It’s my favorite time of the month again – Book Review Day! Yay! There’s really not much new I can tell you all about my love of books at this juncture…I’m just kind of obsessed with books and reading. Some months it’s obvious that I need an intervention of some kind. Other months, well, it’s obvious that I got a little involved in life and had to scale back the reading time. This month was the latter.
Regardless, I’ve got some books to share with you folks, and I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoyed reading them. If any of the reviews intrigue you, click on a picture/link and buy the book. Don’t forget that authors (especially independent authors) really need reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Litsy, etc. So, if you really enjoy a book, do the author a favor (besides buying/borrowing the book, of course). A simple “Great Book!” review anywhere is definitely more than enough!
Don’t forget to read my disclosure policy. Additionally, these are my honest opinions about these books. No one has paid me to read or review them–I just do this because…well, I’m going to read anyway. May as well share with all of you what I thought to help you decide if you want to read them, too.
Having said that–if you want to give me a free book to read and review in my monthly book(s) review(s), I am not averse to that! I love my indie author brethren, and am always happy to help a fellow one out! And, ya’ know, FREE BOOK! You can reach out to me here. But don’t email me your manuscript automatically, please.
Let’s talk books, friends!
A Surplus of Light by Chase Connor – Yup. I’m plugging my writing buddy again. However, this is the fourth YA LGBTQ novella/novel released by Chase Connor, and his books just keep getting better and better. “He’s a psycho.” That’s what Mike is told when he asks who the kid is with the dark swoop of hair and eyes that look like icebergs floating in milk. From that moment, it becomes Mike’s mission to find out everything about this kid. The kid who can fight better than anyone, but doesn’t want to. The kid who is the greatest artist Mike’s ever met. The kid who only wants to be his friend during the lightest days of summer. The kid who tells him that being his friend at school will only ruin Mike’s reputation. Regardless of what the kid tells Mike, he doesn’t realize that summer is the best time–it has the most light–and it makes it easier for Mike to see who he truly is. And there’s no way Mike will back off once he sees this kid for who he truly is. This book hit all the feels. It’s a coming-of-age tale with elements of M/M romance the likes I’ve never really read before. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who just likes a damn good story–and then read the rest of Chase Connor’s novellas/novels: Just A Dumb Surfer Dude, Gavin’s Big Gay Checklist, and A Tremendous Amount of Normal. I also recently read the first draft and ARC for the first book in his upcoming LGBTQ Paranormal Romance series, titled Jacob Michaels Is Tired: A Point Worth LGBTQ Paranormal Romance–and it’s amazing! And by the time this post is published, it’ll be available to buy!
From, A Homosexual Hazard by Edwin Betancourt – I read an ARC for this on September 19th after running across the author on the Twitter. This, unlike the other books on this list, is different. It is a play, or as the author calls it “the gay step-brother of The Vagina Monologues“. This was a very thought-provoking, engaging, often hilarious group of monologues centered around LGBTQ issues. One monologue, “Mad Love”, which dealt with abusive relationships, really stood out to me. Important to note, Betancourt was highly inclusive with his characters. Even in LGBTQ writings, there can be a lack of diversity, but Betancourt included people of color, larger men (Bears), twinks, and everything in between. Not only does this play tackle issues facing today’s gay men, but it also represents the community well. Definitely a great read–and I hope one day to see it performed live!
Love’s Trials: Revolutionary Heart – Book Two by Janice Jarrell – Oh, Janice. You know, the author I interviewed here? What’s not to love about her, right? Well, here’s what I had to say on Goodreads about this ARC that she provided me. Picking up where “Love’s Magic: Revolutionary Heart – Book One” left off, Josh and Colin have faced Colin resisting the love he felt for Josh, breaking through the walls he built up, chasing Josh down across the country to profess his undying love, and then moving in together. But, if they thought this would be the biggest challenge in their relationship, they were dead wrong. In “Love’s Trials”, Josh and Colin are living in bliss together, Josh is working as a psychologist, and Colin is still the “tough, hot, Irish cop” that all the pretty boys adore. They’re spending weekends with David and Nate at their cabin, have an active love life, and are living the dream. Then the “Unite the Right” march happens in their town…and things begin to get worse. Colin is practically forced to work in his capacity as a university policeman to work with the local police force and the ATF to help implement a drug sting involving university students. And though he promises Josh he’ll never get too involved…we all know that’s not the type of cop that Colin is. When tragedy strikes during a drug bust and Josh is left wondering if he’ll lose the love of his life, then facing the aftermath of those moments, the reader is left wondering if this Jewish hottie and this Irish hottie will get their happily ever after. As I told the author, this series is like a gay telenovela (in all the best ways), these books are highly addictive and so much fun. If I hadn’t been so busy, I would have tucked in and read this book in one afternoon. If you like M/M romance–or really, just romance–and a good story, these books are for you. Well written, engaging, and a great escape, the “Revolutionary Heart” series is one I would highly recommend! Currently, this book is only available for pre-order, but it gets released on October 12th, 2018, so there’s plenty of time to click a button!
Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton – Okay, I promised I would stay away from book review negativity–but this isn’t really negativity, just an observation. This book captured my imagination and wanderlust every time I’d see a copy at the bookstore or see it advertised in ebook format somewhere. I love to travel and love “off the beaten path” gems one finds while exploring. Since most of us don’t have the time or resources to travel as much as we’d like–or to all of the places we’d like–this guide seemed like an amazing book to satisfy some wanderlust. And…it is full of gems one can find while traveling the world. The problem I had with it is that it was just…boring. I didn’t find the book engaging at all. It was blurb after blurb of weird and odd things one can find when traveling, but it just felt dry and not exciting. How can writers take something so exciting as travel and make it so bland? Other than that–there’s a lot of amazing things to find in this book. You’ll just need a strong cup of coffee for reading it. This is definitely not a “lazy Sunday afternoon read”–you’ll need some time to get through it.
Hot Wheels (Breakfast Reads #4) by Christina van Deventer – I gave this one 5 stars on Goodreads. Why? It’s so eloquently written and it hits all the feels. More than anything, this short story will make you feel something. Having said that–I know it’s a short story–but it feels incomplete. So well written–but I felt like the author held back on writing this story. I don’t feel that I got a true sense of who the characters were, their motivations, or what made them tick. There’s a running theme in the story of compromise and what all that entails…but I don’t feel the author gave an answer as to why this was a theme or what the characters’ compromises truly were. However, if you want a short, quick read that will touch your feels, this is definitely a good one.
Jacob Michaels Is Tired (A Point Worth LGBTQ Paranormal Romance Book 1) by Chase Connor – This is the first full series planned by my writing buddy, Chase Connor. And, it seems this overachiever is trying to fill a niche market that is somewhat lacking. Jacob Michaels Is Tired is the first book in a planned LGBTQ Paranormal Romance series, described as: Jacob Michaels…er, Robert Wagner…is tired. Hollywood has been kind. But it’s also left him skinny, exhausted, unsure of who he is, whom he wants to be…and without love. A decade earlier, he ran away from home to pursue fame. Unlike many before him, he actually succeeded. Now he’s back in his hometown of Point Worth, trying to make amends with his grandmother, trying to regain his health, trying to not be recognized, and trying to figure out who he really is. Maybe he’ll find love along the way…if people and things weren’t so…weird. This one was just A LOT of fun to read. Like most of Chase’s stuff, I fell in love with the characters, loved their relationships with each other, and adored the dialogue. Maybe I’m biased since I write urban paranormal mysteries–but this is a great start and I see this series sticking around for a while, so you may as well get in on the ground floor.
Just a Dumb Surfer Dude 2: For The Love of Logan (A Gay Coming-of-Age Tale) by Chase Connor – I have got to stop being a beta-reader/reviewer for Chase. My book review posts are starting to look like shrines to his body of work. Regardless…this is a sequel to Chase’s popular Just a Dumb Surfer Dude: A Coming-of-Age Tale, this time, with Logan as the main character. For those who read JaDSD – you’ll absolutely adore Logan’s turn as the main character. In fact, all of the characters from the first book return–and they’re just as lovable and engaging as before. Chase’s ability to create dynamic characters and stories is astounding, especially considering the fact that I think he’s published more books in a few months than I’ve published in my entire life. My jealousy of his work ethic aside, this is an endearing, sweet read that will leave you praying that there will be a Just a Dumb Surfer Dude 3 sometime in the future!
The Goldfinch by Donna Tarrt – I know I said that I would stay away from negative book reviews on The Midnight Goose…but I think I can do this one without being a complete douchebag. Donna Tarrt is an exceptional writer. This is not an exceptional book. It’s boring, bloated, and is filled with unnecessary copious details about the most mundane things that lend absolutely nothing to the story. Astoundingly, I think that the 771 small print pages of this book could have been compressed to 300 or less. When you read a book this dense, you expect a payoff of some kind. This book delivered nothing. Not even entertainment. I didn’t find reading it to be enjoyable or entertaining, nor did it even deliver an overall message that made it all worthwhile. I was also astounded at the fact that Ms. Tarrt chose to go into mind-numbingly detailed descriptions about furniture restoration (Herman Melville playbook of scrimshaw, maybe?) but didn’t devote adequate time to the human relationships between some of the characters. Details, details, details–and oh, this character is now dead. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone unless you are looking to make reading a punishment. But the Pulitzer Prize Board disagrees with me, so take all this as you will. I’ve been told that this novel is “Dickensian”. May I just suggest some Dickens, then? Guess that was a little douchey, huh?
Since it’s October–and Halloween is a month-long holiday (obvs), here are a few horror books (or just great books for Halloween time) that I adore and you might, too. They’re listed in no particular order but are merely listed as suggestions for your reading pleasure. Check ’em out:
I gotta go.
Until next time…