It’s funny this thing that reviewing books is, at least for me. The more a book affects me the harder I find it to review. If Grif’s Toy was difficult to review because there were things in that book that just had me going through every human emotion possible then reviewing Wes’ Denial is bordering impossible to review. This review has taken me close two months to master.
Those of you who read my review on Grif’s Toy and who happened to catch some of my comments on Facebook while reading it knows very well my reaction to that book. In all honestly when picking up Wes’ Denial I was in doubt how the hell Joseph Lance Tonlet was going to pull this off, first, because Grif’s Toy was not only a really great book pure fiction wise but the message in that book was so loud and clear. Grif’s voice was strong and there were no doubts left at the end of the book about who Grif was or who was truly in charge in that relationship and (pardon my French) it sure as fuck wasn’t Wes. I was afraid that I was going to read a doublet of Grif’s Toy but from Wes perspective together with having Tonlet tying up a few lose ends like the big significance of Wes tattoo and who Henrik was. Even if my worry was slight, there had been no need for it slight or other. Wes Denial is just as good and I would say even better than Grif’s Toy for no other reason than the end.
Books like this touch me, because not only have the author, Joseph Lance Tonlet, managed to convey a magnificently emotional story but like I’ve said before managed to convey a message, or several messages, in a subject matter that is very complicated for most of people to understand, especially those of us who don’t live in the BDSM lifestyle or anywhere near it. Yet, we all tend to have a lot to say about it. Funny how that is, isn’t it?
One of the issues I have when reading MM books in general, if to generalize for a bit, is that I find a lot of them to be all about sex and I’m not talking about how many acts of sex there are. There can be a book with 5 scenes with actual sex acts but not have very much to do with sex or vice versa. You following? The clichés of BDSM books with the dark clubs, whips and chains, dungeons (and I am sorry but it doesn’t matter how much white or yellow painted walls you have in these dungeons they are still play rooms set out for one thing to “play” to indulge in whatever play it is that get a certain couple off), sex and more sex, child/parent play as I call it, which is about the dominant telling the submissive what he/she needs like they don’t have a clue themselves about that because first they need to be saved, it is all the typical encounters when reading a BDSM book. It might seem a bit harsh but it’s true, and I’m not saying they are bad books just that because of this they become very one sided or people who don’t tend to question things they know little about get the wrong idea.
Like so many other “things” BDSM is in my opinion over sexualized, it is the desire of having great sex that is the drive to seek out the BDSM lifestyle and that fact alone gives people a somewhat skewed view of what it's really about. After reading Wes’ Denial, not reading Grif’s Toy, but reading about Wes and what experiences forms his life I can finally say there’s one more book (to a very short list of books) that desexualize and, lack of a better words, re-humanize the BDSM lifestyle and makes it out to be what it’s meant to be a way of living your life together and getting your needs/interests met in more than just your sex life because it has to do with a state of mind and emotional needs that many times have a physical way of being satisfied.
Wes has this confident way about him but at the same time he has secrets and things that makes him vulnerable. Through life he finds out things about himself that in many ways disturbs him and makes him feel like a freak and like I said in my review on Grif’s Toy, it isn’t until he meets Grif that he truly understands himself or rather allow himself to do so. You learn throughout the book how he finds out what he is and what that means and how he struggles to find acceptance in being him. Thomas and Henrik are two of those people that he meets and two people who seen sides of him that are both good and bad. There are things in Wes’ past (that I won’t go into that are dark and to the point of cruel) that he’s shamed by, things that forces Grif to take on a role that is not his typical role for no other reason than to help the man he loves to deal with his past. Does this remind you of anyone you know? It does, doesn’t it, because we all do it at times to help others deal with things buried in their past, we shoulder tasks or situations, accept the burden of crosses not really ours to bear for no other reason than to help the people we love. Tonlet says himself that submission are gifts given from one person to another and I agree but Tonlet taught me something else too, that no matter how many labels we put on people or on ourselves in the end we are all the same. We bleed the same, we love the same, we want and need the same thing for those we love to accept us for who we are.
Wes’ Denial is about everything but sex, and there’s plenty of sex scenes in this book. Wes and Grif shows us it’s about the same thing every other relationship is about, which is love and commitment, about helping your partner through the worst thing they experienced in their life so they’ll be able to move on. Wes’ Denial is not a repeat of Grif’s Toy, nor is it an easy story to read both because there are scenes in it that are very graphic both in violence but also when it comes to the D/S structure of things.
