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strina ([personal profile] strina) wrote2013-09-08 01:04 pm
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Here, Have Some Book Recs!

So you want to read some queer profic! I salute your hypothetical enthusiasm, but know this: THE REGRETS, THEY ARE COMING FOR YOU.

I am way more familiar with the m/m side of things here, so that is mostly what I'll be talking about. Most of the f/f books I've ended up with either are barely-characterized porn, or feel terribly old-fashioned to me. The m/m folks are like a much more feral version of slash fandom and that leads to awesomeness and, as I said, THE REGRETS.

There is most definitely a hivemind at work, if much less widespread. How can I tell? Hemipenes are now a thing. No, for real, multiple books, different authors. Also, knotting, but that actually may have more to with the fact that fandom is all up on this*.

Some authors/publishers have started adding trigger warnings! Most still don't have any such thing. BRACE FOR UNPLEASANT SURPRISES. I'm lucky to have some fairly specific buttons, but if you have consent issues - it's about as generally rape-y as het romance novels, with more straight-up noncon and less "romantic" dubcon.

Also, you know that author in your fandom who writes a shit-ton and it all sounds neat and then it's medicore to terrible? That author is disproportionately represented here. Stormy Glenn is delicious cotton-candy bad; Joyee Flynn is just bad.

Relatedly, you know how those mediocre to terrible stories have 800 hits, 3 good reviews, and not a bad word anywhere, because nobody wants to piss in the author's cheerios? These authors are also super-present online, so it's hard to find balanced critique. No big deal on fic, you have a backbutton for a reason. THESE ARE BOOKS YOU PAY ACTUAL MONEY TO READ. I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it a lot in the future: I rec one in five of these. I recommend you throw one in ten at a wall. Those are fucking terrible odds.

Read some books and REC THEM TO ME. HELP ME IMPROVE THE ODDS.

Ok, enough hobbyhorsing, on to what you came for.

Ian's Choice, by Odessa Lynne
Wolves' Heat 1
Don’t run if you get caught unless you want claws in your spine and teeth in your neck and two hundred pounds of lust-crazed wolf on your back.

First contact between humans and the alien species they’ve nicknamed “wolves” couldn’t have been more tranquil. The wolves shared their superior technology and knowledge in exchange for a new home, and thousands of wolves abandoned their aging star ships to settle in Earth’s forested mountain regions.

But the wolves held some secrets too close and humanity has begun paying the price.

Once every three years, humans become sexual prey to a species that has no control over the urge to mate because of an unexpected and devastating attraction to human scent.

Heat season has arrived and a pack of wolves are bearing down on Ian.

His only choice, when he’s rescued by an Alpha drawn in by his scent: Submit or die...

Note: OKAY, SO THIS FEELS REALLY A LOT LIKE A CERTAIN GENRE OF TEEN WOLF FIC AND IT IS GREAT FOR ME.

Like, you know all those bastardized a/b/o fics with the mating runs or whatever? THIS. Like, there's not any knotting (lost opportunity!), but other than that, totally THIS. Ian legit teaches classes on surviving a heat if you get caught! There are dominance fights about the tastiest humans! THE WOLVES TAKE HEAT SUPPRESSANTS.

There's a whole human-terrorism plot that I'm kind of whatever about until the bit at the end at the caves, where it gets AMAZING.

Basically, I love this series
SO MUCH, you guys. I want there to be like ten more books.

The Jewels of Bangkok, by Megan Derr
Not so long ago, Elton had it all. A loving family, a jewelry business he helped his father run, and the esteemed position of Jeweler Troisieme to Mars. But the revelation of deep betrayals by his father tore his life and his family apart, culminating in a tragedy that forever ruined any chance of happiness for Elton and his sister, Lana. Parents dead, abandoned by friends, and their reputations ruined, Elton and Lana accept the offer of a new life on a planet far away from Mars.

Before settling into their new lives, however, Elton and Lana decide to stop on Bangkok, the notorious 'star of pleasures.' In the place where all dreams come true, all they want is to learn how to be happy again. But everything goes awry when Elton's unmatched skills with gems allows him to spot a fake necklace in a museum, a discovery that leads him straight to the legendary Jewels of Bangkok.

Note: Twincest/threesome. Also, this is such a fairy tale, I love it.

Country Mouse, by Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov

Owen may be a bit of a country mouse, but he’s loving his vacation in London. After a long day playing tourist, he’s on the hunt for some cheap beer and a good burger. Instead he finds a man hunting him, an arrogant prick with only one thing on the brain: the kind of meat that doesn’t come on a bun.

