Tag Archives: m/m romance

cemetery boys

Book Review: Cemetery Boys, by Aiden Thomas

Aiden ThomasCemetery Boys has been on my radar for a while. I finally got around to borrowing an audio version of it from the libarary

cemetery boys

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

my review

I have been intending to read Cemetery Boys for a while now. I’ve only put it off because I’m always afraid of books that have gotten too much hype and because I have to be in a particular mood to tolerate young adult literature with character on the younger end of the scale. (I’m 43-years-old, after all.)

I’m happy to say Cemetery Boys lived up to the hype and was very good. Sure I personally thought some of the school bits and much of the general teenage angst was tedious (not the trans self-consciousness, that was different) . But that’s just a symptom of being old. I loved how immersed the reader is in the Brujx and Latinx cultures. I appreciated that, though Yadriel’s family struggled with his trans-ness, it was obviously not out of cruelty or a lack of love. And who wouldn’t adore Yadriel and Julian’s fierce dedication to one another by the end?

I did struggle a little with Yadriel’s father’s sudden acceptance. If felt a little too pat, but more importantly, I felt like he accepted the external confirmation that Yadriel was a Brujo, while I saw no evidence that he would have accepted him as a man on his own otherwise. I also guessed the end at the halfway mark. So, the mystery isn’t super hard to figure out.

All in all, however, I’m glad to have finally given this one a go.

forsaken fae banner

Book Review: Forsaken Fae, by R.A. Steffan

I borrowed an audio  copy of R.A. Steffan‘s Forsaken Fae through Hoopla.

forsaken fae

There’s an unconscious Fae drooling on Len’s couch.
That’s not even the weirdest thing to happen to him this week.

Len’s been told that not all Fae are scheming, manipulative pricks. A moot point, since this one definitely is—he knows that much from bitter experience.

So, when his vampire ex-coworker dumps Albigard of the Unseelie on Len’s doorstep, he gives her two hours to find a better hiding place for the Fae fugitive before tossing him straight to the curb with the rest of the garbage.

He should have known better, of course. Because if there’s one thing Len’s learned since being thrown into the deep end of the seedy paranormal underworld, it’s that nothing is ever so simple.

Now he’s on the run from a cataclysmic primal force trying to tear its way into the human realm, stuck with a charismatic bastard who already knows way too much about the inside of Len’s messed-up head. The first time he met Albigard, Len punched the Fae in his too-perfect face. This time, they’ll have to learn to work together—or risk having their souls torn apart and consigned to the void, with the rest of humanity facing the same fate soon after.

The Wild Hunt has slipped its chains.
Darkness is coming for the world.

my review

Do you want to know what my BIGGEST reading pet peeve is? I’ve mentioned it before. It’s when a book is labeled as book one, so I pick it up to read it, and then discover that that is a lie. Maybe there’s a prequel, more often the book turns out to be a spin-off of another series that doesn’t really stand alone. This pisses me off so bad! And that’s exactly what I encountered here, with Forsaken Fae. It very clearly is labeled as book one.

forsaken fae book one

(On Audible, Hoopla, Amazon and Goodreads…pretty much everywhere). As far as I’m concerned, that should make it safe to pick up and read. But within two chapters of starting the book I put it down and went hunting, already suspecting “book one” was a lie. There was no evidence of intended world building, character growth, or even introduction. The book did not read like a first book. What I discovered was this:

Forsaken Fae is a slow-burn M/M urban fantasy trilogy. It’s set in the same world as the bestselling series The Last Vampire and its other spinoff, Vampire Bound.

Does that make it a spin-off of a spin-off or just a second spin-off of a larger series? Either way what it 100% does not make it is something that can be picked up and read alone as a first book in a series. I am stating this right now. This cannot be read and enjoyed without reading previous books! The Last Vampire appears to be 6 books and a prequel and Vampire Bound 4 books. That’s a potential 11 books that need to be read before this. But even if you don’t need to read all the series, at least you need to find the ones that precede the events of this book. It is nothing more than authorial conceit to label this book as book one of anything and infer that readers could start here.

Further, the book ends on a cliffhanger with nothing concluded. So, it can’t be read and enjoyed without the books following it either. I’m seriously pissed off at the waste of my time. The only reason I chose to finish it is that it was set in Saint Louis, where I live, so I’d hoped to see my city well represented. It’s nothing but a name though, you don’t feel the setting at all.

The writing is fine. I thought I might have liked the characters if I’d been given a chance to get to know them (which I wasn’t), and the narrator did an OK job. I hated his voicing of the cat sidhe, but all else was passable. I might have a wholly different review to write if I’d come to this series without being tricked into picking it up in the middle. But that’s not what happened. So I  have no desire to read more of this author’s work. I feel pretty burned.

forsaken fae ra steffan

skin deep sw vaughn

Book Review: Skin Deep, by S.W. Vaughn

I picked up a copy of S.W. Vaughn‘s Skin Deep from Amazon in the summer of 2017. Lately, I’ve been trying to read some of the books that have been buried in my kindle cloud. And Skin Deep is one such book. I think the book has since gotten a new cover, but this is the edition I have.
skin deeo sw vaughn

He knows everything about love… except how to find it for himself.

Will Ambrose hosts a popular LGBT relationship radio show, but lately he feels like a fraud. His own relationships have been anything but successful — a fact that his current partner, a sadistic closeted cop, has made painfully clear.

After his partner flies into a violent, jealous rage that leaves him battered body and soul, Will finds an unlikely savior in Cobalt, a smoking hot tattoo artist who offers shelter and healing. But Cobalt is hiding a devastating secret: He’s not human.

A Seelie Fae banished from his realm by a jealous lover of his own, Cobalt has given up risking relationships with humans. None are strong enough to handle the truth. But Will is different, and Cobalt can’t help falling for the man who’s dropped into his life without warning and captured his heart.

Unfortunately, Cobalt’s powerful ex-lover will stop at nothing to destroy his newfound happiness — and every moment he spends with Will is risking both of their lives.

I’ll give this a pretty lackluster 3 stars. It’s not that there’s anything really wrong with it, there’s just nothing especially right with it either. It’s competently written with a follow-able plot, but it’s all pretty shallow. The villains are crazy-pants evil, just for the sake of evil. No discernible motive or even enough control over themselves to be a believable villains. The lust is instant and mutual, and the love comes rushing in right on it’s heels with no real feeling of having developed. The paranormal elements are interesting, but not deeply developed, etc.

I did have a problem with the torture porn and sex though. One character is beat unconscious and raped and literally begging for sex by the next day. I think probably both the physical and mental trauma would come into play to prevent that. Plus, Will is just too stupid for words when it came to Lyle.

All in all, I don’t regret reading this but I’m in no real hurry to read the next in the series either.

skin deep