Tag Archives: GenderQueer

5 Stars for Temptations of Desire (Desires Entwined #3) by Tempeste O’Riley – #MM #BDSM #Erotic @TempesteO @dreamspinners

1.3

Title: Temptations of Desire (Desires Entwined #3)
Author Name: Tempeste O’Riley
Publication Date & Length: September 22, 2014 – 200pgs

Synopsis

Alexander James Noble is a gender fluid gay man who gave up on finding Mister Right a long time ago. He’s not asking for much, though. He just wants a guy who loves all of him and appreciates his feminine form too.

At the local LGBTQ center where Alex regularly volunteers, he meets Dal Sayer, an officer of the Milwaukee PD. Because he’s been rejected one too many times, Alex doesn’t trust the huge cop and the interest he shows in him, but once Dal sets his mind on something, he goes all out. Pushing aside his preconceived notions, Alex opens up just a little and soon caves.

From their first date—while dealing with his father’s failing health and his parents’ demands for him to settle down and have children—Dal never takes his eyes off his goal of making Alex his. But proving to Alex he isn’t like all the men who couldn’t see him for who he truly was and only wanted to hide him away is harder than he thought.

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Review

FiveStars
Tempeste is definitely an author with an incredible talent for making the readers fall in love with the books she writes. This book was no exception.

Alex and Dal were both in book 2 and this book I believe is just a follow through on their story.

Alex is genderfluid. And Dal is bi sexual. I think this makes it so much easier for the two men to be able to meet both of their needs.

There is a physical attraction they both feel for each other from the very moment they meet. And just like any mother couple they have things that they have to overcome in order to be together. One being the fact that Dals father is very insistent on Dal finding a nice girls and settling down and having a family.

That is not going to happen though and Dal is not going to let his fathers wants to persuade him. Alex is it for Dal and Dal is it for Alex.

Alex and Dals passion for one another is off the charts and I truly loved being along for the ride during their journey.

As always I look forward to reading more by Tempeste in the future.

Tosha

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AuthorBio

Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud omnisexual / bi-woman whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what she couldn’t–defy the hate and come out. He has been her hero ever since.

Though new to writing M/M, she has done many things in her life, though writing has always drawn her back–no matter what else life has thrown her way. She counts her friends, family, and Muse as her greatest blessings in life. She lives in Wisconsin with her children, reading, writing, and enjoying life.

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4 stars for Behrouz Gets Lucky by Avery Cassell #GenderQueer #BDSM #Romance @Avery_Cassell

CoverTitle: Behrouz Gets Lucky
Author Name & Publisher: Avery Cassell (Cleis Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 8, 2016 – 260 pgs

Synopsis

Where can a middle-aged, Persian-American, genderqueer dyke find love these days? Online dating, of course! “Only butch dykes need apply” Behrouz writes, eager to swap quiet evenings and a drawer full of well-used sex toys for a real relationship. Enter a response from Lucky: younger, rougher, dominant, and far from perfect. Their first meeting explodes into powerful, rough, and panting sex, and Behrouz is soon determined not to let this captivating woman slip away. Set within a perfectly captured view of of contemporary gay, transgender and queer life in San Francisco, this debut novel is a mesmerizing read for anyone who loves sharp fiction and erotic romance.

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Review

FourStars
For me this book was truly one of a kind. It not only en-captured erotic sex but also culture, love and empowerment.
The genuineness of the characters was another plus for this interesting novel as was their age.
Obviously very erudite writer Mr Cassell’s has managed to encompass erotica with enlightenment and passion.
~Chris

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5 stars for Creation Debt by Lore Graham @grahamlore #trans #genderqueer #scifi @lt3Press

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Title: Creation Debt
Author Name & Publisher: Lore Graham (Less Than Three)
Publication Date & Length: Aril 13, 2016 — short story

Synopsis

Radical views sometimes require committing a crime or two. In his biggest move yet to fight for android rights, Derek liberates a group of androids working off their creation debt at a hospital. One of those androids is 141, who is surprisingly reluctant to leave the facility, leaving Derek baffled.

A delay in their escape forces them to take an alternate route to Derek’s base, trapping them on a decrepit spaceship for a week, where they have only each other for company and a divide created by assumptions and wariness—but also an undeniable curiosity.

