"Boys in Our Books"…

…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!

2014 YEAR-END REVIEW: Susan

PersonalizedBannerSusan

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR: 

Meatworks” by Jordan Castillo Price

meatworks

This book is…genius. When you read something like Meatworks, you realize what OUTSTOUNDING writing looks like. When an author can make a reader like a MC so unlikeable, can make a must-have-a-HEA reader be ok with a less-than-romantic story arc, can take the reader on a slow internalized journey with an oddball like Desmond yet still feel like they’ve been on an exciting roller coaster ride…yeah, that’s when you know it’s something special. Meatworks is something special. I really loved all the books I’ve rated 4.5 / 5 stars, but Meatworks was a no-brainer as my favorite book of the year.

4.5 & 5 STAR BOOKS OF 2014:

Susan2014

Overhyped book of the year

(What’s all the fuss about?):

I would probably say “Ball & Chain” by Abigail Roux. I’ll continue to read anything and everything that has some Zane in it, but for a book that was supposed to be about, ya know, Ty & Zane, it looked suspiciously like a Sidewinder book, in my opinion. #grouchy.

And my last minute addition, “Think of England” by KJ Charles. This book is outstanding and should be remembered for it’s merit and any book-related discussion it breeds. The other ugly stuff is really, really unfortunate and I hate that it’s attached to this book at all. #unfairlyoverhyped

Underhyped book of the year

(Why haven’t more people read this?):

I would wish for everyone to read “Gives Light” by Rose Christo (and even moreso, book 2 “Looks Over“). I know it’s not a “sexy” choice…YA, coming-of-age, life on an Indian reservation, a mute teenager, no sex. But this is just one of the most beautifully written stories and Skylar St. Clair is one of my favorite characters EVER. I adore him.

I also wanted to shine the spotlight on “A Thing of Beauty” by Jake Jaxson and RJ Sebastian. To some this is just a picture book of the Cockyboys. Exploitation and objectification? Hardly. It’s art in the form of stunning photographic images of beautiful men, both clothed and unclothed. But it’s also a story. Yes, there are words on these pages…honest & telling ones…behind the scenes and background explanations of this unique adult film company. I really enjoyed this…more than I expected.

Best surprise of the year

(didn’t know what to expect or the story caught you off guard or anything that just…surprised you…):

RANDY.

I came to loathe Randy in Heidi Cullian’s “Special Delivery“. He was swarmy and icky. And I was baffled when fellow readers would mention loving him. Him? And then, basically on a dare by the author herself, I gave him a chance with his book “Double Blind“. I read it during a time I was feeling really down on myself and going through a hard time personally. Randy, with his HUGE heart, this surprising capacity to LOVE, and a GENEROSITY beyond compare…well, he was like a balm to me. He was exactly what I needed. He healed me in a way.

He’s my spirit animal. *shrug*…go figure.

Auto-buy authors

(I’d buy anything these authors write, without a doubt):

Some changes for me this year. A couple of my past staples have come off the list and I added a couple new ones:

KJ Charles

Joanna Chambers

Eli Easton

Jordan Castillo Price

Heidi Cullinan

Ais & Santino Hassell

…and shout-outs to NR Walker, Kaje Harper, Keira Andrews, and Jordan L. Hawk.

My reading experience in 2014:

What a difference a year makes. 2013 was just about FUN…reading, talking about books, reviewing, making friends, building community, celebrating talent, starting the blog.

2014 took quite the turn. This year was…rough. And it bled over into my reading life. I love talking about books…I can take a spirited discussion about the why’s of ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’. But when it starts turning personal, it sucks. And 2014 felt…personal. And that took the fun out of reading.

What bums me out the most is that as I look at my list of 4.5/5 star reads, I can remember how much I LOVED those books.  But, it gets lost in all these other emotions.

I’m sure some of the drama w/in this genre is old and recycled for those that have been around awhile, but for me, a lot was new and it bothered me greatly. The arguments of the gender, race, sexual orientation, shoe size of who’s writing the books, who’s reading the books…and whatever Us vs Them debate that would spring up (with the revolving door of who the “us” is and who the “them” is)…got heated in ways I didn’t feel comfortable with. And all the op-ed blog posts that just went on and on about what’s problematic with this genre. It felt like I was being told all the reasons why it’s NOT OK for me to be reading what I do, almost to the point of disdain towards me, the reader, for steering the genre in some way or another. I used to fear this ridicule from outside the m/m community, but from within it?  Sad.

