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karlakolumna

karlakolumna

I ❤ reading. Once started I don't seem to be able to stop. Many sleepless nights are the result of that particular addiction.^^ 

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Currently reading

Power Play
J.M. Snyder
In Your Name
Bohemia
Look Who's Back
Timur Vermes

Lead Me Not

Lead Me Not - Ann Gallagher I can't decide on the rating. It's something between 3 and 4 stars. There are parts that I really liked and some that I didn't, that I felt exasperated by.

This book is full of religious talk, religious soul-searching, "what is right and wrong in the eyes of God and Jesus?", "who will (and for what reasons) burn in Hellfire?" & "how to save the poor, misguided but perverted degenerates from their wrong, wrong path?". Some heavy stuff right there. And not nearly as relevant today anymore as once upon a time. Progress and common sense be thanked.
Well, or at least I'd like to think so. Because I personally don't know any person among my friends, work colleagues, fellow students or even just acquaintances who thinks that homosexuality is wrong or a sin.... But then again, I live in a big, modern, multicultural and diverse city known for its great Gay Pride parades and its fairly big LGBTQ community, so my experience might be quite different from others, especially people living, e.g. in smaller towns. And smaller towns in the US? -Well, since I'm not from the USA, I can only judge its openness from TV and Hollywood -- and those, at least, seem to be very open and accepting...

Although recent developments let me to seriously doubt that America is as progressive, modern, great, open as it wants the rest of the world believe it to be... I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about....

No country is, unfortunately, free of hillbillies and hatemongers. More's the utter pity when these people get to be parents, teachers or preachers of persons who are different from their defined 'normal', who struggle with who they are. Because all these backwards people can offer such a person is hate (rather than acceptance) and stir up self-loathing and desperation in them.

So, this book might offer the one or other teenager who is struggling with a crisis of identity, sexuality and/or faith comfort and give them the strength to be who they are instead of who they are expected to be...

Hopefully.

As for me, since I am a convinced atheist who thinks that any and every religion can be and is poisonous for a countless number of reasons and is, quite frankly, a man-made invention, ... well. I think all this talk about "is homosexuality wrong in the eyes of God; is it a sin?" couldn't be less relevant or important. Because in my opinion there's no God who judges any of us for our actions, life choices, and least of all for who we love. Even if there was, for the sake of argument, a God why would He/She/It care about anybody's sexuality?? The Bible, as well as any other religious book (that is known to me, at least) is full of discriminate, misogynistic stuff made up by men. Stuff that is as archaic as the time it was first written down... (I know, religion and faith are impossible to argue about because they're simply unverifiable, so any discussion thereof is just endless, unsolvable and pointless... but this is my very humble opinion.)

Why does my stance to religion matter at all, in terms of my review of this book, you may ask? Well, because while reading "Lead Me Not" I could hardly relate to the characters or their struggle. I was totally exasperated at times, yelling "Who the fuck cares what the Bible has to say about homosexuality?" at my Kindle. I simply can't comprehend why anyone would care about what some people, some men, wrote on a piece of paper, in a book thousands of years ago and declared to be God's Word. Especially since His supposed Word is far from clear, undisputed and un-ambiguous.

So, you might see my dilemma.

Because here we deal with not just one, but two very Christian protagonists who imploringly ask God what His plan for them is. Ask Him to help them. To lead them towards the righteous path. And they do so frequently, throughout the whole book.

I couldn't care less. Tbh.

But, even despite all this, and despite the clichés -- about hate-spewing preachers talking about damnation and sin and hellfire, about the 'gay lifestyle' and its relation to promiscuity, about parents throwing their children out due to being gay, them ending up on the street, hustling, possibly contracting diseases, being raped etc.** -- I found myself enjoying this tale of self-discovery and love.

Even though I couldn't relate to their religious struggle, I could relate to their general struggle of accepting oneself, of finding love, of overcoming obstacles. Both characters grew on me, made me sappily rooting for them to get their HEA. Which was a surprise, really. But I ended up liking the books despite myself.
And since I was lucky enough to grab this book for free, I feel generous enough to round my rating up to 4 stars.

So, even if religion isn't something you relate to, especially not the hardcore preaching kind the book entails, it is possible to enjoy the journey of these two characters. I certainly was drawn into their drama.


(**I am aware that that can happen, that it's the harsh and terrible reality for some people; and every single time it happens is one time too many! But still, as far as books/fiction about gay romance go all of this is an often used cliché... The tortured hero(es). And love heals all wounds, even ones as horrible as this.)

Fuzzy Logic

Fuzzy Logic - Sparseparsley 3.5 stars

26 Pieces

26 Pieces - Lanning Cook Hm. Well. The suspenseful part of the plot was alright, I guess.
But for some reason I felt that Sherlock and John were some kind of OOC. I don't really know... I mean apart from Sherlock being super smart and able to deduce anything and everything it was like reading about 2 characters that tried to be Sherlock and John, but never quite managed to be really convincing at that.
Their voices felt off, somehow.

Moreover, John and Sherlock getting and later being together, them having feelings for each other was utterly unbelievable. (At least to me.) In my very humble opinion, there was no chemistry at all between them. It all seemed very forced and "unnatural" and very much unlike them. Idk. They just seemed wrong as a couple.

So, this was a miss for me. Shame, because I very recently finished rewatching the whole series Sherlock and was looking forward to this fandom again.

Running on Air

Running on Air - eleventy7 Very, very well-done and lovely and engrossing drarry fanfic! Loved it.

