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review 2018-03-25 05:56
Honestly, Ben (Openly Straight #2) (Audiobook)
Honestly Ben - Bill Konigsberg

I liked so much about this book. I liked Ben in the first book and was happy to get his POV and get to know him more intimately. He's an introvert, and has a lot of hang ups because of his fun sucker dad who is king of repression. This book really focuses on why Ben feels the need to please everyone and why he's got so many issues speaking up and taking a stand for what he believes in - or even just figuring out what those beliefs are. So all of that was good, and while some things were left open ended, it didn't feel like a cliffhanger.

 

What I didn't like as much was Ben going GFY for Rafe. I can't even really say that this improves on the GFY trope since there is extensive talk about bisexuality, but Ben is very adamant about not being bi, which would be fine if that was all that was going on here. People are free to pick their own labels. But Rafe makes jokes several times about bi just being a transition phase to gay. Even though he says at one point that he doesn't really believe that, he still mentions it again several times, and Ben's understanding of bisexuality is rather lacking as well since it doesn't address those who would fall under the twos or fives under the Kinsey scale. So yeah, still not good bi representation, and Rafe came across as kind of a jerk when he couldn't give Ben the space and time he needed to figure things out on his own.

 

I can't speak one way or another if Toby being gender fluid was handled well or not. It's not a concept I understand much at all, and I can't say that this helped educate me in any way. I guess I don't see how wearing makeup and skirts can make a male character female. Because I never wear makeup or skirts, but I'm still a woman. I don't do anything particularly feminine at all but that doesn't make me not female. So gender fluidity doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, sorry. I understand wanting to buck gender *roles* but I don't think that's quite what gender fluidity is about, but perhaps I'm wrong. I admit complete ignorance about this concept, but I'm more than open to learning or trying to learn. I did try looking for reviews on GR, hoping to find some written by gender fluid reviewers talking about that aspect, but I didn't find much of anything.

 

Oh, and there's a throwaway line by someone else saying they think Albie is ace. That's not ace representation, sorry. Zero points for that.

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review 2018-03-08 03:59
Femme (Audiobook)
Femme - Marshall Thornton
Oh my GAAAAWD! This book was aDORablllleee!

What happens when a super effeminate gay waiter meets a super straight-seeming gay softball player/nurse who's still in the closet to his family? Shenanigans!

"Dog" doesn't make a lot of good decisions, and he's not a fast thinker, but he does eventually always do and say the right thing. And he's very lucky that Lionel is patient with him - sort of. Sometimes. A lot of the times. :D Lionel doesn't put up with much nonsense and is as sassy as he is flaming, so when his fab meets Dog's drab, there's a lot of clashing of the cultural expectations, lol. There's not a lot in the way of Romance (™) but it's a very sweet love story nonetheless.

This is very humorous, and Joel Leslie is the perfect narrator for this story. He really hits all the comedic moments and keeps even the tense moments from getting too tense. He brings life to all the characters and goes back and forth between the POVs smoothly.
 
 

 

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review 2018-02-24 03:04
Out of the Pocket (Audiobook)
Out of the Pocket - Bill Konigsberg

I can see why this is compared a lot to Openly Straight, but the differences were enough that it didn't feel like I was listening to the same story all over again.

 

Bobby's a high school senior and starting QB of the football team when he's outed. He's also got issues at home unrelated to this that he has to deal with at the same time. There was surprisingly little drama. Though Bobby has to overcome some prejudices and deal with some homophobes, he's also got a lot of support.

 

One thing to note: this is NOT a romance in any way shape or form, so don't expect that if you're going to read or listen to this. Bobby does eventually get a boyfriend, but it's a very small part of the story and not a "forever" boyfriend.

 

The humor worked for me here more than anything else, and the narrator did a good job for the most part. I have to question some of his voice choices, but that's a personal detail that might not bother others. Also, if you're only listening to the audiobook, the ebook has a bonus chapter of Bobby looking for colleges to play football for that can be considered an epilogue, and a brief "interview" with Bobby's friend Carrie that's short and sweet but doesn't really add much to the story.

