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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-03-25 05:03
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit - Jaye Robin Brown

Word of Caution: If you hate the Big Misunderstanding trope, then avoid this book, because the entire thing hinges on it. Not only is it a "big misunderstanding" but it's perpetuated by one character consistently lying to everyone, and not even for a very good reason. Well, she thinks it's a good reason. Me? Not so much.

 

This is the second F/F book in a row with a punk lesbian. I guess this is a common enough thing to already be a recognizable trope? Aren't there country-loving lesbians? Or jazz-loving lesbians? Or hip-hop loving lesbians? WHERE ARE MY HIP-HOP LESBIANS?

 

But seriously, this book is both complicated and simple. It's told in a simple, rather straightforward way that rarely delves into the depths that this book could easy delve into given the subject matter, mainly how do LGBTQ+ individuals who need faith in their lives deal with the hurtful messages that too many churches STILL put out there because they're stuck in medieval times. I was looking forward to that aspect of it, because too often the one sole religious person in M/M books often acts like he or she could be an offshoot of the Westboro Church family tree. I know many people of faith, some who are close-minded in that way, but others who really embrace Jesus's teachings about acceptance and loving each other without judgment. So let's look at both sides of the spectrum and everything else in between here, right?! Except it never really happens. *sigh*

 

Jo's dad, who runs his own evangelical radio show, accepted his daughter without hesitation when she came out to him. And now that he's remarried and his new MIL has a stick up her butt about EVERYTHING, and because they've moved to a more conservative, smaller town, he asks Jo to lay low. That is, go back in the closet. And she agrees. So she can get her own radio show that she unironically calls "Keep It Real." I say unironically because she's completely unaware of the irony of the title while she's lying about herself to everyone around her. 

 

Except one boy she meets and befriends. She tells him immediately. Which pretty much pulls the rug out from under her every other time she tries to explain to herself why she can't tell the truth to her girlfriend she's so super in love with. Oh, no! Can't do that! And it leads to one ridiculous, cliched "twist" after another until I just wanted to smack her Cher-style.

 

 

Oh, Cher. Where are you when we need you most?

 

I do like the various different characters. There's a weird subplot with Dana. It was nice to see how Joanna and Elizabeth eventually work out their issues. When Joanna does finally stand up for herself, that's pretty great too but comes a bit too late in the story, so that everything after that is rushed. Joanna overall is a passive character and except for that one moment of backbone, she never really stops being passive. Barnum was great, as were George and Gemma. The pastor of the other church, the not-friendly-to-gays one, has this weird quasi-transformation, maybe? It doesn't really go anywhere. 

 

So I guess there's a hopeful message in here. And I guess this is eventually about being true to yourself, even when that self isn't who you originally thought it was. But for each thing I found to like, there was another thing that annoyed me in equal measure.

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review 2017-02-17 23:39
Pressure Head
Pressure Head - J.L. Merrow

It took me awhile to get into this one because the snipping-at-each-other form of enemies to lovers is just not that entertaining to me. I also couldn't understand why Tom was allowing Phil to drag him along on his investigation, when he really shouldn't be giving him the time of day. Also, Tom has a day job he was constantly neglecting and Phil wasn't pay him. Though to his credit, Phil did make an attempt.

 

Here's the deal: Phil had bullied Tom back in high school, which resulted in an accident that permanently injured Tom and altered his life in significant ways. Even if that was 13 years ago, I just don't get the "fancying the guy who bullied you" trope, and Phil kind of quasi-stalking Tom didn't help. Nor do I get Tom just going along with Phil's demands for help before anything was really resolved between them. Thankfully, things do eventually get resolved and in satisfying enough ways to make me forgive the slow, awkward, weird start.

 

The mystery was well done and there was no obvious villain, though I do admit I wasn't paying as much attention to the details and clues as I usually do since I was getting hung up on trying to figure out Tom. Still, there were enough red herrings and everyone had possible motives, so it wasn't easy to pick any one character out as the whodunit. 

 

Gary and Darren were the standouts here. They're only side characters, but they steal the show every time they're on page, and they're a hoot and a half. Then there are Merlin and Arthur, Tom's cats, who are very catty and fluffy. :D And even though there were a lot of Britishisms, there was only one I couldn't figure out. The humor is very dry though, so might not be to everyone's taste.

 

 

Actually, that's a good way to sum up Tom and Phil, innit?

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review 2017-02-05 17:09
SHE TOUCHED THE WORLD: LAURA BRIDGMAN, DEAF-BLIND PIONEER by Sally Hobart Alexander and Robert Alexander
She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer - Sally Hobart Alexander,Robert Alexander,Robert Alexander
  Laura Bridgman lost her sight and hearing at the age of 2. She was curious and frustrated lost in herself. Dr. Samuel Howe heard of her and came to see if he could help her. He took her back to the Perkins Institute where he taught her to read and write. He taught her fingerspelling and reading by raised letters. She became the teacher of Anne Sullivan who came to the Perkins Institute before she went on to become Helen Keller's teacher.

