This book tells the story of violinist Roger Nelson and aspiring conductor John Fuchs, two men who meet over their shared passion for music and fall iThis book tells the story of violinist Roger Nelson and aspiring conductor John Fuchs, two men who meet over their shared passion for music and fall in love with each other when they’re both in their teens. A perfect match, as different as they appear on the outside, theirs is a powerful connection of bodies, hearts and souls. But it’s the seventies, for one, where it’s hard for two men to live openly as lovers. And then, they’re both young and still quite immature in many ways and amenable to outward influnce as well as subject to their respective internal insecurities. Intrusive family members, tragedies and mere mundane everyday life – and music, of all things – work together to drive them apart until eventually, their loving relationship appears broken beyond fixing.
But even though they aren’t together as lovers any longer, their friendship persists, even as both find new love interests. Over the course of the following three and a half decades, they part ways and reunite several times, never entirely losing contact. They circle around each other in a seemingly endless dance, slowly drawing closer and closer until, eventually, they stand united against all odds as the music swells to a thriumphant finale.
Like in all of the Blue Notes series, Music plays a major role in this book. Despite the long period of time it spans, which would suggest a whole symphony, this book reminded me of a tango with all the to-ing and fro-ing between Roger and John. It was deeply moving to see their friendship, their love weathering some depressingly genuine real-life storms during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
Almost a third of the book is dedicated to the budding relatioship they share during their teens, so much so that I almost felt as if reading a YA novel. Both character’s mindsets, backstories, family environments are thoroughly explored, which had the actual story somewhat dragging at times. Nevertheless, it was necessary to explain many of both John’s and Roger’s choices and actions later in life. Because as much as they grow and mature over the course of the story, they remain essentially true to themselves. I found the characterizations especially well done here and became really invested in both main characters.
On the other hand, the in-depth addressing of John’s and Roger’s life experiences meant that some matters were merely touched upon, which in some cases, I regretted. Especially when it comes to Nate, who was very important to John and whom I liked very much. Then again, with such a big picture to paint, it’s understandable that some figures, hovever lovely, need to remain on the sidelines.
Overall, this was a quiet story, sometimes kind of slow and meandering, sometimes fast-paced and dramatic. I can only warmly recommend this engrossing, pleasant addition to the Blue Notes series.
As others have pointed out before me, this story is sweet, entertaining and educational without hammering it in--and about more than how important itAs others have pointed out before me, this story is sweet, entertaining and educational without hammering it in--and about more than how important it ist to use condoms. There's also a lesson in self-appreciation in there than won't only do good to gay male adolescents--it's for everyone, really. A lovable, poignant little treat. ...more
This book is aptly named–some secrets are just so heavy that keeping silent about them can crush a person until they can’t breathe anymore. That’s whaThis book is aptly named–some secrets are just so heavy that keeping silent about them can crush a person until they can’t breathe anymore. That’s what happened to Jace Ramsay. He got so tangled up in secrets–someone else’s and his own–that he did something stupid enough to make him vulnerable to blackmail. And now Jace is lost. He can’t ask his family for help because that would mean he’d eventually have to betray someone else’s trust, and he’s made himself guilty anyway, but he’s to weak–at least he thinks so–to get out of the whole disaster by himself, which shames him to the point of self-hatred. He needs someone he feels safe with, someone who will understand him, who won’t judge him or push him, but offer him support and lend him confidence when he can’t find it inside himself. Sweet-natured Gavin Ramsay, with his easygoing manner, with his optimistic lookout at life and his fierce protectiveness towards those he loves, might be just that person for Jace–if Jace could find the courage to trust the man who stole his heart.
Gavin is a living example for the saying: “If life gives you lemons, go make lemonade.” Having been hyperactive his whole life, he’s used to getting himself into messes big and small, and to extricate himself from them again by fast thinking/talking/ acting/ all of the above. Although he’s no slacker, Gavin is a bit of a drifter with not a lot of ambition and no real goal in life. That changes when he meets Jace Ramsay. When Jace withdraws from Gavin after what seemed to be the promising start of a tentative relationship, when Jace returns from College a changed person, Gavin makes it his aim to find out which mess Jace has caught himself in, and to help him out of it.
I loved the characterizations of Gavin and Jace and the way the writing in itself reflected their respective personalities. Not only in dialogue, but also in the narrative they had distinctive, recognizable voices. The writing drew me right into the story from the first word onward–fast-paced in places, almost poetic in others, with sweet love scenes so perfect for the two very young main characters (Gavin is 23, Jace 19), with gripping action scenes and a delicious dash of humor.
