Jet Mykles has easily cemented herself as a talented and exceptionally entertaining writer with the perfect balance of romance, action, and sex. In anJet Mykles has easily cemented herself as a talented and exceptionally entertaining writer with the perfect balance of romance, action, and sex. In another turn in the Heaven Sent universe, the spotlight is turned to the last remaining single member of the band while continuing to give satisfying glimpses into past characters. One of the reasons this series works so well is the interplay of characters throughout the books. Each band member is not isolated for the space of their story and Mykles deftly weaves the entire cast of characters in and out of scenes flawlessly giving continuity between the various stories without ever losing the first time reader. Add in remarkable cover art from PL Nunn and the result is a truly wonderful series of books.
This particular book focuses on Darien and his rather easy walk on the dark side. After realizing that the gradual shift from heterosexual to bisexual to committed gay relationships has occurred for all his closest friends and band members, Darien starts to wonder if he’s been missing something all this time. Darien’s easy going mannerisms and happy go lucky outlook are not tested too much in his rather light and quick road to a happy ever after. Even shifting from a steadfast heterosexual lifestyle to a first time relationship with a man, Darien is rarely phased by much and takes the ups and downs with his lover in stride. Although Darien lacks the intensity of other band members, he’s a perfect foil for the extreme personalities blended together in the band. His lack of issues and angst may not cause him to be a favorite but his character lends a light hearted and necessary aspect.
Chris is a more complex and intense character, carrying quite a bit of unresolved emotional issues from his previous relationship with an actor who one day decided he wasn’t gay. The fear of rejection from yet another “not gay” man causes his resistance to Darien to be understandable and sympathetic. Darien’s continued pursuit of the man is slightly confusing given the very little these two actually know about each other and more so a reflection of Darien’s comfort level and happiness with Chris. Darien’s excessively open personality is a sharp contrast to the closed manner of his lover, creating an opposites attract situation that is well written and executed.
Even though Chris’ resistance complicates the otherwise easy going relationship, the overall tone of the book is a likeable and enjoyable story that moves pretty quickly. The author is not afraid to add sex scenes that are steamy and hot, lending classical roles to the men which deepen their connection. The sex scenes are neither too plentiful or too few with added characterization so the scenes are not simply for erotica’s sake. Witty and humorous dialogue keeps the tale entertaining, especially so from Dairen’s point of view. His inner commentaries during his initiation to “buttsex” are hilarious at times without going too far into corny.
Although certain topics and tropes are repeated throughout the books and series, Faith offers another fresh and interesting variation on the theme. As a story, this offering is highly satisfying and appealing to a wide range of romance lovers with enough of a yaoi inspiration to please those fans of the genre. From the tight, solid writing to attractive characters and swift moving plot, this is a delightful and fun read for new and old fans alike....more
Looking back at the dynamic men who make up the band Heaven Sent and the equally striking men that love them, Genesis is a treat to follow the couplesLooking back at the dynamic men who make up the band Heaven Sent and the equally striking men that love them, Genesis is a treat to follow the couples in their happy ever after. When they all gather to play a New Year’s Eve show, their relationships weather common problems plaguing them from jealousy, longing, fear and insecurity but thankfully each connection is strong enough to overcome anything in their path. This welcome look into the future of the men and band is a delightful cap on a wonderful series. For those who have followed the series, they will no doubt adore this wrap up and enjoy the glimpse into a possible future spin off book.
Although in the previous books, the various members of the band were the ones chasing their true love and convincing them that the relationship was real, true, and meant to be; here the author shows each partner coming into their own with confidence. Although Tyler stresses over whether children are in his future with Johnnie, he finally understands how much the lead singer loves him and that together anything is possible. As these two are my personal favorites, I was delighted to see more of their relationship and the continuing devotion that has not waned despite the years together.
Following as close personal favorites are Luc and Reese. Reese is wonderful with his confidence in his relationship with Luc and although he experiences twinges of jealousy regarding Luc’s starlet co-worker, Reese comes to realize what he has with Luc is incredibly special and unique. The scene at the end when Luc answers Reese’s question of “why?” is a poignant moment to the intense and striking couple. Similarly, Hell and Brent are able to step beyond their fears and realize their relationship is more than shared interests and passions. Their commitment to each other is shown as much deeper and stronger than previously explored, setting these two up for a very long future together.
