The Tin Star of the title is a ranch owned by Ethan, who takes in his best friend's younger brother, Jamie, after Jamie's father throws him out of the house when Jamie comes out as gay. He immediately falls for Jamie, but Ethan is closeted, mostly for the sake of a quiet life. Though the story is contemporary, this ain't San Francisco these guys are living in and Jamie's father isn't the only homophobe around.
Jamie falls for Ethan too and they begin a relationship, which becomes public knowledge, causing some division in the local community and leading to escalating attacks on Jamie and Ethan, starting with vandalism and threats and moving on to much worse. There's good character development in that Jamie starts out being the one who wants to be out as gay and to leave town, while Ethan advocates staying closeted and sticking around, but later as they are threatened and in physical danger, that switches.
It's an enjoyable story with lots of hot sex between the two guys as their relationship develops from the initial attraction to love. Once again with this author though I found the ending kind of a let down, rather anti-climactic. There's no real surprise over who's behind the harassment and attacks on them. Maybe I'm not used to reading romances though. Maybe walking off into the sunset hand in hand ending is par for the course in romance of whatever flavour. Still, the other parts of the story that run alongside the romance didn't have very dramatic conclusions, which left me a bit unsatisfied.
But overall, a good story, likeable characters and very sexy. And a less raunchy cover than the two so far! You could read that on the bus without too many funny looks. ...more
Well, how could I resist a gay Regency romance - in space? (Funny how "in space" instantly makes everything better.)
As you might guess, this has a heavy dose of parody. It takes the elements of the Regency romance and puts them in a gay and science fiction context. It's a bonkers idea and sort of works at least for the duration of the story. Starship captain Nate has to investigate a weapons theft on the planet Regelence that bases its culture on the Regency period in England. Except with a twist, since they've taken the notion of a patricarchy to an extreme. Rather than powerful families forming alliances by pairing off their sons and daughters, they've cut out the middleman (or middle woman) and the men marry each other. There's a bunch of genetic engineering to make sure that this is a) agreeable to the men - i.e. it makes them gay and b) that they don't actually have daughters at all - since they aren't much use to them now.
To be honest, this aspect of the book kind of skeeves me out. The people who do this are the ruling elite, which basically means there are no high status women on Regelence. Even in the historic regency period women had status - even if it was dependent on her father or husband's status. And they might not have been in the government, but wives, mistresses and mothers have had influence over powerful men for a long time. The rulers of Regelence don't even have mothers and certainly not wives and mistresses. It gives me kind of a creepy vibe to be honest. It excludes women from having any kind of power on that world at all.
So anyway, Nate comes to investigate the theft and meets the King's son Prince Aiden, still unmarried. The two fall in love, but sex before marriage isn't allowed – at least in the ruling noble families. If they are even seen alone together Aiden will be compromised and Nate will be expected to marry him or Aiden will be ruined. Nate certainly hasn't come here looking for marriage. But as he's also a Duke, from another Regency style planet, he's a heck of a catch, so Aiden's Two Dads are keen. Aiden is more interested in art than in finding a husband. But can't deny his attraction to Nate.
Aside from the whole skeevy 'society without women' bit, it's mostly a fun romp that one must never, ever take too seriously. Some other things did bug me. The dialogue felt odd at times, too contemporary, with bits of period and futuristic put in almost as an afterthought it seemed. The ending was kind of confusing and anti-climactic. And good god! Nate's adopted son - a 15-year-old nicknamed "Trouble" - is one of the most annoying characters I've come across in my entire life! Okay, with a name like "Trouble" clearly he's meant to be annoying. But the stuff he does is, I think, supposed to be "annoying in an adorable way" (something I nomally like!) But it's too cutesy, it's trying too hard and he's actually just annoying in a fantastically annoying way.
There's a lot of sex of course (that's what we're here for!) though I think I personally enjoy it more when they're going through "the not allowed to do it but really want to" part of the story (but that's typical me of course!) and it's well written. It doesn't disappoint on that score.
