Category Archives: books I’ve read

I read my first actual lesbian novels

Some time back I realized that I have never actually taken up any, mostly because thanks to Amazon’s suggestion system, it never really offers me any and I’ve been comfy enough not to search outside what I currently read. So when the idea hit me that  do as you preach (I support reading in different genres to find good books without the inhibitions set by society that would make you usually stop from picking from one genre or another) and read different genres, I picked up few randomly:

Bridget Essex – Date Knight
As an introduction to lesbian romance, I am very happy I picked it. I seriously like her knights (and by now I have already gone through several of her books) and can’t wait for one particular side character’s personal story to come out soon. I wasn’t so into Holly though. I can understand the stereotypical vegan tea-loving, very feminine dress wearing unicorn gathering creature, but that did not make me like her much more. A bit too angelic perhaps? I mean, everybody immediately loved her and she was looking at everything through literal pink glasses. I think what I didn’t like about her was that she seriously felt naive. But it worked out nicely when she was paired up with her knight, so after a while it didn’t bother me at all.

It somewhat carried on into the rest of the book, where the ultimate bad guy were men. I think that’s what I didn’t like about the book that much – that she created the two sides of male and female and played them against each other. As much as I am a feminist, I do not like that in books, not if gays play the women to be the ultimate opponent nor when women play the men to be the ultimate opponent. Because they are not. As simple as that. Yes, feminism didn’t rise from nothing, but it’s not black and white, it’s often gray and murky and thus creating this opposition based on body parts while we are fighting our best to stop men using ours as an excuse while we use their body parts to set them apart and mark them as evil… I’m not sure I’m even making the right point here, but what I mean is that I don’t like it. Equality doesn’t work that way and if we want to be taken serious, we need to change the way we look at the world – not that we deal with person with specific sex organs, but that we are dealing with another human being. As long as we make a point to marginalize another based on our sexual organs, we will never see things differently.

However, that was not the problem with her knights. So if you wanna read a good up-beat story about medieval fantasy knights, who look gorgeous – I would know, I freaking went over the descriptions several times – then that would be my pick. Especially after I read the A Dark and Stormy Knight, because it’s Charaxus story and I loved how she was described in the Date Knight. I was ready to skip some of the Date Knight, but somehow I found myself reading it through from middle to the end without interruptions, so I think I got myself a new series to look forward to.

Plus it intrigued me enough to inspire a certain side project I’ll tell you more at some point.

Gail Carriger  – Romancing the Inventor
I understand this is simply a side story of a major series, but oh my heaven it was so sweet! It has been awhile since I read a steampunk, so I jumped on the chance and I wasn’t disappointed. The main character was totally to my liking, although I must admit her main problem being “I wish to be corrupted” sort of didn’t go on me that well. 

But that character, that inventor Genevieve – swoon! Absolutely adorable! I now wish Margot would dress like her too. Hmm, maybe I can make her a costume based on the descriptions?

I haven’t gotten to other of her books yet, but I liked what I saw so far.

Tan Jiu – Tamen De Gushi
I am big fan of Old Xian (19 Days), so when I thought about the books, I kept remembering some image from a while back. So I searched it out. If Old Xian has a couple, which sort of are and are not gay school boys (it’s called Shounen Ai, so no sex), then Tamen De Gushi (Shoujo Ai – no sex) is story of two school girls finding out what love between two girls can be like. Both are super funny and know how to make maximum on everyday situations, so totally worth the time to check them out.

I wasn’t sure I’d like lesbian stories that much. I must admit I picked them up with assumption that they are like gay stories and with them – you gotta dig quite deep to find the gold. I’m not familiar enough to know what the main themes are inside the genre, but if knights is one thing and the trans-dressing another, I think I might definitely find myself something to read :).

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Movies and short story

I read a short story Bianca’s Plan by B.G.Thomas. Didn’t plan to, but I had downloaded it a while back when I was still testing out the Amazon Prime thing, and forgotten it. Until few days ago I felt like I needed a Christmas cheer (in the middle of summer – yay, me!) and read it.

