Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Nourisher (Borders of Worlds #1), Mark Alders




What an imagination. What a sexy, interesting, sci-fab book. Written by a fellow Aussie.

- Review by Kazza K


For the record I like spiders....not as in mate with them....but I appreciate them. As a household we have a ‘no kill, safe spider removal’ policy. Or, we just live with them. After reading The Nourisher I’m so glad.
Drake Glauco is kidnapped, taken to another world, Priaxia, to be used as a nourisher; to help fertilise hatchlings for the repopulation of the planet. In doing all this he is thrust into the 8 arms of Vernon the incubator. That’s the basics of it. There is more. The species that have been nourishers on Priaxia have died off and humans can fill their role. Human nourishers take longer, but make good symbiotes. There are also political reasons behind what happens to Drake, and Drake and Vernon, as you discover upon reading the book. Much is to do with a treaty Drake has drawn up in his role as a lawyer on Earth. Certain alien races don't benefit as much as they would like and would prefer Drake was no longer...in that role. 
I liked -   
The humour – “Welcome home, Drake” the door chimed as I passed my ident card over the reader. “Thanks,” I replied. I know the door doesn’t give a toss whether or not I answered, but you know, it’s kind of a habit of mine to do so. Egads, don’t I relate. I’m always talking to inanimate objects.

Drake’s first person perspective – I couldn’t help but realise the simple yet painfully obvious truth about my predicament. A naked human in his late thirties was no match for any Priaxian.
Why was I here? What was an extraction ceremony? But more importantly, why did I need to keep my strength up?  Why indeed my dear Drake. Here's a hint - you'll like it :)  

Drake. I liked his transition to a more open outlook or way of seeing situations and relationships and image – I realised that my perfect life, my beautiful house and my fantastic job meant absolutely nothing unless it could be quantified by love. It didn’t matter who or what that love was, so long as it bought us joy, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Vernon did that for me. He completed me.
Vernon. He is beyond delightful -  I don’t make you happy?” His eyes flashed hurt. I kissed him, tasting my own salt, before adding.“ Quite the opposite. You make me feel important. You make me feel special.” He embraced me tighter. “You make me feel like that, too.”

The world building is excellent – including descriptions of the semi-arid, Priaxia with its two yellow suns and silk spun nests. Also event horizons, space docking stations, and organic alien spaceships.
The ‘extraction ceremonies’ = sexy

Annaz VI – just read the beautiful ‘extraction ceremonies’ on that planet, complete with starfish *sigh*  Vernon can change to aesthetically pleasing, sexually stimulating images for Drake -
I smiled. I realised once more he had changed to please me. He wasn’t smooth skinned anymore, thick black hair over his chest and stomach. Oh, fuck how I wanted to run my hands through that manly hair to discover the delight my actions would give him. “You like what you see, Drake, my saviour?”


                                                  Vernon on Annaz VI. Oh. Yeah.
                                         

I liked the message that beauty comes from the heart, the soul, the spirit; and Vernon, the arachnid alien, had that in spades.  

There were a few niggles, the editing was a bit loose, it was a tad frenetic at times. I would have loved more time in the beginning spent on Priaxia. However, it was such a delightful book, I guess I don’t really care. The likes far outweighed the ‘niggles.’

I read the blurb, thought it sounded interesting but put it off for months. Thank goodness I picked it up and read it. The Nourisher really is a feel good, warm, sweet, lovely story. I highly recommend this book for those loving their M/M (M/spider?), with their sci-fi, romance, and adventure. I will now move on to book two.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Saying Goodbye at Ocean Isle, Kimberly Hunter



A lovely tale of two men in need of a second chance at love.

- Review by Kazza K


Well. It's official. I'm a big baby. I started crying at the beginning of chapter 1 and stopped...I don't know where exactly. I was all yukky and half blind with tears to tell you exactly when I stopped leaking. Okay, so maybe I'm more emotional at the moment, but this book was so heartfelt I couldn't help it.

Sean Pike lost his partner, and the love of his life, Ty, a year ago, after a rock climbing accident. In reality Ty didn't regain consciousness, but lately Sean is dreaming that Ty is talking to him whilst he's dying, telling him he loves him, but he needs to move on with his life -

"Listen to me,  Sean. No wallowing after I'm gone. You know how much I hate all that mourning crap. You're too beautiful, too vibrant to hide away. And most of all...if you find someone, don't be afraid to be with them. You know I never would begrudge you happiness."
"Christ, Ty. Please." Sean sobbed.
"I'm sorry I couldn't give you more time, honey."
"No, please. You have to stay with me, Ty. You have...."

On top of that Sean's sister Violet is supportive but urging him to move on as well -

"It's been a year, Sean," she said softly. You know he wouldn't have wanted you to go on like this."

"My God, Vi, there are some days when it feels as if I can't breathe without him here."

Violet convinces Sean to take a break and recharge, that it will be good for him. She organises Sean's holiday in a cottage at Ocean Isle Beach.

Laine Abernathy has also lost the love of his life, Derek, over a year ago in a an accident in Afghanistan. He's feeling it is time he let himself move on. His main support is his dead partner's mother who agrees and believes that hanging on too long after death doesn't allow a person's spirit to move on. Trapping the dead and the living in a spiritual void, so to speak. She encourages Laine in his goal to move on -

"You're lonely."
"Yes ma'am," he whispered looking away from her...
"Don't you dare feel guilty for wanting to move on, Laine Abernathy,... Derek may be gone, but that doesn't mean you need to spend the rest of your life mourning him. Not that he would want you too."
"No, he wouldn't." He smiled sadly as he fingered the dog tags in his hand.

Laine had me at his 'yes ma'am's.' Don't I love those two words. Anyway, I digress.

Laine has a property at Ocean Isle Beach, that once belonged to his grandparents; so he decides that it's a fitting place to go and say goodbye to Derek. He chooses to toss Derek's dog tags into the ocean as a means of saying farewell and symbolising a new start.

Needless to say, the two men meet at a particularly poignant moment and they form a connection over a month spent together. Will it be enough to create a new life, perhaps together? Or will the guilt associated with the loss of a loving partner prove to be too much? I loved the way they talked and found common interest etc.

Saying Goodbye at Ocean Isle is not a long book. So I won't go into more detail, but I could have. I clipped the heck out of it on my Kindle. I kept thinking, this is good, I'll put this quote in, ooh, this looks good, this too...If I put it all in there would be nothing left to read.

Good points - the women in this book aren't in it for long, but they are nice. No shrews here. They say what they have to, encourage, support and then it's up to the two protagonists to do their thing.

There's some poignant, sad, heartwrenching moments and they are nicely written, However, balancing this out there is also happiness, sweetness, hot sex, yes there is, and all the usual Kimberly Hunter nice-isms.

Okay, towards the end they get a little chick-with-dick, but I actually love that older, romantic sort of notion. I love a 'baby' being thrown out there by a guy, being the stronger one, and the other melting into the arms of his partner. It was so nice here. I loved it.

I liked both characters. A lot. Felt for them, cheered them on. Bonus for me when reading a book.

This is Kimberly Hunter's strongest piece of writing to date. It is a solid 4 star read all the way. I highly recommend Saying Goodbye at Ocean Isle for lover's of second chances, moving on after death, those understanding loss. Plus, anyone wanting to enjoy some lovely, well deserved romance complete with a HEA. Please write a sequel or follow up Ms Hunter.

The cover is fabulous it absolutely depicts Sean and Laine perfectly.

Saying Goodbye at Ocean Isle



Thursday, 27 September 2012

Let It Go, Mercy Celeste



Another powerful, edgy read from Mercy Celeste.

