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review 2017-02-24 20:46
Charmed & Dangerous (Anthology)
Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy - Andrea Speed,Rhys Ford,Charlie Cochet,K.J. Charles,Jordan L. Hawk,Lou Harper,Astrid Amara,Nicole Kimberling,Ginn Hale,Jordan Castillo Price

Dim Sum Asylum - Rhys Ford (no rating)


Um...WTF was this? I might have gotten more out of this one if I'd read Ford's Sinner's Gin series, but the premise for it didn't interest me. After reading this, I'm glad I stayed away. There was a lot of info dumping as everything is described to fill non-readers in on this world, and it eats up a lot of page time. The chase through the city for the sexed up monkey statue was kind of interesting but again was bogged down with too many descriptions and background about everything when you just want to be chasing the statue. Then there's the ridiculous instalove/sex with Roku and his brand new partner on the force who has kind of been stalking Roku and finangled his way into a partnership with Roku in a really creepy way that's only marginally addressed before the hormones get in the way. I'll be honest, it was clear the entire last chapter was just going to be them boinking and making goo-goo eyes at each other, so I skipped it. 


Swift and the Black Dog - Ginn Hale (4 stars)


Now this is more like it. This was well-written, with a damaged former "hero" of a revolution who hasn't dealt with the aftermath all too well. I was confused a lot of the time, but Hale gives just enough info to slowly fill in what this world is like and what it used to be like, and why Swift and his band of magician friends really went to war against the Tyrant. Making a better world wasn't exactly on their to-do list, let's just leave it at that. This didn't have a romance, per se, but a beginning of one and it was sweetly done. 


A Queer Trade - KJ Charles (4 stars)


Finally! A KJ Charles story that doesn't make me want to rip off the MC's nads. I hate alphaholes in romances with a passion, yet she always seems to include one, so even though I like her writing well enough, I've learned to avoid her stories. Thankfully, that was not the case here. Ned and Crispin are both adorable. Ned is self-assured and aware, and Crispin is awkward and well-meaning. When Crispin's mentor dies unexpectedly and his magical papers sold to a waste-man by his unsuspecting relatives, Crispin and Ned are thrown together trying to fix the blunder. And what a blunder it is! It's also rare to read an historical that includes a POC as an MC, and have it be well-done. There is attention paid to the racial differences and experiences without making the story entirely about it. Instead, we get two men who are lonely and misunderstood for their own reasons finding acceptance in each other.


Magically Delicious - Nicole Kimberling (3 stars)


Fairies again. Or, goblins in this case. With really terrible table manners. The mystery was on the obvious side and the solution left plotholes. Still, it was imaginative and the characters were interesting.


Everyone's Afraid of Clowns - Jordan Castillo-Price (5 stars)


Read as part of Psycop Briefs: Volume 1


Vic is remembering his first time sensing a ghostly spirit in his teens and Jacob decides they should go check out the place. I don't know what's scarier, the clown or the misogynists. No, ok, I lied. The misogynists are scarier.


The Thirteenth Hex - Jordan L Hawk (3 stars)


Review here: http://linda78.booklikes.com/post/1384099/the-13th-hex


The Soldati Prince - Charlie Cochet (no rating)


If you like shifters, predestined mates, and possible Stockholm Syndrome resulting in tru wuv, this is the story for you. It's not my cuppa though. I again skimmed over most of the last this-is-the-boinking chapter.


One Hex Too Many - Lou Harper (3.5 stars)


This was again about two brand new partners on the police force. There was some awkward worldbuilding here and there but nothing too distracting from the story - though I still don't get what is so "extramundane" about a paranormal police squad. I liked both MCs and getting to see them work together, and the mystery was interesting. Then Harper throws the MCs together at literally the last minute and, honestly, I would've preferred this just be about two guys becoming friends. This isn't even romance. It's just last-minute sex that came out of nowhere. At least she doesn't linger over it and drag it out, but that's the only good thing I can say about it.


