I've waited quite a while to start reading this, as I didn't really want to read it as a serial. On the one hand, having it broken up...moreImpressive Start!
I've waited quite a while to start reading this, as I didn't really want to read it as a serial. On the one hand, having it broken up would nicely break up the tension that I can see slowly building already, but I just don't trust myself. I'll want to read it all and who knows what my crazy mind will be in the mood to read one month from now, not to mention more. So I waited, and I'm glad I did because I'm about to dive into Servant of the Crossed Arrows and I'm SO EXCITED!
I'm a new reader to Ginn Hale. I've bought all of her books (I'm bad about buying things I never get around to reading). I know they're great -- too many readers I trust have told me what a wonderful author she is. So not only was this big, unfolding story set before me but I'd yet to become acquainted with her writing, her style, anything. She does many, many things well, at least from this small perspective of her work, but what I love most is how balanced her writing is. There seems to a lot of great care in her writing, which could also come from the editing of Nicole Kimberling as well. Still, it works for me.
Now, to this first very brief introduction into a much longer story. With The Shattered Gates we're getting a very small bit of the story. I confess that I read quite a few reviews when this first installment was published last year and I can now understand the difficulty it must be for everyone to really take this fragment and consider it on its own and as one tenth of a long novel. It could have very easily fallen into the world-building trap, or really fallen either way into a trap of extremes. What Ginn Hale did correctly was open the story to us in a setting that we slowly understand and only then start to build on it. Even then, I must say that by the end I was lost out of my mind. I'm not a huge puzzler as a reader. My mind just doesn't work that way. I tend to get wrapped up in the present tense of the story, right there with the characters, and I never guess anything that will happen (one reason I'm not big on whodunits, or mysteries of any kind, really). But, I have faith.
Maybe that's why this works so well as a serial. Maybe it's just me -- even though I will read these all back to back, I just know it, my mind knows where to pause for a bit of a time out.
So, while I don't have much to say on the story, and writing ten long reviews (long for me anyway) for each installment of this story will probably be too much, I can't wait to see what happens next and I can't wait to actually have something to say about the plot!(less)
I'm glad that this is being released as a separate ebook soon instead of only being available as part of the LT3 serials because now I can put my rati...moreI'm glad that this is being released as a separate ebook soon instead of only being available as part of the LT3 serials because now I can put my rating up here :)
This is one of my favorite series that Megan Derr has created. There's something really fascinating about a character that rarely shows his face. That interplay between the characters when getting to know one another leads to a different dynamic, along with the guardian/master dynamic that leads to some interesting relationships.
This was pretty short, but I loved seeing the world again and I really enjoyed these two characters. It did feel a bit incomplete...(view spoiler)[without resolving the situation around Gosse's father and the men he's hired to kill his half-incubus son (hide spoiler)] I would love to see more in this world, whether they are only loosely tied to the clans and clan members we've seen before, or whether a continuation of either Behind the Mask or Always Masked.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Alrighty, I'm finally getting around to reviewing this one. I'm not sure why I waited... I know that part of it, for sure, is the fact that I read up...moreAlrighty, I'm finally getting around to reviewing this one. I'm not sure why I waited... I know that part of it, for sure, is the fact that I read up into the wee hours finishing this one because I couldn't put it down. Also, I think I needed to sit with this story a while before I let it go by writing the review. So I decided that, no matter, I'm definitely buying the paperback when it is released so that I can continue to enjoy it.
There are so many wonderful aspects of this story that I just can't do them justice with a review. As always Jordan's writing just... it just, I don't know it feels like it slams right into me and I just get it, you know? I feel like her writing always takes hold of me right away and it carries me through everything, but enlightening everything along the way. Her prose is so crafty that she really manipulates it to bring across whatever she needs to. This is something that is definitely hard to describe, but I challenge anyone who hasn't read anything she's written to give anything of hers a try and you'll see what I mean. This is an inelegant way to say what I mean, but then again it is something that you really have to read and understand for yourself.
There's also something really magical (hah) about the fact that this was written as a serial, and as such not only is completely perfect for the story and the way it is set up (as a reality show) but also allows the reader to really savor and stretch out this wonderful story for however long they want. I miss being able to vote since I did not read this on her newsletter like some, but I'm also happy that I was able to devour it in one sitting.
Some of these characters are SO FUNNY, I just can't describe it. I love Jordan's characters (from Vic to Charity and Oscar), because they're always quirky and grounded in some way, be it reality, satire, archetype and this story really profiles the characters she comes up with because of the huge cast. She's written before that this story was a labor of love in some ways and I can definitely see that this was a story that just needed out of her. She's really wowed me with this one and made me fall in love with her all over again.