Eighty-hour weeks at a trading desk don’t leave Malcolm Kavanagh much time for meaningful relationships. Besides, in his world, everything’s a competition—even sex. When his newest one-night-sub fails to show, Malcolm sets his sights on the pretty young Yank on the bar stool beside him.

Owen’s all for an adventure with a native, but he’s not the pushover Malcolm thinks he is, and Malcolm’s not as shallow as he tries to be. They both soon learn that nothing's too intimate to share with a stranger, and the strangest things happen when two people share the most important pieces of their hearts.

Note: Aleksandr Voinov is the little black dress of co-authors, but this is definitely my favorite of his collaborations. IT IS SECRETLY FULL OF FEELINGS.

Dirty Laundry, by Heidi Cullinan

Entomology grad student Adam Ellery meets Denver Rogers, a muscle-bound hunk of sexy, when Denver effortlessly dispatches the drunken frat boys harassing Adam at the Tucker Springs laundromat. Thanking him turns into flirting, and then, much to Adam's delight, hot sex over the laundry table.

Though Denver's job as a bouncer at a gay bar means he gets his pick of geek-sexy college twinks, he can't get Adam out of his head. Adam seems to need the same rough play Denver does, and it's damn hard to say no to such a perfect fit.

Trouble is, Adam isn't just shy: he has obsessive compulsive disorder and clinical anxiety, conditions which have ruined past relationships. And while Denver might be able to bench-press a pile of grad students, he comes from a history of abuse and is terrified of getting his GED. Neither Denver nor Adam want to face their dirty laundry, but to stay together, they're going to have to come clean.

Note: This was totally a PWP when I first read it, but then she expanded it into a whole novel and it is GREAT. The sex is hot, but the love story is the best part.

Too Stupid to Live, by Anne Tenino

Sam’s a new man. Yes, he’s still too tall, too skinny, too dorky, too gay, and has that unfortunate addiction to romance novels, but he’s wised up. His One True Love is certainly still out there, but he knows now that real life is nothing like fiction. He’s cultivated the necessary fortitude to say “no” to the next Mr. Wrong, no matter how hot, exciting, and/or erotic-novel-worthy he may be.

Until he meets Ian.

Ian’s a new man. He’s pain-free, has escaped the job he hated and the family who stifled him, and is now—possibly—ready to dip his toe into the sea of relationships. He’s going to be cautious, though, maybe start with someone who knows the score and isn’t looking for anything too complicated. Someone with experience and simple needs that largely revolve around the bedroom.

Until he meets Sam.

Sam’s convinced that Ian is no one’s Mr. Right. Ian’s sure that Sam isn’t his type. They can’t both be wrong...can they?
Note: So Anne Tenino is legit one of my favorite authors at this point, to the extent that I'm hoarding my last unread series of hers like a literarily-fixated dragon.

THIS IS THE BEST BOOK SHE'S EVER WRITTEN. Seriously, it is so fucking amazing, ESPECIALLY if you, like me, are a recovering romance novel addict.

...I was going to put a quote here, but it's kind of long, so it's going at the end. Also, I am now reading this for the third time. Damn you, Tenino!


Fettered, by Lyn Gala

Dylan Carter has always played second fiddle to his perfect older brother, but now that brother is implicated in a terrible crime, and Dylan's family is imploding. Dylan can’t hide anymore. Knowing he’s falling apart, he searches for something or someone to hold him together—and lands in a BDSM bar called the Stonewall.

Dylan doesn’t understand Miss Dolphinia, the hard-drinking queen who seems determined to play matchmaker. But more confusing is the way the powerful men in leather make him feel. In her wisdom, Miss Dolphinia sends Dylan off to a back room for his introduction to the world of erotic spankings and bondage.

Dylan’s teacher—for want of a better word—is the very dominant Vin Hauser. Vin likes to play hard, but he’s honest with himself—he knows all those men want is a strong hand, not a long-term relationship. Yet Vin can’t help but hope Dylan might be different.

With controversy over his brother’s sins stirring up danger around him, Dylan needs Vin’s support more than ever. But until he and Vin learn to trust each other, Dylan will have to face his fear and the growing threats alone.