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Review

FiveStars

I had a feeling Lore Graham’s book and I would be good friends, and I was right. It’s fast-paced, well-written, and insightful. This is one of those rare treats where a story is clearly meant to be both for and about trans folk.

There’s so much in here to love: A futuristic world with fully sentient androids; a daring freedom operation as part of a takedown of a Big Corporation; a trans hero; an awesome non-binary gender character; and a completely cliched (but done in a great way) forced togetherness leading to love. How could this not be at the top of my list?

It can be a tricky thing to bring humor to a story which is ultimately about freedom–both literal and figurative. But Graham does this so well. 141, the rescued android, is delightful, a good balance for the brash (and very human) Derek.

I don’t really care all that much about sex in a story, but I did like the way these two explored the realities of their bodies and what it meant for them. I also liked that it fell somewhere between instant lust and instant love, but we weren’t treated to a fairy tale “let’s run off together” narrative.

Speaking of which, I sure hope there’s more to this story. It’s perfectly fine with me not to answer all the questions at the end; I can use my own imagination, and that’s just as fun. But I’d really like to know if they ever take out Isaac Ltd.!

This is the right story for someone who enjoys a blend of action, romance, cool science fiction/futuristic society, and a bit of philosophy. Don’t let the gender-neutral pronouns scare you off this one–it’s always good to learn new things.

Amy

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4 stars for California Skies by Kayla Bashe #Bi #Genderqueer #Trans @kaylabashe @LT3Press

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Title: California Skies
Author Name & Publisher: Kayla Bashe (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: January 13, 2016

Synopsis

Bandits came looking for the legendary emeralds belonging to Maggie’s family, killing her older brother and scarring her face. She can’t change the past, but finding the jewels will help her injured sister recover. In need of reliable muscle, she goes to an old friend of her brother’s: tough-as-nails nonbinary bounty hunter California Talbot.

While Maggie expected hard roads and violence, given the tragedy that provoked the journey, she wasn’t expecting the bar fights, snakes, and bandits to be the easy part—and the difficult part to be a growing attraction to someone who’d probably never look twice at her mutilated face.

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Review

FourStars

This was a very enjoyable read. I liked the characters and how the author showed their past friendship as well as why California would be interested in helping Maggie out. I like when characters have that tension between them and have those feelings for each other and yet don’t realize that the other person feels that way. It builds expectation and can result in some very humorous scenes. The one thing I did have a problem with is the use of they/them as a pronoun for a trans person. It took me a while to realize Bashe was only referring to one person, which I found confusing. When I realized it was being used to refer to only California, this sort of plurality made me think there were two people inside the character. And there were times I had to reread passages to make sure I was clear on who exactly was being referred to. I can only hope that some gender neutral word comes into widespread use so this type of confusion can be avoided in the future.

~AmyP

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5 Stars for The Good Guys by Francis Gideon #Genderqueer #Trans

1.5

Title: The Good Guys
Author Name & Publisher: Francis Gideon (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date: December 9, 2015

Synopsis

When Oliver meets a really cute elf while out Live Action Role Playing, he thinks he’s found the Sam to his Frodo. He tries to find out more about Oakenshire the Elf, but comes up with nothing. When summer vacation forces the LARPing group to take a break, Oliver throws himself into his upcoming play, where he is one of the main leads. There he meets a new person to captivate his attention: Avery.

She’s smart, funny, and into all the same things that Oliver is into, even LARPing. As their friendship progresses, Oliver begins to notice the similarities the young woman has to Oakenshire the Elf. It could be his final chance to see his elf again—or another case of mistaken identity that will leave Oliver fumbling with pronouns, excuses, and hurt feelings.

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Review

FiveStars

This was such a cute, fun, sweet story. First of all, it had me at LARPing (live-action role play, for those not in the know). I love a geek-nerd premise for a story, and I admit, this wasn’t one I’d seen before.

Oliver is a really refreshing character. He’s honest about his inner struggles, but he’s also not overdrawn. I think my favorite part was when he talked about liking to skip the kids-and-mortgage talk and go right to the next level of conversation. That’s exactly how I am, and it made me want to meet Oliver in real life.

