Book Review: Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

Call Me by Your NameCall Me by Your Name by André Aciman

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Call Me By Your Name is a meandering, stream of conscious, babbling mess of purple prose that, on writing style alone, I absolutely do not like. It may work well for others, but for me, I was turned off within 20 pages by the writing style. I don’t like first person (with some exceptions), I don’t like rambling prose that includes an ENTIRE PAGE that is only one paragraph that jumps topics four times without changing paragraphs, and I do not like the overuse of flowery language. Throughout the book, the writing style drove me crazy, including the 40-page epilogue that has no reason to even exist. I wanted to like this book so much, so even though I didn’t like the writing style straight off, I stuck with it because of all the positive reviews on the content.

Turns out, the content is just as ill-suited for my tastes as the writing style.

However, while I have issues with these things, I was still sticking with the story, because no way could a story so highly praised not get better. The main character is clearly disturbed. I had some random person even argue with me that I ‘didn’t get it, all teens are this dramatic’, but this boy straight up contemplates how he kind of wishes the love interest would die so that he could no longer be obsessed, since death is final, and muses about how he could kill him or at least cripple him so he always knows where he’s at. Yes, he doesn’t intend to do those things, but I promise you, nobody thinks those things, even vaguely, unless they have some issues. Also, this kid has what seems like the makings of a rape fantasy. There are a few lines where he fantasizes about the love interest coming into his room while he’s sleeping and ‘taking him’ and the actual line was, “I’ll say ‘please don’t hurt me’, but I’ll mean ‘hurt me all you want'” which is pretty alarming to read.

I completely lost any faith in the reviews I read before this when it came to A) fucking a peach and saying it ‘looks like a rape victim’ and then someone EATING the goddamn peach, or B) couples shitting.

You heard me right. Couples shitting. Dude took a shit, said “Don’t flush, I want to see it” and then took his turn taking a shit while the love interest rubbed his belly…. I read a review of this book that talked about ‘the small intimacies will stick with me forever’ and all I can think is “NOTHING SAYS TRUE LOVE LIKE TAKING SHITS TOGETHER!!!”

I wanted to make this review professional and serious, but honestly, did I get trolled? Was this a troll copy of this book? They admired each other’s bowel movements. I just… What the actual fuck?

This book was just not good and I’m really disappointed. I got very excited about highly-praised queer content, and this was just the biggest letdown ever. I don’t like this book at all. It’s one of the worst books I’ve ever read, and I wanted SO BADLY to love it.

Put it this way: Before this, the worst books I’ve ever read without giving up were The Scarlett Letter and A Separate Peace, the most boring books I’ve read in my life. This now takes top spot for worst book I’ve ever read all the way to the end in my life, and the only reason I read it to the end was that it was like a car crash; I had to know what happened and how it could possibly get worse.

I’ve never once said, “Don’t bother reading this”… but seriously guys. Don’t bother reading this.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C.

Wake Me Up Inside (Mates #1)Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another dip into the Kindle Basically Porn But With A Story pool, and I really liked this one! I loved the world building! The characters were good, the setting was somewhat interesting. I really enjoyed this as a light, easy read, even though it was like 50% erotica, so it wasn’t really as long of a story as it is a book.

I think that I will read the rest of the books in this collection because, even if it’s a shitload of unnecessary sex (again, I know that’s the genre, I’m just not INTO the genre) I’m very interested in this universe and I want to see more of it.

(Also, Kudos on the most emo title of all times. Bravo!)

View all my reviews

Book Review: Drawn IN by Sean Ashcroft

Drawn In (The Family Jules Book 1)Drawn In by Sean Ashcroft

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was my first foray into the “Random Gay Kindle Romance Novella” genre, and it was pretty much what I expected. I really did enjoy this adorable story and am glad I read it, however, I’m also glad I got it on Kindle Unlimited.

While I love the story and absolutely appreciate ‘incidental gay’ writing, as you would expect from ‘random kindle novella’, it’s pretty average quality. The beginning is very ‘the fuck, dude???’ because it’s entirely unbelievable. There is no way that neither of them heard about each other’s tragic lives if they’re from a small town where one of their moms runs a grocery store and they were childhood friends. I hear, “Hey, didn’t you go to school with a girl named X? Her dad died this week” about people I went to the same middle school of 15 years ago. It is kinda weird of Jude not hearing about one of his old friends dying, but it’s absolutely impossible that Owen didn’t hear about Jude’s parents.

Even if you account for Owen not communicating with his family very much, that’s not something that would escape being learned about at some point in a year.

