Sunday, September 18, 2011

Review: When Love Is Not Enough

When Love Is Not Enough
When Love Is Not Enough by Wade Kelly

This book was worth reading, but quite exhausting, and not only for its subject matter.
This was an exceptional book in many ways. Starting with the narrative - with three different narrators, diary entries, flashbacks, and the present - this might sound confusing but it actually wasn't. The three voices were different enough to keep them apart even without the dates at the head of the paragraphs, offering insights into the heads of all three main characters, Jamie, Matt and Darian, and thus making them come alive nicely. All three were flawed and tortured, and still each one likeable in his own way. Even Matt, who started out as some kind of grunting, self - centered caveman but redeemed himself nicely enough by the end.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Review: Servant of the Seasons

Servant of the Seasons
Servant of the Seasons by Lee Benoit

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Meco, a former architect, used to be a "domer", one of those people who live in enclosed communities which rely entirely on technology for food, clothing, housing. Meco is turfed, that is thrown out of his dome, for a transgression - a punishment that is considered worse than death, since the land outside the domes is barren and dead.
All of a sudden Meco finds himself forced to work the land for his daily handful of beans when he used to live a life I imagine pretty much alike to what we're used to, and he's not faring too well, living in a damp sod house, pulling his own plough and with only his devious neighbor Varas for company. Meco's being a turfed domer makes it unable for him to go to the taon, a human settlement, when he wants to buy a drag beast, so he sends Varas who, true to form, doesn't bring him an animal but two Novigi slaves. Meco hasn't it in him to own another person, human or not, though, so he sets Lys and Tywyll free on their first evening. Soon, he finds himself drawn into the strange bond that connects the two young men. Domers use to completely suppress their sexuality with chemical means. Cut loose from that, and with two sexually very active young men close by, Meco's own needs slowly awake, together with the land once the Novigi start working it. Lys and Tywyll do everything to include Mecon in their bond and into their love and care for each other and the land. And as the land changes, so does Meco, going from careful acceptance to friendship to lust until he's open for more, for a love and a deeper connection of his own, a connection he'll sacrifice everything for, even his life.

This was a wonderful book. Meco's shy, compelling persona immediately captured my heart, and so did Lys, open, giving and generous, and Tywyll, who was determined, fierce and protective. I experienced Meco's slow development, his growth along with him, and cheered him on along the way. The writing was flawless, almost poetic at times, and the erotic scenes fit seamlessly into the flow of the narrative, occuring inevitably like the change of the seasons. A quiet book, despite the fighting scenes, and yet endlessly fascinating, an outstanding read. Can't recommend it highly enough.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Banners are up!

Played with Photoshop a little, and look what that got me.

Like them? Feel free to "steal" one. If you want me to put your banner on this site in return, just let me know!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Review: The Finder

The Finder
The Finder by Brandon Fox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story is set in a fantasy dystopia, an unusual background that was very well done. Hundreds of years ago, the ancient empire went down in the Daemon Wars. From the ruins of the past, a new empire rose. The Tjumens apparently consider themselves superior to Rhan's people, who are mostly peasants and are tributary to the Tjumen.
Fear of the daemons, beings that can "mark" humans, rules this world, kept alive by the clergy. A "mark" can be everything that makes people different, unusual eye color, surplus fingers and so on. "Marked" people are hunted down and culled by the Tjumens; once culled, they disappear never to be heard of again, like it happened to Rhan's childhood friend, Kev.
Rhan is a finder, someone who scours the ancient ruins for relics of the daemon wars and before. Those things are in high demand, they can fetch a high prize for the finder's village, but the Tjumen examiners often just confiscate relics, too, and collect them in huge archives in their capital, Chakragil. Rhan isn't fond of the Tjumens, mostly because of Kev, but also because he bears an invisible mark and is afraid to suffer the same fate as his friend should he be discovered.
One day Imperial soldiers come to Rhan's village demanding the finders's help in searching for a heretic and a dangerous relic. Rhan and his friend Catrin are assigned to a team of soldiers, Aerik and Maiko. While Maiko is a dumb, greedy brute, Aerik turns out to be a kindred spirit to Rhan. They become friends, and soon lovers. But love between men is not condoned in this world. Though Catrin accepts them, they have to be careful because of Maiko, who can't stand Aerik, who is a nobleman's son, and soon takes a dislike to Rhan too.
Things escalate when Rhan and Aerik find a mysterious relic which they take to Chakragil to show it to Aerik's father. Suddenly they're on the run from the Nuridians, a power-hungry group of Tjumens, who strieve to wrench their secret from them by all means.

The worldbuilding is one of this story's strong points. Elements out of different time periods and geographical locations are put together in a new and interesting way to create an unique and engrossing world that nevertheless is familiar enough that I could find my way around it effortlessly. It was done subtly too, woven into the narrative to avoid infodumping.
The characterizations of Rhan and Aerik were well-done, and the romance between them sweet and passionate, including the sex scenes. And I liked Stian, Aerik's old friend, very much.

Still, I also had a few niggles with this book, first of all Catrin. Not that she wasn't a sympathetic character, quite the opposite, but she didn't do much of anything for the story, and I couldn't help wondering what she was there for anyway. Also, Rhan's and Aerik's adversarys came across as two-dimensional, particularly Maiko, who was so evil and so dumb I wondered how he'd made it into the militia at all, let alone gained the rank he apparently had. My biggest problem, though, was the ending. The story ended kind of abruptly right at the moment when it started to become really interesting. Hopefully there will be a sequel, I'd love to see what happens next to Rhan, Aerik and Stian, and perhaps Catrin will find a purpose then, too.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

City Falcon Release Day Trivia Quiz - Answers and Winners

To anyone who took the quiz during my Release Party for City Falcon at the Dreamspinner blog -
Thank you all who joined the party and helped to make this day special!

Here are the answers:

1. A word meaning “deceived” that comes from a common pratice to calm falcons: a) beguiled, b) hoodwinked, c) bamboozled, d) double-crossed
2. A word meaning “to entice”  that comes from a training practice for falcons (one word) (to) lure
3. A phrase that mean “finished with due to frustration”, originally applied to a falcon who had just eaten and didn’t feel like hunting (two words) fed up
4. A word for “alcoholic beverage” that was originally used to describe a falcon’s way of drinking: a) hooch, b)booze, c) toddy, d) tipple
5. An expression for “overeat” that comes from watching falcons eat their prey: a) stuff, b) binge, c) gorge, d) cram
6. Which Toyota model was named after a male falcon? a) Prius, b) Tercel, c) Camry, d)Yaris
7. What do Arabic falcon lovers appreciate most in their falcons? What do they pay the highest prizes for? a) sound health b) amazing hunting skills c) flawless pedigree d) white feathering

Nobody got everything right, but some got very, very close; thus we have our WINNERS!


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