A case of rape the straight guy until he enjoys it, discovers he's actually gay, and falls for his rapist, thinly covered by a bet with other characteA case of rape the straight guy until he enjoys it, discovers he's actually gay, and falls for his rapist, thinly covered by a bet with other characters, and a BDSM scenario. I'm told the rapist MC is somewhat redeemed in the next book (he knew not what he did - supposedly. But any "Dom" who has this bad a concept of consensual, no matter what he's been told, is irredeemable in my mind.) And since it's not clear to me that the author realized how unacceptable this scenario was, I doubt I'll be going there. ...more
This book is divided up into sections over 4 decades, that move us through a tumultuous relationship between two men, from their early days as friendsThis book is divided up into sections over 4 decades, that move us through a tumultuous relationship between two men, from their early days as friends, through the ups and downs of a long relationship. I enjoy established couples, and I liked seeing Barry and Ethan remaking their lives, together and apart. There is a lot of trust, given, broken and reformed here. The men become wiser with age, seeing what really matters in their lives. There are arguments, and making-up, and times of peace.
The decision to put the little section "The Cursed Noel" at the end seemed ill-chosen. It belongs rightfully between the first two sections, and if you prefer a chronological narrative it could be read that way. Perhaps it was an intentional coda, harking back to the beginning of the relationship, but it felt like an afterthought on the tail of a satisfying last decade that wrapped up the rest of the book, and I'd have enjoyed it more in its place I think.
Either way, this felt real. These guys don't always do the smart thing, or the ethical thing, or treat each other right. And they certainly don't always agree. But the drive of the story shows that when they gradually shed all the extraneous stuff, they are each at the center of the other's universe. ...more
A lovely, very slow burn romance that is all about growth and character, full of the flavor of gay life in Seattle in the 1990s.
Steven begins the booA lovely, very slow burn romance that is all about growth and character, full of the flavor of gay life in Seattle in the 1990s.
Steven begins the book as a student who has found a course of study he enjoys, but still spends more time out partying, hooking up and doing drugs than homework. He has a fairly toxic relationship with his narcissistic best friend Adrian. Steven's the kind of guy who yearns for more connection, a lover not just a fuck buddy, but he's been willing to settle for whatever he can get from Adrian - moments of conversation, casual sex when no one more interesting shows up, a superficial interest that is very self-involved, and lip service to how close they are.
Steven meets an older man, John, who shows an adult, mature interest in his ideas. And maybe in the rest of him? It's a subtle kind of attraction, but even imagining being with John gives Steven a dream of something better and more sustaining than poppers and coke and anonymous sex. There are just two problems. First, he's not sure if John really has any interest in him beyond politeness. And second, he has to figure out a way to move forward from his current life, hopefully without losing his friendship with Adrian.
There isn't much drama here, just a slowly developing young man finding himself, amid an array of interesting secondary characters. This book feels real - there are elements that are less the prettied-up style of M/M romance, and more the messiness of real life. There is casual drug use, sex as comfort and entertainment, and a guy who lacks self-confidence and should listen to his (good) friends more. It does become more romance as the story winds toward a satisfying ending....more
A cute, fun read about a guy whose sister tries to set him up via blind dating. Devin loses a bet with his sister, and has to agree to five dates of hA cute, fun read about a guy whose sister tries to set him up via blind dating. Devin loses a bet with his sister, and has to agree to five dates of her choosing. The first is Jay, a younger man she lured in with an old picture of Devin from years earlier. It's embarrassing, but Devin has to admit if he really was ten years younger, Jay would be exactly what he'd be dreaming of. A pity he has to move on to dates two and three, and men his own age who don't show up expecting a twink...
I enjoyed this freebie from an author I've come to appreciate for her other stories as well....more
This book is quirky and the style of writing is different. I liked it a lot, though. I enjoyed the characters (including the brother) and the flavor oThis book is quirky and the style of writing is different. I liked it a lot, though. I enjoyed the characters (including the brother) and the flavor of the narrative. Jack is the star of a reality home-building show, a job that's a dream come true to a man who lived a childhood moving from motel to motel in his father's wake. The network has set some restrictions on his behavior, including a heavy hint of homophobia, but Jack's liking his job too much to push back. Until he meets the brother of his latest homeowner.