Unravel

Unravel - B.V. Holt There are some (very minor) spoilers in this review, but those are not really spoilery enough to spoil the reading experience, in my opinion. Just a FYI.

So. This one was a bit of a rollercoaster for me.

John is one cynic, mysogynistic, misanthropic, homophobic, conceited piece of shit--totally full of himself, hates everybody, thinks everybody is below him. And I hated him.
But, oddly enough, I grew to love to hate him. Figure. (Well, maybe not that odd considering that Filth--with James McAvoy's performance as Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson--is one of my favourite films ever, so there's that.)

So, there's me, starting to seriously love the book, intrigued beyond words about John and Goodrich strange dance around each other. John detesting him as the new member of his division, but being strangely drawn to him at the same time, not really knowing why. Him "bullying" (not quite) Goodrich in a way that practically amounts to them pulling pigtails. It was fun. It was well done. Really.

And then, at around 66% it all went to hell. It seemed like the author either wanted to A. come to an end with the story due to losing interest in their own novel or B. didn't know how to write his characters finally getting/being together. Because all of a sudden John makes a total 180° change and suddenly he's sweet and tame like a kitten. Flirtatious. Sugary, even. Talks about love. (When he, before, was more than contemptuous of both the idea/sentiment and people falling for it.) Having no problem that the object of his loving is, on top of that, a man. (A Man! It was made quite clear that men loving, even just fucking, other men was more than a weakness, was absurd, was despicable.) Now, though, it is not a problem at all. Riiiiiiiight.

Oh, and then, on the last couple of pages of the book, he does it again. Does something totally against his character (or that what the reader was made to believe was his character in the first 2/3 of the book). He suddenly recognises the error of his ways, grows a conscience, gains a moral compass and deems himself not worthy of Goodrich. Where the bloody hell did that come from? I certainly have no idea. (But don't despair, that is a very short development in the very end and resolved just as quickly. There's a HEA, don't fret.)

Well, this was a solid 4 (maybe even 4.5) star read for the first 2/3 of the book. It went downhill from there. Rapidly. I find myself incapable of rewarding more than 3 stars due to that reason.

At Least There's The Football

At Least There's The Football - Sheffie Sharpe Oh no. It's over.... I really wanted some more Sherlock and John in it. Also I'd have loved to find out more about the Holmes matriarch and Mycroft and Sherlock's upbringing. And, of course, Lestrade having family dinner at the Holmeses would have been a fun and interesting topic for another "chapter" as well.

Too sad that this seems to be the end of a very intriguing series, though.

Beer, Boyfriends and Bedroom Talk

Beer, Boyfriends and Bedroom Talk - Sophia_Clark 1.5 stars. And I'm only rounding up because this is free fanfiction... (which is basically the only positive thing about this fic that comes to mind. Oh, that, and the fact that it is very short, thank God.) #Sorry!

The Jerk, the Bitch, and the Wardrobe

The Jerk, the Bitch, and the Wardrobe - rivers_bend 2.5 stars

Stay With Me (home is where your mind is.)

Stay With Me (home is where your mind is.) - Sara Holmes A rounded up to 3 stars.

A bit too long-winded and unnecessarily angsty for my taste.

Also, I'm not much for Kid-fics, so the whole "skinny, fragile SJ" (little 8yo Steve in the Multiverse) clinging to Steve grated on my nerves.

Otherwise, nice idea (even if the execution wasn't completely my thing) and fairly enjoyable.

Eternally Consistent

Eternally Consistent - kitsunealyc 3.5 stars

The Dark Collector

The Dark Collector - Vanessa North 3.5 stars

In the Middle of Somewhere

In the Middle of Somewhere - Roan Parrish It's kind of rare that a book with a slow plot and little suspense can keep me engaged to such a degree.

Because, yes, it sometimes felt like nothing much was happening, that there was just one domestic scene after another, no twists etc.... But. It was never quite boring. I hardly could put down my kindle and fell, totally and absolutely, in love with Daniel and Rex.

And I'm so fucking curious about Will and Leo's story and, even more, about Colin!

So, even though the plot stretched at times and despite there being slightly too many sex scenes for my taste (which I mostly--after the first couple ones--skimmed or skipped), I was hooked. Still am. (I guess I need to buy the 2nd book in this series ASAP.^^)

Bargain At The Price

Bargain At The Price - Astolat 3.5 stars

Bad Medicine

Bad Medicine - playout 3.5 stars

Out in the Open

Out in the Open  - A.J. Truman Total YA/NA angst fest with all the clichés this trope deserves and everything.

Still, for what it is, it was a fun read. And since it's been a long time since I read the "openly gay guy has a secret affair with closeted frat guy--drama ensues"-trope I really enjoyed this one.

I loved the 2 MCs Ethan and Greg and the growth both of them go through during the story. I liked how Ethan found and discovered new layers about himself and figured out that he didn't have to be either the one or the other version of himself, but that he could embrace it all.
Also, the fact that these boys developed a serious kink for outdoor and fairly public, ahem, activities did add a nice layer to the story.^^
The side characters, especially Lorna, grew on me as well.

Ergo, my verdict (also considering that the book is currently free on Amazon): a rounded up to 4 stars.

The Music of the Spheres

The Music of the Spheres - Chase Potter NTS: Kinda intrigued because of all that much high praise by the general GR community.

Buuut. "...birthmarks like flecks of mud and compost-brown eyes..." ??
I mean really?

If this is supposed to be some kind of poetic description or whatnot, then, fail.
I'd rather call it unfortunate, tbh...

Nevertheless, intrigued.

[Image source: Philip Cohen, Wikipedia]