67 Followers
55 Following
Ilhem

Ilhem

2014 Readers' choice is up!

 

 

Readers' favorite book & giveaway at BioB.

 

Thank you for your participation.

 

Click on the picture to check people's choice and enter the giveaway.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 57%.

The King's Men (All for the Game Book 3) - Nora Sakavic

OMG OMG OMG!

Reading progress update: I've read 40%.

The King's Men (All for the Game Book 3) - Nora Sakavic

15% : "you like me." DUH!!!!

 

37%:"you're a spineless asshole [...] You let the world happen to you and don't bother to fight back". Love that quote!

 

39% : *aww moment*

 

40% : #damn-holidays-wish-I-could-read-in-peace

 

 

Worth the effort to get over my niggles

The Raven King - Nora Sakavic

Nora Sakavic doesn't do things by halves, does she?

 

I was happily shipping my favorite pair and planning massacre on the court when my bloodthirsty fantasies came true and drama moved up a notch. There were moments when it took some effort to get over the twists making little to no sense and over too much melo in the drama; AND there were moments when it worked eventually because it pushed the characters to their limits and made things all the more interesting.

 

 So, I had mixed feelings sometimes but I got what I was hoping for : I am biting my nails. What oh what is going to happen next?!

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 64%.

The Raven King - Nora Sakavic

 

I don't care that they have racquets and don't skate, they're playing hockey. I'm waiting for the match where the Foxes will crush the Ravens. I want blood.

 

On the no-romance front, I have the most interesting pairing being so obvious (in my mind at least) that I will fall from my chair if they don't end up together. 

 

*slowly climbing out of the book-funk hole*

 

*****

 

ETA 69% : wow, I didn't expect that! 

The Foxhole Court - Nora Sakavic

I liked it very much, and perhaps I should have rated it higher since I started the follow-up immediately. It's the sign that I've been hooked by the characters. It's not the deep involvement I've felt for Boyd and Sin, but I've found something in there that reminds me of ICoS. Perhaps it's the feeling of being given something genuine, even if it is not flawless... Anyway, I want to know what happens next, I want to know who will end up with whom, I want to keep guessing, and in the end I want them to be safe. But not to soon, I want to bite my nails first.

 

On to the Raven King.

Cold Sunday morning on the Seine

 

 

I dragged my ass out of bed early this morning to go rowing. Thought I was crazy until me and the other crazies were greetd by the usual swans and a surreal mist above the water. It totally made up for freezing our asses.

 

Have a nice Sunday. :)

Time to champion your 2014 favorite read!

We're planning a post highlighting readers' favorite books at BioB, like we did last year. Just comment here with your ONE LGBTQ favorite read of 2014 if you wish to participate, and I will relay your choice. 

 

 

Thanks.:)

 

 

Counterpoint: Dylan's Story - Ruth Sims

Many of my favourite artists poured their tortured soul in a sculpture or on a canvas, and I am as saddened by their torment as thrilled by their work. There’s a specific violin concerto that puts me into some kind of transe. One of my favourite songs is titled “La Bohème”. I may roll my eyes at characters going through the 10 Plagues of Egypt before finding their HEA, but I like epic stories, tales of loss and love against all odds, I thrive at resilient characters struggling and snatching victory.

 

I thought I met all the requirements to enjoy a romantic saga featuring a doomed artist fighting for recognition, love and happiness.  That’s “Counterpoint” all over : Dylan is a misunderstood composer, a genius who will have to make hard choices for the sake of his music; a lover who will have to face sorrow and trials. Except for one detail. “Counterpoint” is an epic tale allright, but “Counterpoint” is also a melodrama. 

 

Ow. I don’t like melodrama.

 

And I don’t use this word as an offensive remark. I refer to the actual genre whose etymology means drama with music (how fitting). Melodrama exaggerates plots that pull on emotional strings. Heros are put through the wringer,  innocents are tortured by a cruel fate and wronged by stereotyped villains,  the world is black and white and an angst fest. It doesn’t aim at any musical performance, but uses music among other scenery effects to emphasize the drama. In short, melodrama is caracterized by excessiveness, stereotypes and pathos.

 

That is “Counterpoint” all over. Sure, the quiet between two storms had its moments, names and details give this story a stamp of historical authenticity; but from countless tear-jerker plot devices to characters stopping mid-scene to soliloquize their anguished feelings, and the doubts of creation being dealt as a brat’s temper tantrums, this story belongs to this genre. 

 

So, wrong reader, wrong book. Actually, a fair amount of five stars and a Rainbow Award show that this book has a fervent readership who loved it as much as I disliked it. It all depends on what triggers your tears and elation. I get that it genuinely moved people, but the only genuine feeling I could muster was irritation. That would be my conclusion.

Source: http://www.boysinourbooks.com

"The weight of the world is love"

Fadeout - Joseph Hansen

What a wonderful, wonderful surprise this story was!