Josh of the Damned vs The Bathroom of Doom - Andrea Speed (not rated)


This is another one where I might have gotten more out of it if I'd read the stories it was based around. But the sexy, sensitive vampire boyfriend trend spawned by Twilight (Edward was a douche!) is just so over. I hate this trend and avoid these stories with a passion. And you seriously expect me to believe the creatures of the night cross over a magical portal every night to eat terrible convenience store food? I guess parts of it were funny if you like that brand of whacky comedy. Also, how is Carey more lame as a vampire name than Collin? I did finish this one, since it was thankfully very short, but since this is just not my genre, I decided not to rate it. 


The Trouble with Hexes - Astrid Amara (5 stars)


This is a reunited/second chances story and the best of the bunch after JCP's. It's not too complicated for a short story, so there wasn't a lot of info-dumping that needed to be done, but it was still an intricate enough plot to keep the story moving forward. The whodunit was on the obvious side, but the main focus here was Vincent and Tim's relationship and how they mend those broken bridges between them. 

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review 2016-07-05 04:20
Love for the Cold-Blooded...
Love for the Cold-Blooded, or The Part-Time Evil Minion's Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero - Alex Gabriel

2.75 stars, rounded up.



I have only one piece of advice for anyone thinking of reading this: read the sample first. You should know by the end of that if the writing style suits you, which is important because much of the humor in this story relies on that. Unfortunately, the writing style was something I constantly struggled with in this book, so I had a hard time getting into it. I don't know if it would've worked better if we'd actually been inside Pat's head. All the action was from his POV and we're privy to all his thoughts and feelings, so telling it in third person seemed to clash with the narrative style. Then again, Pat's not as cool as he thinks he is, so maybe having it in first person would've been even more grating. I don't know, just...



It doesn't help that the plot hinges on the Big Misunderstanding trope. Usually, this trope pops up halfway through, once the reader is already familiar with the characters and invested in the relationship. Here, it starts off the story and keeps escalating from there. Given the nature of the Big Misunderstanding, it gave the first chapter a somewhat skeevy feeling. Once we find out how the misunderstanding happened, I was able to get over the skeevy on Nick's half, but Pat continues with the lie for several more chapters. Even so, these two were pretty adorkable together, and I wanted to see what happened. I was dreading the Big Misunderstanding taking the entire book to be revealed, but thankfully that wasn't the case. Nick finds out, the fallout is about what you expect, and then the story just kind of goes off the rails.


I did like seeing how the villains/challengers organized themselves to support each other in their various schemes for global domination. It was a different take on each one being out for themselves. Plus, they just want good books to read and cookie recipes to find online and sometimes when you have kids, you have to put your world domination plans on hold for a bit. Pat's sisters were pretty great, and Nick wasn't as clueless as he first appeared (though I still refuse to believe he never knew what a high-five was), but Pat...going back to my first point, he annoyed me a lot of the time. He kept giving Nick cool tips, like he wasn't a ginormous dweeb himself. There's also the whole defending evil-doers' right to take over the world because it's actually for the world's own good mentality that is just a big fat no. Because, seriously, if you believe that, then you're kind of a loser.



The point where it started going sideways - or more sideways - for me was Pat's first minion job and the whole

mind-control ray. Because apparently, it supposedly doesn't actually make anyone do anything they wouldn't be willing to do anyway (in which case why even use it) so that makes it a totally okay way to dominate everyone in the city, take away their free will and Pat has zero problems with any of this. But even weirder is we have no idea what Nick is up to this entire time the MCR is in action. No, instead, another hero shows up to destroy it, Pat rushes off to delete all the data and research and stuff, then Nick shows up and ... they just have sex? Why is this scene even happening? Shouldn't Nick have bigger concerns at this point than boinking his boyfriend? It was hot, I guess, but why aren't you going after the evil villain, dude? Time enough for sex after you take down the big bad. Priorities, mister! Also, maybe try to get it through your boyfriend's thick head why taking away people's consent is bad, and how the ends don't justify the means, because he doesn't seem to get it.

