Tag Archives: m/m romance

Review of Building Forever, by Kelly Jensen

I received a copy of Kelly Jensenh‘s Building Forever through Netgalley.

Description:

Charlie King is doing fine. Sure, he’s a widower raising a teenage daughter who just got her first boyfriend, his book series isn’t writing itself, and he has a crush on his new neighbor—the guy next door. But everything’s just fine. 

Simon Lynley is doing better. He moved to Bethlehem to fall out of love and rebuild his career. An affair with his neighbor isn’t part of the plan, but the attraction between them is too hard to ignore. 

But when Simon’s ex follows him to Pennsylvania to reconcile, and Charlie’s life starts to feel like a video on repeat, everything comes apart. Charlie fears that he’s failing as a father, and Simon is a distraction he can’t afford. Meanwhile Simon doesn’t know if he could survive being left again, and he hasn’t come all this way to make the same mistakes. Despite their fears, it’s only together that they’ll find the strength to slay old foes and build the forever they’ve been waiting for.

Review:

I finished this sitting in the waiting room of the ophthalmologist, hoping no one noticed I was getting teary. It was very sweet and they were tears of joy. I thought the author got a little didactic at times, at one point going so far as to have a character look up the definition of pansexual to ensure the reader knew it. But I also found so very much relatable in this book. The whole messy and contradictory idea that you can love your life and the people in it, but still mourn the life not lived is one that struck me dead centre. I also very much appreciated that there were no misunderstandings or pointlessly kept secrets. There were several times Jensen could have taken this over-trod path and instead opted to have a character be brave, honest and upfront. Similarly, Charlie didn’t agonize over his newly embraced identity. He was open and honest with himself and everyone else about it. I loved that and the characters for it. All in all, I call this a success. And considering romance without a trace of sci-fi or fantasy in it isn’t wholly my jam is really saying something.

Review of The Burning Magus (Blue Unicorn #3), by Don Allmon

I received a copy of Don Allmon‘s The Burning Magus through Netgalley. I previously reviewed the first two books in the series, Apocalypse Alley and The Glamour Thieves.

Description from Goodreads:

JT was a perfectly happy orc building cars in the Arizona desert until his old friend and sometimes lover Austin showed up and talked him into one last crime. Now “one last crime” has snowballed. With a new team of thieves—a supersoldier, a hacker, a driver, a graffiti artist, and a seafaring wizard—JT and Austin are determined to free an artificial intelligence from the dungeon of the Burning Magus. 

For JT, this job is more than a prison break; it’s a do-over of The Job That Went Bad two years ago, the catastrophe in which JT lost his closest friend and then chose to abandon everything, even Austin. Maybe this time no one will die. Maybe this time JT can return to Arizona and bury his old life for good. 

Except Austin won’t be buried. After two years alone, Austin knows he wants JT—not just as a partner in crime, but as the lover he always should have been. Maybe this time they won’t make the same mistakes, especially when it comes to each other. 

Review:

I was disappointed in this book. It’s not that it’s bad, but rather that I loved the first one, liked the second one and found this one uninspired. It felt much more rushed. I thought it had too many characters, too much pointless sex and too little pay off. 

To elaborate, all the previous characters are here in this one, so the book felt unfocused. And though I have no problem with sex in my books, like and expect it even, the sex here is largely voyeuristic and too frequently not between the established couples. (So, it adds nothing to strengthen the bond we’re supposed to believe exists.) What’s more, some of it felt very much like the author went, “Oh, this is SO in right now. I better add it, even if it feels like an after-the-fact add and isn’t well stitched into the plot.” 

As to pay-off, (this is hard to address without spoilers) questions are presented and not answered, and I didn’t feel Allmon made any effort to lead the reader to decide on their own. Instead, the whole thing feels forgotten. A whole important character is introduced and not given any significant page-time (and it really was needed). And bad guys are defeated easily (even ones that took whole books to beat in the past) and simply fade away without fuss. 

All in all, I still like Allmon’s writing style. And I like this series. But, when compared with the previous books, The Burning Magus fell extremely flat for me.

Review of Ravensong (Green Creek #2), by T. J. Klune

I borrowed an audio copy of T.J. Klune‘s Ravensong through Hoopla. I reviewed book one of the series, Wolfsong, last year.

Description from Goodreads:

Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack who left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing never again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves. 

It should have been enough. 

And it was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. In the end, they faced the beast together as a pack… and won. 

Now, a year later, Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them. 

But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s crawling from within. 

Some bonds, no matter how strong, were made to be broken. 

Review:

Oh man, Klune broke me. I cried so much. Not big wracking sobs, but these quiet little tears that just slipped through. But I think maybe the narrator, Kirt Graves, was part of it too. Multiplying the effect. I thought he was too flat with a lot of the characters’ dialogue. But he sure had the voice of agony and betrayal and longing down!

I did get a little annoyed with the repetitions. Some of it was purposeful, reusing the same phrases for effect. Some of it just felt like a lazy cut and paste job. Similarly, a lot of the abrupt flashbacks threw me for a loop. Maybe if I’d been reading it, instead of listening, it would have been more quickly apparent when a sudden shift was a flashback. But as it was, I often was momentarily confused.

All in all, however, I really enjoyed this. Even as it shredded my heart. And though I’m not a person prone to re-read books, I really think I’m gonna have to borrow Wolfsong and listen to it. I wish I’d done that before listening to Ravensong, honestly. So, I could have experienced them together.