SBD: what have I read lately?

It’s Monday! Time for SBD!

One of my goals for the year was to SBD at least twice a month, but I’ve been slacking on that for a variety of reasons, mostly because I’ve been struggling with the reading. March is almost over and I’ve read a grand total of five books. Five! Despite having almost 2 hours of guaranteed reading time while on the train! One of those books was Brockmann’s Breaking the Rules (meh) which I wrote about last week, and another was an earlier SBD, Anna and the French Kiss. A third was good enough, River Marked, and merited a post on cover art. Which leaves two last books for discussion: I am J by Cris Beam and Why I Love Geeks by T.A. Chase.

I Am J was an impulse buy for in-flight reading. It is a YA GLBT book: its protagonist, J, is a transboy, born a girl physically but struggling with his gender identity. The book is well-written and appears to be well-researched, and it was worth the cover price. It gave me a glimpse in the the angst of a teenager whose typical adolescent issues are amped up by a factor of 1,000 because of the feelings of being in the wrong body and not fitting in. The book ends with the protagonist in a relatively safe and good place, looking forward to college and whatever might come next. But I doubt I’ll re-read it, and I’m not sure why, other than to say that I didn’t fall in love with the narrative. Solid B.

Why I Love Geeks was another impulse buy, and it was a rip off. The price ($7) was ridiculous — the word count was less than that of a Harlequin Presents ($4.50). In terms of the ebook editing or formatting, there were a variety of typos in which similarly spelled (but WRONG) words were used. The prose read like fan fiction: not particularly polished. In fact, I’ve read much more lyrical fan fiction, thx. The suspense plot was unbelievable and over-complex, involving Chinese business, Russian spies, and an improbable pharmaceutical that makes people invisible. [Don’t even get me started on the biochemistry. Even as a science idiot, I had to roll my eyes. I’m sure if The Biochemist attempted to read any of the “sciency” sections, she’d have a coronary. Because biochemistry is all about fast results and jewel-colored liquids bubbling in beakers.] One of the heroes was supposed to be a cute geek; his cuteness was exemplified by his filterless babble, which was apparently endearing. Or so readers were told repeatedly. Because there was a lot of telling and very little showing. The other hero was a cliche — a taciturn, macho cop, from a long line of cops, with a big, nosy, interfering family. Seriously, I want my money and the two hours I spent trying to read this mess back. F.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “SBD: what have I read lately?

  1. Anonymous

    That’s the problem I had with T. A. Chase’s other books (I read two so far). Similar spelt but wrong words. Continuity errors and plot holes, some big enough for a stampede of elephants to gallop though. Odd characterisations. I believe in giving authors three chances, but your review pretty much confirms that there’s no point in giving Chase the third chance.
    Five books in a month? Ouch. How about Tamara Allen’s latest, The Only Gold? I have been hearing some good words about it. I liked her previous book so I plan to get this even though one bloke on the cover looks very much like my old teacher, which isn’t good. 😀
    Maili (FiaQ)

    • I feel kind of disconnected, didn’t realize Tamara Allen had a new book out. I think I still have Whistling in the Dark TBR. Somewhere on my computer’s hard drive. I should look for it.
      Can’t remember if I’ve read other Chase books, but if the geek book is typical, I won’t be reading more. It felt like an early draft rather than a polished, finished product.

  2. Anonymous

    You should read Whistling in the Dark when you can. I didn’t know about the new release until Ann Somerville mentioned it on Twitter.
    “It felt like an early draft rather than a polished, finished product.”
    Exactly. It occasionally felt as if Chase wrote and submitted it in one go. I still wonder if it’s the norm for Chase, though. One more try? Hm…

    • I’ve found Whistling in the Dark. Which I have in PDF — I didn’t think I owned any PDF ebooks. How odd. But I’ll give it a try over the weekend.

  3. Anonymous

    A free book by T.A. Chase was my first m/m, I think, so I’ve given her more tries than most authors, but the work is so uneven. Not that well written and the dialogue can be pretty bad as well.
    Sunita

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