July Reading Log

I was busy this month. I read a lot of shorter stories and novellas this month, making my total 10. One was a re-read so I could read the next book and finish a series. Another was an audio drama that I didn’t realize wasn’t a book. One was a collection of predictable short stories, and I finally got around to two books that have been on my “want to read” list for months.

A productive month, even if I could have chosen better books to read.

Guys in Love – L.A. Witt
This was a Bookbub freebie. It’s 4 short stories about guys who fall in love with another guy, usually someone who’s unobtainable, or someone they previously had a relationship with. It’s pretty much exactly what it says on the tin, and it’s only okay.

The first story involves a pizza delivery guy, his ex, and the fraternity that nearly got someone killed. The second and fourth stories involve military or ex military people, with the fourth being a pair with a past. The third involves a pair of car salesman and trying to get around the “don’t date your co-workers” rule.

The first and second stories were the ones I liked best. The first actually had some tension to it, related to the frat, as well as showing the characters when they were younger. The second had a character that was just a little more complicated than the others, which was nice.

What I didn’t like was when they hit the sheets, everything was pretty much the same. The progression from lusty kiss to whatever they planned on doing, and then round two, was more or less the same. I had to push to even finish the fourth story, because I just didn’t care. I knew where it would end up.

Everly – SM Shade
This was the first in a 4 book set, and I actually read it second. I read the last book first, as it was free on Bookbub not that long ago. Since this one was free as well, I decided to give it a try.

Everly grew up in group home, after losing her parents in a car accident and experincing a terrible foster family. She now volunteers a shelter that helps domestic violence victims and their children, as well as as a group home. She doesn’t get attached to too many people. She ends up meeting Mason in a bank, when the Naked Bandits show up and force everyone to strip naked while they rob the place. He’s tattooed, gorgeous, and trouble she’s not looking for, but can’t help being attracted to.

This one’s okay, but not great. The fact is ends on a cliffhanger bothers me, and the only reason I bought and read the second book was that I knew Everly and Mason would end up together, and I wanted to see HOW. I think a lot of information in this book comes a little late. For example, why doesn’t Everly have a paying job? She volunteers, but there’s no mention of how she can do that and still have money to live on. It’s explained, but it’s most of the way into the book.

Mason – SM Shade
The second part to Everly, this one alternates between Mason and Everly. I enjoyed this one better, but not just because it didn’t require the cliffhanger of the first book. I wasn’t as fond of the alternating viewpoints, but I see why it was done.

Mason and Everly are trying to keep their relationship together in this one, and plenty of things get thrown into the mix. Gunshot wounds, surprise kids, friends being assaulted, the things keep coming. I enjoyed that quite a bit, although this book had the same problem as one I read previously: one night of unprotected sex leads to a cliché. I really hate that trope.

Parker – SM Shade
I originally purchased this one just so I could get the entire series read. It’s…. ok? Parker is a horny man who almost never sleeps with the same woman twice. Macy is escaping an abusive boyfriend. They’re interested in each other. They alternate between attraction and trying to stay away from each other. There is much unhappiness until they get their happily ever after.

Alex – SM Shade
This is the one I read first, and is probably my favorite of the four. Alex has lost his boyfriend Cooper, and is spending his time in mourning with Ian. Ian’s best friend is Everly, from the first book, and Mason is Alex’s brother, so it ties all the characters together.

Alex is trying to get his life together to go on, and Ian’s dealing with a medical problem. They lean on each other for support, and eventually it turns into more, although it’s never easy. There’s the traditional “big problem” that each of these books has, keeping them apart, and the happily ever after. That’s probably the part that I didn’t enjoy as much.

The Heir – Kiera Cass
The first time I read this book, I wanted to high five Eadlyn. With a brick. To the face. I meant to write more, but I was so annoyed by the book that I couldn’t bother.

Well, The Crown was coming out this year, so I decided to revisit this book so I could remember what all was going on. I’m glad I did, because I had forgotten nearly everything, and really needed the refresher.

To start, Eadlyn’s a bitch. She’s cold, she’s not nice, she whines all the time, and she expects to get her own way every time. She constantly tells herself “There is no one more powerful than you” despite the fact she’s a PRINCESS and not queen. She goes on and on about how she could have people flogged, or thrown out of the palace, simply by not being obsequious enough.

Her parents want her to have a Selection of her own, because the country is in turmoil, and they need to buy time. She whines, she throws a fit, and she’s a general nasty person. She gets her compromises for the Selection, and sets about trying to figure out how to get the selected to leave, or want to leave. But, when they do, she gets upset. Well, she’s the one who gave them the option.

The book’s really not about her going through a Selection, but Eadlyn’s personal problems, general bitchiness, and the state of the kingdom.

And she’s ignorant! For someone who’s going to run a country one day, she’s completely ignorant of most of what the country’s going through. She can’t understand why people hate her. She also seems to have no idea what kind of a relationship her parents had during their Selection. She talks about it being almost a fairy tale, but displays a lack of knowledge. This is the relationship that was televised all over the country. There’s footage of what went on. There’s newspaper articles. She could look into all the little tidbits her mother shared with her years before, if she hadn’t been so wrapped up in herself.

