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Search tags: coyer-winter-switch
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review 2018-01-21 21:18
Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances by Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, and Alyssa Cole
Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances - Alyssa Cole,Rose Lerner,Courtney Milan

The Siege of Yorktown 1781. Colonel Hamilton has his army in place and is just obliterating the small town while awaiting for reinforcements. Two of the stories arise from the battlefield; the third is tied to the descendant of someone at Yorktown. They share their stories in letters and interviews with Eliza Hamilton as she writes her husband's biography after his death (roughly in the late 1810s and early 1820s).

 

Promised Land by Rose Lerner - 4 stars

Rachel faked her death to run away from her marriage and towards Washington's army. She meets up with her husband (one of Washington's spies) at Yorktown. I love a good "can this marriage be saved?" trope in historical romance and this one delivered. Both MCs are Jewish and the story really shined with the choice to have the MCs be of a religious minority; certain scenes that depicted how the Jews dealt with Jewish law and customs while also serving in the military were used to deepen their relationship. I thought the one sex scene was shoe-horned in and didn't add to the story, but by the time it happened I was already rooting for Rachel and Nathanial's HEA. This was my first time reading Lerner, but it won't be my last.

 

The Pursuit of.....(Worth Saga) by Courtney Milan - 4 stars

This novella falls third (or maybe #2.5) in the Worth Saga series, but you don't have to read the first two books to understand what is going on in this story. John Hunter is an ex-slave (ran away from his master, then returned to rescue his sister and mother) living in Rhode Island when the call for black men to enlist in Washington's army comes with an entitlement to freedom papers after the war. John's sister is married to enslaved man, so to keep her man at home while also earning his brother's freedom papers, John enlists in his stead. At Yorktown, he meets British Lt Henry Latham (see post from last week). John helps Henry escape from the British army; in return, Henry accompanies John on his way back to Rhode Island and his family. I love road trips, although this one is longer due to being on foot. There is stinky cheese, the sexual politics and morality of slavery, plus actual courting after John is reunited with his family and Henry goes back to Britain. I loved John and Henry, and seeing them as older men (thirty or so years after the HEA) was a real treat. The Milan magic is in full force here.

 

That Could Be Enough by Alyssa Cole - 4 stars

This novella ties into another of Cole's stand alone novellas, Be Not Afraid (from the anthology For Love and Liberty). In this novella, Andromeda Stiel (granddaughter of Elijah and Kate Sutton from Be Not Afraid) visits The Grange in her grandfather's place to give his story of serving under Hamilton (both in New York and Yorktown) to Eliza. It is at The Grange that Andromeda meets Mercy Alston, the maid and secretary for Eliza. I finally get a Boston marriage-style HEA! This is the shortest of the stories, as there is no military action or duties to add to the story. It also has a mostly fade to black sex scene.

 

I gave a half star more because of the authors' notes found in the back of the book. The authors tell the readers where they got their inspiration (each acknowledged Lin-Manual Miranda and his show) and historical research, plus what drove them to put the project together in the first place.

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review 2018-01-21 20:06
Love is Love by Various Authors
Love is Love - Phil Jimenez,Various

This anthology was created to raise money for Equality Orlando and the organization's support of victims' families and the survivors of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in June 2016. I think that because the anthology was the comic book industry's way of helping and coping with the incident, I was a bit more giving in the ratings area.

 

IDW publishing, with support from DC Entertainment, gave free rein to their artists and writers, so there are pages with familiar characters on some pages. Most of the artwork is amazing, and conveys the deep emotional impact as well as the broad spectrum of emotions this incident wrung out of people. My favorites, even after a week of thinking and giving the work another look, was the Wonder Woman page, the Muslim man meeting a gay couple on the street and hugging them after the incident made the news (from G. Willow Wilson of course!), the Supergirl page, and the page with older LGBTQIAA members giving solace to the young members of the community (those older community members who lived through the gay rights movement and the HIV/AIDS crisis).

