Lyn Gala Brute - Kim Fielding Pride and Modern Prejudice - AJ Michaels

Here's what I got

 

 

And what an adorable couple they are, too

Tiffany's Gorgeous New Engagement Ring Ad Features a Real-Life Gay Couple

 

25 best M/M reads of 2014, Part 3 - audiobooks

Zero at the Bone - Jane Seville Among the Living - Gomez Pugh, Jordan Castillo Price Threshold - Jordan L. Hawk Stormhaven - Jordan L. Hawk Blame It On The Mistletoe - Eli Easton

Zero at the Bone by Jane Seville

I’ve loved this book since I first read it, and I loved the audiobook too.

 

Among the Living and Criss Cross by Jordan Castillo Price

Love the whole series, and the narrator does them justice

 

Threshold and Stormhaven by Jordan Hawk

I am liking the whole series – these two are my favorites this year.

 

Blame It on the Mistletoe by Eli Easton

A cute Christmas story, but what made me love it is the narrator’s voice

 

If I hadn't run out of room: Josh Lanyon's audiobooks are uniformly excellent.

25 best M/M reads of 2014, Part 2 - fan fiction

Hide Of A Life War by Etharei (Teen Wolf)

Grown-up BAMF Stiles is awesome in a hostage situation

Hide Of A Life War

 

No Force in the Universe Can Stop Me by notbeloved07 (Avengers)

Bruce is going about his day hacking Stark Industries to learn more about the Hulkbuster weapons when he comes across some discrepancies in the code.

No Force in the Universe Can Stop Me

 

Earthbound Spook by cest_what (Harry Potter)

Two months after Draco Malfoy was reported dead, Harry and Ron found him tangled in Strangler Ivy on the grounds of Hogwarts.

Earthbound Spook

 

Old Country by astolat (Supernatural/Harry Potter)

Sam and Dean go to Hogwarts.

Old Country

 

Falling by blackkat (Harry Potter/X-men)

Harry is unstuck in time and falls in with some X-men in his wanderings.

Falling

 

The Boy Who Spoke With Ghosts by AvocadoLove (Inception/Sixth Sense)

Arthur’s real name is Cole Sear

The Boy Who Spoke With Ghosts

 

Snow Trials by Tallihensia (Smallville)

Clark and Lex are trapped in the wilderness without Superman’s powers.

Snow Trials

 

Iron Man: Director of S.W.O.R.D. by Pookaseraph

Tony has to come up with something to fill the vacuum left by SHIELD

Iron Man: Director of S.W.O.R.D.

25 best M/M reads of 2014, Part 1 - ebooks

Hooch & Cake - Heidi Cullinan Meatworks - Jordan Castillo Price Seven - Adrienne Wilder Gives Light - Rose Christo The Boy with the Painful Tattoo - Josh Lanyon Assimilation, Love and Other Human Oddities -  Lyn Gala Pet to the Tentacle Monsters! - Lilia Ford Quick Change Artist - C.S. Laurel The Foxhole Court - Nora Sakavic

On another group we were asked to list the 25 best books we read in 2014.  They didn't have to be released in 2014 - just read last year.  Here are mine, divided into three posts for length.

 

Quicksand and Quick Change Artist by C.S. Laurel

I get such a kick out of this series, which also includes B.Quick.

 

Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

This one isn’t flawless, but it has really stuck with me. I have the second and third book in this series and I am waiting to read them until I have a block of time.

 

Pet to the Tentacle Monsters by Lilia Ford

Nearly PWP yet it does have a compelling framing device.

 

Gives Light by Rose Christo

Lovely writing.

 

Assimilation, Love, and Other Human Oddities by Lyn Gala

Love this science fiction series, and especially the world building. One of my top three.

 

Fair Play by Josh Lanyon

One of those mysteries where the main characters are unraveling a mystery form the past.

