May in books

1.  Tangled by Carolyn Mackler.  YA.  Four overlapping novellas from the POV of semi-related characters.  Sort of dorky girl goes on group vacation with her mom, mom’s BFF and BFF’s model/actress (depressed/bipolar) daughter and hooks up with jerky guy, only to be abandoned for the model.  Jerky guy is suspended for being a jerk and subsequently realizes he’s been a jerk to everyone, including dorky nice girl.  Model actress feels suicidal and is rescued by dorky nice girl.  Computer geek younger brother of jerky guy is sent away to anti-computer camp and runs away to meet his online friend, the dorky nice girl.  I’ve enjoyed Mackler’s YA before, and this isn’t a bad book, but there’s nothing new or original here, and the narrators came across as whiny and entitled, hard to find sympathetic.  B-/C+.

2.  Hello Kitty Must Die by Angela S. Choi, reviewed here.  In short:  loved it.

3.  Faster Than the Speed of Light by Lucius Parhelion.  Gay fiction, historical.  Someone in my Google Reader feed read this book and recommended it.  The setting caught my attention:  post World War II southern California, in academia.  The narrator is a graduate student studying physics, gay and closeted.  Fascinating how the aftermath of WWII and the HUAC play into the book — more than homosexuality, the tension is about whether the narrator and his advisor are communists and why his advisor, who worked at Los Alamos, had left and refused to return.  The older/younger man trope is reversed here, in terms of power and authority — the narrator is a discharged GI, blue collar, late to school, while his advisor is younger, a genius, from a monied and cultured background.  There’s very little sex and a lot of UST, along with chaperones in the form of colleagues and classmates.  B

4.  Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris.  Urban fantasy.  Meh.  C- at best.  Sookie really ought to be named Mary Sue.

5.  Paper Planes by M. Jules Aedin.  M/m romance.  Pleasant read; at this point, the only things that really stand out are that the narrator’s love interest is half-Korean with an entirely Anglo-Irish name, both of them have lost their partners to illness/accident, and the love interest is an amputee.  

6.  This Rough Magic by Josh Lanyon.  M/m romance, historical.  DNF.  The first few chapters of this felt noire-ish, which I enjoy occasionally, but ultimately the book did not hold my attention.  Maybe I’ll circle back to it eventually.

7.  Mahu by Neil Plakcy.  Gay mystery.  This is the first book in Plakcy’s O’ahu set mystery series with Kimo Kanapa’aka as narrator and protagonist.  Love the way the setting and culture of the island is a character in the book.  Do recommend starting with this book; each mystery stands alone, but Kimo’s development as a character and some of his behavior in later books are better understood if you read the series in order.  

8.  A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.  Fantasy.  Drop the puck.  Intrigued by Jon Snow and Arya Stark, otherwise am somewhat bored. Women are scheming sluts, crazy, stupid or spineless placeholders. B-

9.  The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner.  Historical mystery.  Enjoyed a narrator who is not a duke or an earl, who is a cashiered ex-soldier struggling with what I assume is bipolarism (he describes melancholia and a frenzy that was often expressed on the battlefield) and poverty, as well as heartbreak (not romantic but fraternal).  

10.  Life Lessons by Kaje Harper.  Gay romantic suspense.  HFN. Feel a little ambivalent about the ending of the book. Not the mystery part, but the romance part. Closeted cop who has no plans of ever coming out and the out teacher? Eh.

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