Once again, this book is set in the small town of Stratton, Pennsylvania, with Dixie’s Cup, the town diner, as the hub that connects this book to the previous two in the series, Cost of Repairs and Color of Grace (reviews under the cuts). Gavin’s mother Lucia is a waitress at Dixie’s; Jace’ father Keith Ramsay is a colleague of policeman Sam from Cost of Repairs. Dixie’s is where Gavin and Jace literally run into each other for the first time. I was happy to meet some of the characters from the previous books again, even though only in passing. Also, one of the loose threads from the previous books was tied up nicely in here. Weight of Silence is a worthy continuation to a very enjoyable series, and even though it can be read as a standalone, I’d recommend to read the books in order for maximum enjoyment.
However, two things kept this book from being completely perfect for me. The first was the fundamental secret, the one all of Jace’s other secrets came back to and revolved around. It just didn’t quite fit in with the description of his family as a whole–I can’t give away more in order to not be spoilerish, but that just didn’t sit right with me, even thought it’s theoretically conceivable that a scraed, overwhelmed teenager would act this way.
The second, and somewhat bigger issue that I had was the ending. It was sweet, romantic, fitting both Gavin’s and Jace’s personalities, but after the harsh and sometimes raw realism of the rest of the book, the ending–at least to me–sounded overly starry-eyed. It left me on a low note despite the fact that it was a very positive ending. But well, this might be just me, and others might love the book exactly for its ending.
Overall, this book was a very enjoyable page-turner with characters with whom I totally fell in love. I can only warmly recommend it.
Review originally written for reviewsbyjessewave.com on June 14, 2013...more
A well written, engrossing book, and the amount of research that must've gone into this is admirable. Also, the spirit of the various times this bookA well written, engrossing book, and the amount of research that must've gone into this is admirable. Also, the spirit of the various times this book was set in was portrayed very well--Kon was only too right to be afraid.
However, the characters were a bit hard to take to, particularly Preston. Geez, what a selfish prick. I liked Kon better, though the sacrifices he made for Pres (and not with too much fuss)were baffling. Poor Ned was almost too good to be true--certainly too good for Pres. How he ever put up with being his friend for 30+years, I couldn't figure out. And I'll be grateful if I never have a doctor as unprofessional as Rayne treating me for whatever illness, however preeminent in his field he might be otherwise. ...more
The main characters of this book are Bobby and Alejo from Fall Into the Sun and yet they're not. For one, they are young, just finishing high school.The main characters of this book are Bobby and Alejo from Fall Into the Sun and yet they're not. For one, they are young, just finishing high school. Their relationship is still new and far from established, and they're both still so very busy finding their own place in the world that they do and say things that hurt each other--although they also love each other enough already to abide, to protect, to be there for each other and to forgive.
For another, as it says in the author's note, this is a different universe. The characters may be younger versions of Fall Into The Sun's heroes, but the decisions they make are different, carrying them along on a different path. Which was one of the things that fascinated me about this book. Playing with what-ifs is a favorite pastime, and here it was executed to consequence. A great concept which I've never encountered before, highly imaginative and so full of possibilities.
As for the story in and of itself, it was a road movie, a quest, a mystery and a romance all rolled into one fine package with multi-layered, multi-dimensional characters (not only Bobby and Alejo, even minor characters were fully fleshed out). I've never known much about the Hispanic culture, never had much of a connection to the American Soutwest, but here, I felt like I was there, the setting was so vivid.
Delivered in this author's precise and smooth writing style, with a depth that bordererd on philosophical and humorous bits that bordered on hilarious, this book offered a delicious reading experience. I can't recommend it highly enough to all the lovers of YA m/m romance out there--and anybody else, if you loved Alejo and Bobby in Fall Into the Sun, try this one, you're in for a treat. ...more
The story dragged at times; might've had something to do with both MC's constant angsting over each other. The repetitive mutual contriteness over somThe story dragged at times; might've had something to do with both MC's constant angsting over each other. The repetitive mutual contriteness over some perceived mini-misgivings took away from the big drama in the end. Both the romance and the fantasy part followed tiresomly well-trodden paths. ...more
Okay now I'm done, and I honestly don't know what to think of this, let alone how to rate it. I'd like to be able to give 2.5 stars. This book was worOkay now I'm done, and I honestly don't know what to think of this, let alone how to rate it. I'd like to be able to give 2.5 stars. This book was worth reading, but quite exhausting, and not only for its subject matter.
