Jun. 15th, 2017

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1) There was much to like about this book. The title was evocative, and the diversity of characters was both welcome and believable. It was a solid, good read.
2) Delightfully creepy tale that could well have been part of  the Twilight Zone series, complete with menacing townsfolk and rotting buildings A different twist is given in part by the main characters who are mostly transgendered. Interesting and spooky plot.

Harbinger Island Dorian Dawes
LGBT - Anthology / Collection / Fantasy
File Size: 3397 KB
Print Length: 248 pages
Publisher: Manifold Press (February 1, 2017)
Publication Date: February 1, 2017
Amazon: Harbinger Island Dorian Dawes

Every community has a dark side, a sordid past that's kept to hushed whispers and out of the ears of prying tourists - and Harbinger Island has the darkest shades of them all. Professor Bartleby Prouse is obsessed with the secrets and occult conspiracies surrounding the island's myriad of unsolved murders and mysteries. He'll have to use every bit of magic and cunning at his disposal if he is to protect his students after they unwittingly draw the attention of one of the island's most insidious cults.

A collection of character-driven stories which combine dark fantasy and horror elements within a modern setting. The diverse cast of LGBT+ individuals come from various backgrounds, and the stories examine the prejudices they experience in their day-to-day lives along with the supernatural horrors they face.
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1)This book hooked me from the moment I pressed Go. Immediate conflict and a quick establishment of character voice made it an easy and engaging read; I became invested in the obvious plot goal (fake relationship to lovers) very quickly, and, as that's one of my favorite tropes, I then found it quite difficult to put the book down. The characters were unique and well-developed, and I especially enjoyed how there was no apology for Trev's clear wealth and privilege even while his parents' failure to accept who he is was outlined and battled against. He understood where he stood, had decisive opinions, and discovered how all of that might not fit into the larger world. He was forced to broaden his horizons. I admire the author's choice to continue to allow him to be a little holier-than-thou in spite of it. It was true to character. Prevalent use of current slang and references might work against this novel for some readers; I didn't have a problem with anything and it definitely established age and viewpoint. Setting details were sparse but effective, evocative where they needed to be, but not overwhelming at all. It gave me a hint of a picture but plenty of room to let my mind play! I did not give the novel full marks because the dialogue was at times awkward, more in tune with introspection than verbal discourse, and could be somewhat heavy-handed. There was a VERY slight issue with drag in pacing, where whole days and weeks would be glossed over. I would have liked to see more of the subtle mechanics of bringing this relationship together during those missing stretches. The penultimate climax leaned a little more toward melodrama than I prefer, but was well-delivered and paced, with a great resolution on all fronts. The characters were highly relatable and their chemistry was obvious, their angst believable, and their voices individual. The final choice in ending was satisfying for me as the reader: exactly the kinds of scenes I was hoping to see. Closure all around but plenty of room left to move forward in the characters' lives. Gripping, easy writing style. A most enjoyable read! 
2) This was a sweet and often humorous story  and all in all, pleasant to read. The plot worked around a Pretty-Woman-esque kind of trope, rather skilfully at that, and the style was more of a YA with some explicit scenes. 

Boyfriend Goals Clancy Nacht & Thursday Euclid
Bisexual - Contemporary Romance
File Size: 512 KB
Print Length: 168 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (October 10, 2016)
Publication Date: October 10, 2016
Amazon: Boyfriend Goals Clancy Nacht & Thursday Euclid

What happens when a nerd and a jock pretend to be dating for the summer? Social justice whiz Trev needs to convince his parents that his bisexuality isn't a phase, and swim team star Lee needs somewhere to stay until the new semester starts. Forced together for three months at a Vermont lake house with Trev's family, the boys influence each other in unexpected ways, and despite their differences, a real bond begins to form. What will it take for a fake odd couple to become a real one?
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1) First of all, I need to say "Whew! What a long book!" But I couldn't put it down. The premise is charming, telling LGBT stories set in the early 1800's in the style of Jane Austen. Almost every story was captivating, though I will say I was less impressed with the few in the middle of the book which were set in modern times. The stories at the beginning of the anthology and again at the end, all set circa 1810, were more rewarding. That said, I was a bit put off by the sex scenes in several of the stories, something Jane Austen would never have done. Austen's stories are all about emotional love and societal concerns, not overt physicality. At least, that's how I remember the books from my college days. So the sex scenes felt like a misstep. Perhaps that isn't a fair assessment, given that the current anthology wasn't written for readers in 1810 but today. Still, the few period pieces without sex scenes felt more authentic to me. While I enjoyed almost all of the stories, I think my favorite was by editor Julie Bozza. Most of the other stories were relatively straightforward romances, but Bozza's contained the convoluted conflicts of Austen's works and seemed to me the most successful of all the stories. The book was well-edited and proofed, always welcome features. I highly recommend the book to any Jane Austen fans, and really, to Dear Readers in general.

A Certain Persuasion: Modern LGBTQ+ fiction inspired by Jane Austen's novels Julie Bozza
LGBT - Anthology / Collection / Historical
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Manifold Press (October 17, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1908312750
ISBN-13: 978-1908312754
Amazon: A Certain Persuasion: Modern LGBTQ+ fiction inspired by Jane Austen's novels Julie Bozza

Thirteen stories from eleven authors, exploring the world of Jane Austen and celebrating her influence on ours. Being cousins-by-marriage doesn't deter William Elliot from pursuing Richard Musgrove in Lyme; nor does it prevent Elinor Dashwood falling in love with Ada Ferrars. Surprises are in store for Emma Woodhouse while visiting Harriet Smith; for William Price mentoring a seaman on board the Thrush; and for Adam Otelian befriending his children's governess, Miss Hay. Margaret Dashwood seeks an alternative to the happy marriages chosen by her sisters; and Susan Price ponders just such a possibility with Mrs Lynd. One Fitzwilliam Darcy is plagued by constant reports of convictions for 'unnatural' crimes; while another must work out how to secure the Pemberley inheritance for her family. Meanwhile, a modern-day Darcy meets the enigmatic Lint on the edge of Pemberley Cliff; while another struggles to live up to wearing Colin Firth's breeches on a celebrity dance show. Cooper is confronted by his lost love at a book club meeting in Melbourne while reading Persuasion; and Ashley finds more than he'd bargained for at the Jane Austen museum in Bath. A Pemberley-sized anthology...

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