This is why I keep reading Sean Michael's books. While they are often derided for being formulaic, I find them less so than other well known authors wThis is why I keep reading Sean Michael's books. While they are often derided for being formulaic, I find them less so than other well known authors who churn out series with characters who are cardboard cutouts of each other.
Her heroes here fit the standard Dom/sub mold, but there is more going on, and I found their interaction in this book refreshingly different. Keif is a Duracell bunny who buries his fears in physical activity. Hunt's domination once he understands how his sub ticks is geared more to aftercare rather than the BDSM itself.
It's quite astounding how much variety there is in Sean's books. Unlike a certain author (who I won't name) who just has tattooed alpha bad boys who think a bit of over the knee spanking is the ultimate kink, the kinks and personalities and appearances of Sean's heroes are quite varied.
For example, compare the characters and their interactions between this book and Golden and Anything for a Byline The personalities of the Doms and subs couldn't be more different.
The standard of writing is consistently good. You won't find "lightning" where it should be "lightening" or "peak" instead of "pique"
Admittedly some of the shorter stories have a tendency to be the same, but the longer ones are worth checking out. The world building in some of Sean's older stories is impressive too.
My only gripe is the obsession with food!!!!...more
Recently released on Kindle this is a touching story of the time the author spent with Freddy Mercury. It's interesting that some people still try toRecently released on Kindle this is a touching story of the time the author spent with Freddy Mercury. It's interesting that some people still try to deny that Freddie was gay, yet he often referred to Jim Hutton as "his husband".
The seven years they spent together up to Freddie's death are recounted in simple prose. He told it as he saw it. There is some recounting of his brush with stardom through Freddie, but these are more seen as reflections of Freddie's greatness than as something Jim took much interest in.
It becomes obvious this "ordinariness" and the fact Jim wasn't part of the scene that created a security and haven for Freddie where he could be himself. As far as he was concerned, his sexuality was of no concern to the general public.
On stage he came across as a super showman full of confidence, but in reality he craved his privacy where he could be in control.
The chapters depicting how Jim and the others who had been with Freddie on a day to day basis were treated after Freddie's death were sad. Those who were left in control of the estate were very quick to separate these men from the home they had shared and helped build. The singer's "legacy" was deemed more important than his private life. This wasn't the other members of Queen, by the way, more the woman he had used as his "beard" and a manager.
Even today, if you Google "Was Freddie Mercury gay?" you will find many people following the "official" line. Back then, being gay may have affected sales of records and as far as Freddie was concerned, it wasn't anyone's business.
Some people are critical of his silence, feeling he could have done a lot for the gay community and the fight against AIDS. If you watch the documentary "Freddie Mercury: the Great Pretender" you'd know what his response would be to that.
I enjoyed this because it was so different from the standard MMromance.
This was an ensemble piece about a lot of characters. Each had a set of struggI enjoyed this because it was so different from the standard MMromance.
This was an ensemble piece about a lot of characters. Each had a set of struggles to face and overcome. Perhaps a lifetime of catastrophes and coincidences were condensed into a small time frame, but once I allowed myself to get swept up into their daily dramas, their struggles felt real and raw.
I'll be interested in what comes next in this series....more
I have been a fan of Alexis Hall's writing since Glitterland and Prosperity. I really liked the easier accessibility of Waiting for the Flood (No weirI have been a fan of Alexis Hall's writing since Glitterland and Prosperity. I really liked the easier accessibility of Waiting for the Flood (No weird accents or World creation). So I was really intrigued with what he would do with contemporary BDSM, especially as I've read a lot of the genre (and even written one)!
Being Alexis I knew I wasn't going to be getting stereotypes and cliches and I wasn't disappointed. There are scenes that go wrong. Decisions to abort scenes and not one scene with a spanking.
The two main characters match the prototype sub and Dom. The executive/professional who needs to be in super control in his job and needs to cede that control in scenes. Plus a Dom who has no power due to circumstances in his life who needs scenes to express that part of his personality.
The beautiful twist is the age and height disparity. Not to mention the zits!
At every stage I felt the GMC was logical and right for the characters.