This was an exceptional book in many ways. Starting with the narrative - with three different narrators, diary entries, flashbacks, and the present - this might sound confusing but it actually wasn't. The three voices were different enough to keep them apart even without the dates at the head of the paragraphs, offering insights into the heads of all three main characters, Jamie, Matt and Darian, and thus making them come alive nicely. All three were flawed and tortured, and still each one likeable in his own way. Even Matt, who started out as some kind of grunting, self - centered caveman but redeemed himself nicely enough by the end.
Then there was the plot proper. Jamie died, and the two men who were closest to him in life seek solace with each other, finding more than they were looking for. This is a beautiful premise; it was comforting for me as reader to know this beforehand as the book opened with Jamie's funeral. The actual getting together of Matt and Darian was moving, if somewhat far-fetched, and those two had great chemistry together. I could only wish them the best of luck.
Buuuuuut... here's also where my problems started. Remember, one has just lost his lover, the other has been commitment-shy for all his life to a point where he never hooked up with anyone within fifty miles of his home town from fear of having to meet them again. I can totally relate to them seeking and finding solace with each other over the loss of Jamie. But love? Over the course of a few hours, no less? One-eighty. 'nuff said.
Then, all the issues those three had to face. All in all, our three heroes went through almost any torture known to man. Anger issues, drug addiction, emotional and physical abuse, rape (for those who need to know - not onpage), bullying, homophobia, hatred... it was nearly overwhelming. Painful to watch, and at times, so well-written I could feel it for myself, particularly Jamie. And then, when he JUST seemed to overcome it - wham, came the trigger that pushed him over the edge and I was just like "Wait, WHAT?". He'd gone through so much worse, how could this, of all things, throw him into that kind of desperation? especially at this point of his life. As much as I pitied Jamie, his reaction was just immature, childish, and that felt totally out of character for him.
Ultimately, though, this book unfortunately fell flat for me for the two major issues I had. During the second half of the book, one character read to the other. The entire passage, the book's blurb and even a goodreads review of this book were quoted word-for-word. I didn't know what to do with that - I can only say that it was another "wait, what?" moment for me and threw me totally out of the story. My second issue was the book's propensity to get preachy. While the proverbial moral forefinger peeked out discretly enough several times, it turned into a big flashing neon sign by the end. Moving as it was, Matt's sermon I could've done without. I felt hit over the head with it.
So all in all, I guess I still don't really know what to think of it. This book is not off-the-mill stuff, it's ambitious and yes, it reads honest and heartfelt too, but perhaps a bit overachieving (is this a word at all?). Certainly not light and fluffy entertainment, that's for sure. Consider yourself warned, and maybe, find out for yourself. ...more
Most of all, this is a honest book. The titular rhetorical question, “How can love be wrong?” is answered here by a relationship which “breaks almostMost of all, this is a honest book. The titular rhetorical question, “How can love be wrong?” is answered here by a relationship which “breaks almost every role there is” and still feels right. I got the impression that the core of this story was striking up a blow for loving relationships that don’t fit into any pigeon-holes, and even though the case was a little overstated at times, the message came across as a matter close to the author’s heart.
This was a beautiful, deeply moving and comforting story which I can recommend if you’re in the mood for something sweet, sad and honest with unexpected depth.
A really nice and likeable story about a cop falling in love with a nineteen - year- old. Their slowly developing romance was simple and heartwarming,A really nice and likeable story about a cop falling in love with a nineteen - year- old. Their slowly developing romance was simple and heartwarming, complete with the very real conflict between the life plans and expectations of two lovers with almost a decade of age difference. Engaging, multi layered main characters, considerable growth on both sides and a great secondary cast made this a fine, enjoyable read. ...more
Reread in preparation for PartII, The Bonding...liked it better this time.
First read Sept 11: Having met Vlar as a child before, I had certain probleReread in preparation for PartII, The Bonding...liked it better this time.
