The Full House Reading Challenge – So This is Christmas – Josh Lanyon

Genre: Detective, LGBT, Romantic suspense

Narrative Style: First person, chronological

Rating: 4/5

Published: 2016

Format: Kindle

Synopsis: On returning early from a trip to London with his family, Adrien English is greeted by an old acquaintance who is clearly in a mess. His boyfriend has disappeared and he suspects the family of foul play. Adrien knows just the person to help. 

Reading Challenge: Full House Reading Challenge – Genre – Seasonal. 

Okay so this is not something I would normally do – read a book set at Christmas. Obviously sometimes I do read things that happens to be set at Christmas but that would not be the main selling point. That would not be why I chose to read it. But I knew that if I continued to read this series I wouldn’t be too irritated.

And I wasn’t. This was an enjoyable – and fitting end to the saga of Adrien and Jake.  I won’t spoil the ending but needless to say, anyone who has followed the on-off-back-in the-closest nature of their relationship should be pretty happy.

The family details were interesting and Lanyon captured the difference between Adrien’s family and Jake’s really well. To be honest, I would have been happy reading that without the mystery of Kevin’s disappearing boyfriend.

The mystery did feel a little tagged on. There were some of the usual ingredients such as Adrien rushing off and almost getting into a fight and some tension as Jake was hired by the family that Kevin suspected had bumped him off but mostly it was not very involving.

Overall, though, it was enjoyable and the season too be jolly wasn’t too difficult to take.

Eclectic Reader Challenge – Romantic Suspense – Come Unto These Yellow Sands

Ok, a confession first, I think. I was not really expecting to like this genre. I thought I’d get it out of the way early on in the Eclectic Reader Challenge, so to speak. I think I have already mentioned my problem with the r-word. I love a thriller or detective novel but I have to admit that I couldn’t see how the addition of the r-word could possibly improve matters. I’m quite a fan of the hard-boiled style of detective fiction and was imagining that this was about as far from that as possible.

It took me ages to decide on a book. Probably because I had

come untoalready decided that I was going to hate it. I wasn’t really expecting to be all that thrilled when I downloaded Come Unto These Yellow Sands by Josh Lanyon on to my kindle.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was hooked after the first chapter. In fact, I could not put it down. I was actually disappointed when my less than punctual husband was actually on time for once when he met me in the pub because I would have to stop reading. Both the romance between Swift and Max, and the suspenseful tale of one of Swfit’s student’s possible involvement in a murder were interesting and entertaining. I found I was as concerned about the ups and downs of Max and Swift’s relationship as I was about finding the real killer. I was well and truly hooked

The back stories of Swift’s addiction and the small town homophobia he finds directed at himself added depth to the writing and made this more than just a simple detective story. The characters were convincing and I felt concerned for them – especially Swift whose speciality seemed to be to put himself in danger. Finally, and possibly most importantly, I did not see the ending – or many of the twists and turns – coming.

So thanks to this reading challenge I have discovered a new author who I will definitely read more of and possibly a new genre to explore. I certainly will be more willing to read in this genre now.

DAY 14 – Book that made you cry – Dancer from the Dance and The Book Thief.

I don’t want to sound hard-hearted but I’m not really given to crying when I read. It’s at least partly because I don’t read the right sort of fiction – or what I imagine is the right sort of fiction. Jodi Picoult for example, I imagine from the subject matter of her books would probably move me to tears. As I have already noted, I am not really romantic so those sort of stories pass me by. So it took me a little while to decide what I was going to write about.

Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran is one of those marvellous

photo (2)books that can have you laughing one minute and crying the next. Set in the New York Gay Scene in the 1970s, it is about one man’s search for some sort of meaning and some version of love in amongst the superficiality. Holleran brings the scene to life vividly. All of the characters are memorable, even if they only swim into the limelight briefly. In amongst all the chaos of the scene is Malone, exquisitely beautiful and extremely lonely. He seems untouched by everything while so desperately wanting to feel something. 

His friendship with the superbly catty queen Sutherland is at the centre of the novel and the reader becomes close to the both of them. It is this that renders the ending so very tragic and is so upsetting, Holleran frames the novel with letters from a friend who has left the scene and the details of the lives that have continued contained in these letters save the book from being too tragic and instead leave the reader with a more hopeful feeling.

My second choice is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak which is set in Germany in the second world war and is narrated by Death. I’m not sure what it was that was so devastating about this book. I have read other books

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with similar subject matter (Schindler’s Ark, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, The Pianist, for example) without getting upset.

Perhaps it is the idea of Death watching us and narrating. The tone is strangely distant from the events that it sees. There are tragedies in this book and they are upsetting but the moment in this book that finally made me cry is a happy one. it is a hopeful moment that speaks of true friendship. And it is a relief.