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Review - Two Hearts Two Spirits

Posted in Book Reviews on Dec 22, 2012

Two Hearts Two Spirits

Igashu and Helki are two young men in a small native tribe hidden away in a valley of the Rockies near one of the new national parks around the turn of the twentieth century. The two young men are very close, but soon they will face a tribal ritual: the bow and basket ceremony. The boys who choose the bow will become warriors and hunters - men - while those who choose the basket will have a more domestic life and join the Two Spirit people - homosexuals. It's a very black and white choice. Helki knows his place is with the Two Spirit people, and chooses the basket, but he has no desire to dress as a woman. Igashu loves Helki, but he is his father the chief's only son and so feels compelled to choose the bow.

Their choices made, the two young men set out on separate paths. Helki quickly becomes the village's spiritual guide while the conflicted Igashu sets out on his spirit quest, where he encounters his first white men, as well as a creature that haunts his past as well as Helki's. More...

Review - Trails of Love I Crawl Part 1

Posted in Book Reviews on Dec 18, 2012

Lucien and Amédée are two young men, aged 19 and 20 respectively, in a well-to-do household of a busy port town. Amédée is the stepson of the master of the house, while Lucien is the master's nephew, and Amédée's squire. The two young men have a close bond, but just as they're about to take their relationship beyond brotherly love, they're discovered by the head of the house. The old-fashioned man sends the boys off to a “reformatory” run by the enterprising Viktor, who subjects the two men to extremely cruel torture.

Fortunately for Amédée and Lucien, a demon - Belial - takes pity on them (or rather, sets his sights on them for his own plans) and puts things in motion to get them released from their torture. However, Belial decides to separate the two and send them each on their own path to discovering their inner desires. Amédée is taken by Viktor while Lucien becomes the treasured pet of the son of the commander of the attacking army. More...

Review - Acclamation

Posted in Book Reviews on Dec 11, 2012

Acclamation

Volume 1 of Acclamation

Still stinging from the loss of his lover four years ago, Michael Cassidy takes a job as an English teacher at a Catholic school in a small English town. Although only 28 years old, he's more or less given up on life and is hiding away from it, thinking that his one great love is already behind him.

However, life isn't quite through with Mr Cassidy. One day he discovers that he lives next door to one of his students, Dominic Butler. He hadn't really taken notice of the young man in his upper sixth form (a high school senior, for you non-English folks) class before, but as circumstances conspire for the two to spend time together, Michael finds himself ever more attracted to the young man. As it becomes clear that the feelings are mutual, Michael is torn between his feelings of love, the pain of his memories, and his responsibilities as Dominic's friend and teacher. More...

Review - Missing

Posted in Book Reviews on Dec 01, 2012

Missing

This is a difficult book to summarize without spoilers, so I'm not going to try. The blurb, as blurbs will do, only tells you half the story, and in this case it's possibly misleading. It might make you think that this is a mystery, or perhaps a psychological thriller, and that's what you may be thinking up to about halfway through, but then everything changes.

It's at about the midway point that you find out this story isn't exactly about what you think it is. Then again, maybe it is. The revelation is something of a soap opera cliché but the author handles it somewhat deftly. Which isn't to say it might not make you angry, although at this point you may already be ready slap the main character, Blain, around a little bit. Yes, he's crazy - perhaps literally - with grief, but while you will sympathize with his situation, you might also want to yell at him for the terrible way he's dealing with it. More...

Review - Wishes

Posted in Book Reviews on Nov 27, 2012

Wishes

Wishes by J.C. Owens

My rating: [rating=3]

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Auri is a young man determined to go places. He has risen through the ranks in the service of the Empire without the aid of any family connections, and now he is a first lieutenant on a diplomatic starship. Auri has gotten where he is by being stern and demanding. He gets things done. But there's nobody on his current assignment that he can call a friend. Even his own captain thinks he is a little too uptight.

As “Wishes” opens, Auri's ship has just received orders to take a diplomatic mission to Felin, a world occupied by a feline species that are considered barbarians by the empire. Auri has heard stories and rumors about the Felin's taste for humans, which, the rumors go, serve as slaves, so he is quite disturbed when he finally meets up with the cat-like humanoids, who seem to show an interest in him.

Auri will be relieved when the mission is over. There's just one more task to attend to, the signing of the agreement, and then they can leave. Only, it turns out that the young man is part of the deal. The diplomats have agreed to give Auri to the Felin king, without consulting with the young man. Auri is informed he is now the mate of the cat, and left there. More...

