Morning Reader Edition #2

What's new in my world of bookish things?
  • I've been going through all the comic freebies I got from Comixology and Google Play and will be letting my thoughts loose on #1 issues for several series. 
  • Speaking of which, I've been itching to read the new Guardians of the Galaxy - I'm so excited about the movie, and I really like those characters. A little sad that Martyr doesn't seem to be on the roster for the movie. Then again, neither is Iron Man. I signed up for Marvel Unlimitied, and will talk about that soon.
  • I completed my collection of FAKE by Sanami Matoh the BL manga about cops in New York. I'll read and review that soon.
  • Silver Publishing, an infamous press of gay romance has closed its doors and many authors who were with them are looking to republish soon.
  • I'm currently reading a good YA romance that I hope won't loose steam, Endless by Amanda Gray, an instant read from NetGalley. As well as The Last Akaway that has the demographic stamp of approval: a 9 year-old I was babysitting couldn't get enough of it.
  • Heather got me into Lendle, a service that lets you lend your kindle books to other kindle users and borrow them as well. It makes me wish my 100+ kobo romances were kindle books instead, oh well. I've already gotten some good use out of it. I borrowed a novella by Josephine Myles and borrowed (then got for free) a Christian Romance which was apparently cliche of the sub-genre, despite the fact that I enjoyed it.
  • In case you missed it I just posted a not-so-nice review, of a book that I hope will get a revamp soon: Artificial Moonlight by DJ Manly & AJ Llewelyn
  • Before that I finally reviewed the hard boiled romp through Louisiana's seedy addicts, The Glass Rainbow by James Lee Burke, #18 of the Dave Robicheaux series. The audiobook was narrated by Will Patton.
  • Kindle Tablets are currently on sale - and they've never been this low before. I bought a paperwhite while they were on sale and while it's not the ereader to end all, it's very nice. I'm not an Amazon lover, but for those who are on the brink of buying one, now may be the time.
I'm trying out the 'bolded headline under the post title' thing. It may go away soon. In part inspired by several people I follow on GoodReads.

Artificial Moonlight - D.J. Manly & A.J. Llewellyn

Artifical Moonlight by D.J. Manly & A.J. Llewellyn

Once again Fan Fiction beats Published Fiction. Anyone keeping score?

Basically there are two gay guys who kinda have the hots for each other, one is a biker and the other is a really forward noisy guy who catcalls him in traffic. They hook up, biker guy finds out the other guy is also a biker, and they have to keep their developing hormonal lust away from public and the rest of their gangs. Add in a lot of biker jargon and an overblown plot involving revenge and pot plants, a lot of high strung bikers and you get the gist of this novella.

It took me a while to branch out from marathoning Sons of Anarchy with my cousin into learning more about actual gangs. I learned that for several months I lived next to one very quiet outpost of Germany’s biggest outlaw MC and that biker romance is as much a subgenre as Amish romance. It was by chance that I found out about Artifical Moonlight which didn’t sound great, but I figured that as a novella, not much could go wrong if I read it. I was in for a surprise.

I’m no connoisseur of the genre, despite having many motorcycle enthusiasts in my family, I’ve never ridden one, and my knowledge of American gangs, I mean, real ones, is non-existant. But I’m prepared to say that the drama in this kindle book is so ridiculous, and so obviously setting up a series, I wish you would all just step away and pretend you never saw it.

I highlighted several attempts at connection between the love interests with ‘nope’ and mocked so many of the tough guys swipes at one another for what they were: not badass, certainly not kickass. At risk of spoiling some of the (few) twists in this book, I was shocked at all the gay club members, seeing as they kept saying how being gay didn’t mix with the life. First the Sergeant at Arms for Banni de Louisiane (actually a cool name for a club), then the VP of Death Proof (would mean more if they actually were, yanno, kick ass), then the Pres, then the former pres, then another club’s Sargent and, wait, are you keeping track? Who’s straight?

