What an incredible story! I fell in love with Pip/Valentine and Lindsay. 4.5 stars well deserved
This read to me like a relationship evolving as the pe...moreWhat an incredible story! I fell in love with Pip/Valentine and Lindsay. 4.5 stars well deserved
This read to me like a relationship evolving as the people involved evolved themselves. It was written evidence of the way people learn from interacting with others, from learning to avoid past mistakes, from discovering what they truly want and how to go about getting that. It was beautiful to watch both Valentine and Lindsay come to know each other so well that they are able to push and prod when need be, diffuse a tensed situation or simply be there for the other in a way that is meaningful to that person. I said this before but it bears repeating. They can correctly interpret each small gesture, sigh, glance, word that their partner does. That really impressed me. To be able to know someone so well and be able to meet their needs and expectations and be willing to go to such lengths, even when it's something you are not comfortable with... that really proves just how much Valentine and Lindsay are in love with each other.
(view spoiler)[Another aspect I truly loved about this story was how involved I felt in their relationship. How I was so in-sync with Lindsay at times, feeling his insane and unjustified jealousy but unable to move past it. Or the times I could understand their need for violence and pain and how arousing I found it myself.
The only slightly icky moment (if I can call it that) was the peeping tom scene where Lindsay and Valentine had sex while another couple was watching just outside the car. Valentine and Lindsay's reactions and dialogue were funny but the idea itself... being watched and have the couple get it on... just no. Not for me. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, it's a gripping tale. Some aspects are rough and in your face so this might not be for everyone. But it was just right for me and I enjoyed spending time with this pair and getting to know them.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The main reason why I dropped the rating on the second installment in the series is because I felt Valentine and Lindsay were selfish. Not only did th...moreThe main reason why I dropped the rating on the second installment in the series is because I felt Valentine and Lindsay were selfish. Not only did they hurt themselves (view spoiler)[with a 4 year separation (hide spoiler)] but they also hurt those around them or the ones they chose to get involved with. And yes, I also dropped the rating because in my mind they were still a couple and I viewed their actions as cheating. I'm not saying it needs to make sense, that's just how I felt. So 3 stars.
(view spoiler)[Both Valentine and Lindsay chose to go their separate way and both had one night stands as well as tried to be involved in a serious relationship. Irrationally, again, I despised Lindsay more for his adventures than I did Valentine. Perhaps it was because he chose to go back to Elsie, after having been involved with her some 20 years back, after she had been the wife of his best friend, after he had slept with her right after the funeral (and that had been one of the reasons why he and Valentine broke up). I felt it as a double betrayal. (hide spoiler)]
Yes, Lindsay and Valentine's relationship doesn't make sense. It's abusive, violent, depraved and filled with dark sexual desire. And yet, they are incomplete when apart. It might be that their time spent together ruined them for anyone else... they pushed their own boundaries and cannot find comfort trying it with another. Or it might be that Valentine's brand of insanity, degradation, co-dependent behaviour is best matched with Lindsay's and vice versa.
(view spoiler)[It's not a pretty tale. Albeit both manage to survive the break-up and have a go at a simulacrum life, there is always a dark shadow over their attempts, a memory of their previous life that just won't fade away, expectations that are not met. And as surprising as their separation was, their reunion is the same. I was a bit taken aback to see that 4 years was enough to bury all the resentment and negative emotions they each had, enough to smoothly slide back in a relationship. (hide spoiler)] I guess I'll have to see if the third books answers that question.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
So, the story is placed in a steampunk alternate reality and it took me a while to catch on since there were no clear indications. But it was the perf...moreSo, the story is placed in a steampunk alternate reality and it took me a while to catch on since there were no clear indications. But it was the perfect background for our unlikely heroes. I don't know which one I liked more: Gus or Enzo.
(view spoiler)[Enzo is barely surviving after being maimed by a spurned husband. His arm was destroyed by acid and now has a mechanical device posing as his hand and forearm. The mechanical arm doesn't have much mobility so Enzo is reduced to seducing a patron to take care of him. He meets Gus in a bar and proceeds to follow him home. Gus is an airship designer and engineer intent on Giving Enzo a better mechanical arm. He's been leading a lonely life for the last 15-20 years, surrounded only by his machines and the sound of music.
Their interactions are strained at first, each still caught up in their own world. But you gradually learn more about each of them and are witness to their budding friendship. I enjoyed Enzo's sense of humour and attempts at seducing Gus. I loved Gus for his shyness, complete devotion to his work and humility with which he secluded himself in the hangar. He was so honest and charming, I was glad he came across Enzo who would help him, not take advantage of him. (hide spoiler)]
A charming story all in all. A bit of mechanical tampering (but not enough to make you reach for a dictionary), two characters seemingly opposites and a sweet romance in the making. You'll want to read this. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
That was the proverbial icing on the cake! 1.5 stars is all I can give. I usually reserve 1 star for books I hate, so that's why this gets rounded to...moreThat was the proverbial icing on the cake! 1.5 stars is all I can give. I usually reserve 1 star for books I hate, so that's why this gets rounded to 2 stars.