- Review by Kazza K




**This review contains some spoilers. Do not read the first paragraph if you want to take the full journey from your own perspective or from a fresh view.**

I feel it would be remiss of me not to point this out - While the cover is shiny and sweet, and the premise appears to be a cowboy's enemies to lovers story, which it is: there are also dark moments in the book. There is darkness in both character's backstories, including non-con/rape and rough dialogue that goes with it. So be aware if it is a trigger for you. I have read more graphic, more explicit books, but it's an individual thing. It does go to plot and the character's psychology. It deals with one of the protagonists being sexually used and abused from a young age (with some flashbacks). Plus, who the main antagonist is aids in ramping up the uncomfortable factor further.The abuser does come back towards the latter part and it is shortish but on page. It could been seen as unpleasant, depends on what bothers you. But, please take into account that it is part of a scarred psychological/emotional journey for both of the MC's, but one of the MC's in particular has lived a very hard life. You do need to give the book a go, if this doesn't bother you, to see what it is about. There are more moments centred on Eli and Creed getting together. Something else I'm going to add. I believe there's been some nasty 'attention' over this book, if that is so, I'm disgusted about this. This book has, as part of the storyline, some 'rough' parts, taken in context, one can understand this. However, if you don't like a book or contents move on, or read, rate, and review in the proper forum in a reasoned way.

Basic premise is that Eli and Creed, the two MC's, antagonism towards one another comes to a head and they find themelves sentenced to house arrest, after a bar fight, complete with ankle monitors. The sentences are to be served in the same house, Eli's.While together, they argue, work the property, find common ground, discover hurts, some truths, have some pretty damn hot sex, and start to find a home of sorts in each other and the property. The property that used to be Eli's family home, prior to the death of his nuclear family. The place is like a 'frozen moment in time,' with pictures of Eli's (slightly altered) family staring down at him, old furniture, decor and clothing left in tact, like they're coming back. Eli has spent a lot of time on the rodeo circuit, as has Creed, so he hasn't spent as much time at the family property. Both men are on the circuit for similar reasons, both pushed into it by others, and for competitive natures, and because of family dysfucntion. Creed rides horses, Eli, bulls. Both are also coming to the end of wanting that life. Eli, though, has been educated, and provided for, his father was a lawyer. Creed has pretty much dragged himself up with barely enough to survive, so there was no time for school.

What I liked -

Finding out why the protagonists are who they are. Why has Creed had the fire knocked out of him? Why does Eli have so much fire in him? Why is Eli so mad at Creed? Why does Eli just have to see Creed and get irrationally angry? Why does Creed pull the shutters down? When will they realise the common denominator in their lives and problems? Initially it's easy to believe a lot of their problems stem from rivalry on the circuit -

He leaned back, making sure the buckle flashed in the dim bar lights. Making sure Eli saw it. Making sure Eli knew exactly which buckle he wore. The look in his rival’s eyes said he’d succeeded. And that’s why Creed would never sell the buckle. Because he’d beat Eli out by a tenth of a second to win the damned thing.
The descriptions of Florida, the farm - the oppressive heat and humidity, the noises on a ranch at night - tree forgs, cicadas - were very vivid and made me feel like I was there. The damaged, flawed men were pretty well drawn, however, Eli refering to Creed as "the kid" on more than few occasions bothered me. Eli's 28, Creed is 27.

The sex was hot, yet not as frequent as some of Mercy Celeste's others; but when it happened, between the two MC's, I liked it. There was a lot in the plot, not as in crazy-packed-to-the-rafters, but a fair bit nevertheless. There was a build, you can sense where it's going via small flashback moments, descriptions of events, scars; and then a large unravelling of events and reasons how two men found themselves where they were, and why.

You get to see both Eli and Creed's POV, amongst a couple of other's, Randy included. I liked Randy's take on Eli's house, the 'ghosts' and the feeling of a it being almost like a mausoleum. The house was a pretty good metaphor for where the two protagonists were in their lives, stuck. Randy infuriated me at times but he was a pretty decent guy in the wash-up. The secondary characters, Sly, (Judge) Tom, Randy, Sawyer, were all interesting characters. I like to know what the MC's are thinking and the occasional secondary character, if it helps the plot. Here, because they have such intense issues, I wanted their perspective on what shaped them, how they felt about one another, why they reacted as they did and what was changing for them.

There was much in common for the MC's growing up yet, ironically, neither knew about the degree of difficulty the other was experiencing over 10 + years of built-up hate/repressed fondness. Their read on each other was off. There were clues but they were young and you don't pick up on much but your own life then. I loved seeing their strengthening of feelings or why they were really holding back, I wanted to know what was actually going on when the characters verbal communication was not working so well. I felt the characters were fleshed out well..


What I didn't like so much -

When there were flashbacks - and there's not a lot of them - they were not as well signposted as I might like, making me realign where I was at. It threw the reading momentum off.

The antagonist was a bit OTT and so dispicable that I found it better when page time was devoted elsewhere. In all fairness more time was spent elsewhere.

I didn't really connect to either MC in a 'I love them' kind of way. Mercy Celeste is one of the few writers who can do that and still make me enjoy the writing. I'd just like to feel the love more.


Overall  -
Normally I break down characters but because these two had such intertwined history I can't really do that here. Eli and Creed are a package deal. Just know that they both had problems, there was a linking factor. There may have been animosity but, paradoxically, there were also buried affections and feelings of kinship from their earliest days. However, their situations, and Eli's and Creed's anger/fear didn't allow things to progress in a healthy way. When they got together it was rough sometimes but they were good together. When Randy saw them asleep together it was a really nice moment - Creed having a small smile on his face and Randy realising it was just like him being with his wife. My feelings vacillated on both charcaters throughout. I may not have loved them but I certainly empathised with Eli and Creed. They deserved to be happy and healthy. I definitely wanted that for them

I had to think about this book a while before reviewing. The bottom line is it ellicited emotions from me - I felt ticked off, I felt sad, angry, happy. It made me wan't to see what was going to happen. Would they make it? Could their relationship deal with what had happened? If a book cannot feed my emotions then it's no good to me. I'll say one thing, Mercy Celeste does not shy away from an edgy book, and Let It Go is true to form. There is angst in this book, not Amy Lane angst, it's more stripped back, laid bare, not as melodramatic. It's 'blue-collar-rough.'


Lastly, there is a positive, happy ending, and an excellent epilogue, so HEA loving people will, hopefully, be satisfied. I do like Mercy Celeste as a writer and the trend continues with Let It Go.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Holed Up, Hank Edwards




My first time with Hank Edwards...and I had fun!

- Review by Kazza K



This is my first Hank Edwards book and overall I enjoyed it. I do like a witness protection style book and there was plenty to like here.

Basic premise is that one guy, Mark, overhears a terrorist plot to blow something up, in Chicago, on Valentines Day. He just doesn't hear where or what is targetted. He informs the FBI, and ends up under the care of Special Agent Aaron Pearce. Pearce has flown in to Chicago from Washington DC to protect Mark. They smell a rat in the FBI ranks and it works out from day one that they need to change plans on the safe house and where they're going to hide out.

The 2 MCs, Pearce and Mark, were not necessarily the easiest characters to like straight off the bat. They were both sarcastic, Pearce being pretty cocky as well. The dialogue was fairly good, there were some funny lines, and I did enjoy their snarky banter. They fell for each other pretty quickly, but I don't mind that, there were no verbal declarations of love, but you knew where it was going.

I had a couple of niggles, especially to do with one of the bad guys, but not enough to spoil the overall fun I had reading Holed Up. The book was fast paced, easy to read and, mmm, mmm, it was sexy. I do like some dirty talk, and a sex scene, or two, or three....and Hank Edwards appealed to me here.

I would say it ended too abruptly, but I see there is a sequel so I'll get that and read on. I'd like to see how the guys are doing.

A good, light, fun, sexy read, with a great cover.

                                                                  Holed Up by Hank  Edwards      

Friday, 21 September 2012

Give And Take, Anne Brooke

 

 

 Give And Take is another reason why Anne Brooke is one of my favourites.

- Review by Kazza K

David has lost Patrick, his partner of 13 years, to cancer. Two years of grief has given David the intestinal fortitude to go out and get back into life and to get laid. Let's face it, life does go on but it's a minefield getting back into the world of (possible) intimate connections with others; casual or otherwise.