Ok, so I know that because it is Christmas story, it was clear from the start that it was gonna be sweet and cute story and that’s exactly what it was, so if you are not into that, skip it. But if you want to read something really nice with lovable characters, who make you grin, then it’s a book for you. And the little twist in the end – just right cherry on the cake!

The only thing I’d note would be the fact that Gavin, Curtis and the other guy, Gerry?, sound too similar and made me go back several times to check if I was reading the right guy’s inner monologue or not. For 65 pages, it wasn’t that bad, it just irked a bit.

I’m remembering the author though – to check out other stuff, because the characters were really, really nicely written.

As of my own writing – it has been waiting in the corner until now. The moving, ending the contract at the dorm, took a bit more of my time than I expected, as usually such things do, and now we are moving mountains with my brother to make room for the furniture I brought over.  I just realized it’s already 8th.  We still have things to do, but if all goes well, perhaps I’ll start getting some time off starting Monday and can get back to my schedules. I did manage to get the Friday Flash Fiction up, which made me feel a bit better.

Also, when I was moving last week-end, I went to see two movies. Purge III and Independence Day II.

I must admit, I’m torn, when I think about the Purge – in general I really like the idea – horrific and makes you really think of the value of life and social statuses. But with this last one… It went too much into the clean cut movie script. And it screwed up.  With one character especially. You know those characters that are put into the movie to create emotional impact on the watcher? This movie had one – Joe Dixon. With his overly racist view (and I’m not exaggerating), the entire attitude he carried and the way the writer raised this particular character’s stakes – you could so do without it. It was embarrassing to watch and half of the movie I kept looking in other characters if this character could have been easily melted into them, for the truth is – the movie would have won from it. It was just so… so… stereotypical. Yes, that’s the word for it. There were other characters around him, like Marcos, Laney, Mrs Sabian, the old guy playing cards – all people with ethnic background and they were fine and then there was Joe and he did not work. I kept mulling over the reasons, why he didn’t work, for few days after seeing it, because I find it to be a very interesting case.

Then I went to see the Independence Day: Resurgence. I didn’t plan it, I just had few hours to kill. With the Purge still fresh in my head, I guess I kept my eye on characters that were put in for emotional impact with this movie. Most of them worked for me, especially the doctor duo, which was so freaking adorable it broke my heart, when one of them died. The scarf thing – oh how painful to the heart. I didn’t like though how they brought in all the kid characters from the previous movie and used them in all. It came off as fabricated and moldy a bit. Julius Levinson though – like meeting an old friend :).

I thought I would be more annoyed with the fact that it was clearly built scenario rather than being organic like Purge felt. Yet it was the opposite – the Independence Day movie script, for me, worked while Purge fell flat, yet they used the same techniques and they even had same type of jokes in them. Weird, huh? Well, I’m waiting for DVD now to watch them both again and to compare them again, for I have been meaning to make a movie study and at this point, I think I want to do it on Independence Day.

 

 

 

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Cardeno C and L.C. Chase

I listened a book. More Than Everything by Cardeno C. It was about 2 ex-s and one man, and how his two old ex-s fall in love and movie in together, turning his life upside down.

Sounds weird and ha-ha? I thought so too until I actually took the book and caught myself sitting in he corner, still listening and then kept listening it while I lay down on my bed with my eyes open and my mind empty while the book downloaded in me.

Despite the strange premise, I actually liked it. How often do you read about three men getting together and forming one household? Menage doesn’t come always with gays only promise and  interested little bugger as I am, I couldn’t let that chance pass. Really heartwarming and hurt/comfort kind of story.

I very much liked the idea of two ex-s trying to woo back a man both had hurt in the past. However Cardeno happened on this idea – freaking awesome! I wasn’t very keen on the text itself, something was off for me, but it didn’t stand out, so I let it go. But I think I will search Cardeno out again for another such a strange idea :D.

