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Love Lost

So I had a personal crisis yesterday. The “precipitating event” was the discovery that Eat, Knot, Love, a Sterek fanfiction that I first read back in August, got pulled from Goodreads. While I didn’t shed actual tears, I was afflicted by a sense of profound helplessness and just plain sadness that defied my best efforts of rationalization. You don’t have to tell me that my reaction was excessive or even ridiculous. And I don’t even have the excuse that I lost the review for

Favorite Reads of 2014

A little late this year, but once again the time has come to write up my list of top reads of the year. As always, it is a list of books I read in 2014, not those published this year. Even more than previous years, the list leans on the personal, as in books that are personally important to me, not those I am arguing should be important to anyone else. The more I do this, the more I have to acknowledge that some books get inside me—I remember them and reread them in large par

#Diversiverse: A Review of The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord

So I was catching up on Booklikes last week and came across a post about an event taking place during the last two weeks of September entitled #Diversiverse hosted by Aarti Chapati’s blog, BookLust, inviting participants to read and review one book by a person of color during the event period. Generally, I don’t pay much attention to the author’s bio unless I’ve interacted with them or if something about the text makes their background or nationality seem relevant. Still, I c

Goodreads Reviews: Games Boys Play by Zoe Rider

Blurb: Brian and Dylan have been best friends for years. They have no secrets between them, except for the ones they’re keeping from each other. When Dylan lets himself into Brian’s apartment to drop something off, it couldn’t be worse timing—for Brian. He’s tied himself up to play out a kidnapping fantasy. He’s mortified, but Dylan is intrigued. He even offers to help Brian out next time he has an urge to be tied up. No. That’s all Brian can think. No way. But the idea of so

Goodreads Reviews: His Whipping Boy by J.A. Jaken

Blurb: Cedric de Breos was an average son from an average farmer’s family before he was chosen—by royal decree—to befriend Alain Tomolia, the solemn and enigmatic crown prince of Dunn. As Cedric dutifully pursues their strange friendship, he begins to suspect that Alain is haunted by a dark secret, one which has its roots sunk deep in the crown prince’s past. Cedric’s situation is complicated by the gradual realization that his intended purpose is not only to serve as compani

Goodreads Reviews: Brute by Kim Fielding

Blurb: Brute leads a lonely life in a world where magic is commonplace. He is seven and a half feet of ugly, and of disreputable descent. No one, including Brute, expects him to be more than a laborer. But heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and when he is maimed while rescuing a prince, Brute’s life changes abruptly. He is summoned to serve at the palace in Tellomer as a guard for a single prisoner. It sounds easy but turns out to be the challenge of his life. Rumors say th

Goodreads Reviews: Ricochet by Xanthe Walter

Blurb: When the right dom is all wrong! Even in a BDSM universe, where everyone is bisexual and identifies as dom or sub, finding the right partner isn’t always easy. Matt is a big star on the hit TV show, Collar Crime, and he’s looking for a dom who ticks all the right boxes, including being as tidy and organized as himself. That definitely isn’t his chaotic co-star, Rick, with his spanking fetish and habit of tying a different sub to his bed every night. When Matt meets the

Negative Reviews and Me

We have Anne Rice to thank for the latest flap over negative reader reviews. The grandmother of all things paranormal waded into the author vs. reader cess-pool on the author’s end, publicizing her support for a petition to Amazon to force reviewers to post under their own name—her cure for the plague of “parasites” and “anti-author gangsters” who are “gratuitously destructive to the creative community.” Instead of wasting time expounding why I think this is a horrible idea I

Goodreads Reviews: Winner Takes All: Master/Slave Fantasies by Christopher Pierce

Every now and then I read something that reminds me that M/M romance and gay erotica are seriously different genres. I dislike essentialist sounding explanations, but there are times (most often after I've spent more than four and a half minutes watching pornography) when I just feel like shouting out: men and women are turned on by very different kinds of stories! I enjoyed reading these stories--they are well-written and inventive–but I liked them more because they gave me

Why is it so hard to review smut?

