November’s books/novellas/etc.

1.  Wight Mischief by JL Merrow.  Contemporary m/m gothic with mystery and paranormal threads.  Loved the sense of place in the book, not sold on the mystery, the villain, or the romance.  C

2.  In the Dark by Jordan Castillo Price.  M/m horror.  A PsyCop short.  Loved it.  My only complaint:  it’s too short! Want more!

3.  Room to Grow by Kate Sherwood.  Contemporary m/m.  I don’t remember what this book was about.  My notes at LibraryThing are:  what was the point of this book?  C-

4.  Leave Me Breathless by Cherrie Lynn.  Contemporary het romance.  A lot of people in my Twitter feed loved this book, but I was not engaged by either character, even though the hero should have appealed.  At best, the portion I read was stroke material.  Otherwise, meh.  DNF.

5.  Steamroller by Mary Calmes.  Contemporary m/m.  Or rather, an utter fairytale fantasy of m/m romance pretending to be a contemporary.  There’s so much wrong with this novella (IMO) that I don’t know where to start: the trope-riddled, paper-thin characters? the “tragedy” that made the conflictless HEA possible?  the utter inconsistency of the character building?  the love at first fuck?  the bareback because I trust you for what is ostensibly a one night stand?  It wasn’t a long book, but it managed to rile me up a lot. F

6.  Half Moon Chambers by Harper Fox.  Contemporary m/m police procedural.  Less angst than some of her other work, which I appreciated, but the narrator is TSTL and a glutton for punishment.  Didn’t really believe the romance or HEA/HFN, or the resolution of the procedural piece.  C+

7.  One Good Turn by Carla Kelly.  Traditional Regency…well, as traditional as Kelly gets.  Reread.  A/A-

8.  Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel.  Graphic novel memoir.  I’m going to have to check out her other graphic novels and check out Dykes to Watch Out For.


Aside:  the longer I read fiction by and about gay characters, the less comfortable I am using m/m as a descriptor, especially when the book is outside the strict genre confines of romance.



Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs, narrated by Joe Manganiello.  Still like his voice for the book, but was a little less pleased with this audiobook, in part because some of the pacing for punctuation sounded odd and also because I noticed a fair number of incorrect words/pronunciations.  Examples:  scrape for scrap, noise for nose, etc.

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch, narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.  The voice and style of the narrator lived up to the very distinctive (and to me enjoyable) sense of place and person conveyed in writing by Aaronovitch.  Will be getting the rest of the series.  I’ve also recommended the series to my brother-in-law, a big SF/F and audiobook fan.


Still TBD:

  • review of Tigerland
  • review of another Kelly book
  • read and review holiday anthology

(List posted on the theory that writing the tasks down will make me accomplish them faster.)



Filed under Book related

4 responses to “November’s books/novellas/etc.

  1. I read and reviewed Room to Grow in a lightning reviews post at DA. I liked the setup and the writing was pretty good, but once the characters got together she introduced conflict that went against the mostly adult behavior that had characterized them up to then. It drove me crazy. I think I wound up giving it exactly the same grade you did.

    I’ve never made it past a sample of any Calmes book. Is she the one who writes the Gary Stu characters, i.e., everyone loves him but he is always surprised? I mix her up with another author who reads almost identically for me. But I’m glad to hear the Fox has less angst. I have to spread her books out to appreciate them, because they’re so fraught.

  2. That was my second attempt at Calmes, after the disaster that was The Frog (or Frog Prince?). A lot of readers seem to like her but she doesn’t work for me. Yes on the Gary Stus. The kindest thing I can say about the two books I tried is that they didn’t seem to have egregious copy editing problems. This one read like an outline or an incomplete first draft.

    The Fox books was *comparatively* less angsty than other books I’ve tried, but the narrator and both potential partners are messes all the way around. I found it less fraught (I like that word) than Driftwood and Life With Joe.

  3. Nothing of substance to add only that I look forward to reading these types of posts. I loved One Good Turn as well and Kelly usually is hit/miss for me.

    • Kelly is pretty consistent for me, or was in her old Signets, but I have found that the books widely held to be her best are often ones I don’t care for, like Libby’s London Merchant and Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand. I suppose I’m just glad that there are some that work for me 🙂

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