Mostly it’s a hard book to read because of the emotional journey, Wes journey is so completely gripping and heart twisting at times it is hard to read because of the tears you shed. What Wes’ Denial really is about is finding and forgiving yourself, it’s that easy. It is about accepting yourself for who you are, good and bad, with the good choices and bad choices you’ve made, that you are not a weak man or less dominant because you need help and that being turned on by what you are turned on by isn’t wrong if with the right partner, the yin to your yang. On the contrary, Wes’ over and over again kills the stigmas of BDSM not being abuse, it isn’t just about sex, it isn’t weak or mean but it is just about two consenting adults, loving each other as much as the next couple, doing everything they can to make each other and themselves happy and also being openly proud of the life choices they made. Wes’ Denial is really a Cinderella story about true love and fighting evil for that love. Finally, this is a book that says all the things that every BDSM conversation should start with: Once upon a time there was a submissive boy who fell in love with a dominant boy…. And then they lived happily till it was their time. There’s a quote from Wes’ that I like to share from the book that is so spot on about what is about. To as the author says he done for himself and his own life too, the important question isn’t why (and trust me I am a very why asking person), the important question is, Are you happy? Or possibly, What makes you happy?
“Thomas had taught me there was nothing about either—sadism or masochism—which made either of us better or superior to the other. We were what we were; I was simply Wes and he was simply Grif.” From Wes’ Denial by Joseph Lance Tonlet
Joseph Lance Tonlet didn’t only give us an amazing and hard story telling us about Wes but he also gave us the most magnificent ending (and don’t think I don’t see the raised eyebrows because I do). But even though as I sit there and realize what is going on, there on the last pages and wanted nothing else but to yell at the author for being so damn cruel, I can’t picture another ending for Grif and Wes, because this end is the ultimate proof of how much Wes and Grif really loved each other and how deep that love truly goes. That nothing about them or their life together was driven by anything else but respect and love that they felt for each other’s. So, Mr. Benson move over the throne now belongs to Mr. De Luca!
I love books, I love to read, I love the written word and I love to read in a lot of different genres. I read everything from classics of Kafka, Brontë, Austen, Shakespeare, to horror or crime such as John Grisham and Dean R. Koontz and so on and so forth to contemporary romance novels. There’s not much I don’t read, or many genres I can’t find authors to love.
However, there's one thing I’ve noticed with the LGBTQ community of authors, including myself, is that very few just write books. Books for the masses books about people who just happen to be something other the standard straight, white, christian. This thing we call sexual orientation is very important in the quest of not having it be so important. Mind you now I’m not saying this is always a bad thing, talking about matters will defuse them and eventually whatever made a hype out of one thing will be gone and commonly accepted, I’m just claiming it is how many people in MY oppinion write . Nothing wrong with it it’s just how it is.
With Debbie McGowan’s books, sex and sexual orientation is something distant, it’s not this huge statement or discussion, sex is something everyone has so it's like "knock yourself dead" and sexual orientation, it’s who you are no matter what that is so what's there to discuss. I am not saying it isn’t important factor in McGowan books but she has a way of wording things that makes them so acceptable that you just sort of nod and goes along with whatever she says. It's all the norm.
In the Wag and the Scoundrel Debbie McGowen’s characters are diverse but yet familiar that it doesn’t matter what their sexual orientation is or gender or color of their skin or political views they could all be you in one way or another. Gray, the widower, Rob the soon to be divorced, Will, the animal rights activist and ex banker gone surfer, Aaron and Naomi are so freaking brilliantly done I might actually have whooped a little; but they are all regular dudes and dudettes with very much of the same type of problems. Debbie McGowan is one of a small group of authors I'm currently reading that truly know how to make, all those things we all want to be non issues, into just that a non issue. That is a gift in itself.
When it comes to The Wag and the Scoundrel it’s a suspense and crime story, and I love those kind of stories, I prefer them when reading in a way, or rather I prefer stories that are about more boy meets boy or girl, I like stories about real life. Just like John Grisham, McGowan, focuses the drama on the actual case of “who’s done it” instead of the act of violence of seeing the crime being committed. That doesn’t just cause the story to become more of a suspense story because she as a writer can focus on more calm details in the investigation instead of the hard quick actions in the crime moment.
What I like most about this particular book are two things, one, the flow between keeping the pace of the actual case of investigating the murder going, so it doesn’t stagnate and sort of just flimsy out around in the course of getting people together as couples or sorting their personal lives out. The story is the crime committed that involves a lot of people whose life are intertwined. That is the second thing I love about this book, all the different characters that we get to follow and their personal lives as a side story to the crime investigation. It is a nice side step from the crime story, to say it lightens it up maybe a bit over exaggerated because damn these people got issues the size of a small European country, I am not jealous but we get to follow them on their personal journeys as well and I liked that a lot. I can tell you this I usually don’t spend too much time dwelling on who will end up with who, because let’s face it most romances are pretty easy to figure that one out, but since this isn’t a romance and that was pretty clear from get go I was muttering quite a lot and was ready to kick ass if Gray didn’t get his head out of his arse.
