I wasn't too keen on the Vikings or the BAD one, mostly I think because short stories just don't do it for me, no build up, it was all too grab and sh...moreI wasn't too keen on the Vikings or the BAD one, mostly I think because short stories just don't do it for me, no build up, it was all too grab and shag. hmm. The Immortals one was quite good tho, and I'm very glad I finally got to read the 1st in the series, since I've read all the others already! Now I finally see how it all goes together, it's like seeing the final scene of pulp fiction, lol. GOod stuff :)(less)
This is another of those books that is most commonly shelved as romance, but is actually a fantasy with some elements of romance in the story. I had t...moreThis is another of those books that is most commonly shelved as romance, but is actually a fantasy with some elements of romance in the story. I had this wrongly shelved as paranormal romance, which I guess I had picked up from other peoples labels and reviews. But as soon as I read the blurb in the shop, it was clear what it was actually about. which just shows you, don't judge a book by it's cover.
Yelena is a prisoner about to be executed for murder. But the Commander needs a new poison taster, and the law is that the job must be offered to one that is about to be killed. And so Valek, the Commanders adviser and spy-master, offers Yelena the position, and she accepts. Valek begins her training by feeding her the poison 'Butterfly Dust', for which she must then recieve an andidote every morning for the rest of her life. Thus securing her loyalty. Yelena's job puts her right in the middle of all the political intrigue, And if Yelena's job weren't dangerous enough, she begins to discover she may have magic abilities, in a country where magic is outlawed and punishable by death. All the while being haunted by traumatic memories of the past.
I thought the setting was very unusual for a fantasy novel, Ixia is a country that has recently been overtaken by a military regime. Each area of Ixia is ruled by a general, and all citizens wear uniforms and must carry paperwork. It's a tiny bit orwellian, But this is all still in a fantasy setting, which is a strange, but interesting new twist for the genre.
I'm fairly sure the book was supposed to be Young-Adult, but after reading it I'm not actually sure what age range I would recommend it for. Parts of the plot were a little easy reading to me, something that I could happily have read when I was 10-12 and in my 'point fantasy' stage. But then some parts, particularly the flash back scenes, would require much more emotional maturity.
The one mistake that I think the author made, was using certain items from real life in her fantasy setting. It wouldn't really have mattered, except one particular item was pivotal to the plot, and was supposed to be a mystery to the protagonist, but since it was taken directly from real life, and not invented for the fantasy setting.. it was no mystery to me as a reader, which was a bit of a let down.
Despite that one problem, and despite it being a young adult novel (which I don't often read), I think I'm definately going to continue to read the rest of the trilogy. Good thing too, since I already bought all 3 books together.
This is a fantastic collection of short stories, a little bit of a mix of mostly fantasy and urban fantasy and fairytale. And each of them contain a g...moreThis is a fantastic collection of short stories, a little bit of a mix of mostly fantasy and urban fantasy and fairytale. And each of them contain a gay or lesbian relationship, but all are done to varying degrees. No two stories are similar.
There were so many really good stories packed into this anthology, and it would be really hard to comment on them all, so I shall restrain myself to mentioning just a few favourites.
"The Coat of Stars" by Holly Black Rafael is a costume designer for stage productions, when he goes home to visit family he is remembering a long lost love from his boyhood: Lyle, who believed in fairies, and died tragically young. Then Rafael wonders if Lyle might never have died at all, but been taken by the fairy. This story blended modern day into fairytale so wonderfully, I loved everything about it. I will be looking for more novels by Holly Black in the future.
"Three Letters from the Queen of Elfland" by Sarah Monette Violet is a young woman who catches the attention of the fairy Queen Nix, and becomes her lover. The story is broken up by a look at three letters that Nix wrote to her human lover. I'm extremely in love with Sarah Monettes writing, and I was so thrilled to find that she'd written lesbian characters, as in fantasy thats a rarity. And Sarah Monette writes so uniquely and beautifully, no review does it justice. I really hope she writes a full length fantasy with lesbian characters in the future!
"How the Ocean loved Magie" by Laurie J Marks Another beautiful UF/fairytale in which a young woman pregnant by donor finds herself inexplicably drawn to the seashore and a far away island, and there becomes the lover of a beautiful mysterious woman with deep black eyes and a love for the ocean. To say more would spoil the mystery.. This was a very moving tale, beautiful and romantic and quite heartbreaking. This is another Author I have to investigate now.
Those were my favourite three of the entire book. But honourable mentions go to "The Price of Glamour" by Steve Berman and "Ever so much more than Twenty" by Joshua Luis.
The only one I found I didn't quite like was "Mr Grimm's fairy tale" by Eric Andrews, and in part because I wasn't sure at all what was supposed to be Queer about it (used the homosexual sense), I couldn't for the life of me spot a hint of gay relationship.. perhaps I'm missing something..? It seemed a little bit out of place tacked onto the end of anotherwise amazing collection of stories.
All in all VERY highly recommended for lovers of Fantasy and fairytales with lgbt themes. And I'm very pleased I found a whole bunch of new authors to check out!(less)
The novel is written as a series of letters from Gilbert Markham, to an old friend, detailing a particularly interesting time in his youth.
When the re...moreThe novel is written as a series of letters from Gilbert Markham, to an old friend, detailing a particularly interesting time in his youth.
When the reclusive and beautiful young widow - Helen Graham - takes up residence in old Wildfell Hall, along with her young son, Arthur; the local residence all become deeply curious about her. But none so much as Gilbert Markham. Graham begins a cautious courtship of Helen, easily begun by his natural fondness for the young Arthur, and a close friendship slowly blossoms between the two of them.
Rumours about Helen start to creep around the neighbourhood, and some locals speculate that little Arthur somewhat resembles Mr Lawrence, who is Helen's landlord and Gilbert's nearest friend. But Gilbert steadfastly refuses to believe any gossip about his dear Helen. Then late one night as he finds himself drawn back to Wildfell Hall, and he sees Helen and Mr Lawrence embracing and exchanging fond words. Gilbert suddenly begins to consider the local gossip seriously.
The real truth of the entire situation comes out, when Helen asks Gilbert to read her diary. Which details the countless miseries of her marriage, explaining why she chose to elope with her child rather than continue with her unfaithful, drunken, abusive husband.
With this novel Anne Bronte was certainly treading new and dangerous ground. It was a big sucess on first publication, but after Anne's death her sister Charlotte (author of Jane Eyre) prevented it from being republished. The 'problem' with the novel was apparently it's daring realism, firstly in the portrayal of Helen's abusive alcoholic husband. And then Helen herself, who defys all convention by actually leaving her husband, and furthermore becomes and independent woman, supporting herself and her child as an artist.
In my estimation tho, the daring of the novel is not entirely about Helen's actions, but it's her character that makes the topic so radical. Because Helen always remains such a pure and innocent character. She perseveres in her unhappy marriage for so long, remaining dutiful and always forgiving her husband's trespasses. And it's only her fear for her son's own character, as he comes under the influences of his father, that makes her think of eloping. Not for her own sake, but for Arthur. And despite all of her husband's infidelities, she herself remains true to her marriage vows, even after her elopement. Thus the real appeal of Helen as a feminist figure, is that whilst defying all convention, she also remains such a sympathetic, good christian character, and entirely free from blame.
Anne's novel is probably the most revolutionary of all the bronte works, and yet I've enjoyed all of the bronte novels I've read so far. And all of them seem to carry a taste of feminist expression in them. It's such a shame that there was such jealousy and rivalry between the sisters, as they're all brilliant authors in their own right.
Beautiful christmas romance, centred around an unpublished Dickens christmas novel. Loved it. Turns out JL can write brilliant romance that doesn't sta...moreBeautiful christmas romance, centred around an unpublished Dickens christmas novel. Loved it. Turns out JL can write brilliant romance that doesn't start with a dead body ;)(less)
Tate Walker (aka Talker), likes to talk, a lot. He has a mohawk, a huge facial/arm tattoo, and he's openly gay. He's a very 'out there' character, but...moreTate Walker (aka Talker), likes to talk, a lot. He has a mohawk, a huge facial/arm tattoo, and he's openly gay. He's a very 'out there' character, but you soon realise it's to hide his vulnerability.
Brian is a quiet but strong type, he's straight (or he thinks so), he comes from a poor background, and he's the kind of guy that just keeps quiet, gets on with things, and is always there for his friends.
From the moment Tate sits down next to Brian on the bus, and starts talking, there begins a beautiful friendship. Brian can't get much of a word in edgewise, but he's happy to listen. It takes a lot, but one day Brian realises that what he feels for Tate is more than frienship, but Tate is just unable to see the kind of love that Brian is willing to offer.