I usually try not to sound like a fanboy (well, girl, lol) but this story deserves it :) I'm excited to read it again as soon as I get my paperback copy!(less)
I read a couple of these as they were released as serials, but I hadn't yet had the chance to go back and read "The Fairy's Assistant" and "The Prince...moreI read a couple of these as they were released as serials, but I hadn't yet had the chance to go back and read "The Fairy's Assistant" and "The Prince of the Moon", which in reading them now are definitely to favorite stories of the anthology. I suppose, being the gay man I am I'm not yet brave enough to read f/f, no matter how much I love JL Merrow, so I did skip that story.
I have to say, though, that the opening story (more like novel) of this anthology, Sasha Miller's "The Fairy's Assistant" is by far the best Cinderalla re-creation that I've read. I absolutely loved it and I loved the way she made the story her own.
The Fairy's Assistant by Sasha L Miller - 5 stars! The Prince of the Moon by Megan Derr - 4.5 stars Learning to See by Julia Alaric - 3.75 stars Cinder-Elle by Mell Eight - 3.75 stars Capture the Moon by JL Merrow - (f/f) didn't read(less)
Not a lot more than some hot smut. It was pretty sweet and pretty short for being split between two couples, but I needed to tur...more2.5 stars (rounded up)
Not a lot more than some hot smut. It was pretty sweet and pretty short for being split between two couples, but I needed to turn my brain off for a while and this was good for that. Plus, I mean, it's brothercest and I always love that!(less)
I love it just as much as the first time. Even though I told myself I'd just read a bit here and there, because on Wed...moreSecond Read - 5/15/13 - 5/18/13
I love it just as much as the first time. Even though I told myself I'd just read a bit here and there, because on Wednesday when I started this I really needed a comfort read, I couldn't help but putting everything else aside and reading this first book straight through. I have another full week of reviews coming up that I still need to finish some of them and finalize and format the rest of them, but I don't think I'll be able to stop myself from opening now and reading it as well! Hopefully I can take it slower though :) Maybe...
First of all, I really want to thank Jen for pointing this online serial out to me (don't worry, this book is complete), and by proxy Orannia. It is a pretty long book, especially when you realize that the rest of the series is just about as long, but it really is worth reading.
The basis of the story is a working ranch in Wyoming that runs an exclusive program designed to help overworked and overstressed executives and CEOs rejuvenate. It may seem like rehab, and it is -- without the negative white-washed wall and formica tabletop and stale coffee associations. It is a place where people can come and help work the ranch (one at a time) and get some perspective and help with their problems.
Dale is sent to Falls Chance Ranch by his company after he has a breakdown at the office. A lifetime of bad habits and obsessive behavior have gotten him the reputation as somewhat of a whiz kid in financial circles, but at the failing of his health. Not eating and not sleeping and working around the clock simply will not work for him anymore. He's not given much of a choice, something he really despises, but the ranch and the people who live there quickly get under his skin. He starts to feel a part of something he never even knew could exist and starts to understand himself for the first time in his life.
I swear at least one of the authors of this MUST be a psychologist. I just don't know if I could believe that such a character intensive story could be written, especially in the setting of mental heath issues, without that knowledge and background. Because it doesn't just sound like Dale has an internet diagnosis and the plot flows from a breakdown of Wikipedia neurotic disorders, but the story is deeply ingrained in how people see the world and react to one another, both from a social perspective, and from a deeply internalized one. The slow pace and long length allow the authors to really dig deep in the characters, take their time, and let the plot unfold.
I think that a very strong case could be made for shortening some of this. And if this were published and professionally edited (it is remarkably free of mistakes and errors, to me anyway :D), it would no doubt lose quite a lot of length. But a lot of the charm and reason that the characters sunk so deep in my bones and I could feel them like best friends, was because of the time spent with them. Enough time that the pace is much more akin to real life, more than most written works.
Perhaps what is strongest here though, besides how wonderful the characters are and the relationships between them, is the place of Falls Chance Ranch. The whole premise of the rehabilitation of clients, even though it is never called that, is the return to idyllic nature. The meaning of working land and passing it on. Of a place as character, seen through the constant stories of David and Phillip, now long since died in the story, but present characters because of interchangeability of them and the land they became. Seen from the perspective of a man who has become battered by everything artificial in the world, the land, the story and characters, and therefore the book become a similar experience for the reader as the situation is for Dale. It seems like so many of the reviews I've seen of this story have mentioned how people felt so connected to Dale, and that's because when his problems are laid bare, really bare, we can each find a way to connect to them.