I liked that David was scared at first. That he thought he may be too old, not hot enough, a "fraud." It took him 30 minutes to get up the courage to enter the bar, but he still went for it, danced with a few guys, kissed a few, had a grope or two (I took poetic licence with that one, I know what goes on, lol). Put his heart out there in asking Jeff, the bartender, to hook up. Jeff agreed.

When David ended up back at Jeff's place he went cold for a moment or two when he spotted a bedraggled begonia. Jeff enquired  -

"Are you okay?"

"Yes, of course, I...."

"Don't lie to me. What's up?"

"Patrick loved plants" he said, knowing how stupid that was even as he said it. "That's all really, he loved....plants."

You can't be with someone for so long and forget them. Even when moving forward. It wasn't maudlin it was real.

"The thing is, you see," David said, "the thing is I thought I wanted sex tonight. With someone. I haven't done it in a long time. Not since...well..."

"Patrick?"

"Yes, not since Patrrick."

So, Jeff lets David talk a bit and he makes an executive decision to take the pressure off, the decisions out of David's hands and into his. Jeff asked if David could have anything from the situation they were in what it would be -

"I don't want to be in control. I don't want to make the decisions."

'Would you like me to be in contol, David?"

He nodded.

"I mean really in control?"

For David this takes away all the decisions he's had to make since Patrick became sick. All the decisons he's had to make on his own. Any guilt about being with someone other that Patrick, Perfect! New beginnings with some nice kink thrown in. The BDSM is very light here and very appropriate.

This little ebook is realistic, as much as real life can be in fiction without being boring, definitely sexy, very interesting, and has such wonderful life observations about human nature thrown into it.

Who wants to make the first move after a significant other/partner has died? Who knows how to get back into the game? How many people have felt guilty for having hated being the major decision maker whilst watching a loved one die?

Favourite dialogue -

"So, what shall we do then?"

"We don't have to do anything. We can talk. Or we can hug. Kiss a little if you'd like that. After that, you can go home. Or you can stay. But I warn you, if you decide to sleep in my bed and sex is still off the agenda, then that's fine, I can bear it, but you'll have to forgive anything my dick thinks it wants to get up to, okay? It's got a mind of its own."

I liked the premise of Give And Take. I liked the execution, I liked that much was packed into so few pages. However, a follow-up book on this pair might be nice. But, hey, they may just be really casual and I know a few readers don't always like casual, so.. I'll leave that up to the voices in Anne Brooke's head. I highly recommend this for those who understand what it's like getting back in the game, like a short read with nice protagonists, some light, yet sexy kink and some intelligent dialogue.

Ryan (Neuri Book #2), Poppet




A heartfelt tale to add to the Neuri Series. A paranormal and then some!

- Review by Kazza K


"You are slakax. And that, Phoebe Martin, means you don't just feel the loss of your lover, it means the entire universe went black when he died."

That sentence pretty much sums up how Phoebe is feeling at the beginning of 'Ryan' and Ryan's feelings and deep empathy for her. Phoebe is mourning the loss of her husband, Seithe, who was taken from her, at the end of Zauran; with no chance for goodbye's, nowhere for her to go to grieve him and his existence -

'You left me with nothing but a room of black evaporating smoke, no body to bury, no gravestone, no resting place for me to curl up on and cry, to go to find you, to talk, to show you how many tears you've left inside me.'

Ryan, the Neuri King, has taken Phoebe, to Italy to grieve and recharge and to hopefully help her heal and be safe. Like all the paranormals, Ryan also revere's Phoebe and falls for her slakax light and appeal. He hates seeing her grieve and in pain. He does everything he can to feed her, keep her safe and give her space to grieve. He also gives her the opportunity to say goodbye to Seithe, have closure. Which I thought was very beautiful of Ryan and a very touching part of the book. When other supes are busy with their own agendas, and believe me there are lots of them, Ryan has Phoebe's heart as his major priority. Once Phoebe has emerged from her coccoon, her bedroom, initally, and is engaging with Ryan, he discovers that she is dying from the pain of grief, she is losing her light. This is a turning point for Phoebe. When she makes a decision to live for herself not die for Seithe. Imploring Ryan  -

"Help me. Please? I don't want to die."

While this book starts with deep emotion - sadness, anger, pain and inital ire from Phoebe towards Ryan, because of her grief. There is also some amusing, everyday moments. Like Phoebe watching television with Ryan. It made me laugh. It's so very relatable. *Snort* Ryan reminds me of someone I watch television with. Someone who points out the flaws in the show you're liking -

Flipping the player off, I huff, giving him 'the look.'

"What did you do that for?" he says, looking from me to the now blank screen.

"You - are - ruining - it."

Ryan  - is the very charming, olde-world, Neuri King. He is isolated, lonely, sick of having to be a warrior when he wants love. He is very romantic, gentle and refined. He brings a softness out in Phoebe that has always been missing from her life. he does it all without squashing her spitfire attitude. Seithe started something with Phoebe, but Ryan finished it, brought her full circle as a woman and slakax. Phoebe was literally in the dark about her light (pardon the pun) until Ryan. Didn't I just love Ryan. I loved his words and heartfelt intent -

"Please don't die for love. The living need you more than the dead," I whisper, pleading. "I need you more than he does."

I love his decorum, gentleman-like etiquette, behaviour and vocabulary. Ryan is good for Phoebe, is very different to Seithe, and never becomes someone other than who he is, although he's flexible. I also thought of all the books from Pravus - Neuri he wins the H.O.T. award. For someone so genteel outside of the bedroom, inside he alpha's the sheets right up  -

"I've had this locked inside me for three thousand years. Start praying baby girl, because when we're through you will be delirious with pleasure, power, and tripping on me. Unable to contain myself, I unleash the galactic flare. The entire universe will feel this, explode with me, and the vampyre prick wishing you were sucking his dick will feel this supernatural stake as if it pierces his own heart."

Phoebe - I tolerated her in Seithe. I admired her resilience then, but here it gets brought to a whole new level -. Phoebe's about to discover it's hard to be the oldest slakax sister. She has been living in Italy, at Ryan's home, for approximately 3 months, and fading away as she grieves the loss of her husband, Seithe. She isn't eating or taking enough fluids. She is literally fading away. Phoebe also isn't in tune with her slakax nature and this is all a big culture shock for her as well. From the moment she met Seithe she was a vampyre's partner. No more. Yet she is much, much more and 'Ryan' explores Phoebe in detail. Phoebe grew on me in Ryan. But, Phoebe? don't stereotype with your words.

Parts of the book's timeline is set (from) towards the end of Zauran into a goodly portion of Sveta, which is insightful, as much was happening with the various supe factions. Things were building but not much was mentioned about either Ryan or Phoebe during Sveta. Events that were happening at the end of Zauran, and were touched on or occured in Sveta, are expanded on in Ryan, whilst focuing on Phoebe and what has been happening to her after Seithe's death.

Jowendrhan - in spite of his none-to-paternal ways, is stepping up into role of Vampyre elder. He has grown so much, but thankfully still wears his heart firmly on his sleeve. He also suffers from too-many-parnanormal-males-not-enough-women-to-go-around syndrome. Plus, he's torn. He wants Phoebe to be well, to come through her grief, hates to admit it, but sees Ryan as well intentioned, yet Jowendrhan believes he still loves her. He makes a promise that he's prevented from backing up. My love of Jowendrhan continues. I've loved him since Seithe and my heart is aching for him by the end of 'Ryan.' Vampyres, angels, neuri and demons come and go, but Jowendrhan is my go-to guy. By the way Jowendrhan (never, ever will I call him Jo), come to me and I'll show you what women like -

"Phoebe, I have to ask you, what do women want?" 

 "What?"

"I thought women wanted love and romance, but you preferred Seithe who was domineering and forceful. So I tried domineering and forecful with Bozena, and that blew up in my face too. I just don't get it. How the hell do I get the woman I love to love me back?"

