Wednesday Reading Meme

What I Just Finished Reading

Fair Game by Patricia Briggs. It actually managed to keep my attention through the whole thing, but god, I am sick of the heroine of the book being captured/kidnapped/tortured somehow and for there to be male rescue and manpain. So, engaging plot for the most part and I do enjoy the world building, but fuuuuuck, I am sick of that plot point. Next.

Turns out I’m horrible at predicting what I’ll read next. The last time I did this, I thought I’d read Beyond Shame after I finished Fair Game. But what I ended up picking up was Neil Gaiman’s Ocean at the End of the Lane. It was honestly the first of his I had truly enjoyed in a while. If you liked his Coraline, I think you’re going to like this one. It has the same sort of kid’s fable feel, although this POV character is much younger and befuddled. Thankfully all of the rest of the characters seem to be very capable people (mostly women, which is really nice) and it worked well for me.

The Seduction Hypothesis by Delphine Dryden. DNF. Totally creepy hero completely turned me off. So the premise is that the couple in this book broke up but ended up still going to a comic convention that had had planned as a group trip before the break up. The break up was because basically the hero discovered the heroine’s burgeoning interest in BDSM and mansplained all over her how it was unfeminist and gross. Because there’s nothing that’s great for a relationship like telling your partner that their sexual interests are wrong and bad when they’re between consenting adults! There was also a jealousy problem on the part of the hero over nothing which causes him to dump her. Ugh. So on the trip to and at the convention, the heroine starts to explore her sexuality. She discovers that the BDSM comic she loves and started her down this path has a booth and that she would be a perfect substitute for their missing character. She even has a costume already! But while discussing with the booth crew her involvement, hero shows up and starts inserting himself in their negotiations like he has any goddamn standing. This is the point where I metaphorically threw the book at the wall. Go away creepy failbot. You should go sit in the corner and think about how wrong you are until you can apologize and interact with women like a goddamn grownup who respects boundaries.

The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart. I got this from an event I went to at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and have been slowly devouring it during meals. It’s a book that’s mostly a list of all the things that are used to make and flavor booze, so it’s a bit much for one sitting. But in bite-sized chunks, it’s a delicious mix of biology and history. You find out about how tequila worms are basically just marketing to sell shitty tequila and further evidence of just how shitty colonizing Europe treated, well, everyone. There’s also a lot of great cocktail and infusion recipes and tips for how to grow your drink ingredients. I’ve got a batch of aronia-infused vodka steeping right now for a cocktail event I’m planning for the fall.

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch. This latest installment in the Rivers of London series follows the formula of the others with a bunch of seemingly unrelated incidents all pulling together at the end in a surprising way, but I am totally okay with that. I loved the focus on architecture and came away from the book wanting to learn more. Talk about something that doesn’t usually happen in a supernatural history. This one’s also got a betrayal in that was totally foreshadowed yet completely unexpected. Wow, well done. I hate to be the person going “Write faster!” but I can’t wait for the next one.

What I’m Reading Now

Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha. Totally reading this one finally. Wonderfully porny and starting to get some plot going. Really looking forward to getting some more information on the larger world of Eden and the surrounding sections.

What I’m Reading Next (best guess)

I’ve got Brown River Queen by Frank Tuttle finally on the ereader. This is the 7th in the The Markhat Files series. It’s another of those supernatural mysteries I like, ala the Dresden Files but without all of the failboating that the Dresden Files does. A+ for that alone. Plus a lot of fun characters and while the world building’s not completely original, it’s done in a fun way and honestly I just like these books a lot.

Magic Rises has also made its way onto the reader, but while I’ve enjoyed this series in the past, they’ve sort of fallen off my radar and I’m not in a huge rush to read it. I should probably reread the last few because I honestly can’t remember what all happened in them. Shapeshifters and vampires and stuff. It all blurs together after a while.

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Wednesday Reading Meme

What I Just Finished Reading

So I had to put Deep Wizardry, New Millennium Edition down unfinished. I had gotten to the part where I’m all teary eyed for much of it and I was on a train full of strangers. The last time I made that mistake (reading The Book Thief, which made me sob at the end) the woman sitting next to me became very concerned. She ended up passing me a pamphlet for her church and told me it would be okay.

So instead of being teary, I decided to read porn. Wait, I mean erotic romance.

Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha was written by some friends of mine. I got a copy of it for free, but never got around to reading it until recently. I’m not much of an erotic romance reader. I tend to more traditional romances. Probably because, as Bree put it on Twitter, they have more of a guaranteed HEA (happily ever after) with a specific pairing. ERs tend to be more ambivalent with final pairings (or polyamorous) and not always a HEA. The worst of them become porn without plot and you wonder why you ended up buying this instead of just finding it free on the internet. And white this has both the ambivalent pairing and ending things to an extent, but it didn’t bother me. Perhaps because I knew there was a sequel immediately available? Who knows.

