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Review - Solemn Contract

Posted in Book Reviews on Jul 05, 2012

Solemn Contract

This review originally appeared at Speak Its Name.

James 'Jem' Bradley would do anything for his sister Meg. She's the only family he has after the two of them left their family in old England and immigrated to pre-revolutionary New England. They left over their father's objections to Meg's plan to marry Neil Iveson, and it seems daddy may have been right. Neil has taken all of their money, and borrowed more, to invest in a failed get-rich-quick scheme. Now the creditors are knocking at the door and threatening to send Neil to debtor's prison. With two children to support, there's no way Meg could survive on her own without Neil. The only way out seems to be for Jem to sell himself into indentured service for five years to pay off the debt.

Jem finds his indenture through one of the owners of the shipping company where Neil works, Amos Tanner, who is looking for a worker for one of the other farmers, Dan Wallace, in the inland settlement of Kennet. Although Tanner negotiates the indenture for Wallace, he sets his own sights on Bradley. Tanner, the father of two sons, has 'unnatural desires' as they put it, and Jem flames his desire like no-one else has for years. Tanner escorts Jem back to Kennet and turns him over to Wallace. More...

Review - The Boys Club

Posted in Book Reviews on Jun 29, 2012

The Boys Club anthology

This collection of - let's be honest - one-handed reads features twelve stories by eleven authors. Here's a short summary and quickie review of each:

The Fanboys by Stella Harris: Shane and Danny are two star-struck fans of actor Eric Ashcroft. They contrive to meet their idol, who is filming nearby, and get much more than they bargained for when the star invites the young men back to his trailer. A rather sweet little crush fantasy.

Room For Two by J.S. Morbius: A little glory hole action turns into a hot threesome. The action is pretty good, but a few stunning errors made me think the author was both clueless and lazy, and took me out of the story a few times.

Getting Fit by Abby Hayes: Three couples share hot and steamy action after hours at a health club owned by one of the guys. There is some pretty good action here as the couples each do their thing, sometimes with an audience. There's even a little kink. However, the dialog is so awful it reminds me of why I usually watch porn with the sound off. More...

Review - Papa Knows Best

Posted in Book Reviews on Jun 22, 2012

Papa Knows Best

This review originally appeared at BDSM Book Reviews.

Photography teacher Dominick Pappas, called 'Papa' by his old friend Ben, is snapping pictures in a cafe one day when he spies the distinguished Professor Bradley Louis, a much older man that Papa is instantly infatuated with. Professor Louis has a reputation for being gruff, but despite Ben's warnings Papa tries to connect with the older man. He's rebuffed, but determined, and eventually, after several encounters, Bradley agrees to a date.

Bradley was in a life-long relationship that only ended a few years before when his partner died in a crash. He is doubtful that he will ever find love again, especially with a man twenty years younger, and then there's another problem. They go out on several dates before Brad finally confesses that he needs not just a lover, but a master. More...

Review - The Rabelais Alliance

Posted in Book Reviews on Jun 19, 2012

The Rabelais Alliance

Volume 1 of Hellgate

Curtis Marin is a hit man, although he would object strongly to that term. He would probably prefer something more along the lines of 'avenging angel'. In the almost lawless fringes of the human colonies among the stars, where money and power lets you get away with murder (in other words, not much changes in 700 years), Marin works for a secret organization that, for a price, allows bereaved families to get justice. Marin does a lot of research, including hacking into computer systems, to ensure that the selected victim is guilty of their crime before he carries out a commission. He's judge, jury and executioner.

We first meet Marin while he's on assignment, taking out a particularly nasty gun-runner who murdered a dozen people just because they discovered what he was doing, or might have seen something they shouldn't have. By the time Marin pulls the trigger, the reader is convinced the man is getting exactly what's coming to him. More...

Review - Unspoken

Posted in Book Reviews on Jun 12, 2012

Unspoken

This review first appeared at Speak Its Name.

“Unspoken” is told from the point of view of Stefan, a 30-something working class man in a small-ish Dutch town. He is married with three children as the book opens, and if you asked him, he would probably say he's happy, except for the problem of finding work to provide for his family in the middle of the depression. Stefan has done what was expected of him; he got married to a good woman, fathered children, and does whatever work he can find to put food on the table for them. He doesn't know any better.

Then, one day in the dole queue, Stefan meets Adri, and it changes everything, or nothing. Stefan doesn't understand his feelings at first, and Adri for his part takes things slowly. Unlike Stefan, Adri has always known that he prefers the company of men, and only men. His stepfather threw him out on the street when Adri's predilections became clear, and he's managed to survive thanks to the mentoring of other men like him. More...