(view spoiler)[For a 1/3 of the book I wasn't sure if I was reading book 2 or 3. It was the same boring stuff: Austin waking up with Hank, morning sex, making breakfast, a blowjob then Hank going off to work. The series had to end with Austin cussing and hitting his mother in a fight for ownership over Hank. Of course, she's now this fat manipulative bitch, hoping to get rich and spoil things between the happily married couple. Luckily, Austin doesn't believe in her tricks and heroically comes to Hank's rescue. Their reward is Angie going away for good and another sex marathon to celebrate they 1 year anniversary. (hide spoiler)]
If words like "boy spot" and "pussyboy", Daddy play and a bit of roughing up does it for you, then you might enjoy this despite the bad narrative.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
(view spoiler)[The book had a good start. From the first few pages I had a sense of foreboding and dre...moreI liked this. Just not as much as I anticipated.
(view spoiler)[The book had a good start. From the first few pages I had a sense of foreboding and dread. I already sympathised with Lee and wanted him to escape the hell Vornis had created. The best way to describe various tortures is to let the reader imagine what they will. And I could think of so many ways that Lee could have been hurt, physically and emotionally. But then little issues started popping up. Some of the horrors I imagined part of Vornis' imprisonment were too harsh to what the book later on revealed. In some ways it was tamer than I had thought it would be, and in other ways it proved hurtful enough to deeply mark Lee and Shaw. Another issue I had with the story was Shaw's character. Before I knew he was an undercover agent, I found it disconcerting to have him act the dominant part and then bow before Vornis and the others, letting it be implied that he would accept becoming Guterman's bitch if it came with contacts and connections in the criminal world. It was obvious that if Guterman would have ever been allowed to use Shaw's body, Shaw would have ceased to exist as a person and become an object. It made it easier to accept this behaviour once it was revealed it was part of a fake identity. (hide spoiler)]
What I liked about the book were the insightful comments and views into what makes a person, how someone is affected by events in their life, how one is forced to meet everyone else's expectations. I found those had a ring to me and they made me think how they apply to my own life, irrelevant of any traumatic experiences.
So overall, not a book I enjoyed because of its characters or action but because it made me think of certain aspects of my life and how I react to them.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Hard to rate this story. It made my stomach churn and left me depressed. However, it did have a noticeable impact on me, albeit not an optimistic one....moreHard to rate this story. It made my stomach churn and left me depressed. However, it did have a noticeable impact on me, albeit not an optimistic one. So for that it gets 4 stars.
(view spoiler)[It started pretty innocuous with Andy as this young man, too lazy and unsure what to do with his life, who turns to tricks to cover his expenses. I always loved the stories of paid girls/rentboys because underneath the financial transactions and sexual exploits, there is deep analysis of human nature, what makes a person work, what incites them, what gets a reaction out of them. And this must be done in matter of minutes. You must be a good judge of character to mould yourself after some stranger's wishes and be able to put your own desires aside.
But the story does not have an optimistic note like Belle de Jour: Diary of an Unlikely Call Girl. Andy is hurt by unrequited love, falls back in the arms of an abusive ex, Nick. But Nick is not the salvation Andy was hoping for. Andy goes through endless drinking and drugs trying to blanket the despair he's feeling. Once bereft of all hope and anyone he could cling to for a bit of attention and care, he finds the inspiration to put all his pain to paper. (hide spoiler)]
A haunting story, actually. At least it was for me. I was hoping for a fairy tale and got a cold dish of reality. Poignant but not one I could re-read any time soon.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This left me with a smile on my face and brightened my day. Short but complete with all the ingredients to make it a pleasurable read.
(view spoiler)[I...moreThis left me with a smile on my face and brightened my day. Short but complete with all the ingredients to make it a pleasurable read.
(view spoiler)[I rooted for both characters and I was immensely relieved that they found happiness in each other's arms. Omar led a quiet life, lonely in his routine and having only 2 dogs for company for more year than he cared to remember. And Colin was going through one bad experience after another. He had to struggle with learning his mother had cancer, being dumped by his boyfriend and losing his job, all this on top of dealing with his by-polar disorder. It was a bad medication for this latter that landed him on a morgue table. Lucky for him, he came to before he underwent the whole autopsy procedure.
I was smiling through and through as I read. I loved Colin's sense of humor despite crappy odds, the slow build of friendship and more between Colin and Omar. I loved Tony and Trouble (what cute names). And I loved how well the pair fitted together, accommodating each other. (hide spoiler)]
A must read if you want to spend a couple of hours smiling and be left happy afterwards.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I don't hate the book. I simply could not find one thing to make it worth my while for having read this. So it gets 1 star.
I wanted to enjoy this. But...moreI don't hate the book. I simply could not find one thing to make it worth my while for having read this. So it gets 1 star.
