Luk is in his last year of magical learning at the Parth School and readying himself for the Festival of Parth, a...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
Luk is in his last year of magical learning at the Parth School and readying himself for the Festival of Parth, a celebration of the graduation of the senior students by performing a test of magic that will occur before the townspeople. Luk's fellow classmates are a small group and he's known them for years now, progressing academically and socially. The other boys rally around Pat, an outspoken bully who likes to circulate cruel gossip. A favorite subject is the mask maker, a reclusive young man who lives on the outskirts of their village society.
Luk is sent to the mask maker's shop to find out the progress of the masks for the festival. Once there, he has a strange encounter. Luk is completely enamored of the shop and the beautiful artwork on display, but the mask maker is at once compelling and unfriendly, not coming out to speak to him face to face. Their unfortunate first meeting, however, leads to a second and third, and the two soon become friends.
The main difficulty I had with this story was that the length was too short and therefore suffered from some of the same problems that I often have with short stories in which I make this same complaint. We only get the bare bones of the story and the characters. Luk and the mask maker are both barely outlined archetypes (the golden-hearted popular and talented boy and the down-trodden and misunderstood outcast). The setting and world of the story are also not very well described, though that is less important and what we do get we pick up through the story, which is always nice. The biggest problem for me, however, was that more time seemed to be paid to setting up the story than in showing us the connection between the two boys. Their first meeting is well shown, and a really good scene, showing the characters best through the writing in the whole story. It ends there, however. The rest of their interaction comes through a rather quick summary to bring us swiftly to the end, and that telling passed over the most interesting part -- their connection and, more importantly, why they connected. A big part of that is the mask maker and his history. We get some of this as the young man talks about his father, another one of the best scenes in the story. In fact, I would say that the mask maker is the most fully fleshed character here, for sure, but all we really understand of our narrator, Luk, is in the reflection of and reaction to him, which isn't much.
I was also a little bit confused in that the characters here are definitely in the young adult range. I would guess… 17? I believe that at one point the mask maker admits how young he is, which comes from his statement that he started running the mask store on his own at age 14, but I don't remember him stating an exact age at the present time in the story. Still, the fact that one of them is in school and that this is a really sweet tale with no sex (just one small kiss) made me think of this as young adult.
In the end there just wasn't enough detail for me to really care that much about the story. So, while I found it cute, I wasn't emotionally invested in their HEA. I won't implore you as to whether you should or shouldn't buy this story. It's only $1.99, but depending on how you feel about the story will define how you feel about the price. And since I didn't have to buy it because it was given to me for review, that didn't come into play for me at all. How I feel about this story is representative of how I've felt about all the other stories I've read by Spencer Rook. So, I would suggest you decide to buy this or not depending on how you feel about the author.(less)
I can't help myself -- whenever there is a new book released about porn stars, I can't resist! I have to read it....moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
I can't help myself -- whenever there is a new book released about porn stars, I can't resist! I have to read it. I don't know why I'm so obsessed with these characters, it certainly doesn't come from a real-life porn star obsession. I don't need to analyze it, however, to know that it's a hot button trope for me. So, naturally, I was excited to read this book, though this author is new to me.
Told in third person close point of view and alternating between the two main characters, Evan and "Bran" (Brandon), Keeping Sweets takes a somewhat more realistic and less idolized view of porn behind the scenes. Bran is a gay porn veteran at 28, having gotten into the business by an ex boyfriend and a shady producer as a minor, and has grown jaded with the business. Though he has money to show for his work, sex for pay has taken over his life, both personally and emotionally. Even more than that, he's coming upon a turning point. At 28, he's almost ready to retire (if he wants) and find some other avenue to pursue in his life, but leaving what is comfortable is hard, especially when he doesn't really have anything to fall back on. The first step in separating himself from on screen sex, however, is stepping back from the camera. The project he's putting together with Les, his mentor, father-figure and partner in business, will bring together seven porn actors for a month long stay on the Oregon coast, with Bran as first-time director.
