I found this tag on Chelle’s Book Ramblings . It’s simple and fun. I thought I would put my own spin on it and make it a weekly thing.
I rarely post reviews of books lower than 3-stars because usually I can’t be arsed to finish them. Also, I’m such a mood reader that sometimes, no matter how good a book is I still couldn’t finish it if I’m not feeling right.
So here are some books I keep promising I would get back to…
Rocket Science by K.M.Neuhold
Relationships aren’t rocket science. If they were, I might stand a chance of figuring one out.
Normally, I’d be all over the awkward nerdy types but unfortunately, I wasn’t connecting with either MCs. I read up to the middle up but I’m not sure I would continue with this one.
NoX by Adrienne Wilder
One is a dying man.
The other is a man who died to live.
This is a really good take on the shifter trope and a very gripping story too but all the intensity, the haunted memories and primal lust was too much for me. I kept imagining how these people stink to high heavens with their 15-man orgy and being cooped up in a van. I got tired of people going on and on about Luca’s brother Koda. He took over the story but I wanted more focus on Luca and NoX. I wanted Dr. Dante to have a happy ending too.
I started this last year and kept promising to get back to this but up until now, I’m still stuck in the middle.
Criminal Past by Gregory Ashe
It all starts to go wrong at the shooting gallery.
I love this series. I love Hazard and Somers. I simply got tired of Hazard’s ‘voice’ and thought processes. This series is written in dual POV but it’s really Hazard’s story. Which means from his POV, everybody was described in unflattering ways except Somers who is all sunshine and rainbows.
I am a pessimistic person myself but jeez, lighten up will you..
The Seven of Spades has upped the ante. If Levi and Dominic don’t play their cards right, they’ll end up losing everything.
This picks up after Levi and Dom’s break up which was kind of stupid really because they still end up having sex when they bump into each other. This is fine.
What I didn’t like was how everybody was poking their noses on Levi and Dom’s business. I know their friends mean well, but I didn’t feel like going through all their nagging. I’m putting this on hold until I’m in the right headspace. I’ll still continue with this because I need to see if my guess as to the identity of the SOS is on the money.
Thrown to the Wolves by Charlie Adhara
Agent Cooper Dayton is going to meet his boyfriend’s werewolf family. Unarmed. On their turf.
And he’s bringing his cat.
I was on my shifter binge when I started this. Unfortunately, the mood petered halfway. I will pick this up again when the mood strikes again. I had enjoyed the first two books so far so I know I’m gonna like this too.
How do you feel about DNFing a book? Are you a mood reader too?
Emery Hazard and his partner, John-Henry Somerset, have solved their first case together. The brutal murders that rocked the quiet town of Wahredua have been put to rest. Hazard, however, finds his life has only grown more complicated as he adjusts to his new home. Living with Somers, whom he has been drawn to since high school, makes ‘complicated’ the understatement of the year.
The turmoil of living together spills over when Hazard and Somers find themselves trapped by the weather in an old mansion and, against Hazard’s better judgment, sharing a bed. Strictly as friends, of course. Just when things can’t get any more confusing, the next morning brings a worsening storm–and a murder.
Cut off from the outside world, Hazard and Somers must face a clever, determined killer who is hiding among the mansion’s guests. Without backup, they can only rely on their wits–and on each other–to survive. And as the snow falls and the mansion’s guests continue to die one by one, solving the string of murders becomes secondary. First, Hazard and Somers have to survive
OMG, Emery Hazard is a giant tsundere!
“Go to sleep,” Somers said absently, his eyes fixed on the door.
“No,” Hazard said, struggling to enunciate. “I’m cold.”
Somers’s eyes darted towards Hazard and then back to the door. “You’re fine.”
Hazard squeezed Somers’s arm. Sleep was still rolling in, maybe a quartermile out, and Hazard was surprised at how easy it was to find the words he wanted to say, as if he really were going to board a train and this were goodbye, and you could say anything you wanted at a goodbye. “Please?
Never change, Ree!
Meanwhile, John-Henry Somerset is a miserable drunk…
“No,” Hazard said.
“You told me to make a choice,” Somers said, and that storm, that goddamn storm in his eyes had to be whipping at three hundred miles an hour. “Here it is: you.” He settled his weight against Hazard’s hand, pressing forward for the kiss.
“What the fuck do you mean, no? You want this, right? Well, here it is. All those fucking teenage wet dreams come to life. How many times have you jerked off to me? Five hundred? A thousand? God, how many gallons of cum have you dumped for me?”
You’re an ass, Somers!
Hazard & Somerset is a very character-driven series and the volatile relationships between the two MCs and also all the well-written secondary characters provided more than enough impetus to keep me coming back for more.
Like the first book, Transposition also comes with a chockful of trigger warnings: abuse, transphobia, misogynist language, cheating, etc. The murder victim was a vile man who treated people like shit, especially the transwoman, Columbia. In addition, there were so much hurt in this book and no uplifting resolutions for most characters and especially for Hazard and Somers, who, as always, ignored the ginormous neon elephant in the room. There is also an even bigger conspiracy afoot. People in high places wanted the two detectives dead, along with the rest of the people in the house. This part constitutes one of the overarching threads of the series and creates more trouble for our MCs to deal with.