I wanted to enjoy this. But right off, my expectations were not met. I was looking forward to some thrilling sci-fi and got a sort of romantic mush instead. The plot jumped from one thing to another, and I never got the chance to fully understand and empathise with the characters. The only emotion I felt was in the first few pages (view spoiler)[when Quasay was being drugged and forced to submit to a rape (hide spoiler)]. Then he wanders in Cameron's path. Both decide to trust each other for reasons unknown. (view spoiler)[They dance the ritual dance without actually doing anything until Cameron kills Quasay's abusers. After getting through that scarring experience and detox, the heroes naturally jump in the sack. Follows a sweet but short moment of homey romance and then Quasay is kidnapped and forced to remember his past (of course by excruciating means). Quasay/Sai and Cameron meet again, Quasay spoils all of Cameron's work and goes back with Archer, to be tortured for the memories he kept hidden. Long story short, the pair manage to defeat the bad guys and have their happy ever after.
I failed to understand the connection between Quasay and Cameron or some of their reactions. The same with Quasay and Archer/the Father. One moment he was a hissing, spitting cat, the next, he was meek and docile. I could not relate to these mood swings. And the whole sci-fi vibe felt off. So far in the future and the Tudor style houses are still in demand... or when Quasay is sick and they bring him a bucket... I mean, is that the best future technology has to offer? (hide spoiler)]
I tried to find this acceptable. But nothing worked for me. I don't have any negative feelings towards it. There's not even that.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I liked Ryan and John (I hated it when he was called Johnny) I just didn't love them. I was talking earlier how one...moreSo, it's a 3.5 rounded to 4 stars.
I liked Ryan and John (I hated it when he was called Johnny) I just didn't love them. I was talking earlier how one perceives GFY contemporary stories and what makes it believable or not. And while I accepted it in the end, there were some small peeves that decreased the pleasure of reading about this pair.
(view spoiler)[I was dissatisfied that Ryan hid his relationship with John from his family for the entirety of the book. (view spoiler)[In fact the parting phrase in the book is Ryan coming clean to his father. (hide spoiler)] And I found this unbalanced, since John was the one to make the first step in everything. He chased Ryan, he admitted he had feelings for Ryan (view spoiler)[(well, except the scene where Ryan talk to Mark and is the first to say the 'love' word to define what he and John have) (hide spoiler)] and most of all, never tried to hide it. Not to mention John was the only one to put out. It seemed fair that Ryan should get to bottom too. Just saying...
Second, it was distracting with the random dead people showing up at every step and I couldn't figure out how they fit in the story. I presumed this was a coming out story and felt every page was required to deal with that (coming out towards themselves,family and friends) to leave space for solving a murder.
Third, I assumed it was a coming out story and the hardships of coming to terms with one's sexuality. But other than a few lines, both men easily concluded they were attracted to each other and wasted no time in getting physical (and few of those instances annoyed me since it portrayed John, a respectable 37 year old man, more concerned with chasing tail than looking out for his troubled kids). (hide spoiler)]
So, amidst people committing suicide, bodies being discovered, dealing with a runaway teenager and figuring out how to be in a relationship with a man, I kind of lost sight of the men themselves. In the sense I felt a rather distant connection to them instead of empathising. I liked the story overall, and all elements come together rather nicely. The only thing missing was an infatuation with it to make it a 5 star read.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This proved to be a book of contradictions for me. I vacillated between 2, 3 and 4 stars depending on where I was with the story. Finally, I opted for...moreThis proved to be a book of contradictions for me. I vacillated between 2, 3 and 4 stars depending on where I was with the story. Finally, I opted for 3 stars though it does not reflect the overall book. And this is partly my fault.
(view spoiler)[ I started the book on the premises that I would read about a dashing young man, brave and fearless forced to sacrifice himself for the good of his country. He would be dragged off into slavery kicking and screaming and would not give up fighting no matter what they did to him. He would, of course, fall in love with his captor and come to enjoy the 'tortures' he was subjected to and decide to stay with him once his freedom was restored. This story had none of that. It took me half the book to shake off this impression.
Kynon was too young to be chosed as tribute. Oh, he was of age and had spent 3 years battling the enemy but that, in no way, prepared him for life. I kept waiting for him to continue his struggle against Brasius and the Segasa people. And he didn't. Which frustrated me to no end (until I realised he was not the kind of character I had envisioned before starting the book).
Another thing that threw me off was the swift transition to pain lover. I didn't understand, or couldn't visualise/empathise with Kynon and how he transitioned from pain to pleasure, how exactly the Segasa chose to 'torture' the tributes. I was still in the mind set of courageous warrior forced into slavery. So, having the tributes forced to sexual peak time and time again was definitely original but took me a while to understand.
And last but not least, I might have spaced out a bit because I was just as confused as Kynon in regards to what attitude, position, behavior he should take before the Senate, before his master, before the procurators. I didn't understand (I'm hoping that I, at least, figured out the big picture by the end of the book) what the whole tribute process involved and what exactly the tributes would be doing after their training. Were they released back home? Did they stay and represent Segasa in other countries they took over? And for that matter, what kind of army did they have if former tributes were part of the army? What would Kynon do once he was set free? Actually, what exactly did he choose to do, after surviving Hera's punishment? (On that note, I believed at one point in the book that she might be Brasius's wife - to explain for her hate and harsh punishment - and thought it was a clever name for her, hinting to Hera of Olympus...) I'm rambling. (hide spoiler)]
Bottom line is that I read the book but not sure I completely understood the book. There were interesting concepts in the plot line and interesting characters (though I wish Brasius had had a voice in the book - it made it hard to read him when his wishes were in opposition of what the Senate and Hera wanted and he hardly communicated at peer level with Kynon). Everything was nicely grouped together to keep me reading until the end. The only problem is figuring out exactly where to place the book in my personal rating folder.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
What a gripping tale. The story was made of feelings. I really felt for Vince and Rowan. However, ultimately, I sided more w...moreI really enjoyed the book!