It is in casting that Bran and Evan first meet one another. Evan is newly 18 and being shoved out into the world. Evan's mother died several years ago and he's lucky that his step-father even let him stay until he came of age. But with high school graduation and his passage into adulthood, he has no more reasons to stay and bear the emotional abuse he's had to grow up with. Such a difficult childhood has made Evan both mature for his age and emotionally fragile. But knowing that he wouldn't have a place after graduation lit a fire under him, so that by the time he's kicked out of his childhood home, he's got a scholarship and a basic plan for the next few years. The major problem is not knowing where he'll go or survive the summer before college starts, and jobs are thin on the ground. It is with reluctance that Evan attends at audition looking for "adult models". It doesn't matter that Evan doesn't have any sexual experience -- not even has he been kissed -- he'll be starving and living on the streets if he doesn't get some kind of job, something he's close to already.
There's no choice. Evan will have to see if he can actually do gay porn. But Bran, recognizing a true innocent in a beautiful body and with keen intelligence, wants to look out for him. Bran knows, more than anyone else at the house on the beach, how this job can suck the innocence away from someone.
Ultimately, this was only a So So read for me. Part of that comes down to the plot, which offered few surprises and relied very heavily on the "I know what's best for you better than you do" plot device for romantic tension. Readers who have a hard time with characters who don't like to talk to each other and continually miscommunicate will be frustrated. Their behavior isn't arbitrary, however. It makes sense for the characters to act the way they do, annoying though it is. The rest of my reaction to the book is personal taste. The story itself is isolated and insular, with the whole group shut up in a house for the purpose of making the porn film. I was originally excited about the other guys in the film and the house, who are introduced with distinct personalities and particular quirks. Too soon though, they became relegated to background noise and the scenes reverted to only showing our two main characters.
If I'm right in thinking that this is a debut novel for this author, then there is definitely some praise to be awarded. Though I felt as if character growth and representation as overbalanced toward the main guys, those two were rather fully fleshed and well written (though Bran admittedly less so). Whether you personally like either one of them is up to you, of course, and I wavered at times in how I felt about Evan in particular. I expected the sex in the book to take center stage, as a porn flick novel, which was ultimately true to an extent. In regards to Evan, who has his very first sexual experience in front of a camera, everything is definitely center stage, and very steamy. There was less sex, though, than I expected. And there were certain scenes, some of which were the only times we ever really saw any of the other guys in the house, in which we were shown a scene being filmed that didn't include either Evan or Bran (except as directing) that seemed to add little to the story, and I wondered why exactly those were needed. Personally, I would have preferred to see Evan branch out sexually a bit more, though he didn't. That is actually a pretty important part of the story and a definite decision by the author, but it didn't really make sense to me. I couldn't really understand why Evan would feel the way he did, even as an inexperienced person. I suppose I just wanted to understand him and his decisions better.
In all, I'm intrigued by this author. While this wasn't a favorite book of mine, it was still an enjoyable read. I'm hoping that this author will continue to write and publish. And if she wants to write a sequel, I would be more than happy to read about Colt, the southern heartthrob and protector of Evan "the innocent" :) He's the secondary character we get to know best, which may be why he came across as the most interesting of the lot. I'd love to see him have his happily ever after.(less)
I was excited when I saw this story come up on the new releases at Smashwords; the prequel to this story, th...moreReview posted at Brief Encounters Reviews.
I was excited when I saw this story come up on the new releases at Smashwords; the prequel to this story, the first Junkyard story, was the first ever story I reviewed here at BER, back in 2011. And after all this time, I wondered if Jaye Valentine would ever write a sequel. In the end, I found this story to be good mainly because of my original excitement in it. I chose to read and review it as erotica and not romance, which I'll explain in a bit. But still, it felt somewhat disjointed and unfinished.