I got immersed in this story. I learned a lot. I never knew
Laura Bridgman lost her sight and hearing at the age of 2. She was curious and frustrated lost in herself. Dr. Samuel Howe heard of her and came to see if he could help her. He took her back to the Perkins Institute where he taught her to read and write. He taught her fingerspelling and reading by raised letters. She became the teacher of Anne Sullivan who came to the Perkins Institute before she went on to become Helen Keller's teacher.

The end of the book tells of the advances made from Laura's time in the mid-1800's to today. This is a fascinating read that pulled me in from the first page. It will remain on my keeper shelf.
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review 2017-01-18 03:55
A Wizard Alone
A Wizard Alone - Diane Duane

Wow. WOW! Diane Duane does it again. She continually amazes me and I bow down to her brilliance. Her years writing ST fiction really shows and shines in this series, which is far more sci-fi based than fantasy, and takes a more technical approach to wizardry than you'd ever seen in Harry Potter or similar series. Her ability to use prose to paint a picture and gut punch you with emotions is finely honed by this point too, and while these are YA she never talks down to her intended audience and the issues tackled make this series accessible and enjoyable for all ages. Once again, I'm glad I'm reading these now as an adult, because I don't know how much of this would've really sunk in if I'd read this series as a kid. Not that most of these books were even around when I was a kid. ;)

 

We start off this book with the emotional and psychological turmoil that resulted from the events in The Wizard's Dilemma. I wanted to see how the Callahans would cope, I wanted more Kit POV and more about Ponch. I got all that and much, much more. We get a new wizard, Darryl, and while Kit and Nita are originally sent to help him, it's soon apparent that all is not as it seems and that there are more wizards in need of help than Darryl

who is pretty much the only one in the entire book who actually knows what's going on!

(spoiler show)

I had no idea how anything here would be resolved. I was just along for the ride. :D

 

As for the autism aspect, when Duane originally wrote this book in 2002 she came at autism from a medical viewpoint, as something wrong that needed to be fixed. What we knew and understood and accepted about autism then is already largely outdated to what we know about it today, and there's been social pushes and breakthroughs in seeing it not as something that needs to be fixed but accepted and embraced. The edits done to the NME brings much of this up to date, and while there are still a couple of head-tilting moments - usually coming from the neurotypical characters who have no experience with autism and were quickly shown to be in over their heads, but once or twice from the narrative itself - overall I was happy with how it was handled. (Note: I'm not autistic, so I can't and won't speak for anyone who is, so YMMV.)

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review 2017-01-07 04:59
Persistence of Memory
The Persistence of Memory - Jordan Castillo Price

4 stars for story, 3 stars for narration, overall rating 3.5 stars

 

JCP does it again. I love her PsyCop series, and Vic and Jacob are among my top fave m/m couples of all time. This doesn't really come anywhere close to that, but it proves what I discovered while reading PsyCop and the Turbulence collection: JCP can write real people. They're not caricatures or stereotypes or big walking metaphors for Life. They're just people. Screwed up, lovable, awesome, annoying, hilarious people. 

 

I had no idea what to expect going into this and I continue to be impressed with JCP's imagination. This is Inception, but with memory instead of dreams and without the trick ending. I hope, anyway. I still have two more books to go. Oh, God, what if there's a trick ending?

 

I don't get the mnems. It's like drugs but without drugs? You're going to pay money for a bunch of fake memories you're going to forget, but you'll remember the feelings induced by the memories and that... does something? I guess? It's weird, but with all things sci-fi and weird, I just go with it. I've nearly made it through four Star Trek shows and am starting a fifth. I can do weird.

 

Daniel is down on his luck. His dad is convinced his mom is still in their lives, and their mnem shop is circling the drain. Daniel has to work a second gig at another mnem place just to make ends meet. His last boyfriend was a friends-with-benefits a couple of years ago, and he's lonely, stressed and reaching the end of his rope. Then the man in black enters a mnem he's trying to clock a client out of and things take off from there. 

 

Elijah is great but we don't really get enough of him here to get a firm grip on him. I'm really interested to see where she goes with his character. He's autistic but he knows himself and what he wants and isn't afraid to ask for it, even if he misses a social cue or two.

 

The real star of this book though is Larry. I loved Larry. He was the one character that I thought the narrator did a bang up job with. He was hilarious, far more perceptive than his valley boy persona would lull you into believing and just the truest friend you could hope for. 

 

This was a great first installment, and I'm eager for the others. I'll be reading them though, not waiting for the narrations. I found the narrator just wasn't to my liking most of the time. He did voices and emotions within the dialogue okay, but when he was just reading the narrative it felt like, well, narrative instead of a story if that makes sense. I did start to get used to him, but he's not someone I'll rush out to listen to again.

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