What a gripping tale. The story was made of feelings. I really felt for Vince and Rowan. However, ultimately, I sided more with Rowan than I did with Vince despite the story being told from Vincent's point of view.
(view spoiler)[Each man had a past they were trying to come to terms with, trying to separate from the choices they've made and carve a new future. I cared for Vince and grimaced alongside him every time he jarred his spine, every time he was scared by thoughts of paraplegia. I initially believed Jack had betrayed him, that the 'blond god' was working for Goran Maric. When it turned out it had been fear that had made him run away, I wasn't sure if I was relieved or upset. After so many years together in the force, how could Jack hide that? How did Vince not see it? Why wasn't Vince more upset? I mean he ended up with two bullets in the back because of Jack. Even taking into account Vince was head over heels in love (and love makes anyone blind) his easy disregard of the whole incident left me with a sour taste. Jack got off way too easy for his cowardly attitude.
But coming back to Vince. It was a pleasure (if one can say that while watching the slow descent into depression and hopelessness) to watch Vincent as he came to terms with the latest events in his life and tried to accept his new reality. I was most impressed with the scene where he is imprisoned by Val and laughs at her first attempt to beat the truth out of him. Yet I must admit there was a slight inconsistency I felt between the supposedly savage beating and his enthusiastic mad dash to safety while at the same time stopping Rowan from committing suicide. I chose to ignore it and focus on the adrenaline moving me from scenery to scenery until both men was safely in police custody.
But through it all, Rowan was the shining beacon in the story. I was more impressed with him. I felt he suffered the most. Perhaps not physically but emotionally. He was repeatedly verbally abused by Vince but did not give upon him. Rowan constantly watched out for him, came to his help more than once and even went as far as admitting his feelings for Vince. I admired his courage to stay clean, to be truthful about his past and defy enemies that he had fled from for years. All for Vince. The most hurtful thing that I can imagine is to daily fight the urge to take another hit and then have someone you care for heartlessly treat it as inconsequential. Rowan was a brave man for that alone. (hide spoiler)]
I gulped this down. I enjoyed every shadow that hinted at enemies, every loaded glance or heartfelt touch that passed between the 2 MCs. The intimate scenes between them was scorching hot while still keeping to the plot line (Vince's injury). The imagery was beautifully described to complement the action and fill in the background. Not strong enough to make me 5 star rate this but a very satisfying read.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
**spoiler alert** Really? Have Black and Calyx pretend to be lovers in the pornography industry so they can apprehend some criminals? Well, that was o...more**spoiler alert** Really? Have Black and Calyx pretend to be lovers in the pornography industry so they can apprehend some criminals? Well, that was original. Not.
I disliked the fact that Black not only was unsure, but now suddenly needed emotional support from Dickerson's wife. While there was not one mention of this woman in the first installment. And I hated Black's deceit in asking Calyx to be friends when he had no intention of actually doing that, and lying on top of it. How am I supposed to grow fond of this character, when he hides all that he is and was from everyone, when he lies and sacrifices all sort of things trying to protect inconsequential things?
And then, almost everyone in the book turns out to be gay: captain of JC1, Genesis, Dickerson (despite being married) and the list goes on. Are there no more straight men (except Sola, who seems included in the book just so there is that one character absolutely hating gay men)?
I eventually figured out part of Black's history and what the secret meetings with Dickerson were all about. None of which endeared him to me. I expected that as one trying to rise from such despicable origins, Black would be sympathetic towards Calyx, not be so resentful.
I can't put my finger on what it is exactly that disturbs me about the story. Perhaps it feels disjointed. This installment gets only 2 stars and I'll see if I can manage to read the third one as well.(less)
Well, this was a bit fucked-up. Very creepy and nicely done!
(view spoiler)[ The writing was incredible. I quite immersed in the skin of the character,...moreWell, this was a bit fucked-up. Very creepy and nicely done!
(view spoiler)[ The writing was incredible. I quite immersed in the skin of the character, high on drugs and unsure how to perceive reality, what to take for granted and what to examine more closely. I couldn't be sure if Angel was just your average independent escort or what he was exactly, with his premonitions, mind reading ability and a strange sense of protective air he had for Sean, later on popping in as a drug dealer and then working at the ticket counter. He left me with an ambivalent feeling of caring and danger.
I felt bad for Sean, how slowly becoming an addict, not realising it. And Angel's intervention was hard to determine, leaving the last few pages to enlighten me that he had good intentions after all. It was brilliant to observe him around Sean and not know whether he was a protector of travelers or a guide of souls towards the other realm. (hide spoiler)]
The only reason this doesn't get 5 stars is because of the depressive feel of the story. It's a bite of real life, granted. But it doesn't go down easily.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
What an amazing journey! I quite enjoyed the story! I wondered at first what could make the story so long and was pleasantly surprised by the complexi...moreWhat an amazing journey! I quite enjoyed the story! I wondered at first what could make the story so long and was pleasantly surprised by the complexity and diversity of the plot.
(view spoiler)[This story had it all. Great and believable characters, intricate plot, amazing scenery, fantastic interaction, adorable romance development and awesome action scenes.
I just loved how Sean was different than what Cormac expected, just as Cormac was different than what Sean imagined. And how each displayed so many more qualities, not just being opposite of what the other thought. And the slow emotional build up between them... was a pleasure to read that. I'm also glad I read the short stories in the series before starting this as it helped me mentally visualise the MC better as well as understand their past and their hang-ups. It was also a plus that the female cast wasn't bitchy and spiteful but actually supportive.
And then the action and plot. Never a dull moment. The story started off easy with beautiful images of Ireland. And then everything went awry. Michael's death was exceptionally cruel making me admire Sean's resistance to such mental torture. And the magnificent way in which the magical elements of Irish history were woven into the fabric of the story, making even the most ordinary scene have a deeper meaning in the overall sense of the story. Very original, refreshing and enchanting! (hide spoiler)]
I'm glad I read this story. It had depth, great characters and a most (un)believable journey for the MC!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
**spoiler alert** "I just want to have somewhere to call home." -- I don't think there could have been a better ending than that. For this book at lea...more**spoiler alert** "I just want to have somewhere to call home." -- I don't think there could have been a better ending than that. For this book at least!
Manna is perfect at choosing titles. While the main story focused on Warrick's family crisis, there was also Toreth and Warrick moving in together (and all that implied) but also a surprise inclusion of Toreth's family and another glimpse into the man's past.
I have to say I was pretty furious with Warrick in the first half of the book as he took so many unnecessary risks in trying to protect his family and do the right thing for this brother. While Toreth's wasn't 100% correct in his arguments, it had a certain logic to it, considering who they were up against. Without Stable's help (and I have my doubts whether the help was actually that - the man did kill Kate after all) Warrick and Toreth might not have gotten away with it. But every step of the investigation was thrilling to read. The fear that at any moment, things would spiral out of control and land both of them in prison kept me hooked to the story.
And then the whole fiasco of Toreth moving in with Warrick. I cringed every time anyone made the slightest, most innocent comment in reference to it, half fearing they would drive Toreth away (and for a little while, Toreth did decide to abandon the whole idea of living with Warrick). Not go away permanently, since Toreth himself has admitted he can't leave Warrick. But their staying together was something for Warrick, after all the compromises he has made in their relationship. It felt something concrete; something equal to the promise Keir had made to never leave Toreth. I breathed a sigh of relief when Toreth made the surprising request of wanting to move back with Warrick. As I mentioned before, that last parting phrase completely melted my heart.
Then there was the vague references to Toreth's past, leaving me unsure whether he had indeed killed his brother or not. There are always two sides to a story and my heart would side with Toreth but my mind is conflicted by the opposing testimonies. I can only hope more will be revealed in upcoming stories.
I'm glad to see some development and change in Toreth. Actively resisting the ingrained suspicion that Warrick would cheat on him with Carnac (Carnac, of all people!!!). Refusing to storm out of the house whenever they had an argument. Slowly accommodating to the idea of living together with Warrick. A slight decrease in the number of fucks (though that could have been a lapse from the author, not a trait of Toreth's per say). Gradually coming to terms with his feelings and the fact that others are aware of his feelings for Warrick.
It was an impressive read! It's all due to the author: not just for this latest story but for the slow build-up of the characters that made me love them despite their many flaws. I can't accept that it's over. I have to read more of them! Imagining on my own is not as fun as actually reading it! I'm not ready to let them go! I have to have more!(less)
There was danger, there was careful planning, there was revenge, there were catastrophic truths revealed,...moreI have no words to comment this installment.
There was danger, there was careful planning, there was revenge, there were catastrophic truths revealed, there was pain, so much pain and hurt... and inability to change.
There was Carnac! There was the dreaded moment I feared the first time he appeared. There was the sick pleasure he took in hurting and destroying Toreth! There was pure evil shaped in a different form.
And then there were Warrick and Toreth! Despite high complexity of the story line, they hold central stage. There was so much emotion in this book!
I was actually surprised at the behaviour he showed. I don't mean the way he treated Greg, though that...more**spoiler alert** This was a new side to Toreth.
I was actually surprised at the behaviour he showed. I don't mean the way he treated Greg, though that was unexpected too (I mean, he could have been rougher or added some innuendo). But to play along with some big time corporate into scaring their son to behave. Somehow, I didn't see it possible. I totally recognised Toreth at the end when he thought it wouldn't hurt to have a favour or two with a big name like Ballester.
But it was interesting to see I&I presented like that. Neither from the point of view of someone working for it, nor as someone parallel to it, but in fact someone facing possible charges, interrogation and worse. Quite a cold shower.(less)
(view spoiler)[I tried to overlook it in the past or find explanations and excuses for it but somehow, this la...moreWarrick, what the hell are you thinking?
