Tag Archives: M/M

Review of To See the Sun, by Kelly Jensen

I received a copy of Kelly Jensen‘s To See the Sun through Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
Life can be harsh and lonely in the outer colonies, but miner-turned-farmer Abraham Bauer is living his dream, cultivating crops that will one day turn the unforgiving world of Alkirak into paradise. He wants more, though. A companion—someone quiet like him. Someone to share his days, his bed, and his heart.

Gael Sonnen has never seen the sky, let alone the sun. He’s spent his whole life locked in the undercity beneath Zhemosen, running from one desperate situation to another. For a chance to get out, he’ll do just about anything—even travel to the far end of the galaxy as a mail-order husband. But no plan of Gael’s has ever gone smoothly, and his new start on Alkirak is no exception. Things go wrong from the moment he steps off the shuttle.

Although Gael arrives with unexpected complications, Abraham is prepared to make their relationship work—until Gael’s past catches up with them, threatening Abraham’s livelihood, the freedom Gael gave everything for, and the love neither man ever hoped to find.

Review:
I thought this was really lovely. There wasn’t a lot of action, most of the tension being either in someone’s fear something might happen or in the two men tiptoeing around getting to know one another, but it was nice. Jensen’s writing is beautiful and there was a happy ending for all, except the baddies (who predominantly remained faceless).

I did side-eye the gendered representation of the men though. I don’t mean to suggest all men have to be giant paragons of masculinity, but in the face of jokes about Gael being purchased as Bram’s “wife,” the fact that he’s the physically smaller of the two and excelled at cooking, cleaning and sewing (and genre-wise, came with a kid and was the one that needed to be rescued) almost made him feel uncomfortably misgendered.

I suspect that Jensen gave him some of these same qualities in an attempt to show that a man can still be a man even if he’s not ringing each coded ‘male’ bell. Which just goes to show the thin line authors walk, trying to avoid being stereotypical in one direction only to have someone say they’re being stereotypical in another.

At least Jensen was scrupulous about consent, both spoken and unspoken, even when one partner didn’t initially understand that the other was protecting him in this regard (or that he needed it). She broke convention in not only allowing the smaller man to ‘top,’ but even addressing the ridiculous trope that it’s always the bigger man that does.

I also appreciate that both men were a little older, Bram being almost 50 and Gael 29. Plus, Bram was just one of the most lovable leads I’ve read in a while. So were Geal and Aavi, but Bram stole the show for me. All in all, I really loved this. I don’t hand out a lot of 5-stars, but To See the Sun deserves one.

What I read on my June vacation

I’ve just come home from a week and a half road trip to visit my family. My husband, children and I spent a week in Florida and then three days in Tennessee. This enabled me to see my mom and her husband, my sister and her family and my aunt and uncle, which 100% of my immediate family. (My in-laws visit us in just under two weeks. So by the end of the summer I’ll have seen everyone.)

As you can imagine, it was was a busy ten days. But there was quite a bit of driving involved, so my Kindle got a good workout and I accomplished a decent bit of reading. I managed internet access once and went ahead and wrote several reviews. They were for the books I’d read on the fourteen hour drive from Missouri to Florida and then in the first half of the week there. They were: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet, The Library, the Witch and The Warder, Uncommon Grounds, and Revenge of the BloodslingerFeel free to check them out.

After that one crack at a computer, I didn’t get to update the blog at all. Rural Tennessee is beautiful, but it’s not great for speedy internet service. In the time away from modern technology I read Marine Biology, Thornfruit, Knight of Ocean Avenue and The Moonling Prince. Plus one that I didn’t finish (no one should ever write in first person present tense).

Rather than go through and write another four review posts, I thought I’d go ahead and review the four I haven’t yet done all in one go. Though I don’t plan to make them particularly detailed.

My husband jokes that I have ‘waitress brain,’ meaning I can remember a million details about something for a short amount of time. For example, when I waited tables during university, I could take the order of an eight-top (including substitutions) and never write anything down. But if you asked me two seconds after I put the order in what they wanted, I couldn’t tell you. I only remembered for as long as I needed to.