Note: Read the rough draft for free. STILL bought it as soon as I had the money. Lyn Gala's books just get more and more amazing. Shut up, it's totally normal that I'm reccing three of them. This one does deal with physical and emotional abuse of a main character/emotional and sexual abuse by a relative of a secondary character.

Mountain Prey, by Lyn Gala

Stewart Folger lives in the Appalachian Mountains, where people take care of their family and follow the Bible. He feels that Appalachian pull in his blood, but that hasn’t tamed his wild side. A youth full of pranks left him with the nickname Stunt and a preference for danger in and out of bed. Other than a few contrary moonshiners who hate him for philosophical reasons since he’s a forestry technician and federal employee, he doesn’t have a problem in the world. Then one day he runs into Alex Soto, a man out for revenge.

Just out of prison, Alex knows firsthand that the justice system doesn’t treat poor and rich equally, so he’ll have to go outside the law to avenge his brother’s death. When an innocent man lands in the middle of his plans, he doesn't know what to do...other than take him hostage. Unfortunately, he never planned on having to deal with Stunt or with the twisted logic that passes for reasonable in Stunt’s mountain home.

Note: So I was casually interested in this book, and then the phrase shotgun wedding was mentioned and HOLY SHIT, TOTALLY IN. TOTALLY GREAT.

Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts, by Lyn Gala

Liam loves his life as a linguist and trader on the Rownt homeworld, but he has ignored his heart and sexual needs for years. He won't risk letting anyone come too close because he won't risk letting anyone see his deeply submissive nature. For him, submission comes with pain. Life burned that lesson into his soul from a young age. This fear keeps him from noticing that the Rownt trader Ondry cares for him.

Ondry may not understand humans, but he recognizes a wounded soul, and his need to protect Liam is quickly outpacing his common sense. They may have laws, culture, and incompatible genitalia in their way, but Ondry knows that he can find a way to overcome all that if he can just overcome the ghosts of Liam's past. Only then can he take possession of a man he has grown to love.

Note: Tripped my embarrassment squick in places, but I love xenokink so hard that I powered through it. The romance is so fucking great, you guys. Involves past sexual abuse of a major character.

I Don't, by Kari Gregg

At least he isn’t pregnant.

Seth Murphy campaigned for Maryland’s Question Six, wildly celebrating the Election Day victory for marriage equality. Divorce attorney and live-in boyfriend Owen, however, believes just as passionately that the gay community should focus on a plurality of equal rights protections instead of allocating so many resources and man-hours to one hot button issue.

Owen won’t marry Seth.

Relationship deteriorating, the couple visits the Murphy farm outside Brunswick for Christmas. Seth’s family never considered that Seth and Owen wouldn’t be first in line for a marriage license as soon as same-sex marriage passed. When they find out there won’t be a wedding, their season of miracles is invaded by pornographic gingerbread cookies, frowning church ladies, and a determined father with a tactical assault shotgun.

Neither Seth, Owen, nor their love may survive the family holiday circus to say, “I don’t.”

Note: Fine, so shotgun weddings are apparently a thing for me? Also, this made me laugh until I fucking teared up.

Concubine, by Jill Knowles

Scholar, captain...war prize. Prince Kael of Korai is stunned when his father gives him to an enemy warlord in a desperate attempt to salvage Korai's reputation. With his country's honor at stake, Kael resolves to submit to Warlord Taren's every debauched whim.

But life in Zandria isn't anything like what Kael imagined. Instead of pain and cruelty, Warlord Taren seduces Kael until the bewildered prince craves his Master's every intimate caress. As he sinks into the decadent, sensual life of a concubine, Kael makes a powerful enemy, one who wants him removed from Zandria by any means necessary. Betrayed by his body, trapped by his honor, Kael must learn to trust his Master or get them both killed.

Note: Dubcon warning! Also, I swear to god, I think she was trying to independently invent ponyplay. It's one of those moments where you just want to grab someone be like "Are you in fandom? YOU SHOULD BE".

Anyway, the magic and the worldbuilding are awesome. I would read like four more of these.


Sno Ho, by Ethan Day

Boone Daniels seems to have trouble finishing things. Along with the half dozen or so novels he's started, only to abandon mid-way through, his love life could be best described as a series of drive-by's.

Boone has spent the past week staying at a ski-lodge in the tiny mountain town of Summit City. He's been using his time alone to write while waiting for his boyfriend to join him for their anniversary.

What happens to Boone when he winds up dumped on the eve of his one-year anniversary and ends up at a bar having one too many cocktails? Wade Walker.

