Apr. 3rd, 2016

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Third Solstice by Harper Fox
★★★☆☆

This felt more like a Christmas short than like an actual novel. At about 27k words, it's actually longer than the first Tyack & Frayne novel, but it felt like it had less substance, less meat to it. Don't get me wrong: Harper Fox is one of my favorite authors and this is a lovely story, but it definitely had the structure and feel of a short story rather than of the complex and intricately plotted novels I've come to expect from Fox.
jillian: old-style manual typewriter keys (Default)
Cold Fusion by Harper Fox
★★★★★

Harper Fox is an auto-buy author for me, so you can assume that I typically like her work, but I think this book is even better than usual.

I'm really loving the trend toward realistically drawn autistic characters in fiction, and particularly in romance fiction. Harper Fox does a lovely job of showing Vivian's quirks without dehumanizing him or making him a caricature; his characterization rings very true to me. Kier Mallory feels very real, as well, with his survivor's guilt and his self-doubt, and I love that he accepts Vivian for who he is, even if there are some missteps along the way. Neither Vivian nor Mallory is perfect, but they both learn and grow and become greater together than they were apart.

The science is probably impossible — it's even acknowledged as such within the story, while somehow still working — but the science isn't really the point; this is old-school speculative fiction that asks "what if?" and spins off from there, turning into a suspenseful tale of betrayal, conspiracy, and murder...and of love found in the most unlikely of places.
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Crash Plus Expenses by Astrid Amara
★★★☆☆

I typically like Astrid Amara's novels, but I just couldn't really like this one. The main protagonist, Dan, is a creeper, and I've never really been a fan of the idea that you can fall in love with someone from afar; to me, that's the antithesis of what loving someone is — merely seeing them from the outside, rather than knowing them from the inside.

The book is well written, though, and if you're not put off by the scenario, then I'd have no hesitation recommending it. It's just not my cup of tea.
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A Case of Christmas by Josh Lanyon
★★★☆☆

This novel walks a fine line for me, but just manages to stay on the right side of the betrayal: the side where I can believe in giving a second chance, versus the side where it's unforgivable. There's angst, but it's not the gut-wrenching, hardcore kind, which makes it perfect for a Christmas story.

Everything else I want to say leads to spoilers, so I guess I'll just sum it up as "If you typically like Josh Lanyon, you won't be disappointed with A Case of Christmas."
jillian: old-style manual typewriter keys (Default)
Jefferson Blythe, Esquire by Josh Lanyon
★★★★★

I think this is one of my favorite of Josh Lanyon's books. The mystery is suspenseful and quirky and the supporting characters are fascinating. I understood and sympathized with both Jefferson and George, even when they were in opposition.

My only caveat to recommending this book is that it's not your typical M/M romance with a HEA ending. The ending is hopeful, and it was satisfying to me, but I know some readers prefer much more unequivocal happy endings, so be aware that (IMO) this isn't one.
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