(view spoiler)[I tried to overlook it in the past or find explanations and excuses for it but somehow, this latest story just pushed me too far. Why on earth is Warrick putting up with a shit like Toreth? I know... I usually like Toreth and can excuse some of his behavior. But in Gratuitous Kink, Warrick is so fucking maleable and accepting. He looks the other way when Toreth intentionally ignores their agreement (hypocritical bastard, always giving himself slack to fuck everything that moves but still expecting Warrick to remain faithful) and then... says nothing when he's left in chains because Toreth simply forgot about hima nd went to sleep? *outrage mode*
How much crap is Warrick willing to take? Or would the question better be asked as "How in love is Warrick with Toreth to allow things like this to happen over and over again?"
In terms of story... it all flowed beautifully. Warrick was his usual captivating corporate, passionate about his work, while Toreth whored around. The little chat with Fran was a nice addition into what Warrick is thinking and how he and others perceive his relationship with Toreth. However, on a more personal level, I simply hated Toreth. There is just so much good looks and sexual domination can get you. And his latest stunt just left a sour taste in my mouth. Very disappointed in you Toreth. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
(view spoiler)[I had almost forgotten the mystery solving and detective feel at the start of the series...moreWay to keep me strung all throughout the story!
(view spoiler)[I had almost forgotten the mystery solving and detective feel at the start of the series, in Mind Fuck. But this installment brough it all back into focus.
The plot felt like a domino effect: Jonny abused Sara. Toreth roughed up Jonny. Kemp kidnapped and beat Toreth. Toreth brought down Kemp and his illegal operation. The summary doesn't do the story justice.
There was an extensive analysis on control... seen from Sara's point of view, then Jonny, Toreth and finally Kemp on all kind of matters. Sara felt robbed of free will when she was abused by Jonny and left in a pool of her own blood. Jonny too couldn't control the things happening around him. Toreth couldn't fight back against the abuse being done to him. Kemp couldn't stop the avalanche that brought his operation down and pointed him as head in charge.
While the chase was interesting and Toreth proved yet again his para-investigator skills, I was more focused on the personal aspect. How Toreth relied on Warrick and opened up in so many ways: trusting to ask Warrick for help, confessing his fears (or at least part of his fears) that he had experienced while held captive, knowing to go to Warrick as a way to stop the nightmares. (hide spoiler)]
Everything happening in the story seems to be for a reason, though not apparent at first. Foundation blocks that strengthen the story later on. And despite the cruelty sometimes displayed, sooner or later you end up attached to the characters. Very good read! Off to the next one!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It proved a difficult start, as I didn't read much about the series before commencing it (for fear of spoilers) so it took a while fo...moreMind Fuck indeed!
It proved a difficult start, as I didn't read much about the series before commencing it (for fear of spoilers) so it took a while for me to understand the background and familiarise myself with the setting and cast. And I admit I was expecting a bit more sci-fi in terms of mind alteration or perception changes, conniving tricks meant to set me in the wrong direction.
But once it became apparent that was not the case and I got to know Toreth and Warrick better, I was hooked. Plenty of suspence, thrilling action scenes, clever writing and a complex plot with numerous surprises, passionate sex encounters and characters carefully balanced on the boderline between good and bad.
I'd give it 5 stars just for keeping my attention so thoroughly despite the day's interruptions. But having such overwhelming characters and devious plot to keep me guessing was icing on the cake. Looking forward to the next installment.(less)
It was a good story. I can't say that I was smitten by it but I did enjoy reading it. So, a 3.5 star rating.
(view spoiler)[It was pretty obvious that...moreIt was a good story. I can't say that I was smitten by it but I did enjoy reading it. So, a 3.5 star rating.
(view spoiler)[It was pretty obvious that Adam would get better with Denver's help and vice versa.It was very interesting to read about Adam's condition and how it affected him. How he perceived it and acted as a result of it. I can't say that I found Adam's attachment to Denver and his wish to be punished a safe decision but it seemed to work in their case. And it was evident that there were some lilmits imposed and Adam didn't turn into a mindless slave, leaving all decisions to Denver. I'm glad it wasn't the type of story where everyone gets better and they live happily ever after. Neither character finds a miraculous cure. But they do learn to adapt and work around their condition in order to make a life for themselves.
On a side note, I wouldn't have minded Brad getting shaken up a bit. (hide spoiler)]
I wasn't in awe of the story. Nor was it very surprising in plot. But I enjoyed reading it nonetheless and liked the characters.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It is a difficult book to rate. I was captivated by the multitude of emotions displayed within and yet at the same time oddly distanced from the chara...moreIt is a difficult book to rate. I was captivated by the multitude of emotions displayed within and yet at the same time oddly distanced from the characters and how they hurt each other and still be together.
I wasn't all that drawn to the book when I started reading this, but then I gave it my attention and the telling pulled me in. No matter the degree of realism and accuracy to what truly happened between the characters, it's an intense journey. It was told in such a way that it really felt like at times, Cristina had lived through Frida's experiences but there were also distinct moments when they were separate women, connected by an array of feelings and emotions.
