What’s Kim Reading Now?: The Bells of Times Square by Amy Lane

Most readers of m/m romance already know that Amy Lane can write. And they know that she does angst like nobody’s business. The Bells of TImes Square delivers well on both accounts. But I also liked the sweetness of it. And I’m a sucker for a good historical. I’m hardly an expert in these matters, but it sure reads as if Amy did her research for this one–the details rang true. I loved the main characters, and even though I knew the book would be bittersweet, well, sometimes that’s what we need.

What’s Kim Reading Now?: Love, Like Water by Rowan Speedwell

So if you’ve been following me at all, you know how much I love K.C. Kelly’s book narration. I talked about Housekeeping last week, but he did an especially amazing job with Brute. Seriously, you should listen. I’ve loved his work also on Mary Calmes’ Frog and Ryan Loveless’s Ethan, Who Loved Carter. So when I needed a new audiobook for my walks, I chose Rowan Speedwell’s Love, Like Water, which he narrated. Excellent choice.

The story isn’t a fast one, which is just fine. We have a gruff, sweet cowboy and a broken ex-FBI agent, which brings us buckets of angst. I came to care very much about both of them as well as the supporting characters. And the narration is absolutely perfect. I walked an extra half mile yesterday to listen to the end.

What’s Kim Reading Now? Housekeeping by (ahem) Kim Fielding

Yeah, okay, okay. Narcissism much? But the reason I want to mention this book isn’t because of the writing, but because I just listened to the audio version. It’s narrated by K.C. Kelly, who did such an amazing job with Brute. And he certainly didn’t disappoint me with this one.

I am a huge fan of K.C. Kelly. I’ve listened to him read Mary Calmes’ Frog, Ryan Loveless’s Ethan, Who Loved Carter, and Rowan Speedwell’s Love, Like Water. He did such a terrific job with all of them. So much so that even when it was my own book and I knew what would happen next, I sometimes walked extra blocks to hear some more.

Listening to my own books is a weird experience, because I’ve already heard those characters in my head. But K.C. Kelly managed to capture them exactly right, whether it’s Lord Maudit’s nasal irritability or Evan’s “darlings” and dramatic tones. He gets the emotions perfect too. The funny parts are funny, the sad parts are sad, and the sexy parts are sexy.

So whether you choose my books or someone else’s, you should give K.C. Kelly a try. I hope I am lucky enough to get him for future projects!

What’s Kim Reading Now? Learning from Isaac by Dev Bentham

I had the pleasure of meeting Dev Bentham at GRL last October–she watched me lose at blackjack. But Learning from Isaac is the first book of hers that I’ve read. I’ll be reading more.

Do you get in moods for a sweet book with low levels of angst and some hot sexy scenes? I do. But the book has to be well-written, too. I have to care about the characters and believe in their romance. Learning from Isaac fits the bill perfectly.

Frankly, I’m not often attracted to books in academic settings because due to my day job, I spend way too much time in the ivory tower already. But this book about a professor falling for his almost ex-student dealt with academia deftly, without overdoing it. The book also handled the age difference well. I also enjoyed the inclusion of Passover, a holiday rarely depicted in m/m romance.



What’s Kim Reading Now? Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

This may come as a shock to you, but I read in genres other than m/m romance. And Stephen King is an old favorite of mine. Back when I was an impoverished student, his were pretty much the only books I’d buy as soon as they were released, and I’d stay up late to gobble them down. I’ve read him less diligently in recent years–my fault, not his. But when I was looking for an audiobook to spice up my walks, how could I resist a sequel to The Shining?

I did listen to his book rather than reading it, which presents a somewhat different experience. The narrator was terrific, dealing adeptly with the many character voices. I especially liked how he managed female characters–including a main character who’s a child–without using falsetto or other annoying tricks.

And I enjoyed the book as a whole. I don’t think it’s his best; it wasn’t as scary as I’d hoped. The suspense wasn’t quite as tight. I got the feeling King couldn’t bring himself to put a girl in too much danger. And the plot, as usual with King, was okay but nothing spectacular. Where he really shines (Hah! Pun!) is how he writes his characters. They feel real, even if they play only a minor part. And Mr. King can just plain write–he can tell any tale well.

Because I’m so often engrossed in writing and the editing process myself, I don’t read the same way I used to. I pay more attention to the mechanics. And I noticed a few minor slips that I know my editors would have caught. Nothing wrong, per se. Just some passages that needed a bit of tightening up. But then, I’m not Stephen King.

The book gave a satisfying conclusion to the story begun in The Shining, and it was a fine companion for many miles of walking.

