Am Reading

I’ve spent so much time buried in Torchwood fanfic over the last three weeks that I’ve almost convinced myself that I could go and stand in Roald Dahl Plass in Cardiff and see a Pteranodon fly out of an invisible lift by the waterfall thing. Alas, that is not to be. It’s probably a good thing because they’re all always nearly dying, or, in fact, actually dying, and whatever is happening in our lives right now, I can guarantee that Daleks would be worse. I haven’t updated my reading for a while, because #Life, but I’ve also been buried in these various other brilliant stories:

The Hands We’re Given (Aces High, Jokers Wild #1) by O.E. Tearmann
Cover, The Hands We're Given by O. E. Tearman

This epic series is set in a near-future where corporate, right-wing America has become it’s own behemoth of a political entity that controls most of the resources, with oppression and discrimination as standard. The remains of the more liberal, democratic population live in the cracks, fighting a war without end. It’s a grim, dystopian vision of hopelessness and despair.

Obviously our heroes are fighting against the corporations. They are an engaging collection of misfits…found family, getting along for better or for worse, working and living together. There’s excellent Queer rep in both the main couple, who’s relationship growth is the central part of the books, and in secondary characters.

If you like sci-fi, cyberpunk, queer romance, tension and socking it to the bad guys, I think you’ll like this.

Tal Bauer is an auto-buy for me. Queer gritty law-enforcement romantic suspense is my not-so-secret catnip and if there is lots of angst, all the better. Both these hit the spot. 

The Murder Between Us
Cover, The Murder Between Us, by Tal Bauer

The book starts with FBI Agent taking a risk, putting a toe out of the closet in a strange town where no-one knows him. But then he gets called to a case in the middle of nowhere and it turns out his hook-up is one of the local investigating officers. Shenanigans ensue. A reliably Tal Bauer Tal Bauer book with angst and relationship development playing out against a background of bodies piling up and killer to catch.

The Night Of
Cover, The Night Of by Tall Bauer

So, I stayed up all night reading this, which wasn’t wise, but I couldn’t put it down. There’s angst and mystery and Bad Guys doing Bad Things and although I worked out who the murderer was quite early on, the journey to get there was satisfying and well rounded. Yes, okay, you have to suspend your disbelief that the President of the USA is allowed to toddle around between the White House and his house a few minutes away with only one person on his security detail. It seems a little unrealistic, but it didn’t throw me out of the story. Five stars.

Penhallow Amid Passing Things by Iona Datt Sharma
Cover, Penhallow Amid Passing Things by Iona Datt Sharma

Really delightful paranormal historical novella set in an alternative Cornwall. Smugglers, Revenue Officers, and a touch of political intrigue that was complex and felt like the tip of an enormous iceberg that left me wanting more–in a good way! The wlw love interest was part of a beautifully delicate dance between magic users and non-magic users and the Revenue and the Smugglers and the greater good and expediency. It was just wonderful.

If you try one new thing this year, let it be this.

Am Reading

A bit of a catch up this week, with books by Isabelle Adler, Iona Datt Sharma, Jordan L. Hawk and Gregory Ashe.

In the Winter Woods by Isabelle Adler
Cover, In the Winter Woods, Isabelle Adler

This was such a lovely story. I read it in the gap between Christmas and New Year and it captures the spirit of the season perfectly. Crisp snow, cosy fires and very unpleasant murder. It’s an engaging story with a nice, complicated plot and a slow-burn love affair that’s really believable. It’s Adler’s first mystery and she’s pulled it off perfectly. If you like Josh Lanyon, try this.

Division Bells by Iona Datt Sharma
Cover of Division Bells by Iona Datt Sharma

I read this in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. It’s rich in both description and emotion and the characters, even the minor ones, leap off the page. It’s a contemporary romance set in the UK House of Lords, between a special advisor and civil servant. They get off on the wrong foot and over the cold winter and a really stressful period at work they get to know each other a great deal better and fall in love in the process. I can’t think why I missed this when it first came out and it’s definitely on my re-read list now.

Unhallowed by Jordan L. Hawk
Cover, Unhallowed by Jordan L. Hawk

Wonderful starter to a what I hope is a long new series, set in the world of Widdershins. In the library! You don’t need to have read the Wybourne and Griffin series to thoroughly enjoy this…if fact I confess I’d only read the first three and then went back and read the rest before re-reading Unhallowed. There’s magic, books and mystery. The protaganists are lovely and I particularly liked Sebastian’s confusion at Vesper’s tales of working as a librarian in Boston and his conclusion that it’s a very strange place, lacking all the things he takes for granted. I look forward to finding out more about the mysterious Mr Quinn. Five stars!

The Clockwork Heart by Gregory Ashe
Cover, The Clockwork Heart by Gregory Ashe

This is a weird little novella that I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s set in the First World War — my jam, obviously — and the MC is a young French nun. And there are men with clockwork hearts. She has a crush on one. That’s it. That’s the story. I can’t say too much more than that without spoiling the whole thing, but…it’s not a romance. Lots happens and not much happens and it’s perfectly satisfying. It’s not quite steampunk and not quite romance and not quite historical and not quite horror. I’m not sure what it is…but I’ll definitely read it again. It’s also only 99c!

That’s it for this time, thanks for reading!