Crow and Firefly (Crow and Firefly #1) by Sam C. Leonhard

Crow and Firefly - Sam C. Leonhard

Tho entertaining (to a degree), this book can stand some serious editing. The characters are unhinged, the writing is ...well, just let me warn you, the author is not a native speaker and it shows. There are plenty of people out there willing to proof-read, if only asked. That authors and publishers let it slide baffles me every single time.

I liked the idea of sifters-mating-humans being - literally - a deadly affair, however, it was not the real focus of this book. This is a cinderfella story, in which the future king of the land lures a poor young starving shifter, Ari, into his castle to marry him, the shifter/human conundrum a purrr-fect excuse for the jolly event. The pair, no surprise there, turns out to be a purrr-fect match.

Ari disappointed me great greatly at the end of the book, bragging about sleeping around with pretty much every available male since he was 14. That revelation comes out of his mouth on his wedding night, while talking to his brand-new husband. What a turn on ...um, not! :/ Oh, and then there was that episode where Ari seduced his husband by turning into a cat. What the heck? O.o

The author left no incentive to read the second installment. Everything smoothed out perfectly towards the end, with a perfect neon HEA flashing gaily all over the last pages.

Black Snow by E.A.B.

Black Snow - EAB

3.25 stars.

I enjoyed the very beginning of the book, even tho the incident with the mirror/Queen at Roland's house gave me a pause. It annoyed me to no end that nothing ever came out of it. I guess it's editing problems.
I didn't mind the middle of the story, palace comings and goings, even tho I thought that Brier used Quintin and led him on one too many times. But if the guy is spineless and clueless, then - whatevers, it's his own doing.
The last 40% of the book, however, grated on my nerves big time. I don't know if the author was under pressure, there was no time to edit, I have no clue. It seemed very chaotic to me and, honestly, I stopped caring for the characters altogether.
There was also a big time/reality confusion moment with modern (more or less) medical equipment and procedure names. All the juicy pregnancy and birth details reminded me once again why I prefer to stay away from mpreg. But I guess that's my problem, not author's.

In the end I can say that I did enjoy the story (had to sleep on it, tho, and sort things out) and will definitely read more from EAB in the future.

PS
Lurrrve the cover!!! ♥♥♥

The Winter Spirit by Indra Vaughn

The Winter Spirit - Indra Vaughn
I absolutely love the story, love the fairy-tale setting of "I love you" conquers death and evil evil relatives. Love the snowed-in isolated dwellings, love googly-eyed couples. Love characters damaged and hurt by former lovers/spouses.

The problem for me here is the length of the book. Not enough Owen. Not enough of the lovey-dovey couple (there were adorbs!), not enough Nate's history, not enough Nate/Gabriel interaction prior to the events. I hope some day the author will expand and build upon this story. But right now I have to take a star (maybe even a star and then some) for missed opportunities.

In the end it still mounts up to 4 stars.
Thank you for a cozy winter/holiday miracle read, Indra! :)

PS Oh, and I love the cover, too! :D

===========

Found Gabriel and Heath :D

Mélusine (Doctrine of Labyrinths #1) by Sarah Monette

Melusine - Sarah Monette

I am reviewing a DTB version.

Wow! That was the longest prologue I've ever read!
Now I can go back to page 1 and start enjoying the book.
Many reviews that mention re-reads make sense now.

*****

Few thoughts on the book, the writing, the characters, the shenanigans. No spoilers, just want to keep my outrage contained in the spoiler tags.

 

Tho I like it when authors dump you right in the middle of things and you have to start running the moment you hit the ground, this was not the case. I sure did do some legwork, but it was mostly bouncing up and down on the same spot, trying to get hold on my bearings. What? Who? Where? How? but most often than not WTF? were the questions popping into my head every other paragraph.

 

None of the places, politics, history and even characters, including one of the MCs, are explored enough for readers to fully comprehend the magnitude of events that the author is bestowing upon us until it's almost into the second half.

