As others have pointed out before me, this story is sweet, entertaining and educational without hammering it in--and about more than how important it...moreAs 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. (less)
Beautiful and sweet, the good kind. Has a somewhat fairy-taleish feel, not lastly due to the eponymic art of illumination; I couldn't help thinking of...moreBeautiful and sweet, the good kind. Has a somewhat fairy-taleish feel, not lastly due to the eponymic art of illumination; I couldn't help thinking of Belle and the Beast or Frog Prince; yet who delivers whom from his spell varies. Really liked it and recommend it as a pleasant, positive read. (less)
This was beautiful and a little bit sad too, but mostly it was fun. Delicious, dirty sinful fun and a most desirable complement to both Special Delive...moreThis was beautiful and a little bit sad too, but mostly it was fun. Delicious, dirty sinful fun and a most desirable complement to both Special Delivery and Double Blind. Thank you for writing it, Ms. Cullinan. (less)
A very well-written book, fast-paced and with an imaginative, dark dystopian worldbuilding. The main characters felt a bit flat, angsting about the sa...moreA very well-written book, fast-paced and with an imaginative, dark dystopian worldbuilding. The main characters felt a bit flat, angsting about the same issues on and on and on. Some of the side characters were much better drawn. Erotic content so dub-con it scraped at the edges of my comfort zone; I couldn't have dealt with that kind of thing outside a fantasy setting. Still an engaging, suspenseful read. (less)
This book certainly isn’t your garden-variety ménage where connections are often made mostly through sex—in fact, there was surprisingly little sex in...moreThis book certainly isn’t your garden-variety ménage where connections are often made mostly through sex—in fact, there was surprisingly little sex in this book despite its palpable erotic tension. And the story certainly won’t be to everybody’s taste with its solid mass of angst and the long, long time the author makes the reader wait for the redeeming moment of happiness. But so long as you’re ready to let yourself in for something like that, this book is still a satisfying, rewarding read, and I’d recommend it.
Poetic, magical and fully engrossing. Awesome sense of time and place, a wonderful, in-style narrative language. The main characters fully realized an...morePoetic, magical and fully engrossing. Awesome sense of time and place, a wonderful, in-style narrative language. The main characters fully realized and firmly set into their environment, the secondary cast vividly drawn. A smootly flowing story interspersed with breathtaking action scenes and moments so tender they touched my heart. Highly recommended!! (less)
Ian and Travis have been married for eighteen years. Happily married, Ian thought, but one day he comes home from work, and Travis is gone. No note, n...moreIan and Travis have been married for eighteen years. Happily married, Ian thought, but one day he comes home from work, and Travis is gone. No note, nothing. Confused and hurt, Ian throws himself into his work even more than he did before. Travis doesn’t want to be with him anymore? Ian will let him be. After all, Travis gave up his acting career to be a stay at home dad so they could raise their son together; if Travis now, that their child is grown and out of the house, feels the need to find himself or something, he can damn well do as he pleases for all Ian cares. Or so Ian tells himself, even though for some reason he can’t make himself file for divorce. And when their one remaining link—their son—asks Ian to meet with Trevor for a last time, Ian goes, albeit reluctantly, hoping to find out why Travis left him so suddenly. He does, but very differently from how he thought. That night is an eye opener of a very particular brand, leaving Ian with regrets that are well beyond repair. But nobody can go back and fix the past. But perhaps, if Ian plays his cards right, there will be a way to start over.
With gay marriage such a much discussed topic lately, I couldn’t help thinking: What about gay divorce? Certainly gay couples aren’t any more above falling out of love, making mistakes and hurting each other—knowingly or involuntarily—than any straight couples out there. Certainly being married doesn’t solve each and every problem any more than it does with (for lack of a better word) conventional families. Most romance novels end with the “I do’s” and they lived happily ever after, but in real life, no two people do always, how much they may ever love each other and be committed to each other.
Almost Mine tells the story after the story’s end. Ian’s and Travis’s marriage could be called a traditional partnership with one of them the breadwinner and the other the home-maker. Both are obviously happy with their roles, but the bubble bursts once their child is out of the house. Day-to day routine has a tendency to make people forget to consider each other as a loving couple, as partners, and to lead to taking each other for granted instead. That’s what happened to Ian and Travis, and neither of them realized the dangerous downward spiral of assumptions, noncommunication and negligence they were caught up in until it was almost too late.
Almost Mine is a story of finding the way back together, of giving each other a second chance and even more so, of taking a second chance on each other. It’s Travis’s desperate last attempt at reconnection that eventually brings them back together. And it’s Ian, who indeed bears the major part of the blame, who changes tack and makes amends. But it’s not Ian’s singular effort that saves the relationship; both have work to do and both need to break out of set ways. And there’s where the magic of this story lies; it’s at once believable that they’d find a way back together and it’s also so very, very romantic that—and how—they do in the end. I loved this little story that started so melancholy and took such a beautiful turn to the better. Hopeful, romantic and heartwarming, this positive tale of a loving couple overcoming an almost fatal crisis in their relationship was a treat to read, and I can only warmly recommend it.
There are books I can't get into. This book, I couldn't get out of, painful as it was to read at times. Boy, what a ride! My cuticles can sympathize w...moreThere are books I can't get into. This book, I couldn't get out of, painful as it was to read at times. Boy, what a ride! My cuticles can sympathize with Brad's 'cause they're all but gone as well by now.
Basically, this is about three friends, the "Three Musky Queers" as they call themselves--Duff (my only point of critique with this book--what a Sh**y name), Garrett and Jackson, who all dream of finding love, the one true love, and go about it/ stumble across it/get beaten over the head with it in different ways. And then there are the secondary characters--Moonshine (although I hesitate to call her a secondary character and she'd surely have my hide for that too, the way she almost steals away the show from the guys), Brad, Jennica, Landon, Eli, Adam, and Scott, each a person in their own right, each with hopes, dreams and sometimes, an agenda of their own.
The book started out with two almost separate storylines, following two of the intended couples, by and by bringing them together to a heart-racing finale. Even though I hated reading on at times, I just had to find out what happened next (see above, my poor cuticles...) and I can only sit back and stare in awe at what the author did to the story, to the characters and to me, the reader.
Reading this book felt like listening to a symphonic piece of music, perhaps "The Moldau" by Smetana--leading melody and counterpoint parallel, gradually running together, broken up by an entertaining, lighter interlude, then once again linking together and weaving into one another, building up tension, building and building toward a glorious,exploding-rainbow, thundering climax and then calming down, petering out to a quiet, heartwarming coda.
It wasn't as if this book didn't have its flaws, starting with a number of clichés and not ending with a rabbit-out-of-the-magic-hat solution to most everybody's problems. But you know what? I did't care a bit, that's how wrapped up and sucked into the story I became. Not lastly thanks to the fast-paced, smooth writing that had me reading just one more sentence, just one more paragraph when I really should've been doing other things.
Masterfully done, and topped off with not one, but three-and-a-half HEA's, with everyone getting what they deserve for once and decorated with one of the very best female characters I've come across in a while. Warmly recommended.