Most of my excitement about this story was (besides the twincest, which I'm always in favor of) from my expectation to go back into this setting, the Junkyard Bordello that we started to get to know in the first story. Now, I'm not sure if there will be another two years until the next story, if it will come soon, or maybe even not at all, but the problem is that these stories are too short to work as standalone, but this story didn't feel very connected to the first one either. Whether it was because it wasn't or just that it's been so long since I read it and can't remember it well, I'm not sure. But, this story left me feeling like there wasn't an overall plot developing or even much about the overall setting, which made me a little sad. And that left only the characters in this story to win me over, and while I might have found them interesting if we had more time, they were just rough outlines as they are now.
I was surprised, actually, that this story doesn't just cover one scene (the main scene described in the blurb between the twins and Jaguar), but hops along with a few other scenes that don't really go anywhere to wrap up their story. It made the story feel like there were some pretty big gaps, especially as these happened over months, rather than a short time.
The story is on sale for $1.99, and while that's great in comparison to some gay erotica stories you'll find for sale online, I still felt like this was a pretty mediocre one hand read as compared to what I'd hoped for, and I would probably encourage readers to look at the author's other works rather than this one.(less)
After taking a little over a week away from reading m/m romance (and reading Harry Potter again instead)...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
After taking a little over a week away from reading m/m romance (and reading Harry Potter again instead), I decided to read this as my first book back. I wanted something to ease back onto reading romance, and this worked rather well. It's light and sweet, contemporary with familiar tropes that are well-used and loved. It depends on how you look at those familiar tropes and themes as to whether you might find the same story I read and enjoyed as tired and unoriginal, but then, that's the subjectivity of reading. What I liked most about this story was that it was simple and sweet and didn't try to do anything new or outrageous.
Jesse is 22 and his six year relationship with his high school sweetheart, Janey, is finished. Back living with his Nan, his feisty and progressive grandmother, Jesse is facing the daunting thought of dating for the first time, something he doesn't really know how to do. His nan, on the other hand, has a different view. For some reason that she's reluctant to divulge, she believes him to be gay. They laugh about what seems to be her obsession with having a gay grandson, but it becomes more than a laughing matter when Jesse finds out that the month long cruise she booked him on as a surprise is actually a gay cruise.
Jesse finds comfort in his roommate, Daniel. He's gorgeous, which even Jesse admits, and depressed to be going on the vacation he had planned for himself and his boyfriend, who he found cheating on him months prior with more than one other man. Their common discomfort serves to bond them in ties of new friendship and the two spend the weeks sailing around the pacific getting to know one another and also watching out for each other's backs because of the attention they receive from the legions of young horny gay men on board.
The story is pretty straightforward, I'm sure you can guess much of it. The added Gay For You, or Out For You element means that the tension in the story comes mostly from Jesse's fear of what his new feelings for Daniel really mean, and the story's progression is marked by the baby steps he takes to reconcile his feelings. I might have liked this story less if I hadn't just had a break from reading m/m romance, honestly. There does tend to be an overabundance of stories like this -- sweet, short and dealing with one of a few major themes. However, what I feared this story might become (basically, that it would rely on melodrama to convey weight of emotion), especially in the hands of a new author, wasn't the case at all. I found the story took itself rather lightly and didn't succumb to the pitfall of major denial (on Jesse's part) and then quick resolution. In the perspective of the story, it was much more realistic than that typical approach.
I'm looking forward to reading more from this author. If I remember correctly, Lily said that she'll have a novel coming out from Dreamspinner this summer and I look forward to seeing how her writing will evolve. Recommended for those who want something light and sweet and short.
