Monday, May 16, 2016

Book Reviews: The Empty Hourglass + To Live Again

If you follow both of my blogs, you will see these reviews posted there as well. I'm going to try (from now on) to cross-post LGBT+ reviews! 

The Empty Hourglass by Cornelia Grey

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryThomas Escott has always wanted to be a toymaker, yet just as he achieves his dream, an accident claims his right hand. He’s certain his life is over—until he hears about groundbreaking prosthetics being made by a reclusive inventor.

Jethro Hastings is perfectly content to live alone up in the mountains working on a secret masterpiece: a humanoid automaton that will change the scientific community forever. He’s behind schedule, and the date of the unveiling is fast approaching, so when Thomas shows up on his doorstep offering help in exchange for a mechanical hand, Jethro agrees. Time, after all, is running out on another deal he’s made: one with the devil.
The devil gives Jethro’s inventions life, but he can just as quickly take life away—Jethro’s, to be exact. As the sand in the devil’s hourglass falls, marking the time until the end of the deal, inventions go haywire, people get hurt, and Thomas realizes he needs Jethro just as much as his prosthetic. Now he must find a way to save Jethro’s soul, but negotiating with a devil is just as difficult as it sounds.
Review: I've read one other book by Grey and that was Circus of the Damned (the second Deal with a Devil novel) and The Empty Hourglass is the third. These don't need to be read in any type of order. The only link between them is the devil character that makes deals with people. Circus of the Damned was one of those novels that I loved, giving it 5 stars on Goodreads, so I was really excited to read another book by this author. While The Empty Hourglass is definitely interesting, and all the characters are a bit eccentric, yet highly intriguing, I didn't like this one as much as Circus of the Damned. Regardless, I'd still recommend this one.

It's a bit of a steampunk novel where Jethro Hastings creates wonderful mechanical inventions, especially in the realm of prosthetic arms and other items a human may need. Thomas Escott finds Jethro in hopes that he can give him a new hand, since he's a toymaker  and doesn't think he can do his job with only one hand. If he can't make toys, Thomas isn't sure what he's good for in life. There is a quick attraction to Jethro on Thomas' part, but nothing moves quick. It's actually a very sweet romance, where there aren't descriptions of sex and the physical parts of romance. As for the rest of the story, it does make you wonder throughout. It's an inventive, enjoyable novel.

To Live Again by L.A. Witt

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryGreg Douglas’s wife surprised him with an early 25th anniversary gift: a divorce. Staying with friends Ethan and Rhett seems like a good idea, just until he gets back on his feet. The guys have an even better idea to take his mind off his troubles—take him out to explore the other half of his bisexuality.After a quarter century suppressing his hidden desires, he’s not waiting any longer.Especially not after laying eyes on the gorgeous deejay at Wilde’s.Deejay and single dad Sailo Isaia isn’t looking for anything serious. He’s definitely not out to be a sexual teacher, never mind to a man almost two decades his senior. But as Greg gets the hang of having a male lover, Sailo can’t help himself. They both keep coming back for more. And more. And more.But a few nagging questions hold Sailo back from giving his whole heart. Is this just Greg’s midlife crisis and rebound fling? Or a chance to fill that empty space—forever—for both Sailo and his beloved son?

Review: While not a book bad by any means, this one does focus a lot on the sexual and physical nature of a relationship. I wish we had gotten a bit more of the emotional connection between Greg and Sailo, especially since this is the first male/male relationship that Greg has ever been in. Regardless, I did like these two together and I definitely rooted for them. I liked that Witt showed Greg coming out to some of his children, and exploring their relationship as well. This book, while heavy on the physical romance, did not make sure to keep Greg's family in mind. There are scenes with his ex-wife, many moments with friends, and a few key scenes with his children, as I mentioned above.

I'm certainly curious to read more by Witt. To Live Again has a great message - that you aren't too to old to find or reinvent yourself.


Lisa Mandina said...

That first book looks like of like a steampunk type of story. Not really my type of read. The 2nd one definitely sounds like an interesting take. Not quite, but kind of a cougar story? :-)

Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity said...

I am super interested in the first book! I absolutely LOVE anything and everything steampunk related, and I find that there aren't too many books that fall into the genre (specially LGBTQIA+ novels, sadly). So I am definitely adding that one to the list!

I like it when series can be read out of order because if you end up liking one, you can go and read all the rest. I love how cute this one sounds, so thank you for reviewing it, Lauren! :D

Verushka said...

Totally in love with the cover in the first one -- it's quite striking!

Lola said...

I am sorry you didn't enjoy The Empty Hourglass as much as the first book in the series, but it still sounds like a good one. I haven't read a lot of steampunk books, but have enjoyed the ones I've read so far!

I don't mind it when books focus on the physical side of a relationship, but there also needs to be an emotional connection. I am glad to hear these were both good books for you!