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Review - The Keeper

Posted in Book Reviews on Sep 11, 2012

The Keeper

Hadi is a young man with a full life in the middle of Milan's fashion world. He's not one of the star designers, but he's one of the people those stars trust to turn their concepts into fabulous reality. But then one day he receives an urgent call from his family back in France. Hadi must drop everything and take on the role of 'keeper'.

For generations, Hadi's family has been the guardians of a secret. It has been the duty of unattached males in the family to act as keeper. Hadi is told little about what is expected of him. He is only told that he is to go to a small city in Algeria to take care of a man.

Hadi is expecting a frail old man, but when he arrives at the country estate he is surprised to find a man who appears to be not much older than himself, and no invalid. Over the course of the first few days, the full extent of the secret Hadi's family has guarded is revealed. Hadi is descended from Jacob, the brother of Jesus, and his charge is none other than Judas. More...

Review - I Once Had a Master

Posted in Book Reviews on Sep 07, 2012

I Once Had a Master

“I Once Had a Master” is a collection of nine short stories by one of the masters (if you'll pardon the expression) of gay BDSM erotica. Preston passed away in 1994 and the book, originally published in 1985, is only available in print, so it's taken me a while to get my hands on it.

The collection isn't exactly what I was expecting. While the stories are almost all hard-core in one way or another, there's a lot more to them than just the kinky sex, which often plays a minor role. These tales are much more about relationships, and their ups and downs, rather than sex. Some, like the title piece, are rather melancholy in the end, while another, titled “Authenticity”, is quite sweet. In many of the stories Preston expresses a certain jadedness about the new-found acceptance of the lifestyle. In “Authenticity” he's exasperated by a pair of bottoms who treat leather as just another kind of drag and worse, treat him as just a piece of meat whose only purpose is to fulfill their fantasies. They talk about what they'll do for him, but they're really just giving him a shopping list of what they want. More...

Review - Strange Fortune

Posted in Book Reviews on Sep 03, 2012

Strange Fortune

Major Valentine Strange is a soldier of fortune with a rather sizable gambling debt, which is why he accepts a dubious commission from the church to retrieve powerful artifact from a monastery high up in the mountains far from the city of Hidush. To ensure his success, the Holy Order assigns Aleister Grimshaw, a powerful witch, to accompany Strange on his mission. Master Grimshaw has his own questionable past to live down.

The two men face several challenges, from other men, nature and the supernatural, but still manage to find the curiously fortress-like home to the small and ancient religious community that possesses the artifact, a diadem that once belonged to a god, or maybe not. But finding the diadem is only the start of the curious journey of Strange and Grimshaw.

“Strange Fortune” is set in a time and place somewhat reminiscent of India during British colonial times. There is, or was as a background to the time the book is set, a terrible clash of two cultures that resulted in an open rebellion in the lifetimes of our two main characters. While the setting is somewhat familiar, this is a fantasy where magic and witchcraft are very real, and entirely different things, apparently. More...

Review - The Mark of an Alpha

Posted in Book Reviews on Aug 27, 2012

The Mark of an Alpha

Bennett enjoys pleasing his master, Marsdon, although he doesn't know that's his name. He doesn't even know what the man looks like. They've been playing together, exclusively, in the BDSM club for months, and the one thing Bennett won't do is reveal his full face. He has always been blindfolded or hooded before meeting Marsdon. He also wears cologne to mask his wolf scent.

“The Mark of an Alpha” opens on their last night together in the club. They both know it's the last time they will be able to play like this. Both men are wolf shifters, and they have responsibilities to their packs. They can't continue to play these 'human' games, despite the powerful feelings they have for each other.

A few days later Bennett is awaiting the arrival of his new mate. Despite his submissive role in the BDSM club, Bennett is an alpha wolf, and it has been arranged for him to mate with the alpha of another pack, to form a new pack of their own. His mind is heavy with the responsibility he will carry as leader, but he also can't get thoughts of Marsdon out of his head. More...

Review - Forest of Glass

Posted in Book Reviews on Aug 19, 2012

Forest of Glass

This review originally appeared at BDSM Book Reviews.

In a medieval fantasy world, Leith is the bastard son of the lord of the castle. He is nearing his twentieth year, when he knows he must leave his father's home and find his own place in the world. Then one day the Fair pays a visit to the castle. The Fair are a superhuman race that makes their home in the Blackwood Forest. They once terrorized the human population, stealing and taking slaves, but a treaty between the humans and the Fair have put an end to that. The Fair visits each of the castles from time to time to collect a tithe, but otherwise they leave the humans alone.