**Just a Note: the story is written in present tense from Jesse's point of view, so reader's who have problems getting into that style of writing beware. It didn't bother me, however.(less)
I really liked this sequel, but I did hope for a little bit more from it. The first book was 80k words and the sequel 50k, and while I know t...more3.5 stars
I really liked this sequel, but I did hope for a little bit more from it. The first book was 80k words and the sequel 50k, and while I know that that doesn't mean that the story isn't complete in and of itself, I wanted to know how far into the overall story it progressed us. I think that the real reason I was somewhat dissatisfied, even though I still liked the story was one, the MAJOR cliffhanger and two, the appearance of new major character Donegh, who seems to disappear from the book. We never learn about him, he's barely there and then gone. It was somewhat awkward and made this story seem, along with the events in the end, unfinished.
Perhaps I just don't trust this author yet. These are the first books of his I've read...
Still, at the same time, this was an enjoyable read, like the first book and I really look forward to the next one.(less)
I am sorry to say that I had to force myself to finish this. And I definitely won't be reading the rest of the se...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
I am sorry to say that I had to force myself to finish this. And I definitely won't be reading the rest of the series. I originally picked this up because I was in the mood for a high school young adult romance at the time, and I quite like reading the nerd/jock trope. I thought I was lucky, actually, that the book had been released prior in another edition and goodreads had so many reviews. And even luckier that there were so many good reviews -- no, great reviews! I should have read further. If I had, I would have found all the one star reviews, and though I might have taken the gamble on which camp I'd fall into, I might not have, in which case I wouldn't have had to force myself to finish for the review.
I suppose it could be said that it is personal taste how some people love this book and others hate it, and to some extent I'm sure that's true. After all, the prose is highly melodramatic and that's something I look out for in young adult books because I'm not a bit fan. I prefer less angst and less melodrama in my young adult books. For the most part, however, I just couldn't understand how so many people loved this book. I couldn't connect with the writing at all, which I found at times really, really awkward, with strange word choices. Even more, I just did not understand or like any of the characters. The two leads, John Henry Ames (same name as the author, which made me wonder if this was autobiographical) and Nick, the popular and rich quarterback whose like a breeding stallion on meth with a horse sized cock that, and yes this was mentioned, is so big is breaks women so that they can't walk after they sleep with him. And I don't really feel that I'm being that biased here by my overall feelings after reading the book. This was why I couldn't get into the story, everything was so over the top that I felt like it undermined the real emotions at play. From page one John is obsessed with Nick and Nick doesn't really treat him that well either. But that's who Nick is, which John already knows.
Honestly, I just found the whole book a bit strange and surreal. Sure, it wasn't to my taste, but I just don't understand how so many people liked it so much. I almost feel like I'm missing something.
I don't want to rag on this book anymore. I know that you understand how I feel perfectly by now so there's no reason for me to go on and on. And really, you shouldn't take just my feelings into account. Even though I don't understand it, I wouldn't want to deprive anyone of reading a book they might really like. And so many people seem to really like this book. So, even more than usual, I encourage you to read a wide range of reviews on this one if you're considering buying.(less)
I didn't know what to expect from this story. F Gorden Scott is a new-to-me author, though his (?) stories have been reviewed before here at Brief Encounters. And the blurb really intrigued me. First, magic and the fantasy element in the modern world, plus strippers? I totally got it and ended up really liking the story.
Thomas is 500 years old and runs a magic shop in Durham, when a lurking visitor "the adonis" finally comes to him to ask for help. The beautiful young man's name is Jimmie and he's in dire straits. He's flat broke, about to lose his apartment, and the only way he can save it is to get the job he's interviewing for in the next week -- as a stripper. The only problem with that (besides the owner of the bar having some different "ideas" about what an interview means) is his total lack of confidence. Thomas is tempted, of course, and helps the young man out with a boost of confidence that will hopefully ensure Jimmie a successful trial run dancing on top of the bar at the Golden Slipper.
There's a lot to like about this story. The best part is that it doesn't try to make itself something it isn't. The story is proud to be erotica, yet at the same time offers a bit of romantic sub-plot with the addition of Thomas' lover, Kevin. Kevin knows all about Thomas' power. He's the first man that has really captured Thomas' heart in his long life and he understands that sometimes Thomas needs a little extracurricular activity. They maintain a loving, committed relationship, which we get to see when the two show up to witness Jimmie's big night.