I can't say I loved the book because ultimately, I didn't enjoy Frida's life and behavior. But it was an interesting reading so I'll give it 3.5 stars.(less)
**spoiler alert** The story started out pretty good.
Plenty of action and brooding heroes that collide in personalities. But then, halfway through the...more**spoiler alert** The story started out pretty good.
Plenty of action and brooding heroes that collide in personalities. But then, halfway through the story, it kind of veered from what I was expecting. Black went from being calculated and in control to second guessing himself, unsure and needy. I expected him to be strong. Yes, give in when things became too hard and have his weak moments, but know to pick himself up and build his walls again and stride forward with confidence.
The only one that stayed faithful to the image I was expecting was Calyx Starr. He was indeed the addict, whoring himself to get out of a hellish life. But he became more complex throughout the story, showing us that he made a deal with Dickerson in the hopes of reaching Silent City, becoming attached to Black, even coming to understand Jake.
What I disliked about the story were some inconsistencies (or what I perceived them to be as such). For all that Black demanded respect from his team, he had no problem belittling Calyx and calling him all kind of names. And I hated how some activities were kept in secret, like Black and Dickerson's secret meetings and Genesis, etc.
I was really excited when I started the series but it petered out towards the end. I couldn't grow attached to Black so there was no drive to keep me hooked. I'll read the next installment but doubt the rating will increase.(less)
Oh, I want to throw a tantrum of my own!!! This can't be over. I must know more!
(view spoiler)[I have to know what happens to Aki, after Sky's psychic...moreOh, I want to throw a tantrum of my own!!! This can't be over. I must know more!
(view spoiler)[I have to know what happens to Aki, after Sky's psychic attack. I have to know more about the relationship between Jin and Jackson. I need to know how things will develop between Jin and Ken and if there is any chance of something real and solid existing between them. I have to know how Sky is doing and whether he was captured by KGA (please don't let that be the case, no matter how much he is hated by everyone and no matter how whiny he is). I want to know if Mark will manage to keep Dylan by his side and get rid of his emotions for Jen. I want to know if Luke is going to come back to life? I want to know more about Lip and Kel. This story spawns more questions by the paragraph than anything I've ever read.
The third installment was better than the first 2. Probably because the characters were already set in place and now, the author was given a chance to explore hidden feelings and give depth to some of the actions and emotions running wild between the characters. I understood Aki a little bit better. One significant scene to which I felt very much connected was when Aki was talking to Mark and remembering his time with Luke. There was so much raw emotion in those lines...
And then there was Sky. Slowly being consumed by his urges yet unable to stop them. Hating himself even as he surrenders. You understand the difficult position he is in, wanting to please Ken but ultimately being selfish in his doings and then loathing himself. It must be hard for him to find balance with such confusing emotions and desires.
And let's not forget Ken. The shy and awkward kid, barely saved from a butcher whorehouse and yet standing up and defending the people around him and displaying amazing qualities and Talents. I do wonder what his Hidden/Key Talent is and what part it will play further along in the story. I just hope he never falls in the hands of Strauss, as he seems the embodiment of all the horrors Ken went through as a child. (hide spoiler)]
There are so many facets to each character and such development between them and the story itself, you could hardly believe it possible in such a short story. And yet, each and everyone is individually represented, a clear presence in the story but with a myriad of connections to everyone else. Their reasons and justifications still partly unknown, leaving the reader to decipher the code and understand them. Amazing writing and fantastic story! Looking forward to the next installment.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
(view spoiler)[The ending left so many questions. I came to feel just what the other characters felt for Sky. He did stupid and annoying things then his self hatred made you want to pity him. However, it didn't occur to me he might have had help in going back on heroin, had the author not said something to that effect. Looking forward to the sequel.
I was glad to find out more about Jin. As predicted, his personality is a lot deeper than meets the eye. He finds it easy to kill people and his self destructive nature might end up hurting those around him, not only Jin. He likes to play with fire but not sure if he's aware of the risks of such a dangerous game. (hide spoiler)]
Each character seems independent and solitary in their actions, but somehow, everything is threaded together. And even though there is no immediate danger, you read every page with a sense of foreboding. 4.5 stars and off to read the third installment.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This was quite a complex story. I had a hard time getting into the feel of it because of the present tense. Once I managed to overlook it, I became at...moreThis was quite a complex story. I had a hard time getting into the feel of it because of the present tense. Once I managed to overlook it, I became attached to the characters.