I loved the way the age difference was treated. Very believable. There were a couple of priceless quotes in the end that summed the themes of the book up.
Then to cap this great addition to a genre I love, we had dual first person. And to add to the feel of youth, Toby's were done in the present tense. The funny thing was I didn't even twig to this until half way through and I am not a fan of present tense. It worked beautifully.
If you are jaded after reading too much same old, same old BDSM, do yourself a favour and pick this up. It's fabulous....more
I have to admit that I was a beta reader for this, and it was a pleasure seeing an idea grow into such a great start to a series. It helps that I haveI have to admit that I was a beta reader for this, and it was a pleasure seeing an idea grow into such a great start to a series. It helps that I have also read the rest of the story and know (roughly) what happens next!
Historicals are a difficult genre. Most are set in early nineteenth century England and follow conventions set out in regency romances and others from or about that period.
Others are based in medieval times. Again an era often used.
Books based in ancient times that want to stay true to the period and not follow stereotypical conventions are much harder because whether we like it or not, we can't help but bring our reading experiences and modern day values to the fore.
I know the author spent a lot of time on research to make the story as real as she could because I'd challenge her by saying things like: "Does the door open inward or outward? She'd duly spend time checking it out. Not easy when dealing with peasant culture as their huts don't last centuries like other Greek buildings did.
I warned her that people would question the fact that she doesn't have Spartan men condoning homosexuality when many refer back to that era as if it was almost the norm.
It wasn't until she showed me translations of writers from that era that I accepted her premise. In fact, if you haven't caught my interview with Kayla when we discussed this and other research issues, do check it out. http://www.abgayle.com/my-blog---revi...
Kayla could always write hot sex scenes, but her world building and atmosphere setting just gets better and better with each story. It continues to be a pleasure to see these stories develop and grow....more
I found this fascinating although I could only take it in small doses. The narrative structure helped make the book more readable as he touched on allI found this fascinating although I could only take it in small doses. The narrative structure helped make the book more readable as he touched on all the different ways psychiatry, madness, personality disorders manifested themselves and were seen by society.
It helped to have recently researched some of the conditions found in DSM-5. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders put out by the American Psychiatry Association. So a lot of the things discussed were familiar to me.
A large part centred on the way "labelling" and testing them carries their own danger. Yes, this may lead to people being wrongly pigeonholed but it also gives people who deal with them, live with them, a way to get a handle on their "difference" and needs.
In reading a novel recently with an "evil" child protagonist, it seemed this psycopathic behaviour stemmed from a (possibly) genetic lack of empathy coupled with an early exposure to barbaric activity. Can such people be saved or redeemed?
Reading about how people who naturally lacked this empathy but who watched and mimicked it to manipulate others was chilling.
Perhaps the degree this empathy is lacking followed by different environmental upbringing is all that varies between these different conditions.
If you doubt this sort of manipulative behaviour exists, try visiting forums and read accounts of people who live with narcissists and you'll understand and maybe learn to recognize it.
Will write more later. But the audiobook was the perfect accompaniment to a solo 11.5 hour drive home yesterday with the section on reaching the summiWill write more later. But the audiobook was the perfect accompaniment to a solo 11.5 hour drive home yesterday with the section on reaching the summit of Everest coinciding with a section of driving rain and hail. Perfect. Overcoming fear particularly from bullying featured strongly throughout. It was good to see the underlying motives and background of the man and the product he has created....more
Yesterday was a place you inhabited every single day and could never leave. This quote sums the book up perfectly. Treated separately, this and the prevYesterday was a place you inhabited every single day and could never leave. This quote sums the book up perfectly. Treated separately, this and the previous book are more 4 stars but considered together (as they need to be) they are 5 star or more. Think of them as 5a and 5b. While "The Bruise-Black Sky" was the chocolate cake, this book is the icing. Taken separately each lacks something, but together they are superb. At times, this book was almost too sweet (for a good reason plotwise) and the previous book had a lot of hard to digest facts that seemed incomplete. Because they were. Not every gun goes off in this book. There is still the smoking one of who killed Kate, because I don't believe that was at the hands of the main protagonists in this book. The last line "To be continued in Enduring Night" shows us there is more to come. However in some ways this book tied off a lot of loose ends. I was so glad I hadn't had a hint of spoilers going into it. Speculation yes, but still I was shocked at least three times by what happened. The deadly encounter left my jaw dangling. JW is becoming as good as Stephen Spielberg in lulling you into a false sense of security only to jerk the rug from under your feet. Yet each shocking revelation or plot turn was logical. You sensed something was lurking out in the darkness but not sure what. In Book 5 Nik talked about being trapped in the sewer of his past and trying to keep Ben out of the murk. This book gave me a better understanding of why he had to see Ben as this squeaky clean god, because he needs him to be like that. In summation. A great read, but reread book 5 again before reading this. Not because you will have forgotten people or facts as reminders get well woven in, but more to achieve a better balance of sweet and substance. For this reason alone, I wish they had been bundled together.