* Felix doesn't get to shine in the beginning of the book; hell, Felix doesn't get to be or do anything before all hell brakes loose. He doesn't get. to. be. Although SM keeps showering us with "Felix is This" and "Felix is That", all we see is a mad, wounded, bleeding dog instead of a shiny pretty thing, and its running, whimpering, to his abuser after being called "a whore". That one word and an unsubstantiated implication to go along does not justify Felix's violent overreaction. I am sure it's all perfect in MS's head, but she clearly prefers not to share any additional bits with us (and there are more to come).
Where is this person who thinks quick on his legs? SM's shiny version of Felix should handle it in no time flat, instead he is seeking out his uber abusive master he hasn't seen in years and loading on drugs like there is no tomorrow.

.........................................

Felix the magnificent, "whose deadly wit is the terror of the court” my ass. Whiny little pup!

* The book is packed with too many elaborate names that mean nothing, people who never show up and have no impact on the events, places we never go to.

Not sure why French rev. calendar was used. To give an instant historical setting? Sorry, it didn't work. You can't use a calendar and a bunch of French sounding names to instantly set the stage, unless its real France and the time is set roughly during the very end of 18th/beginning of 19th centuries. Same goes for Troia/Greece. These tricks confuse, not clarify events or describe places or historical periods in fantasy fiction.

I jam fond of French history and literature, but even then it took me a few minutes to zoom in on Pluviôse, I simply did not expect it. It was one of my first in the long line of WTF moments. I am sure many of us remember the calendar, but then there are many who do not.

(show spoiler)



To SM:
*Please, translate for the overwhelming majority of your non-russian speaking audience, what the hell Morskaiakrov means. Would it kill you to make a footnote: *Morskayakrov (russian) - Sea Blood. In current setting it implies that the family who operates the boat has sea in their blood. They were born into the trade and sea is their home and their life.
Please, quit making people feel inadequate and leaving them tongue-twisted and cross-eyed.


* Too many side stories. For what purpose? Ah.... of course. Page count. But they slow down the flow of the main story and leave loose ends all over the place.
What was the deal with the hidden attic at St. Crellifer's? Great escape route. Great way in. But was it utilized? I really hope it will come handy later, because as of right now it's an opportunity and reader's time wasted.

*POV switching. Two paragraphs here. Half a page there. Past Tense, Present Tense... I am looking forward (not!) to colons in The Virtu, that's on top of Italics and Mildmay's bad and inconstant speech antics.

*Would it greatly burden you to have a glossary of terms and names in the beginning of the book? If anything it will expand your page count.

*Please, mention your septads in the glossary of your quirks. Two septads and six is an amusing take on 20 questions, but - really? Really? Invent your own question game and leave decimals out.

OK, shutting up now. There is more in my updates if anyone cares.

(show spoiler)



This book made me angry. Felix, too, at the very end, with his lack of gratitude and common sense made me angry. BUT. The story held my interest. I am starting The Virtue today. That counts for something, I guess.

3 stars.

PS Shannon. I feel bad for him. Felix is one ungrateful piece of ...work.

 

In Enemy Hands by M.A. Church

In Enemy Hands - M.A. Church

Seriously missing an mpreg element, what with nesting and googly eyes and the whole nine yards.

Picture of the Day: The Law Student - Norman Rockwell

1927... The Law Student - Norman Rockwell | Flickr - Photo Sharing! This guy likes Abe Lincoln !!!:

Some Assembly Required by Lex Chase, Bru Baker

Some Assembly Required - Bru Baker, Lex Chase


Very fun read. Although I wanted to give it 4.5 stars, I am rounding down to four only because two people in tight quarters is not exactly my comfort zone. Does it make me a closeted claustrophobic? *scratches head* lol

Good book, tho.

Bloodlust: A Tale of Erotic Yaoi Horror by Amelita Rae

Bloodlust: A Tale of Erotic Yaoi Horror - Amelita Rae

Want to mention: inconsistencies, contradictions, messed up narrative (not always sure in which timeline I was), cliches and various other wtf-ery waiting for you on every page and in every paragraph. But, yaoi novel, what did I expect. I went for something naive and low quality - a quicky, if you please - and I got it for about 60%.

