Plato for Plumbers by Francis Gideon

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Plato for Plumbers by Francis GideonPlato for Plumbers by Francis Gideon
Published by Less Than Three Press on 9/7/2015
Genres: LGBTQIA, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
The week before an important philosophy conference, Kenneth is struggling to finish both the last chapter of his book and the paper he's writing for the event. His efforts are thwarted by a leaky faucet—and his life as a whole is turned upside down by the plumber who shows up to fix it.

One of the items on Book Riot’s Reader Harder Challenge 2015 is to read a book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ. So, I thought a good place to start was the LGBTQIA section on NetGalley. I hadn’t read anything from this genre before, so I was looking forward to what might be out there. And what I found was a short story titled, Plato for Plumbers by Francis Gideon.

I found this short story very entertaining. It was easy for me to identify with the main character, Ken, with his life in academia, and with his self-consciousness in failing to do “real people” things, like fixing a leaky faucet. The story was fun, if not a little predictable. But I think that’s the way romance stories work, right? After some will-they-won’t-they, Ken gets the guy, and everything works out in the end with a neat little bow?

After I finished, I checked out some reviews posted on Goodreads. Some readers posted complaints about a lack of sexual content. Although I was surprised that there wasn’t more sexual content, I can’t say that I’m disappointed in the lack thereof. I don’t think providing the explicit details of the characters having sex would have fit with the overall flow of the book. Again, I’m not very familiar with this area of fiction, but wouldn’t that be erotica and not romance? For a short story, I think the author nailed the appropriate level of detail.

Overall, I enjoyed this. It was a super quick read, the characters were relatable and, of course, they lived happily ever after. This is definitely not my usual cup of tea, and I can’t say I’ve been won over to the romance genre, but it was fun, and if you’re into romance and/or LGBTQ+ lit, you might want to give this short story a try!

The best part about reading this story was a little bit of self discovery and reflection. When I initially read the description on Netgalley, I realized I had stereotyped all LGBTQIA romance novels to be between two female characters. It was one of those automatic beliefs you don’t even realize you have until some stimulus makes you consciously think about it. I’m glad to have stumbled upon this very book to be that stimulus so I can work on eliminating such an erroneous belief.

Bad News Bee: Perfect Days by Raphael Montes

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Perfect Days by Raphael Montes
Published by Penguin Canada on February 16th 2016
Genres: Fiction, General, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 256
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
A twisted young medical student kidnaps the girl of his dreams and embarks on a road trip across Brazil in the English-language debut of one of Brazil's most celebrated young crime writersTeo Avelar is a loner. He lives with his paraplegic mother and her dog in Rio de Janeiro, he doesn't have many friends, and the only time he feels honest human emotion is in the presence of his medical school cadaver--that is, until he meets Clarice. She's almost his exact opposite: exotic, spontaneous, unafraid to speak her mind. She's working on a screenplay called Perfect Days about three friends who go on a road trip across Brazil in search of romance. Teo begins to stalk her, first following to her university, then to her home, and when she ultimately rejects him, Teo kidnaps her, and they embark upon their very own twisted odyssey across Brazil, tracing the same route outlined in her screenplay. Through it all, Teo is certain that time is all he needs to prove to Clarice that they are made for each other, that time is all he needs to make her fall in love with him. But as the journey progresses, he keeps digging himself deeper, stopping at nothing to ensure that no one gets in the way of their life together. Both tense and lurid, and brimming with suspense from the very first page, Perfect Days is a psychological thriller in the vein of The Talented Mr. Ripley--a chilling journey in the passenger seat with a psychopath and the English-language debut of one of Brazil's most deliciously dark young writers.From the Hardcover edition.

This is the first time I’ve disliked a book so much in a loooooooong time. About a quarter of the way through it, I actually began to wonder if I would even finish. The writing itself was fine, but I was unable to find a connection to any of the characters, and I found the story simultaneously ridiculous and predicable.

I think the author was trying to present the main character, Teo, with overt psychopathology designed to give the readers the creeps. However, his behavior and cognitions were all over the map and didn’t fit any single diagnosis; there were components of paranoid schizophrenia, antisocial personality disorder, and a little bit of the autism spectrum. This resulted in a poorly constructed character who lacked the quintessential charm of a psychopath, and the flawed portrayal of his mental illness failed to draw any sympathy for me. The author succeeded in creating a very creepy character without any nuance, and, for me, it was just a little too much.

After finishing, I was struck by a thought about what makes psychological thrillers, well, thrilling. With stories like this one, there needs to be some degree of reality; that what makes it terrifying is that it could actually happen. There problem with Perfect Days is that it’s too fantastical to even be possible, and that bothered me.

