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Last Dance of The Sugar Plum

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  34 reviews

Jonathan is a spy.

Anton is Jonathan’s ‘keeper’.

Jonathan is a spy with a code implanted deep in his subconscious, so deeply he can’t remember—anything at all.

Anton is an interrogator intent on retrieving the code, whatever the cost.

But sometimes they dream of dark tunnels and locked-up rooms, and then they both scream.

ebook, 170 pages
Published April 14th 2017 by Beaten Track Publishing
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3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  64 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars.

Well,talk about a crazy ride......

This is absolutely nothing like anything I've read by these two Authors before,in fact I don't think I've read anything like it ever.
To say it's unique is an understatement.I had virtually no clue what was going on most of the time but it's a wonderfully compulsive read.....especially when I reached about 30%...I couldn't put it down....I had no clue about the outcome but I couldn't wait to get there.

So,what's it about?

I'm not even going to attempt and
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
This is an impossible book to review, because to say anything is to give too much away.

Last Dance of the Sugar Plum is a dark, suspenseful story about identity, the fallibility of memory, and the lingering essence of truth. It is not a romance (although my friend Ele disagrees; you should read her review for another perspective.)

We know this much: Jonathan doesn't remember anything.

And Anton is always watching.

He watches Jonathan wank. He watches him fall apart.

Jonathan used to be a number, a
Apr 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
-4.5 stars-

This is a purposefuly vague and spoiler free review. Trust me, you need to go blind into this book. Honestly, I don't know what to say exactly. I knew that Al Stewart and Claire Davis is quite a talented pair, but damn. If I ever managed to crawl in their heads, I'd never find a way out.

This book isn't:

-Mainstream MM.

-Warm and fuzzy.


This book is:

-Brilliant. Insanely clever.


-Unique. Almost cult literature. Like a gay Twin Peaks sort of thing.

-Suspensful. Edge of my seat a
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, m-m
Unique and Intriguing
How in the hell am I gonna review this one... I'll try and give it a shot...
It will be incoherent... it yourself...

Let me see *eyes to the sky tap lower lip*
"Once upon a time......"

In the beginning I struggled through the walls to hold on to... all those fragments of sentences...All the punctuation marks were (for me) needful......

If you are reading and there is only one big question mark that's...mindfuck? Funny the ones who have written this do
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever felt like you knew but you didn't...

I'm not really going to talk about the story with this one so much as the experience of reading it.

'Last Dance of the Sugar Plum' is the type of story where you probably spend most of your time wondering 'what the hell just happened?' or at least I did. For much of this story I felt like I knew what was happening and yet at the same time I also felt like I had no clue. What I did figure out really quickly was that I didn't care because for me t
Karen Wellsbury
Fun, exciting, unexpected, sexy, thrilling and romantic.
I changed my mind about what was going on here about 5 times, Fra and I texting back and forth:
'So, what just happened ?', 'but that can't be right, because on p.36 Jonathan said...', 'WTF ?' are just some examples.
Almost every book that I have read by these two authors is different, and there are almost no romance writers these days who don't have a 'tell' and this was original, exciting and really, really romantic.
Full review on the blog
Dante Love Fisher
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing


The spy business isn't always like the movies.

There are times when you just have to close your eyes and think of England.

Al Stewart and Claire Davis seem to have two writing modes, social commentaries that will break your heart and have you reevaluating what you give back to the world, and then there's the insane stuff. LOL

Last Dance of the Sugar Plum is brilliantly funny!

It's super stylized, and slickly written and it fucks with the head. It's entertaining an
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
That was ... pretty crazy. Yes.

No spy would dance to another man's song or allow his skin to shiver with disgust any time a finger teased his neck, because it would mean he had lost control.

How safe is memory?
How unchanging is your own past?

The Last Dance of the Sugar Plum is a really grotesque novel in a best David Lynch manner.
A feast.
A brilliant firework of the language.
And in a sense, it’s quite philosophical.

