book reviews · m/m romance · Sam's Favorite Books

Book Review: Lee Benoit’s “Servant of the Seasons” (2011)

51w6kvt89jl-_sy346_This is my kind of book! In the tradition of the post-Apocalyptic, survive-in-a-wasteland novel, we start with an almost barren farm and one man alone, learning about the land and barely surviving. Of course he doesn’t stay alone, and the farm doesn’t stay barren! I could read six thousand books in this series and never get sick of it- it has everything I love. I would happily read about Meco and his new companions and their home forever, gardening, building, cooking, discovering.

This book takes its time, following the seasons and the characters’ journeys learning about each other and building up their farm and house. It is wonderfully domestic, with plenty of attention given to the rhythms of daily life and new relationships. Of course, that’s not all it is; under everything is an ever-present threat of the outside world and the dangerous stranger. Meco’s family draws attention to themselves by their success in rehabilitating the ravaged land around them, and there’s plenty of people out there coveting their land and skills. The tension builds slowly, gradually, until it explodes and the action of the story kicks up twenty levels at once, racing towards the ending!

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book reviews · m/m romance

Book Review: Ann Somerville’s “More Than A Thousand Words” (2015)

fb8a0ad0bd3c9602d88c24aff136a8bbfc1a5b67This is a light, happy, easy read that is sure to put you in a good mood. It’s also one of the few Somerville works which isn’t drenched in darkness and foreboding- and although I happen to like the darkness and foreboding, More Than A Thousand Words definitely made for a nice change.

There’s a lot to enjoy here: the writing is great, the pace is perfect, and the characters are very loveable. Luce is bright, temperamental, entertaining- and loves to wear skirts and nail polish. Steve is sturdy and adorably reliable- and 2000% just fine with whatever his unpredictable, gender-fluid boyfriend chooses to wear (indeed, those long, super-silky skirts are a real turn-on). They work together very well, and are sappy and sugary-sweet, in the best way possible. Which, of course, doesn’t mean they don’t have problems to work through- and it’s thoroughly satisfying to see the two work through them. Ultimately they’re the best kind of support for each other- and this is just the kind of romance I need regular injections of to keep my pessimism at bay.

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m/m romance

Book Review: R. Cooper’s “A Little Familiar” (2015)

26862609Reading A Little Familiar is like curling up on an armchair with a fluffy blanket and drinking a warm, sweet cup of tea. It’s the kind of book that’s best read on a rainy, lazy day. It will leave you feeling contentedly blissed-out and at ease with the world. …or, at least, that’s how I felt when I read it!

Cooper’s book is unapologetically domestic, taking place almost entirely within Piotr’s home- and a cosy, warm place it is! An apple orchard out the back, a wooden porch covered in cats, fresh bread and muffins in the oven- it’s utterly charming. And the characters are just as charming: silent, stalwart, steadfast Piotr and quick, bright, glittering Bartleby. As much as poor Bartleby’s name irked me, that character himself was delightful- all sparking, bold, gender-fluidity. The chemistry between them is fantastic, with the two characters sparking against each other from the very beginning. There’s no mystery here: it’s clear what will happen, and when it does you’ll enjoy it. A lot.

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book reviews · m/m romance

Book Review: Ginn Hale’s “Lord of the White Hell: Book Two” (2010)

61ne6qyjhel-_sy344_bo1204203200_It this second half of Lord of the White Hell we see the completion of Kiram and Javier’s story as they learn to understand and control the “White Hell” and face its consequences. The book picks up directly where the last book left off and the action begins at once, with no unnecessary “previously-on” to bog down the reader. The pace is swift and pleasing with never a dull moment. I am certain you won’t be able to put this book down! Plan for a late night- it will be worth it.

Book Two has approximately 2000% more action than Book One, both in terms of violence and sex. None of it is gratuitous, however, except for one upsetting, bloody scene towards the end. Kiram and Javier’s physical relationship progresses quickly, as does their emotional connection. That they are deeply in love is clear to anyone.

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book reviews · m/m romance

Book Review: Ginn Hale’s “Lord of the White Hell: Book One” (2010)

51ctv21i5ul-_sx322_bo1204203200_I get weak in the knees for a good Boarding School story! And this one has everything you’d expect, plus more: a charming setting, a cast of entertaining fellow students, villainous and virtuous teachers, a roommate who’s both startlingly attractive and troublesome…yes, it doesn’t get much better than this! In short: this is a delightful read, thoroughly engaging and enjoyable.

This book is a pleasure to read from the very first page. I guarantee you’ll be hooked before you even finish the first chapter! The action begins almost at once, and is very well-paced, while still having plenty of time for slower, more intimate scenes. The characters are exceptionally well-written and likeable, even the “love-to-hate” ones.  Hale’s writing is sheer perfection; smooth, clear, and concise, and without any unnecessary flourishes or flowery description to distract from the story. I could honestly praise Hale’s writing style for days. Reading her work is sheer bliss.

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book reviews · m/m romance

Book Review: Dani Alexander’s “Shattered Glass” (2012)

8600eb1eedefebcd92fbf98d2c62871e0733775cYou won’t be able to put this one down! I absolutely loved it. There is no black-and-white in this story, and the author definitely pushes buttons and crosses lines. Austin and Peter’s emotional lives and power balances become entangled almost at once and draw in those around them as well, creating a fast-paced, frenetic, and almost feverish plot. There’s barely a moment to catch your breath before it’s onto the next crisis, the next plot twist or revelation.

I was admittedly frustrated at the beginning of this book, during Austin’s “but I’m not gay” phase. I have a definite preference for characters that are wholly, or almost wholly, accepting of their sexuality- whatever that may be- and the issue of being “gay” is just, well, not an issue. But I carried on with the story, and came to accept that Austin’s traumatic experiences as a teenager have affected his sexuality to the extent that he’s avoided any meaningful relationships with men- even friendships. Austin’s personal revelations are about more than just being “gay”, and indeed that becomes much less important as his journey goes on. That journey is more about accepting that his past traumas have shaped his life in ways he wouldn’t have thought possible.

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book reviews · m/m romance

Book Review: Ann Somerville’s “Hidden Faults” (2011)

11958498It’s been a long time since I’ve read a whole book in one sitting. Even if I wanted to, who has the time to do that these days?! Well, with this book I had no choice: I kept reading, and it was 4:34 am by the time I finished. …oops? But I’m sure I won’t be the only one compelled to keep reading and reading this story, and then feel bereft when it’s over.

Hidden Faults is set within Somerville’s vast (truly vast) “Periter” series, which spans centuries and jumps from one continent to another from book to book (and sometimes within books). I love visiting this world, but I don’t think readers will need to have read the others to become immersed in this story. Savvy readers will get right on board with the standard dystopian-like, repressive-manipulative government that the characters are fighting against here. If you have read other stories in this ‘verse, though, then this story will be a welcome addition, and a logical progression in its timeline.

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