(This is the fourth essay in a series that argues for considering erotic romance as an "emerging genre," and explores how the genre connects to the larger changes currently roiling the publishing world.) My last essay in this series took some easy pot shots at two-year-old reviews of a book I don’t want to review myself since that would mean I’d feel obligated to reread it. Confession’s good for the soul and all that. Now that’s off my chest, excuse me as I load up for my nex

Goodreads Reviews: Glitterland by Alexis Hall

Blurb: The universe is a glitterball I hold in the palm of my hand. Once the golden boy of the English literary scene, now a clinically depressed writer of pulp crime fiction, Ash Winters has given up on love, hope, happiness, and—most of all—himself. He lives his life between the cycles of his illness, haunted by the ghosts of other people’s expectations. Then a chance encounter at a stag party throws him into the arms of Essex boy Darian Taylor, an aspiring model who li

Goodreads Reviews: Ethan Who Loved Carter

Blurb: By twenty-four, Carter Stevenson has stuttered and ticced his way to debilitating shyness. Although his friends accuse him of letting his Tourette's dictate his life, Carter moves from Los Angeles to a quiet California town. He'll keep his head down and avoid people. He doesn't anticipate his new neighbor, Ethan Hart, crashing into his solitude and forcing him to get out and live. From the beginning, Ethan makes his love for Carter clear. But he fears Carter won't see

Goodreads Reviews: Love Lessons by Heidi Cullinan

Blurb: Love doesn’t come with a syllabus. Kelly Davidson has waited what seems like forever to graduate high school and get out of his small-minded, small town. But when he arrives at Hope University, he quickly realizes finding his Prince Charming isn’t so easy. Everyone here is already out. In fact, Kelly could be the only virgin on campus. Worst of all, he’s landed the charming, handsome, gay campus Casanova as a roommate, whose bed might as well be equipped with a rev

Goodreads Reviews: Concubine of a Space Conqueror! by Charlotte Mistry

Blurb: Forget it: you don't really need the blurb--the title tells it all. Review: Basically alien uber-alpha meets human super-slut. Usually I find the device of the sub wrapping the big, tough alpha around his little finger to be cutesy and tiresome, but here it works beautifully. Elliot's supposed "pleas" not to touch him are beyond hilarious and provide a new twist on a depressingly stale genre. Typical Example: "Now you listen to me, impudent whelp," Kastya snarled, "thi

Goodreads Reviews: Bad Idea by Damon Suede

Blurb Some mistakes are worth making. Reclusive comic book artist Trip Spector spends his life doodling super-square, straitlaced superheroes, hiding from his fans, and crushing on his unattainable boss until he meets the dork of his dreams. Silas Goolsby is a rowdy FX makeup creator with a loveless love life and a secret streak of geek who yearns for unlikely rescues and a truly creative partnership.Against their better judgment, they fall victim to chemistry, and what start

Favorite Reads of 2013

It’s that listy time of year again! So first off, I’m exuberantly proud to say that as of 12/20/13 I have, according to Goodreads, read 245 books. That number does not count rereads which probably amount to another 100, nor does it count the 43 books I started but didn’t finish. Virtually every book was some variation of M/M. The following, rather eccentric list is exactly what the title says, my favorites: not the books I thought were best, but the books that I enjoyed the

Just read it and thank me later: a review of Bone Rider by J. Fally

So I've been goofing off this past week instead of pulling together another piece of stupefying brilliance for my article series, so I thought instead I'd give you a little Thanksgiving gift in the form of a book recommendation, a new book by a new author, Bone Rider by J. Fally. Here's a copy of my Goodreads Gushfest... er, Review. What's the word I want? Fantastic? Stupendous? Expialadocious? None of them will do this justice. I'm not sure I'm up to a full review on this,

Fifty Shades of Boneheaded or WTF is Wrong with Erotica Reviewing?

So this summer, one of those dear, article-sending friends we all have, knowing of my interest in erotica, forwarded me a review from The New Republic of Alicia Nutting's novel, Tampa, entitled, “The Phony Transgressiveness of Tampa” which caused a bit of a personal kerfuffle. Here is the author, Maggie Shipstead’s, opening paragraph: What makes a piece of fiction erotica? I’d say that erotic fiction is defined by explicit sexual content included for its own sake (not necessa

The apotheosis of the bitchy ex-girl-friend, or a review of Shattered Glass

The biggest disadvantage of reading so many books so quickly is that the clichés, like thrusting alpha males, tend to come hard and fast. They are more obvious and annoying in bulk. My background doesn’t help since I’ve been trained to identify and analyze literary patterns. And much as I love romance and erotica, they are definitely genres that are strongly driven by familiar conventions. Some like the Happy Ever After I don’t mind (because honestly what’s the point of readi

On Teaching Smut: A Review of Out of the Woods/Twice Caught, by Syd McGinley

(Note: though the book divides successfully into its two volumes, this is clearly one story, and I am discussing it as such. ) The title question of this post represents a failure of sorts: I tried over several days and multiple drafts to write a review of Out of the Woods. At last count it was 2000 words and growing, and though utterly brilliant of course, it struck me as pointless to post a ten-page review on Goodreads. So I tossed it and came up with another approach to co