Avery is absolutely terrific. They are one of the best bi-gender characters I’ve read. Genderqueer and fluid characters can be tricky to write because there are so many variations. But Avery was fantastic, and I loved the way the relationship developed with Oliver.

My only (very brief) hesitation was in how Oliver’s bisexuality seemed at first to be in the “confused” category. Not that bisexual people can’t ever be confused, but the author didn’t seem to quite know at first how to handle Oliver identifying that way. But by the end of the story, that was cleared up just fine, and the biggest thing I appreciated was how it was absolutely clear that for Oliver, bisexual did not just mean “men and women only” (common misconception that occasionally comes out in fiction). So my initial hesitation was definitely put to rest.

Before my review becomes longer than the actual story, I’ll just say again how much I loved and appreciated it. Excellent writing, great characters, and a sweet story that never felt too much like “educating people on trans issues.” Very well done.

Amy M.

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5 and 3 Stars for From Stars They Fell by H.R. Harrison #Genderqueer #SciFi @LT3Press

1.5

Title: From Stars They Fell
Author Name & Publisher: H.R. Harrison (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: October 28, 2015 – 67 pgs

Synopsis

An alien ship crash lands on Earth, leaving its only occupant stranded. But in a fortunate twist, Earth is a hospitable planet for Veni, from the atmosphere and food to the friendly and intelligent inhabitants.

The first such inhabitants Veni meets call themselves dwarves. And though they don’t understand the technology that brought the alien to them, they insist on being hospitable. Sure, Veni doesn’t understand why the inhabitants of this land insist on speaking a language that modifies for gender, but ze is anything if not adaptable—especially after ze meets Wystan, a man who speaks only with his hands.

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Review

ThreeStar

I was very interested in this story going into it, but I have to say a lot of it was lost on me. The first 60% of this story is world building, which is kind of irrelevant to the plot that finally and slowly starts up. For a story that’s only 20k words in length, I expect to finish in an hour or two at most. This story took me three weeks to read because I really saw no point in going back to it.

The plot is simple and easy, when it does finally show up. And frankly, there are a lot of scenarios it should have dealt with toward the end that it didn’t. For a caste that’s so hell-bent on their task, dispatching only one soldier and having no fear of being found again seems unlikely to me.

There is a romance that happens within these pages, though I found the romance unnecessary but intriguing. Intriguing only in that the practical aspect of how they have sex was interesting. As for the connection between the characters, I believe a deep friendship would have been simple enough in order to get the plot across. As for the actual sex scene, it was odd and hard to follow. I had issues understanding parts and almost wish it wasn’t there because it was more confusing than interesting or innovative.

I did like the aspect of a stranger for a foreign world coming to a new world and having to learn about everything. That was very well described, if irrelevant. The diversity in this piece is vast, which I greatly appreciated. And, if you throw in a Deaf character and sign into anything, I’m probably going to latch onto that and run with it.

Overall, not a fantastic read. I’m still not quite sure what to make of it and am thinking I really should have not necessarily continued with the reading.

~AJ

FiveStars

This is a strange little story, in a good way. I found it interesting to view a fantasy setting through the eyes of an alien who is without a concept of gender and needs a translator to understand it.

The writing is excellent, and I loved the concept. Veni, the alien, is misunderstood by the local inhabitants and assumed to be an angel. Just as Veni cannot comprehend a society divided by gender, the dwarves (who themselves are what we might call gender non-conforming) cannot fathom a genderless society. Their interactions are interesting. Despite their confusion, Veni and the locals develop respect and friendship, and no one finds Veni too strange to deserve companionship. The lack of alien panic is refreshing.

I loved the gentle, sweet romance between Veni and Wystan. Because of the length of the story, it unfolds quickly, but there is no instant love. There are no declarations of forever, just two beings who find each other under unusual circumstances.

There are many fun little surprises throughout the story which delighted and impressed me. This is an excellent exploration of what’s underneath the surface and at our core. Ordinarily I like to hope we’re at the point of writing characters of various genders without using metaphor, but this was so well-written and was about much more than “Look, a genderless character!” Mx. Harrison has certainly earned a new fan.