 

Boy With the Painful Tattoo

One of my top three this year. Kit’s development as a character really worked, and the relationship moved in a satisfying direction

 

SEVEN by Adrienne Wilder

This science fiction romance had a bunch of issues but I ended up liking it a lot anyway.

 

The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles

I resist historical M/M romances, but this, Think of England, and the Whybourne and Griffin series are changing my mind.

 

Think of England by K.J. Charles

One of my top three. I had so much fun reading it, and the sense of place and time was amazing. It felt like reading murder mysteries of the time, but better.

 

Hooch & Cake by Heidi Cullinan

I am not always crazy about BDSM, but Special Delivery worked so well for me. I really believed the MCs needed and enjoyed their kink, and I wanted them to be happy. This short is about their wedding, which is usually a really bland trope, but this one brought back the feelings from Special Delivery, and made me happy for them in all their kinkiness all over again.

 

Meatworks by Jordan Castillo Price

A tough read, but so good. I keep thinking about it.

 

 

Booklikes' policy on fan fiction

The full answer is here:

 

http://booklikes.com/thread/1651/policy-on-fan-fiction-delete-entries-reviews

 

Briefly,  - we are allowed to catalog fanfic (and even WIPs). BL might take down a listing at the request of an author depending on the circumstances, BUT they will never remove any reviews from our blog. So, I feel safe adding reviews here.

 

(For context, Goodreads is taking down fan fiction listings at the request of the authors.  If the listing is taken down, all of the ratings and reviews vanish also.)

 

 

Cracked: "The 4 Most Insane Overreactions to Bad Online Reviews"

http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-impressively-insane-reactions-to-bad-online-reviews/

 

 

Here's the photo they use to illustrate the section on Kathleen Hale.

Attention all U.S. citizens:

Assimilation, Love and Other Human Oddities by Lyn Gala

Assimilation, Love and Other Human Oddities -  Lyn Gala Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts - Lyn Gala

I really, really enjoyed this.  It didn't blow my mind like Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts, but it was a pleasure to read from beginning to end.  It looks like there will be at least one more book in this series, and I am really looking forward to reading it - without at all feeling cliffhanger-ish.

 

It is such a pleasure to watch the members of each species try to figure out the other species. Not just their customs and language, but also the differences in their emotional responses and even their battle strategies. Liam is getting the hang of it, but the new human character, Captain Susan Diallo, is constantly making mistakes and offending.

 

Like Liam, I am beginning to relate better to the Rownt way and find the human way to be puzzling and illogical.  I can't like Diallo.  But when I put myself in her position, everything she does makes sense. She is in the human military, and they are in pretty desperate straits.  They need every advantage, and she is there to figure out the Rownt and use the knowledge to the human military's advantage.  The fact that she is wrong about a lot of things makes sense given how hard the Rownt are to figure out. But I still want to wring her neck a few times.  :-)

 

Ondry and Liam are both coming into their own in this book.  They are more confident in each other and in their skills and standing in the Rownt community. Ondry is lovely character.  He is ambitious and skilled at what he does, but his first priority is always his palteia.  Liam is dedicated to Ondry, and hence is becoming more ambitious and skilled himself.  His submissive nature and his desire to please and serve plainly make the humans underestimate him constantly (idiots). The development of their relationship is lovely.  It reminds me of Vic and Jacob in the Psycop series - not super mushy, and not fraught with dumb misunderstandings and jealousy - just deeper and stronger with time.  Romantic underneath rather than on the surface.  

 

There are some great touches, such as Liam's sorrow when he learns that a planet he defended while in the army has fallen to the rebels.  A fellow soldier died there - starved - because their food consisted of corn and he was allergic to corn (this highlighted how desperate the human army is).  The grandmothers are awesome as always, and there is a chirpy young Rount trader who shows Liam that being regarded as a youngling brings a power of its own.

 

If there are any downsides, I would say that this book was maybe a little too smooth and easy, and the hard scifi aspects were on the light side.  However, quite the opposite will plainly pertain in the next book in this series.