Hot Tea And To Be Read: My Autumn Reading

The leafs have fallen and the knitting gene has awoken once again. At the same time book pages have been turned and words were read. During these cold and misty months, I managed to read only 8 books. Two of those were given to me in exchange of an honest review - as always marked with an *.

Also starting with this season's round up, and by popular demand, I'll include individual flower ratings for each mini-review. Let's get right into it with:


Let's Talk About Love


I picked this book up because it had been recommended to me multiple times as a good read with asexual representation. In the story, Alice - who is biromantic asexual - learns to navigate life and trying to navigate romantic feelings during the summer. This includes the stigmata and stereotypes related to it, as well as dealing with her own feelings.

Despite the high praise from others, I can't get behind it. I know, from being a part of it, that the asexual community is vast and diverse, and yet, Alice is portrayed in as rather mainstream. Furthermore, she is the only asexual character in the whole novel - and she never interacts with another. Then other people make gross misjudgments in regards of Alice's asexuality but they are never addressed or seen as bad. Plus, I failed to get into the romantic part of the romance story.

However, I also think that it has a fair bit of good. Alice's character development and growth is pleasing to read, as well as the book addressing a lot of stereotypes and shows the inner struggle in accepting yourself.





The Black Veins 


I already mentioned "The Black Veins" briefly in last season's roundup and mentioned that I put it aside because I wanted to re-read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green before summer ends. Then in autumn, and after my "obligatory" read, I decided to get this behind me and finish it. "And if it kills me!", I shouted heroically.

What is it about? Blythe is one of the seven Guardians of the magic elements. One night her family is kidnapped and she tries everything to get them back. In order to do so, she finds the other six guardians and together they embark on a potentially dangerous mission to rescue their family.

The idea of this novel was sound, as well as the promise of diverse queer and POC characters without it being seen as a thing. While the idea and plot in itself seemed sound, I just couldn't get into it. The writing was mediocre at best and every scene - no matter if action, sad, or funny - was written the same way. On top of this, Blythe was rather annoying and her decisions were sometimes stupid and nobody contradicted her.

I wanted to like it but it really was not for me. Thank you, next.



Death At Eden's End*


This proved to be one of those reads that are hard to review because they happen to be painfully average. The story is about the murder of 100-year-old Violet Ross and at first it doesn't seem much but the deeper the police digs, the more motives appear why anyone would want her dead.

While the novel itself is not badly written, it also never climbs more than above average. It is a fun read once you hold it in your hands but at the same time, there is nothing that makes you want to pick it up once you put it down.





Vicious


... is another of my books with asexual characters recommendations. It also marks the first part of the Villains series, and damn it delivers!

Victor and Eli are college roommates who are trying to figure out what causes people to become EOs, and in doing such, they turn themselves into ones. This is the beginning of their separation: Victor is arrested, and Eli becomes convinced that his gift is heaven-sent and he has a mission to follow: eliminate any EOs that could be a danger to society.. Years later, Victor manages to break out and starts to plot revenge.

This book is a page turner back to front, littered with dodgy characters left, right, and centre. It also focuses on the definition of good and evil as shown by Victor's and Eli's story lines. Eli is the villain of the story and claims that he acts for "the greater good". Meanwhile, Victor is primarily motivated by taking revenge and if he protects other EOs so be it, acting as the classic anti-hero of the story.

In the end, "Vicious" managed to get me hooked and the second book couldn't have been faster in my basket if I had tried.



Sleeping Beauties


What would happen to the world, if every woman who falls asleep is unable to wake up again? This idea is explored in Stephen and Owen King's novel "Sleeping Beauties".

With more than 900 pages to its name, it is unsurprising that there are a lot of characters. However, what may come as a surprise is that none of those pages drag. In fact, I'd even dare to say that the length plays in its favour. When reading, I always felt like the Kings were able to choose their pace and include as much - or as little - info as they desired. Thus creating a well rounded novel that keeps you on your toes.

It is also one of the few books which I was desperate to know the ending and picked up on weekend as well. There is a lot to talk about when it comes to Sleeping Beauties, and so, I decided to write a review on the novel. It is going to be published next year. 




Queerbaiting and Fandom

edited by Joseph Brennan

... contains various essays that all look into the interaction of queerbaiting in popular media and which techniques they use. During the course of the book, the fandoms most looked at are: Supernatural, BBC's Sherlock, Harry Potter as well as the Eurovision Song Contest. Even how queerbaiting can be used as a marketing technique.

Queerbaiting and Fandom by Joseph Brennan
Overall, I felt that it was an interesting book and being the first of its kind, I can see the importance of it. At the same time, it remained quite academic and couldn't quite shake the feeling of being various Bachelor thesis bound together.




Perfect Rhythm

by Jae

This was the last book of my asexual reads order from September. The story is a rather simple love story: famous pop star Leo returns to her hometown in order to visit her estranged father, and meets Holly. Over the course of the story, they fall in love and develop a relationship.

In the novel, Holly is asexual and as far as ace portrait goes, it is a good one and I dare say so far the best I held in my hands. The reader learns about asexuality and most of its form at the same time as Leo does. Holly does not only share her own experiences but also states how other asexuals can react to such situations; further empathizing on the diversity even within the asexual community.

As far as the love story goes, it is a good one that develops naturally and is built on trust. They also manage to put aside their smaller issues during the time of a crisis. In general, it is a lovely novel in regards of asexual representation as well as love stories. I deducted one flower because of a certain scene I simply could not shake.

A full review is going to be available next month. 



The October Man 


The October Man is another novella that plays in the Rivers of London universe but has little to do with the primary plot of Peter Grant and Co.. This time the magical crime takes place in Trier, Germany. As it turns out the BKA also has a German version of the folly and plucky Tobias Winter is part of it. When a man is murder under mysterious circumstances, he goes out to investigate.

Despite having a different narrator and even playing in a different country, it still has a similar and enjoyable voice than the usual Peter Grant stories. There was humour and wit present. As well as the mystery slowly unrolling. I also enjoyed a German setting for once, and hearing that others countries would also have their version of a folly. Maybe at times the We Are In Germany theme had been overplayed by mentioning the the train had to be red and white and run by DB. However, looking past it, it had been a very enjoyable read. And I would love to read another novella featuring him, or even seeing the crew in the main novels.

Even if it gave me an urge to cross it over with Tatort M√ľnster but that is a personal failing.



Though the number of reads seems to have gone down this season, there were some books in there with many pages - of which I am proud of. At the moment, I am reading "The Terror" by Dan Simmons, which is another of those lengthy reads.

Also don't forget to tune in next year when this blog presents floralcars' Book Awards until then, I am going to enjoy my well-deserved holidays.

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