Note: Ethan Day is funny as shit, y'all. He should write romcoms for always.

Acrobat, by Mary Calmes

Forty-five-year-old English professor Nathan Qells is very good at making people feel important. What he’s not very good at is sticking around afterward. He’s a nice guy; he just doesn’t feel things the way other people do. So even after all the time he’s spent taking care of Michael, the kid across the hall, he doesn’t realize that Michael’s mob muscle uncle and guardian, Andreo Fiore, has slowly been falling in love with him.

Dreo has bigger problems than getting Nate to see him as a potential partner. He’s raising his nephew, trying to leave his unsavory job, and starting his own business, a process made infinitely more difficult when a series of hits takes out some key underworld players. Still, Dreo is determined to build a life he can be proud of—a life with Nate as a cornerstone. A life that is starting to look like exactly what Nate has been looking for. Unfortunately for Dreo—and for Nate—the last hits were just part of a major reorganization, and Dreo’s obvious love for Nate has made him a target too.

Note: Ok, Mary Calmes is totally going to be a love it or hate it for you. She writes super idfic-y stuff and she usually has a Stu or almost-Stu, but remember my thing about motherfucking loving idfic? STILL TRUE. And this is idfic with the MOB and a FOUND FAMILY and I am FULL OF FEELS.

Dance with the Devil, by Megan Derr

In a world of demons, goblins, witches, sirens, werewolves, vampires, and so much more, it can be difficult to determine who is guilty of what and why. Chris White is a detective who fearlessly investigates this supernatural world, himself a unique product of it. He will take any case brought to him, but has a particular affinity for helping those who inhabit the poor districts of his city. From strange rituals and runaway vampires, to fighting sorcerers and confronting a demon lord, this paranormal detective will face any challenge—even a dance with the devil.

and

Dance in the Dark, by Megan Derr

At the age of nine, Johnnie lost everything. A quiet, normal child, his life forever changed when his family was attacked by a blood-crazed vampire, leaving his parents dead and Johnnie an orphan.

Now grown, he is the cold, proud, beautiful—but very human—son of the Dracula Desrosiers, who took him in after the tragedy that befell Johnnie's parents. Constantly kept apart for being human, Johnnie chooses to bury himself in the two things he most loves—books and mysteries.

Then he is summoned by a friend to solve a simple mystery involving a pair of Cinderella slippers, and in putting one mystery to rest Johnnie only succeeds in waking several more...

Note: Same series, so you get one note. EVEN IF you are completely over the paranormal detective genre, you should still read these, because Megan Derr is ACTUALLY MAGIC. Most authors do not put this kind of thought and effort into integrating their paranormals into their world. There are dragon fighting pits! There are weird and awesome families (Chris's dad is a ghost! Not, like, has since become a, like his witch mom fell in love with a ghost and eventually, defied the laws of nature!)! There is soulbonding! I love everything!

The Usual Apocalypse, by Christine Price

Relationships can be tricky when people can't lie to you, so Agent Matthew Whitman focuses his unusual powers on solving cases for the Society. When a fellow agent is found murdered, Matt is given a major assignment: find her killer. First he must find Brennan Mitchell, whose brother was a victim in the murdered agent's last case.

For sixteen years Brennan thought his brother was dead. Now, a Society agent is confronting him with the impossible - his brother is alive. While Brennan is grateful to be reconnected with his brother, he doesn't want to be pulled into any Society business. But the attraction between Matt and him is electric. After indulging in sensual encounters together, Brennan finds himself drawn into Matt's investigation, and they become embroiled in something much larger than a run-of-the-mill murder case. Something darker and more dangerous than either man could have ever imagined.

Note: So this is book two of a series, but I didn't actually care for book one and it's only peripherally necessary to the plot. The only necessary thing is Matt and Brennan's AWESOMENESS. I SHIP IT SO FUCKING HARD, YOU GUYS.

Dead Kitties Don't Purr, by Amber Green
People who take their shots and do as they're told have nothing to fear. Right?

The Rabies Z epidemic began and ended in Miami this past summer, didn't it? And that guy my daddy saw at the Jacksonville airport last week was just having an epileptic fit. No cause for alarm. Epilepsy always causes an eighteen-hour hazmat shutdown at a major airport.

So while my twin tours to flog her newest album, here I am, Camie Invisible, parked at this nice, safe college—as far as I can get from the infection and still pay in-state tuition. Only now, my studies have become focused on the fascinating Risa Ruiz. And she has eyes for me.