Tired of walking on egg shells, tired of seeing the nastiness online, tired of accusations and alliances and all that jazz…I took a step back from reading. I slowed down, became a lot choosier about what I’d read and by what author (my auto-buy authors were my saviors this year!). I didn’t take as many chances on new ones (though, happy to have found Renae Kaye…and also some fun fanfic as well!) Stopped engaging on social media and stopped wanting to make the personal connections. Found my way into the CockyBoys fandom. And though I’d never been a fan of porn before, once I saw Kiss*Hug*Fuck*Love and A Thing of Beauty, I couldn’t deny that some of what I was watching was as romantic as the books I love so much.

So 2014 was a year of bruises and an oft-broken heart, but I’m still chugging along. Still reading. Still reviewing. Just not taking it all so seriously and definitely not so personal.

Special Note: This year, publishing the anthology “Another Place in Time” was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. Thank you to Tamara Allen, Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, KJ Charles, Kaje Harper, Jordan L. Hawk, and Aleksandr Voinov for your support and generosity…and for YOUR WORDS!

What I’m hoping for/looking forward to in my 2015 reading journey?

If my most anticipated reads reveal anything, it’s that I’m excited to see m/m hit mainstream. So in 2015, I’ll be waiting with bated breath for “Captive Prince v3 by CS Pacat, and the new regency trilogy “Society of Gentlemen” by KJ Charles. I think I also want to challenge myself with some more angsty reading…not just for the sake of it, but to go beyond my comfort zone and hopefully find some amazing books!

Lastly, I’ll focus less on meeting in person or interacting with online every author, reader, fan…and just…READ. I think the simplicity of that was lost for me this year…wanna find my way back.

27 comments on “2014 YEAR-END REVIEW: Susan

  1. LegeArtis
    December 30, 2014

    Meatworks is amazing, one of my favorites reads in 2014 as well.
    I am sorry ugliness within community made you step back; you are one of the most enthusiastic people about genre I saw in recent couple of years. :(
    I wish you better and more fun 2015. , filled with great books and nice experiences and I hope to see you involved in more projects like APiT anthology(that antihero idea sounds delicious :) ) .
    :*

    Like

    • susan
      December 30, 2014

      Thanks, Lege! I’m so glad you enjoyed Meathworks, too! I know it’s not for everyone, but dang, it really was head and shoulders above the rest for me! :)

      Happy reading in 2015!

      Like

  2. Ami
    December 30, 2014

    I am sorry to hear that 2014 has not been personally good to you, Susan. It definitely sucks *hugs*. I hope 2015 will be a better year to you. To great books!!

    Like

  3. Jordan Castillo Price
    December 30, 2014

    This is phenomenally gratifying, Susan, thank you.

    I often wish I had blinders on that would allow me to skip the drama, or the personal attacks. Sometimes I’m more resilient than others. I’m sorry you had to experience it. I think it’s a testament to the amount of influence you have as a reviewer. Here’s to resilience.

    Like

    • susan
      December 30, 2014

      Well…you know how I feel about your writing. I’m a huge fan. This one was just…EXCEPTIONAL. Really glad to have had the chance to read Meatworks this year! And yes…to resilience! :)

      Like

  4. Kaje
    December 30, 2014

    Thank you for the chance to do the anthology – it was a great experience, and knowing that the proceeds go to charity is just a bonus :)

    I’m sorry you got embroiled in controversies that took some of the fun out of the genre. I do hope people can find a more positive way to discuss things and that your love of the books revives in 2015.

    Like

    • susan
      December 30, 2014

      I think it was less about being involved and more just having to see it all. And taking some of the topics and things said personally from there…whether they were directed at me or not. *shrugs* Oh well…leaving 2014 behind and looking forward to the new year.

      Thank you SO MUCH for writing for Another Place in Time. It really was a dream all-star lineup for me!

      Like

  5. Mare~
    December 30, 2014

    Kudos Susan! Reading this year took a great dive for me as well. Reading is supposed to be fun! And even tho I was in no way any part of any drama, its there on sidelines cause Duh Its the interwebz to be seen by all. I also cant wait for Captive Prince 3 and OMG Can we get CAI!!!!! And I for one can rec you some great Angsty books and hold your hand thru it :) Cause I love them!!! Here’s to 2015 Susan and reading for pleasure not for fame :) And we will def have to do a buddy read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • susan
      December 30, 2014

      Thanks, Mare! And I loved your year-end wrap up too! :)

      Here’s to GREAT BOOKS in the new year for us both! Let’s buddy read sometime!