This one deserves its own rating though. I loved the balance of sex, story and social comment.
For once the side plot with secondary character, the sister, didn't overwhelm the story or unbalance it. It was why the situation developed in the first place. It also allowed the author to make some pretty strong statements about the health system, the sex industry, BDSM as well as gay rights. And "show" Andrew in a good light, while also displaying his insecurities.
I also liked the way sensitive way she dealt with Paresh, both in respect to his belonging to a different culture and his involvement wth BDSM.
All the characters right down to the smallest bit player felt very human to me. They all had their strengths and weaknesses. Some might have been jerks (the Dad) but he tried. There were connections between everyone, and the nature of these connections varied depending on the personalities involved. It's not until you read stories where this is true that you realize how that has been lacking in others (and I'm looking at myself here! Lol)
It didn't hurt that her main characters, Andrew and Cormac, were both hot and likeable.
Loved the last story. The others had their good points, but the latter hit all my right buttons. It managed to siguise some pretty pithy and importantLoved the last story. The others had their good points, but the latter hit all my right buttons. It managed to siguise some pretty pithy and important points in a well constructed scenario....more
I totally respect Eli's writing skills after reading this. This sort of setup is really risky as she treads a fine line n depicting a narrator as "difI totally respect Eli's writing skills after reading this. This sort of setup is really risky as she treads a fine line n depicting a narrator as "different" but not retarded or an oaf. Hardly any dialogue. Little interaction between the two main characters. And best of all a realistic final outcome where everything is not perfect and might never be. But you're left with the thought, "Does it matter" and that they're perfect for each other....more
I really liked this story for what it was. Good writing. The humor was adult funny not childish and it wasn't forI've just found a new Autobuy author!
I really liked this story for what it was. Good writing. The humor was adult funny not childish and it wasn't forced. A plausible mystery as befitted the plot without bogging down the romance arc. Non cookie cutter heroes and "fresh" sex scenes.
My appreciation of the story has grown in retrospect as I read more of her work. So far, each is totally different. Different "voice", different character types and different scenarios and writing style, she stretches the boundaries each time.
Obviously lots of other readers came to this conclusion before me. But, hey! I live a long way away!...more
It's no secret that writing long books has always been physically demanding for Kim Dare. She's produced a couple in the past, but often we have had tIt's no secret that writing long books has always been physically demanding for Kim Dare. She's produced a couple in the past, but often we have had to be content with her shorter offerings.
When I saw the length of her latest release I nearly "creamed my jeans" to borrow a cliched phrase. I would even have been happy if she'd stopped at the halfway mark as already I'd got more than my money's worth. But then I would have missed out on so much more good stuff. Each added chapter served a purpose that once you read it you realized that it's absence would have been missed. So many books nowadays seem to have filler scenes (especially sex scenes) to get word count. Not here.
As I've said on many occasions, I'm not a fan of shifters, shedders and suckers. Yet in this book, the fact that Bayden is a werewolf is critical to the plot. Not because that makes him stronger than most. He is. Not that it makes him heal quickly. He does. But more important is what it means to be a pack animal in a world where they are denigrated, despised and disliked.
Being this strong, isolated, quick healer makes it much harder for a human to give him a safe place to explore the submissive side of his nature. Pain is not a threat and his past experiences where he has given himself sexually means that even that is not a way "in".
