**spoiler alert** I just finished reading “Bond of the Earth” and I have to say, I ADORED this book.
It’s set in one of my favorite time periods, one t...more**spoiler alert** I just finished reading “Bond of the Earth” and I have to say, I ADORED this book.
It’s set in one of my favorite time periods, one that I think doesn’t get nearly the amount of attention it deserves. The book starts in 1919, post WWI, and revolves around the lives of two WWI veterans, both of whom had horrific experiences while in Europe that they have not been able to leave behind.
POV I really like the fact that we are in Michael’s point of view for the entire book. Unlike many traditional romances, that switch POV between the hero and the heroine/hero, Chevalier chooses to maintain only one. I think that made the story more powerful, if only because we only know what Michael knows, we don’t get Seward’s side of things, only Michael’s interpretation of Seward’s words and actions.
Language I thought the language and the writing were beautiful without being flowery and pretentious. There were many passages that really spoke to me, some beautiful, some sad, some just incredibly insightful, and throughout it all, it felt like it was coming from Michael, which just made his character all the more rich and deep.
Plot and Character The plot is deceptively simple when you try to blurb it for something like a review. The point of the book is this love story, between two men in a period of time where they could have been arrested and sent to jail for being in love with each other. That’s incredibly powerful, with stakes that are set enormously high.
I liked that the hanging threat of being caught out hung over both Michael and Seward throughout the entire book, and it wasn’t just a device to get Michael to Hudson. Even after Margaret found out about Michael, there were still repercussions. She didn’t understand and she cut off contact from him, which was what he was afraid of, but the legal danger didn’t lessen at all for him and possibly increased, if Margaret decided that he needed official “rehabilitating”.
I was sad that Michael had not reconnected with his sister by the end of the book, but that felt more true to life than any other plot option. It made me feel like there was more story, even though it didn’t appear in this book, like there could be more adventures for these guys, perhaps one where Michael gets to see Margaret again and perhaps she will have opened her heart a bit more.
I loved that Michael’s work at the bath house, with the massage and such, allowed him to both help Seward regain his mobility and find a place in Seward’s life. That felt like a natural progression and not just a needed plot element to get the boys together. The story of how Michael found the St. Alex bathhouse, how he became a rubber, what he did there, how he found his way to medical school and then to the war- it all worked for me as something that could have happened and that would have happened to this guy. That he was forced into the gardening job felt natural, as well, and then to find out that the guy he’s working for needs the skills that he, Michael, has, feels more like fate than a plot contrivance.
The theme of fate was well used here, lightly touched but powerful when it was brought up.
Seward is fascinating. His path to Europe is believable and real, his decisions that got him to the front just the kinds of things that I could see a kid in his position making at the time. The kind of tragedy and horror that he saw over there, and the pain that he had to live with every day, not just physically but mentally as well, seemed like much more punishment than he deserved, even if Seward himself didn’t believe that.
I liked that Seward maintained his attitude even after it was clear, at least to the reader, that he was starting to have feelings for Michael. I liked that he was a bit surly, that surliness might just be a part of his personality and that’s fine- it’s so different, really. There are a lot of stories where there is a surly character but once that icy exterior is cracked, the turn into a giant marshmallow. In this case, we do see Seward opening up and showing his feelings, and connecting with Michael, but he is also a surly bastard most of the time, and that’s so much fun to read. Their banter was great.
I am not a fan of the “big misunderstanding”, like what you’d see in a romantic comedy or “Three’s Company.” You know what I mean- the kind of thing where someone hears something out of context and misunderstands, or something happens and the character reacts before the other person can really explain. In this book, we don’t get that and I was so damn thankful for that.
I feel like the big misunderstanding that sends Michael back to New York came out of his actions and his lack of clear communication with Seward, which made sense. Michael’s reactions to Seward’s words and anger, as well as Seward’s reaction to the two city men showing up on his doorstep came out of who they were as people and out of what the story had already presented, from page one.
I loved the end, thought that it was just wonderful and sweet, but with the realities of the world they live in still hanging over their heads. It felt like the most real happily ever after that these guys could hope for and I was satisfied with that.
History I am so, so grateful that the author did not try to explain the world or the history. Chevalier put it out there, as it would have been for Michael and Seward. The discussion of the alienist is one of the best examples I can find- we didn’t get any weird explanation that felt like authorial intrusion, nor did we get any historically inaccurate verbiage in order to make it easier to understand for those not as familiar with the time period. As a reader, I was treated as an intelligent adult and I loved it.
The flashback type moments that Michael had were excellently done. Not too long and with just the right details to make it vivid and powerful, but not overwhelming. The memory of the Casualty Clearing Station, with the dead handing seeming to wave good-bye at him was one of those moments that just stuck with me as I read the rest of the novel. It just felt real, and it was affecting without being manipulative, which I also appreciated.
The amount of research that went into this book quite frankly is astounding but what is even more astounding is the fact that it doesn’t feel like the author is saying “look at all this research I did! Appreciate it!” The level of historical detail is amazing and yet it’s really subtle, running through everything.
I always knew when and where I was, but it wasn’t distracting. I never had to stop and say “now, wait a minute, that didn’t happen until 19XX” like I have with other books I have read. The time period and the world this book is set in is SO IMPORTANT to the plot, the characters, and the love story that it couldn’t have been written any other way and worked.
Sex Sex runs through the whole book, although it is only really explicit in a few places. The bath house scene at the beginning, Michael taking care of himself when he moves in to the house in Hudson, flash backs, and his visit to New York- there was a lot there that wasn’t directly tied to the main romance, and I liked that. I liked seeing Michael as a sexual creature, and it made sense based on his character, his history, and his personality.
There are two sex scenes between Michael and Seward, both hot and fun. Their first time was just jaw droppingly sexy. It was explicit and detailed, while weaving the emotional connection needed to make the reader understand that this isn’t just a fuck, that there is much more going on here and there is more than just a physical connection being created.
The last scene in the book is a sex scene, and it’s there, I THINK, to show us that the boys are going to be just fine. The back and forth between them, the intensity of the emotion and the arousal, it was just HOT. I said that before but, honestly, it just was. And it was different than the first scene, in that these guys know each other now, they have admitted to loving each other and the way that they relate to each other physically reflects that.
I think that’s why this scene was the very last one. Guys don’t say a lot, and honestly, it’s hard to trust anything that someone says. We look at what they do, in fiction and in real life, and it’s easy to see based on this scene that they do love each other and are willing to put in the hard work and make the sacrifices and take the risks in order to do so, because they believe the other is worth in.
Little Things I Didn’t Like There were only a few things that I didn’t care for. The confrontation at the Labor Day event, with the father of the boy who died, felt very… contrived is too harsh a word, but it felt very staged where the rest of the book just felt so natural. I think that’s why it stood out to me, if only because everything else just had this flow.
There were a few little moments like this, including the scene where Castleton arrives in Hudson with the art gallery owner. It just felt like Castleton was a plot device designed to get a certain reaction out of Seward and Michael. I think that this could have been done a bit differently, with the same reaction from Seward, without the over the top dramatics.
Honestly, beyond those moments, I didn’t have a whole lot to critique here.
I could discuss this books for hours, I loved it so much. I will stop here and hope that anyone who reads this will decide to pick it up and give it a try. This is an excellent romance and an excellent novel. I highly recommend this one. (less)
Read it in less than 24 hours, so for those of you that can rip through a book, this is one of those, just FYI.
Read it before I saw the movie (have NOT seen the movie at this point), so I can't compare the two.
I usually cannot STAND first person but I don't think this book would have worked without a first person, unreliable narrator.
I loved Pat's voice and I felt for him through the whole book, despite knowing that he hasn't always been a good person, despite when he makes mistakes or does bad things. I felt for him and felt like I was with him, and I wanted him to get better (although I NEVER wanted him to get back with Nikki, just to be clear).
I loved the ending and felt like it was a perfect fit for the book. An excellent read.(less)
**spoiler alert** There have been a lot of comparisons between this book and Harry Potter, as well as the Jungle Book.
I have to say that I liked Bod...more**spoiler alert** There have been a lot of comparisons between this book and Harry Potter, as well as the Jungle Book.
I have to say that I liked Bod a heck of a lot more than Harry or Mowgli. I can't count the number of times I had a *facepalm* moment while reading the Harry Potter books- Oh, Harry Potter, No!
With Bod, They were few and far between and even then, I felt more in tune with his decision making process and his path than I ever did reading the Jungle Book.
