A sweet short story with two characters that I really enjoyed. I could have done with a bit more of the smexxin, because it was over pretty quickly af...moreA sweet short story with two characters that I really enjoyed. I could have done with a bit more of the smexxin, because it was over pretty quickly after the buildup. Yet, with a story as short as this, you can't expect to get too much of anything. I enjoyed it very much!(less)
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)
I loved this little short, just because it was fun and without a lot of drama. It is nice to sometimes read a story that is just about a man and his f...moreI loved this little short, just because it was fun and without a lot of drama. It is nice to sometimes read a story that is just about a man and his first encounter with another man, without tears, drama, and lots of fear. A nice, sweet read that was a cute interlude into my day. It left me with a smile :)(less)
Great short story, but Josh Lanyon put me through the paces again, not on the small mystery embedded in the story, but once again on the MC's...more4.5 stars
Great short story, but Josh Lanyon put me through the paces again, not on the small mystery embedded in the story, but once again on the MC's lonliness and sadness. Though his characters almost always have a spine and really soldier on, sometimes they're so heartbreaking, and you can feel their abandonment and pain.(less)
I can't believe it took me forever to read this. You know, I think that if I had read this story (that character, JP) written by anyone but J...more4.5 stars
I can't believe it took me forever to read this. You know, I think that if I had read this story (that character, JP) written by anyone but JCP, it just wouldn't work, but somehow, some way, she won me over to him in the end after I'd just spent the whole story making nasty faces as his sickly sweet fake charm. It is such a strange plot, a modern-day snake oil salesman looking for a quick buck before he can high-tail it out of town and dicking over the naive residents of whatever small town at the same time. Add in a totally charming, yet still naive boy (Ryan) to this surprisingly anachronistic town and the secret ingredient (secretive Chance, who we get to see much more of) and this turned into such a surprising and great story. JCP always seems to write these stories that take me by surprise for whatever reason, and they become unforgettable. This is another one!(less)
Alan has finally found Mr. Right, but due to being abandoned in a house fire as his older brother saved himself and later a long string of pretty crap...moreAlan has finally found Mr. Right, but due to being abandoned in a house fire as his older brother saved himself and later a long string of pretty crappy boyfriends, he is covered by, and full of scars. Jack is supportive, loving, sexy, masculine, genuine and just about everything Alan wants and needs in a man. Jack however, has proven his trust over and over again, and it seems to him that if Alan doesn’t realize the great thing that they have in each other, they just might lose it.
So both have planned their surprises — Alan has planned a vacation at a cabin in the woods where they can be completely alone and Jack is planning to ask Alan to marry him. Of course, Alan doesn’t want any distractions during their time alone and he makes Jack promise he’ll leave all ties to the outside world at home. However, Jack doesn’t have the rings yet, and he’s waiting on the call that will tell him when he can pick them up. He needs them by Christmas morning, when he’s planning on proposing, and he doesn’t even know where they’re going. Will he even be able to get them? The trip is already turning into a disaster.
Okay, I’ll stop here. I’ve only told you a couple more things than the blurb does, and I bet you can guess the plot already. Am I right? I was about 5 pages into this short story and I had already guessed the ending. Yep, the major plot device utilized the dreaded, Big Misunderstanding! Now, I know how much you all are sick of this plot device — I am too. It has been used over and over again. The only consolation here is that this is a short story. What really bugs me about the big BM is during a novel when the characters spend years being stubborn dolts instead of sucking up their pride and just talking to each other. At least here, they have a much shorter window of time in which to correct the misinformation.
Short stories are incredibly difficult to write well. Because they’re drastically smaller than a novel, every word, sentence, and paragraph has to be precise. There is no room for error. Also, we don’t get to spend very much time with the characters, so unless they’re so stellar that they jump off page one, we tend to forget them pretty quickly. That’s why most successful short stories seem to be stylized around some kind of concept, or idea. Take “A Voice in the Darkness” by Patric Michael. The whole story is about a man trapped in a car talking to an angel. The problem here is that with the limited amount of time and with an abundance of short stories to read everywhere, they need to offer something unique in order to get a leg up over all the others. Sadly, that didn’t happen here. It just wasn’t very interesting. If we had found out about Alan’s burns and self-punishment earlier in the story, or if it had been tied into the plot rather than a short bit to explain why he’s insecure at the end of the story, we might have felt more attached to the characters.
I do give the story some credit, because while the characters hadn’t become fully formed yet, they were on the way to being cool guys that I would have liked to read about. Also, the writing was smooth and done well. If you’re looking for a good short, I’m sorry to say I can’t recommend this one.
This is my favorite story by Josh Lanyon so far in the Petit Morts series. While I got caught up in the story and felt like the mystery wrap...more4.75 stars
This is my favorite story by Josh Lanyon so far in the Petit Morts series. While I got caught up in the story and felt like the mystery wrapped up pretty quickly, the real spark in this story is the relationship between naive, small-town book geek and new writer Ethan and quiet, steady and badly scarred Michael, the new resident to Peabody and dojo owner with a real heart of gold. The scene where everything finally comes out in the open between them really showcases how utterly sweet and genuine Josh Lanyon's writing can be. The two of them together just makes me want to smile. Also, a shout out to a really great secondary character who leapt off the page, Ethan's twin sister Erin, who is charmingly upbeat and funny. Well done.(less)
I have to tell you that I laughed out loud so many times reading this story. Barry has a really unique voice that is snarky at the same time as being...moreI have to tell you that I laughed out loud so many times reading this story. Barry has a really unique voice that is snarky at the same time as being incredibly innocent. Every date he went into with blind eyes I wanted to grab him up before he really got himself into a mess. I especially loved that he could easily have been portrayed as stupid or immature, but he wasn’t. He’s highly intelligent, but because he had been focused on work, he’s almost like a teenager dating for the first time. He is also an average Joe, slightly chubby with a nice face. He is very modest and at times I wondered if he was really a hunk, but because of self-depreciation thought he was ugly. The writing here is excellent as well, very witty. For example, throughout a meal with a much younger man who keeps bemoaning the loss of an ex named Jeff:
At the end of the meal, Barry’s curiosity finally got the better of him. “What happened to Jeff, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“Oh, he was found beaten to death in his apartment a month ago. But don’t worry; I’ve been cleared as a suspect.”