Isn't this the perfect time for the zombies to show up?

Note: This is my only f/f rec today, so of course it's a zombie story featuring a romantic murder.

Working Stiffs, by Jana Downs
Deadzone 1
After the collapse of civilization, Ager Munez finds work as an agent, helping customers with their zombie insurance needs. He’s a bit of a workaholic and a romantic at heart, but the only romance he’s been experiencing lately involves watching his bosses in tight-fitting jeans on casual Fridays.

Jim and Jason Tanner agree they want a third in their relationship, but have never been able to find the right man. When Ager begins working at Deadzone, they know that they’ve found their match. He’s smart, funny, and adorable in a way that should be illegal in at least four sectors.

When a zombie outbreak in Sector 7 requires field representatives, the two know the perfect candidate for the job. Little does Ager know that this mission will test him in ways he’s never been tested and land him not one but two hot men in his bed and his heart.

and

Relay for Life, by Jana Downs
Deadzone 2.
Andrew Ainsley is a Deadzone-sponsored runner participating in the most intense cross-country race of his life. However, a double marathon through the wilds outside the safety zones will bring trouble he didn’t anticipate.

Marcel Carter has been in love with Andrew since he started running for Deadzone five years previously but never had the courage to ask him out. It isn’t until Andrew is lost that he realizes he’s been wasting time.

Matthew Gibson volunteers frequently for dangerous field missions, leaving little time for real relationships. He thinks he’s ready to put that life behind him until his cousin, Brooklyn, asks him to help rescue Andrew. When the three meet, sparks fly, and Matthew thinks he’s finally found what he’s been missing.

As they fight to survive zombies unlike any they’ve faced before and uncover dangerous government conspiracies, they’ll have to determine if their newfound love is real or if it only exists in the dead zone.

CAN WE TALK FOR A MINUTE ABOUT HOW THIS WORLDBUILDING IS LEGIT MY FUCKING FAVORITE?

IN POST-APOCALYPSE AMERICA, THE NATIONAL SPORT IS LONG DISTANCE FUCKING RUNNING, YOU GUYS. THERE IS A ZOMBIE INSURANCE COMPANY WITH BADASS RETRIEVAL SQUADS.

I LOVE IT THE MOOOOOST.

Also, it looks like there are going to be two more books, minimum**, and I am fucking STOKED.

**Brooklyn and Daniel have to have a book and I am now kind of thinking soldier-boy with the dog might end up with them, and there's got to be a book dealing with what's-his-face, the latent, and possibly Jack gets a book, in which case I would actually really love the romantic endgame being primary partners with an open relationship.



Too Stupid to Live quote:
Jurgen crossed his arms over his chest. "Sam, stay away from Ian."
"What?" Like Sam should stay upwind of him, or something along the lines of "don't let him stick his dick in you"?
"He's not your type. He's a manwhore. He's more likely to fuck you than date you. You deserve better than that."
"Uh..." Wait, wasn't Jurgen Ian's cousin? "I do? I mean, I know, but it's kinda weird-"
"He's not 'relationsip material'."
"He's my future husband." Did I say that out loud? Sam clapped a belated hand over his mouth.
Jurgen stared at him a minute before dropping his forehead into his palm, growling to himself and massaging his temples. "Ian's no one's future husband." Jurgen pulled his head up wearily. "He's got...the fuck are those 'issues' again? Nik's always going on about them."
Sam dropped his hand from his mouth. "Commitment issues?" Nik had issues with commitment issues.
Jurgen snapped his fingers. "Commitment issues. He'd use you, Sam. He'll force himself to find some suitable woman and start producing children any year now, and he'll still be fucking guys on the side."
Sam gaped "Seriously?"
Jurgen rolled his eyes. "Probably not," he admitted, then made a face like he'd licked a toad. "But he might. I've seen him try to do it before. And if he does, you don't want to be his convenient fuck on the side."
Reformed rakes make the best husbands. Sam managed to stop himself from blurting that out.
Jurgen gave him a long, silent look. Then he sighed. "Fine." He turned and and walked away down the hall.

*AMANUENSIS WROTE A BOOK, Y'ALL. I literally shouted holy fuck when I read the author bio. I honestly can't remember who's fannishly out under their professional pseuds, so I'm leery to name names, but there are three or four just off my flist. It's like seeing a familiar author pop up in your new fandom, except superweird.

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