In all, Debbie McGowan write books for the masses, they are not simply LGBTQ books, well they are but I hate labels, books are books, and if I want a crime I look there and there’s where this book fits in. The Wag and the Scoundrel will have you turning that page after page till you come to the last one, because you just want to know who one done it and what the heck happens to everyone and I’ll tell you Debbie is goooood at keeping you on your toes! Finally what I have to say is move over John Grisham there’s a new crime author in town!
You can find Debbie at:
Beaten Track Publishing
Crashing into Love by Gregory Jonathan Scott is a romantic comedy in the literary sense of the word. This is the kind of book you can read over and over again because the witty humor and the snarky sarcasm and banter between Sean and Kale is spot on.
The first time I read this book was back in January 2015, and since then I’ve read it two or three more times because it is a “feel good” book. The first thing that I thought about when starting to read it back then was how it reminded me of a movie that came out some odd 18 years ago with Harrison Ford and Anne Heche, a romantic comedy at its best, with a very snarky, sarcastic and energetic Anne Heche and an equally snarky, sarcastic and eye-rolling Harrison Ford, who is in a storm and yes crash lands on an island where shit goes south and then even more south when they stumble on something that they shouldn’t, pirates. Movies like this is the only romance kind of movie I like, because the banter is if done well and with to characters and actors that are well planned out and with chemistry, they kick ass. After watching it you feel energized, happy and yeah, you can do anything, the sky's the limit.
This is exactly the feeling you get when reading Gregory Jonathan Scott’s, Crashing into Love, you feel happy, empowered and ready to kick ass! Sean, oh dear Sean, he’s so wound up he’s like a fence wire ready to snap at any minute and damn those thorns can scratch up up bad if you’re not careful. You sort of have to know when to pull and push him, just like that wire, but also know when to back off and let it, him, move as it please for a bit and then get back at it. Kale, chuckles, doesn’t have a serious bone in his body and also he got a mouth on him that isn’t always connected to his brain, meaning he tends to say things before his brain has caught up and at times pushes people, in this case Sean over the deep end. The back and forth is fun, quick and easy and keeps you in a constant happy place. I adore Sean to the point of no return because he’s so damn difficult, by choice! *winks*
Now, the biggest misconception about good romantic comedies, no matter if they are movies (which even I’d agree is a tad bit easier because you have the visual aids helping you out, in books the author is the storyteller and is required to write in such a way that the reader creates his or her own visual aids and that my friends is much harder). Anyway, the biggest misconception about this genre (when done well) is that people assume it’s easy, that it requires little to no research, that it is predictable to the point of boring, that anyone with half a brain can whip one out on a lunch break, when in reality (at least from one point of view) it is one of the hardest genres to write in. Firstly, because of the fact that it is so looked down upon, almost mocked, so at the starting out point to you’re starting on minus, you have to prove yourself as an author. Secondly, you actually have to have a sense of humor (that not only you laugh at) to be able to do this and trust me far from everyone know’s how to write with the right kind of humor. The right kind of humor being a mix of Monty Python meets Mr. Bean and invites Benny Hill to party (to translate that we need sarcasm, subtle/clueless and sexy to the point of sexist humor). Gregory Jonathan Scott proves has all three of these, the sarcastic humor I’d say is spot on.
Both Sean and Kale are characters you like from the minute you meet them, they are like night and day but yet the same, when Sean pulls Kale comes snapping like one of those old key change wires, when Sean runs Kale goes running after, it’s heat meeting passion, it’s the cherry on any good Sundae, it’s fun and light, it’s Harrison Ford and Anne Heche in “Six days, Seven nights” and it’s fabulous! I laugh a lot reading this book, each and every time I read it.
Crashing into Love is a story about love, most definitely so, it’s about overcoming obstacles, about friendship but mostly Crashing into Love is about Murphy’s law, that if shit can go wrong it will and if you can keep a good sense of humor about it you’ll be so much better off. It’s a book that serves the great purpose of entertaining you with witty sarcastic dialogue, and trust me it will make you laugh it will make you snort coffee up your nose (or whatever drink you might be indulging in while reading) when Kale time and time again with his sarcastic straight forward humor makes Sean flip yet another gasket. This is the book to bring with you to the beach, it’s the book to read out loud with others it is the book to pick up when life has dealt you lemons. Your spirit will be lifted I guarantee you!
You can find Gregory Jonathan Scott at the following sites:
Grif’s Toy by Joseph Lance Tonlet, oh boy, this will be one of the strangest, longest and most likely one of the most philosophical book reviews I’ve ever written, be prepared.
