Book 494: Sovereign (Nemesis #2) – April Daniels

When I read April Daniels’ debut novel, Dreadnought I lamented the length of time I had to wait until the second in the series came out. What I didn’t realize then or now was that it was only in January of this year that I read Dreadnaught and less than five months later I was able to request Sovereign, the sequel.*

Sovereign picks up not long after the events of Dreadnought and Danny is coming more to terms with her powers as Dreadnought and coming more to terms with her transition. As much as I enjoyed this book, it’s not as strong as the first. It really felt that Daniels got too heavy-handed with the queer politics, as fascinating as they were, and it distracted too much from the story for my taste. I get that it’s an integral part of the story, but it honestly just felt too much like a crutch.

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Book 489: How to Survive a Summer – Nick White

I wanted to like this so much more than I did. And this says a lot about both myself and the book/writer. Even though my response isn’t that friendly to the book there were some occasional one liners that made me smile.

When I requested a copy of this book from the publisher,* I wanted to identify with the characters, I wanted to revel in our shared experiences of growing up in the south during a certain time, but I just couldn’t.

Perhaps this is because I didn’t grow up in the deep south (I grew up in a military town in NC) or maybe because my family wasn’t too religious, (we went to church some times, but we were Episcopalian and compared to other southern denominations, they’re pretty damn liberal), or perhaps it’s just because of the writing or the non-shared experiences of the book that i just couldn’t click with it.

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Book 473: Dreadnought (Nemesis #1) – April Daniels

daniels-april-dreadnought-nemesis-1WHY IS IT SO LONG UNTIL THE NEXT IN THE SERIES IS RELEASED!!?!?!?!?!!

It’s very rare that a book will grab me and keep me reading through a whirlwind of emotions. I’m so grateful someone from the publisher reached out to me about this book.* All I knew going in is that the main character is LGBT (she’s transgender, but also a lesbian) and this is a superhero story. It didn’t hurt that it was a young adult book (yay more diversity).

The publisher didn’t compare it to Perry Moore’s Hero, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I think it deserves a mention. Although it’s about a cisgendered (born and identified) male, the group of quirky superheroes in that book reminded me a lot of where I’m hoping Dreadnought will go in the series. Continue reading

Book 434: Eligible (The Austen Project #4) – Curtis Sittenfeld

Sittenfeld, Curtis - Eligible (The Austen Project #4)I really should’ve read Trollope’s Sense and Sensibility and McCall Smith’s Emma before I read this, but getting my hands on a galley/uncorrected proof copy from Random House* sort of made that a moot point. Perhaps I’ll read the other two soon as I loved this one so much. Needless to say, I’m proud I saved it for as long as I did. I always get a bit nervous when an uncorrected proof has in big bold letters “DO NOT PUBLISH YOUR RESPONSE BEFORE X DATE.”

I mean I get it, but it’s still like you want me to read this book and then keep mum on it. How is that possible!? It’s 1) Jane Austen, 2) ADORABLE and 3) hilariously modern in a way only Jane Austen can be made so. I’ll go ahead and warn you that this response isn’t all sunshine and roses though. I will say I was hesitant of the name-change from the original, but as I read it I was convinced with the okay-ness of it. There is a tangent later that is not a reflection of the book, but of some of the stupid comments I’ve seen recently of The Austen Project adaptations.

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Book 431: A Gentleman’s Position (Society of Gentlemen #3) – K.J. Charles

Charles, K.J. - A Gentleman's Position (Society of Gentlemen #3)I would love to say that this is another one of those opportunities to step outside of my comfort zone, but we all know I’d be lying through my teeth 😀 After my last experience with a specific romance publisher, I’ve shied away from them unless they were Jane Austen related for quite some time. Thankfully this one is tangentially Jane Austen related in that it’s set during the Regency. Swoon.

I’m happy to say Loveswept* may have won me over with this one. After requesting a copy of A Gentleman’s Position (out April 5, 2016) and then devouring it, I think I have a new publisher to turn to when I want something a little more frilly to read! Seriously though, I need to get my hands on the first two-and-a-half books in this series! Now, I just need to keep myself away from their galley page because I want to read all the books by all the authors!

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Book 340: Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) – Rachel Hartman

Hartman, Rachel - Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2)Ever since I read Seraphina back in 2012, I’ve been patiently waiting to the conclusion of her story! It was well worth the wait and I couldn’t be happier about this book. I received a copy from the publisher in return for my honest opinion, and honestly, it’s EXCELLENT!

I wasn’t sure how Hartman would go about improving on the story (Amazon Affiliate link), but she definitely did. She made it more inclusive, more exciting and a lot more enthralling. I have no idea how she did this, apart from taking almost three years, but it was definitely worth the wait. I know I talked about her amazing story telling and character building in my response to Seraphina, but Hartman brought it to a new level in Shadow Scale. If anything, I wish the book were longer to flesh out more of the “grotesques” and what happens after the story ends.

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Book 332: Male Sex Work and Society – Victor Minichiello and John Scott (eds.)

Minichiello, Victor and John Scott - Male Sex Work and Society

This book simultaneously highlights what is good and what is bad about the white tower of academia. It explores a specific topic (Amazon Afiliate link) in depth, while establishing absolutely nothing, other than the need for more research. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and received no compensation for my honest opinion.

I’m going to start with my frustrations with the book (or academia/academics in a broader context) first and then move to what they did well. What frustrated me most about the entire collection were the isolationist tendencies of the authors. In a move to over-compensate for any sort of collective or global identity (and not Western-wash everything) every single paper started out within the first few paragraphs by using the almost exact phrase of, “due to cultural circumstances, male sex workers (MSWs) circumstances in this country cannot be compared to those in any other country.” The reason this was so infuriating is that there were clearly overarching themes, sexual identity (or lack thereof), technology and public health, to name a few, that Manichiello and Scott picked out and even acknowledged. However, rather than encouraging the authors to use them to tie everything together within the papers across borders and identities, they were used to bridge each of the papers between the papers in editorial asides. Seriously, if they would’ve just taken this as a given, at least 50 pages could’ve been cut out of the book due to repetitiveness.

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