I'm completely addicted to this story, and it probably isn't for everyone. There's no sex, which definitely upset me sometimes because the connections are so strong I wanted to see that. In her post, Jen talked about seeing a group of 5 guys work together, and that was simply wonderful. I've never seen such a polyamorous family work in fiction this way. It is very long and has a slow pace. So it might be tedious for some to read. But if you really like digging into stories that won't leave you for a long time and will take you a while to enjoy, then this is definitely for you. I simply cannot wait to read the rest of this series, no matter how much further it will destroy my very detailed reading schedule I had laid out. Who cares? I'll read all those books next week! This week, I want to finish Falls Chance Ranch.
**Note: While technically this is BDSM, the lack of sex and therefore BDSM sexual play really breaks down to the core of dominance and submission and the transference of power.Three Traders(less)
Again, like my reread of the first book, I seemed to love this even more the second time around. I LOVE Dale. Well, I...moreSecond Read - 5/19/13 - 5/22/13
Again, like my reread of the first book, I seemed to love this even more the second time around. I LOVE Dale. Well, I really love all of them! Esp. Riley :) And I have a soft spot for Tom and Jake :D Now on to a re-read of Mustang Hill.
**Spoilers for those who haven't read the first Falls Chance Ranch book**
We left the end of book one as Dale became an official part of the relationship between Riley, Flynn, Jasper and Paul. Three Traders picks up right where the first book left off. Dale has come back to Falls Chance Ranch following his first time back in New York City after his recuperative therapy at the ranch and his epic breakdown. Dale thinks that his dissatisfaction with his old life will keep his three weeks in NYC quitting his job and moving to Wyoming from changing him, but he quickly finds that that isn't the case. He's slipped back into old patterns of obsessive and perfectionistic behavior. Besides, he comes to learn (or Flynn tries to drill into him) that moving to the ranch to be with the men is really like starting over. Before, he was a client and focused solely on bettering his own behavior and learning new methods to cope in life, but entering as part of a relationship opens up whole new areas Dale has no experience with in life, namely commitment. And that is a whole different beast for Dale, still a bit shell shocked by normal, every day interactions and his own head games.
On top of this Dale, Riley and the guys stumble upon a bit of a mystery that needs to be solved, linking the ghost town of Three Traders to the ever present reality of the ranch's past owners, David and Philip, two spirits of the ranch land that Dale desperately needs to feel connected to in order to tell himself that he belongs on the ranch and in the family.
I need to admit something. Last week, when I reviewed the first book I talked extensively about how amazing the slow pace works for this story -- to wade through the deep characterizations as well as Dale's numerous mental health issues -- and partway through this book I felt a bit hypocritical. I started getting a bit dispirited while reading, thinking not more of the same problems! At the end of the first book i was so happy that these problems were treated so in depth and given so much time to work themselves out. It is something that is given a much more real to life pace. Part of this is that I'm reading these stories back to back, so there is significantly slower change like most serials that are meant to be read by installment.
Then, something magical happened. The pace of this story started to pick up with all kinds of wonderful little sub plots (the mines, the town, all the new characters coming to visit!) and I could see that this second book was going to be a story all of it's own. Yes, it continues the first, but it goes further. No matter how much I love these guys, I wouldn't have been able to handle another book one over again with the same issues. I don't know why I lost faith, perhaps because I continually don't know what to expect from these books, but I am so happily surprised by the turns this story took and I was present for every bit of it, unable to put it down for other things. Now that I've finished this second book, I can see how it has built steadily over time, a story arc for the book independently, and a separate overall story arc that is very ingrained into the story and so naturally slow at progressing (which I was so happy about above).
I finished this story feeling like the first book really served as a foundation, in a way a prequel to this story. Where the first book was an in depth exploration of Dale, this book really set out to explore their overall relationship, something that I was insanely curious about. The first book barely even touches on their relationship. Besides the fact that there is no sex, there's barely even any kissing or mention of private time. This book allowed us to peek a little more into what they do and how they interact behind closed doors now that Dale is properly a part of it. We get a lot more detail about the characters and their history, which really pleased me and helped me to get to know them better. They're also becoming a lot closer as a 5 person unit, with a whole new dynamic now that Dale has joined them, and I loved seeing them explore that and finally settle into it by the end of this book. It made me instantly want to see where the third book will go and once again, I doubt I'll get any other reading done in the next few days. I probably won't even be able to go to bed tonight without at least starting Mustang HIll.