The politics behind the story is paramount. Even to the extent of not being able to have more than two adults living together.
In Queensland, the police have gone tough on bikie gangs, imposing similar stupid arbitary restrictions about riding together in public. Perhaps some have earned it, but for others this feeling they belonged to a 'family' is at the heart of their psyche. So denying them the right to show it hurts.
Much of the book is taken up with this world building, but it's not all about that. It's also about expressing your desires.
There were some lovely bits at the start when Axel struggled to get his sub to understand this and he only achieved it in a small way by depriving him of the things he enjoyed until he learned to admit these things.
Other aspects of punishing and penance were explored. Particularly difficult when it is almost impossible to punish someone physically when they can withstand pain so well and heal so quickly.
I felt for Axel as he had to throw the rule book aside and approach everything from a different angle.
There were a couple of typos such as "Whose" for "Who's" and a couple of other similar mistakes, but the writing, generally, was excellent. Kim has never been the type of author people will marvel about because of beautifully expressed emotions or elegant description. The words are just the tools to get the thoughts and emotions across.
It's the concepts behind her words that always makes more of an impression on me. Here's some examples
"What about what you want? Bayden shook his head, rubbing his cheek against Axel in the process. "Not important." "It's important to me."
So simply expressed, but in just a few words, she's targetted one of the aspects of "True Love".
Here's another one:
"Real submission isn't about faking how you feel. It's not about hiding things. It's about offering up your every thought, your every emotion and trusting me to use them wisely.
Many writers miss this last bit and see it as just being the part of what a submissive is supposed to do. To me, that concept of using his submission wisely is at the heart of this book as Axel slowly convinces Bayden to be honest about his wants and desires. So often he's held back by what he thought was expected, relying on lessons instilled in him by family, species history and conquering humans.
I loved the fact that Axel tried to understand what these were. Looked at the ones that were important and tried to teach him how so many others were not. Throughout this process, Bayden was fighting against the main rule he'd been taught:
Giving a human information to use against him was stupid, wasn't it?
So trust was very slowly earned.
And with that came love.
"I love you pup-every bit of you. You'll never need to lie to me abouth anything, or to hide anything from me.
But this isn't just true of a D/s relationship. It's true of any relationship. It's when you've found a person that this is true for that you've discovered your life's mate. Too often it's the opposite.
"Telling someone you'll accept them as long as they pretend to be someone they're not-that's not real acceptance.
To give the story flesh, there is a great cast of characters. No doubt they will feature in future books. We've already met Griz and Evan, but I look forward to hearing about the cop, Hale, the embodiment of everything Bayden and other werewolves hate. In the course of this story, his attitude changes as does that of others Bayden comes into contact with.
Given the decrease in output recently, I was concerned that Kim had burned herself out. It must have been much harder to write such a long story, but the wait was worth it. Sure some of the themes are present in all her D/s stories, but they came together beautifully balanced in this book....more
Loved this. Once again Jane showed she really gets D/s. I loved the way she had them living the life, not playing. 24/7 lifestyle is not easy to do orLoved this. Once again Jane showed she really gets D/s. I loved the way she had them living the life, not playing. 24/7 lifestyle is not easy to do or write, but she made their relationship and hence the book work. Keeping it only one POV ensured a consistency of tone and message that would have been lost if we head hopped. The reader knew as much as Andrew what was going through Ethan's head. Knowing would have robbed us of that aspect. I thought the plot decisions were good. She avoided cliches. For example the scars on his back could have been an angsty trauma from his past, instead it was a lesson well earned. The relationship may have been D/s but by the end of the book, it was equal in that Andrew knew what and when Ethan needed his pain and submission. In the future, he would be mature enough and unselfish enough to ensure Ethan got what he needed. Kinky but healthy. Not easy to depict, but she did it well. The only little niggle I have is the Niall bit. I can see plotwise why something like that was needed, as a catalyst, but in a way I would have preferred their only threat be themselves. Still, what she did worked and that's the main thing. This book will definitely rank as one of my favourites of Jane'....more