Review - Stealing Some Time, Volume 2

Posted in Book Reviews on Jun 02, 2012

Stealing Some Time, Volume 2

Volume 2 of Stealing Some Time

I read the first volume of Stealing Some Time in print several years ago, well before the ebook era. I liked it enough to want the read the second volume, but by the time I got around to wanting to order it, the book had gone out of print. Fortunately, the book was re-issued in both print and ebook, so I've now finally be able to download Volume 2 for a read. The only problem is that I've forgotten most of the details for the first book, although I do remember the broad outline of the story. So, for both our benefit, here's a summary of Volume 1, from the author's web site:

It is 2477 CE. Much of the world has long since become desert due to the unchecked use of fossil fuels in centuries past. But the world of the 25th century is an advanced one, where technology rules, where ruthless leaders have the upper hand, and where water is the limiting factor for all of civilization. Eighteen-year old Kallen Deshara is entering his obligatory 5-year stint in the North American Alliance’s Air Defense Force. While in boot camp, Kallen comes to terms with the fact that he’s gay. He even finds his first gay relationship with a fellow graduate recruit, but is dumped shortly thereafter. While nursing his wounds, he finds his second relationship in a fellow student while in the ADF’s Schools Division. After being dumped again, Kallen is shipped off to his first duty station in the mountains at the edge of North America’s Great Central Desert. There, Kallen becomes a force to be reckoned with as his natural talent in photronics, the 25th century form of software, comes to the fore. Another relationship follows. This time with an officer. But it falls short again. When called to Central Security, he’s sure he’s walking into a court-martial due to finally being found out. Instead, he finds that he’s been called for a secret mission to 1820. Time travel! He and his team have been called to rectify a problem caused by the very device that opened the portal to the past. Not expecting more than to do his duty, Kallen isn’t prepared for what awaits him.

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Review - Cawnpore

Posted in Book Reviews on May 30, 2012

Cawnpore

This review originally appeared at Speak Its Name.

Cawnpore picks up more or less where the author's previous work, The White Rajah, left off. Like the first book, this one takes the form of a memoir of the fictional John Williamson. Williamson has parted company with his employer and lover James Brooke after the inquiry into the battles that firmly established Brooke as the “White Rajah”. While Williamson is still in love with Brooke, the ghosts of all the people killed in Brooke's name has driven a firm wedge between them.

With a generous severance from Brooke, Williamson could easily return to England and a quiet life, but he's not quite ready to settle down and, intrigued by Brooke's own stories of India, he decides to stop there before going back to Britain. In Calcutta, he applies to work for the East India Company and is surprised to find he is readily accepted and assigned the post of Deputy Collector in Cawnpore. While Brooke did not have a very high opinion of “the Company”, they have certainly heard of his exploits in Sarawak, and have a high opinion of him, and by extension, Williamson.

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Review - The Viking in My Bed

Posted in Book Reviews on May 12, 2012

The Viking in My Bed

This review first appeared at BDSM Book Reviews.

College student Bailey wakes up with a heavy weight on his shoulders, quite literally. There's a viking in his bed, who seems to know every little secret spot on Bailey's body that will make him shiver with lust. He assumes the naked Norseman is some kind of prank by his roommates. The blond bronzed god is out of his league. But the viking, Frey, insists he is there for Bailey. Frey is the Guardian and Bailey is the Guide.

It all sounds like part of the joke to Bailey, and fearing the powerful emotions Frey brings out in him, he flees to his classes. As the day wears on, strange things start to happen, which make Bailey believe that, however impossible it may seem, Frey really is a warrior from the past, or another dimension, sent to protect and help him. The two must work together to banish the demons that have been let into Bailey's world.

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Review [sort of] - Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Posted in Book Reviews on May 06, 2012

This movie came up the other day, in the very tangential way that things do on Twitter. I decided it might make a good topic for a blog post, since it is one of may favorite movies, which might help explain a few things.

This movie came up the other day, in the very tangential way that things do on Twitter. I decided it might make a good topic for a blog post, since it is one of may favorite movies, which might help explain a few things.

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Review - Needful

Posted in Book Reviews on May 02, 2012

Needful

Volume 3 of Remastering Jerna

Another year or so has passed since the events of the last book, Games & Consequences, and things are not going well for Jerna and his family. His youngest daughter is fighting cancer while the older one is facing bullying at school. Love and honor compel Jerna to spend more time with his wife and children, and less time with his lover Ria.

Ria feels lonely, and although he tries to understand Jerna's situation, he can't help but wonder if he can ever be really happy sharing Jerna with his wife and family. It doesn't help that Ria's old flame Orlan has reappeared to create mischief in both Ria and Jerna's life. For much of the first half of this book, it seems that Needful is going to be the story of the end of a relationship, as conflicting demands tear Ria and Jerna apart, but then this author excels at painting her characters into a corner from which it seems they can't escape without giving up something dear to them.

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