The story is also rather funny. Thomas is world-weary in many ways and for all his young looks shows his age in his comments about the futility of 'kids these days'. Thomas is a larger than life character, whose charm draws the reader in along with the characters.
I had a bit of confusion both in the beginning and the end of the story. As the story starts we get a bit of background on Thomas, coming from his own voice. He tells us a bit about his childhood and growing up through the ages. He mentions learning he liked men and not women as a young boy surrounded by lusty ancient greek soldiers -- at which time I thought… isn't he only 500 years old? Then, in the end Thomas mentions that he first met Kev "the first night he had conjured me up from the lamp," leading me to think he's a djinn. It left me wondering what the actual truth is, a problem that could have been avoided by omission, as the whole question of it doesn't really add to the story anyway.
Otherwise, I liked this story and it was rather enjoyable.(less)
To be honest, I wasn't going to read and review this book, but I decided to try it out anyway. i think this is th...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
To be honest, I wasn't going to read and review this book, but I decided to try it out anyway. i think this is the longest thing I've read by this author and definitely the first thing in a long time, at least over a year. So I was curious. I was at first … nervous, shall we say. I knew this was going to be tale of the fae from the beginning of the story and as it unfolded and I started to see a rather cruel side of the fae I wasn't sure whether this would be to my taste or not. I've learned over the years that while I love stories of the faerie, I'm not a big fan of them when they only show a cruel and terrible side of them with no redeeming qualities. I prefer, instead, a lighter side. But, in the end, I was very happy with this story and I enjoyed reading it very much. I even stayed up through the night to finish instead of waiting until the next day.
Ciarnán McKay is in route to visit his sick uncle when his party is attacked. All his guards are killed and he barely makes it away by the swiftness of his horse. His flight leads him to a manor very like his own. They quickly shelter him and nurse him back to his proper state. While there, he becomes friendly with the family -- the two brothers, Lord Tiernan Roxbrough and his younger brother Leannán Roxbrough. The situation at Oakwood Manor seems a bit strange, but Ciarnán quickly learns that the brothers' parents died the year before, leaving Tiernan the Lord of the estate as the oldest and their sister, the middle child, already married and moved away. The strange vibes come from Mr. Boyle, the steward and friend to the late Lord Roxbrough. He seems displeased by many things, but the brothers assure Ciarnán that he was once a disciplinarian to them like their father and old habits die hard. Tiernan leaves quickly after Ciarnán arrives to visit his intended wife, and in the week that Ciarnán has delayed his visit to his uncle, he and Leannán become close, both of them recognizing the attraction to the other. But their days of walks into the woods and picnics under the trees on the estate (as well as a few shy kisses) must be put aside so Ciarnán can finish his intended trip. Leannán asks him to stop by for another visit on his return.
A month later Ciarnán returns to Oakwood Manor, but finds a very different scene than the one he left. Tiernan is still gone, leaving Leannán with Mr. Boyle. Leannán has changed, however, and urges Ciarnán to leave and never return… that no matter their feelings it is the best choice for all, no matter how obviously difficult it is for Leannán to turn Ciarnán away. But when he leaves, Ciarnán can't seem to stay away. When he hears rumors about the strange fae happenings at Oakwood Manor at a small inn not far away, he returns not knowing what he'll say to get Leannán to reconsider. Instead, he finds Mr. Boyle talking to a beautiful and strange man with wings, and learns the truth of the whole situation: that Leannán is one in a long tradition of lords from Oakwood Manor who are required to pay the tithe. His sacrifice will ensure protection for his family and replenish the fae in a seven year cycle of renewal. By not leaving as he should, Ciarnán is taken prisoner under the hill to work as a servant for the cruel fae queen, where he'll be released after the sacrifice of Leannán. No matter how much he tries and how many friends he makes among the fae, there's no escape. And now that Leannán and Ciarnán have more time together, even if it is borrowed time, they'll make the most if it, falling further in love.