 

You go in there thinking that you’ll read about a mystery and that’s about it. Indeed you do : what happened to Fox Olson? This is what it is about.

 

But as the story goes, and the insurance detective Dave Brandstetter worms his way into homes and lives, you discover that you’re reading about people. People who didn’t write the books they ought to have written, who didn’t live the life they ought to have lived, who did their best or worst, made mistakes, went along with the flow or tried to swim against the current, who were, are aiming at happiness – whatever this word means to them. What of them all? That’s what it is about too.

 

All those lives and their own stakes weave a tangled web Dave has to untangle to find the truth. And we’re back to the mystery. You may think you have things figured out way before the end, but the development keeps a few twists and turns in store. Many suspects, many motives, but who did act on them? Did anyone act on them?

 

Now, what about Dave Brandstetter? He is a clever detective and a decent man.  He is also mourning the death of his long time partner; hurting and full of regrets, but moving through grief, straightening up and looking ahead. Beyond cleverness and decency, I like how lucid and healthy he is. Just like this story is, despite its undeniable bittersweet flavour. And that’s just the thing : it reflects human weaknesses, struggles, highs and lows, but it is not wallowing in self-pitying angst. Yet, how moving it is at times!

 

In the same way, it is about a gay character, and it doesn’t make a fuss about it. The cherry on the cake is to read in 2014 this book that was first released in 1970, and try to grasp the casual audacity Joseph Hansen showed in writing a gay MC  back then,  making it sound nonetheless like he is saying : “Dave Brandstetter is my main character and he is gay. So what?! I have a story to tell, let’s get to it.”  Hansen’s style is economical, deceptively simple; the sentences are short,  the prose is anything but over-the-top. The story development is efficient and smart, the pace doesn’t falter, the carefully chosen words ring loud and clear, and strike home. The whole is a beautiful piece of craft.

 

Don’t go there looking for a romance. The ending hints at something that may be developed in the sequel, but Dave is not quite there yet. That doesn’t mean that you will not read about love, though.  As a matter of fact, I'll quote Dave quoting poetry  to conclude :

 

“The weight of the world is love. Under the burden of solitude, under the burden of dissatisfaction, the weight, the weight we carry is love.”

 

Strongly recommended.

Source: http://www.boysinourbooks.com

Silly news from my corner of the world

 

 

A tiger is playing hide-and-seek and roaming the region around Paris since yesterday. We don't know where it escaped from, we don't know where it is going and the last time it has been seen was this morning. We've been advised to move in our cars only, children in the area are confined in their school,  and we are all calculating how many kilometers the animal can cover in one day.

 

The good news is : it isn't hungry yet.

 

The bad news is : it won't last.

 

Right now, it's still funny, and we are all planning who we are going to feed the animal with : our boss, our mother-in-law, our students, our teachers...

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 75%.

Counterpoint: Dylan's Story - Ruth Sims

I don't know why I thought I was playing safe with this book. Probably because I hadn't noticed that it was melodrama. Dumb me.

 

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

Fadeout - Joseph Hansen

Finished.

 

I think of all the crappy books I've bought lately, and of course I had to borrow this one. Damn, I have to give it back!

 

Review to come...

Reading progress update: I've read 56%.

Fadeout - Joseph Hansen

What a lovely surprise this book is! And to think that it's been there since 1970...

I've seen this cover many times at Amazon, but I would have kept on dismissing it, if it weren't for Ami and Kate. Thanks guys!

Reading progress update: I've read 55%. DNF

Undercover Blues - Chris Quinton

IRS agents are forced to face their mutual attraction while living as a couple for an undercover mission. Nothing captivating happens mission wise, I can't feel the chemistry, I don't find the banter exceedingly funny. 

 

I skim pages. I'm bored. I DNF.

 

 

Can't seem to find titles, lately

Junior Willis - Richard Natale

To be totally honest, it's a 3,5 stars + 0,5 for encouragement.

 

 

 

It’s fast and sharp and bittersweet, and I liked it very much.

 

From the Korean war to the Vietnam war and the premises of the LGBT Rights movement, “Junior Willis” covers a man’s prime years – from first love and  first heartbreak to resignation, anonymous encounters and loneliness, then to hope again; from sexual awakening to self-depreciation and fear, then to candid seduction.

 

It doesn’t dig deep enough to be a character study, it is too short to be a chronicle, but it takes from both to brush a portrait touch by touch, Tom’s portrait. It’s about the supposedly best years of his adult life, the time he spent them in, the new era that is opening to him.

 

The writing style is journalistic, fast paced, more factual than introspective, but deft and clever. I suspect that it’s what seduced me the most.

 

Now, I feel like I should state that this is not a romance, since the main focus is not to lead two characters from point A to point B; but it is definitely about sexuality and love, and I am glad that  there will be an after-meeting-Junior-Willis life for Tom.

 

So, well-written, funny at times, touching and thoughtful : give it a try.

Source: http://www.boysinourbooks.com