 

With that being said, it was an okay effort in terms of quality of writing and introspection. I had a few problems with some of the work showcased, not for what it tried to convey but it's placement in this anthology in the first place.

 

Issues:

1. For an incident that affected a big part of the Latinx part of the LGBTQIAA community, this anthology had a lot of white cishets working out their disbelief and grief over what happened, and many didn't know anyone in the area, let alone was affected by the incident. There wasn't very much Latinx voices in this anthology. Too much "how will I explain this to my kids" hand wringing as well - uh, the same thing you tell them about Las Vegas and Newtown - and just try to answer their questions as honestly as you can. Sometimes that honesty comes in "I don't know why".

 

2. Ace/Aros, pansexuals, and bisexuals got the short end of the stick here. Aces/Aros were mentioned once and used as kind of a punch line so that the writer could shake his/her finger at judgmental people. It distort the message and made it sound hypocritical. Bisexuals got Wonder Woman and that is it (and she doesn't even self-identify as one in the page). Pansexuals didn't get mentioned once. The predominance was white, gay, somewhat affluent in terms of character type.

 

3. Too much Batman. Seriously, the Gotham universe is not exactly a well of diversity, and having the rich white guy savior show up every 15 pages was not needed. Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy's relationship gets a page, but it was more like "lesbians - aren't they cute" sort of way.

 

4. The beginning of the book was too heavy on the dark and disturbing, especially when artists showed dead bodies lying everywhere. Or the use of multiple cell phones going off and nobody answering. There was a lot artistic renderings of the crime scene that did not add any value to a book that is supposed to celebrating love and life. Not much humor found in the rest of the book - maybe a line here or there, some unintentionally.

 

5. Some of the transgender characters were used to explore others' feelings about transgenderism rather than about the transgender characters' feelings or storyline.

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review 2018-01-13 22:02
Ms. Marvel, Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson et al
Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal - G. Willow Wilson,Adrian Alphona

This was a fun read. I like that this book takes us through Kamala's processing her new powers and trying on different costumes - I liked that this wasn't simple for her. I liked Bruno, I just wished he and Kamala had a friendship that didn't include Bruno being secretly in love with her. Nakia was great balance to Kamala, showing how different Muslim physically express their religion. Zoe the concern troll was pitch perfect - I like how everyone saw through her bullshit. I loved Kamala's dad.

 

I will continue with this series, but I am also going to suggest this series to my library, because I think many teens would like reading about Kamala, her friends and family, and her superhero adventures.

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review 2018-01-13 21:51
A Right Honorable Gentleman by Courtney Milan
A Right Honorable Gentleman - Courtney Milan

What a load of crap. This is new adult nonsense dressed up in Victorian era clothing. The male MC is no hero - is an alphahole of stupid proportions. The female MC is a walking doormat. This story was short (about 7,000 words or 3 chapters) but was so full of clichés that it must have come from her early days of writing, it was so amateurish. Not the quality I expect from Milan.

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review 2018-01-12 18:48
Triangle: The Fire That Changed America by David von Drehle
Triangle: The Fire That Changed America - David von Drehle

This was a dud. I guess I had higher expectations for this book than I was aware of because all I am feeling is disappointment. Yeah, the book does explain (not that well enough in my opinion) what happened and how it happened, but I felt that the author was much more interested in writing about the men of Tammany Hall. Basically this book is almost all about every man involved, however loosely, in the strike of 1909 and the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire. Seriously, I felt that every man in Lower East Side of NYC got a full back story and like maybe 3 women did.

 

The writing was a little over the top, especially when the author was describing what each character looked like, including the shape of heads. Also he was pre-occupied with how plain or pretty the women in the book were and how feminine they acted. It was a bit weird and not really added any value to the narrative.

 

Tip of the hat to the author for working on a list of victims who died in the fire. His author note on sources was more entertaining than a lot of the book, the way he detailed how he went about trying to find the names from varying sources and using detective work to whittle down the list.

 

I did give an extra half star for the author adding in details about Francis Perkins early days prior to working with and then for FDR.

 

 

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