Venix - is behaving like a father deprived of his sleep by twin babies. Twins that are Jowendrhan's, his brother, that he's raising....perhaps for self-advancing reasons. Can you say Zaria? The Archangel has little page space dedicated to him in Ryan, but, hmm....

Arsay - WTF Arsay? What are you up to, and why exactly?  What's your main agenda and who are you truly allied with? When asked for a favour by Ryan, to help Phoebe, Arsay replies -

"I will do it. On one condition."

"What."

"When I ask you to repay the gesture, you do."

Big, game shifting favour then pulled in by Arsay.

Reese and Paolo, Ryan's general and back-up, are interesting characters introduced in Ryan. Waiting, hopiong to see where they go

Arelstin -  Die you psychopathic, greek mythology loving, drama queen of a vampyre! And, yet, I feel the church is symbolic. Seithe was theological in construct, Arelstin takes Phoebe to some Seithe-roots, maybe...I'm purely surmising out loud.

Zarek and Ellindt  - get metioned in passing which crosses over with events occuring in Sveta. I do so want this sado/masochistic pair tangoing in a book sometime soon. 

Aisyx - seems to have his course and target plotted in the next book.

Theme? Always a distinct theme with Poppet. In Ryan grief is explored really well. Change is a big part of the book, much is made of butterflies emerging, having changed, becoming more incredible because of it. Both characters change. Both develop a better understanding of themselves. Phoebe finds who she really is, discovers what love really is, Ryan helps her with that gift, Phoebe returns Ryan's love, sets him free from his lonliness. Hearts are everywhere - from Ryan's eyes in passion, his navel, nipples, his plix and the Ryan Tree, with it's heart shape and blooms. I loved the descriptions of the Ryan Tree (must be read). This book was very much about about true love blooming; so it was apt.

Ryan has some incredibly descriptive narrative and prose (stars above, read chapter 23). It is also an intense rollercoaster of events - a romance x paranormal x horror story. Making for some mighty interesting reading. Phoebe is grieving, finds a degree of succor, has the whole floor ripped out from under her by a psychopath, and finds her true love. Anyway, this journey for Phoebe, started via Seithe, who was seat warming for Ryan, his passing was difficult, but  - everyone has a purpose.

One again Poppet has delivered an interesting world where you can go as deep or as light as you want and, no matter what, be guaranteed a wonderful ride. I am champing at the bit to read Aisyx and I need my passionate, gloriously manic Jowendrhan in one piece.


 
 
 
The Ryan Tree 
 
 
 
Th Ryan Tree Key
 

                                      
 
An orgasmic, "galactic" plyx "flare." Oh yes!

 
 


.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

My Son "The Faggot"


- By Kazza K







I want to start by saying that I hate the word faggot, I loathe it as a matter of fact. It's like a lot of other words that people shouldn't use, that I also don't like. I won't mention them as we know them and I don't have to give them power by using them. Anyway, "faggot" is one of those words used as a put-down, it's used to be nasty, and it's used to discriminate. I just want to say my son is gay. No-one in this family has a problem with that, we love and support each other, gay, straight or otherwise. Our immediate family and close friends are all open, interesting, quirky, unique and definitely LGBTQ friendly. A few of my friends are gay or bi, and I grew up with a trans male who transitioned to female.

Today the word "faggot" was used on my son. It was used when he was out with a friend, having a quick bite to eat after university. He and his friend, R, were sitting and talking in a food court of a large shopping mall, when a group of 4 young women started throwing chips at D and his friend; and were generally being annoying and rude. My son asked them to stop throwing food, and, after the 6th time of this food stupidity, he asked them again, when one of the young women replied - "look at you, the way you dress, the way you talk" my son told them to "calm down" then another girl piped up "yeah, you talk like a fucking faggot," another one said "you dress like a faggot too." Wonderfully intelligent young women  that they were seemed to feel well dressed, well spoken men are "faggots. My son took exception and told them, in a lowered tone, to "just keep quiet" and that they were being "childish."To which one of the young women replied along the lines of they were going to get their father(s) to "fag bash him." Lovely! My son approached them and said - "You know what? No amount of make-up, hair dye or sugar coating is ever going to make you beautiful, as you're ugly from the inside out." (Bravo D, in my opinion).They continued on in a charming manner of calling him and his friend "fags," his friend is straight, not that it matters, that their fathers were going to "bash them," that "you look like a sissy...." and on it went. My son and his friend left. 

I was furious when I picked him up after and he told me what had happened. He said to me it was "pretty awful" but he felt "right" for speaking up, it felt good to say something to them. He said "you know mum, I felt like I got to say something to them that I didn't get to say to the people that were bullies at school and I don't have to hang around these people. I can get up, leave and have my friends that are mature, intelligent and like me for who I am." When he said that it made me feel like something good came out of something nasty. I also teared up a little, when he wasn't looking. To be honest he took it better than me. I know it bothered him but he dealt with it really well. We talked about it again a bit later and he feels calm. Anyone who has read my blog "My Son The Aspie" will know what he has been through, what we've all worked towards as a family. He doesn't like confrontation, it's still uncomfortable for him, but he stood up for something today, he handled it his way and I think he did well. I asked him what R said and he told me "nothing really," apparently R is a quiet young man.

I know what happened today is minor compared to other issues like bashings, beatings, suicides, but it is the thin end of the wedge. It's 2012 and we are fighting for marriage equality and human rights. I shudder to think what families these young women come from for them to be so actively seeking mischief and to be so venemous.

I'll just add this last piece, which I think sums up my son's character - When I asked why he left, the food court, was he worried? He said "mum, there were mums in the food court with their children after school, it was pretty packed out, I didn't want to make a scene. I wanted to have my say, but not upset the little kids around me."

I ask you who is the better person? I'll answer, not those females, that's for sure, but my wonderful son who continues to grow into a fine young man, that's who.




Sunday, 16 September 2012

Got Lemons? Kimberly Hunter



Sweet, sexy characters. An angst free zone.

- Review by Kazza K


This is a sweet, sexy, feel good, contemporary, short read that just picked me up and made me feel happy.

Noah has the hots for the mysterious Marcus. He even manages to get him to go out after work.

Marcus is getting along with Noah until he gets...nervous.

Marcus actually has the hots for Noah, but he's worried he's too old, that they work together, and that he will get hurt, again.

The story is light and breezy. I laughed in a couple of places.

It's sexy, I liked them together. Older man/younger man, tick.

It has a happy ending, although I would have liked a small epilogue.

Kimberly Hunter always writes nice characters that are romantic in nature. She is my go-to amongst the angst :)


Chase in Shadow, Amy Lane


 

Angst, thy name is Chase in Shadow.

- Review by Kazza K



I read this book because it was chosen for me in a Bookholics Anonymous reading challenge. I’ve gone to read Amy Lane on a number of occasions and I’ve balked every time. This time my hand was forced, and I’m glad it was. I enjoyed Chase in Shadows, by and large. So a big shout out to Talya for the pick.
The basic story

Chase is living with his girlfriend, Mercy, they are young. Mercy works. Chase is at college. He is twenty turning twenty one. He needs money to pay for rent, save for a house, buy nice things for Mercy - to realise an ideal. He gets told Johnnies, a gay-for-pay porn site, is hiring. Voila! He’s in. Good money, he gets to have sex with other gay men but, hang on, he’s a straight, baseball playing, engineer studying jock. He’s  s t r a I g h t. However, we discover that ‘straight Chase’ is actually not. He is repressed, gay Chase. He’s just too terrified to admit it openly. We also discover that Chase has problems, none of which he can admit openly. We learn about Chase’s dysfunctional upbringing. We watch Chase’s life become one big, long, messy, complication.  This book is angst-ridden, but I like angst.  It is also sexy, I like sexy too.

The writing -   
The book does jump around from current, to prior events all mixed in with Chase’s thought processes. I had to settle into Ms. Lane’s style of writing, then it worked very well.

The writing was clever. Particularly when Amy Lane contrasted the reality of Chase’s everyday life against the intense emotions he felt when he could be with Tommy, in Tommy’s arms. How he felt about Mercy, with Mercy –
God, he was always so grateful to her. Why couldn’t some of that gratitude translate to need?