I mentioned earlier that I have a difficult time reading books with really cruel fae characters in a situation like this, where the characters are being held captive by them. So I was really pleased to see a well balanced representation of the faerie characters. The queen is quite Machiavellian, but she's really the only one that is shown as cruel. The others range from remote and aloof to Ciarnán to friendly and sympathetic and we get to see Ciarnán spend much more time with these characters. Most of the story takes place under the hill, while the two are held captive. I also thought that the relationship between Ciarnán and Leannán was sweet but not too sweet. The tone that comes across when they spend time together is really loving and they reassure themselves a lot of their feelings for one another. Sometimes this bothers me in other books, it can be a bit much. But it never went too far to me into sickly sweet territory, partly because of their circumstance (which requires reassurance), but also because of the time period. The story isn't placed firmly in any time or place, but resembles a historical period with Irish influence. And the "love that dare not speak it's name" type romance set apart from their world and in a place where anyone is free to love anyone else (the faerie realm) went really well with the sweet romantic periods the two had when they're together. And even more than these two things, I liked that their relationship was very much based on how they felt, individually, about their circumstances. Ciarnán never refuses to give up looking for a way to escape, because he's facing the prospect of losing Leannán and then having to carry on without him. Leannán, however, vacillates between his need to accept his fate to assure the well-being of his family (and assure that one of them isn't taken in his place) and his desire to forget the circumstances and envision a life with Ciarnán. His feelings fluctuate with the actions of the faerie queen.
I won't get into it much, but I really really loved the fae characters that get close to Ciarnán, Sorcha and especially Cáel. If there is one thing that I didn't like about the book, it's that the turn in the climax of the story rests on what seemed to be a rather easy bit of information. The answer to all of Ciarnán's problems just seemed to come a little out of the blue for me, and while it didn't bother me a lot, it made me sigh a little. I would have preferred the outcome to come a little more organically.
I definitely recommend this one and I really enjoyed reading it!(less)
I'm so excited to write a review for this one, I really really liked it. Too bad you won't be able to see it for months :( That's why I'll give you a...moreI'm so excited to write a review for this one, I really really liked it. Too bad you won't be able to see it for months :( That's why I'll give you a peek now into my feelings. I couldn't put it down and I haven't laughed so much in a long time! So look forward to it, everyone :)
I haven't read anything by this author in quite a while, probably several years. So most of my experience with her writing is from some of her earlier works, though they're similar in style and length (if not subject matter) as this steampunk story. Stories like: Moonlight Sonata for Two, Superheroes in the Suburbs and Hungry?. Likewise, it has been quite a while since I've read anything steampunk. I can't say that I'm overly familiar with the sub-genre, but I do enjoy a steampunk story from time to time, and that's why I chose to review this story when it was released. And, in the main, I enjoyed it.
Brom Donker is from a rather wealthy family of political renown, and in this alternate universe with a steampunk civil war, Brom loses both his legs and his arm to the South when he's captured and used as a model for their scientists cruel experiments. He's not a whole man, even though, after his release and into his career as a Pinkerton agent, he's been outfitted with the best machine limbs that have been invented. Still, his wounds and glaring differences make him an outcast in society.
Brom laments his less than whole nature most when visiting his doctor, Simon Wain. He's grown quite an attachment to the small, beautiful and brilliant physician and wishes that Simon could see past his mechanical limbs, see him for more than an opportunity to create even better machines fit for human/automaton hybrid use. But he does not know that Simon harbors secret feelings for him as well, which is part of the reason he's driven to create such advanced limbs -- like a cannon and flamethrower arm -- to keep Brom safe.