If you research about what people fear the most, one of the most common things people fear in this world is death. The reasons why can differ immensely depending on who you ask but generally they fear leaving their loved ones, which is a legit fear, I don’t doubt but I don’t have it, (I know appalling) how I don’t fear death. If I die I won’t be here, I’ll be dead nothing to fear when there’s nothing to feel. I don’t control dying, all I know is that one day my day will come and that will be it. Death is a part of life, it happens and we all know it, so why try to control something that isn’t in my power to control.
What I do fear is living, living a life that isn’t quite what I expected, and knowing that while I walk around living this “bland” life, (it really isn’t as bad as I make it sound, but I’m trying to make a point), I'm not fulfilling my dreams because we are not here to fulfill our dreams we are here to be good girls and boys and do what is expected. (And no, I didn’t have overly harsh parent, on the contrary, my parents, especially, my mother encouraged me to go out there and experience life. The cliche: If I known what I know now about myself back when I was 20 a lot of things would have been different.) Reading books such as Grif’s Toy, and even learning a thing or two about the author himself, makes those bells of unfulfilled dreams rings mighty high right about now, but also make you understand, well at least makes me get why people come to the point and say screw the world I'm going to live my life for me no matter what other people think because I need to be happy. That's what Grif's Toy is about, being happy and doing everything you can to live a rich fulfilled life. So, while the rest of us (again not everyone of course) putter around and only do what is expected of us, there are those who go after their dreams and live them.
When I started reading Grif’s Toy, I’d read the blurb, seen some reviews and I believe I had a fair idea of what I was getting myself into. Well, boy was I wrong, about halfway through, at what I call the piercing part I was ready to chuck my kindle into the wall, even though, up to that point I’d really liked the book even if there were elements in it that I couldn’t grasp and fully understand.
First of all, Joseph has created main characters such as Weston Wes De Luca, Tate Diaz, and lets not forget about Marcus Grif Griffin that are real, and as for Grif he is accomplished, smart and has great confidence about his person and know very well what he wants and needs (even if I didn’t see it at first), he’s no victim or a person with a rotten self-esteem, not at all. He’s the ultimate force and drive in this story and a positive one of those. Even secondary characters, such as Matthew Smithton and Pavel Alexander are not just some filler roles, they are fleshed out and bring their own set of quirks, stories and facts to the book to why they are there, without them the story wouldn’t have been complete.
Secondly, Joseph is a damn good storyteller, he has a way with words that just magically pull you in and then bam the world as you know it is translated into the world he has created. I know for a fact, that I told my kids at one point to hush it because I was reading and I usually don't do that. Also, this story is told in a way that it sort of brings you from the past into the present and that is a tricky thing to do so it turns out well. I is important that you tell enough to get the reader to keep going and also understand what happens, when and with who, so when the end comes it makes sense. There was no issues with that here, Joseph rounded it off at then end really well and there weren't any loose ends left dangling, and the the light-bulb went on and I was home so to speak.
So, there I was ready to chuck my kindle in the wall and it took me forever to get through that chapter because I could only read a couple pages and then I had to let it rest for a bit and then go back to it. I didn’t understand, and I always have to understand where a person come from, it is a driving need in me, to understand why and to understand where people come from. It has nothing to do with me, that I have to want or need the same things, it has to do with understanding others and knowing that ultimately they are happy, ok, getting what they need, no matter what that is, maybe that I’m not turning my back to someone who needs my help, whatever. And usually, mind you now when I read BDSM books even if they are good books they always leave one thing unclear, or where I go “OK, I see what you are saying and I’m sure he/she’s happy but…” there’s always a but, a but containing that the submissive is portrayed as the person who has to be convinced by the more dominant part of what they need, like a child that needs a parent to explain why they need to brush their teeth. There’s always that aspect of hint of “parent, child” behavior (for the lack of a better comparison) and that drives me absolutely bonkers. I don't claim to be an expert on anything, especially not BDSM, but you don't convince someone to "do" BDSM you agree to do it together because you both want to and then discuss the do's and don't's.
This isn’t the case with Grif’s Toy, yes, I will admit you do have to read the whole story, from first word to last word to get the full feel of this, to understand it all and see this, but Grif is in no way shape or form not in control, or unsure of what he wants, needs or elsewhere confused. As a young man, he’s like any other young person, not fully fleshed out and 100 % secured in himself, but who is at that point, but as the book grows so does Grif and he’s kick ass. No doubt about it and here is the icing on the cake, Wes, he is not perfect! I’ve only read books by one other author that manages to do this, Wes, who’s the dominant part (if that is really how you can describe him because Joseph Lance Tonlet all through the book have Wes/Grif and Tate/Grif as equals and never strays from it) has insecurities of his own and this is also shown in a very soft and gentle way. I would even go so far to say that Weston doesn’t find his full confidence until he meets Grif, meeting Grif is what makes Wes blossom and fully believe he’s not “the freak” (to use Grif words) he think he is but that there’s a yin to his yang out there and more importantly, Grif is his yin.