Finally, Chris and Darien are still struggling with Chris’ past but both have their eyes firmly on their future. Darien’s passion for Chris has grown, as has the comfort level of both men with each other and their friends. It was a lovely gift to see these two working past their problems and concerns. Not to mention the hot sex scenes the author wove seamlessly into the plot as well as between the different men and changes in point of view. The final scene was fun and enjoyable, showing the author’s trademark writing and humor with incredibly hot men.
This combination of stories follows similar themes and patterns of the previous books with tight writing and third person point of view as told from the bottom perspective of the relationship. These stubborn and handsome men show the easy going relationships they have within the band and the importance they place on their personal lives as well as their love of music. Even if none of these characters ever make a repeat performance, the author has left them all riding into the fictional sunset with their happy ending sure to satisfy even the most ardent fan....more
MANLY is unique, interesting, and eye catching. Dale Lazarov has combined three different stories with a superb art, culminating in a book that offersMANLY is unique, interesting, and eye catching. Dale Lazarov has combined three different stories with a superb art, culminating in a book that offers raw sex appeal, romance, and whimsy. The three stories are told in large artistic panels without dialogue. There are no words to convey the meaning and plot, yet the actions of the characters offer no confusion or miscommunication. The lack of language barrier creates a wonderful set of stories that can be enjoyed by all fans of graphic male/male erotica.
The stories range from raunchy to romantic and offer stunning artwork and almost exaggerated men. These men are no twinks, but hairy, big muscled men with a certain gleam to their eye. Their actions are sometimes sweet and tender, and sometimes hot and horny. The juxtaposition from story to story keeps the panels fresh and engaging, giving the reader a full experience with these very manly men. The deft hand in conveying an entire story without words allows readers also to use their imagination – will the men end up together, or is this a brief encounter? Surprisingly, I found this to be a great aspect of the book and the visual stimulus was the perfect companion.
The artwork is bright, colorful, and includes a range of subtly. The gorgeous book creates a full experience that never overwhelms but titillates and entices. The three different stories give variety in both the story and artwork while keeping the common theme of very manly men from one story to the next. The stories even include a nod to safe sex with very visible condom use. If I was pressed to choose a favorite, perhaps “Busted” about a bystander who helps a cop bring down a felon only to find the reward is well worth the effort. From cops to boxers to incredibly hot librarians, this silent comic offers everything. ...more
Bleeding Hearts is a young adult coming of age mixed with mystery, murder, angst, and teenage first love. The simplistic prose is likely to appeal toBleeding Hearts is a young adult coming of age mixed with mystery, murder, angst, and teenage first love. The simplistic prose is likely to appeal to both teenagers and adults, creating an easy to read and enjoy story. As the first book in a series, the story tends to focus on the narrator and his sexuality while the mystery is woven in almost as a subplot. In some ways this works very well and in other parts, the story suffers but overall Bleeding Hearts offers a charming young man on the cusp of new horizons with infinite possibilities. This book and likely the series will appeal to those fans of the young adult genre that are looking for some deeper issues presented without overwhelming intensity.
Killian Kendall is the first person narrator and a sophomore in high school. On the first day of school he meets Seth, a new boy that admits immediately he’s gay. Despite the homophobic atmosphere of the town and high school, Killian befriends Seth. All too soon violence strikes at the two new friends leaving Killian gravely injured and Seth dead. Everyone seems to have dismissed the crime as a random act but Killian is not so sure. He decides to ask a few questions around school but soon becomes embroiled in personal drama as his own sexuality comes into question and he soon has a few too many admirers.
For the majority of the story, the focus is on Killian’s acceptance of his sexuality and then dealing with a sudden plethora of wannabe partners. The mystery subplot does come into play much more prominently towards the end and the connections made from Seth and Killian’s friendship have long lasting affects. Killian’s characterization and growth dominate the book and the plot tends to indulge his angst and immature emotions. Given his age and difficult time of understanding then accepting his sexuality, especially in a hostile environment of both home and at school, Killian’s roller coaster emotions are often understandable. He does tend to cry a lot and there is a fair amount of angst and whining involved, but nothing overwhelmed the book. Mostly Killian is kept sympathetic as he struggles to understand his own confused desires in the midst of his family’s disapproval and the one friend who could understand dying.