And then BIG guns came out.

NOT A SPOILER, BUT A SERIOUS WARNING (this is all in the book, not my words, except for "wtf", so keep your finger off that "flag" button):

*

The book took a turn for pure brutality: brutal rape, brutal beatings, brutal murder, brutal zombies, brutal weres, brutal winter, just effing brutal all around with a bouquet of taboos thrown in just for the shocker. It includes consuming human flesh, tearing off limbs, sucking out brains and eyes, ripping out "bowels", fisting, tearing up assholes (literally, of course), dancing on the bloody floor and stomping through the guts, watersports, piss enemas, knotting, implied incest (why not go all the way, wtf?), bestiality and manimal sex/rape (shifted form). I am sure I missed a few juicy bits while rolling my eyes. Please, don't hold it against me.

1 star for the first 60-65%, which still contained a story. The rest - super-massive black hole.

Thank you for your time.

PS Must mention: one of the scenes in the book reminds me strongly ofPrisoner in the Viewfinder. Particularly the scene on the cruise ship with Michael Arbatov, his uncle Yuri and Akihito. A young blond photographer, a pure soul, raped and abused by bad Russian homophobic mobsters.

Out of the Sea: A Yaoi Merman Fairytale (Beloved #1) by Amelita Rae (Goodreads Author), Skyler Thacmis (Illustrator)

Out of the Sea: A Yaoi Merman Fairytale (Beloved Book 1) - Amelita Rae, Skyler Thacmis

This was sweet and cute and adorable! This is why I keep coming back to yaoi novels =)

Innocent and sexy at the same time. Did I mention actual illustrations? I am going to add my own findings in a few minutes just to keep the menfolk love going :)

This is how I felt after finishing this novel:

 

Cresting Tide by Brenda Cothern

Cresting Tide - Brenda Cothern

Peter is a stow-away on a boat. When the captain finds Peter, he throws him off the boat into the ocean. In the ocean, Peter meets Cuke, a sea-elf. Cuke saves Peter. They have great sex while surviving on a remote Caribbean Island. They make a baby. All is well. Good story.

 

 

*********************

On the plus side:

 

- Stranded/marooned/survival set-up. Robinson Crusoe, The Martian are my favorites. Definitely a plus.

- Gender-fluid sea-elf, interspecies. So, so cool! 'Cause Enemy Mine, people!!!! Three pluses in one :D

 

On the ...ahem ...other side:

 

CUKE, the sea-elf. Took me a few (dozen) pages to stop thinking about sea cucumbers :/ But only during the times when Peter and Cuke didn't have sex, cause:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- What century am I in? At first, for whatever reason, I assumed - present times. But then there are all kinds of mentions of a royal family. A historical, then? 75% into the book Cuke "heard the human surface craft land" - a sci-fi? Cause I have no clue what that "human surface craft" is - a Cessna? a space shuttle? an escape pod? a fisherman boat? a canoe? Noah's Arc? starship Enterprise? крейсер Аврора? what?

 

- What countr... forget country, what planet is Peter from? @.@ We are supposedly in the Caribbean. Yet Peter is an honest to god Prince. Peter and his brother Paul (names used exclusively by royals) are drinking alcohol at the tender age of 16 back home, wherever that is. Peter is also having all kinds of sex and making babies at that same age. Did Peter stow-awayed all the way from Luxembourg or United Kingdom? Belgium? No? Japan??


Here is a quiz for you.

Which country:
- still sports a royal family AND
- has the age of consent set at 16 AND
- has drinking age set at 16 (or possibly even younger)?
Don't know? Me neither. Must be a different planet.

- Star fruit. I read about it enough in the past day or so to be fed up with it for the next couple of years. Thank you very much *burp*.

Bottom line: Could have been a great story if executed better. 

1.5 stars.

 

Priddy’s Tale by Harper Fox

Priddy's Tale - Harper Fox

I am totally in love with this book! Something about the lighthouses and the seaside and the merfolk appeals to me immensely.