Grif’s Toy, has given me a lot to reflection on, and that the best part about reading certain types of stories, even if I agree with the author that fiction is to be read as fiction, I still think a good book of fiction has so much truth in it that a good fiction book can help change lives. Grif’s Toy is such a story, it's about self discovery, about accepting yourself for who you are and in that acceptance maybe even learn to love yourself because of those “flaws”. That no matter what we all have our faults, our limits, but more so what may first come off as the most horrendous, unfair and dreadful thing in the world might be the one thing that later on takes you on the most valuable journey you could ever have taken, and without that one “flaw” you would have missed out on the one thing that helped changed your life, for the better.
You can find Joseph Lance Tonlet on the following:
Joseph Lance Tonlet's website
Dragon’s Bounty is the first book of a new historical and fantasy series called Dracula’s Love by S. Joy P.
Since I finished this book, actually since I started this book and actually had to close the book up to see if I had the right one, I have pondered what the hell my feelings are towards it and let me tell you right here and now, it is a hate love relationship.
This is not a book you grab as you walk out the door for a day on the beach. It will take your full attention, both in a good and bad way because it is quite difficult to get into but when you have it is like a dark sky that explodes into a blue ocean with the sun standing high.
It is a book with so much colorful description that there comes a point when I had to stop reading and start turning pages to see "hello when do I get some people on people interaction because I'm going nuts here". It is a book that when you finished it no matter if you like it or not you just know you will read, however, many other books this series will hold, each and everyone of them because you will have to know what more battles will Vlad and his men Iancon, Marin, Lion and let’s not forget the God of Love who has descended to earth to be close to the mortal man he loves like Romeo loved Juliet, Love the Englishman.
Why don’t we start with Love since the book starts with him, and honestly the man drove me absolutely bonkers, especially, in the beginning with his obsessiveness over this Vlad man that we had no freaking idea who or what he was. But Love is the reason the first 30% of the book is worth reading without him and talking to his companion Motudd. He is a man with devotion, loyalty, and passion in spades. He is a man to look up too because he doesn’t change his mind as things becomes difficult to avoid the hardships, and this is something even Vlad Dracula, the Warrior Prince, realizes is a value any leader can ask for. Love, as I said, drove me bonkers in the beginning, at that point being nothing but a slave working the mines and fields for Vlad. He was for the lack of a better word acting like a love sick puppy, a poor, dirty, lice "walked away" with his hair filthy and starving puppy, and still all he could do was to pine after Vlad Dracula.
After the magic 30% point, where the massive discription somehow ended, the more I read the better Dragon’s Bounty became. S. Joy has not only created a world but characters, that mind you now are all pretty vicious and plain evil (including dearest Love and the things he does throughout the book in the name of love is all of it far from fair) but that you will like spite their cruelty. One one page you will cringe, wrinkle your nose and go eww only to on the next page after the bloody battles are done and the same men sit around a fire or table eating showing their comradery for each other, you will go awe ain’t that nice, and smile feeling relieved that there’s some humanity left in these men after all.
The relationship between Vlad and Love, is slow burning, and with slow burning I mean slow like imagine the slowest burning love story you ever read and then quadruple it by ten and you have the slow burning passion and friendship between these two very different yet, similar men. It needs to be slow burning, if S. Joy had made it happen in any other way than she has then Love’s obsession would have become a stalkerish insane kind, that would have needed the men with white lab coats to come get him. Instead Love’s passionate and deep burning love for the dark Warrior Prince becomes this grand epic story of unconditional love that makes you want to be Love and how it changes or rather shows a different side of Vlad or as he’s also called Dragwlya.
The side characters to this story mostly other men and warriors of Prince Vlad’s army and closes guard, Iancon, Marin, Lion and later on Adam are spot on, I love these men all for being their own set of men with their own voice and yet they behave accordingly to the rules that S. Joy has set up for them. They enhance the story and strong emotional bond that all these men share with each other, and gives you behind the battle scene moments that makes you feel compassion for them. The one scene that sticks in my mind the one scene that is the most prominent of the story with so much heart that it not only made me cry but made me want to scream just like Love did was the end scene with Adam. It broke me in a way that I wasn’t prepared for.
In conclusion, I would have loved to have given this story a five-star review, I really would but I can’t because the very long, and overly descriptiveness at some parts killed made it hard for me to focus, there were too many times when I caught myself thinking about other things and where I had no idea what I read for the past couple pages so I had to go back and re-read. But it is well worth the read because the story that is told between is a wonderful story of the power of camaraderie, loyalty, and love, in the interaction between a handful of well thought out characters that you learn to mostly love!