I loved the language Gaiman uses. I actually listened to this book via his website- the entire book is posted there in chapters from the book reading tour he had in October. A part of what really sold the story for me was his use of accent and langue while reading but the words themselves painted such a full and powerful picture for me.
I adored the ending. It felt like a beginning for Bod, a sense of moving from one world to the next. It's as if Bod was living life backwards- starting out in the graveyard, then leaving for the rest of the world.
Some have commented that we did not know enough about the Jacks, that their motivations weren't clear enough, that what Silas did to fight them was too vague. I have to tell you, I was glad for it. I hate all of the conspiracy theory baloney that authors have tried to use (Yes, I'm even talking to you, Rowling). I liked the idea that no one was willing to monologue their backstory, that it wasn't really the important issue in the long run.
The story was about keeping Bod safe so he could grow up and live. That's what Silas and the others did.
This really touched me and I wasn't expecting it to. I was left longing for more story- not that what I had read wasn't enough to fill in all the blanks but that I wasn't ready for Bod to go away yet. I could have spent more time with him and Silas and Scarlet.
I have this image in my head of Bod traveling the world, touching all the paths that he can and eventually running into Scarlet again.
This book reminded me, now that I really think about it, of Stephen King and Peter Straub's "The Talisman", in terms of how real and honest the main hero was. And because of that, I am hoping for (no matter how unlikely it is) for a sequel much like "The Black House," where we find out hero grown and living and finding more adventures in his life. (less)
**spoiler alert** I love me some Neil and I love me some Batman. Would have loved to read more of Gaiman's take on Nightwing and/or the Batman/Nightwi...more**spoiler alert** I love me some Neil and I love me some Batman. Would have loved to read more of Gaiman's take on Nightwing and/or the Batman/Nightwing relationship. *sigh*
LOVED his version of the Joker.
The black and white comic was exceptional- well done all the way around. I think that even the Riddler was made more menacing and creepy here than I've seen him in quite a while. Loads of fun- will have to pick up a copy of my own in the future.(less)
**spoiler alert** I'd actually give this a 4.5 or a 4.75.
This is a beautifully written book and one that I loved more and more as I read. The world bu...more**spoiler alert** I'd actually give this a 4.5 or a 4.75.
This is a beautifully written book and one that I loved more and more as I read. The world building is fantastic and the character work is just wonderful.
It felt like I had walked in to a painting, I could see the Welsh countryside so clearly in my head, without the details being too much or the exposition being to "telling".
I loved all the side characters and loved how they filled out Harry and Jim's world, so that everything felt real.
The danger of the world they were living in was so real and heavy and THERE- both the danger of the Germans bombing them and the danger of being caught as queer felt real and heavy. This was not a story where the weight of homosexuality was hand waved away and I appreciated that.
I did like that while the danger of the law and the danger of its repercussions was always there, there were people who were willing to accept their family and friends for who they were, which I truly believe did happen in history, and I feel that Jack and Kitty were set up as characters who were capable of those choices from the beginning so that was not surprising in the slightest to me.
Thomas was a bit over the top, although I did appreciate the attempts to make him a real person who was believable. I liked that Joan and her decision to marry a man like Thomas was explained- her need to support and protect her children when she knew that she couldn't count on her brother financially made sense and choosing Thomas, despite the fact that he's kind of a giant tool box but a tool box with money and stability does make sense.
The only ding I would give this book is that there isn't a lot of explicit sex in the book, which is fine, but the one time where the author does get as close to graphic as you'll see in this book, it's not between Harry and Jim, but between Harry and another man, trading sex for favors. I was disappointed that their encounter was much more graphic and explicit than anything that we saw between Harry and Jim. I would have much preferred to have just had that encounter been alluded to rather than be so blunt if we weren't going to have as much or more with those that we cared so much for.
This is a bit of a slower read, but one that is worth every moment.
I would recommend this book to readers of historical romance and those that enjoy m/m stories. The love story is sweet, despite the lack of descriptive sex. Not for those looking for porn, but great for those looking for deeper connections.(less)
**spoiler alert** I LOVED this book. I like that it’s peripheral to the Troubleshooters series, without having those characters actually appear in the...more**spoiler alert** I LOVED this book. I like that it’s peripheral to the Troubleshooters series, without having those characters actually appear in the book.
I like the parallel love stories, and the way that the backstory for Ian and his brother was revealed. Sometimes I get annoyed when there is a story that takes away from the main romance, but I loved how both romances were woven together.