Overall, definitely not a favorite of mine. I hate to be the Bad News Bee, but I don’t recommend this title.

SN: Normally, I wouldn’t comment on formatting of an e-ARC. I expect errors and funky formatting because I know what I’m reading isn’t the final, polished product. Having said that, the lack of some basic editing made this already difficult read more difficult. Most notably, there were editorial notes about the translation that hadn’t been removed, which were confusing and incredibly frustrating.

Spacey Summer Reading: Mini Reviews

NGC 7714 is a spiral galaxy 100 million light-years from Earth.
NGC 7714 is a spiral galaxy 100 million light-years from Earth


Now that school is back is session, the temperatures here in Florida are becoming bearable (during the evenings… sometimes), and Labor Day is Monday, I suppose the end of summer is here. This was a particularly enjoyable summer for me, as it was the first time in many years I didn’t have many academic obligations. As I looked back over what I’d read, I discovered a theme emerging: All Things Space. So here’s what I’ve read (so far) and some possible autumnal, astral reads.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe – Douglas Adams

Hitchhiker 1My summer of spacey reads started in May with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I was just coming off of A Dance with Dragons, which I started… umm…. maybe the summer before? It was a long time reading/listening and I hit a huge reading slump during the clinical internship. I picked up Hitchhiker because the characters on The Big Bang Theory were fans of the story. It turned out to be the perfect next read: it was short, comical, and absolutely absurd. It had me laughing out loud every few pages! I loved how Arthur Dent’s perpetual flaggergastment prevents him from really losing it or freaking out, and the uncanny luck he and Ford Prefect had in being picked up as things on Earth went a bit squiffy. Adams’ description of how the Heart of Gold spaceship work challenged the reaches of my imagination as I tried to picture the Improbability Drive. And, of course, the answer to the Ultimate Question!
Hitchhiker 2


I didn’t realize until I started reading that this was actually a series of books, and it’s definitely on my list to read all five. I also read the second installment, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. It had its equally silly and hilarious moments, but it wasn’t as fun to read as the first book. The story shifted away from Arthur and Ford and more to President Zaphod Beeblebrox to propel the story forward. I’m hoping the light and silly nature of this story continues with the next books.

The Planets – Dava Sobel

The PlanetsAs New Horizons was approaching Pluto, I took to Twitter and asked for spacey recommendations. I took the advice of @VeronicaJHex and selected The Planets by Dava Sobel, even though is a bit outdated (it was published before Pluto’s demotion). I haven’t finished it yet, but what I’ve read I really enjoyed. The content is incredibly accessible for everyone, and her words emphasize the sheer enormity of space, making me thinking how apropos the word, “astronomical” really is. The passion with which she wrote really struck me, and I felt my own excitement build with each turn of the page.  For example,

Sometimes the stupefying view into deep space can send me burrowing like a small animal into the warm safety of Earth’s nest. But just as often I feel the Universe pull me by the heart, offering, in all its other Earths elsewhere, some larger community to belong to.

Reading this, I felt like tossing away my career in psychology and spending the rest of my days gazing at the wonder of the Universe and imagining all that could be beyond our solar system. And I haven’t even finished it yet!


Our Dried Voices – Greg Hickey

22839622Although I didn’t choose it for its spacey-ness, one of my e-ARCs from Netgalley, Our Dried Voices, could definitely fit in with these other reads. You can read my review here; it kind of reminded me of the movie, Idiocracy, in a way, but I won’t go into too many details because


The Martian – Andy Weir

The MartianMy favorite spacey read this summer, hands down, was The Martian. I absolutely adored the character of Mark Whatney and his log entries were fantastic and funny. I really enjoyed the levity he brought to such a dire situation. But actually what I think really sold me on this book (aside from a perfect opening line) was that I started by listening to it. The narrator, R.C. Bray, nailed that character.

I also found the story was very gripping. I felt a lot of feels; I was nervous during many of the risky experiments, and even got a little misty towards the end. I think it helped that the author used scientific language that was easy to understand, and that’s what kept me engaged. I like this book so much, it falls into the “I don’t know if I can even see the movie” category because I’m afraid Hollywood can’t compete with what the words left in my head.

Something got rattled loose this summer with all these spacey reads and historic moments because I’ve gone down the interstellar rabbit hole! Here’s some of what I anticipate reading before the end of 2015:

  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Books 3-5 – Douglas Adams
  • The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet – Neil de Grasse Tyson
  • How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming – Mike Brown
  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void – Mary Roach

So, what about you, readers? Have you been inspired to read about space? Got any good recommendations???? OR has something set you on a different thematic rabbit hole?