Welcome to September, when school starts again, the days start to get cooler, the drinks get warmer, the days get shorter, and the leaves change to brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows! If you're looking for an escape, might I recommend sticking your nose in a book? Below are reviews for two futuristic stories I've read this month including a short gay romantic dystopian and a retelling of Sherlock Holmes where Holmes and Watson are two black women from Washington D.C. Fun stuff!
Since October is LGBTQ History Month, I thought it would be fun to read and review a new historical novel featuring a transgender character which was recently released. You can also see what I'm looking forward to reading next in the last section of this blog post.
Books I’ve Read Recently
Title/Author: Imperfect Match by Jordan Castillo Price
Summary: Lee Kennedy’s destiny is controlled by the Algorithm. It’s the reason he’s still in college at 29, regardless of his good academic performance. Once he graduates, the Algorithm will match him with a wife he doesn’t want. He sees no way out until he meets Roman at his sister’s wedding. Roman lives in the Tax District, the poor side of town where people don’t let the Algorithm run their lives.
Book Format: ebook
Length: 162 pages
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Gay
Violence: Some very minor things happen
Ratio of Sex/Plot: Mostly plot
Well Written/Editor Needed: Well written
Would I Re-Read?: Yes
Personal Thoughts: I admit it took me a while to get into this. The world-building, once I understood it, was phenomenal, unique, and interesting. We learn much of it through Lee’s eyes, as he explains the history of his world’s language and the choices that were made to deem certain common phrases like “how are you?” as rude or inappropriate. We also learn about much of the world-building through Lee's discovery of the world, so I can’t say too much without giving anything away. Regarding the characters and the romance, at first I thought they were moving too fast, and then all of a sudden we take a sharp left turn, and the romantic tension ratchets up several notches. The characters and their situation were very realistic. Lee is an outsider to Roman’s world and is doing his best to fit in while finding his own place in said world. In short, this was a great little read and I highly recommend it, along with everything else Jordan Castillo Price has written.
Title/Author: A Study in Honor by Claire O’Dell
Summary: Honorably discharged during the New Civil War and struggling with the semi-functional mechanical arm that replaced the limb she lost, Dr. Janet Watson is homeless and jobless in Washington D.C. Her readjustment to civilian life is complicated by the infuriating antics of her strange new roommate, Sara Holmes. But the tensions between them dissolve when Sara discovers that soldiers have begun dying one by one—and that the deaths may be the tip of something far more dangerous involving the pharmaceutical industry and the looming election.
Series/Standalone: The Janet Watson Chronicles #1
Book Format: Print
Length: 304 pages
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Lesbian
Violence: Some, mostly off page
Well written/Editor Needed: Well written
Would I Recommend?: Maybe
Personal thoughts: First off, I want to say how much I liked Janet Watson in this. She was carrying around a lot of anger and frustration from her past war experiences and her current battles with trying to get a job and a new prosthetic arm. These experiences felt very realistic and also made this a difficult read because we spend a lot of time with her and her emotions. Sara Holmes, on the other hand, is nowhere near as likeable as the original Sherlock Holmes, nor is she as clever at deduction. Sara is also very controlling and manipulative around Janet Watson, which is beyond irritating and very unhealthy traits in any relationship. As an example, she tries to protect Janet by keeping her in the dark, drugging her, taking away her phone, tablet, the landline, and her prosthetic arm, as well as locking her in the apartment. Readers should know that the mystery doesn’t show up until halfway through the book but it’s an interesting one. Janet is looking into the somewhat strange death of a patient at the Veteran's Affairs hospital which then puts her life in danger. She simultaneously discovers that her roommate is a federal agent secretly and unofficially looking into the case on a much larger scale. In short, the mystery was good, I liked Janet Watson as a character, but I just couldn’t like Sara Holmes and I still don’t know why Janet seemed to have forgiven her actions.
Books I'm Looking Forward To
Title/Author: Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenburg
Summary: Recently jilted and growing increasingly unhinged, Dr. Voth throws himself into his work, obsessively researching the life of Jack Sheppard, a legendary eighteenth century thief. Dated 1724, the manuscript he finds tells the story of an orphan named P. Sold into servitude at age twelve, P struggles for years with her desire to live as “Jack.” When P falls dizzyingly in love with Bess, a sex worker looking for freedom of her own, P begins to imagine a different life. Bess brings P into the London underworld where, scamps and rogues clash with London’s newly established police force, queer subcultures thrive, and ominous threats of an oncoming plague abound. Back in the present, Dr. Voth is not the only one who wants Jack’s story—and some people will do whatever it takes to get it. As both Jack and Voth are drawn into corruption and conspiracy, it becomes clear that their fates are intertwined—and only a miracle will save them both.
Genre/Sub-Genre: Historical fiction
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Transgender
Reasons I’m Excited About It: 1724 London, underground cultures, notorious thieves, queer love, a transgender character, and perhaps a little action/adventures—seriously, what’s not to want here? This sounds like a great mashup of many amazing things. I can’t wait to read this!