This is definitely one of those reviews that I can't stop gushing in, but that's okay I suppose. I've been reading these books totally hooked, and to be honest, that doesn't happen much anymore. I read a lot of wonderful books but perhaps because I've read so much of this genre, I feel like something has to really be different and have a lot of charm for me to feel this wonderful feeling reading. It is something that I only remember from when I first started reading in this genre and reading about gay men in (happy) love felt so wonderful to me as a form of fiction and literature that I'd never read before. This series feels like that to me, and when I finished Three Traders, I felt like I just might like this book even more than the first.(less)
This third installment in the Falls Chance Ranch series sees further exploration of the relationship and family of Dale, Paul, Flynn, Riley, and Jasper as well as the exploration of Dale's issues as he finally starts to get a grip on his new life on the ranch.
After a tumultuous summer of getting caught in mines, the discovery of Gam Saan, and a very celebratory commitment among friends and family at the ranch, fall has set in and winter is quickly approaching. Dale is given a work project, his first real project since his breakdown, which brings back a lot of the problems he's had trouble working through at the ranch. Combined with that stress, Dale continues seeing strange people and animals around the ranch. His analytical mind cannot leave an unsolved problem alone, and whether the origins are his own anxiety or a real mystical connection to the land doesn't seem to matter until Dale starts having extremely realistic dreams that uncover clues about a spiritual place on the ranch they call Mustang Hill, a spot where nothing grows and Dale finds strange markings. New friends from Three Traders, Luath and Darcy, return in this book as Dale starts to really believe in his place on the land and that his extraordinary mind for facts and figures also relates to seeing connections between people and places that the others don't.
This book is somewhat different than the previous ones, for several reasons. I've seen other readers have varying feelings about this book where most of them loved the previous ones for these reasons. For one, it is at least a third shorter. Where the second book, Three Traders moved beyond the internal and explored the whole of the ranch and the characters of the family, Mustang Hill is in many ways a retreat to the style of the first book. Without losing the connections made in the second book, this time the story is again a solitary journey for Dale. He's regressed in several ways that remind us of the first book. He is also dealing with a very private understanding of the land and why he can see certain things that only Jasper can see, and sometimes sees even more than Jasper.
The mysticism is something that I am always interested in, so I really ended up enjoying this book, even though it is a bit more subdued and certainly less exciting than TT. This is also Jasper's area of expertise. Having grown up Cherokee in the mountains of Virginia alone with his grandfather, learning the lore and essentially raised in isolation and of a lost period of time and Native American culture, he's connected with spirit and land more than anyone else. We have seen and gotten to know Jasper the least of the 5 main characters at the ranch, but he's one that I've always been really interested in. He's quiet, an observer and he has immense respect for everything around him. The discovery of the spiritual site atop Mustang Hill allows Dale and Jasper to connect in a way that they haven't before, and for us to see a side of Jasper up close that has always fascinated me. As a part of that, we get a lot more of his history and the history of the Shoshone area around this part of Wyoming.
I plowed through this book. It is the last of the completed books. The fourth book, Silver Bullet, isn't finished yet. I tried to slow myself reading this book because I really don't like to read WIP but this book was so much shorter that I found myself finished in a day. I'm really sad that I have to put this story down for a while. I have no idea of the schedule of releases, how fast these authors write, but I have a feeling that I'll be waiting quite a while to read the next book. No matter how much I'm trying to talk myself out of it…. I love these characters too much and I wouldn't be surprised if later today I can't stop myself from picking up the first chapter of Silver Bullet.
It will be a while before I'm able to review Silver Bullet, even if I do start reading it as it is being written. So I really hope that you all have enjoyed my reviews (more of a lengthy profile!) of this series. This series has become quite important to me. Of course it isn't without it's own problems, no matter how much I have gushed about it. Still, it's one of the best serials I've read. I have been really happy to see a lot of you pick these books up! It is such a good feeling to find a series that you love like this and then for them to be free. If you have the time and patience to read such long books, I couldn't recommend these more!(less)
Moon Dogs - Erica Kealey 3 stars The Wolf and the Moon - Kayla Bain-Vrba 3 stars A Kind of Remedy - Ashley Shaw 3 stars The Were Curse...more3.5 stars - Overall
Moon Dogs - Erica Kealey 3 stars The Wolf and the Moon - Kayla Bain-Vrba 3 stars A Kind of Remedy - Ashley Shaw 3 stars The Were Curse - Sasha L Miller 4 stars Runaway Prince - May Ridge 4 stars The Wolf's Moor - Lupin Drake 3 stars Moonwitch - MJ Willow 4.5 stars Coming Home - Elizah J Davis 4 stars The Werewolf of Grey Lake Inn - Megan Derr 4.5 stars(less)
Just about everyone knows of my love for Megan Derr now, but I have to admit -- even though The Missing...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
Just about everyone knows of my love for Megan Derr now, but I have to admit -- even though The Missing Butterfly was the first book of hers that I read, it's never been my favorite. I loved it, don't get me wrong. But I love her fantasy books so much that it has eclipsed that book in a way, and I haven't read it since that first time. So, I was anxious to read this first full length sequel. Not only has it been forever since I read the first book, so I can't remember enough about it, but how would I feel about another contemporary from Ms. Derr? That's why I waited to read it, until the entire book was released, rather than reading it as a serial on the Less Than Three website.