The story begins as a series of flashbacks, and flashbacks are dotted through the whole story, but it becomes more 'real-time' towards the end. At first the flashback style felt a little awkward, as we're sort of dropped right into it, and the scene changing was a bit quick for me, but once you're in, you're in deep.
I do love a good angst in my story, and this delivered high quantities of angst and heartbreak. It actually may have been a little too much for me. But I believe I am fairly picky. It's a close line between a good tearjerker and OTT emo angst. But if you do like it that way it's perfect for you.
One thing that confuses me, is why does Brian feel like he has to become punk to be seen as gay. Since when is punk scene associated with the gay scene, is this an american thing? or a local thing perhaps? *confused*
Still, good on the whole, I will read the next one, but just not straight away, that probably gives you my short take on it ;)(less)
At first I thought this series contained unconnected stories, turns out there is actually a strange connection.. The chocolate shop feautered in the f...moreAt first I thought this series contained unconnected stories, turns out there is actually a strange connection.. The chocolate shop feautered in the first book, is involved in this one also..
Carey is a college student (studying anthropology, and on the swim team), who gets a valentines gift of some very expensive chocolates. When he opens the chocolates in front of his friends they tell him the campus scare story about a serial killer that killed girls on campus after sending them anonymous valentines. This certainly doesn't help his nerves at all. Plus he's trying to deal with his crush on the anthropology teaching assistant; Walter.
Walter is a very socially awkward character, and comes across as very aloof and austere. So Carey has no idea if Walter even really likes him, let alone if he could act on his crush.
I thought this was a particularly creepy story. I found it hard to understand Carey's attraction to Walter, I get that the source of his cold attitude was just that he was socially awkward.. but I still couldn't find it in myself to soften towards him, he was just too creepy and mechanical.
Josh Lanyon talks in his little writers blurb about the college experience; "I wanted to capture that sense of an insular but temporary world, and how it feels when you begin to make choices that separate you from your friends". I think on that point he did succeed, the setting and characterisation was very good on that aspect, but then I guess he did too well, because remembering my time at college (uni in uk).. just depressed the hell out of me! So I can't fault his writing, he's a great writer, but it just didn't agree with me.
Emmett's best friend Rosemary is about to move away to a new job in paris. Emmett doesn't want to be left behind, but he can't help it as all his mone...moreEmmett's best friend Rosemary is about to move away to a new job in paris. Emmett doesn't want to be left behind, but he can't help it as all his money is tied up in his house. The house is quietly falling apart all over, will cost far too much to fix, and smells like old cabbage.
Then Chance at Sweets to the Sweet, introduces Emmett to Sam, who is big dark and handsome, and 'good with his hands'. Emmett invites Sam over to see what can be done, and the two go down to investigate the basement. And what they find is much, much, Much more than just a mysterious cabbagey smell.
I thought this was a realy great story, but it really deserved much more than a 50 page ebook. The plot twist was just too massive for such a small book. It was well done for what it was, but it really needed a much bigger space for such a huge concept.
With the mystery and magic of this story, it leaves no question in my mind that Sweets to the Sweet is not just the ordinary sweet shop, and Chance cannot be just an ordinary guy, and I can't wait to see if the later novelettes give more detail.
Griffin Skerry is a wedding planner. His current biggest project is planning the wedding of local elite rich couple Mallory and Joe. And Joe just happ...moreGriffin Skerry is a wedding planner. His current biggest project is planning the wedding of local elite rich couple Mallory and Joe. And Joe just happens to be Griffin's very closeted lover, who is still messing with Griff's head. Griffin then bumps into his estranged childhood best friend and crush; Hamar Sorensen, - In 'Sweets to the Sweet' of course - who is now the town sherriff. This awakens some old hurts in Griffin.
Of course everything is destined to go wrong with the wedding, and since it is a Josh Lanyon book you can be assured there will be a murder at some point!
This was a great story, expected no less than great by JL. But like the other petit morts I still found it frustratingly short. The old memories of Griff's young love for Hamar, was tearfully sweet, it was lovely, but I can't help wishing for more.
JP is a pretty much a small-time con man, although a young and attractive one. He arrives in the small sea-side town of Brightside, with nothing but h...moreJP is a pretty much a small-time con man, although a young and attractive one. He arrives in the small sea-side town of Brightside, with nothing but his shiny sports car and his intelligence. He figures out that the locals are all starved for romance, and decides that a love potion would be just the thing. He gets a little help from Chance from Sweets to the Sweet, and then he seduces Ryan into helping him too, and Ryan is just a nice young guy who works in a print shop.
