Review: The Open Window by Eve Francis

 Series: Standalone

Genre: LGBT (f/f, lesbian character, bisexual character, gay side character, asexual side character), Romance

Rating: 3,5/5 Stars

Cover: It sums up this book nicely.

Links: goodreads, publisher

Trigger warnings: Mention of religious/christian issues regarding homosexuality.

Description: When Morgan O’Brian’s mother dies, she leaves an inheritance which finally allows for Morgan to pursue her writing career full time. As she prepares a proposal for one of her largest projects yet, she runs into a black cat on the night of the full moon and knows this is a bad omen—until a cute woman appears and invites her to Chinese food instead. After a magical night, Morgan believes that her luck is about to change.

Valentina Lyall, who also goes by Velouria in her electro-punk band The Asexual Kinks, is almost thirty and often feels as if she’s making up for lost time. After leaving a long term relationship and a difficult family behind, Val believes she is finally on the right path in life—especially if Morgan and her band are beside her.

Falling in love is easy and simple for Val and Morgan until a stranger from Val’s past emerges and both of their careers begin to change and grow. As Morgan tries to predict the future in bad omens and black cats, Val worries she’ll be left behind.

Review: A nice and easy read.

I had fun reading The Open Window. Both Morgan and Val are interesting characters with their own quirks and faults, something which makes this romance very believable. I loved how they met and I would love if more people would think like Val. I won’t spoiler you so if you are curious now, you have to read this novel. But I can tell you (since it’s in the description as well) that Morgan believes in magic and all things related. Since I am working at a publishing house concentrating on spiritual books this was rather interesting to me.

Usually f/f romances are only cute stories but with this one you get some rather sexy sex scenes as well. I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting this, but it was a nice surprise.

I do have two regrets about this book though. First one is the asexual side character. Since the band is called The Asexual Kinks I was kinda expecting that asexuality would be a theme in this book. But it’s not. One side character is ace but aside from her saying it once there is no mention of this ever again.

The second is the drama. Its resolve was far too quickly done and felt unrealistic because of this.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

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Review: The Sky Cult by Egan Brass

 Series: Esper Files (book 2)

Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Cover: Very similiar to the first novel’s cover.

Links: goodreads, publisher

Trigger warnings: gore

Description: After the events of the first book, Freya has joined the Institute – an organization created to help Espers control their powers, and she thought she’d finally found peace.

That is, until Anti-Esper weapons find their way into the hands of The Coalition, a radical group who is determined to kill anyone with powers.
At the same time, the Sky Cult has arisen, claiming that Espers have the right to rule over lowly humans.
The timing couldn’t be worse, as all of this happens three days before Esper Day, the first holiday designed to show that humans and Espers can coexist.

Now Nathan, Freya and the team have to fight both organizations in a race against time before one of the radical groups tips the scales, and plunges the entire world into their own version of Armageddon.

Review: Oh look, Deadpool.

After reading the second installment I’m really sure I’m not the main target group.

It’s way too much action and not enough character development. But I still read it because I had to know what will happen next. I was especially interested in the Sky Cult and the Coalition and I was not disappointed in that showdown.

But I was disappointed with the characters. I had no chance to get to like them and I felt like (again) it was… inspired… by Marvel. We’ve got an assassin who is really a lot like Deadpool. A lot. I was really disappointed how Freya’s brother seems to be simply forgotten most of the story, too.

I don’t know… maybe it’s too much male power fantasy in this series for my taste?

Disclaimer: I received a free copy through the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Review: Esper Files by Egan Brass

Series: Esper Files (book 1)

Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Cover: I like it.

Links: goodreads, publisher

Trigger warnings: torture, gore, mention of suicidal thoughts, slavery mention, rape threat

Description: Set in London during the latter part of the 19th century. An experiment goes wrong at The Oxford Academy of Science, giving certain people extraordinary powers which turns them into ‘Espers’. An institute is set up to teach Espers how to control these power, and stop corrupt Espers from abusing theirs. Nathan and James, two agents from the Institute team up with Freya, a young Esper whose brother (gifted with the strange ability to manipulate emotions) is abducted by a ruthless Baron. The group has to fight against a dark threat to protect the fragile peace of Victorian London… And the rest of the world.

Review: It reminds me of some other stories.

Mostly of the X-Men, because of the powers the different characters have and because of a ‘all-knowing’ professor, who teaches humans with special abilities at an institute, where they live as well.

I feel like I’m not the main target audience for this, because the writing style is not one that I enjoy very much and there is a lot of fighting. Seriously, a lot. The plot idea is still interesting and while I had to skim the fighting scenes a little bit, I was interested in all other scenes. I especially liked the banter between Nathan and James (if only James would take a bigger part in this).

Freya is an interesting and promising character, but I’m not too sure about Nathan on his own. He reads very Gary Sue to me. He’s very special – way more special than all other special people – and he can do… anything easily. I would have liked if there would have been more/any character development for him.