And I wasn't disappointed. It's true that it wasn't my favorite of her books, not even near. Maybe I just like her fantasy/paranormal work better… I'm not sure. But, I still really liked it. And I didn't even have to remember the characters from the first book well -- they only make short cameos.
Love You Like a Romance Novel is a story about one clusterfuck of a family. That's right, they've lied and kept secrets from one another for so long (usually about money and power) that they're all now strangers tied to one another by tradition and wealth. Except for two of them. Jason is the dutiful son that has worked for his father's every wish, waiting for who knows what? A sense of accomplishment and pride from his father, maybe. It does serve one purpose though, to watch over his younger brother Dai and the man he's loved for years now, his cousin Jet. Jason is an entertainment lawyer, working dutifully for Dai and Jet's band, Forever and a Dai, but his spare time is filled with his secret pleasure and job, writing romance novels. It's a huge secret. He's known to have a cold heart, and any temptation to show his true feelings, his true nature, would clue everyone into his unrequited feelings for his cousin.
Things change when Jet finds out Jason's secret and uses it to blackmail Jason into a relationship. It's his only way to be close to his cousin Jason, Jet thinks, so Jason only thinks that Jet is cruel, no matter how much he also loves him. But Jet has reasons to not trust anyone in his family, except Dai that is. He's never been forgiven by his father for leaving and denying his place as rightful heir to his father's food service kingdom. He wanted to be a musician, and the worst mistake he made, according to them, was to take Dai with him. Now the family is divided, and the death of Jet's father and his subsequent reading of the last will and testament will throw a wrench into all of their plans and their relationships.
Honestly, I don't remember the first book that well, so I can't draw many comparisons. I think, though, that this book is quite a bit darker if I remember correctly. While there was a life based on lies (Cassidy) in the first book, there is also a cast of characters whose lives are based on lies in this sequel, but on a much broader scale. You can't really blame Jason, Jet and Dai. I mean, their fathers are the ones who raised them that way. But this is a family that shows what money can do to people, how it can sever close ties and cultivate greed. While I tend to not particularly like stories where all of the characters are tangled in lies (it just becomes a little bit too much for me), I found that I really liked Jet and Jason -- especially Jason, who shows just how devoted he is to his cousin and little brother, without any praise for the things he does in secret.
Fans of this author and of The Missing Butterfly will definitely want to read this sequel. I would also encourage anyone who might be turned away from the incest romance to ignore that and give this a try anyway. Most likely, it will not bother you and might not be the type of relationship/dynamic that you're expecting.
I loved this one. So great to see not only Paul when he was younger, and see him in a different light, but to see him from a new perspective, especial...moreI loved this one. So great to see not only Paul when he was younger, and see him in a different light, but to see him from a new perspective, especially Phillip's and David's when he's not totally put together and still finding his place. Plus, I love hearing him talk about Maine, his grandmother and the boarding house and tenants :)(less)
This was great! One of my favorite of the FCR short stories because we get to see Dale in his stride -- I love seeing the competent Ice Man get pulled...moreThis was great! One of my favorite of the FCR short stories because we get to see Dale in his stride -- I love seeing the competent Ice Man get pulled out of an important meeting for his spanking ;) Plus, it's nice seeing Dale get to live his life the way he wants and still be a competent businessman.(less)
I didn't quite understand what Rolf and Ranger were trying to do until I remembered the name of this story. And the format (twelve short sho...moreBrilliant!
I didn't quite understand what Rolf and Ranger were trying to do until I remembered the name of this story. And the format (twelve short shorts with Christmas as their only common denominator) works beautifully for such a large cast of characters, especially since so many of them are still partially unknown to us, or we only know them from third-hand information through the main characters. Getting to see them like this, their history in just a moment captured from one Christmas in their past or present says so much about each one of them and introduces us to a lot of new information. Wade, especially, is someone that I feel I have a completely better understanding of now.
And the format really works and must have gone over really well, as seen with Rolf and Ranger's most recent FCR short story release, "Jackson High", which has the same vignette format.(less)