Good morning, all! It seems like forever since I've last had a chance to sit down and write a proper review, but sometimes life just gets in the way. The last few months have been extraordinarily challenging, but it seems the family has finally turned a corner.
With the end of the year coming up fast, I have been doing a lot of reading for various awards programs, so I thought I'd share some of those high-level impressions with you all before I get back into the swing of things.
Across Worlds: Collision by S. A. Snow
This was a great read, a story that worked as well as an erotic romance as a science fiction adventure. I loved the way the Xanthians race was developed, especially their gender-shifting ability, and the world-building was solid (not spectacular, but just right for the story). Some readers may find the narrative a bit too detailed, but I thought Snow did a stellar job (no pun intended) of conveying so much information as part of the overall story.
Demons Within by Rhiannon Ayers
This wasn't a bad read, and certainly had it's share of sexy moments, but it was very dry in parts, and the character development was problematic (with jumps and leaps, rather than natural progressions). Also, the drama was just too much for me, with each scene fighting to top the soap opera gasps of the scene before. On the plus side, while I'm not sure how a menage relationship could work long-term with 2 dominants, it was exciting to watch them equally explore a bisexual submissive.
Cythera by Jo Graham
While I would have liked to see the bisexual aspects explored in more depth, there's no question this was a fantastic read. The world building, especially the creation of different cultures was handled nicely, and the character development was outstanding. I loved the mix between sacred courtesan, alpha male captain, and submissive virgin from an all-male society. The narrative itself could have benefited from a bit more detail in places, but I really did enjoy the story.
An Unspoken Compromise by Rizi Xavier Timane
This was one of those rare transgender biographies with which I had trouble connecting. It's definitely a touching story, and one filled with a lot of emotion, but I had trouble relating to the spiritual aspect, and found the search for biblical justifications a little bit tiresome and unnecessary. I get that it's important to Rizi, and I'm sure many people will celebrate his continued faith in the face of the most heinous of acts, but I couldn't relate.