Barry raised his hand, frantically gesturing for the server. “Check, please!”
This was definitely the most fun I've had reading any of the Petit Morts stories! Sean Kennedy really hit a home run with this funny, delight...more4.5 stars
This was definitely the most fun I've had reading any of the Petit Morts stories! Sean Kennedy really hit a home run with this funny, delightful story. For the first time, Chance really takes a more active role in this story, not only in his matchmaking, but with his abilities. And what a riot it was to see the changing behavior of the Conway family! I'm looking forward to reading more of SK's stories in this series, for sure.(less)
This story was such a delight. Not only did I get to revisit a world that I love and two characters who make me laugh, but for the first time, we get...moreThis story was such a delight. Not only did I get to revisit a world that I love and two characters who make me laugh, but for the first time, we get to see Aubrey and Cal in private. We see them from Cal’s POV and we get a pure voyueristic treat: magical sex between the two men. The story stayed true to their characters as humor and the little games they play shone throughout the dialogue. Also, though not as proficient, Cal is a mage as well, and as highly magical mortals, I knew that their sex had to be interesting. It didn’t disappoint...
I was a bit disappointed by this story. That sounds harsh, but it really is because I love the other stories and the novel these characters are from s...moreI was a bit disappointed by this story. That sounds harsh, but it really is because I love the other stories and the novel these characters are from so much, so I have very high expectations. Cal and Aubrey have a really amazing, nuanced relationship that always shines through their witty banter. Here, though, most of the story is told by Cal when Aubrey is gone. It is only towards the end of the story, when a contrite Cal is seriously in danger does Aubrey come home to find the disastrous situation Cal has created. Also, this story had a couple of passages that I thought weren’t necessary to the story. They were pretty technical about the magic that Cal was doing that I thought went a little too far in trying to explain what was happening. Ultimately, they took away from the story.
Old Mr. Fiorentelli emigrated to the United States before parents started being concerned about homemade candy being given away at Halloween. Yet, no...moreOld Mr. Fiorentelli emigrated to the United States before parents started being concerned about homemade candy being given away at Halloween. Yet, no one in the neighborhood worries about his candy anymore since he’s been giving it out for so long without any problems. However, Glenn has just moved to the area, and had to remind his son of the rules (only store bought candy) when his son returns from the old man’s door with a wrapped piece of peanut brittle. What no one knows, however, is that every year the old man, an alchemist, puts something special into his candy, and this year it is Courage. So when Glenn confiscates the candy from his son and eats it himself, he finds himself coming onto Neal Sampson, an extremely hot co-worker who lives a few blocks from the old man. Glenn has no idea why he’s being so brave, he never would have been this forward normally. Yet, Neal is receptive to his advances and makes a date with him the next day. But when Glenn wakes up the next morning, the courage has worn off, and if he really wants to pursue something with Neal, he’s going to have to find the courage within himself.
There were a lot of things I loved about this story — namely the idea the story is based on. I thought it was a pretty great idea and it was showcased rather well, not only in how Glenn changes after he eats the candy and goes after what he really wants, but in the couple of little vingettes at the start of the story, which show random children and how the candy affects them. I thought the story of little Graciella, who was afraid of her big, scary dog, really cute.
The problem that I had with the story was that the two main characters, Glenn and Neal, didn’t really fit together. I have no doubt that they could if we were given more than a five or six pages of them together. The story is really about Glenn going for what he wants and ending up with a hookup, which is about all that can be told in 14 pages. If the story had been longer, I can see them forming a bond and growing to love each other, because at the end they started to seem like they were on the same page. I think that even if the story had an extra 10 pages we would have been able to get a better feel of Glenn and Neal’s budding relationship. Had Ms. Benedetti written in a scene of Glenn and Neal that wasn’t sexual but more how they are around each other not in the bedroom, I might have gotten to know the characters a little better. Though, with such a short story and a short period of time with these two guys, I’m glad that she did not make them instantly fall in love with each other. That would have been easy to do, but instead she told the story for what it was. Maybe it really was just a hookup and there is to be no lasting relationship. Maybe, because I read so much M/M Romance, I assume all authors want to send their characters down this path. We don’t know, and that is the best and worst thing about the story. I wanted more, but it worked for what it was.
This is a good story, short and sweet (the kids are sweet, but the men are definitely spicy!). I enjoyed it very much and would love to see both of these characters back again with more time to devote to their characters. Recommended for fans of the series.
This story was beautifully written with wonderful characters that would have worked for me if not for one problem — I have no doubt that this would ne...moreThis story was beautifully written with wonderful characters that would have worked for me if not for one problem — I have no doubt that this would never happen. Now, it would have been very possible to believe this had it been made out to be of a paranormal aspect of the story, but we find out that it is not. This was a big problem for me. I have no problem believing in the Band of Thebes, a brotherhood of male lover warriors, because that was based in a society that valued male worship. But, I lived in Japan for a while and can categorically confirm that, while very comfortable with nudity, the Japanese are not comfortable with gays. Sure, there is progress being made there just like other places in the world, but they still hold to long standing traditions in a way that much of the West does not. Also, this was from an order down on high — The Emperor. Like I said, I had a hard time suspending my beliefs.