Seth’s death sparks off many repercussions. For starters Killian comes out as gay very soon which forces him to live with Seth’s father, Adam, who later becomes his legal guardian. There is a minor thread about Killian’s overbearing father but this is mostly dropped other than to mention his father ends up in jail at the end of the book. I’m not clear why Killian’s father is in jail but he’s built as a typical abusive, overbearing, domineering man. Killian then struggles with coming out at school, a potential relationship with his best friend, another potential relationship with a new friend, and a beard that wants more than a pretend relationship. This love quagmire dominates the plot of the book for the most part as Killian tries to come to terms with all the changes in his life. He tends to be self absorbed and make a lot of mistakes but these are innocent and out of immaturity and inexperience. He has a few too stupid to live moments – especially at the end – but this is pretty typical for teenagers.
Due to the many personal relationships, the actual mystery is talked about but not explored for the majority of the story. There are numerous clues and a lot of foreshadowing, to the point that I easily figured out the evil culprit pretty early on. There aren’t too many options so the real mystery becomes when will Killian figure it out and what will he do. Well this isn’t the strength of the book as the ending is improbable and slightly eye rolling, but Killian as a narrator has a lot of youthful charm and charisma. Besides the murder aspect, part of the book feels unfocused and drifting as the teenage angst and drama carries the story forward. There are a lot of elements the story tries to tie together such as teenage bullying, coming out, hostile home environment, homophobic school, several possible love interests, murder, stalking, new guardians, new younger brother (with issues there), and several sexually confused teenagers. The book starts with Seth being the only gay character and ends with at least half dozen gay or confused young men and adults introduced. So there is a lot going on from the start to finish. For the most part the writing keeps the book on track and moving with easy to read prose and an engaging, interesting narrator.
Bleeding Hearts presents a lot of issues and mostly tackles them well with a few hiccups. The strength is the great character of Killian, strong descriptive setting, and inherent empathy towards the subject. The story moves easily so you won’t be able to put it down and the wealth of possibility sets up what could be a great series. I can’t wait to read more about Killian and his exploits as he grows and matures. If you’re looking for a solid young adult coming out story that handles intense issues but never lets the drama overwhelm the story, check this out. Hopefully you’ll like it as I did....more
I read Reap the Whirlwind soon after finishing the great start Bleeding Hearts. Unfortunately, all of the greatness of the first book seems left out oI read Reap the Whirlwind soon after finishing the great start Bleeding Hearts. Unfortunately, all of the greatness of the first book seems left out of the second as a new narrator is introduced along with a complete new set of characters and issues. Here Killian’s distant cousin, Aidan, gets a new roommate in Will. Although Aidan is newly identified as gay, Will is struggling with his sexuality. Will’s best friend Laura helps Will to recognize that his adoration of another good friend is actually love and Will is gay. Will doesn’t handle this realization well and spirals into a deep depression and actually attempts suicide twice. Complicating matters, Joey is soon found dead and Will is convinced it wasn’t an accident.
The same formula as the first book is applied again here but without such a positive result. There is an important murder, a lot of coming of age angst and drama, and a group of friends trying to find the answer to the murder. Unfortunately the first person narrator here, Will, doesn’t have the same charm that infuses Killian. Will is by turns obtuse, selfish, immature, and all of his problems are solved for him with incredibly easy solutions. Will doesn’t actually take control and make decisions for himself, instead letting everyone direct his life for him. He also has numerous too stupid to live moments that aren’t as easily forgivable as Killian’s. Will spends the book crying and immersed in his personal drama and angst, to the point that he neglects his friends and takes his mostly easy life for granted. He becomes a difficult narrator to like and ultimately his actions are a large part in the story’s failure.
Aidan is Will’s roommate and love interest but he falls pretty flat. He is rather one dimensional with his constant love and support for Will in the face of Will’s oblivious, slavish love for a dead man and his selfish actions. The relationship that eventually builds between Will and Aidan feels false. Will seems to accept Aidan’s love because it’s always been there and why not, instead of a deep reciprocal emotion. The events surrounding their relationship from the start to marriage (a few weeks), including the ending is over the top, ridiculous, and ruins a lot of the positive qualities the story introduces. The short time frame, lack of connection, and final ending resolution just highlights what Will lacks as a character. Coupled with Aidan’s weak personality, the story produces a main couple that fails to engage or keep interest.