And the ending sucked. It’s a cliffhanger. I’m guessing it’s because the damn book is so boring that the only way to keep reading would be to put in a cliffhanger. It’s obvious, it’s clunky, and I hated it.

The Crown – Kiera Cass
I thought I hated The Heir? The Crown was worse. So, in this book, Eadlyn has to deal with her twin brother no longer being around, her mother sick, her father stressed, the Selection itself, and a country that’s falling apart.

The Eadlyn in the end of the book isn’t the Eadlyn that was at the beginning of The Heir. This Eadlyn is a perfect Mary Sue that’s on her way to making the country love her. She stops being a bitch, developers a lot of patience and understanding, and more or less becomes a fucking alien. I couldn’t relate to her at all, but by the end of the book I was thinking she was one of those pod people.

The Selection takes a turn that you can see coming from the beginning. Eadlyn ends up happy, but the way it came about was totally odd to me. That, and Eadlyn spends barely any time at all with any of her suitors, but still gets attached to them, and they love her. They’re all so proud of the selfless decisions she makes to help out her parents, and that helps her win over the country.

Eadlyn’s decision to help out her parents comes out of the blue. Sure, it’s nice of her to do, but given that the country can’t stand her, it’s a pretty quick about face. Not to mention the first thing she does shortly after it’s all over. No conferring with advisors, no discussing it with her parent,s just BAM! I’m going to make this change now.

I’m just glad it’s all over. Apparently there’s some epilogue to this that people hate, and my copy of the book didn’t have it, which is good.

We’re Alive: A Story of Survival – KC Wayland
This was suggested to me on Audible for another audiobook because I’ve been on a zombie kick lately. I didn’t realize it was an audio drama and not an actual book until I was a few hours into it.

A zombie apocalypse breaks out in Los Angeles, and three members of the Army (?) reserve make it to their command post. They quickly find out they’re the only ones to make it, and so decide to go to one of the guy’s girlfriend’s apartment building because it’s easily defensible. Once there they have to deal with organizing a group of survivors and keeping the zombies at bay.

As an audio drama, it’s interesting. Every character has their own voice, and since there aren’t tags for who said what, you learn to recognize the characters by their voices pretty quickly. I did have the same problem with the audio file that I have with movies. Voices are sometimes too soft, and the sound effects and music are too loud. I had to back up a couple times because I couldn’t make out the voices.

I’m not going to keep going with the series because while it’s okay, it’s just not my cup of tea. Not all of the characters are likable, and some of just flat out stupid and/or annoying. The characters do some dumb things, and there’s just not enough interesting stuff for me to keep going.

Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron – Jasper Fforde
I have wanted to read this book for a while, so I broke down and got the audiobook. It’s an odd book, but a likable one. Set several hundred years in the future, people can only see one or two primary shades of colour at best. They follow the rainbow Spectrum, with Red being the lowest of those who can see colour, and Purple being the highest. Eddie is a Red, which means he can see Red, but no other naturally occurring colour. He comes from a long line of Reds who are trying to improve their Hue, which means more status.

I was a little puzzled by the book, because it sounds like something out of the 1930s. Later on I find out it’s set well in the future, where people have no idea what life was like our era. Kind of like we don’t really know how things were in the 1300s, they don’t know how life was like in the 1900s and 2000s. Technology is severely limited in their world, with great leap backs happening every 100 years. There’s a model T running around that’s barely working, but there’s also this weird road surface that absorbs organic matter like leaves and bodies. Also, the people of Chromatacia aren’t able to see in the dark. In fact, the darkness scares the hell out of them.

It’s a truly strange book, and a bit rambling at times. Eddie’s on a chair census, his father is the new Swatchman (doctor) for the town of East Carmine, and in a roundabout way, we find out why Eddie’s in a Yataveo plant, expecting to die. It’s a goofy book, but fun.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) – Felicia Day
My first exposure to Felicia Day was the music video for (Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar, which I saw for the first time at Blizzcon 2009. Man, what a wrong impression about the series to get. I eventually got over my initial impression and checked it out, and liked it. I saw Felicia Day in a few other things, and checked out her book club on Goodreads. I’ve never been a huge fan, but when her memoir came out, I really wanted to read it. There’s a shortage of reasonably well known geeky women in the world.
The book is great. Day had an unusual upbringing, and she and her brother were able to essentially learn about anything and everything that interested them. While that resulted in Day having a lot of knowledge about a variety of subjects, it also made her socially awkward and highly anxious. It also set the stage a bit for her gaming addiction, which is something I can totally relate to.
Most memoirs seem to be full of people’s dark and tortured pasts, and thankfully, this isn’t one of them. While her upbringing was unconventional, she didn’t go through truly terrible things, like abuse or losing a parent, or drugs. It’s refreshing to read about. Her stories are funny, and as a fellow geek (and someone with social anxiety), I can relate to some of the things she’s done.