Favourite detail! The headboards in Aiden's home have built in spigots to dispense pre-warmed lube. Genius! I want to see the sales brochures for these systems! ...more
Where the last one I reviewed J L Langley's My Fair Captain was Romance with lotsa hot man-lovin', this is more towards the "pure unashamed smut" end of the spectrum. Of the two I'd say the J L Langley was aimed at women just as much as gay men, the James Lear is more squarely aimed at the men. The Langley had two guys in love and the sex scenes are all between them. The Lear has a guy who has a string of sexual encounters with different men (a lot of different men!) Different sorts of fantasy there I think,
It's pretty strong stuff. Not more explicit as such than the Langley, but perhaps more extreme (and hell, wait till I review his The Palace of Varieties.) It's also in first person, which puts the reader right into the - ahem - action, rather than watching it from outside.
But it's fun too. Like the Langley it's got a kind of parody feel about it. In this case the American protagonist is a guest at a weekend party at an English country house in the 1920s. Naturally, there's a murder and our hero - who fancies himself an amateur detective - starts to investigate. His investigation involves a considerable amount of shagging. The "back passage" of the title is of course a pun!
It's got a somewhat porn movie fantasy element about it too. There sure are a lot of gay and bi guys crammed into this small geographic location! So our hero is pretty damn busy!
He manages to get some detective work done between shags, but it bugged me that he didn't really solve the mystery in the end, someone else came in and explained it all. So it's fun, and the writing style is lively, I enjoyed the first person narration a lot. But the story is kind of slight and really, it's all about the rude bits! And good god, they're rude.
Favourite part: how he hides a crucial bit of evidence - a roll of film - in a place Hercule Poirot would never have thought of....more
**spoiler alert** Copied from my Live Journal http://junkfood-monkey.livejournal.co... Our hero in this story – told in first person - is Paul Lemoyne,**spoiler alert** Copied from my Live Journal http://junkfood-monkey.livejournal.co... Our hero in this story – told in first person - is Paul Lemoyne, who comes up to London in 1934 at age 18 to make something of himself. He becomes a stagehand at the seedy "Palace of Varieties" theatre, but soon learns that both the acts and the back stage staff have other ways of supplementing their incomes...
Like The Back Passage this is definitely VERY smutty. Paul shags his way though every part of London society, from the highest to the lowest. But there's more to the story than the Back Passage. 100 pages more for one thing, and they aren't just 100 pages of smut. The story feels denser. It's more dramatic, the events matter more. There are several pretty dark moments, including where the main character himself does some very dark things, as he allows selfishness and lust to lead him. He regains our sympathy though by paying for these things and regretting them. For instance at one point he's stealing from men he's been seeing (this is a fairly mild example!) but later feels bad about it, and even sees to it that he pays them back when he moves on to more high-paying adventures. But he also loses their trust and any chance of being able to call on any of them for help later.
The character development is more important than in The Back Passage (naturally enough, since that takes place over such a short time period) and Paul ends up on quite a rollercoaster of highs and lows. Towards the end of the book he's falling into a deep low, having done some bad things and already seeing his "career" being over after only a few years. Becoming conscious of the passing of time and how quickly it will take away his greatest assets – youth and looks.
Still it ends on a hopeful note, and with hints of a sequel, which I'd very much like to see. It's a naughty, and riveting read.
Again it's more male fantasy than romantic, though love is certainly in there. Paul falls in and out of love a few times, like the callow youth he is, but that doesn't mean he's not interested in doing everything that moves. Very different from the romantic true love in the two J L Langley books of my previous reviews. This contrast is definitely interesting me. :D The Langley books remind me often of slash fanfic that I've read – as written almost entirely by women. But I've never read any slash that's like the Lear stories, even ones that aren't about hearts and flowers true love. ...more
I made it to page 99 of this and couldn't muster up enough interest even to make it the round 100. I'm afraid it's just dull. The writing is flat andI made it to page 99 of this and couldn't muster up enough interest even to make it the round 100. I'm afraid it's just dull. The writing is flat and it could have done with some more proof reading, I spotted a few mistakes. I didn't latch on to any of the characters and want to see how things worked out for them. Not recommended....more
I enjoyed this, but it didn' exactly catch me on fire. The writing is eay to read, the characters are likeable, but it felt predictable in the end. I'I enjoyed this, but it didn' exactly catch me on fire. The writing is eay to read, the characters are likeable, but it felt predictable in the end. I'm not really a romance reader at least not of the straightforward conventional A meets B, fall in love, there's some complications but you know it will all be happy in the end. Possibly I just like the complications more! I think I like romance with more of a edge to it. But I enjoyed the writing enough that I have another of Ally's book waiting for me to read that looks more "edgy", so I'm looking forward to that....more
**spoiler alert** Considering the subject matter, surprisingly lightweight in tone, ease of reading. Tone was actually one of the ways the narration g**spoiler alert** Considering the subject matter, surprisingly lightweight in tone, ease of reading. Tone was actually one of the ways the narration gave us a sense of Dexter's abnormal personality, since its light, sometimes jokey feels was often terribly inappropriate to what was actually happening, which of course gives the reader the sense of Dexter just not having the normal, appropriate reactions to the situations. That stood out especially near the end when his foster-sister is missing and in the hands of a killer and the tone still doesn't change. When it finally does that gave me a feeling of how significant the event that prompted that was, to finally create that reaction in him.