Furthermore there is a large cast of new characters and a few mentions and cameo’s from Killian and Asher. Here I really question bringing in a couple of young high school students to help solve a murder and Killian’s obsession steps the character back from his recent maturity of the first book. Killian’s involvement feels artificial and thrown in to connect the first book but offers very little progression for any of the previous characters. Instead they all seem to buy into the ridiculous antics of the story and ignore the obvious signs to solve the mystery. There are other elements that are used to tie up problems very easily such as the resolution to Will’s family, Will’s new art career, and his part time job. Each of these offers an easy solution to problems presented which makes the actual problems seem weak and included only for the sake of more drama and hysterics.
The actual murder mystery could have been decent but is ruined by the inclusion of a psychopath that is easy to identify as soon as they are introduced. Will’s ridiculous actions surrounding this character highlight the improbability of the situation and never let up, so the actions of the group as a whole while trying to solve the murder make Scooby-Doo’s crew look brilliant. This is really surprising given the much more subtle and deft touch employed in the previous book and part of that clumsy execution is do to the poorly executed narrator. The ending is a shock and one I wasn’t expecting, though Will is a character I hope doesn’t appear again in the series. The attempt to make him sympathetic and brutally honest ultimately fails even as the mystery is more involved as a main part of the plot.
Where this particular story shines is in the detail orientated setting. The vivid descriptive prose shows a real strength while keeping the book easy to read and quick. Some of the characters are interesting and leap off the page while the intensity of the drama has some real poignant moments. Will’s suicide attempts are brutal and intense and the scenes are well drawn and executed. The mystery could have been really well done – just take out the obvious psycho in my opinion – so parts of it held my interest. Although this particular offering is unsuccessful, I’m looking forward to continuing with the series. Returning to the more successful narrator of Killian I think will go a long way to correcting the problems presented here. But again, this is just one person’s opinion and Reap the Whirlwind won more than one award, so take what I say with a grain of salt....more
Caesar and Nate meet at an industry party in Hollywood and end up having a drunken, steamy one-night stand. While the sex was smoking hot, neither manCaesar and Nate meet at an industry party in Hollywood and end up having a drunken, steamy one-night stand. While the sex was smoking hot, neither man reacts especially well the next morning, waking up hung over and disoriented. In his dash out of Nate's apartment, Caesar discovers a picture of Nate in his police academy uniform and is horrified at his incredible bad luck; police are something he actively avoids. Although both men put the encounter off as a great night / bad morning memory, typically fate throws them together several more times with sizzling results. So when Caesar is rattled by the discovery of some lewd and heinous photographs in the current house he's robbing, he flees to Nate for help. This sets off a chain of reactions from within the police force and for Nate and Caesar especially.
Caesar is a career thief. He's described as Hispanic, sexy, confident, intelligent, and living in a bad neighborhood and due to his criminal record, can't do much else beside day labor and night thievery. Although this could read like a bad stereotype, Buchanan does a good job of humanizing Caesar and tempering the character with sympathy and humor. Caesar comes across as an eminently likable character, for all his criminal and illegal tendencies. He’s hot, smart, sexy and masculine enough that his frou-frou dog doesn’t throw him into a stereotype.
Nate is a straight-laced cop, except well, he’s not so straight. More accurately, he’s a by-the-book second generation cop that almost naively believes in the institution. Although he’s not in the closet regarding his sexuality, he’s careful in his actions. He’s smart, cute with blond hair and green eyes, but more so intelligent with a deep sense of right and wrong. An interesting contradiction especially since Nate openly admits he works out and stays fit partly to ward off any potential problems he could encounter with his homosexuality. So while willfully naïve, Nate does acknowledge not everyone goes by his standards.
The mystery of the photographs that Caesar finds and turns over to Nate has potential. It starts with a hard hitting punch and Caesar’s all too human but noble response was wonderful. Nate’s predictable hard edged cop line helped setup what seemed to be an interesting and complex storyline. Unfortunately the threads of the mystery were unfinished and thinly woven to further the romance of the opposite personalities. While there were moments that showed excellence regarding the mystery, it fell behind in advancing the relationship between the two men. It was unfortunate that the resolution, while believable, felt rushed and unimportant in the scale of comparison to Nate and Caesar’s resolution.