Also, I think I’ve got myself a new favorite – L.C. Chase. I happened on the series Pickup Men and although there wasn’t anything surprising in the story, although they were very well built up, I fell for the language. Being a foreign speaker, I seem to relish on some nice, lush expressions and if I  happen on one that sounds local, uses those expressions and words like local and who doesn’t write badly either – keeper! Although I should mention that so far my favorite has still been the Pickup Men series.

Another interesting perk of this week – it seems I’m on Pride and Prejudice golden week. So far I’ve watched 1995 series for breakfast (for I just didn’t want to watch tv and chose a random show I knew), then I happened on a book by Aj Michaels – Pride and Modern Prejudice, which I actually liked despite it being somewhat copy-paste of the original. Then I saw Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! Oh, and I like that Darci. Plus I’m a bit intrigued – how many different versions of this book actually exist?

L.B. Gregg – I just want to remember that name, for I have happened on 3 stories already, starting with a weary Christmas story in January and I keep happening on him and liking his style. So  I want to remember him further. OR is it her? Lately i don’t really get the author’s genders and I don’t really care. As long as they write me fantastic books, I’m good with whoever they are.

 

 

 

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Billionaire in Prison

Billionaire in Prison by Shay Skyi, I read yesterday made me cringe. I didn’t like it the whole lot, because, well, there really wasn’t much to like, for there is a major plot hole I kept going back for, searching and never finding, but there was one thing that I thought needed mentioning, if not for others, then to myself too.

Understanding the work you write about. It wasn’t as if there wasn’t research behind it, for I could recognize some facts as copy pasted from online.  But, let’s be honest – Google is not the best place to get the info on job descriptions. You should think of the job itself and that’s where this author went wrong.

Why? (What follows has spoilers, that’s why the hiding) Continue reading

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LGBT and work (little rant)

As Nano came back roaring in my life, it has been a bit cramped with everything else going on. Yet I still manage somehow consume books and find things that stand out.

Things like… work.

First thing that caught my attention and left me fuming for few days was a simple work interview in a LGBT book. Although I could fathom, why the author had put it the way it was, it still somehow managed to either bring back some old feelings or create new connections which just blew my mind.

The situation was this: company’s boss personally hires a man, whom they have checked thoroughly. Seems it’s a closing deal, just talking with someone they’ve already decided on. So. Everything’s super. Then the interviewee suddenly states: “I am gay. If this company is homophobic or has problems with gay, I’m not working for you.” and I keep staring at those lines with gaping mouth. I quickly turned the page to read what the boss answered. Why would you say that? How should somebody react to something like that? Because it seems to me that was… it was… Honestly…

What answer would you give if you were employer and the person you interview gives you this kind of ultimatum in the end. First thing that came in my mind was “I’m hetero, do you have problem with that? Do you need special care that you feel you have to point that out?”. Yup, sarcastic, but would give the point I would be aiming – why differentiate yourself like that in the first place? The other reaction I had was to ask without thinking “Did you get your qualifications through bedroom action? For I see no other reason why that is relevant otherwise.” It just struck me as really odd thing to do. It felt like an attack, a promise of a future with someone, who will use their sex life as an excuse should other problems arise.

Yet the rest of the book went nice and smoothly and left me saying aww many, many times and in the end  I understood why that was put the way it had. Sure thing, it irritated, but now that I think of it – quite for the right way. For I did think how I would react in the place of the employer. Truthfully, I would rather not be in such situation, because my sarcastic tone would run wild.

 

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Andrew Grey

If you recall, I have mentioned few times here and there that I’ve found myself a writer I want to rant about.

Given, my own writing has swirled down to nothing, so I thought I might as well try this. Even publishing the book has come to a stop to this point and in most light I can only blame my own eagerness and lack of seeing in the future, because  I think I might have missed some lecture on how to put this whole thing together and I’m still trying to figure that out. I will, eventually. The second part to blame is my second wisdom tooth. It drove me crazy this past few weeks and well, with tooth ache your brain simply does not work. That will get a sad solution this Friday, but will cost me a week more of pain. How I adore that little rudiment… I truly, truly hate it. I have given up on Nano for the time being, because of that. Although I’m not thinking of letting it go just yet, but… Well, we’ll see.