First read Sept 11: Having met Vlar as a child before, I had certain problems perceiveing him as an adult, and I can't quite get my head arount the concept of finnarian immortality. The bonding scene was just... a bit out there. Otherwise, an entertaining read. ...more
Oh Werther, Werther, how did you suffer for your unreachable Charlotte! There are people who actually LIKE the books they had to read in class. I'm oneOh Werther, Werther, how did you suffer for your unreachable Charlotte! There are people who actually LIKE the books they had to read in class. I'm one. ...more
**spoiler alert** Sweet, really sweet. Colin Lancaster, son of a wealthy English family fell in love with his father's horse groom when he was only a**spoiler alert** Sweet, really sweet. Colin Lancaster, son of a wealthy English family fell in love with his father's horse groom when he was only a kid, but it takes him witnessing Patrick's trysting with another man to realize the true nature of his feelings. Shocked and horrified, he tries to deny what he feels, because it is against everything his 19th centuries morales teach, but to no avail. When Patrick is found out, Colin puts out for him and reveals his desires in front of his entire family. Both men are shipped off to the colonies, Australia in their case. During the long passage on the convict's ship, Patrick and Colin grow closer, but only when fate in the form of a frightened, widowed woman extends its hand, they get to truely know each other and finally find out whether this strange, dangerous land may hold a futuree for them together.
There was much to like about this story. Colin, coming to terms with his true nature and telling about it with his own voice, is sometimes as naive as one would expect a sheltered schoolboy of his times to be; it's hard to remember he's actually supposed to be twenty years old. He welcomes the sudden and thorough changes in his life with open arms, determined to see a good in every bad thing that happens to him. He was truely likeable in his unshakeable optimism. Patrick, on the other hand, gloomy and forbidding, is very well drawn too, a proud man so busy being at odds with his fate that he can't see beyond his destroyed dreams.
The story is mostly narrative, though; there's precariously little showing with all the telling. Yet, some of the lengthy narrative describes early Australia beautifully, the action scenes, when they happen, are great, and the sex scenes are beautifully done and hardly ever superfluous. The author went about the task of showing the coming-out of a nineteenth century youth with a loving, skillfull hand and in a truely entertaining way. Positively recommended. ...more
Imagine a world very alike to old Iceland, populated with trolls and wyvern snakes, giant fighting wolves and humans who resemble the vikings of old.Imagine a world very alike to old Iceland, populated with trolls and wyvern snakes, giant fighting wolves and humans who resemble the vikings of old. There are Earls, and villagers, and there are the wolfcarls, warriors who are mythically bonded to giant wolves. They defend the humans against the trolls, beings so powerful only the united forces of men and wolves can defeat them.
Njall, eldest son of an earl, is drawn to the wolves, but he is also his father's heir. When the wolfjarl, the head of the wolfcarls, claims him as part of the thrall, Njall's father objects. But Njall wants to go.
So he bonds with his wolf sister, Viradechtis, and becomes Isolfr. But there's the catch to being a wolfcarl: there are only male humans, but some of them are bonded to female wolves. And when the wolves mate, the humans do also, making Isolfr the one who will be taken by the human brothers of the male wolves who mate with his wolf sister.
Isolfr almost breaks up with the necessity to give himself to other men. But then the trolls start to come, and the whole world as Isolfr knows it threatens to be destroyed. Isolfr realizes his place in the world and his worthiness as a man has nothing to do with whom he surrenders to, but everything with the reasons why he does it.
This book was different for many reasons, and I can see why some may find it difficult. Particularly the sex might be bothering people. Without being outrightly raped, Isolfr isn't entirely consensual when it comes to having sex with other men. But the world he lives in is violent and cruel, not only to Isolfr, but in general, and the forced matings fit the setting. The way Isolfr grows into his role and finds his place in this very different and complicated world is part of the magic of this book. Not one single time did Isolfr act out of character; he was entirely plausible and so were the other men - and the wolves who are personalities in their own rights. Significant for the author's skills, the wolves are just "human" enough to make it plausible for them to bond with men, but they are still animals. No pathetic fallacy, the wolves are cruel and single minded and living in the moment like true animals. The worldbuilding was fantastic, totally transporting the reader into it. The story itself, with the deadly threat of the trolls forging an unlikely alliance out of men, wolves and mountain smiths (elf-like creatures of great power), was solid, well crafted fantasy, nothing new but original enough to be exciting. There were some minor issues, of course. For once, the names appeared totally random. Also, most of them suddenly changed after one third of the book; there were a lot of names. The name and character list on the first page was actually very necessary. Then, there was this fake "nordic" language which lead to tongue twisting word monsters like wolfmaeghtthing. Not really necessary, some readers might find this disturbing (I didn't mind, but I'm a linguist, so my opinion in this doesn't exactly count) Third, the story felt open ended, particularly on Isolfr's part. Then again, maybe he can't entirely find his peace with his place in life. It was still satisfying to see both Isolfr and Viradechtis mated in the end.