Now, for all the mystery that appeared to be a vehicle to further the relationship without much depth, the men themselves and their interactions were steamy, fun, and delightful. Even though the subplot left something to be desired, the relationship between Nate and Caesar was great to read. I wavered between wanting more depth and attention paid to the mystery portion and wanting the author to focus on the strength of the book so far, the men. Nate is confident and has a single minded belief in humanity and people that would give an innocent naïveté to most but works on Nate. His stalwart support of Caesar and confidence in himself are attractive and give complexity to the big and buff blonde, who is a determined and happy bottom in sex. Both men are charming with their flaws and quirks and work together well, giving a fresh take on the thief and cop idea.
I’m a fan of Buchanan’s work. I tend to like what he writes and this was no exception. This was a well written story focusing primarily on giving a thief and a cop a fun and sexy edge with depth and flavor. While the mystery didn’t completely work for me, the men did and they were fun to read. I can see why this is a particular fan favorite of the author’s....more
This is the kind of fast paced, well-written action story that is instantly engaging and completely entertaining. The tight plot and well-paced storyThis is the kind of fast paced, well-written action story that is instantly engaging and completely entertaining. The tight plot and well-paced story may stumble occasionally but that only adds to its appeal. The first installment of what promises to be a new series only scratches the surface of interesting characters and introduces a wealth of possibilities for future adventures. Not surprising this was a Lambda Award finalist and well deserving the recognition. Although this isn’t a mystery, all the bad guys are introduced early, the action from the beginning to the end is well thought out and enjoyable, almost more so than the romance aspect. Be sure to start this series now before the second installment comes out, you won’t want to miss it.
The premise of the book hinges on Soren, the son of a local crime boss, as he goes into hiding after a particularly brutal beating from his father. Although the FBI is reluctant to help Soren, they do set him up with a bodyguard of sorts in ex-ranger Mason. Mason and Soren are supposed to head out to sea away from the chaos in their wake but plans go awry soon after they’ve left. In the ensuing action, Soren must re-evaluate his life and choices while terrorists and angry fathers threaten his life.
The story begins with Soren being handed over to Mason for safekeeping and the two butt heads immediately. Soren’s spoiled life of privilege, alcohol, and drugs is at odds with Mason’s almost puritanical sensibilities. Although the two clash often, there is a surprising amount of mutual respect. Mason is able to see beyond the image and pampered life Soren has led to hidden strength even Soren doubts exist. This faith and belief in Soren is essential to helping him mature and grow over the course of the book. Soren never loses his wit and sense of humor through his trials, even accepting the abuse as the price for his easy lifestyle. It takes a considerable amount of force and Mason’s unwavering support for Soren to move beyond his empty life. Soren’s motivation and desire to prove Mason’s belief in him is not misplaced is the real driving force for change and maturity, more so than even the numerous and painful beatings he receives.
Soren is a great character, even as he frustrates for well over half the story. His inability to change his pattern of behavior and poor decision making almost predict bad things will happen. I was hard pressed to feel too sorry for him when his inevitable stupid choices led to dire consequences. However, his charm is also evident in his continued self-evaluation and hard work for positive change, even as he slips backward a few times. These aspects of his personality kept Soren from being too annoying and leave a character on the verge of so much possibility in future stories. Soren is a wonderfully flawed and genuine character that struggles against taking the easy life he’s been provided and developing his own identity and independence. He’s far from a weak character but has honest flaws and can admit to taking the easy road in his life up until now.
The relationship portion of the book certainly suffers for the action element. Mason and Soren dance around each other for the majority as Soren comes to terms with his first gay experience rather easily but Mason has some trepidation about the younger man. Soren’s flaws are balanced by Mason’s inherent goodness, creating an interesting dynamic between the two. That is not to say the romance is unsatisfying, as the slow bloom of emotions and connection is fierce, fiery, and explosive. The delicious tension mounts and provides some great scenes of sensuality. Although this is less important than the action/adventure theme, the relationship is no less developed or thought out.
