Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sunday Soup - December 13

In The Soup This Week... Penny Watson, AM Arthur, and a splash of McSweeneys

Soup Dish:  on my mind
McSweeney's had a cool rant about Jane Austen interpretations. Hat tip to Julia Quinn's Facebook feed for source.

Pretty much everything I marked over the last week or two has been a list of some sort, and I think I'm going to post a list of lists later this month, so I'm saving them up. 

What I'm reading
I never did any kind of announcement, but I have dipped a toe into reviewing elsewhere, for RT Book Reviews. I'm reviewing under my own name, so a quick search on "Onychuk" will show you what I've been up to. To see the most current stuff, you can subscribe to RT! What this means for the blog is that some of the reading I do, I can't really talk about here. So if it it seems like my reading week is pretty thin sometimes, that might be why. This week I spent quite a bit of my reading time on a chunky fantasy romance for a March review, so the rest of the Soup is about short pieces.

My main read for the week was Penny Watson's Klaus Brothers series. I bought the 'boxed set' of the first three (still on sale!). I've been posting with Penny for a long time (Facebook tells me we became friends 6 years ago!), but I wasn't too sure about the appeal of a romance hero in the context of Santa, the North pole, and magic elves. It's definitely a little quirky. In Penny's world, Santa trains for the Ironman triathlons in the off-season, and has a bit of a sharp temper along with five hunky sons who function as the executive staff, running the whole toymaking and distribution enterprise. The Klaus family expectations contribute to some of the conflict, but the warm family relations add much to the feel-good nature of the series. At times I found the juxtaposition of hot romance in the context of magical children's mythology to be a little jarring: you have to suspend disbelief around the fact that a) not all children get toys for Christmas because poverty, and b) not all people celebrate Christmas -- so in that sense, it has that simplistic children's world-building; but the romances themselves were really lovely. The characters and their chemistry are everything you want in a romance. Romance fans who also love movies like Elf and The Santa Clause should enjoy these tremendously.

Looking for some short reads, I browsed through some of the ebooks I got from RT14. The interesting thing about how this goes down is that when I look at it on my kindle list, I have a title, author, and an idea of how long it is -- that's it.  This title, "No Such Thing" said, "probably contemporary," or more accurately, "probably not paranormal," but that's kind of it. I did not recognize the author, A.M. Arthur.  I mean, it's not like I couldn't look these things up, but you know, that would've required moving from the couch.  So I opened this one up and read a few pages, then a few more, and soon I was very much drawn in.  It's an NA/mm romance, between Alessandro, a former foster kid with a bit of an undeserved delinquent reputation, and Jaime, a very sheltered guy who spent his teens surviving a near-fatal heart condition. It's not exactly a coming-out story, but there is some conflict around small-town homophobia and bashing (heartbreaking and still so f*cking common). I don't read much m/m, so I don't have a much in the way of a reference point, but I found these characters engaging and sweet and with personalities vivid enough to leap off the page. Thumbs up from me.

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