What’s Kim Reading Now: Prisoner 374215 by Angel Martinez

I reread this today for the 3rd or 4th time while I was giving my students an exam. It was the perfect length for it, not to mention suitably bleak and angsty (but with an HEA).

I make no secret over loving a good hurt/comfort story, and this one delivers. The MC is a prisoner, broken in spirit, mind, and body. Through the small details, Martinez does an excellent job of depicting the pain and bleakness of his life. But then a tiny bit of hope shines in, in the form of one of his guards. Small crumbs of kindness go a long way and the relationship between them develops realistically.

Also, it’s sci-fi, and there’s not enough of that in m/m romance. Oh, and it’s free: http://www.mmromancegroup.com/prisoner-374215-by-angel-martinez/

What’s Kim Reading Now: Purpose by Andrew Q. Gordon

Actually, I read this one a while ago, but it’s stuck with me.

William Morgan lost his humanity 40 years ago when he was possessed by a spirit of vengeance. Over the years, he’s served his Purpose–but he’s also lost touch with all that is kind and good in the world. Things change when he meets Ryan, a young man who lacks self-confidence but who turns out to be stronger than either man thinks.

I liked the premise of this story a lot. The theme of vengeance stealing compassion, sympathy, and love from the heart is very well done. It’s all put together in an original way, with strong, tight writing. I easily got lost in the world the author has created.

In some ways, this is not a typical romance. Yet the growing relationship between William and Ryan serves a major purpose in advancing the plot. I also liked both characters very much. It’s not a light read, but definitely an engrossing one.

What’s Kim Reading Now: Unwrapping Hank by Eli Easton

I’m going to start with disclosures: Eli Easton is a friend and I was one of her beta readers for this story. But I’m also a huge fan of hers, and Unwrapping Hank is a good example of why.

I liked that this was a sweet, relatively non-angsty Christmas story that never became too saccharine. I liked the secondary characters almost as much as the primary ones. Hank’s family is especially great. And I liked that Hank is a big man with a soft heart because, well, I have sort of a thing for those guys.

What I especially loved, however, was the writing. Eli’s writing makes me envious. She sprinkles in these little turns of phrase that are funny enough to make me laugh out loud. But it never feels like she’s working too hard to be clever–her language is smooth and natural. And it has a lot of heart.

This is the perfect December read. Buy it, sit down with your peppermint hot cocoa near at hand, and enjoy.

Unwrapping Hank is available at Amazon.

What’s Kim Reading Now?: The Slave by Kate Aaron

I do so love a good slave story. The Slave by Kate Aaron is told from the point of view of Tamelik, who’s been a slave since he was a boy. He’s come to love his master very fiercely, so he’s more than a little conflicted when he’s ordered to buy a second slave. Tam chooses Kai, a former soldier who has not taken well to captivity.

I liked all three main characters here: Tam, Kai, and the master. Kate Aaron does a great job making the reader understand what’s going on in Tam’s head and, though his eyes, letting us see Kai’s transformation. The master is more of an enigma, at least for now. The writing is beautiful, but what really shines here is the world-building, which is outstanding.

I always have to suspend disbelief a little to accept slaves who are happy with their servitude, but Aaron deftly enables me to do so in this book.

This is the first book in a trilogy. The second, The Soldier, is told from Kai’s POV. It has more plot and less sex and romance. The third book, The Master, released today I believe.

The Slave by Kate Aaron is available from Amazon.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

What’s Kim Reading Now?: Sheep’s Clothing by Elin Gregory

I’ve decided to start some new regular features here. Every Monday (or, well, almost every Monday, because you know how it goes), I’ll post a brief bit on a book that I’ve recently read. Many will be m/m romance, but some will not. I just thought it would be fun to share with you guys an enjoyable read. I haven’t received review copies of any of these books, so they’re whatever I’ve bought, borrowed, or otherwise put my paws on.

My very first entry, then, is Sheep’s Clothing by Elin Gregory. This is a short story, which hit the spot just right during a busy week. And it features an unconventional werewolf. If you’ve read my Bones series, you know I love shifters who are unusual. Werewolf Darren Murchison moves from London to the Welsh countryside, hoping to put some distance between himself and a pack that’s not really his style. Thing is, though, the Welsh countryside is full of sheep.

This story was sweet and very funny, with a few unexpected but delightful surprises. And it was just plain well-written. I loved the setting too.

Sheep’s Clothing by Elin Gregory is available from Wayward Ink Publishing.

Have you read it too? Please share your thoughts in the comments.