This one is a favourite, a great, suspenseful book, recommended for everyone who loves good, well - crafted fantasy with character growth and original creatures and doesn't mind non-consensual man-on-man sex.
**spoiler alert** Norris Woodhead is the youngest son of a well situated Victorian English family. With his older brother about to marry and his older**spoiler alert** Norris Woodhead is the youngest son of a well situated Victorian English family. With his older brother about to marry and his older sisters both looking for a husband, he's more often than not simply forgotten. Even his mother doesn't remember his birthday or his correct age, his education is left to an inept drunkard due to its costs, and nobody ever takes proper notice of him. When a new lodger comes into the house, Mrs Cavendish, things change. Norris soon discovers that Mrs. Cavendish can't be entirely huma. Why else could she be able to see the shadowpeople only Norris seems to notice? When Mrs. Cavendish takes Norris for a mysterious ride, his life changes forever.
This was a well written book. The language is a work of art, and very fitting the time the story is set in. It begins well enough with the suffeings of young Norris and his strange acquaintance with the shadowpeople. But after about halfway in, the book started to confuse me. Things happen to Norris that would have a normal boy running away screaming, but he just takes it in; and there is not much thought or inner misgivings compared to Norris's long musings in the beginning when there are really important things at hand. Still the idea of gay people living among "normal" people quite invincible unless they put on masks was new and refreshing, and I liked. Unfortunately it was about the only idea in the book and it was a bit overdone in times.
A nice YA read, in a wonderful language and gripping writing style; recommended to mystery-lovers...more
Written in present tense, this book tells the story of a young gay boy's first love. It didn't work for me. Even though I read it in German later, I dWritten in present tense, this book tells the story of a young gay boy's first love. It didn't work for me. Even though I read it in German later, I didn't get the gist of it; and the ending bothered me greatly. ...more
Twenty - two year old Sam has been living with his aunt and uncle (or rather, at their basement) since his mother died six years ago. He's working inTwenty - two year old Sam has been living with his aunt and uncle (or rather, at their basement) since his mother died six years ago. He's working in his uncle's pharmacy and going part time at nursing school. His aunt loathes him, he doesn't have a lot of money, not many friends, and he's a gay boy with a kink for humiliation and submission in a small town where being gay isn't exactly popular. So his life is rather miserable. Enter handsome, sexy trucker Mitch who Sam meets one afternoon in the back alley behind his uncle's pharmacy and immediately falls for. Hard. They have sex in the back of Mitch's truck, the kind of sex that makes Sam look different at his kind of life and leaves him yearning for more. And after a particularly nasty encounter with his aunt, Sam runs away to ride west with Mitch. The ride takes him not only away from his old life, but turns out to be a ride to himself.
I loved this book. It's a beautiful road movie that took me to all the places Mitch took Sam with a loving guidance. It's very much character driven, for mostly it's about Sam finding his place in the world. There's a lot of sex in it. But Sam's growing up happens often through letting himself in for new sexual experiences, and Mitch's feelings show more often than not by the way he has sex with Sam. So the sex is integral to the story; it felt never superfluous. There's another man, Randy, whom they encounter in Vegas, and whom I particularly liked. Mitch and Randy used to play with random strangers, always ending up with someone in misery, mostly said stranger. Their friendship (which is a sexual relationship as well) broke over the last boy toy Mitch brought home. At first, Randy thinks Sam is another one of those, but he's soon put right. I loved this different kind of threesome, where all three partners can like and desire each other and still don't need to come to a happy three - ways. There are three different relationships: Mitch and Randy, both tops, both like to be in charge. Sam and Randy - at first there's nothing but sexual desire and mindfuck from Randy's part, but Sam gains Randy's respect and even affection over time. And finally Mitch and Sam, a top who gets around and even wants to be topped from the bottom, and a submissive who wins first the heart and finally even the soul of a jaded, bitter man. All of this was done in a wonderful writing that sucked me right out of my reality and deep inside the story - and that's what a book should do for me to make it a great read.
It didn't matter to me though that the beginning was a little too exaggerated, some thoughts and musings of Sam's were repeatedly rehashed,a dn that the secondary characters like Sam's aunt and Sam's friend Emma were mere stereotypes. "Special Delivery" is not a perfect book, but a wonderful book. Like Sam lets himself on for Mitch, I let myself in for that story and oh was I rewarded. ...more