The two detectives were stuck in a big house in the middle of a snow storm with a bunch of unlikable people who were all suspects. Tensions ran high as the forced proximity and murders brought out the worst in everybody. The mystery wasn’t very exciting, just convoluted but with Gregory Ashe’s deft hand and lyrical imagery, I hardly felt the drag. I was riveted, not only because of Hazard and Somers’ dynamics but also the author’s way with words that just flowed beautifully. The writing works well with the distinct cadence and timbre of Tristan James’ voice, who did a great job in bringing the book to life.
That ending tho…
Breaks the heart and leaves me cold. It’s frustrating as hell that I wanted to hurl the book but it got me where it wants me because I’m picking up that third book ASAP.
I have no idea why the title is Transposition. This is not a standalone so it’s best to start with Pretty Pretty Boys, review here
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Hazard and Somerset: Pretty Pretty Boys – Gregory Ashe
After Emery Hazard loses his job as a detective in Saint Louis, he heads back to his hometown–and to the local police force there. Home, though, brings no happy memories, and the ghosts of old pain are very much alive in Wahredua. Hazard’s new partner, John-Henry Somerset, had been one of the worst tormentors, and Hazard still wonders what Somerset’s role was in the death of Jeff Langham, Hazard’s first boyfriend.
When a severely burned body is discovered, Hazard finds himself drawn deeper into the case than he expects. Determining the identity of the dead man proves impossible, and solving the murder grows more and more unlikely. But as the city’s only gay police officer, Hazard is placed at the center of a growing battle between powerful political forces. To his surprise, Hazard finds an unlikely ally in his partner, the former bully. And as they spend more time together, something starts to happen between them, something that Hazard can’t–and doesn’t want–to explain.
The discovery of a second mutilated corpse, though, reveals clues that the two murders are linked, and as Hazard gets closer to answers, he uncovers a conspiracy of murder and betrayal that goes deeper–and closer to home–than he could ever expect.
I think this really couldn’t have worked.
You got a married man with a kid who cheated on his wife. CHEATED!! which is a total deal breaker for me. I don’t care if he was set up, he could always walk away no matter what honeyed trap was dangled in front of him. Also he’s a drunkard. A coward. And too good looking.
Then you have a surly, stubborn detective with zero people skills who rubbed everybody the wrong way. Who was bullied by said married man when they were in high school.
This is not your standard recipe for an MM romance. This sounds more like that dish best served cold but, with Gregory Ashe’s magic, makes for a truly engrossing enemies to lovers(?) story. Question mark because they were barely even friends at the end of the first book. This is as slow burn as it can get, as per other reviews, they didn’t become a couple until a few more books. Which is totally fine by me because I tend to complain about things going too fast anyway.
But how can you make a set-up that screams lose-lose work?
John-Henry Somerset pushed Emery Hazard down the stairs when they were in high school. He is now married to his HS sweetheart, albeit estranged because, as MM writers love to say, he was betrayed by his traitorous dick. Emery went back to his hometown to solve an old mystery of why his HS boyfriend committed suicide. Facing old bullies is painful and awkward and I feel for Hazard right there. To be fair to Somers, he knew he fucked up and he really did try to make it up to Hazard. Somers is the type of person who wants to be liked by everybody so of course he practically begged Hazard to like him.
Hazard and Somers’ interactions go from
“You touch me again,… you shake my hand, you grab my sleeve, you so much as bump me in the mother-fucking hallway, and I will kill you. Do you understand me?“
to Somers’s smiled his normal frat-boy smile. “So,” he said, drawing out the word. “You like me?” “God, you’re a fucking moron.”
to “Just like fucking high school“
Always with a smattering of USTs bubbling just below the surface. The chemistry is fantastic! I don’t even actively like these two men but yeah, go for that second chance!
USTs are all good but they can only take you so far. What really made this stood out is how well the author fleshed out the complicated and not necessarily romance-related relationships between these flawed, complex characters in a way that just draws you into them. Many times I want to smack them in the head. Sometimes I feel sorry for them. Once in a while I could say they’re OK. There were no neatly tied conclusions. Things will continue to remain awkward and unresolved for a while.
Nico deserves a mention. He was the grad school student who pursued Hazard and they were kind of cute together so I imagined a parallel universe called Nico & Hazard.
This book is really a murder mystery story. The detectives were working on a vandalism case and a homicide where one unidentified body was burned inside a trailer. Hazard, being Hazard, made himself a few enemies while Somers played the good cop, charming everybody with his megawatt smiles. The investigation introduced us to important personalities of Wahredua, among them, extremists at the polar opposites of the spectrum. Both were responsible for so much vitriol and trigger warnings. Their hate speeches could put off some readers but you can always skip these parts if it’s too disturbing. As for the mystery, it was obvious who the bad guy was but it was such a well-written book and well-narrated too (courtesy of Tristan James), I didn’t mind it. Then Hazard had to go be a distrustful fool and things went from pudding to poop real quick for him and Somers.
Apart from the obvious appeal of the MM romance angle, Pretty Pretty Boys has all the good stuff-of a great police procedural novel where there is a nice interplay between the police work and the personal issues, compelling main characters, tightly written prose and engaging storytelling that kept me glued to the book. It’s a solid start to an addicting series and I’m definitely excited to see how things will play out.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits