Thursday, July 16, 2009

Jenre's Books (Day 2)

Now that I've sorted out all the squabbles between my heroes and left strict instructions that on no account are the daylight heroes allowed to unzip the protective vampire hammocks I've strung up in my cabana, I'm able to share with you which books I've brought with me to the island.

Camp Hell by Jordan Castillo Price
I really wanted the whole of the Psycop series because the books have to be read in order to understand what is happening. However, I was outvoted on that one so I selected Camp Hell which is the fifth and so far the recent Psycop book. The whole series deals with the relationship between Victor Bayne, a medium who can see dead people and speak to them, and his lover, Jacob, who works in the same psycop unit as a 'stiff' or a person with no psychic abilities. Stiffs are paired up with psychics to solve cases. In Vic's case he goes to crime scenes, talks to the deceased murdered person to find out who killed them - at least that's the theory, in truth this never seems to work out for poor Vic. By the time we get to Camp Hell, Jacob and Vic have moved in together and are comfortable in their relationship. During the book Victor divides his time between solving a case of a number of odd deaths at a local hospital and finding out about his time in 'Camp Hell', a training camp for psychics, the memory of which Vic has suppressed. What I love most about this book, and all the psycop books, is the blend of horror with humour. Vic blunders his way through the book trying to solve the case, keep Jacob happy and discover his past, often slipping up. He's such a marvellous character that you can't help warming to him and in this book, he begins to discover things about his powers which adds to his attraction. The whole psycop set-up is just so fresh and unusual that they are by far some of my favourite m/m books.

Collision Course by KA Mitchell
This is another m/m book firmly on my keeper shelf. This may be surprising to those of you who know me as I've often stated that I'm not too keen on books which are mostly made up of sex scenes. However, the difference with this book is that the sex is so integral to the plot that it has to be there to show how the characters develop in their relationship with one another. The story follows Joey, who is a very manipulative man. He uses his puppy dog eyes and cute arse to get what he wants and then, when he gets bored, he makes the other man feel guilty for breaking up with him. At heart though, Joey is a romantic man and when he meets Aaron there's an instant attraction. Aaron can see straight through Joey's manipulative ways and doesn't allow Joey to take advantage of him, which is just what Joey needs. The two work well together and, although this story does contain some serious themes, it's basically a story about finding the one. I often read this when I'm in the mood for a romantic read because, despite the hot sex, this is basically just a book about two men who fall in love.

I Spy Something Bloody by Josh Lanyon
I can't possibly come to the island and not bring a Josh Lanyon. He is, by far, my favourite m/m author. My absolute favourite of his books Death of a Pirate King has already been taken, so I've chosen my favourite of his mystery novellas. This may be a surprise to some because this novella often gets a mixed reaction, mainly due to the hero, Mark Hardwicke, being somewhat of an anti-hero. The book begins when Mark calls his ex-lover Stephen from England and asks if he can come over to Virginia to visit him. Mark works for MI5 and has just returned from a disastrous mission in the Middle East. He is suffering from a form of PTSD and turns to Stephen for help. The trouble is, Stephen doesn't want anything to do with him because over two years ago he fell in love with Mark and then Mark abandoned him to a broken heart. Stephen is only just starting to pull his life back together and doesn't want Mark to muck it up for him again. One great thing about this book is that it's a May to December Romance. Stephen is over 20 years older than Mark and yet the pair work really well together. Mark radiates a heartbreaking mix of bravado and despair over the situation with Stephen and the way the pair work through their difficulties is quite absorbing for the reader. I highly recommend it.

This was a fairly recent read for me but was so engrossing and delightful, I've brought it to re-read. The story is told in the first person by 16 year old David who lives in post-apocalyptic America. A sudden ice-age swept through the world engulfing most of the Northern hemisphere in ice. David was born to this cold world and knows nothing of the warm weather than his native Virginia would once have experienced. The ice-age was blamed on a vengeful God who punished all the liberal heathens for their permissive ways. This means that many of the modern laws on homosexuality have been overthrown and everyone lives in a highly religious society. David meets Callan who has come to David's town to assist the healer. Thus begins a gentle, tender but forbidden love between them which could lead to Callan being hanged if found out. To complicate matters dragons have started snatching children and it seems that David and Callan are the one's to find out where these once-mythical beasts have come from and stop them. The whole book is achingly beautiful, especially in the relationship between the two men and the descriptions of the cold, barren world they live in and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes spec-fiction.

I love all Julia Quinn's Bridgerton books but this is by far my favourite. It centres on Eloise, who is rather disgruntled that her best friend, Penelope, has finally married (her brother, Colin) and left her on the shelf by herself. She's a great letter writer and starts exchanging letters with the husband of a deceased distant cousin, Phillip. Phillip is on the look-out for a new wife and a mother for his twins and Eloise seems a good choice so he writes to ask her whether they could meet and perhaps see whether they would be compatible for marriage. Eloise bites the bullet, leaves home and arrives unannounced on Phillip's doorstep. Thus follows a series of hilarious, tragic and tender series of events as the two mismatched characters feel their way towards love. The main reason I like this books so much is that Eloise is such a great heroine. She may be slightly impetuous, but her heart is in the right place and she deserves her chance at love. There's also a scene in the book where the Bridgerton men turn up en-mass to 'rescue' Eloise which has me snorting with laughter every time.