The author duo fabulats as if in ecstasy. Anyone who engages in these literary a
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
our blog's review is here

Well, well.
This book is original, clever, exceptionally plotted, expertly written and very romantic indeed.
Everything I have read from these two authors is fresh, free from clichés and very well written indeed.
There were a lot of WTF and "did that just happened.." and "I bet you..." during the buddy read with Karen - and I am looking forward reviewing on the blog for publishing day.
I have also cured myself from the notion that I was able to predict
3.5 Stars

I am pretty sure that Last Dance of The Sugar Plum is one of the strangest books I've ever read. I knew before that Claire Davis and Al Stewart were insanely talented story tellers, and Last Dance of The Sugar Plum shows off their mad skills in spades.

The story is full of twists and disjointed imagery, in the form of flashbacks and memories, both real and fake, and it kept me guessing until very close to the end. I did figure out who 42 and 19 were before the reveal was made, and I had
Ofelia Gränd
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Last Dance of the Sugar Plum by Claire Davis and Al Stewart is not your usual M/M read, it's not your usual spy story either. I started out confused, then got a bit more confused, then I was absolutely certain of one thing - I love Anton. Like really LOVE Anton.

There are two men, 42 and 19, they know they have to do something before they run out of time. They remember stuff. They know HQ is watching them. They know the clock is ticking.


Up for a mind fuck? Check this books out. I've read all but
Amy Spector
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-authors
Last Dance of the Sugar Plum is not just a gorgeous cover, it's also something you don't find much in mm romance. It's completely unexpected. Completely new.

If you've read Davis and Stewart before, you know the beauty of their language, the uniqueness of their characters. Now imagine Davis and Stewart had a threeway with Guy Ritchie. I'm pretty sure this would be the result.

A romance that's part spy story, part mystery, with humor and madness, and enough twists to leave you reeling.

Jonathan has
Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a beautiful, odd and refreshing ride this book took me on! Last Dance of The Sugar Plum is one of the most unusual books I have read in a long time. Very different from other MM stories.
Debbie McGowan
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Editor's Review:

Last Dance of The Sugar Plum is the longest and cleverest (so far) of Claire Davis and Al Stewart's stories. It's about...well. Here's what I've noticed in the advance reviews: no one is quite sure what it's about. Yes, there's a love story element, and if you're a romance reader, you'll find there's enough of a happy ending to satisfy your mushy side. But it's not a romance. Given how love develops in the story, it's not exactly conducive to a light-hearted romp between the shee
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So... this turned out to be really good, but honestly I spent the first 30-35% in a perpetual state of 'but I don't understand' and then the remainder of the book devouring every word. If you hold strong, and work your way through the abstraction and narrative, which at the start I mostly took on faith that it will all come together as it honestly read like I was missing every other sentence, this is a real gem and very much worth it.

Like other readers, it is impossible to review in context with
Finally getting around to reviewing this one, I am clearly in the minority here. The beginning of the story was vague, suspenseful, to the point it confused me but that was enjoyable. I didn't want to put it down wanting to know what was going on. Then it was just too convoluted, far fetched and over the top for me too even care. The ending/ epilogue IMO was so out of place. Take my feelz lightly because everyone else luvs this book
Mónica BQ
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
1.5 stars very generously rounded up. Specially taking into account that the One star is mostly FOR ME assigned to myself by myself for simply persevering with the reading.

Brilliant writing. Brilliant book. Romantic in a way, sure, if you wanna stretch things a bit, I'll graciously grant it to you.
A Romance? No. Not in a million fucking years, not in any way, shape or form.

I think what I'm most pissed about having read this book is towards other reviews. Because most of them keep going on and on
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm

I had no idea what was going on for the majority of the time while reading this book. Yet, I was mesmerized by the puzzle of a story the authors created.

It's a spy thriller, a mystery, and a romance. Yet you're never quite sure that it's any of those, because it might all be an illusion or a hallucination. Or something else entirely.

The writing is excellent, if at times frustrating because you want more information. You just have to trust, as a reader, that the authors will get you to the e
A.M. Leibowitz
What an exciting, if a bit strange, ride this was. I’m not sure what I expected when I started reading, even knowing the summary. This is not a typical spy-thriller genre novel, nor is it really a romance. It’s something of a sideways blend of both, with an emphasis more on the psychology and character development than the action (of either kind, though there’s plenty of those, too).

There’s very little I can say without giving too much away. One of the characters was formerly a boxer, and he has
E.M. Hamill
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a strange, exciting, psychological mind fuck of a book.