You can find S. Joy P. at the following social medias:
Enrapture by Pierce Smith is an erotic novella taking place at Halloween night.
The book starts out with a very upset Noah, who is horny and frustrated that his boyfriend, Ethan, who he happened to have met exactly one year ago that very night, is running late for their date. Being hyper, horny and quite bored to be honest he tries to occupy himself with flirting with the guy running the shop from across the street and after some time Ethan finally calls and things are on between the two boyfriends and the guy across the street.
I don’t want to ruin the story by telling too much but the plot of the book is fairly straight forward, it consists of what erotic novels consist of mostly, namely sex in different aspects pleasing yourself while others are watching, listening or why not doing all of it in front of large windows where everyone and anyone can see. Enrapture, is if you like real erotic books, is full of lust filled sex, but also a good portion of humor.
Noah and Ethan are both likable characters, even if what we really know about them as people isn’t that much. And because of that I find them both to be slightly immature at times. It would have help the depth of the story and the understanding of the characters if we had gotten to know them some on a more personal level, this is the problem I have often with short stories or in this case novellas. Then there is the fact that Noah giggles a lot, it drove me a tad bit bonkers because you all know how much I like adults giggling, but I ignored that fact because well let's face it some people giggle and I just need to get over it, and kept reading.
Pierce Smith, writes really well, the dialog is engaging, it feels genuine and as if it is a true conversation that could take place. Noah’s and Ethan’s chemistry it real and hot and at the same time sweet. Spite the third party, it is obvious that they are more to each other than just a fuck buddies and that they care deeply for each other even though the language and tone at times would seem to convey the very opposite. But instead it makes it sort of playful between them. To this point I’d say Enrapture was pretty much like many other erotic novels and even though well written, from my point of view, there wasn’t really anything that made it stand out buuuut...then came the ending.
So, what makes this story different and not just another erotic novel with two or more people screwing each other’s brains out, the ending. The ending chapter is brilliant and shocking! It makes you go “what the hell!” and go back several pages just to read it again so you can make sure that you read it right and didn’t miss something. What would have made this story top notch is if that "it" factor had been displayed way earlier and built up. Then it would have been killer! I give it a 4 star rating.
You can find Pierce on the following social media:
When Skies Have Fallen by Debbie McGowan was my first book by this author and it won’t be my last one that is for sure. When picking up this book I was very curious about, one because it been so highly recommended but also because I met Debbie before reading any of her books and because I had done so it is always fun to see if you can find some of the persons essences in their writing.
When Skies Have Fallen takes place during end of the WWII, where men were men and women were women, or at least where a small part of society decided what a man and a woman were, a world where being gay was considered to be a crime and you could actually be put in jail for taking part in so-called homosexual acts.
I’ve been sitting here for hours trying to find the right words to describe this book because to make it fair it is not a love story, it is not without it but the moral of the story isn’t will there be love, the moral of the story is how far will you go to be free to love your partner so the world knows. To not live a life in fear and all that, how long will you go to make sure someone else will have those rights too and will you give up trying if fighting for that right will kill you?
This story made me think of something I often ponder in regards to romance stories, as they are so aptly called, we make fun of it about being romance authors, some even feel shame in saying they write romance(ish) stories as if saying so is admitting to picking your nose or worse. To me, it is so funny that we put so much shame into something that is something that we all (including me even if I am about as romantic as a dirty gym sock) is to be loved. OK, it doesn’t mean having to be IN love but to be loved and accepted for who we are, no matter who that is (unless it is the chainsaw slayer, Luca’s dad or someone equally horrible). But the idea of love is somehow what keeps us all going and moving forward.
This book is full of love, in love, deep friendship love, sibling love, love for thy country, love for thy neighbor and so on and so forth. This story is the beacon of love and hope, that we all live in a world that we all have the possibility to help change to the better for ourselves as well as thy neighbor. That there are people out there willing to fight battles that might not be their own but are willing to bend over backwards and then some because in doing so they help someone else be free, free to love the person that is the world to them in When Skies Have Fallen this is Jean and Charlie, better and truer friends than them you have to look for and they are someone how just as important for this story as the two lead men, Jim, and Arty, if that is what you want to call them. Because even though the battle of the story is theirs there wouldn’t have been the strength and hope or even possible for them to go through what they did and come out as well as they did on the other end without their friends fighting right there, side by side with them.
So, if you want to read a story out there that is a hope bringer and a wake-up call giving you a glimpse on how far we come, but how we do not want to become again and therefore have to keep fighting all these battles of hate no matter what they are for, then you have to read When Skies Have Fallen. Thank you Debbie for this amazing story of love and hope!