Mason is perhaps a less well-developed character than Soren, though no less interesting, as he and others exist as a support system for Soren. This is really Soren’s story and his maturity while facing the consequences of his lifestyle and choices. Mason is a good balance for Soren’s poor decisions and helping the story is Mason’s twin brother, Stoney. Stoney is sure to have a book of his own as the dynamic character almost steals scenes. The other secondary characters such as Soren’s father, James, and his ex-girlfriend, Jolina, are both somewhat stereotypical without much depth beyond the obvious evil façade. Even so, they are solid characters without dipping too far into the classic bad guy tropes and keep from being annoying with snappy dialogue and fast paced action.
The story itself is mostly action and slips into almost non-stop sequences once the setup and characters are introduced. The quick story is entertaining and well written with only a few holes in logic and circumstance. Most notable is the final action sequence that comes out of nowhere with no explanation or logical reason for its setup. However, the story is engaging so this small quibble is unlikely to affect any enjoyment. The only other compliant would be that the ending felt forced and rushed, almost an attempt to wrap up big changes in a happy for now ending. However, knowing there are more books to come staring these characters mollifies any disappointment the ending may have caused.
Another well-researched aspect to the story is the setting of Guam. Many settings for action/adventure tend to be either exotic or a typical city setting without much character and flavor to the actual place. Here, the island of Guam is integral to the story and adds detail and texture to the story. The interesting and unique destination is not mentioned for something as stereotypical as drugs but for more mundane reasons and the actual crimes are those attributed to crime bosses everywhere. This helps create a believable setting, rich in detail that definitely adds to the book’s appeal.
Overall this is a great story with fascinating characters and well-written action. There is no fear of dirty, bloody, dire consequences and the story is not afraid to put everyone in danger, which keeps the reader guessing at what might happen while taking away the safety net of immediate rescue. The dramatic tension is well crafted and keeps you fully engaged in the adventure unfolding. This fresh new voice will captivate you from the very beginning and take you on a breathtaking ride from one scene to the next. You won’t want to miss this ride. ...more
Bear Like Me is a satirical look at the gay bear community. It’s a little dated as a contemporary piece but the humor translates for the most part ifBear Like Me is a satirical look at the gay bear community. It’s a little dated as a contemporary piece but the humor translates for the most part if you’re looking for something very light and heavy on the obvious puns. The ending is ridiculous and completely over the top but that’s mostly the point. It’s meant to be outrageous and unbelievable with one gag after the next. The characters are decent and likable to a point but none stand out very much. In the end this is a fun, easy book to read but not one I’ll especially remember.
The premise of the story starts with hero Peter Mallory being fired from his journalism job for wanting to write more intellectual pieces than the glossy magazine wanted. From that moment, Peter is obsessed with getting revenge on the magazine and director. Yet since Peter needs an income, he decides to write a book about the bear niche within the gay community and that necessitates becoming a bear. Armed with these two goals Peter starts a humorous and outrageous journey of self discovery and obsession.
The story itself is pretty easy to follow if you can suspend a good deal of disbelief. It’s immediately obvious this is a satire and the story never misses a chance to point out a pun or bad joke. Peter’s actions are flat out ridiculous. Each circumstance, and his resulting actions, is more outrageous than the last culminating in perhaps the most laughable (in a bad way) ending. While I could go with the humor of the story and the obvious camp style, the ending simply is too much and lost me with the super easy, convenient solution to all problems.
Up to that point though the writing and characters are amusing. Peter’s evolution into the bear lifestyle shows a lot of intimate knowledge. The author is obviously well versed in that atmosphere and shows both the good and bad sides to the minority within a minority. The community is shown with both heroes and villains and lends a comic air to the actions while also shining an intimate light into likely very real scenarios. This duality is nicely depicted and lets the readers in on the jokes – perhaps too much.
While the humor is enjoyable and makes the pages fly by incredibly quick, it also lacks any subtly. The characters are exaggerations and the situations tend to be extreme. Peter’s actions are largely devoid of any rational, logical decision making, which makes him unlikable. Yet his earnest desire to find love may have some readers rooting for him regardless. I wish the writing had included more nuance and didn’t go for the obvious joke all the time. However that said, the story is fun to read for the most part and an easy popcorn read on a hot summer day....more