(spoiler show)


That really sunk Pat's stock as far as I was concerned and I never really liked him much after that. Nick never asks Pat to make any adjustments to his own moral compass like Pat keeps insisting Nick needs to do for him, so Nick came off as something of a doormat. But hey, the sex was good, so who really cares about compatibility, am I right?



This was a rough start, a good middle, and a drawn out conclusion. I finally forced myself to finish this just so I could be done with it. Ending is HFN rather than HEA.

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review 2016-07-03 10:00
Quick thoughts on Firefight
Firefight - Brandon Sanderson

Another enjoyable read, didn't lead where I was expecting which was nice and I rather enjoyed our outcast crew member showing up again.

Ended on a high note, very much looking forward to the next book.

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review 2015-10-24 14:40
Black & White
Black and White - Caitlin Kittredge,Jackie Kessler

This book was unlike anything I ave ever read before, it was fantastic. I adored the characters, all of them - they had such gritty and interesting history's and personalities that we had the incredible opportunity to explore, with not only 2 different POV but also two time frames, the current moment and that past. It was executed superbly.

The world was fascinating, the corporate has taken over the world, pretty much the new government. They decide how things should be. They're doing a pretty lousy job, the world is crud, rape, murder, beatings all happen on a frequent basis on the ground. Then you have a school filled with special kids with incredible (and vastly different to what I've read in the past) abilities, these kids are raised to be hero's and fight crime - some of them turn evil, or as we call them villains. Of course they're life is a lot cushier then the ground so normal people either go all crazy fan-girl over them or despise them.

Our two main characters are Jet and Iri, one's a villain, one's a hero - they use to be best friends. we find out all the dirty details and its fantastic. both have had terrible and difficult lives that are worth exploring as they give more details and history into the world and culture of this dark and twisted place.

I highly recommend this book, to me it seem like a comic book transfer into a novel with no pictures. Though thats not saying much as i've read like 4 comics in my life, but you get the incredible characters, the enchanting back stories, and some crazy plot story with super hero's. Really whats not to love? read it, you wont regret it. ;)

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review 2015-07-09 04:37
Hero (Audiobook)
Hero - Michael Urie,Perry Moore

TW: homophobia, ableism, violence and body horror typical of superhero comics.


Michael Urie (Marc of Ugly Betty) narrates this book with perfection. I honestly can't think of anyone else who could've done a better job. He gets all the nuances of Thom down pat, from his eagerness to please to his frustration of all teenagers on that cusp to adulthood, as well as his pride in his father and his absolute worst fear of his father's disapproval, and his hope for finding love even when he thinks it impossible. This isn't a perfect book - the climax had plot holes, there are a couple of dropped story lines we never learn the outcome of, and a lot of the minor mysteries set up to create suspense throughout were pretty obvious - but I can forgive those since this was such an emotionally satisfying read. 


This is YA, so there's lots of angst, but it's not the "OMG my hormones are clogging my brain" angst that seems typical for the genre. Thom has two very big secrets: he has superpowers, and he's gay. Keeping both secrets from his father, and the last one from everyone, while he pursues his dreams of joining the League, is far from easy. It doesn't help that he can't drive because of his seizures and he has to work to help pay the bills. Yes, Thom is a little too wrapped up in his own problems, but through his power of healing, he slowly learns to look beyond himself to see what's going on with others.


There's a lot of world building here too. Now, I admit, I've never read a comic book and haven't even seen all the Marvel and DC Comics movies that have been released over the last several years. Maybe this world building is typical for the genre, but I found it interesting without being overwhelming or needlessly wordy. You're given just enough information to fit together the rest of the pieces yourself. Many of the main heros are just DC Comics heros revamped to fit the story here. Thom's probationary team seem to be in a league of their own. They're the underdogs, the ones who don't fit in, each for their own unique reasons, and yet they learn how to work and fight together. Urie gives them each such a great voice that I could see them clearly in my mind while I was listening.


The funny moments were funny - I haven't laughed aloud this much during a book in awhile - the touching moments were touching, and all of it had this wistful poignancy underlining it throughout. This is one I'll be listening to again.

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