You can find and connect with Debbie at the following social medias:
Jonathan’s Promise by Hans Hirschi is a solid proof of what makes him into the excellent author that he is today. Hans is known as the Queen of unconventional endings, and boy is that God’s honest truth!
It’s always with an emotion of delight filled terror that one embarks on a book journey with the Hirschi. With most other books, if it’s a good book like Jonathan’s Promise, that captures your attention on page two and holds you there, you usually can’t wait to get to the end. You get the same experience with Jonathan’s Promise but at the same time the closer you get to the end the more nervous you get, because you never know with Hans what way the pendulum will swing.
I love those kind of endings, no I love those kind of books, some of the best books I’ve read in my life have been bittersweet, and I think Hans does too. I recently gifted Hans with a book that is very bittersweet, and that is one of the best books I’ve ever read, Memorizing You by Dan Skinner. When Hans was done reading it his first message to me was, It’s official I hate you!
When someone you know, who actually doesn’t hate you, says that to you it is easy to know that you, or in this case the book, has gotten them good! This is exactly what, the Jonathan books and Jonathan’s Promise did to me. (Payback is a bitch, Hans! Payback. Is. A. Bitch!)
Jonathan’s Promise has a way of etching itself to your heart bit by bit, slow burning at first, and then right when you are at the ultimate high, soaring and flying sky high, something happens that shifts your world upside down. Hans can have you crying and laughing at the same time, also, you sit there at the end with your heart and insides in your hands and are happy about it because you know there was nowhere else for this book to go than where he took it. It would have been a crime to have done it any other way.
Hans is a mastermind at creating characters that instantly feel like people who you’ve known for all your life. I can honestly say that I often sit back after reading his books and wish I could write half as well as he does. It looks so effortless, and I know it isn’t, and I don’t begrudge him any of his success in any shape, way or form because it has all taken a lot of hard work to achieved and is so well earned. But it makes you wonder how his mind works when his plot bunnies appear. What goes on in his head? How do the characters talk to him? I can sorta see him pondering along, talking to himself.
Jonathan’s Promise is foremost about four people, Cody, Parker, Jonathan and Marc all of them have an equally important part of make this story into what it is. There are several side characters that not only are important for this tale but also bring a lot of value to the story too. as First, there is the Captain of the cruise line ship on which Parker, Cody, and Jonathan embark on their journey together. He stands for, what someone who knows Hans, called ‘Swedishness’ (Debbie McGowan’s word not mine but I love it and just had to borrow it) and Swedish (or in this case Norwegian) values of treating people equal, that rules are meant to be broken even though in the end, he can’t grant the wish/favor Jonathan ask of him because of headquarters’ rules. There is also a female Mayor (even if that is more European than typical Scandinavian) and the fact that she’s a woman isn’t just a random act or the scandalous wedding that takes place between Jonathan and Emilie, where the couple decides to take her last name and not his, God forbid!
All these things are there for a purpose, they might seem as small and trivial things but they are important details, and as Hans himself says, they have all been put there very consciously and with great reason. I think some of those things are to push boundaries, to make us think about how our own part of the world looks like, what we still have to achieve and also Hans own political ideas of what a “perfect or imperfect” world looks like.
Jonathan’s Promise is of just that, keeping promises and to never ever give up. To fight for what you want and what you believe in, spite everything else, even spite of or maybe because of your past. To realize who do your life your life for, others or yourself? And does other’s, inform of family and good friends, have the right to interfere with your happiness?
Lastly, I don’t think Hans realizes how talented he is, the quality of well thought out stories he provides in his books but also how amazingly they reflect reality and therefore means so much more to the literature world than the average LGBT book.
Not that the overall LGBT books aren’t important too but that there are those authors, such as Dan Skinner and Hans Hirschi, that will help put LGBT books up there with other classics written by other amazing talented men and women such as Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronë did for women in the 17th and 18th century, Harriet Beecher Stow did with her Uncle Tom’s Cabin to show the truth and reality for slaves in the United States during the 18th century.
As a woman that’s what I’ve always missed in hetero books, women I can relate too, unless you count Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë which is funny since their books are hundred of years old and women in books today pale in comparison to those back then. Besides those kind of women, I feel more connected to Jonathan and feel as if I have more in common with him than many female characters I have encountered in my life by reading books. This proves not only that Hans characters are diverse but what sexuality a person has really isn’t that important, who they chose to love or simply screw has nothing to do with what their person brings to the table.
So, Hans I hate you too, because I am still bleeding all over this one, my heart still prickles in pain as I write this but at the same time I have to thank you for sharing this amazing series with us and I can’t wait for Jonathan’s Legacy to be out so I can be kicked in the gut again!