It's got significant differences from the TV series, the other characters are much less developed, but that feels right anyway. The novel is in Dexter's first person POV, the TV series isn't, not in the same way. But I always try to treat a book and the TV/movie based on it as very different animals, each with their own ways of telling a story, so I don't mind differences. It's all still dear dark Dexter....more
This is NOT a diet book, even if you have to find it on the diet books shelf in the store. It's a science book about diet. I actually prefer th UK titThis is NOT a diet book, even if you have to find it on the diet books shelf in the store. It's a science book about diet. I actually prefer th UK title "The Diet Delusion."
Quite a weighty tome and it will help at least to get through the first half if you've read other popular science books at least. But worth your attention, as it will teach you that so much that you thought you knew is wrong. And how little evidence there is to support the current widely held views on nutrition.
I'm more a fan of Dawkins' books on evolution (The Selfish Gene changed my life.) And for me he's preaching to the choir. But, I still very much enjoyI'm more a fan of Dawkins' books on evolution (The Selfish Gene changed my life.) And for me he's preaching to the choir. But, I still very much enjoyed this book....more
This is a book I have mixed feelings about. It's total hogwash, the characters are ciphers, I figured out the final mystery about two chapters beforeThis is a book I have mixed feelings about. It's total hogwash, the characters are ciphers, I figured out the final mystery about two chapters before the hero, the writing is not of the ahem, highest literary standard. Yet as a page-turning thriller it completely succeeded for me. I stayed up late into the night reading it. The short scenes and chapters and cliffhangers just pulled me through the book to the end. It's very entertaining - as long as you don't take it seriously at all! It offers all the intellectual stimulation of a roller coaster. The best way to enjoy it is to just enjoy the ride....more
This one gets two stars from me rather than one, as I can't actually say I didn't enjoy reading it. Mostly because I haven't laughed so hard at a bookThis one gets two stars from me rather than one, as I can't actually say I didn't enjoy reading it. Mostly because I haven't laughed so hard at a book for a long time, especially the last third of it. Of course, it's not meant to be a comedy...
Some people claim it's a better book than The Da Vinci Code, but I don't think so. The last third of it is so hugely far-fetched that it's hilarious. The Da Vinci Code is entertaining and I did laugh a bit at that, mostly at the sheer audacity of it. But A&D is just madness....more
Entertaining read with a sympathetic lead character. Narration switches between first person and third person and present and past tense, which soundsEntertaining read with a sympathetic lead character. Narration switches between first person and third person and present and past tense, which sounds like it should be annoying, but is handled so deftly it never is. There's an underlying sense of absurdity to it all, especially when dealing with the military. Very enjoyable read and the ending manages to pull off suspense even though you know what's actually coming....more
I enjoyed this as much as the first one. It's easy to read, the first person narration still has that jaunty - and sometimes wildly inappropriate - toI enjoyed this as much as the first one. It's easy to read, the first person narration still has that jaunty - and sometimes wildly inappropriate - tone, with distances Dexter from the horrors he's seeing and perpetrating. There's more of a sense of the Dark Passenger as an evil lurking presence inside Dexter, an entire other self. This seems to give Dexter much more of an enjoyment of his "work". He relishes it.
Nice use of alliteration in the writing. Some of it various D words around Dexter himself, to echo the title, but it shows up in other places too and gives an interesting rhythm to the speech and a sense of Dexter's feeling of being a little too pleased with himself and how clever he is.
Lots of fun and I'll be getting the next one soon!...more