      Like

  6. Waxapplelover
    December 30, 2014

    Thanks so much for all you do for the blog and the reading community. Another Place in Time is such a great endeavor by amazing authors to help those in need. And what is this about a new KJ Charles trilogy? I was only anticipating Jackdaw, but now there is more to look forward to in the upcoming year!

    Like

    • susan
      December 30, 2014

      YES! KJ signed a regency trilogy based off of her short story in Another Place in Time! So exciting!!!! The first book should come out mid- to late- 2015, I think! Wheeee! :)

      Like

  7. Kate
    December 30, 2014

    Hey Susan. Meatworks was an awesome read. I even say this as a non-JCP fan. :D Sorry you got caught in this year’s attack/drama cycle. It’s so painful and discouraging to run into that buzzsaw. I hope 2015 is better and you find lots of great books. Ignore the idiots and don’t let them ruin your fun!!!

    Like

    • susan
      December 30, 2014

      Kate! You’re a “non-JCP fan”? WHHHAAAAT? :) Victor Bayne from PsyCop is one of my favorite characters ever. ha! I like how she writes peranormal type books but they don’t *feel* like paranormal type books. (does that make sense?) :) In any case, thanks for the encouragement. Looking forward to the new year!

      Like

  8. jentay82
    December 30, 2014

    You’ve inspired me for several reasons, and I do love many of your picks and look forward to trying the ones I haven’t read yet.

    I’ve got my fingers crossed that 2015 will be better and more inspiring than the last. :)

    Oh, and read Memorizing You and rock!

    Liked by 1 person

    • susan
      December 30, 2014

      Thanks so much, Jenn. And yes, when I’m ready to face my fear-of-angst, you know “rock” and “Memorizing You” will be at the top of the list! :)

      Like

  9. Victoria
    December 30, 2014

    I was wondering why my M/M mentor wasn’t around much in 2014. I had assumed you were awfully busy with work and it was getting in the way of reading. I’m so sorry to hear you had some lows in 2014. Cheers to 2015 with great books, authors, and friends! I look forward to your reviews and have read all of your recommendations. Keep up the good work that you do for the community – let the sun shine out and wear your freedom flag girlfriend!!!

    Like

    • susan
      December 30, 2014

      Vicky! :) Yes, I miss talking books with you over on Goodreads! I promise to return at some point. When I get thicker skin. ha! Let’s look for some great books together in 2015, ok?

      Like

      • susan
        December 30, 2014

        And thanks for all my Secret Santa gifts! THE BEST! :)

        Like

  10. Jeff Adams (@hockeyguynyc)
    December 30, 2014

    Great post, Susan. I hate that you’ve been hurt this year, but I’m glad you called it out. We need a lot less drama and a lot more of people just enjoying the books (or, frankly not enjoying them since not everyone can like everything).
    Happy New Year, Susan. I hope you have an excellent, happy, and great reading 2015!

    Like

    • susan
      December 30, 2014

      Thanks for the kind words, Jeff. Meeting you and Will has been a highlight this past year+ (gosh, we met October 2013 at GRL, right?) Here’s to a great new year! (and hopefully a fantastic final season of Glee…and a stellar SYTYCD season too!) :)

      Like

      • Jeff Adams (@hockeyguynyc)
        December 31, 2014

        Ah yes!!!! We need a good final season of “Glee” don’t we :)
        BTW, if you’re going to Rainbow Book Fair in April, I’ll be there. It’d be awesome to catch up with you a bit since we hardly got to talk at GRL 2014.

        Like

  11. Peasblossom
    December 30, 2014

    This was beautiful, Susan! I hope 2015 will be smoother, but I’m looking forward to weathering it with you, whatever shape it takes! ❤️ you, sister!

    Like

    • susan
      December 30, 2014

      *mwah*…thanks for all your support and friendship this year. :) #BBEforever

      Like

  12. nrwalker
    December 30, 2014

    Thank you so much for the shout out! <3 <3
    I hope you have a much better 2015 – actually, I hope we ALL have a much better 2015 :)
    *raises glass* So here's to a new year <3

    Like

    • susan
      January 2, 2015

      Thanks so much, Nic! xoxo! (wheeeee! & days until RDH4…TRAVIS’ POV!!! So excited!) Happy 2015!

      Like

  13. Sheri
    December 31, 2014

    Hold on babe, I have a feelin’ 2015 is going to take you places. But…it’s gonna be a damn fine ride. Whoop! you have a great new year of books lined up, can’t wait to tag along.
    Love you lots and lots!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow Us On Twitter

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Categories

Archives

%d bloggers like this: