Archive for July, 2009

Teot’s War (Song of Naga Teot, Book 1) by Heather Gladney

Rating: 10/10 ★★★★★★★★★★ 

Title: Teot’s War (Song of Naga Teot, Book 1)
Author: Heather Gladney
Genre: Literary Fiction, Fantasy, Speculative Fiction
URL: Out of print – Available from third party sellers at Amazon.
Price: Varies
Warnings: Very mild violence

Summary (from the original edition): He rode out of the desert with two swords strapped across his back, a harp at his side, and nightmares burning in his eyes.  He came from the wastelands smoldering with hate, no room in his heart for anything else. Until he met the gaze of Liege Lord of Tan, who claimed his Oath, his loyalty, and more. A king held captive by his position, a swordsman held captive by his Oath, together they would start a war–and free their land, or die.

My Review: Continue reading →

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Michael Tolliver Lives by Armistead Maupin

Rating: 7/10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 

Title: Michael Tolliver Lives
Author: Armistead Maupin
Genre: Literary Fiction
URL: Amazon
Price: US$25.95

Other Information/warnings: Mildly explicit sex
Summary:
Michael “Mouse” Tolliver–one of the central figures in Maupin’s Tales of the City series–steps out on his own.  Having survived the AIDS epidemic, Mouse deals with the impending death of his mothers, one natural and one known for decades, as he prepares to enter into his 6th decade.

My review: Continue reading →

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The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin

Rating: 10/10 ★★★★★★★★★★ 
Title: The Night Listener
Author: Armistead Maupin
Genre: Literary Fiction, Psychological Suspense
URL: Amazon
Price: US$14.95
Other Information/warnings: Explicit sex, frank discussion of ritualistic sexual abuse
Summary:
Gabriel Noone is a professional storyteller who broadcasts stories for a long-running PBS series, “Noone at Night.”  When his editor sends Gabriel yet another book to blurb, he reluctantly opens the package to find a  memoir by Pete Lomax, an HIV-positive 13-year-old survivor of ritualistic sexual abuse, called The Blacking Factory, after the factory where Charles Dickens spent part of his dreary childhood.  After Pete escaped from his parents, he was adopted by a therapist named Donna Lomax and his recovery from the abuse was helped along by listening to the broadcasts of “Noone at Night.” Touched by Pete’s devotion to his stories, Gabriel finds himself drawn into an intense relationship with his young fan, involving long, late-night phone calls.  But then questions start to arise about Pete and his story,  and Noone begins to question how much he really knows.  Noone begins to question his own motives, as well as those of the boy and the boy’ mother.  In fact he begins to question Pete’s very existence as no one has ever met the boy.

My review: First, a disclaimer.  This review covers the original publication of the novel. The link above is to the movie-tie in version.  The movie varies substantially (and is really rather dreadful) from the original novel and it is unknown if the tie-in version of the novel was rewritten to incorporate new information and/or details found in the movie.

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Brushback by Jamie Scofield

Rating: 4.5/10 ★★★★½☆☆☆☆☆ 
Title: Brushback
Author: Jamie Scofield
Genre: Contemporary detective mystery
URL: Dancing Fool Press
Price: $US 4.99
Other Information/warnings: graphic violence (including against women), references to miscarriage.
Summary [from the publisher]:
It couldn’t be simpler. All Evan Austin needed to do was find R.J. Gibson before his eighteenth birthday and the kid would inherit a huge trust fund. Everybody would go home happy: R.J. would be set for life, the mom would appease her guilt, and maybe Evan would finally be able to put a tragic case from his past behind him.

But nothing in life is ever that easy. Adding to the confusion are a young woman whose boyfriend liked to slap her around and the murder of an Assistant U.S. District Attorney, for which one of Evan’s former clients is now a suspect. Throw in his growing attraction to R.J.’s guardian, artist Roman Cavanaugh, plus the Mariners having another really bad season, and Evan’s got a bit more on his plate than he can handle.

Not that it’s ever stopped him before.

My review: Continue reading →

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Testosterone by James Robert Baker

Rating: 9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 

Title: Testosterone
Author: James Robert Baker
Genre: Literary Fiction, Transgressional Fiction
URL: Amazon
Price: Varies by third party sellers (Out of Print)
Other Information/warnings: Extreme violence, bad language, racism,  drug use, animal cruelty
Summary [from the publisher]:  A package from Dean Seagrave has arrived in James Robert Baker’s mailbox.  Baker was expecting a bootleg of the Bad Religion show at the Palace. But instead of Bad Religion he got bad religion: Palo Mayombe, to be exact.  Seagrave, it seems, has spent the day tooling around Los Angeles in a rental car with a hand-held tape recorder, searching for his sexy ex-lover Pablo Ortega, who went out one night for cigarettes and never came back.  The police are on Dean’s trail for assaulting an old woman outside a grocery store, or so he has been told by the man in a wheelchair he attacked at Venice Beach.

Seagrave explains his frenzied quest by saying he believes Pablo is “an emotional serial killer.”  Every stop on the trail brings to light more disturbing information about Pablo Ortega. Pablo, it turns out, is into Palo Mayombe, an ultraviolent form of Santeria involving animal and possibly human sacrifice. Pablo may even have been in government-sanctioned torture in his native Chile. Furthermore, Pablo has placed a curse on Dean Seagrave–a curse that can be broken only through a ritual involving the severed head of Pablo.

The problem is, Dean might be crazy. Or everyone might be lying.  Either way, Dean has a machete–because the chainsaw was too loud–and he’s just found Pablo.

My Review:
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ePistols at Dawn by Z A Maxfield

Rating: 8.5/10 ★★★★★★★★½☆ 
Title: ePistols at Dawn
Author: Z A Maxfield
Genre: Contemporary romance
URL: Samhain Publishing
Price: US $5.50
Other Information/warnings: Explicit m/m, bad language, references to child sexual abuse and severe emotional trauma
Summary [from the publisher]:
Jae-sun Fields is pissed. Someone has taken the seminal coming-out, coming-of-age novel Doorways and satirized it. He’s determined to use his Internet skills and his job as a tabloid reporter to out the author as the fraud and no-talent hack he’s sure she is.

Kelly Kendall likes his anonymity and, except for his houseboy, factotum and all-around slut, Will, he craves solitude. There’s also that crippling case of OCD that makes it virtually impossible for him to leave the house. He’s hidden his authorship of Doorways behind layers of secrets and several years’ worth of lies–until he loses a bet.

Satirizing his own work, as far as he can see, is his own damned prerogative. Except now he has an online stalker, one who always seems several steps ahead of him in their online duel for information.

A chance meeting reveals more than hidden identities–it exposes a mutual magnetic attraction that can’t be denied. And pushes the stakes that much higher, into a zone that could get way too personal…

My review: Continue reading →

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Written in Blood by Luisa Prieto

Rating: 8.5/10 ★★★★★★★★½☆ 
Title: Written in Blood
Author: Luisa Prieto
Genre: Victorian paranormal (vampires)
URL: Amber Allure
Price: US $6.00
Other Information/warnings: Explicit m/m, violence, discussion of torture and child abuse
Summary [from the author]:

In Victorian London, people lament over dreadful news in the paper. Give them a scandal, though, and they want blood.

An outspoken reporter, Collin Foster is used to keeping his desires silent. When he encounters a handsome and mysterious man, he’s tempted to step out of his carefully structured life. For one night, he will follow his passions. One night is all the man needs to change him.

My review: Continue reading →

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Sweet Oblivion 3: Fluid by Jordan Castillo Price

Rating: 8.5/10 ★★★★★★★★½☆ 
Title: Sweet Oblivion 3: Fluid
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Genre: Paranormal (vampires)
URL: Changeling Press
Price: US $4.49
Other Information/warnings: Violence, explicit m/m, kink (exhibitionism)
Summary [from the publisher]:
It’s been a couple of decades since Wild Bill has been able to savor the bite of an ice-cold, freshly tapped keg. Twenty-odd years since the shivery pucker of a cheap, boxed wine has assaulted his palate. But that doesn’t mean Bill’s forgotten how to party.

Wild Bill and Michael have holed up in a week-to-week hotel in an iffy Milwaukee neighborhood, and even though it’s been a year or two, the fringe art happenings are just as edgy as Bill remembers.

There’s a girl covered in frosting in the middle of the hors d’ouvres table, and she’s begging them to dip. And the host of the party wants to lure them into the range of his mechanical eye. It’s all fun and games, until a tryst turns deadly.

My review: Continue reading →

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Cooking with Ergot by Luisa Prieto

Rating: 9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 
Title: Cooking with Ergot
Author: Luisa Prieto
Genre: Humour, supernatural (witchcraft)
URL: Aspen Mountain Press
Price:Us $4.50
Other Information/warnings: Violence, explicit m/m, reference to past persecution of witches
Summary [from the author]:
When kitchen witch Dominic Abernathy learned that a hunter would be on his cooking show, he decided to take a page out of his enemy’s cookbook and hunt him.

His plan: learn more about Carter Brooks.

The result: protecting Carter against the man who’d followed and killed in his stead.

Filled with a dark humor only a witch could love, Carter was nothing like Dominic had imagined. He also didn’t believe in magic. Dominic must now balance his growing feelings for Carter as well as protect him from the hunter who’d like Carter to join him.

My review: Continue reading →

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The Bones of Summer by Anne Brooke

Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 
Title: The Bones of Summer
Author: Anne Brooke
Genre: Modern mystery/horror
URL: Dreamspinner Press
Price: US $6.99 (also available in print)
Other Information/warnings: Child physical abuse, violence, explicit m/m, violence
Summary [from the publisher]:
When Craig Robertson’s religious fanatic father disappears, Craig is forced to return to the home he’d left behind after an underage affair in order to look for answers. His new lover, private investigator Paul Maloney, agrees to help so they can continue to enjoy their fledgling relationship.

During his initial search, Craig finds items that belonged to Michael, his lover in that long-ago ill-fated affair, and soon discovers that Michael has disappeared as well. The search becomes an investigation into Craig’s past, and, because of distressing gaps in his memory, he’s terrified of the truths he might find. Finally Craig tells Paul his deepest fear: that Michael is dead and he himself is responsible.

While Paul refuses to believe his lover is a murderer, Craig’s obsession with uncovering clues grows, and their fragile relationship begins to disintegrate. Now on his own, haunted and stalked, Craig has to face down the horror of his memories if he wants to have any hope of a future at all.

My review: Continue reading →

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