~Amy

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4 and 3.5 Stars for The Trial Trial by Lauren E. Mitchell #FF #Poly @LEBMitchell @LT3Press

1.5

Title: The Triad Trial
Author Name & Publisher: Lauren E. Mitchell (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: November 18, 2015 –  166 pgs

Synopsis

Jamie and Mez are in love—with each other, and also maybe a little bit with their housemate, Beth. When one housemate dies and the last leaves with no warning, the tentative relationship between the three begins to shift.

But life and love are easier behind the safety of four walls than beyond them, and hostile coworkers and an interfering, but well-meaning succubus may be more than the triad can handle. It’s a good thing they never actually expected this to be easy.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

This was a difficult book for me to review, because I liked the storyline, and the characters, but there were several choices the author made that baffled me. First, there’s the point of view. I spent many years avoiding books written in first person. I don’t know why, really. Just knew that when I cracked open a book, no matter how much I wanted to read it, when I hit that first sentence (or however long it took to get to it) and saw that “I,” I immediately put the book down. It was jarring for me. Nowadays, I’ve learned to enjoy more and more books written this way, but that comes with caveats. Obviously, this book is written in first person, otherwise I wouldn’t have waxed so irritating about it. My problem here is that the pov shifts from person to person. There are four “main” characters in the book that we hear the story from. The author does a very good job of labeling, in the chapter headings, who is narrating for that chapter. But I don’t understand why there’s a shift in the first place. It would be an excellent literary device if each character had their own distinct voice. But really, this sounds like the same narrator from a different viewpoint. The pov switch was different, but could have been done in a way that was much more captivating.

The next thing I wasn’t sure about was Audrey’s character. I don’t understand why she was made a paranormal. It didn’t really add much to the story, because the only people who knew what she was were the other paranormals she dated, and herself. It may have explained her motivations for the things she did in the story, but it never really affected the story. So I feel that this was either a misfire, or a missed opportunity. And I’m not even sure all the deaths were integral to the story the author was telling. It seemed just to spread the focus more, making the book more a meandering journey, like Mitchell was trying to incorporate too many elements at the same time.

The last thing that made me think hard about my rating was actually the lack of sex in the story. I’m not saying that I needed blow-by-blow descriptions of sex scenes. But truthfully, I couldn’t tell when they moved their relationships into sexual ones. That’s a pretty core plot point when you’re talking about a polyamorous relationship. The whole start of sex between Beth and the two in the established relationship, Mez and Jamie, whether singly or all of them together, was very ambiguous, and it made it difficult to understand where relationship strains were happening in regards to attention and jealousy. I feel that this again was something skipped over by the author.

All in all, I enjoyed the story. I just feel it could have been better if it were more focused on how the three principles integrated their lives and feelings together into a working whole.

Amy P.

FourStars

I found this novel to be rather surreal and unique.
I thought the way it was presented with each one of the three main characters each narrating their own accounts over the period of their growing relationship to be quite distinct.
The author kept my interest with  colourful descriptions and the odd enigma being thrown in at certain times.
I was particularly drawn into the emerging fourth character in this novel, who I found very enigmatic, so much so I would love to hear more of their exploits.
An interesting novel that I feel would many would find engaging others might find thought-provoking, but all in all an arresting read.
~Chris

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4, 3.5, and TWO 3 Star Reviews for Signs of Desire (Desires Entwined #4) by Tempeste O’Riley #MM #BDSM #Erotic @TempesteO @dreamspinners

1.5

Title: Signs of Desire (Desires Entwined #4)
Author Name: Tempeste O’Riley (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: November 30, 2015 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

When a night out turns into a matchmaking scheme, they thought communication would be their biggest challenge to their happily ever after….

Simon Tyler knows his job as a gay romance author makes his lack of faith in love more than a little ironic, but he’s tired of being used for his wallet. When a night out turns into a matchmaking scheme orchestrated by his best friends—though he’s not the target—Simon’s not thrilled, but since he’s sworn off happily-ever-after anyway, he goes along with it… until he meets the object of their efforts, Adrian, and finds perhaps he hasn’t given up on love after all.

Professor Adrian Keys has tried to date hearing men before, but being deaf himself, he’s never had any success at making a connection. After his friends con him into going out and Adrian realizes it’s all an elaborate plan to set him up, he braces for yet another failure, only to discover there is a spark—except it’s not with the man his friends had in mind, but with Simon Tyler instead.

Not all their friends have found a way past their romantic failures, but Simon and Adrian might be on the path to happily-ever-after.

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Review

FourStars
So you get Simon with this book who was hurt in a previous relationship so he is leery of being in a relationship again.
Then there was Aiden who is deaf and a IT professor who used to date Chase and is now good friends with him.  There was a definite attraction between these two as soon as they meet at Chase’s dinner party. So you know when you are reading a book and you feel like something is going to happen and it builds up… But then everything wraps up so neatly that you are left there thinking that was it. Unfortunately that is what I felt after reading this book. But do not get me wrong because I really did like the attraction between these two and the steam was off the charts hot! The way Aiden cared so much for Simon and the way Simon cared so much for Aiden that he went out and took classes just so he communicate better with Aiden. I just was expecting something big to happen so I kind of felt like that was wrapped up a little too nicely for me. But other then that I did love the character this author created and the authors pretense of this story.So all together I really did like this book between the sweet and the steam between Simon and Aiden!
Kara
ThreeandHalfStars

I really enjoyed this story.  I liked that it was not an instant love connection.  These stories are a good balance of romantic relationship and friendship.  There was both give and take between the two characters and the sex was very hot.

Simon has been burned too many times and he is gun-shy when it comes to trust and developing relationships.  He has a horrible family, that I wish had more to do with this story.  I felt the situation could have been resolved more.  While he is successful in all that he does, his wealth and status seem to be a deterrent for developing meaningful romantic relationship.  But, Simon has amazing friends.  And, when they set him up with Adrian, sparks not only fly, they catch fire.

Adrian is an amazing man.  He is deaf, but that is only a part of what makes him so awesome.  I wish that we had more about him in this story – what he does for the community of people he serves.  I also wished that we knew more about his mom.  She was talked about a lot, but nothing was really resolved in regard to her role and place in Adrian’s life.

Overall, this was a sweet story that developed over a good amount of time.  It had the previous characters in the story and created an even more awesome look inside this tight knit family.  But, this story also left me wanting more development.  I felt that O’Riley touched on a lot of things that could have been expounded on, but weren’t.  So, in the end, while it’s a sweet story, I was left with a feeling of, “huh, guess that’s it.”

AvidReader
 ThreeStar
I was so excited to read this book. The blurb had me and I thought it could be a great book. Ugh, it was just ok. It reminded me when people tell me to go see a movie it was soooo good and then it was just ok. There was a good build up and I was all excited and then ehhh, that’s it. The chemistry was good and I liked the whole deaf/hearing aspect of the book and the building of the relationship, it just felt like I was missing something or there could have been more. I guess every relationship can’t be off the charts and this was just more real life and just ok.
Angie
ThreeStarThis is a sweet, simple story.  Simon’s wealthy, homophobic family has made his love life almost impossible.  Adrian has sworn off of hearing men because his deafness always ends up making them too uncomfortable.  Brought together by a mutual friend, Simon and Adrian are both initially wary and guarded.
I enjoyed both the central characters and their group of friends.  Writer Simon and professor Adrian are interesting men, each with some baggage that prevents his loving easily.  We are well into the Desire series and fans will enjoy quick catch-ups with favourite couples from previous books.
There is very little angst here.  Simon and Adrian bond over good food with encouragement from their friends.  This is an easy, feel-good romance. At times I felt this was a little too easy.  The story lacks meaningful conflict and while the chemistry is great between the two leads, I missed the excitement, hope and anticipation of really good romance writing.
At times the writing is a little choppy and especially at the start it was clunky enough to distract me from the the story.  For me, the well-developed characters compensated for the awkward style, but readers will need to be in the right headspace for this tender, sugary romance to work for them.~Sarah

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4 Stars for Double Take by J.K. Pendragon #GenderQueer #Poly @JKPendragon

Cover

Title: Double Take
Author Name & Publisher: J.K. Pendragon (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: January 28, 2015 – 48 pgs

Synopsis

Studying magical science at the prestigious Kemet Academy is a privilege and dream come true for Teka, a poor student from D’mt. But focusing on school doesn’t mean xe can’t also admire Hasani, the handsome graduate student overseeing Teka’s work.