But resistance is growing from the Sasquatches (exactly like you're picturing) who are gathering allies from the south and showing signs of rather advanced automatons. Brom is going to need Simon to help solve the mystery, even though he hates taking the man into danger.
The real reason that I couldn't give this story higher than a C is because both parts of the story -- the romance and the outside conflict with Brom's investigation -- feel unfinished. It's difficult to become interested in two characters who we only get very little time to know because of outside conflict that itself isn't really delved into. Both parts sacrifice the other and in the end I felt like I didn't get to really know the connection between the characters and also that I didn't really understand the issue with the Sasquatches. It seemed like it was there only to cause conflict and provide and impetus to bring the characters together, but also tried to make it a part of the story. I would have preferred that the story commit to one way or the other -- either concentrate solely on the romance or give us more time and information about the world and the war. In fact, I found it strange that the Sasquatches were even part of the story. They bring to mind a pretty firm preconceived notion of what they are but I never quite understood who they were or what they meant to the story, other than they looked like the Sasquatches that we know of in myth as Bigfoot, etc. and that they have a culture and race of their own and band together in small groups.
In the end, the story was just too superficial for me. I didn't really get the outside conflict and while I started to like the romance between Brom and Simon, I still didn't really get to know them well. The only thing that was really interesting to me was to see the steampunk gadgets and things that Simon created. But then, for those who have read more steampunk than I have, it might not be all that exciting.(less)
Just a Note: The content advisory in the blurb says that this book contains m/f romantic situations, the...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
Just a Note: The content advisory in the blurb says that this book contains m/f romantic situations, they're not sexual situations. You should take that line literally; I was waiting for an m/f sexual scene, but all it really alludes to is Steven's best friend Becca and her relationship with the drummer of Thorne's band, Dillon.
It's been a while since I've read anything by this author, and by that I mean Allison Cassatta. This is the first book I've read by her pseudonym Zoe Lynne, but I really enjoyed it. All I really knew going into it (because I'm terrible about actually reading blurbs, and if I do it's as if I didn't even pay attention) was that it was an m/m young adult romance about a rocker type character and had to do with coming out. And really, that's the gist of it. It sounds like any old book you have read before, and in many ways it is -- that made it a comfortable read for me. Still, I liked the characters and that made it stand out more to me as I was reading. Comfortable, but not boring.
The gist of it is about two relationships and their intersection: Steven and his bestie for forever Becca, and Steven and his super-crush Thorne. A secondary relationship, between Becca and Dillon is what brings the two guys together. Becca meets Dillon and has a major crush and drags Steven out of his solitude (which Steven thinks of as being a good student) to see his band play. Steven is a bit uncomfortable to be honest. In a very real-life move for a twenty year old, Steven has very firm ideas about who he is and what he likes. He's a bit of a kid playing adult -- he's studios, relishes being a preppy pretty boy and doesn't consider taking himself out of the box he's placed himself in and considering anything slightly dirty or different. But, that has worked for him. That self-imposed solitude has helped him get over and alternately hang onto his last boyfriend, high school sweetheart Jason.
The club the band is playing at, however, is dirty and seedy and definitely not a place that Steven feels like he fits at. When he sees Thorne, however, just before the band goes on, he's mesmerized by the man's dark beauty. Steven's feelings surprise himself. Thorne is covered in tattoos and piercings, and definitely has a bad boy vibe going on. They're complete opposites, but Steven doesn't care and the man's voice and stage presence simply serve to make him even more smitten. When both Steven and Thorne are dragged along by the new pair Becca and Dillon to a diner after the show, they're forced together so the other two can be by themselves. Steven is nervous and excited, but Thorne just seems awkward and endearingly shy. But common circumstance bring the two together, and Steven hopes that he can help Thorne become more honest and comfortable with himself. And if that happens to bring them together more often, more the better for Steven!