“The foods great Merce….”
"Worth coming home to?” she asked grinning, like she knew the answer. God help me, I’d rather be eating Chinese takeout with Tommy.

The way Chase’s dissociative moments, were occurring, as opposed to what was being said, or against what was said and what was meant –

“You work with anyone fun?” Mercy asked……
"Dex and Tommy were on my crew,” he said keeping his voice absolutely casual. “Dex is sort of the leader – he’s a good guy. Funny…”
 “What about Tommy?”  He’s beautiful. He has a wicked, wicked smile, and his hands on my skin feel amazing…  "He wants to be a veterinarian, you know?”
 
How he was getting closer to the edge and beyond, and why. Chase talking to Tommy about their mother’s –


"She didn’t want to leave you anyway. My mom didn’t even know and she left. Maybe if someone knows all of me, that’s just too much fucked up to stand.”
“Chase….”
“Show’s on, Tommy.” Chase wouldn’t let anymore slip out.
You would think there’s no way of sugar coating major situations, Mercy was a nice girlfriend who believed in and trusted Chase. He was having an affair, working in porn whilst living with and, sometimes, having sex with Mercy. To her everything seemed normal. It wasn't. It was a hot mess. 

Affairs are powerful things, you live outside of the everyday, you can bypass reality – reality as in dealing with major trauma and family dysfunction. That was well constructed here. If you really look into Chase’s characterization there were solidly written, quantifiable reasons for Chase’s deceit and ongoing behaviour. I’ll give you this Amy Lane, you knew how to perfectly pull back on Mercy’s character, to make her seem nice, yet she almost seemed like the ‘other woman,’ not Tommy being the ‘other man.’ It was smart witing, making the necessary character’s appear sympathetic. Personally, I liked Mercy, I liked Tommy and I understood Chase.
This book, to me, is not so much about being closeted but rather how it can happen. About mental health issues and the huge role parents play in either creating a nurturing environment in which children have a chance to grow and develop into fairly happy, functioning adults....or unhappy, dysfunctional adults. Chase’s mother could not cope. She was a depressed, suicidal woman. His father abusive, destructive, very toxic. There is enough difficulty adjusting to your sexuality without the guilt that was thrown Chase’s way. –

‘My mom committed suicide when I was six, and my dad would rather I be dead than a fag.’
 
The characters -

Chase, in all honesty, was a complex character. He was a difficult character to like. You could feel sorry for him, you could dislike him, you could even hate the deceit that he used so easily and so well. And he did. And he knew it. He is quite simply one of the most self-loathing characters I’ve read about. To let reality in was too overwhelming for Chase. Having shut down years ago, and developed great avoidance skills, taught Chase how to step it up into lies, manipulation and deceit. Not because he’s a bad person, rather it’s how he's survived. Survival is the key here, because even before, but especially after his mother’s suicide, that’s all Chase did. He survived on fantasies of what the perfect life was. He idealised his best friend’s mother, that she was the perfect mother, because she was nice to him, made him cookies. He idealised his girlfriend, Mercy, she was nice, helped him with homework, cooked for him. He built her up as the way to create the perfect white-picket-fence-life. Mercy was a mother substitute in every sense of the word for Chase, he didn’t know that consciously, but she was. He idealised porn as the relief he felt he needed, when in fact it just masked more of his pain. It was a release, yes, it resulted in some positives, in the long run, but it was still another band-aid.

Tommy is a twenty three year old fairly uncomplicated, yet intuitive man, who has been working in the porn industry - at Johnnies - for three years. He wanted, needed, Chase from his first meeting. There is one issue with Tommy, exacerbated by the industry he's in and his affair with Chase, but it's dealt with fairly quickly. He knew Chase was in a relationship, knew Chase ‘zoned out’, knew Chase had some problems - but wanted him anyway.  Yes, Tommy let Chase get away with things, but he’s desperately in love. He’s prepared to overlook much. They click, they have common interests, they like one another, Chase says the most to Tommy, before fear always stops him short. Tommy is a very likeable character, apart from the fact he’s sleeping with someone else’s partner. Here I’ll come back to the clever writing. For all intents and purposes you could/should dislike Tommy, see him as a home-wrecker, but he comes off as the man-done-wrong. He comes off as sweet – he loves his mum and his mum’s cat, he gets a kitten, and a turtle...aww. He also gets the rough end of the pineapple on more than one occasion and when he’s sick and needs Chase, Chase walks out, in true self-flagellating Chase style.
Mercy is a decent person, she a good partner, she’s kind to Chase, wants Chase’s father to come over to their place for Christmas dinner. After Mercy rang Chase’s dad about the dinner –

“What did he say?”
“What in the fuck did you just say to her?”

“I told your little spic bitch to stay the hell away from me,” Chase’s dad snarled back into the phone. I don’t want no fuckin’ beans and rice for dinner.”

But Mercy was nothing if not forgiving, she still had Chases' father over. Perhaps she was too nice - is there really such a thing? – but she was written more and more off-page as the book progressed, as Chase was away 'working,' imploding, and crisis filled up more space. Mercy is constantly lied to, cheated on and taken for a ride. It’s not pretty and I felt for her. Chase truly loved her but as a mother substitute and a friend.  How things progressed to her being told about Chase was terrible. Seriously, poor Mercy. Okay, the thing she does near the end is silly, but they’re all so young. 

All the secondary characters from Johnnies are likeable, Dex, Kane, Cameron etc. Chase’s best friend since school, Donnie, is just terrific. Or they are obnoxious – stand up Victor, Chase’s dad. No matter what, there is not an uninteresting person in the bunch of them.

I have some niggles -
First of all, I’m not too keen on young guys as the MC’s in books. I don’t mind one young(er) guy but I’m not good with two. Here we have two, so I did struggle with that, it’s a personal thing, and remember this is a challenge book. The dialogue at times was young, I get the character's age, but –
 I'm gonna get sex! Sex! Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex....from a man. Oh God. I'm gonna come in my pants  

And –
"Goody, goody, goody, goody, goody....”

And

Chase splooged all over his hand.

...left me cold. To quote Detective Murtagh – 'I’m getting too old for this shit!'

Second, the porn industry comes off as way too nice here. It is not kind on people at the best of times, let alone on those with emotional fissures in place....and Chase had chasms. Yet, they were all best buddies. Even Johnny, the owner of Johnnies, was a stand-up guy.

The Christmas analogies bugged me. I got them, they just went too far.

It was too long. I would have been happier if it could have been cut back.
 
Overall:

I liked Chase in Shadow. It was a thought provoking and entertaining read. I'm glad I've now read an Amy Lane book, it was about time. I'm going to finish the review with a quote from Tommy and a much healthier Chase -
“Why so hot and horny?” Tommy grinned. “Not that I mind in the least.”
Chase smiled and blushed. “Cause my father’s a tool, and I may be a faggot, but that’s not a bad thing. I like my body. I like sex. I like sex with you better than any sex on the fucking planet. And that’s nothing to be ashamed about.”

Nothing at all Chase.
 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Sveta, (Neuri #1), Poppet




Another scenic tour of the paranormal and a psychologically intense journey of the human mind and spirit. I love the Neuri.

- Review by Kazza K


Bozena: 'I'm sick of the term love and the way it's used as an excuse to destroy people who have done nothing wrong.' 

Kazza: 'I agree Bozena, but you can't let that consume you. There is plenty that is good attached to love, much that builds-up the spirit, those that use it well. It's not the word, it's the wrong people using it.'

Bozena: 'I'm just a pawn sent out onto the emotional battlefield year after year, and every time I stick my head out it gets chopped off.'

Kazza: 'Only because you haven't learned how to deal with it or how to choose the people you let into your life wisely. You continue the cycle of an abused child into adulthood. This cycle can be broken.'

Arsay: "Bozena, You have to snap out of this victim mindset. When someone hurts you, you don't compound the wound by inflicting more. Stop pitying yourself and your own emotions. You can't run, there's nowhere to run...."  'The world doesn't need more martyrs, it needs compassion. That starts with you loving yourself...."

Kazza: 'Amen, Arsay. Tough love.You are so right. You can't run from your pain, you must face it and deal with it in a healthy way, otherwise it always follows you. Don't let others control you or make suffering your option. There are much better ways. Suffering, self harm are not healthy. Learning to love yourself is.' 

'Therapy' with fictional characters? Why not? There is such a strong message of what people can do to others,  what we can do to ourselves, for ourselves, in Sveta that I just felt like jumping in too. Obviously Sveta is a paranormal, but there is a lot in this book about human psychology and dysfunction. The Neuri Series concentrates on interweaving paranormal, Eastern European folklore, love, light, and spirit into the human world. The Neuri feel like the protectors of this planet and it's inhabitants, they want love, peace and harmony, and it shines through in Sveta.    

This book starts at a fast clip and with intense events and emotions. An eyewitness has turned up at Pravus after seeing a person attacked -

He inhales a jagged breath, shivering uncontollably, his pupils dilated with cortisol radiating from him stronger than the stench of vomit. "The ribs snapped man. Snapped like brittle twigs....Fuck man."

Thank you, Poppet, for using cortisol, so many people use adrenaline, yes, that's released too, but it's so fucking passe.

Immediately he slips toward hysteria with the recollection and I (Zauran) dive into his head, rearranging events, deleting what he witnessed, soothing over the drama.

"How bad is the body?" Zarak pauses with me on the steps, inhaling the crisp air of predawn Serbia. "Zauran, you know the answer if you reviewed his memories. The victim lost his heart and had his body pulled apart when he was still alive. They made it as brutal and violent as they could."

This book is about Sveta and Zena. Their relationship developed in Zauran (Pravus #3). Sveta is many parts. He's a - petulant, passionate, reactive, caring, antagonsitic, loyal, conflicted, simple, yet complex, Neuri. At a meeting of the paranormals regarding the attacks  -

If I was the alpha here, this meeting would take place underground in an untraceable location. But as no one ever asks me for my fucking opinion, I'm left here feeling overexposed with dread building, waiting for the imminent attack. All these men and not a brain between them. Fucktards. And why the hell did Zauran have to insist the bastard who made my girlfriend pregnant attend this meeting? Jowendrahn should be impaled and bled out slowly for what he put Bozena through. Zauran: Sveta's a moron. Except for Jowendrhan, every person present can hear his thoughts as if he'd announced them over the sound system. Shut the hell up! 

Sveta vaults over my desk and slams Jowendrhan solidly in the face with his fist. "You fucker! I should have kicked your ass then but now will have to do!" 

Sveta is still righteously pissed off at Jowendrhan for getting Zena pregnant, and, seemingly, leaving her at death's door. After nursing her back to health, he feels no justice has been meted out; it has but, for their own reasons, no one sent him the 'memo.' He sees Zena as dark, hurt and damaged and blames a lot on Jowendrhan. As the book progresses Sveta enters Zena's mind, as Neuri can, and sees her childhood, her mother's brutal treatment of her daughter and understands the depth of her emotional damage. Here Poppet travels into deep psychological waters. Personality Disorders are hard to write about, hard to diagnose, with so few sufferers, compared to population, and other conditions, and PD's are a contentious mental health disorder, much like DID. Also, you can't absolutely diagnose removed from the patient. I applaud Poppet for using a personality disorder, NPD in this case, and its integration into the paranormal world she has developed, which is very much about spirit, the soul, the psyche, love, the power of the individual, and healing. Bozena is deeply scarred, very insecure, very difficult to like, because of her upbringing. There are intense chunks dedicated to the abuse Zena suffered in her childhood, and her behaviours. It is so deep it seems personal, and you can't help but feel for her. Zena seeks/needs pain, from self and others, to 'soothe' her psychological hurt. Of course, that's not the answer, but when you have suffered so much it can certainly seem like it is. The scene with Jowendrhan raised the first red flags about Zena, here, in Sveta, it hurtles you into the pit of despair with her. If this were a contemporary romance I would say this could not end well. However, it is a paranormal, and it is in the realm of the Neuri; I personally loved the use of plyx here. Without plyx it was going to be too hard to have a happy/decent/plausible outcome. I liked that even with plyx there is going to be some dark light within Zena. Perfect.

Sveta and Zena's relationship is very tumultuous for quite  a while. Zena has an obsessive need for Sveta, to know where he is, she needs him there, to let her know he still loves her, yet she won't let him in either, it scares her. When Sveta needs to leave a meeting and get to Zena -

"She's in constant emotional pain and if she doesn't hear from me she falls right back into that pit."
"What pit?" I glare at Zauran. "None of your fucking business."

...and Zena, when Sveta doesn't call when she thinks he should, reverts to thinking he's with someone better, as she's not good enough -

It's like mama said, I'm ugly, I'm stupid...I just hurt. I hurt. So deep inside, no one can fix me. Not him...no one. I'm broken where no-one can see...where no one can reach. There's no big hug enough, or man loyal enough, to fill the chasm in my soul......I hold still just long enough to slice the blade over my arm, experiencing immediate relief when blood swells up. It's calming. When blood wells up to cry for me, the destruction inside shows on the outside, and seeing it always makes me feel a little saner....I wait for the heartache to subside, for my heart to stop banging accusation in my chest, for the loathing to abate. I want to die. I don't want to feel anymore. I don't want to feel this any longer. I can't keep living in this eternal hell.

"Zena!" Something's wrong. I can feel it, she always waits for me.......I take in the swollen eyes, red nose, the blood.....Rocking her. I shhhh, smoothing her hair and holding her so tight she can barely breathe. Crushing her with my strength, I know it makes her feel safe.....her hot tears soak my neck. When the sobbing slows, I grip her chin and force her to look at me. "I fucking love you. Nothing and no one can take that away."

"If you want to bleed sweetheart, I can make you bleed. I promise if I do it it will be way more fun." Soft palms stroke my face and deep eyes burn into my heart, "I love you too."

It is all so angsty, but beautifully so, and there are many heartfelt declarations of love for Zena from Sveta, much hand holding and, of course, sexual healing :) I loved the protagonists but it's a slower build. Sveta is hot headed with others but with Zena he is infinitely attentive, patient and kind. There is one section where he feels he has been betrayed and it's heart breaking.

Apart from the intensity of the relationship of the protagonists, murders are taking place, the rest of the supes - neuri, vampyre, demons are attempting to work together to help find out who is on a murdering spree, and why. Everyone's camp suspects someone else. Once again the theme of 'who can be trusted' rears its head. Is it Ellindt? Is it one of the Neuri? Is it Venix, Jowendrhan?

Whilst there is some gloriously poetic writing here again, it also has a reality based, harder edge, as opposed to (just) paranormal edginess. I also want to say that chapter 24, the first section headed up Bozena, has to be read; it's a wonderful piece of writing all on it's own - sexy, metaphorical, beautiful. I also like to compare it to a later section headed up Bozena, in the same chapter. One section set outside with natures's elements, one inside with man made elements. Maybe it's just me but I loved the juxtaposition.

There are so many fabulous, strong, polarizing, wonderfully confusing, secondary characters in this series. It makes the book's easy to devour. Even if you loathe someone one minute something else happens that will make you rethink your stance.

Speaking of secondary characters - Zarak is yum. The 7'2, sadistic, yet caring, sexy, tumultuous, strong being that he is. His sections are interesting all on their own - 'Come here, kitty, kitty....'  "Ready for a love bite?" "No!" "Aw, come on. Just a little love bite." "No!" screeches hysterically. You need to read it. And, of course Jowendrhan's pulling out all the heart-breaking-stops he can to get who he wants. And speaking of dysfunction, Jowendrhan is sitll wearing his *heart* on his sleeve, and cutting in on other supes partners. He's a bastard, but he's my bastard ; and has been since Seithe.

This series is a sensory journey - full of twists, turns, some bent behaviour, and some moments that make you feel, visualise strong emotions and scenes. Some word choices impact me, for example, I'm not too keen on the word rape thrown out there too often, unless the book is about rape. However, Poppet obviously feels strongly about the soul and spirit and what happens, so I'll live with it.

Oh, yes, A is for, ahh, yes please, and A is also for arsehole. Sorry, I must remain cryptic.

This book ends with the protagonists happy, but there is a murderer to catch and the Slakax women to protect. Much is going on heading into Ryan, and I will be reading that as soon as I can.




Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Truth About Butterflies, Anne Brooke



Another short, yet fine LGBT read by one of my favourites, Anne Brooke.

- Review by Kazza K
 


The Truth About Butterflies consists of  two individual stories combined in one book. It is an LGBT short work. Mostly when I review LGBT it's for male/male romance/erotica, or fiction. This time it's female/female, and that's refreshing. I don't know that the same size market exists for female eroticism or fiction as does for men, there are reasons for that, but that's not the point here. The point  to me is that it's been a long time since I can remember reading about two women that are main characters being together sexually, F/F is usually a throw away, or used for some add-on titillation. I'm not saying the books aren't out there, it's just that they haven't crossed my path much. That's a shame because, when it comes to sexuality and sex, I'm very open. And when it comes to something well written I just enjoy it.

This is not a very long ebook, but it's really inexpensive, so, while the two stories are very short, it's Anne Brooke. She does short very well, she does long well too :) However, not as many people can write short and make it feel longer, if you catch my drift.

Butterfly Girl

I laughed as I read this one, because of the social media aspect of the story, how it does intrude on relationships. Then again, it also allows people to meet others, as it does the two MCs, Abi and Tina. Abi is bored, gets a new computer, Bill, the husband, is not as attentive, Abi gets caught up online....meets Tina; who says all the right things, God where are you Tina? Seriously, there are days when I want my very own Tina.

After a rough day at the office -

Hi there, just back from work, DREADFUL day, don't ask! Abi typed. How are you?

A few moments passed and then came Tina's reply: Poor you, so sorry to hear that. I'm fine, babe, but tell me what happened. I want to know.....Tina typed: You sound so rough. Would you like some gentle kisses?

Ahh. Music to another woman's ears!! And, really, that is what I got most out of this book. How nice it is to have someone who listens, cares and takes the time....everywhere

This book is cyber conversation and cyber sex, and yet it's lovely, sexy and warm.
  
Truth or Dare

Suzie and Kate are good friends. They are out for a few drinks together when Kate creates an opportunity to let Suzie know something about herself, something that may go one way or the other, but she goes for it anyway as she'd like to know. Kate wants to be with Suzie sexually and hopes it can come to fruition.  Both women have something private to share during their own reveal in 'truth.' I like the fact that neither woman spoke disdainfully of their respective partner's, and, yet, both women want to share something more together. Kate's married, Suzie's engaged (both to men). These facts do not bother me and I found this little story real, sexy and also engaging. When Suzie asks Kate what her 'truth' is

'All right.' Kate pauses....'The biggest regret I have is this: in all the time I've known you, I've never seen your breasts, or touched them. I'd like to do both.'

Suzie takes her glass, places it to one side. She gets up and stretches out her hand to Kate. 'Please,' she says, 'come home with me.'

I would like to read more LGBT literature featuring women. I hope I have the opportunity to do so, as I don't think same sex attracted females/lesbians get a good deal when it comes to erotic books, works of fiction, or movies for that matter. I feel Anne Brooke gives them a lovely voice here in the Truth About Butterflies.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

My Body Is Special, Cynthia Geisen and R W Alley



My Body Is Special: A family Book About Sexual Abuse is a timely book with good, positive words and illustrations. An excellent resource to know about.

- Review by Kazza K


Because this is an adult blog with adult material I have not linked this. I have simply added it to this blogspot for those that read it and may be interested. If you come in off Google, or any other search engine, just be aware there is some adult content on here, do not look around if that would offend you.

Review

This little book is a wonderful resource. First of all it helps teach children about personal boundaries. It also reinforces, or teaches children about who they can talk to if they aren't sure or, goodness forbid, if something has happened. It also deals with the extremely important issue of not allowing children to blame themselves. I can't stress enough the importance of that message.

With some chapters such as -


You Are One-of-a-Kind

Safe, Loving Touch Is Always Shared

Safe, Loving Touch Is Not a Secret to Keep

People You Can Talk to

Touches Are Messages

Touch is NOT for Hurting

Don't Blame Yourself

God Loves Every Part of You

- it covers a perfect array of subjects in this tricky and sensitive area. The book is written and drawn in such a way as to not put ideas in children's heads, or to scare either. My Body is Special is positive, and while it mentions God it does not preach. I feel it is a perfect tool for therapists working with pre-primary to primary aged children and for parent's alike.

NB: Always assess the age appropriateness of material in relation to your child, and their own sensitivities/ability to process information, before you read something to them. You know your own child better than anyone else. Also this is just a book review and my personal thoughts as a parent nothing more

Zauran (Pravus #3), Poppet


Zauran sets the bar in this series.

- Review by Kazza K




Reading Zauran I couldn't help but think three things 1) they may be paranormals but their families are just as capable of dysfunction as humans 2) thank goodness Zaria went to Zauran and, 3) I never liked Darise - vindicated gut feeling..

Basically, in Zauran, the neuri are taking over centre stage, with a few exceptions, my bad boy Jowendrhan being one of the exceptions. There are also three women now who look very similar to one another, like sisters, and have a magnetic effect on all the supes. They are all desired, sort after, revered and, often times, put through the wringer. Why is that? It was just being ramped up in book 2, Venix, now you learn who/what they are. I don't wish to shine any more light on it. l'll leave it at that and let the reader enjoy it.

All the characters from before are back, there are twists and turns. Once again there is doubt and confusion spread amongst the main female(s) of the book; who can be trusted and who can't. Of course egos get in the way, the lack of women for the men, and the depth of sexual, emotional connection that is lacking for these paranormal males is at the root cause of pissing competitions that get heavy. A theme that is always so central to these books is here also in Zauran. In Seithe it was theological, and introducing the vampyre's/angel's backstory, in Venix, Gaia, and how the one can profoundly affect the many, in Zauran the one affecting the many is still important, with love, chakra's, colour and energy taking a leading role. War was remonstrated, as well as how badly woman have been/can be treated; yet womens' spirit and biology was strongly championed.

Alliterations abound, metaphors are in abundance, and the dichotomy of certain relationships is used powerfully in Zauran - from the chapter Bozena and Jowendrhan -

"Are you ready for a combat Zena?"
Combat, will it hurt?
He's angelic and evil. He's pleasure and pain. He's hard and oddly soft. He's danger and seduction. He's death and he's salvation. Lifting me by holding my sex in his cupped hand, his incisors score two ridges down my back, cutting through skin and burning me with the sting of a white-hot poker. My body goes into pain overdrive while he inhales ominously with my scream.
"Adrenaline turns us on, pain produces lots of it."
God, I'm violently shaking because the pain is so severe...and yet he praises me and makes it sound like I just made him so proud for being blindsided with total agony.

- against chapters of Zaria and Zauran

"You have a poet's soul, Zauran."
"No, I don't. what I am is a neuri who can't believe the woman of his dreams is standing in his kitchen wearing nothing more than pink lace shorts. I keep wondering when the demolition ball hit the house and offed me....."  "I never want to wake up if this is a dream. While you're here I want to be that man who denies you nothing."

I lean back, expecting to connect with the man who crept into my chest to stamp his lips on each chamber of my heart. I want to find him, hug, him, kiss him and hold him tight, to thank him for reminding me why life is such an exciting adventure.
 
"Zaria I will always catch you when you fall."