But I might have forgiven that since it is a gay romance and you gotta have multiple strands of romance to follow, but too much was shoved into this little book to begin with, it felt like a drive through Baton Rouge was on a tour bus where the guide was reading off of the Wikipedia Simple English page. Backstory was weird, and facts about nicknames were just unnecessary. Sometimes a guy is just nicknamed Spider. Sometimes that’s all there is to it. Except:
“Sue Ellen and Jerry have a thing for spiders and the rest of us have learned to suffer in silence. Even their dog has learned to lick sticky spider silk from his fur without a whimper.”
As for character growth, well, the rich boy (because there always is one) is too hot-headed for his health, and snarky.
“That was when I made out the writing on the backs of all his fingers.
DEATH HURTS.
Okey dokey then.”
Which is understandable, sometimes hard-core dudes are a little too obvious and we all want them to chill out. But when someone puts a bounty on your head, says “you’re no longer death proof” and then you proceed to reflect on this same tattoo?
“Our baby was dead.
And f--k. He’s right.
Death Hurts.”
Oh for crying out loud! Are you an outlaw gang member or what?

By Manfred Kohrs [CC-BY-SA-3.0],
via Wikimedia Commons
Included is a picture of a German prospect for the Motorcycle Club I mentioned earlier. They are mentioned on their wikipedia page as being an outlaw gang mostly because they fought with a scandinavian club in the 90s, which did lead to bombings and the use of grenade launchers. There’s a fair amount of hang-arounds for all the european clubs who speak english and post on web forums about what's going on, and worth a read if you're interested in outlaw culture. A MC like Gremium considers itself part of the 1%, a patch some clubs wear to indicate they are outlaws. I’m pretty sure they would laugh at clubs like Death Proof and maybe the Banni too.

There's a hard balance to strike between romanticizing criminals and writing romance about criminals who are likable. These guys were just laughable. What a pity, there’s a lot of potential here. With the folding of the publishing company of Artifical Moonlight, it is unlikely, but I hope that the authors will use the lapse of sales to rehash the rough stuff and make this book a little more kickass. At the moment, it’s too short and barely worth the pixels. I recommend you find yourself some SoA fanfiction instead. Unfortunately, there’s some amazing stuff out there that will never get published and is totally worth a read.

Pages: 126
Year: 22 February 2014
Publisher: Silver Publishing

Read: 2014
Stars: 0.5 (hated it)

Review: Glass Rainbow - James Lee Burke

"It has been my experience that most human stories are circular rather than linear."

Dave Robicheaux is made aware of the deaths of several girls in his and neighboring parishes of Louisiana, and much to his bosses chagrin, he begins to poke around outside his jurisdiction. His daughter’s new boyfriend is a famous author, hoping to help her with her novel, as one of his friends, a criminal turned famous author. When connections from a small-time pimp to the criminal author keeps surfacing Dave provokes his daughter's ire as well as his own curiosity. Things begin to get a little too contrived for his liking, as his life and his daughter’s lives wind closer and closer to the deaths of those girls. In the end, only being prepared for anything is what can save them.

Filled with fantastic descriptions of character and landscape, Burke fills his book with exposition about history and personal lives as well as anecdotes about dialect and politics. Far from tiresome, and apparently as good a place as any for the newcomer to jump in, I listened to this book while commuting, while cleaning, while lounging - never tiring of Will Patton’s accents and voices for the myriad of unfortunates who caught the eye of Burke’s sober detective. It was easy to separate the goons from one another, and the poor souls ensnared in the beckoning lie of a better life. The disillusion that our narrator sees is paralleled in the fallen plantation empires and the failure of dreams and unsavory endings that befall so many in his scope. Keeping his own family from being pulled under is all there seems left for Dave to do, even as he runs around, solving other crimes.

It is well known amongst fans of James Lee Burke that his characters are flawed souls, complete with demons and friends who dog them, and his descriptions of the Louisiana Bayou are replete with unforgiving details of history. Despite the headaches that Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell get themselves into, they come back for more, like the main character of a Tom Cruise movie. That the ending is often an unbelievable twist of evil plots and blazing gunfire that they somehow survive completely caught me by surprise that has become familiar to old fans. But,  as they’re back in Creole Belle, the next book, this isn’t one to be puzzled over too long. Enjoy it for what it is, or give it a miss.

Dave Robicheaux #18.

(Read/Skim/Miss) (Buy/Borrow)
15:07. Simon & Shuster. 13 July 2010.