I know I complain every time that these Petit Morts are too short, I guess I don't read many shorts, my idea of a short book is 200 pages.. But I am getting the hang of them now. Trying to get out of the habit of finishing the book and yelling "Hey Wait what happens now?" Because I'm realising these books are all about the beginnings, we get to see how they get it together, and it's up to us to imagine how it goes from there (or not). Probably something thats obvious to all.. but I'm slow on the uptake and this story happened to make it a lot easier for me to grasp. I doubt I'll ever be a huge fan of the short story, but I'm learing to appreciate it :)
Dominic is a celebrity photographer, he's pretty good at his job, and renowned for it. But he feels that he's not much of a looker himself, and seems...moreDominic is a celebrity photographer, he's pretty good at his job, and renowned for it. But he feels that he's not much of a looker himself, and seems to be a depressed from photographing goodlooking men, and feeling a bit jaded by the whole dating thing.
He does however manage to hook up with new young singer Johnny Palomino (cheesy stage name much?), and he's hoping for more. But is Johnny just using him as a stepladder to fame? He certainly seems to know just how to play it.
Then the next morning, Dominic looks in the mirror and something has changed. Or is it just a matter of perception? I think that's open to question. But I do know this; Blame Chance. As usual.
I really loved the twists in this book, and even tho the characters weren't quite to my usual tastes, and we did get off to a jumpy start (Jordan teased me by mentioning a passing security guard and NOT making him the love interest, that's mean, I'm sensitive about this).. But it does seem to be one of my higher rated Petit morts so far!
Jordan C P is a writer that I always enjoy. No matter the theme, or the situation, There's a certain something in her writing style, (don't ask me what or how it's done), that makes the r-rated parts dirty (in a good way). And yes I know, it's a sex scene, it's supposed to be 'naughty'. but I've read many m/m novels by now, and I'm not as shy as I was. But theres always a certain part where I have to peek around the room and make sure no one is watching.. If you know what I mean.. well you know.. the other author I can think of that has this effect is J.L. Langley. I'm not professional enough to define this subtle effect, but I know it's there!
Ethan is a hopeful writer, and co-owner of a family bookstore, his sister Erin runs the coffee-shop half of the store, and is his closest friend and o...moreEthan is a hopeful writer, and co-owner of a family bookstore, his sister Erin runs the coffee-shop half of the store, and is his closest friend and only relative.
Michael is a new guy in town, having recently opened a dojo across from Ethan's book store. He's tall, blonde, a bit terse and standoffish, but who wouldn't be when living with a huge disfiguring facial scar. Ethan is fascinated with Michael, but deals with this terribly, and puts his foot in his mouth a bit.
Soon after Michael arrives in town, bodies are discovered in the neighborhood, and speculation abounds as to the possible murderer. Erin has her eye on Karl for the culprit, a loner who writes creepy violent stories for Ethan's writers club.. and may just have a bit of an obsession for Ethan himself.
Yet again my main fault with this Petit Mort was that it was too short. With an author and a plot like this it needs more space to fill. Things have to be tied up way too hastily for my liking. This isn't me disliking the story, far fom it. This is me saying I really loved these characters and I wish they had more time, more space.. just more.
Recommended to any m/m reader who gets along with short stories better than I do ;)
Jason is a young psychologist graduate, working at a funeral parlour. He has the oh so glamorous job of dealing with bereaved family and trying to arr...moreJason is a young psychologist graduate, working at a funeral parlour. He has the oh so glamorous job of dealing with bereaved family and trying to arrange tasteful funerals to everyone's expectations. The latest is not going well, but Jason is happily suprised when the unfriendly Aunt lets young handsom nephew Fred take over the funeral arrangements. Jason finds Fred much easier to get along with. And they set about fulfilling the deceased's bizzarre last wish.. to be commemmorated with chocolate.. enter sweets to the sweet.
This is probably the most humorous of the Petit Morts so far, there were some bizarrely random and comical happenings. But overall quite a sweet (haha), romance beginning.
I'd never read anything by Sean Kennedy before now, but I think I'd probably like to read something else of his now, preferably something a bit longer. I'll have to bump up something of his that's on my tbr list.