So, as I don’t have much else my mind wraps around right now, I took up a new author to “read”. I say “read”, because they are audiobooks a friend of mine lent to me a week ago and I’ve been really into them after listening the first one. Thank god he had a nice number of them, because I am thrilled and exited.

First of all, Andrew Grey writes gay romances. I was reading a punch of sci-fi stories and classic horror, but at some point I had enough and was suggested to check him out. So I went and did. And I’m glad I did.

I started off with Eyes Only for Me. It’s a standalone and I was impressed by the characters he had. A bit too idealistic in their upbuilt, but oddly it didn’t bother me at all as I found myself wanting to listen it from the start to the end. It left a good taste in my mouth, so to say, and after few days I realized I really liked Clayton – knows how to cook, yet doesn’t come off anything like a dandy or twink or however they call them. No weird expressions, no open toss-to-your-face stuff that often drives me off from gay romances. Over a long time I actually felt like I’d gladly have this guy as my friend. He had common sense, sense of reality and knew how things worked in real life, which was very refreshing.

So, being impressed by that novel, I went back to my friend and asked for others. He had 4 more series – By Fire (out of which I’ve listened one), Carlisle Cops (listened two), Senses series (waiting in the line) and Good Fight (listened them all) and 1 stand-alone book One Good Deed  After visiting the author’s homepage, turns out he has way more and I am listing him up next to Diana Palmer as someone I want to start reading from his early writings up to date.

Ok, so I’m not gonna dwell in each and one of them, but there are few notes.

His writing has good story mode. I am not usually fan of “he said, she said” type of dialogs, but it didn’t seem to bother me so much. I seriously fell for how he uses words and how the dialogs didn’t sound too weird. What I really liked with his writing, is how he uses action descriptions – he gives you details and he really writes them straight in order, like he goes to car, takes something, walks back and then does something else. He doesn’t skip and yet it doesn’t feel overpowering either.

However, what did bother me most of the time, is the fact that if the book had accent in it, the narrator sure went for it. Like One Good Deed – oh my hellish gosh! I understand the MC is Serbian, but that imitation of an accent! Theatrical and so… wrong! I have met my share of Serbians, and also those, whose English is really bad and I’m yet to meet any of them, who sound like that. One Good Deed was so far the only book by him, that I put down and plan never to take up again. It was promising and I liked the start, but I was so angry at the narrating accent that I couldn’t get past that. Maybe I’ll pick up a written version instead.

I’m afraid the Good Fight pretty much carried the same problem to me. I have great respect for Native Americans, but this one did them no favors. I adored the stories – Bryce was adorable despite being a bit idealistically represented, Jerry was sweet to the core, Akecheta full of warrior spirit and Paytah was awesome and I so wanted to visit his shop. So when I listened the narrator giving them accent, I was rather taken how they all sounded as if they were constantly drunk on drugs… It wasn’t as bad as the Serbian story, but still it bothered me a lot. I guess what I mean is I liked them, yet they were too idealistic for me. In a sense that they were set up in oppositions – ugly versus beauty, silent versus loud…

But not as much as The Ugly White Woman thing. I know one point of the story was to tackle with racism and issues against Native Americans. So… when John, Akecheta, started with this… Well… I guess it doesn’t hurt to mention that racism goes both ways. And what I saw there turned once a wonderful character into someone I would have probably cut out of my circles. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t understand the reasoning of setting up the enemy, it was the fierceness of how she was targeted out and turned into something she probably was not despite all the effort put into creating her. Might be because i have been in the other end of the stick and know how easily you can be blamed for representing the system, but I found it astonishingly disturbing. For someone, who has been in constant receiver of other’s hatred, he sure couldn’t recognize he was doing the same. Thus, when Jerry just picked it up and went with it without even seeing the woman first was disturbing as hell – really, that easy to hate someone?

