Hi, friends and fellow readers, welcome to our first Best Of list of 2017! Today’s picks are being brought to you by Ben, and he’s got a handful of great reads that left an impression on him over the course of the past year. To celebrate the fact these landed as the best of the best of everything Ben read this year, there’s a chance to win two eBooks from the list, so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.
And now, here are Ben’s top picks of the year!
Vice City by S.A. Stovall – The noir setting absolutely gripped me with stark details, and the plot moved along nicely. Besides Miles and Nick, some of the characters were perhaps a bit one-dimensional, but I still enjoyed them. It’s as if I were coming home to old friends, but instead of some dame with legs that go on for miles, there was a sir whose legs stretched on for miles. Part of me wonders if Miles and the name of the town, Noimore, was a bit of a play on words, but what’s certain is that this was a fantastic and intense read which deeply satisfied my love of gay fiction and noir. Buon appetito!
Trans Liberty Riot Brigade by L.M. Pierce – The characters were also fantastic, and remarkably consistent. They…consistently beat the crap out of each other, lol. But seriously, even though they were kinda shitty people sometimes, they stuck to their guns and I respected that. If I haven’t already made this clear (along with the warning in the blurb itself) this is a pretty violent book, and the characters aren’t Captain America, Ironman, or even Batman. Andi is a part of this revolutionary Trans Riot Brigade, but it becomes pretty clear that she doesn’t really perform her brand of social activism out of a sense of responsibility to society or goodness to her heart. What is perhaps surprising is that she does have a very strong sense of loyalty and family, even if she demonstrates it poorly at times.
Read this if you like gritty science fiction and dystopian lit, and you’re not afraid of violence and an inventive curse word or two—ha! More like five hundred.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee – Everything about this story was fantastic! Monty is probably my favorite protagonist of the year, and this is probably my favorite young adult novel of the year.
I loved how the protagonist was bisexual, I loved how he was a silly goof, and I loved the historical setting. I had immense fun and gobbled the story up in less than a day. If I could go back in time to read it anew again I would in a heartbeat.
Cheers! 5 glorious stars!
The Worst Werewolf by Jacqueline Rohrbach – The voice in this piece was fantastic, specifically Garvey’s, a desperate half-breed werewolf. He’s a self-proclaimed monster who desires nothing more in life than to fall in lust with, chase, and eat his prey. It’s a sort of simple existence I think most humans can relate to on a primal level. Most animals enjoy eating, and Garvey seems to relish in the hunt. Some may call it sadism, but I’ve seen cats play with birds before they eat them. I will admit the outlook looks rather bleak when you’re the bird….
Read this if you are a diehard werewolf fan (the murderous kind), if you want a glimpse of unique voice and worldbuilding in the paranormal horror genre, or when the series is finished.
Dalí by E.M. Hamill – Along with the drama, this story was packed with action. Dalí is one hell of a fighter, and I loved watching them kick serious ass. There were space battles, hand-to-hand fights, gruesome alien tournaments, and some pretty intensely sexual sparring matches. Despite the violence and thrills, the premise of the story struck me as something more akin to the nature of peace, and how we foster it. Dalí was on track to become a great peace-maker, but throughout the novel they find their place as one of the worlds’ great peace-keepers. In other words, using their physical nature to encourage openness and communication.
I loved the message, the depth of characters and the world-building. This is exactly the type of book I love to read. My only regret is that I felt Dalí’s happy ending was slightly out of reach; call it a happy-for-now ending. Luckily this is a series, and I’ll definitely be picking up the next one.
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