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review 2018-02-14 03:14
Throwing Stones (Glasgow Lads on Ice #1)
Throwing Stones - Avery Cockburn

I have no idea what curling is and honestly it always looks boring as hell in the Olympics, but it's Glasgow Lads! I'm in!

Update:

And now that I've read this, I still don't understand curling, LOL, except to say that it is a lot more complicated than it looks. The author is kind enough to include a crash course at the end and she gave detailed play-by-plays during the competition sections, but as I've never even watched more than a few minutes of any game - and that was years ago - I had a hard time picturing what was going on. Still, Ms. Cockburn was very good at making the stakes clear at all relevant points and that's what really mattered more than anything else.

Anyway, this is another great story from Ms. Cockburn, and we even get a few cameos from the main series. Oliver is an ex-curler from Canada trying to start over in Scotland as a coach for Team Boyd. Luca is the leader of Team Riley, the rival of Team Boyd. He's also the brother-in-law of Team Boyd's leader, Jack. Oliver has ADHD and Luca lives a Zen lifestyle on and off the ice. They appear polar opposites on the surface, but they click immediately and their stories end up paralleling each other in interesting ways.

This is a little insta-love since the story takes place over a week, and it seems especially quick since Luca identifies somewhere on the ace spectrum though he's not really sure where. So the quick pace was a little off but in the end didn't bother me too much since we actually get ample page time of the two getting to know each other since they initially agreed not to start anything because of the conflict of interest. Of course, that doesn't last long - and for those of you who need steamy sex, you're going to be disappointed. There's one sex scene and it's vague on details, focusing instead on the emotional components, which means it was right up my alley. :D

Oliver and Luca have their own baggage and challenges, and some of their decisions, especially Luca's, were frustrating but in a realistic way. I don't need my MCs to be infallible, and these two definitely aren't. I do need them to learn and grow, and Luca and Oliver do that by spades.

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review 2017-11-22 17:18
Infected: Epitath (Infected #8)
Infected: Epitaph - Andrea Speed

I should've just skipped to the last chapter to see if Roan got to retire and live, or if he was killed by his own pigheaded stupidity. 

He gets to live. And just move up to Canada and buy property up there without having to worry about immigration laws. What?

(spoiler show)

 

I admit, I was burnt out with this series by this book, and I did actually skip a lot of the "we're so macho because x,y,z" paragraphs that the characters like to ruminate over again and again and again. Yeah, we all got it the first time. You don't have to keep rubbing it in. It's as if Ms. Speed is afraid the readers would somehow forget basic information if she doesn't constantly remind us about it every other page, or like we won't know we're supposed to be impressed if she doesn't tell us how impressive they are all the time. (I'm not impressed; I'm bored now.)

 

And for the last book, we didn't really get to see much of the supporting characters as I'd hoped we would, though we do get to see them. And there's this weird detour to see Roan's friend from his teens who he hasn't thought of in years and we only heard about in passing once. And why?

Just to find out Collin named his son after Roan? Big whoop. What was the point? That's page time that could've been used for the characters we already know and actually care about.

(spoiler show)

 

I don't know. I'm not sold on the shifter genre at this point. THIRDS went downhill mega fast and I gave up on that one after the third book (how are there already ten of those things?) and this one just sort of petered out. Ms. Speed relied on cliches and stereotypes for much of her world-building, we never got any definitive details about this cat virus that infected people, and Roan's transforming abilities reached critical mass of ridiculousness a couple of books back.

 

Like I said in my review for the previous book, much of this felt like it was treading water, and I can't help but feel this series should've ended two or three books ago. It might have helped if she'd followed the traditional case-per-book narrative device - there's a reason it's so successful - instead of jamming two, three or even four cases into one book, none of them getting much attention and many of them going unsolved. It's admirable to want to show that yes, sometimes cases don't get solved, and yes, detectives and investigators often have more than one case going at a time, but she never quite settled into a cohesive way to handle all this juggling. The end result is that it all feels kind of random, and if she'd cut out even half of the "we're so awesome and crazy" self-congratualatory nonsense, she'd have had a lot more page time to dedicate to other things.

 

And I still don't buy Roan and Dylan as a couple. *shrug* Even the Scott and Holden stuff was boring by this book. 

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