I really didn’t like Grey handling that like this at all. I was so perked by it I was planning a somewhat writer’s revenge by writing HER story, and then I happened on Fire and Ice and gosh if that wasn’t palm to my soul! So adorable and I was having deja vu’s all the way to the end, where I thought of all her arguments to John should she be allowed to open her mouth – all were there!

So yeah, instead of reading the whole Good Fight series, read the first book from there and then the second book from Carlisle Cops. And then continue with the Native American series, for Bryce took my heart and locked it up.

I like Andrew Grey’s books. They might be not everybody’s cup of tea, but compared with the rest of the books I’ve read lately with sex involved, they really surprised me with their subtle, yet powerful descriptions. Although, let’s be honest – they don’t leave much for imagination. Still, he somehow managed to create them to be realistic and individual and not only “tossing hair and whatnot else”. He has somehow managed to create characters that despite being obviously bigger-than-life manage to be real and close to home. Although, it really feels that he comes from place, where people are judged by their looks a lot. Or perhaps that’s the personality of the writer. Which I sincerely hope is not the case.

I didn’t pick him up, because he writes gay romances. For that I often read the first book and never go back for others, because they don’t hold so much attention for me. I did go back for his style, his characters that have reasonings that don’t involve crying eyes out and running like a teenager and because his dialogs and descriptions are rich.

 

 

 

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Any idea will do

With April Nano only weeks away and still having a big portion for editing on Third Law book, I’ve been thinking on new ideas and about the book ideas that have yet to realize themselves for me. Like the next Gargoyle book – with last Nano I got the words, but I managed to get stuck too, for there is just so much of sitting one gargoyle can tolerate.

But as I am constantly searching something new now, and my own life doesn’t support much writing, although Friday Flash Fiction is something I want to do anyway, just to see that I am capable of doing something periodic (just added new chapter!), so I’ve been doing a lot of short story reading and behold, they are full of surprises.

I know there is a lot of arguments over trash literature still, most likely endless topic, but I don’t really care any more. Classic and serious is good and classic for a reason, but it doesn’t always give me that simple funny attitude or break your heart in one quick slash. And lately especially I have been reading a lot from Japanese authors, and Chinese and Korea and Thai. It’s like a drug, an undiscovered world of wonders.

A friend of mine is contemplating on making a comic book. So cheering for her! It is a serious distraction. 😛  Just wanted this out and about, because I’m so happy for it!

One thing that they have taught me, despite being mostly fancy superficial literature, is that they have far less fear over ideas that might not work than we do. Because i often do random reading in that field, I read both mangas and short stories and so this was my pick of things that made me laugh only this last week:

  • All boys school bus ends up in an accident that hurts a local fertility shrine. So in revenge, spirits (?) make parts of their souls switch bodies in the form of switching their genitalia.
  • A super hero story, where from another realm come over huge blushy toys that can’t speak. The story description goes: it is black and white, huge, has red horns, and I keep thinking – oh, nice! A cow! Did you guessed it? No, it was a penguin with red horns. In the end it humored me more than anything in a while and I read the story through.
  • An underwear seller tries to sell his products by demonstrating it on himself in a high class business office. You wouldn’t believe, but that was very innocent story.
  • A younger brother sends two packages to folks back home – small girl clothes to his sister and automatic gun replicas to his friend. Packages get switched around.
  • Janitor cleaning space shift in space after space battle.

The point is, I’ve been often looking at my own ideas and discarding them for being too silly or perhaps not developed enough. Reading them, watching my own reaction on how they make me laugh or surprise me despite the silliness or stupidly repetitive pattern, I realized that one can indeed write anything they like. That not everything has to be dead serious or tragic. It does give you confidence to test out even the worst ideas, because the truth is – there are readers for it even when you don’t think there will be. And maybe some are like me – they gladly read tearjerkers, and then pick up something like penguins with horns.

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