Review - Power Exchange

Posted in Book Reviews on Nov 23, 2012

Power Exchange

Volume 1 of Power Exchange

Gavin DeGrassi is a St Louis homicide detective. As “Power Exchange” opens, he and his partner Trent are called to the scene of a gruesome killing, where a Dom has been brutally murdered in his own play room with his own toys. The case awakens some feelings and desires that Gavin has long suppressed, as well as exposing him to some new ideas he has never considered. The detectives know nothing about the BDSM scene, so psychologist Ben Haverson is brought in to consult. Ben is not just a shrink who knows about the lifestyle, he's a Dom in his own right. As Gavin's personal and professional life are turned upside-down, another body appears. Can he and his new partner solve the case before it's too late? More...

Review - Woke Up in a Strange Place

Posted in Book Reviews on Nov 20, 2012

Woke Up in a Strange Place

Joe has indeed, as the title says, woke up in a strange place. The strange place is heaven, or rather, the afterlife. There aren't exactly any pearly gates and Saint Peter is nowhere in sight. Joe is, at first, alone in a golden field of barley, with no memory of his former life or how he died, but soon he meets his quirky guide, Baker, and together they set out on a journey to rediscover the key people and events of his earthbound existence.

Joe's challenge is to truly find himself, in almost the very literal sense, as he explores a world where the only limits are those that people place on themselves and the only real dangers are the things left undone.

“Woke Up in a Strange Place” is a very episodic tale as Joe meets the key people and remembers the experiences that shaped his life. Some of the reunions are joyous, some are bittersweet, and a few are downright melancholy. The prologue gives us an idea of where Joe needs to end up, but while there are a few surprises in store, in some ways it's the journey that's more important than the destination in this tale. More...

Review - Aliens, Smith and Jones

Posted in Book Reviews on Nov 12, 2012

Aliens, Smith and Jones

Connor Smith works for Primrose, a super-secret organization tasked with controlling the alien presence and their artifacts in the UK. As the personal assistant to one of the team leaders, he's right in the thick of things, from hunting down six-armed monkeys run amok to cataloging artifacts for the archives. It's a job that can sometimes be 24/7, which doesn't leave much time for a private life. So, when Connor's best friend and coworker Isa introduces him to Jason, a man who doesn't give up easily, it seems like a match made in heaven.

Noah Jones is an alien, a Rei, stranded on earth more than 300 years ago. Forced to take human form so he could fit in, a slight misunderstanding about human lifespans means he has outlived all the people he ever cared about. The Rei live for, even need, to bond with another and it has been 200 years since Noah has found any human that he has any connection with. More...

Review - The Elegant Corpse

Posted in Book Reviews on Nov 08, 2012

The Elegant Corpse

Roger Corso is a detective with the LAPD, and a more tightly wound individual would be hard to imagine. He could make Joe Friday look like a loose cannon and Felix Unger look like a slob (★). Part of that is just who he is, but there's also a defensive wall around the part of him that still grieves for his dead lover. He also has to be on guard about his private life. While his fellow detectives know Roger is gay, they don't know about his long association with the BDSM scene.

Roger's carefully constructed walls separating his worlds start to crumble when he returns home from a week away to find a mummified dead body laid out on his living room couch. The bodies continue to pile up, and they all have something to do with Roger and his past, although many of them are strangers to him. Only, he's at a loss to understand what message the killer is trying to send.

And then there's Sean, the much younger brother of the first victim left on Roger's sofa. He is everything that rubs Roger the wrong way: messy, brash, profane, undisciplined, and yet, Roger can't seem to get rid of the man, or get him out of his head. More...

Review - The Flesh Cartel #1: Capture

Posted in Book Reviews on Nov 04, 2012

The Flesh Cartel #1: Capture

This review originally appeared in slightly different form at BDSM Book Reviews.

In this work of speculative fiction, people with enough money and the right connections can buy anything, including their own personal sex slaves. The Flesh Cartel is a super-secret, highly organized group that supplies these human cattle. They take people nobody will really miss and transform them into the perfect slave. “The Flesh Cartel” series follows two brothers as they are taken and processed through the cartel's machinery.

Note that this is a serial publication. Serialization is the latest thing in ebook publishing right now, although it's an idea as old as mass printing. Many of the great classic authors, like Dickens, originally had their works published in serial form a hundred years ago. Back then, printing a small chunk of a book at a time made it more affordable to the mass market. In today's market, where most consumers are loath to pay more than 5.99 for a full length novel in ebook form, publishers are hoping that they'll willingly pay 2.99 each for the same work in eight or a dozen installments. It's great for the authors, hopefully, but it really requires that they make every installment, and especially the first one, engrossing enough to make you want to come back for more. More...

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