Reading in 2014

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[I took this picture on a clear, cold day in Travemünde, just a few days ago.]

It’s done and over with – 2014, that is. And I’m glad of it ’cause it really wasn’t a good year, overall. The reading was okay, even though I didn’t read nearly enough. I only started in March, 26 novels and anthologies in all. They were mostly good, also mostly lesbian romances and some rereads. I want to spread out more this year but for 2014, it was okay.

My favorites among the new ones I read were Sometime Yesterday by Yvonne Heidt, Wicked Things, edited by Jay and Astrid Ohletz (which contains my short story ‘A Lesson i Magic’), and Roller Coaster by Karin Kallmaker.

But apart from the books I’ve read there were some I haven’t finished in 2014. There are always some of those each year. I often lose interest in books, but that’s not the only reason for not finishing a book. Let me just run down those unfinished books of 2014.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth – While I liked the first volume of the series, the second part has too many elements of that other series that treats its female protagonist like a second-class character. There were also some plot bunnies that didn’t make much sense, apart from the basis of the whole series being a little far-fetched.

The Age of Innocent by Edith Wharton – I love Wharton’s work and I would really like to read more from her. The problem is that I want to study her, but I’m not quite at a point where I can solely concentrate on a body of work by one author, especially one who has been studied by far more intelligent heads than mine. I haven’t gotten beyond the first chapter – though I rewatched the movie this year.

When the Clock Strikes Thirteen by Ylva Publishing – I contributed a story to this year’s Halloween anthology and wanted to read last year’s. I have read the first few stories but I haven’t gotten beyond them yet. I will pick this anthology up again to continue reading, I just got side-tracked.

Coming Home by Lois Cloarec Hart – This is one of my all-time favorite Xena-Uber fanfictions and now I have the paperback. But I haven’t gotten around to reading the whole book yet. I want to, but it’s been a while since I read it and I would hate to discover that it’s not as good as I remember it. That’s stupid, of course, Hart is a good story-teller. I’m just being silly, is all.

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton – This is part of my research about supernatural creatures. I’m looking forward to writing my first supernatural story this year (probably come June) so I may finish this one yet. It’s good, so far.

Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran – I’m trying to get involved in some gay (male) reading, but so far haven’t been very successful (as I’ve started and not finished At Swim, Two Boys last year). I like the narration so far but it’s a little more heavy-duty than I want to engage in at the moment.

Empress of the World by Sara Ryan – This is a sweet story about a coming out of a lesbian teen. I’m going to continue reading this at some point but not right now.

Heart’s Surrender by Emma Weimann – I really like the beginning of this one and if you ask me why I haven’t finished it yet, I can’t even tell you. My focus got diverted and I haven’t redirected it at this novel yet. I will, probably sometime this year. It’s been a lot of fun so far.

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier – The third part of the series, a good, solid series. But I got a little tired of the narrator’s voice by the third book. Sometimes listening to teen first narrators gets a little tiresome. I like the premise of the story and the story, too. I will finish it, though I’m not sure when.

Blind Bet by Tracey Richardson – The Candidate by the same author was brilliant, I loved it. The Wedding Party was all right but I had some beef with it. And now this one… I don’t know. There were just some things in this I had a hard time working through. The writing is good but some of the plot bunnies are positively rabid. Not sure I’ll pick it up again.

2014 is over. Let’s see what 2015 brings. I’m looking forward to reading in 2015.

 

The Candidate by Tracey Richardson

thecandidateI don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this (but maybe you’ve noticed) I can be quite the bitch – or maybe we could call it a booksnob. In practice, this means that when I’ve read a book by an author and didn’t like it I may not read another book by same author – no matter how much amazon.de wants me to.

Of course, with just any mainstream genre it doesn’t matter so much since there’s usually more where that failed author came from. With lesbian romance, on the other hand, it can be limiting. I mainly read authors that I’ve read and liked before and there’s little space for those who failed in my eyes. But then, there’s always room to change one’s mind and I’m glad I did in this case.

I read The Wedding Party by Richardson a while ago and while it wasn’t abysmal there was something I attached to the writing in that novel that was not good. If you ask me what it was: I don’t remember. I just remembered that it wasn’t as satisfying a read as the synopsis had promised and I was disappointed. From my point of view, picking up another novel by Tracey Richardson was therefore risky – but it was the right choice.

The Candidate is a great read. I loved it. Here’s a blurb:

Jane Kincaid is campaigning in the primaries for the Democratic party to be their next presidential nominee. Alex Warner is a secret service agent on her first detail to protect a campaigning senator – Kincaid. But Kincaid is not your usual high and might politician, she’s an actual human being with a lot of heart and even more charisma. She’s also beautiful and caring and Alex falls for her. While Jane feels attracted to Alex, she isn’t going to risk her political career for a fling – or even love. Until an accident changes both her personal and political agendas.

The story line might not be entirely new. The celebrity-bodyguard plot line wasn’t new when Bodyguard came out in 1992 and it’s not any newer now but Richardson strings a story that is believable and charming. Jane and Alex feel more real than those stylized cliches of the star and their protector.

The story is carried mostly by the characterization and not by hastening from plot point to plot point. Jane’s reluctance to come out into the alienating media frenzy that surrounds her profession is understandable, as is Alex’s wish to be with the woman she has fallen for. Meanwhile, they’re both struggling with the taxing pace of their professions, the media, and an exhausting campaign trail through the United States.

The Candidate is well-written, it’s engaging, it’s well researched (at least from my standpoint as someone who doesn’t know squat about campaigning – and politics) and never boring. As I hear, it also has a sequel… yeah, I’m not so sure whether I will read that but it has nothing to do with this first volume, I’m just never sure about sequels.