ARC Review: Queer and the Restless, by Kris Ripper

Advance Review Copy generously provided by NetGalley
in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb:

cover-krisripper-queerandtherestlessEd Masiello has been on testosterone for a year, is working his dream job as a reporter, and is finally passing as a man (so long as you don’t ask his abuela). But the investigation of a murder case is starting to take over his life. Afraid he’s becoming obsessed, he goes to the local club to relax, and meets the flighty, whimsical Alisha.

Alisha is a free spirit who’s tossed aside ambition for travel and adventure. Her approach to life is a far cry from Ed’s, and while Ed has always assumed that meeting his goals would make him happy, Alisha is much more content than him—despite all the plans she can’t yet fulfill.

As their relationship heats up, so does the murder case. Alisha thinks Ed needs a break, but someone’s got to find this killer, and he wants to be there when it all goes down. Besides, taking off into the great unknown with Alisha is crazy. But opting for what’s safe is just another way of living in fear, and Ed vowed to stop living like that a long time ago.


Stats:

Published:
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October 31, 2016
Riptide Publishing
L.C. Chase
Queers of La Vista, book 3
Contemporary
M/F
Trans/Queer
238 e-book pages
1st person
See the book on Goodreads

Rating:     ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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Review:

My heart is simultaneously crushed and full-to-bursting after reading The Queer and the Restless.

See, I’m not the kind of reader who often goes looking for mirror books. I tend to prefer window books that might serve to broaden my scope of the world in one way or another. That said, I delight in the window books where I catch unexpected glimpses of my reflection in the parts of all of us where the playing field is leveled out, where we’re one in our humanity. Places like our similar hopes and dreams and fears and frustrations. Common places that bind us and ensure that, despite our different paths, we are not alone.

It’s also okay if I don’t see even a hint of my reflection. In that case, I get to consume the hopes and dreams and fears and frustrations I may have never encountered within my own scope. I get to try on some different shoes, maybe toddle inelegantly because they were never meant to fit. But at least I can appreciate how they fit someone else so much better.

This book, in this sorta silly-named series that plays on the old soap operas I’ve enjoyed for a lifetime, took a huge leap to serious from the previous two installments. It’s still immensely fun. But, it’s a book that’s delved way more into the emotional and psychological aspects of one person’s journey transitioning.

Ed was gorgeous. I loved every bit of him. And what has stuck with me the MOST is his journey. That in addition to job worries, love-life worries, balancing an active social life, and all the things we all do every day. On top of all that, he’s constantly thinking and worrying about passing as male, his meds schedule and their effects, what might come next in transitioning, the feel to/need to/fear of outing himself in a myriad of settings and situations. That always, always, always those things are on his mind along with everything else. I wanted relief for him…to just *be*.

“But it doesn’t mean I don’t…wonder. What being cis is like. What it’d be like to just not think about it all the time.”

That…that, along with a lot of other similar thoughts and worries, absolutely shredded me.

Alisha is a mostly perfect love interest for Ed. She’s quirky and fun and brings tons of sunshine to Ed’s world. Their courtship is a little tentative and a lot comical with Ed missing out on some of the big cues Alisha tosses his way to hint at her attraction to him. Ultimately, they are adorable with Ed trying to play it cool and Alisha not always the best at subtlety.

Though they presented as a perfect pair, I worried that their goals and outlooks on life weren’t quite in alignment for an everlasting future. That maybe Alisha’s wandering spirit was too strong for Ed, who seemed to feel the need to be well-grounded to a home-base. I wanted more than anything to believe that they were in it for the long haul, but I’m not certain I was totally convinced.

The story has some threads of a mystery, some heinous murders happening around La Vista targeting the queer population. Ed, while trying to further his career as a journalist, gets caught up on the fringes of the investigation. The prevailing theme, obviously, is the blossoming romance along with the community and friendships of a variety of characters from previous and future books. There’s such a sense of family, belonging, and acceptance among these folks that the tragic loss of any of them in such a heinous way presenting as a mystery sometimes felt a bit off for me. Either I wanted more of it, or could’ve done without it altogether.

Ed’s hyper-hetero, cis roommates were hilarious to see through Ed’s lens. Such jocks, such…dude-bros whose word choices and behavior sometimes made me wince. But they never came across as intentionally hurtful — just that they’d never taken the time or brain power to think beyond the cis-het-male gaze. And I LOVED how Alisha tossed them subtle, often comedic, curveballs that served to make them stop and think.

Overall, this series is fun and thus far has introduced a broad cast of characters I’d like to meet up with for a bucket of beer and hot wings. I am in love with Kris Ripper’s snarky and clever writing style that puts realness right out there front and center in sometimes self-deprecating ways — that’s totally my language and makes La Vista a place I want to be.

So yeah, I loved this.


Purchase Links:

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and other places books are sold.

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