Jonathan is a spy. His last mission left his mind broken, and somewhere in the folds and recesses of his brain is a code that HQ is desperate to recover. His keeper, Anton, is charged with surveilling Jonathan constantly in case the code begins to emerge. As Jonathan starts to recover, HQ begins pushing him and Anton toward things designed to trigger his memory. Jonathan meets Harry, a dancer, whom HQ wants him to seduce...and sudde
Apr 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Rest assured, I will not talk about the plot or what is going on here in this book, so you can enjoy being in the dark all by yourself ;-)

I have to say that I liked the first half of the book a lot more than the second. That’s because I didn’t know anything. Who was who and doing what exactly for which reasons and how can it all even? Nothing was really sure and there were lots of possibilities.

Even the language used seemed kinda off in parts but it enhanced the surreal vibe, but even though mos
Diane Dannenfeldt
Wow, I'm not really sure where to start. The only thing I figured out, pretty early one, was who two of the characters in the story were. But I had no clue what the heck was going on at any other point of the story. Even though I was so very clueless, I couldn't put my e-reader down as I wanted to find out what was going on. All I can say is that it was a really good story. There was a major mystery with Anton trying to unlock Jonathan's memories so he can access a code, you see Jonathan suffers ...more
Lisa The Novel Approach
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, suspense
~ 4.5 Stars ~

I am not even sure how to write this review. How can you write a review when you are still trying to put the pieces together in your own head? Seriously, this book had me guessing (often incorrectly) and biting my nails, from beginning to end, and left me completely dumbstruck more than once.

The entire plot is intense and captivating. I felt as confused and crazy as Jonathon did. This was an insane ride, an eff-with-your-mind-what-the-heck-is-even-happening story that kept me compl
*~*~Fawkes, Padfoot, and Prongs~*~*
Apr 11, 2017 marked it as 0-mm-novellas-folder-to-organize
Will KU this. Intrigued but very much on the fence.
♣️ Lynda ♣️
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I was confused from the start. Intrigued enough that I barely put it down.
I kept thinking there was no way I had figured it out but when I got to the reveal I was disappointed because I had, in fact, figured pretty much all of it out. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and then it was over.

I'm in the minority here but this book was just okay for me.
I think this story would have translated much better as a movie. As a book it was too confusing to adjust to the constantly changing scenes, locations, flashbacks, current conversations, hallucinations etc. I plowed through it because it was short and reviewers I trust gave it 5 stars, but the confusion and disorientation never got any better and while I realize that this book is meant to be understood piece by piece and not all at once, I never felt like I had enough information to gain tractio ...more
Apr 18, 2017 rated it liked it
3 stars

I'm certain there was a good story here, but I don't think I wasn't smart enough to understand it. The first half was quite intriguing, but by the time I got to the end, I was completely lost. Even the whole reveal didn't feel like it really explained everything and I was left feeling confused and a little bit dumb.

I do recommend you read this, though, because I'm convinced that the problem is all on my end. Just because it didn't work for *me*, doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a shot.
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, m-m
I am not sure how to review this story. I enjoyed it. It was nothing like any of the books I have read by Claire Davis and Al Stewart. Mystery, spies, intrigue, ballet, moments of "What?" and "I'm so confused", and "Oh, OK!" and "was that 19 or 42?" A book I have been mulling over since I finished it a few days ago and may need to read again.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance-mm, giveaway
What a mind trip! I was so confused reading this book. I kept trying to guess what was going on, but it only started to partially make sense after about 75-80%, but then I still was a bit disconnected. It was definitely a weirdly interesting book.
May 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ku
This was odd, there are few words to explain without giving spoilers away. I felt a little lost at the beginning and a little more all along, but it was good because it help keeping the mystery hidden, or the mysteries since there is a lot of things to discover here, such interesting twists, I really loved how everything went.

The plot is definitely intriguing, the pace alternates between some slow parts and some a little faster. I’ll have to admit that I wasn’t as fond of the main characters as
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Claire is from the Midlands where the land is as flat as the vowels. She is the co-author of several books including: The Invasion of Tork series, Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace, Nobody's Butterfly and Boughs of Evergreen.