I have to admit the last line may seem kind of cheesy, but, stars above, I found it beautiful, and it summed up Zauran, and Zauran and Zaria's relationship beautifully. It's what I expect in a relationship, without saying it directly. Having broached it, this book is a love story, a lot is dedicated to Zaria going to the right male, and their discovery of one another. Zaria has been through hell losing her family during the (1990's) Balkans wars, Zauran understands, helps to make it better for her, soothes her.

There is also a lot of psychological and physical action in this book, particularly in the second half. I found myself on the edge of my seat wanting to read faster to see what was going to happen; yet I needed to slow down to absorb it all. A war seemed to be escalating, some behaviours were becoming more erractic, and new characters/beings were introduced, and one older one was thrown into play. It all climaxes in a brutal, disturbing yet also beautiful way. I had tears on my cheeks. Zauran reached into my soul and pulled at my very core.

What worked so well in Zauran was all the main players have a voice, their own, unique POV. They have their own chapters, or sub sections, so readers are in the character's heads, the narrative allowing for intense emotions. You can feel them, touch them, see them in vivid colour, understand their motivations, and breathe them in.

Zauran is the stand out book in The Pravus series, which says much, because Seithe was a trip, Venix a clever bridging book, and Zauran took the data built in Venix that resulted in an intense kaleidoscope of change, feelings, colours and energy.

I want to add at the end of this review that this really is a very good paranormal/supernatural series, and Zauran is one of the best books in the genre I have read. I cannot recommend this series and this book highly enough. Bravo Poppet.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

An Evening at the Starlight, Brita Addams




A short but poignant read. Brita Addams has written a really beautiful story.

- Review by Kazza K



I stumbled across this book because I looked back at a couple of reviews I'd written previously, to see what else some of these writers had out that I might like. I noticed this short ebook and it sounded nice.

John and Chrisite's marriage has hit a brick wall, Christie cheated 2 years ago when John was overseas in Iraq. Understandably he's hurt, struggling to get through the pain of betrayal. Yet, he still loves his wife, his childhood sweetheart, wants to be with her, wants his marriage back on track again -

I know she's sorry - God. she's said it every day with everything she does for me...

If someone has been hurt by cheating in a relationship the person hurt often wants to move on with their partner but feels stupid or weak for not leaving, for still wanting to try to make the marriage work again. That's certainly the case here with John in relation to his feelings about Christie and their marriage. He loves her but is in limbo not wanting to leave but not knowing how to make it work again.

I can't bring myself to leave her, even if we live like this for the rest of our lives....My hands itch to grab her, hold her, and screw her brains out until we both forget, but I can't

One night, after Chrisie tries to reach out again, to be physical with John and John can't allow himself to, he heads out for some thinking space. He ends up at his "little haven", aka his local bar, the Starlight. Bud, the owner, knows John and knows about John and Christies' troubles. Bud is a wise man and rather than giving John the usual marital 'advice' he proceeds to tell John a story of enduring love, sadness and, most important of all, something that John can relate back to his own current situation and life.

The story that Bud tells is set duing WW2 and is about Royal and Doe, who are very much in love, the kind you know lasts forever, if allowed. It is painted beautifully by Brita Addams. They were in love during another time, another period of war and the relevance of their lives and what John is going through is not lost on the teller of the story and the listener. I don't want to say anymore because reading this story is a joy.

I recommend you read the dedication and note from the author at the beginning; that alone had me tearing up. I can't believe that no-one has rated this book. Having now read it I can't believe that this ebook seems to have slipped through the literary cracks, and escaped the notice of readers. It may be short but it's beautiful.

An Evening at the Starlight is very romantic, but there is no great, sweeping declarations of love, no sex, no antagonists, no earth shattering moments between characters. It's a quiet, graceful ebook that is about life, love, forgiveness, knowing that we may not always get another chance with someone that we care about, and letting the people we love know that we do in fact love them; mistakes and all. Highly recommended reading.


An Evening at the Starlight


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Venix (Pravus #2), Poppet



A book of ups and downs for me. Nevertheless, Venix is still an interesting read.

- Review by Kazza K



I must be honest and admit when first reading Venix, for about a third, actually, it felt like I was reading Seithe. Very similar actions, slightly different cast. Only this time Zaria initially seemed like a stranger to me. I felt as if I had been dropped into this book part the way through. There was no real connection with the heroine; just that she had been hanging out at Pravus, liked Darise, while unbeknownst to her, grabbing the attention of the other Vampyres, and a particular Neuri, Zauran. The primary difference betwen Phoebe and Zaria is that Zaria more readily embaced the supernatural. Darise was a so-so character for me who inspired no passion. He seemed off. I'm not sure about him. No, actually, I don't really like him particularly, I think he's immature, funny thing to say given his age.

Where Seith had religions undertones, Venix has affirmations, people power, and Gaia at the root. Treating the environment well, loving one another, forgiveness, and that the one can have a profound effect on the many. War was also a central theme, considering it is set in Belgrade Poppet used the supernatural to discuss the modern wars that rocked what was formerlyYugoslavia. All very noble and interesting thoughts. I liked them.

The main area I didn't like was covering old ground - teaching free will, memory recall, using the minds-eye/more of the mind to see clearly, dunks in cold pools, near drowning episodes - all over again. I wanted to move on, because it felt like taking a step forward and two steps back. I understand the why of the program they have going on; I just wanted to learn more about this world, not more of what was covered with Phoebe in Seithe.

As the book progressed I grew to like Zaria, I found her experiences shaped her ability to truly empathise. I liked her willingess to embrace different beings and ideas. I'm not fond of constantly-in-denial or silly characters, Zaria was neither of these things. I really liked Zauran, I also liked Venix. My love affair with Jowendrhan continued.

The writing is, once again, interesting, quite lyrical, and fresh; but the mobile phone call was strange, given data from Seithe. Anyway. While most of this book is from Zaria's POV, once again first person present tense, interestingly, there were three sections from Darise's, and two from Jowendrhan's POV. I liked that, it added another dimension.

I honestly feel Venix is a bridging book in the series, I may well be wrong, but it had that feel to me. Book number 2 in the Pravus Series started out slowly, and with a bit of a disconnect for me, but it took off in the second half and I really enjoyed it when it did. Poppet is an unusual writer and I am moving forward to Zauran now with much anitcipation of what she will deliver.


Venix (Pravus, #2)

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Center, Sean Michael


I do not always love the books I read. For every book I love there are 3 that I don't or haven't reviewed. I reviewed Center for feedback, it could/should have been better, IMO.

- Review by Kazza K

 

**CONTAINS SWEARING IN THE REVIEW**


I'm not going to rate this book because I would not rate it well. Center is the amalgamation of two books - The Center of Earth and Sky and Painting The Desert. The second part was slightly, and I do mean slightly, more meaningful. However, both have big problems with dialogue -

"Oh...." "I need..."Love." included.

Which never made any sense, a couple of times, OK, after that....NO! I kept thinking "finish the fucking sentence."

I get really ticked off when people call erotica porn. This book is what gives people that idea, and that angers me. Erotica is storytelling with sex, and the people I read mostly write beautiful, fun-filled, exciting, interesting, sci-fantasy, paranormal, shocking, even literary books. Some of my favourites are in this very genre. Sean Michael had a chance here to write something really lovely but he didn't, he copped out, in my opinion, and wrote what amounts to porn. By the way? I'm not against porn, believe me, but I want to watch porn not read a script, albeit a long script.

Raine, Grey and Whit seem like nice characters, but none were fleshed out much. They could have been really memorable, this book could have been ethereal. The prologue is one of the most interesting pieces of writing I've read, otherworldly, with a transmundane feel. I thought we may just go somehwere new, different. But. No. It just went into sex scene after sex scene - fuck, eat, sleep, fuck whilst eating, sleep fucking, fuck fucking, and eat, sleep, fucking some more.

On GR the reason I didn't rate this book was I would have rated it at 1 star, and I fought with that because of the prologue and the time spent in the desert, and, well, I did finish it after all. 

If you like a LOT of menage sex, twincest, just sex in general, food with your sex, sex with your food, and minimal dialogue - here's your book!