The Secret Pearl by Mary Balogh
Mary Balogh is my favourite historical author. Out of her books Slightly Dangerous is my favourite, but that was taken so I've settled for number two. This book begins with a harrowing scene where Fleur, a gentlewomen so down on her luck that she has to resort to prostitution, is taken for the first (and thankfully only) time by a scarred gentleman. It's not a pleasant experience for either of them. Fortunately soon afterwards Fleur find employment as a governess to Adam, the Duke of Ridgeway but is horrified to discover that her employer is the man who paid to have sex with her, and he's married. This may not sound like the most promising of books, but I was captivated by it from start to finish. The reader gets to be in both Adam's and Fleur's head and we discover that Adam is really an honourable man trapped in a loveless marriage. Fleur is running away from something dreadful that she has done and Adam offers to help her with that whilst also realising that she is the perfect woman for him. It's too late for Adam to have happiness though as he is married and determined not to stray again. The sexual tension between them is palpable and although this book has quite a sad, mournful feel to it, I found it almost impossible to stop reading. The scene where Adam kisses Fleur for the first time almost had me in tears, it was so beautiful.

So there you have it, my six books. I hope I have tempted you to add some of them to your TBR pile and I'll see you tomorrow when I'm hoping that my heroes will come out to play. Until then you can find me at my blog Well Read.

15 comments:

Sarah said...

You have such great books!!! I adore Collision Course, it is one of my favorite re reads. Along with I Spy. I have also recently read RW Days book, it was cool. I need to go and get Camp Hell. So slack, it is a srsly cool series. Awesome books!

Jenre said...

Thanks Sarah! I found that once I started reading the Psycop series I had to read all the rest. I'm hoping that JCP produces a new one soon as I just can't get enough of Vic and Jacob.

Lea said...

Hi Jenre:

You have brought such great book choices to the island. I've read other reviews about "Collision Course", all very complimentary. Your wonderful synopsis has spurred me to add it to my list.

I see chat about Josh Lanyon's work everywhere and have a couple his e-books in my TBR that are waiting (I won them here during an island giveaway). Must get to them soon. I've read some of the first one "Dark Horse" and quite like his voice.

Thank you for sharing Jenre, wonderful thought out post. Looking forward to partying with your heroes.. ;)

L

Jenre said...

Hi Lea: You haven't read any Josh Lanyon? Start with The Adrien English Mysteries if you don't read too much m/m. They are very accessible and have a great mystery plot to each of them.

Tam said...

Great choices Jen. I've never read the last three. I remember the reviews for #4 but I'm just not sure that post-apocalyptic world stuff is my cup of tea.

I don't know how anybody has time on this bloody island to read with all the nekkid men running around. I know if it was me I couldn't concentrate worth shit. ;-)

Lily said...

Great choice in books for your desert island stay. I love the first 3 books, great authors, great stories.

I've not read the RW Day book but I don't like YA so I'll leave that one alone.

OMG, I've got all of the Bridgerton books. Fabulous series.

I've read a few of Mary Balogh's books but not this one.

MsMoonlight said...

Love the vampire safety precautions! lol

Jill Sorenson said...

Hi Jenre,

Love your selections. Sir Phillip is my favorite Quinn also. I liked The Secret Pearl as well. I'm going to have to try some more m/ms.

LesleyW said...

A Strong and Sudden Thaw is one of my favourite books. :)

Jenre said...

Tam: You wouldn't believe the level of concentrating that goes into reading as you are lounging around whilst surrounded by gorgeous half naked men. :)

Lily: A Strong and Sudden Thaw isn't really a YA, despite the age of the narrator. Children grow up fast in those harsh times and often get married and start families at 16. Think of it as being a similar time and mentality to Frontier America and that will give you an idea of the sort of society the characters are living in.

Ms M: More on the vampires tomorrow!

Jill: I'm glad someone else has that Bridgerton book as their favourite. usually it gets overlooked for the first 3 or 4.

Tracy said...

I really loved Collision Course and I Spy Something Bloody. I know that ISSB got mixed reviews but I was one of the ones, like you, in the I LOVE IT camp. :)

TSPWL is a great Bridgerton pick. I don't know that I could pick a favorite. Probably one of the first few I would think. :)

I'm writing the Psycop series and the Day book down as we speak.

The Pearl - I'm not usually one who will read a book when I know there is infidelity involved but you've made this sound so good. I'm torn. Hmmmm. I'll have to think about this one. :)

Great post!

Ingrid said...

Great choices Jen.

Guess it comes more difficult to pick something when you come late to the isle when Mary Balogh and Julia Quinn are also on your fav list.

Have not read Collision course yet. I have no clue why!

Jenre said...

Lesley: Glad you like it too.

Tracy: I'm glad I've managed to get a few books added to your extensive tbr pile!

I wasn't too bothered about the infidelity in The Secret Pearl mainly because it was a one time slip and his wife is a complete bitch who is unfaithful to him on a number of occasions and even flaunts it in his face.

Ingrid: You must read CC ASAP! :)

Renee said...

Hmmm...going to have to check out your vampire hammocks. May need to get one for Janvier! :-P

I'm totally writing down your m/m picks. I've been meaning to try the PsyCop series for a while, and I love the paranormal and police elements.

I had wanted to bring a Lanyon, but since I AE was already claimed, I went with something else. I've got a few more of JL's short stories and novellas on my tbr that I've got to get to. This sounds like another one to add to the list!

I just read Sir Phillip a couple of months ago, and loved the letter writing part of the romance. And, yes, my favorite scene is Eloise managing those brothers of hers!

Looking forward to learning more about your heroes tomorrow!

Jenre said...

Hi Renee: Glad you liked my choices! I highly recommend that you get the zip up hammocks for your vampire. :)

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