I thought that the length of this story served the plot, character growth and romance rather well. That means that, at 30k words it isn't an overly involved plot. The story mainly revolves around the direct romance between Steven and Thorne, the friendship between Steven and Becca, and the resolution of Steven's past relationship with Jason. Out of the more realistic aspects of these relationships, I thought the portrayal of the friendship between Steven and Becca to be really well done. They're at the age when they're really exploring having a new relationship at the same time, both with different situations and they find it hard to reconcile bringing new people into the shared relationship they have. Jealousy abounds and feelings are hurt, but more isn't made of it than should be and the way they resolve their differences showed just how good friends they are and how much they care about each other.
If I had any complaints, I'd say that the style of narration wasn't my favorite. Steven examines his feelings rather thoroughly, dissecting and analyzing. It suits the story and the character very well, it's just something that tends to be a little tedious for me personally. I think the best compliment to the author from this story, though, is that I felt the ages of the characters quite keenly. For a young adult story that's paramount and the first thing I look for. Readers looking for a sweet, no sex story should give this one a try!(less)
It has been a while since I've read anything by this author and I seem to remember that I enjoyed her work. Thoug...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
It has been a while since I've read anything by this author and I seem to remember that I enjoyed her work. Though, ultimately, this story was only So So for me, there were still some parts that I liked and many other readers will probably disagree with me and really like the story, which was light, sweet, and a nice Valentine's Day read.
Jeremiah works for a sorcerer and is himself a psychic. When he makes a detour on his way to work at Dunkin Donuts, he meets Trey and his little boy Mikey, who has a similar ability. Mikey immediately recognizes him and his powers as well, and Jeremiah finds himself taken with both the boy and his father. Not wanting to creep Trey out by showing an interest in his little boy, Jeremiah frets over how to find Trey again, to ask him out. But besides seeing glimpses of the future, Jeremiah has one highly developed skill -- sometimes when he wants to find a person, he does. Like following a trail, thinking of Trey leads them to bump into each other on their commute home from work nearly a week later. After talking, both find that they really like each other and would like to see each other again. But Trey has secrets that he's bound not to share, even with Jeremiah. Trey and Mikey are new to the city, running from a mysterious threat. One month ago, Trey was attacked by wolves and bitten, now new to the local pack and the life of a werewolf.
Part of my feelings about this short novella come from thinking that this was a different type of story than it turned out to be. While there is a background of magic and shifters, that paranormal world doesn't really have a whole lot to do with the story, other than as a backdrop and as history for the characters. I expected, especially with the threat looming over Trey, that it would be more fundamental to the story. That wouldn't have been a problem in and of itself, if I had really felt a connection between Trey and Jeremiah and could get behind their relationship, reading it like a shorter contemporary piece, but I just couldn't. The paranormal pieces of the story are so ingrained into the characters and the setting, but because they come into play so little in the plot, I could never really see their relationship and the story as whole or finished.
What bothered me most was that the story is set up for a confrontation that never happened. It depends on how you read the story and what you expect from it. You can either read it like I did, that the enemies Trey has will eventually crop up, or that it's just a backdrop to create tension in the relationship between Trey and Jeremiah. One way, the story feels like it ends in the middle and feels unfinished, and in the other, there was never meant to be another sub-plot and the end of the story was intended to be the start of a new relationship between the two men. I feel like I couldn't quite help, however, feeling as if the story was leading to that absent climax, but then that's my perspective which could be quite different from your own.
In any way, I still felt like this story had some problems, but ultimately my enjoyment of the story came down to the relationship between the two characters. Maybe, if there had been more time, I could have settled into it, but I finished the story without feeling the connection. There were parts that I liked -- in particular, the little boy Mikey. He speaks at times quite a lot older than he is, but that makes sense with his psychic perception of the world around him, and his presence lightened the story and the scenes he was in and added an interesting element that I enjoyed. Fans of this author might want to read this, but since I don't know her work that well, I can't say if this one is in line with the others or similar in any way.(less)