If you like a very fast paced action fantasy novel, this is the one for you. If you want to be able to like the characters and feel with them… rather not.

Let me finish this with a little side note: I don’t know a lot about autism, but there is an autistic side character and I don’t know how sensibly done he is. Just a fair warning. I would love to read reviews of Esper Files written by bloggers with autism.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy through the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

 Series: Standalone, but kinda connected with Carry on

Genre: Romance, NA

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Cover: Could be a scene right outta the novel.

Links: goodreads

Trigger warnings: None.

Description: Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Review: A very fun book which I am going to reread.

Can I start with saying how great it is that the female characters in this book work together?! How often does that happen in books? I especially liked how even though one of the girls is the ex of the male love interest, she is not portrayed as a good for nothing bitch? Far from the opposite to be honest.

I really enjoyed that there is no bad boy type. I’m really bored how so many of the love interests are (wannabe) bad boys and are truly just assholes.

But there is more to this story.

We finally have a socially anxious character who truly is socially anxious. No ‘telling but not showing’. We get to experience Cath’s social anxiety and I could really see myself in her. Social situations are scary and there are so many things that could happen and things that you have to consider and it’s just really, really stressing, okay?

If you are a love of fanfictions you might really enjoy Fangirl, because fanfictions have a big part in this story. It kinda reads like a love note to fanfictions and I love it.

The only thing I’m able to criticize is that the fanfiction Cath writes is different from Carry on – which is kinda her fanfiction published in its own novel (and written by Rainbow Rowell of course). Does that make sense?

Anyway, I’ve read the novel Carry on first and there are some passages from the fanfiction Carry on in Fangirl but the passages aren’t in the novel Carry on. I’m so sorry if you are confused now. This critic is not important.

I just have one more thing to add: The writing is perfect for this story, it’s so flowing…

Merken

Top 7 Queer Romantic Valentine Reads

Like always this meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Go and take a look at their blog!

Happy Valentine’s Day to those of you who celebrate it! And happy tuesday for all the other ones, who are interested in romantic LGBTQIA+ reads.


 A Gentleman’s Position by KJ Charles

Among his eccentric though strictly principled group of friends, Lord Richard Vane is the confidant on whom everyone depends for advice, moral rectitude, and discreet assistance. Yet when Richard has a problem, he turns to his valet, a fixer of unparalleled genius—and the object of Richard’s deepest desires. If there is one rule a gentleman must follow, it is never to dally with servants. But when David is close enough to touch, the rules of class collide with the basest sort of animal instinct: overpowering lust.

For David Cyprian, burglary and blackmail are as much in a day’s work as bootblacking—anything for the man he’s devoted to. But the one thing he wants for himself is the one thing Richard refuses to give: his heart. With the tension between them growing to be unbearable, David’s seemingly incorruptible master has left him no choice. Putting his finely honed skills of seduction and manipulation to good use, he will convince Richard to forget all about his well-meaning objections and give in to sweet, sinful temptation.

 

 

 All the wrong Places by Ann Gallagher

Three cheating girlfriends in a row have given skateboarder Brennan Cross the same excuse: he wasn’t meeting their needs. Desperate and humiliated, he goes to the professionals at the local sex shop for advice.

Zafir Hamady, a sales clerk at Red Hot Bluewater, has an unusual theory: he doesn’t think Brennan is a bad lover. In fact, he doesn’t think Brennan is heterosexual. Or sexual at all, for that matter. He also can’t stop thinking about Brennan. But even if he’s right and Brennan really is asexual, that doesn’t mean Zafir has a chance. Brennan’s never dated a man, and Zafir’s never met anyone who’s game for a Muslim single father with a smart mouth and a GED.

Brennan’s always thought of himself as straight. But when sex is explicitly out of the mix, he finds himself drawn to Zafir for the qualities and interests they share. And Zafir can’t help enjoying Brennan’s company and the growing bond between Brennan and his son. They work well together, but with so many issues between them, doubts creep in, and Brennan’s struggle with his identity could push away the one person he didn’t know he could love.

 

 Clockwork Heart bei Heidi Cullinan

As the French army leader’s bastard son, Cornelius Stevens enjoys a great deal of latitude. But when he saves an enemy soldier using clockwork parts, he’s well aware he risks hanging for treason. That doesn’t worry him half as much, however, as the realization he’s falling for his patient.

Johann Berger never expected to survive his regiment’s suicide attack on Calais, much less wake up with mechanical parts. To avoid discovery, he’s forced to hide in plain sight as Cornelius’s lover—a role Johann finds himself taking to surprisingly well.

When a threat is made on Cornelius’s life, Johann learns the secret of the device implanted in his chest—a mythical weapon both warring countries would kill to obtain. Caught up in a political frenzy, in league with pirates, dodging rogue spies, mobsters and princesses with deadly parasols, Cornelius and Johann have no time to contemplate how they ended up in this mess. All they know is, the only way out is together—or not at all.