But what I liked about this book: I described it to another friend as “innocent gets thrown into a hedonist culture and goes hog wild”. The main character, Noelle, is raised in a very Puritan, women-should-be-seen-and-not-heard, sex is DIRTY DIRTY DIRTY society. Being a smart and curious young woman, she falls in with a crowd that manages to get a hold of porn from pre-apocalypse times (did I mention this was a post apocalyptic story?) and then gets caught attempting the nasty with another young man. So she’s banished from the pure city to the outer slums, wherein she falls in with a gang of hard fighting and hard fucking moonshiners. This all could have gone very badly, but what I loved about it was that once she starts shagging people, everything is really on Noelle’s terms. There’s no handwaving of consent. Consent actually becomes a very explicit issue at one point that is nicely resolved. There’s a fine line walked between Noelle’s shame and joy in her new-found sexual freedom. Also, the sex is varied and hot. There’s some dom/sub and bondage stuff going on but I didn’t find it boring in the way that I find a lot of alpha-male-mates-5ever-sexy-dominance sameness.

If you’re looking for things other than porn, there’s also a decent amount of politicking plot (Noelle is the daughter of a big mover and shaker) and murder and attempted murder. All and all, it made of an excellent train read. No tears!

What I’m Reading Now

Fair Game by Patricia Briggs This is the third book in the Alpha and Omega spin off of her Mercy Thompson series. I haven’t read anything in the universe in a while and this one’s been sitting on the ereader for a while. I didn’t have my next book (below) loaded yet so I decided to read this. Thus far I’m pretty interested in the murder mystery that’s just started, although I could give no fewer fucks about the weird dominance issues that the eponymous Alpha character has. See above about alpha-male-mates-5ever-sexy-dominance sameness boring me to tears. If nothing else, WOLVES DON’T WORK THAT WAY and it irritates the fuck out of me to see what are totally human hierarchy issues blamed on the wolf side of their monsterhood. So we’ll see if the plot can keep me entertained faster than my irritation at alpha male bullshit can build up.

What I’m Reading Next

I enjoyed Beyond Shame enough that I’ve bought Beyond Control already.

Alexa Parrino escaped a life of servitude and survived danger on the streets to become one of the most trusted, influential people in Sector Four, where the O’Kanes rule with a hedonistic but iron fist. Lex has been at the top for years, and there’s almost nothing she wouldn’t do for the gang…and for its leader. Lie, steal, kill—but she bows to no one, not even Dallas O’Kane.

Dallas fought long and hard to carve a slice of order out of the chaos of the sectors. Dangers both large and small threaten his people, but it’s nothing he can’t handle. His liquor business is flourishing, and new opportunities fuel his ambition. Lex could help him expand his empire, something he wants almost as much as he wants her. And no one says no to the king of Sector Four.

Falling into bed is easy, but their sexual games are anything but casual. Attraction quickly turns to obsession, and their careful dance of heady dominance and sweet submission uncovers a need so deep, so strong, it could crush them both.

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Wednesday Reading Meme

What I Just Finished Reading

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson, AKA The Bloggess. I think B&N had a special a while back that had the book for free or cheap and I picked it up. There’s some really funny stuff in there, including the infamous post about Beyonce. If you can’t stand her blogging style, you’re not going to enjoy this book. It’s understandably similar. But it makes a great book to have in your ereader if you need a quick giggle while eating lunch at work. Only downside of the ebook version was that the photos showed up very small (and black and white since I’ve got an old Sony ereader) and sadly a lot of the detail was lost.

What I’m Reading Now

Deep Wizardry, New Millennium Edition by Diane Duane. The author has decided to take the books, written over the last 2 decades, and update them to fix the wildly disparate technology described in them matches the same error. So no longer do the characters go from having Apple IIEs in the early books to iPods and cellphones in later books. It was something that never really bothered me, but I also grew up during that era and know what all of those things were. Someone young starting the series now would probably be rather confused. I do think she went a bit far and made the tech a bit too now specific (like brand names) and may end up still having the dated problem sooner rather than later. Much like the Myspace reference in Iron Man.

That said, this book is a runaway favorite of mine. I didn’t even read this series until my 20’s and it’s definitely in my top five. This book in particular is my favorite in the series, and not just because it has fish in it. The particular way it deals with sacrifice really hits all of my narrative buttons. Reading it in this updated version makes me pay closer attention to the text again and I’m enjoying it that much more.

What I’m Reading Next

Man, I have no idea. These days I’m not doing a lot of book reading because I stopped commuting via Metro. What reading I do tends to happen if I go to lunch by myself. So it’s going to take a while to finish Deep Wizardy. I have a copy of The Seduction Hypothesis by Delphine Dryden that I picked up because of the fantastic review from Dear Author. Perhaps that will be next, although erotica reading depends on the setting. I may end up reading the next Young Wizard book instead.

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