Cassius is a strange guy, quiet, hard to read, drifting into the picture from a previous life. The homeowner, his brother Cici, throws him and Jack together unexpectedly. There shouldn't have been a spark between them, really, given how different they are, but they can't resist circling one another, spending time, wondering how they might fit. Cassius has had some rough times himself, and it turns out they are a better match than they might seem.
The ending was fun. Jack's inferiority complex was a bit overpresent, but I found myself pulled along through this story. The difference in tone was a plus for me, although the POV shifts were a bit random. Over all, one I had a surprisingly hard time putting down, and may reread, although the style won't be to everyone's tastes.
I'm so thrilled to have found another historical by Lucius Parhelion that I haven't read yet - I really love this author's low-key historical authentiI'm so thrilled to have found another historical by Lucius Parhelion that I haven't read yet - I really love this author's low-key historical authenticity and characters.
As usual, this story mainly suffers from being too short. (If you can get the author's full length Faster Than the Speed of Light it's a great 1950s-setting novel and a multiple reread for me.)
This is set in 1930s Hollywood, as Charlie the writer arrives to start work in a town where the young female singer he mentored and her far-too-appealing brother have been living for a few years. Charlie kept his hands (and mostly his thoughts) off Jake when the kid was 16 and 17 and 18, but now there's not that same barrier of age between them. And maybe, in a new city, there will be a chance for something different.
I love the historical feel of these. The interactions are different, more subtle conversation, allusions, vocabulary, so much that is just subtly alien to two guys together in this day and age, yet feels right for that era, as talking pictures are taking a firm hold on a country grappling with recession. This is a light story - short and set among rich people with resources - so the 1930's backdrop is more flavor than substance. And there is actual on-page sex beyond the author's usual fade to black. I'll put this with my comfort-rereads. ...more
This is a hefty book, which combines a murder mystery with a lot of historical background. Eco gives us two Franciscan monks, one young, one older andThis is a hefty book, which combines a murder mystery with a lot of historical background. Eco gives us two Franciscan monks, one young, one older and wiser and with a checkered past. William of Baskerville and his young acolyte arrive at a monastery in Italy in the 1300's to investigate a delicate situation involving the monks, and just in time for a conference that is intended to affect the course of the Catholic Church. The debate is one that echoes the modern day - did Christ intend his disciples and his church to be poor and give their all to help the poor, or may the Church, in His name, accumulate wealth, land, and precious objects? All to glorify God, of course...
But upon arrival in the monastery, our two monks discover that there have been two inexplicable deaths. And more deaths follow. Although the monastic order seems quite willing to ascribe these to "the work of the devil", William is sure there is a human hand at work here. And with the help of his clueless young assistant, he sets out to prove it.
Alongside the mystery there is (a lot of) religious and cultural history of the times. There are some fascinating discussions of the heresies of the era, the Inquisition, the evolution of thought within the church, of lost books and philosophies. The main characters represent a range of viewpoints, from the intellectual curiosity of William, to the fundamentalist views of the monastic order, to mystics and revolutionaries. The stark poverty of the common citizens, and their deeper exploitation by the Church, form a backdrop to the exploration of signs and symbols and trying to make meaning from obscurity.
This is not a simple "Brother Cadfael" mystery (and I love those, so that's not an insult to either text.) It's dense, there are a few lines in Latin (which I gather are classics that can be looked up or, if you're lazy as I am, interpreted from context.) It rambles, and the first 100 pages are a bit dry, as if to daunt the reader who doesn't have the curiosity to pursue it. But it rewards a willing reader.
Out of curiosity, I watched the movie version. Given only 2 hours to condense a tome of this size, it didn't do a bad job. The feel of the story, the labyrinthine library, the horror of the Inquisition, the abject poverty of the peasants, come across well. The mystery is less well-motivated, but clear enough. The ending is romanticized for a movie audience, but there was a certain satisfaction in it, even though it diverges from the book. There is a ton of background that is missing, and it's actually a little dark in tone, but worth a watch if you have a taste for a gorgeous set design, an older Sean Connery, a young Christian Slater, and some dark views of religion in a long-ago age.
It is even somewhat topical - one of the themes that emerges is the degree to which religious leaders see knowledge and learning, curiosity and science, as the antithesis of faith. Whether it's the Islamic State burning libraries, or the US Christians I saw railing against (of all things) Girl Scout Cookies because the Scouts embrace "Good and fact-based sex education" this is still a force to be reckoned with. Those who wish to lead by anointed right, must prevent their followers from becoming educated enough to see behind the curtain. After seven centuries, this remains true....more