Keepers: 5 Books Moving to My Permanent Shelf

bookI read, and review, a lot of books, primarily eBooks but not exclusively—to the tune of 300+ per year. Granted, there are short stories and novellas in that lot, but still … it’s nearly a book a day.

I wish, oh how desperately I wish, they all had merit, but sadly far too many suffered the rampant disease of poor editing (not exclusive to indies, even small publishers suffer from this malady), poor characterization, poor plotting, POVs all over the place, telling-telling-telling! egads the telling!

Most fell into the meh category, some were DNFs, some were hurled against a virtual wall going splat/delete … and some graduated to a permanent spot on my bookshelf. If I like a book enough to wax euphoric over it, I buy the print edition if available.

Here are the books I deem worthy of finding space on your physical bookshelf or a most favored shelf on your Kindle Fire:

1. THE NEXT by Rafe Haze: a taut homage to Hitchcock’s Rear Window, this book is a tour de force of suspense and edge-of-your-seat observations about the human condition as told through the eyes of a man crippled by a disconnect between his mind and his body. It is a stunning character study and while it may be gay mainstream suspense, it is literary in scope and feel. Read my full review HERE.

2.  THE COLLECTION OF HENG SOUK by S.L. Wilsher: this is a heart-wrenching and mind-bending exploration of war, about duty and perception and the nature of regret. The characters are unforgettable, the historical period drawn with exquisite accuracy. It is epic in scope and feel, and you will remember this work long after you have read it. My highest recommendation (sadly eBook only) Read my full review HERE.

3. WORTH KEEPING by Susan Mac Nicol: let me say from the outset, I love Susan’s work to the point where it’s a bit of a toss-up which one I like “best”. There was something quite special about Worth Keeping that resonated—two damaged souls brought together by fate or circumstance, their characterizations drawn with sensitivity and understanding, the subject matter treated with honesty and clarity and brutal realism. This is gay literary fiction of the highest order. Read my full review HERE (scroll down).

4.  MY FAVORITE UNCLE by Marshall Thornton: this is a laugh-out-loud exploration of two unlikely souls united by the tenuous thread of family but not much else. It is filled with wry observations of the human condition, life, love and the universal possibilities that arise when you open your heart to others. Read my full review HERE.

5. THE ART OF THE HEART by Dan Skinner: with the author’s elegant, simple, straightforward prose, I was totally enthralled with this beautiful coming-of-age story, about turning fantasy into hope. This one has stayed with me (sadly eBook only). Read my full review HERE.


BOYSTOWN (Season 1 & 2) by Jake Biondi: scripted as if for the small screen, it is Soap Opera personified. Read full review HERE for Season 1.

Norceuil’s Garden: Queer Fiction and Erotica by Edward Dutton: if you are a serious student of gay lit, you want this one. Read full review HERE.


About Nya Rawlyns

Crossing boundaries, taking no prisoners. Write what’s in your soul. It’s the bass beat, the heartbeat, the lyrics rude and true. Nya Rawlyns is the pseudonym of a writer who cut her teeth on sports-themed romantic comedy and historical romances before finding her true calling in the wilderness areas she has visited but calls “home” in that place that counts the most: the heart. She has lived in the country and on a sailboat on the Chesapeake Bay, earned more than 1000 miles in competitive trail and endurance racing, taught Political Science to unwilling freshmen, and found an avocation in materials science. When she isn’t tending to her garden or the horses, the cats, or two pervert parakeets, she can be found day dreaming and listening to the voices in her head.
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