The visit from the Fair comes at a bad time for Leith's father. The harvest has not been good and he feels he cannot afford the tithe, so he offers up his bastard son instead. However, the Fair don't take slaves anymore, but the Fair leader Orias seems taken with Leith, so he makes him a bargain: spend a year in Orias' service and he will be rewarded with his own title and land. More...

Review - How Are You Going To Get Out Of That One, Alan Ambrose?

Posted in Book Reviews on Aug 15, 2012

How Are You Going To Get Out Of That One, Alan Ambrose?

Alan Ambrose is a very lucky young man. The twenty year-old is enjoying a night out in London with his friend Tabitha when he is picked up by a handsome older man, Archie. Archie takes Alan home to his London townhouse, where it soon becomes clear that the man is very well off. In the morning, Archie invites Alan to stay and even buys him an expensive watch to entice the young man to stick around. Alan settles almost naturally into the life of a kept boy without looking back.

Over the coming months Archie introduces Alan to his circle of friends, which includes the elderly Lord Percy. Percy clearly fancies the young Alan, and he's even more wealthy than Archie, with a mansion in Hollywood as well as an estate in England. Recognizing a bigger better deal when he sees it, Alan decides to dump Archie and become Percy's toy boy. More...

Review - Lord and Master

Posted in Book Reviews on Aug 11, 2012

Lord & Master

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

Reynold, the next Duke of Wilton, is very attached to his young lover and submissive sex slave, Lord David Litchfield, but the lad is immature and becomes jealous of Reynold's friendship with Lord John. The suspicion erupts more than once in a public argument, so to avoid scandal Lord Reynold buys a commission in the army and leaves for the Americas, where revolution is brewing.

When Reynold returns three years later, his lust for David is undiminished. But Lord David has gotten himself into a very nasty situation. He ran up some gambling debts, which were bought up by a brute named Hale. To keep his father from finding out about his foolishness, David has had to agree to be Hale's sex slave for ten years. Hale is the kind of master who delights in inflicting pain and humiliation without regard as to whether or not the submissive gets any pleasure from it. More...

Review - Raw Food

Posted in Book Reviews on Aug 03, 2012

Raw Food

Reviewer's note: In the interest of full disclosure, I feel I should note that I've come to know the author of this book, in that ephemeral not completely trustworthy way one gets to know people on-line. Reviews are supposed to be about the book, not the author, but what I know from the author has certainly colored my interpretation of the book.

Joe is a 22 year-old young man just starting out in working life after college. Escaping from a work party one night, he's pondering the menu at a trendy, and expensive, raw food restaurant when he's spotted by Francis, an older man who takes an instant liking to Joe. The two end up back at Francis' place, where Joe is treated to some rather kinky sex that both delights and confuses him.

The next day Joe is distracted at work, and his boss Marty notices. Marty has had his own designs on Joe, although the young man has never been sure of that. Joe is thrilled by the praise and attention lavished on him by Francis, but also disturbed by how fast things are moving and how little he knows about the other man. Despite his misgivings, Joe rushes to meet Francis that night. He learns more about the older man's past and is drawn ever more closer to him, although he still has his doubts. More...

Review - The Rent Boys of Prague

Posted in Book Reviews on Jul 28, 2012

The Rent Boys of Prague

The Rent Boys of Prague is a journal of the author's time in Prague in the early 2000s, where he attempted to become an amateur pornographer while enjoying the pleasures of the city's seemingly plentiful supply of rent boys. It's a curious adventure that proves real life can be more interesting than fiction. Things happen to Rick that wouldn't quite be believable if you made them up.

Although subtitled “An Online Erotic Memoir” the book isn't really erotica. Yes, there is a lot of sex, and some seriously worshipful descriptions of male anatomy, but the sex is often a very minor player in these stories, which are much more about the boys and the underground life of Prague in 2003 and 2004. More...

Review - Incursion

Posted in Book Reviews on Jul 13, 2012

Incursion

Kyle is an ex-soldier of the future, when humanity has spread to many different worlds and developed into many distinct cultures, not to mention a few genetic variations based on environmental necessity or economics. He's an 'ex' soldier because he's been wounded by a weapon based on the technology of an alien species which has become a threat to humanity. Kyle no longer has the use of his legs, and must get around with the help of a prosthetic exoskeleton. It isn't an ideal solution, but it was all the military would provide. His dream is to somehow get enough money to afford cybernetic limbs, which would allow him to move more naturally, and even almost pass for normal.

Not that there seems to be much prospect of any work coming his way when the story opens. But then comes a summons from the military commander of the sector where he lives. The commander has an offer for Kyle, a job. One of the very aliens who supplied the weapons technology as a double agent has gone missing with what is characterized as valuable information. If Kyle can track him down and bring him back, then he will be rewarded handsomely. More...

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