I also liked how not everyone had a happy ending, or even a HEA FOR NOW. The complicated relationship between the mobster and the sister was a nice touch- it was sad but had a very real feel, in terms of how complicated all the feelings were.
Lots of different characters but still very strong people, in their own ways.
I’ve read a few reviews that call Phoebe “Too Stupid To Live” and honestly, I don’t see her that way. Her first mistake- going back to her apartment- was due to her not having all the information that she needed in order to make a better choice. I can understand where she was coming from, in a way. Moving forward, I thought that every choice she made was an attempt to help, using her brain to work through the problem and jumping in, as opposed to not thinking and stupidly wandering into a situation.
All in all, I liked her and give her a lot more credit than others apparently do.
Ian was an alpha male, but like in many of Brockmann’s novels, he’s an alpha male that I actually am attracted to. Too often alpha males are so arrogant, so bossy, and so overbearing that I don’t find them attractive in the least. Ian was something that I could see myself falling for.
I liked all the characters. The baddies are the best kind of baddies and the good guys are my favorite k...moreI'm just gonna go for it and give it 5 stars.
I liked all the characters. The baddies are the best kind of baddies and the good guys are my favorite kind of good guys.
I loved both of the heroes and I liked the way the author brought them together and made them fall in love.
Like a soap opera, as many others have mention, there were a lot of side plots and the action did slip over into other POVs but it happened often enough that it wasn't off putting and the writing was good enough that you never minded.
I loved all the other characters and cared about them enough that I wanted to know what was going on with all of them. This is exactly the kind of thing that I would want out of a soap opera and out of this kind of book.
This is a long book, but it wasn't TOO long- it was meaty enough to carry the kind of storytelling the author wanted to use but not so long that she had to get too carried away with the craziness of the plot.
I was glad to find out that this is the first of a series, because I want more! Excellent series, one that I would recommend to anyone that is interested in reading in the m/m genre but doesn't know where to start. (less)
**spoiler alert** I LOVED this book. Every bit of it, I adored.
The characters were fantastic. I was a bit worried, as this is book 4 (I think) of a se...more**spoiler alert** I LOVED this book. Every bit of it, I adored.
The characters were fantastic. I was a bit worried, as this is book 4 (I think) of a series that I hadn't read any of the other books in and yet I wasn't lost. In fact, I'm going back to read the other three books because what I read was so satisfying.
The author's prose is really wonderful, the dialogue just stunning. It felt very real, like what two people would actually say to each other if they were in this situation.
I found the initial sex scene to be very hot and very emotionally satisfying. Ms. Bourne didn't allow Hawk to "fix" Justine with sex, but he gave her new memories to put in front of the old ones, and that helped her move forward in her life. That felt true and honest, at least to me. I also liked that she came to him first. He wasn't trying to convince her that he could help, in fact, he didn't say anything about sex at all until she brought it up.
And they were such a sweet, sexy couple, even if they didn't see it themselves. Ugh. This was fabulous.
I even enjoyed the intrigue, which is normally not my cup of tea. I loved it through their eyes and their experiences and it was just fun to watch these characters be SO GOOD at their jobs and so bad at seeing how much they loved each other. The fun part, at least for me, was knowing that they'd figure it out eventually and they did. *sigh*
I originally got this book from the library, but I will be buying this ASAP. This will be one that I re-read, for sure.(less)
**spoiler alert** I loved this book. Too short but a lot of fun.
Just a theory but I'm thinking the author is a White Collar fanboy and instead of writ...more**spoiler alert** I loved this book. Too short but a lot of fun.
Just a theory but I'm thinking the author is a White Collar fanboy and instead of writing fanfic, wrote this. Neal morphs into Noel, Peter into Robert and funny enough, there is still an "El", even though she's only at the beginning.
I think this was a lot of fun and I wished there had been more. I almost wish that there had been a crime that had been committed so that Noel and Robbie would have to solve it together to clear Noel's name.
But, looking at what this story was and not what it could have been, I still loved it. I loved that Noel was so kind to help his neighbors, even with Robert under foot. I loved that Noel kept writing about Robert because he missed him. I loved that Robert left the FBI and went to find Noel because he still had feelings for him.
I'm a sucker for the old-lovers-reunite story line and this really hit those buttons for me.(less)