My only complaint is that I couldn't get quite close to Merou, read more about his side of the story; there is still plenty of info to piece it together, just ...lacking somehow.

As for mansel in distress, oh well. There are boys in trouble out there, and I am sure lots of them can use some help. Being a man doesn't mean you must plow through life with a stoic face, unfazed by troubles. This particular setting in this particular book didn't bother me at all. 5 stars.

 

PS Delicious story, I might re-read it one day :)

 

Merou

 

Goodreads | LGBT Fantasy Fiction - Group Images: Fantasy Images (Male) NSFW (showing 1,351-1,400 of 1,436):

 

Priddy

 

Merman:

 

or maybe this is Priddy :)

Zac? Zac Effron?? Is that you!?:

 

Old Loyalty, New Love (L'Ange #1) by Mary Calmes

Old Loyalty, New Love - Mary Calmes

I am not sure why Roman had to be set on fire. Mary Calmes already set him up with such a tragic family history, you think "WTF? Give the kid a break." Right? NO - Off With His Face!
But what is the purpose of this ...exercise? Kids in college couldn't care less about his scars. Everyone in the state of Maine (and beyond) still wants Roman. His injured face does not pose any difficulties to him, once he stopped the surgeries. He himself sometimes uses it for 'shocking' purposes or excuses when he doesn't want to talk to people.
i dunno, i dunno.... will keep reading. maybe it will make sense somewhere down the road.

UPDATE
I get it now. The pack accepts you. YOU. Not what you look like. The appearances don't matter. You're not damaged unless you can't hunt or contribute in any other way.
So, what if we have an ex-marine (for example), big and strong in no way physically damaged, except for a severe PTSD? Let's put another character through hell, so we can learn the ways of the pack when someone looks perfect but can't contribute, shall we? We'll have a manual on jackal shifters in no time by dragging people through pain and suffering.

Don't get me wrong, I love most of Mary's books, it's just this one seems to me unusually cruel. She has this meaninglessly mean (a sad 'ha-ha') streak that pops up every once in a while in her fiction. As much as I loved the first two Change of Heart books, #3 & #4 got 2 stars from me for that same reason. Jin, a cute lovable boy, was turned into something hateful, fearful and highly unpleasant. No wonder he didn't want to get mated in book one, he knew. Look where it got him.

That said, I do read books where the characters are damaged physically or emotionally or both, that doesn't bother me. But I am uber cautious now when it comes to reading Mary Calmes. Sad days :(

PS Forgot to mention: it ticks me off that the tragedy (actually many tragedies) that befalls Roman serves a singular purpose - to support one and one character only, Quade, who did not have live through the horror of it personally or even deal with it much. At least not the way Mary Calmes describes it. We only have a couple of tiny little peeks of how boys dealt with it. A brush off, no more :/

Men & Books

"She would have wanted you to have this." The book was handed to me by someone I had never seen before. She had a small look about her, with dull hair and freckled skin, but her green eyes shone bright. She was on the brim of tears. She looked sadly at me and then saluted, backing away. It was times like these that I forgot I was someone important around here. I recognized the cover. It was titled, "32 Most Common Languages and Their Most Common Phrases". I had seen Kenya with it more than o...:

The Royal Inquisitor by Megan Derr

The Royal Inquisitor - Megan Derr

why is there never an edited book from Megan? WHY????

 

 

Could have easily been 4.5 stars rounded up, but - no. I had to claw myself out of a ditch, where nothing makes sense and you have to double/triple check to verify you're not legally insane. I am sorry, Megan. I really am. I loved the story but re-reading and re-confirming got on my nerves this time so much, that I, in good conscious, cannot do better than 3 stars.

BL slow?

Is it me, or is BL infuriatingly slow tonight? O.o It's like pulling teeth!!!

Branded (Branded 3) by PL Nunn

I just ordered it!!! MWAA-HA-HA!!! I also ordered "Thinning Veil" graphic novel book 1 http://plnunn.com/cart/main/index.php "Knights and intrigue and fantasy setting with eventually m/m. 43 full color pages."

Mammarella

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