However, the weird, out of place, thrown together beginning didn’t take too much away from a sweet, happy little story about pretty likable characters. All in all, it was a light, enjoyable read.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose

Murder on Black Swan Lane (A Wrexford & Sloane Mystery, #1)Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Murder on Black Swan Lane is far from what I expected and I’m pretty glad about that. What I expected was a fun little mystery, and instead what I got was interesting characters that I got pretty attached to pretty quickly.

While the mystery was a little more abstract than what I wanted initially, I find that I don’t care at all. Wrexford was an interesting guy, but the real draw for this book was Charlotte and the two boys! I found myself growing more and more attached to her and, in particular, her relationship with Raven and Hawk. When I thought something bad was going to happen to them I was beside myself!

I see that this is a #1 so I have high hopes for more of the mystery of Charlotte’s past to be revealed in later books. I will absolutely be buying the next one whenever it may come out!

View all my reviews

Book Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and VirtueThe Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It has been a long time since I read a book that I gave 5*s and far longer since I read a Young Adult novel that I enjoyed this much. I’m not really a big fan of YA and I’m a huuuuge hater of 1st Person POV, and yet I genuinely loved this book and it is both.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue tells the story of Monty (Henry Montague) and his best friend Percy (a biracial son of a family friend) leaving on their Grand Tour, along with Monty’s sister, Felicity, who they are taking to drop off at Finishing School, and exactly how badly wrong things can go when the leader of your merry band of misfits is a bit of a spoiled troublemaker.

Without spoilers, I can say that, though a lot of people have commented in their reviews (because unbeknownst to me, everybody seems to be reading this book lately; I just picked it up at random at the library) that they don’t really like Monty very much, I really got attached to him from the start. His story screams, “acting out because he’s so messed up internally he has no other way to express himself” and that whole ‘tortured hero’ vibe works well. Except, even better, the real ‘hero’ of this story is Felicity! Oh how I love Felicity! Percy broke my heart in every way except for how steadfast and loyal to Monty he was. I was so scared, knowing queer fiction like I do, that this would end in Percy going to his original destination and Monty never seeing him again, and I was terrified of the coming sad ending, because it’s soooo clear throughout the whole book that they’re in love with each other and each think their love is unrequited.

I have never read a more enjoyable M/M queer romance, especially in the YA genre. This was one that was such a page-turner. The last book I tried to read, I spent 2 weeks and only managed 70 pages of forcing myself to read a few pages at a time because it was so boring (I gave up at that point), but this book? Oh man, I read all 500+ pages in just under a week. It’s an easy read, it’s a quick read, and I was so engrossed in the story I didn’t want to put it down. I absolutely loved this story’s tone, the pace, the characters, the adventure, the history, all of it!

I’m a big fan of queer romance and historical fiction so a historical queer romance is really right up my alley. It’s hard to find a good historical romance that isn’t all rapey and especially a queer one. This story is delightful and I adore a good happy ending!

Read it! You won’t regret it.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolás Obregón

Blue Light Yokohama (Inspector Iwata, #1)Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolás Obregón

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a hard review to write, because if I was just reviewing the main ‘gotta find the killer’ storyline, it would get a 4-4.5, but if I was just reviewing the characters and the world building and the side plots, this would easily get a 2.

The murder mystery itself is very intriguing, there are amazing plot twists that I never saw coming, there are red herrings that I really thought were legitimate leads, and the way the story builds and goes into all these intricate twists and turns keeps you deeply invested all along.

However, the book has some serious ‘wtf’ issues that I’m gonna address further under a read more to avoid spoilers, this is the TL;DR version:

Basically, this book had a good story but character content that was severely over the top at best and disturbingly problematic at worst.

I would recommend it to those who are forewarned going in that the story is great but the backstory and side plots are so over the top and weird that the non-main-plot stuff is just flat out bad.

 

Continue reading “Book Review: Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolás Obregón”

Book Review: The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot, #1)The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Upon discovering my local library had the very first Hercule Poirot book, I had to read it, and I cannot say I was at all disappointed! I’m not the biggest fan of Poirot, not because I don’t like the mysteries, but rather because I’m not a fan of the ‘poor stupid everyone else’ thing that always happens in Poirot novels. Not sure why it never bothers me in Sherlock Holmes stories, but it does with Poirot.

However, this one had a far more interesting cast of characters than usual! I confess I don’t like the first person at all, but the way this one was so widely observing and less introspection, it didn’t bother me as much as usual. I enjoyed that this one went beyond just a mystery but on to multiple loose ends and mix-ups and turns after the police thought the murder was solved and found that it really wasn’t. This was just a really interesting mystery and one I really enjoyed.

