1. Dash & Dingo by Catt Ford and Sean Kennedy. Historical gay romance. Enjoyed this book. Voice is slightly different than Tigers & Devils, which is to be expected since it was a collaboration. The joint work was seamless — I could not tell which or whether any particular passage was written by one author or the other. The book contained considerably more sex, more graphic descriptions, than T&D. And it was not perfect sex, which is relatively rare m/m romance. The focus of the plot is on adventure, rather than romance. Keeping in mind the DA post on cultural appropriation, I was interested in the characters’ own observations of imperialism and resources consumption. An Englishman, a European-descended Australian, a Native Australian (don’t want to say Aborigine, which I understand is offensive today), all aware of what was going on; engaged in subversive behavior to thwart authorities. Of course, the two main characters who are part of the ruling majority on the surface are also part of a despised minority.
2. Inland Empire by James Buchanan. M/M contemporary, action/suspense based on characters Nicholas O’Malley and Brandon Carr. The story was well balanced between the action and suspense (investigation of Vietnamese gang) and the relationship. Was distracted in some places by the copyediting. I like Nicky as a character: goth, gay, comfortable with himself. Not so sure about Brandon. He’s kind of an asshat — was in the first book and that hasn’t changed in the second one. He’s not out, paranoid and bitchy; he doesn’t trust Nicky with his secret, but he trusts him with control within their sexual relationship, not sure what to think about that. Cracked up by the idea of preteens crushing on the two of them and writing Nicky/Brandon RPF on their own personal tween list/group.
3. Kindred in Death by J.D. Robb. Futuristic suspense. There are a lot of positive reviews out there, and I believe that JD Robb/Nora Roberts cannot write a truly bad book, especially a bad Eve Dallas book. This installment is not going to be on my top 5 list. The mystery felt recycled to me, but the other part of the book were pretty good. Robb has a talent for characters and dialogue, and both of those things are put to good use in the book.
4. To Desire A Devil by Elizabeth Hoyt. Historical romance. Only read one book in series, missed the entire mystery. Reynaud and Reginald too close names for significant characters. Not really sympathetic to Reginald or heroine. Vaguely creeped by her obsession with him. Didn’t really get anything beyond sexual attraction. Didn’t believe big sacrifice and ILY at end.
5. Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris. Previously discussed here.
6. Ready to Serve: Arresting Gay Erotica by James Buchanan. Anthology. The copyediting of the first story in this anthology was horrendous, and prompted a series of tweets and a post. Ended up buying a copy to see if the rest of the book was any better than the sample. The good news was that the editing improved as the book went on (although I do wonder what Buchanan has against direct address commas). I didn’t find most of the stories particularly erotic or interesting even — they felt flat and a bit boring, but I probably would’ve been more receptive if I hadn’t been irritated by the poor editing. The last story, "Fairground" was promising, and kind of made up for the others.
7. The Elegant Corpse by A.M. Riley. M/M romance. Some sloppy editing and typos. But also some great characterization and writing. BDSM lifestyle integral to plot, very good at describing structure and painting image of new person exploring that, comparing with experienced dom.
8. Beautiful Viking by Steve Sampson. Tagged as romance, but really wasn’t. Was more lad/dick lit, coming out story. All women were money grubbing skanks or lesbians. Except family. Uber evil ex-girlfriend was ridiculous. Hero seemed rather pathetic in his self delusions to me, and likely to remain an asshat with new partner. DNF
9. Geography Club by Bret Hartinger. YA. Teen coming out story. Picked up b/c recommended by Sean Kennedy.
10. Sins of the Father by Anna O’Neill. Historical m/m, Japanese set. I’ve already forgotten the plot, and can’t remember if I enjoyed this book or not. Chose it because it was different — set in Japan.
11. Hidden Conflict by Alex Beecroft, et al. Anthology, historical gay romance. Bought a copy based on Joan/SarahF’s review. Read and loved Alex Beecroft’s story; was bored and vaguely squicked by the second story; did not finish the other two stories.
12. Unbroken by Maya Banks. Contemporary. DNF. Downloaded this free ebook, didn’t make it past the first chapter. Hero couldn’t be bothered to man up until heroine decided to strike out on her own — lame. Heroine couldn’t face her own sexuality without getting drunk — also lame. They deserve each other in their lameness, but it’s not worth my time to read it.
13. Goddess Games by Niki Burnham. RWA book. YA. Having a teen centered on being a better christian as opening narrator turned me off. Did not expect evangelical feeling I got from the first chapter based on the backblurb. May have changed, but I didn’t make it past the first chapter, left the book in my hotel room for someone else to enjoy. DNF
14. Persuasion by Jane Austen. Reread. It’s a rule, I think, that one must read Austen while in Bath.