Then late one night at the school library, Teka runs Hasani and is completely astonished when the stern, quiet man xe knows by day acts so flirty and casual, it’s like he’s a different person. When the late night encounter leads to dating, Teka can scarcely believe xyr luck.

But the luck plays out when xe discovers why Hasani seems so different between night and day, a discovery that seems to have no resolution except heartache…

Warning: This story contains incest

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Review

FourStars

I’m not sure where to start with this. I liked the genderqueer aspect of the story, and Teka was a great character. The Egyptian/magical setting had the feel to me of being similar to Manga/yaoi, which I also liked. I thought the world the author created was interesting, and I would love to read more stories set there.

I hadn’t known going into it about one of the taboo aspects of the story, which I think would have been good to know ahead of time (and I’m not really sure how to discuss it without spoilers). It didn’t necessarily bother me because there was no power imbalance, and it’s not really a hard limit or particularly upsetting for me. However, it’s not my usual kind of thing, and I think some others might be more bothered than I was.

Overall, it was very well-written and a quick, easy read with likable characters.
Amy M.

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4 stars for A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde @queerlyobscure #Trans #Genderqueer #MM @LT3Press

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Title: A Boy Called Cin
Author Name & Publisher: Cecil Wilde (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 8th, 2015 – 169 pages

Synopsis

On the search for a cup of coffee before the guest lecture he’s giving, Tom spies a tired, half-frozen young man who looks even more need of coffee than him. On impulse, he buys the man a cup—but an attempt to strike up conversation ends in the young man walking off, seemingly put off by Tom Walford—the tabloids’ favourite billionaire—buying him coffee. But when he reappears in Tom’s lecture, all Tom knows is that he doesn’t want the man slipping away a second time.

Agreeing to dinner with a man he only knows from internet gossip columns isn’t the wisest decision Cin’s ever made, but he wants to like the infamous Tom Walford and he can’t do that if he doesn’t give the man a fair chance to be likeable. Which he is, almost frustratingly so, to the point Cin wishes maybe he hadn’t been so fair because he never had any intention of getting attached to Tom, who seems to come from a world far too different from his own for anything between them to last. Little does Cin know, they’ve got a lot more in common than he imagines—including their shared discomfort with their assigned genders, and all the complications that go with it.

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Review

FourStars

I’m really glad I picked this one up. It’s very well-written. This is less a romance than a slice-of-life building of a relationship, which I really enjoyed. It’s also a pretty good Trans 101 primer for anyone unfamiliar with the process of self-discovery and medical/surgical transition.

This is proof for me that disliking a character’s personality–even a main romantic lead–does not prevent enjoyment of the story. I didn’t like Cin pretty much at all, other than his patience with helping Tom learn new things about himself. Cin was pretty much just not a particularly nice or likable person. However, I could see what Tom appreciated, and that’s why my personal feelings mattered less in this case. Their relationship was loving and sweet.

I adored Tom. I found him especially relatable for personal reasons, and I loved getting to know him both via his own thoughts and through Cin’s eyes. Tom expressed some things really well about his gender that I believe others might be able to appreciate and understand.

There are two reasons this doesn’t get 5 stars from me even though it was good. First, I really don’t need a trans primer myself. It felt at times like info-dump and training on “how to have sex with a trans person,” which is really not universal. I’d rather read a story where being trans is only one part of the story, not the entire thing. Second, I got really, really tired of hearing about Tom’s age and how “old” he was. This is not actually how 40-year-old people think of themselves or how we behave, and we are not all one heart attack away from death after vigorous sex, so it was incredibly off-putting. I would not tolerate a lover or partner who kept negatively referencing my age, and I had no idea why Tom was willing to do so. I’m a bit weary of the “young kid schools much older person” trope.

Other than that, this was a very sweet story and an enjoyable read. It’s certainly one I recommend for anyone who feels they want to learn more about some aspects of being trans.
~AmyM

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Filed under 4 Star, Amy, Bisexual, GenderQueer, M/M, Review, Trans, Uncategorized