I’m a bit the same for books. I remember all the details until I write the review and then poof, they’re gone. And if I don’t write a review right away, they fade. We’re in the fading now. Sorry, but that’s just the reality of reading books back to back and THEN trying to review them.

Be that as it may, I do want to review them. So, here we go.


Marine Biology, by G. L. Carriger

This was cute and fluffy. Very much in line with the rest of the series. I just love Carriger’s sense of humor. Being a novella, it’s short of depth though.

 

 

 

 


Thornfruit, by Felicia Davin

I recall really liking the characters, the world and the storyline. But also feeling like a lot of things happened too conveniently and not enough really wrapped up by the end. Having said that, I really wanted to know more. I’ll be looking for the next book. Plus, I love the cover. So pretty.

 

 


Knight of Ocean Avenue, by Tara Lain

This one was another one designed to be cute and fluffy, and it was. But I  had a lot of problems with the presentation. One of the characters is effeminate and he’s called girly several times. Which might be alright if girly wasn’t synonymous with bad in the context used. Similarly, Billy, who is just discovering he’s gay, keeps saying how much better men are (in sex). As a woman, I have no problem with him preferring men, but I don’t know why it has to be phrased as men being better all around. Lastly, problems were repeatedly presented and then miraculously solved, such that the happily ever after felt too easy. So, it was just so-so for me.


The Moonling Prince, by Wendy Rathbone

Meh. Not bad all around, but not much to it either. I liked both of the characters, though I thought Arulu’s character inconsistent. Not to mention he spent 20 years in debilitating pain and seemed to have no resulting mental trauma. Additionally, I really would have liked to see the relationship develop more. The writing was pretty though.

 

 


So, there you go, four more books read and off my kindle. I’m halfway through another one that I started on the drive home, this afternoon. But I’ll give it it’s own post when the time comes.

Review of Uncommon Ground (Aliens in New York #1), by Kelly Jensen

I bought a copy of Uncommon Ground, by Kelly Jensen.

Description from Goodreads:

Dillon Lee’s grandfather was a conspiracy theorist. Every summer he’d take Dillon on a tour of New York City while entertaining him with tales of aliens. Fifteen years later, after a phone call from a lawyer, Dillon is carrying his grandfather’s ashes from landmark to landmark, paying a sort of tribute, and trying to figure out what to do with his unexpected legacy. When someone tries to steal the ashes, a guy Dillon has barely met leaps to the rescue, saving the urn and the day.

Steilang Skovgaard is a reclusive billionaire—and not human. He’s been living in Manhattan for over twenty years, working on a long-term plan to establish a safe haven for his people. For seven years, his reports have gone unanswered, however, and he is the only surviving member of his interstellar team. The connection he forms with Dillon soon after meeting him is something he’s missed, something he craves.

But after someone keeps trying to steal the ashes, it looks as though Dillon’s grandfather was involved in more than theories—and might not have been exactly who everyone thought he was. Steilang doesn’t know how close he can get to the truth without revealing himself, and Dillon is running out of people to trust. Can these two work out what’s going on before the thieves set their sights higher?

Review:

This was first and foremost cute, I mean really cute. Lang and Dillon were adorable. It’s worth a read just for that. And it is very readable. Kelly Jensen can sling a phrase.

Uncommon Ground is part of the Memories With the Breakfast Club series, which is the first Kindle World about gay men. And, though I’ve not read any of the other books, twice gay couples showed up that I suspect were characters from other books. So, for those following the series, I imagine that’ll be a treat.

For all it’s cute and part of a first, it’s also a little too rushed for me. The two meet and end up in bed immediately. Which would be fine if it was just sex, but it’s insta-love, insta-trust and insta-life partner. Similarly, an important plot point hinges on an unexpected arrival who is never developed into a real character and someone essentially throwing a tantrum. This allows for skipping any more complicated solution and deeper exploration of the themes of space exploration, loneliness, loyalties, loss, love, alienation, and identity, all of which the book touches on.

All in all, the book takes what could be a deep, meaningful read and instead presents a light, fluffy romance, which is well worth the time it takes to read. One isn’t necessarily worth more than the other, but it helps to know what you’re in for.