 

 

 How to be a normal Person by T.J. Klune

Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.

Gus is not normal. And he’s fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.

Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.

But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

 

 Misfits by Garrett Leigh

Restaurant owner Tom Fearnes has loved his partner Cass for as long as he can remember, but their work often keeps them apart. When he meets a striking young man named Jake on the vibrant streets of Camden Town, their heady first encounter takes an unexpected turn.

Jake Thompson can hardly believe his luck when he wakes up in Tom’s bed. Tom is gorgeous, kind, and . . . taken. Tom’s explanation of his open relationship leaves Jake cold, but Tom is too tempting, and when hard times force Jake to accept Tom’s helping hand, he finds himself between two men who’ve lost their way.

Cass Pearson is a troubled soul. He loves Tom with all he has, but some days it feels like he hasn’t much to give. Jake seems like the perfect solution. Cass risks everything to push Jake and Tom together, but Jake resists, wary, until the darkness of Cass’s past comes to call. Then Jake finds himself the last man standing, and it’s time to dig deep and shine a light for the men he’s grown to love.

 

 

 Outsider by Olivia Cunning

Reagan Elliot should be living her dream…

She’s touring with Exodus End as their new rhythm guitarist and gaining more notoriety and fame than she ever imagined possible.

She’s earned the devoted love of not only one, but two spectacular men. Her committed threesome with sexy guitarist Trey Mills and her hunky bodyguard Ethan Conner is stable, loving, deep, and satisfying for all involved.

But sometimes the world sees things differently and is determined to destroy what it doesn’t understand.

Can Reagan’s relationship with Trey and Ethan survive the cruel backlash of the media, her family, and a bigoted public? Or will the talented musician lose everything she holds dear in the face of her own burgeoning doubts?

 

 

 Whiteout by Elyse Springer

Noah Landers wakes up one day with a headache and no memory of where—or who—he is. Jason, the man taking care of him, tries to fill in some of the blanks: they’re in a cabin in Colorado on vacation, and Noah slipped on ice and hit his head. But even with amnesia, Noah knows Jason is leaving out something important.

Jason O’Reilly is sexy as hell, treats Noah like he’s precious, and seems determined to make this the romantic getaway they’d apparently dreamed of together. But Noah’s more concerned that he’s trapped alone with Jason in the middle of a blizzard while his slowly-returning memories bring hints of secrets and betrayal.

Noah’s not sure what’s the truth and what’s a lie. But as he learns who he is—and who Jason is to him—he’s forced to reevaluate everything he believes about himself, about loyalty . . . and about love.

 

 


I really, really need more great romantic LGBTQIA+ reads… any recs? Please leave all your favourites in the comment section.

Merken

Review: Fifty Shades of Pink by Jourdyn Kelly

 Series: Standalone ?

Genre: LGBT (f/f), Erotica

Rating: dnf at 19%

Cover: Nothing special.

Links: goodreads

Trigger warnings: bad bdsmetiquette, maybe more

Description: BDSM was never my scene. I’ve always thought I was too strong to be dominated. Authority and I never did get along. So, when I was dragged to a special kind of club for my best friend’s bachelorette party the last thing I expected to do was surrender myself completely.

I wasn’t going to participate. Then I was summoned to the “Pink Room”. Her room. As I watched her walk away from me, I realized I had no choice but to follow. I was already hooked.

She demanded I call her Mistress.
I demanded she take off her mask.
We were both changed that night.

Review: What was I thinking?!

I don’t know why I thought something with a title having a play at Fifty Shades of Grey could be not as bad as Fifty Shades of Grey.

So, I have never read said popular wannabe bdsm novel – only parts of it and that was way enough. But I’m not here to talk about that book, I wanna review Fifty Shades of Pink.

First thing that bothered me were the special, special eyes of both MCs. I can kinda accept those things if they are in a fantasy setting – but even then I’m annoyed if they are told again and again. But in contemporary? Nope. Thank you, but no.

I could have ignored it if not for the other things. The narrating MC has no knowledge of bdsm, but knows for sure she doesn’t like giving or receiving pain. It’s just not her cup of tea. There is way more to bdsm but let’s leave it at that. Her best friend is getting married and they party at a bdsm club for her last night of not being a wife.Soon she is gone and the MC is alone.

Until a woman sets her eyes on her and she is summoned to the so-called Mistress. Enter a jump right into a bdsm scene. Well, not right into, the MC is allowed to have a safeword at least. But there is absolutely NO negotiation, no talking about which things are okay and which absolutely not. You simply choose a newbie, tie her up and have a go at her with a whip (and who knows what else, since I stopped reading there).

I don’t know if it’s going to get better but since this is a novella, there aren’t really a lot of pages to do so.

If you’re asking me, there are better bdsm books out there.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.