Despite the little time I had to read in the past couple of months, I did manage to read five books in the last month and so I thought I would give you a little wrap up. I read none of the books to review them, because I just needed some relaxed reading time and so I am just going to give you the little bits and pieces I wrote on Goodreads when I finished the books.
Hanging the Stars by Rhys Ford
3/3.5 stars on Goodreads
This was the first book I read last month and it was really just a just-read-don’t-think kind of book. It was a sweet, slightly cheesy, romance with a little bit of mystery, so right up my lane when it comes to books that I can just read without having to use my brain much. It was a sweet story, with just enough angst, but none of it unnecessary. It wasn’t really a slow burn, but I don’t want to spoil anyone in case you want to read this. Here is a slightly shortened version of the synopsis on Goodreads:
Angel Daniels grew up hard, one step ahead of the law and always looking over his shoulder. A grifter’s son, he’d learned every con and trick in the book but ached for a normal life. […] Now, Angel’s life is a frantic mess of schedules and chaos. Between running his bakery and raising his troubled eleven-year-old half-brother, Roman, Angel has a hectic but happy life. […]
When they were young, Angel taught West how to love and laugh but when Angel moved on, West locked his heart up and threw away the key. Older and hardened, West returns to Half Moon and finds himself face-to-face with the man he’d lost. […]
But rekindling their passionate relationship is jeopardised as someone wants one or both of them dead, and as the terrifying danger mounts, neither man knows if the menace will bring them together or forever tear them apart.
Him by Sarina Bowen and Us by Sarina Bowen
Both 3 stars on Goodreads
Again, two books I read with no intention to think much about it, although I really did enjoy this duology. I swear these books got so much sex in them it’s ridiculous! Whenever I read romance books I feel like I’m reading fan fiction, just cause I so rarely read romance books and I basically only know that genre from fan fiction. Add all the relatively well written sex every couple of pages though and I feel even more like I’m reading fan fiction. This doesn’t bother me much though, just has to do with what I’m used to and what I’m not used to.
I didn’t read these to write a review, just for fun, but I do want to add something that bugged me: The stereotyping of women. It bothers me so much when WOMEN write about gay MEN and stereotype themselves. It’s insulting to women and to gay men, because it suggests gay men – because they are not attracted to women – are inherently sexist, like “oh cause I’m dating a man I don’t gotta go shopping” and all that bullshit. I don’t know if she simply characterised her characters like that or if these are her actually thoughts on women. Either way, I didn’t like it.
Shoutout for using the word “bisexual”, even though again there were some annoying stereotypes, but not too bad.
Other than that, I did really enjoy these books. The romance was well done, the build up took time and was really nice. There was a good amount of angst, which I always enjoy, and there was never any unnecessary drama, but still enough to make it interesting. I also loved the Ice Hockey elements, which was a major reason for why I picked these books up in the first place. They were lovely relaxing reads.
Into the Blue by Pene Henson
4/4.5 stars on Goodreads
I originally gave this book 4 stars, but I am very willing to up this rating.
I absolutely ADORED this book! Honestly! If you are looking for a good summer read with beautiful LGBT+ representation, go ahead and pick this one up. It also had a nice amount of angst, which I loved. It also had the actual word “asexual” in it. One of the main characters is most definitely on that spectrum, too. I’d say demi-romantic, because I am most familiar with that, but yeah somewhere there for sure – also demi-sexual! There’s also a bisexual side character, although the word isn’t written out, it’s very clear that she is. There is also possibly some poly-amory (apologies if I spelled that wrong) going on in the background (debatable, but it’s just my head-canon now and nobody can take this away from me – I’ve got solid reasons to believe this). I just absolutely adored this book and so finished it in two days.
The writing is good, maybe not spectacular, but definitely solid. The cast is diverse with Samoan and South East Asian characters. The one (presumably) straight dude loves fashion and art. It’s just beautiful. And there is beach and surfing, which is always fun to read, especially for me who lives nowhere near a beach.
The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
3/3.5 stars on Goodreads
This one was odd and I am not really sure how I feel about it. I certainly enjoyed the premise and most of the story, but the reveal wasn’t all that great. It was a very literal case of telling instead of showing in a way that just didn’t work for me and felt incredibly rushed. It felt like Mrs. Flynn realised at the last minute that she was writing a short story and not a novel and so just wrapped it up quickly. The ending was also very open, which is okay at times, but, again, really did not work with this story at all. It felt like Mrs. Flynn didn’t even know what kind of story she was trying to tell.
The whole story seemed to have lost its point by the time we “found out”. After reading a couple of other people’s reviews, I see that I am not alone with these thoughts, which is always good to know.
I also didn’t think it was creepy at all. It was eery, yes, but way too clichéd for it to be really creepy. Maybe I’ve seen too many horror films, but I wasn’t freaked out at all… I also missed some sort of dangerous feeling. Like, I didn’t feel like anything was really at stake. I never felt like anyone was really in danger. This next part is slightly spoiler-y, so proceed with caution:
For example, the moment the “reveal” happens – the first ‘idea’ of it, anyway – I would have loved for something to happen, for us to feel like there is immediate danger, but it didn’t feel like that at all. There was just a bunch of talking and then everything’s fine and that’s it.