If you’re a mystery fan who wants something a bit different in that the first person POV is not from the detective, but an observer, give it a shot!

View all my reviews

Book Review: Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie

Evil Under the Sun (Hercule Poirot, #23)Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I feel kind of shitty leaving a 3* review for this book, because I LOVE Agatha Christie, and this isn’t by any means a poor read, but I’m trying to be more critical of books in my reviews, so realistically I’d give it a 3.5 but alas, you can’t do that on here.

Evil Under the Sun is actually only the second Hercule Poirot novel I’ve read of all the Agatha Christie novels I have read, and the reason it gets a lower rating is just that it was too simple. That is to say, the mystery was never much of a mystery so much as it read like a police procedural where we only know as much as Poirot tells us. There were very few moments where we wondered, ‘ooh, what if X did it?’ because as soon as I started to suspect someone Poirot moved on with the story and dismissed them. I love mystery, but I love mysteries that give us more of a ‘whodunit’ feel than this one. This was more like observing rather than exploring, if that makes any sense.

That said, I really liked this one. I was a little annoyed throughout the book because of the way everybody seemed to blame the victim, but remembering the time at which this was written, it isn’t exactly shocking. It’s just my modern sensibilities were a little irked. However, I was happy with the surprise twist at the end not in the mystery but in Poirot defending the victim as being a VICTIM when everybody else said she met the end that her lifestyle naturally would end in. His little, “I never really agreed with you all that she brought this on herself” was very relieving. Makes it easier to swallow the casual victim-blaming that would be normal for the period.

All in all, it was a fairly quick read (I took a week and a half to read it but that’s because I am a terrible reader these days) and an enjoyable one. I can see this being the type of book perfect for the summer when readers who aren’t as lazy as I am can sit out on the porch or lay by the pool with a book and read for a few hours at a time.

I absolutely recommend this one, even though the rating seems like I don’t like it as much as I do.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Play Dead by Anne Frasier

Play Dead (Elise Sandburg Series Book 1)Play Dead by Anne Frasier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Play Dead by Anne Frasier is an absolutely stellar mystery story that will entertain any reader who enjoys a good crime thriller. The lead character, Elise Sandburg, is an interesting woman with a compelling past that unfolds in an intricately interweaved sub-plot that never feels forced into the narrative. With a captivating cast of characters, all with intriguing stories and backgrounds, the mystery of a string of poisonings with a supernatural swing to things grows more and more gripping as the killings stir up deeper mysteries that could only take place in a book set against a backdrop of the haunting beauty of Savannah, Georgia.

This novel will thrill and ensnare even the most seasoned reader of crime thrillers with a deeply disturbing mystery that goes deep into the dark underground of Savannah and will chill you to the core. I cannot recommend this novel enough, because every time I thought I knew what was coming, the story was one step ahead of me, constantly making it clear that I had no idea what was really going to come next. The fantastic looks from the killer’s perspective will draw the reader into the disturbing mind of a psychopath that evokes suspense unlike anything I’ve read in years.

I would go as far as to put Play Dead on part with Silence of the Lambs when it comes to a good, solid crime thriller, and anybody who knows my reviews knows I do not give a book 5 stars lightly. This is the best book I’ve read in about two years and I am not even slightly exaggerating when I say that. I’m eager to read the rest of the series to see if Frasier can keep the momentum going, but even if she can’t, I will still appreciate this book as a standalone novel for what it is. Read it, I implore you!

View all my reviews

Book Review: Sub-Human

Sub-Human (Post-Human, #1)Sub-Human by David Simpson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In my first foray into this author’s work, I found myself not particularly impressed but still entertained by Sub-Human. Though this novel is nothing profound, and its writing is very average, I was interested in the world-building and somewhat intrigued by the descriptions of the crazy futuristic technology. I think the only place this one really fell flat for me was the characters. I honestly found myself not really caring either way about anybody, even the ‘bad guys’. I didn’t like nor dislike the protagonist. I didn’t care at all about his wife or her new husband. The AI is the character I felt the most attachment to, and he was the most clinically detached of all the characters.

However, maybe that’s what this story was meant to do. Maybe you aren’t supposed to feel for the people involved. Perhaps in a novel about AI, you are meant to view the world in the story through a pragmatic lens instead of an emotional one? My least favorite part was the first two trips into the (for spoiler reasons, let’s say) ‘past’. They felt unnecessary and distracting. Otherwise, I pretty well enjoyed the plot. Overall worth the read if you’re a fan of SciFi and aren’t crazy picky.

View all my reviews