Book recs

Reading List

Favorite books from June and July

It's gonna be a pretty short list this month! I've had a busy time at work and haven't gotten as much reading done as I would like. That being said, I did devour three books by Santino Hassell in about the space of a week, so... well, it's all relative.

An Unnatural Vice

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Boy oh boy, have I been anticipating this book — and yet, it doesn't disappoint. Shitty medium Justin Lazarus gets embroiled in the missing heir plot that began in An Unseen Attraction. He and journalist Nathanial Roy start off as passionate enemies—you know where this is going.

The plotting in this book was extremely tight, and reminded me pleasantly of the intricate criss-crossing from Charles' Society of Gentlemen series. Justin's inclusion in the overarching mystery was seamlessly done, and the trouble that dogs him because of it is delicious and tense. I am a big fan of the main couple as well. Justin and Nathanial clash in all the right ways.

 

What's next?

Right now I'm reading Everyone Behaves Badly, a non-fiction book about Hemingway's arrival in Paris and the drama that led to his writing The Sun Also Rises. I'm still working on Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned, and the already fantastic Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue.


Note: This post previously included recommendations for books by Santino Hassell. I can no longer recommend those books in good faith, so they've been removed from the post.

Updates and Announcements, Interviews, Teaser

Let's chat about BOOKS

I have an interview out today at Ellie Reads Fiction!

It's about my influences and favorite books (tune in to read me yelling ad nauseum about KJ Charles) and it has an exclusive excerpt from Sparkwood.

Ellie also interviewed my bestie Austin Chant as part of the New Authors series. And she reviews books that I've talked about on this very site, like Wanted, A Gentleman.

Read away!

Reading List

January's Reading List

I've set a rather modest goal of reading 30 books in 2017. I'm kind of lowballing it, but hey, anything could go wrong.

Starting now, I'll be doing monthly round-ups of my favorite reads — whether they be re-reads or new faves. These are my favorite books of January, 2017.

Stay My Fantasy

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Stay My Fantasy is the sequel to Be My Fantasya novella which was... very, very, good. Just like, super good and hot and fun, and emphasis once again on hot.

Stay follows that tradition by being hot fire all the way through. It continues the story of Elizabeth and Luca, who are desperately trying to stay away from each other, or get together, depending on who you ask. Elizabeth is a kinky, subby, clever businesswoman, and Luca will sacrifice anything to fuck the shit out of her. I wanted them to bone. All the time. And they did!

If you haven't read Alisha Rai before, pick up Be My Fantasy (and then Stay My Fantasy, because you will), and then you'll have had an irresistible, bite-sized taste of her writing.

Wanted, A Gentleman

Wanted is a Georgian roadtrip romance that is full of Charles' standard so-clever-you-need-to-read-it-twice dialogue. It is doing difficult duty of tiding me over until the release of Charles' next trilogy (and succeeding).

This book is a joyous little trip, full of emotional highs and lows. For the characters. I was consistently at an emotional high from sheer satisfaction. I was hooked from Martin St. Vincent's observation that Theo must "fuck like a tomcat," and speaking of Martin, this character is a wonderful bundle of complicated feelings and honorable convictions. Charles makes his emotional complexity look effortless. As a writer, I resent this.

Sidebar, KJ Charles is damn good at writing messed-up antiheroes and the good men that bring them to heel, and this is absolutely my jam.

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (Wayfarers, Book 1)

Are you craving a feel-good space opera? Here it is, my friends. Becky Chambers skillfully uses made-up sci-fi words in a way that feels real and organic rather than forced. The world she's created for Long Way makes me bitter that, as far as we know, there are is no Galactic Commons waiting for humans in space. I wish there were.

I love space stories where humans are underdogs who have to fit into a greater universe. Chambers establishes her far-future humans with different backgrounds (Martian humans, spacer humans, humans devoted to a destroyed earth), and introduces a host of alien species besides, each with their own cultures.

She's really clever about pinpointing aspects of human and alien culture that differ (for example, Aandrisks don't consider babies valuable, but humans are obsessed with them). The book is ultimately about found family and a thoroughly explored cast of characters. It's long, but it's lovely.

Sins of the Cities of the Plain

While I can't recommend this book per se (or remember which words are plural in its title), Sins is a really fascinating read. It's the sort-of autobiography of Jack Saul, who was a gay sex worker in late 1800s London. Saul is a personal hero of mine for being a fucking badass during the Cleveland Street Scandal, but this book was actually written a few years before that.

The conceit is that it's an autobiography, but it's really a litany of erotic scenes purporting to be from Saul's life — from his first fumblings with his cousin, come on, dude, to romps with Boulton and Park.

It also comes with every content warning known to man. I can't even begin to list them. But I can't overstate its importance as both a historical document—gay Victorian erotica!!—and a (likely heavily fictionalized) biography of a gay historical figure. 

Think of England

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This one is a re-read, and absolutely worth it. Think of England was the first KJ Charles book I read, and I did it in one sitting over the course of a night. This was a big feat for me; I'm not a fast reader at all.

This time around I took my time with this stupidly enjoyable story. I cannot stress this enough: every piece of dialogue in Think of England is a joy. You can hear the characters' inflections in your head, and each has a distinct voice.

Archie and Daniel are fantastic, funny characters who by all logic should never end up together — but of course they do, because their chemistry is wild and circumstances force them to trust each other.

Their gradually building relationship, sizzling tension, and witty back-and-forth make this book for me. I enjoyed it just as much a second time.