I didn't expect the twists in the story, (view spoiler)[ of Eli being Daniel's brother. And even when that came out, I held on hope that it was some sort of mistake. I was even more surprised when the pair was rather pushed into remaining together. There are many layers to the solution Eli and Daniel opted for and it was interesting to see them unravel. On top of the psychological burden of their most recent discovery, all the characters were forced to make grown-up decisions, to learn how to cope with loss, tragedy, heart ache and the consequences of their choices as well as the choices of their parents. And it wasn't just one problem they had to overcome. Daniel was torn between the memory of his father, being the father figure for his younger brother Cory, learning to define his relationship with Eli and finding a new path for his life. Cory was forced to watch his father descend slowly into the bottle but also try to apply various images to his older brother: brother, a man who had found his love, son wishing for a better father. And Eli was on a path of self-destruct, having to fight drugs, depression, doubt, guilt and struggling to find someone to love him. (hide spoiler)]
There were plenty of delicate subjects tackled in this story and I liked the tension and emotional depth each character brought to the topic. However, I disliked the somewhat sloppy writing towards the end, where there was no clear point of view and each paragraph showed someone else's thoughts. And where 3/4 of the book was spent depicting the problems of this extended family, I felt the end was rushed and thrust upon the reader. More of a third person viewing everything from outside and narrating a happily ever after for some random group of people. The ending deserved a book in its own, to give me room to feel not only read about what became of everyone.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I'd give this 5 stars if it weren't for the length. The story left me with more questions than the answers it provided. And it was frustrating to stop...moreI'd give this 5 stars if it weren't for the length. The story left me with more questions than the answers it provided. And it was frustrating to stop just when things were getting more interesting.
(view spoiler)[Jin was the first to be introduced and I liked his humor and bold personality. He faced threat and challenges with a funny line and humor in his eyes. However, the story led to believe there is more than meets the eye with him and I would have liked to find out more about him.
At first glance, I didn't much pay attention to Sky. But then the story focused its attention on him and you couldn't help but feel sorry and want to comfort him, once his past was revealed.
And Ken. His horrible past and horrendous experiences made me like him instantly. It was amazing to observe his will to go on and evolve beyond the traumatic events that marked his early years in life. I was equally interested in his curious attempts at adjusting to society and I so longed to read more about it. And hopefully, about growing feelings between him and Jin.
Mark. There was so much despair in him. Such torn devotion between his love for Dylan and attraction to Jen. Despite Jen's destructive nature, he was unable to completely pull away. (hide spoiler)]
I could not fully understand their abilities. Each character had a brief moment in the spotlight. Definitely not enough to completely portray them but enough to pique my interest. Enough to make me care for each. So just for leaving me hanging... 4.5 stars. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Wow! This was such a surprising good story. I could hardly put it down and was compelled to read on until I had finished it. And then felt sad that it...moreWow! This was such a surprising good story. I could hardly put it down and was compelled to read on until I had finished it. And then felt sad that it was over. It was that good.
(view spoiler)[ I fell in love with Sebastian from the very first pages of the story. He had a funny way of looking at things that made me laugh out loud frequently in the initial chapters. The way he reacted to meeting Eli and the justifications he would give himself to avoid the truth were just so hilarious. I couldn't stop myself from liking him. And then came Eli, with his troubled past and aggressive attitude to ward off any more hurt from people getting too close. They seemed like an improbable couple. And for half the story, that held true. Sebastian kept pushing, for reasons unknown even to him, while Eli did his best to drive him away, all the while a bond being created between them.
It was adoring to watch both of them begin to change and mold after the other, despite everything that had marked them before. There were tough times, Sebastian got stabbed (twice), Eli had a confrontation with his mother, fought to give up drugs for Sebastian. Both characters never came clean with their feelings until the end of the story but it was lear they cared of each other through their actions.
It didn't end with the Happily Ever After of fairy tales. Nor would it have suited such a dark story and complex personalities. However, it did end on a positive note and with the feeling that all would work for the both of them. And the love that held them together was more than enough to withstand whatever was thrown at them. (hide spoiler)]
The story is not perfect. But the characters felt so genuine and the story very believable that it rightly deserves 5 stars. If not for the amusing comments, then for the interesting plot line or for the hot intimate scenes. Take your pick. I'm sure you won't be disappointed by the book.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This turned out to be less exciting than I imagined. And because I had expected something extraordinary from this, the actual story kind of disappoint...moreThis turned out to be less exciting than I imagined. And because I had expected something extraordinary from this, the actual story kind of disappointed, hence the 2 stars.
(view spoiler)[It was a very original idea to bring substance to an imaginary friend. However, I felt the story had too many central points, instead of focusing on a particular one. Chris is recovering from a drug addiction. On top of that, he is more isolated because of his sexual orientation. The the story digresses. Denny makes 2 brief appearances then disappears... only not in his spectral plane (or wherever he came from) but just around the block, moving on with his life. I would have enjoyed reading more about how he came into the world and how he familiarised himself with actual living, instead of seeing him suddenly turn up with a birth certificate and 500 dollars in his pocket. That was even stranger than him turning from imaginary friend to a real person.
And then Chris. He is mesmerised by Denny's apparition but quickly puts him out of his mind, preferring instead to imagine a life with Troy and make his life enjoyable (though often lamenting his solitude). When Troy hides deeper in the closet and there is nothing else interesting in his life, Chris remembers Denny and goes back to ask for a relationship. The plot line did not run smooth for me. (hide spoiler)]
There were some original concepts and ideas placed in this book but they were not given enough attention, opting instead to clutter them together. I wanted Chris to devote more time and interest in Denny (best friend when Chris was young). There is a happy ending but the road to it could have been better.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)