The Terms of Release by B.a. Tortuga is the first book I read by this author and it won’t be my last. After reading this book about Sage and Win or Adam that is his real name, I wonder why the hell I waited this long.
I love these kind of books, I’m a sucker for a romance as much as the next gal, but I have to be really touched by the story, and there has to be something extra there, something out of the ordinary for me to remember it when I’m done or it will just be one in the masses of all classic romances. This is why I for example gave up on classic romances F/M long ago because women in these books pisses me off no end. I couldn’t, or can’t, relate because women in romance book seldom to never react the way I would but are whiny ass bitches just sitting around waiting for some damn knight, well not me. I’m no damn damsel in distress I’m a “big” girl I can take care of myself, they, women in books never can. Sage, the hero in this amazing story by B.a. Tortuga, is a guy but his dealing with his past which comes after him, he deals with just as I can see myself dealing with it, if I were to be in the same situation. He doesn’t take any of their easy baits, instead he walks away when he can, but he doesn’t let them treat him like shit either and he defends himself when necessary.
So Sage, he’s a big boy, not in terms of huge physique, no on the contrary Sage is not huge in anyway, but he takes care of himself. Going into jail at the age of 18 he was the small, pretty white boy and he got the choice of having his knees broken or loose his teeth. He chose knees. After that he saved himself by being a big guys bitch for 10 years, and with all what that entailed. Choosing between getting killed and being someone’s bitch, for him the choice might not have been easy but the only one he had.
Have you all seen Jerry McGuire, well if you have then you know the famous line “You had me at hello.” Well that works just fine here for me when it comes to Sage, he’s gentle but no pushover, he’s caring but no doormat, he loves and he loves hard, he knew he did wrong and did his time and paid for it more than just being locked up. He also got blamed for something that wasn’t just his fault and keeps paying for it when he gets out. Going back to Texas as an ex-con isn’t easy but going back an ex-con and gay would be like asking to get you ass kicked and then some, but still when Sage’s parents needed him he saddled up and went home.
B.a Tortuga manages the fine balance of making Sage into a “real” ex-con without using the “he went in innocent and hadn’t really done it” and still make Sage very empathetic and make it easy to like him still. With other words, she shows that well that sometimes good people do not so very good things or vice versa some people appear to be good like Sage’s ex boyfriend’s family. Angel was the reason Sage went to jail because he died when they were 18 and a meth lab exploded. Angels family, uncles and brothers, and especially his father hates Sage for corrupting him. Does it surprise anyone that all of them are in law enforcement and all give Sage hell and then some when he returns home to help out on his father’s horse ranch. No, I didn’t think so.
Now over to Win. Win is a cop too, and part of Angel’s extended family he is actually his cousin, but unlike the rest of his family Win/Adam believes that people can change and deserves a second chance, but he is pretty alone in that view, well except for his mother who’s rocks solid and totally on his side. He refuses to treat Sage anything less than the man he is, a man who was young, caught on meth and made a bad choice but wasn’t really to blame more than anyone. Win is set to go his own way and refuses to be intimidated by Angel’s relatives, his own uncles and soon becomes Sage’s friend and together they start a friendship that soon blossoms into something more. He’s the one who always has Sage’s back even when all hell breaks loose.
The Terms of Release is yes very much a love story but it isn’t without a meaning deeper and more profound than boy-meets-boy and falls in love it is about standing up about what is right, it is about family and being strong together and about never turning your back against them not even when all hell breaks lose. It is about friendship and having the courage to fight for what you believe in.
This is a solid read, a great romance with hmph, very well done B.a. Tortuga!
You can find B.a. Tortuga on the following social medias:
This is the third book I read by Alp Mortal, it is the third book and the more I read by Alp the more I’m starting to love his style. He doesn’t just have one. I’ve read Brave, listened to New World (and damn it Stuart Campbell who narrates that book the voice, SPOT ON!) and now the Last Jötunn.
I’ve been looking for words or ways to describe Alp’s way of writing and it the best thing I can describe it, that it feels as if you are being spoken too. The words flow, the characters reactions, thoughts and actions are so clear and clean, for the lack of a better word that it’s like they’ve grabbed you by the hand and is saying: “Come let me tell you a story.
Alp mortal writes fairly complicated stories with what I so far say is a lot of different twists and turns which from my knowledge and experience demands quite a lot of research and common knowledge about a lot of different things. The thing about it though when you read his books you will be stunned by the accuracy and lack of inconsistency his books has.
In this particular case, being a Scandinavian myself, and pretty familiar with Norse Mythology (even though I unlike Alp hasn’t read the poetic Edda) am after reading this fairly short but well written book stunned by his fantastic imagination. It takes skills and true interest to be able to put that magical it/myth into a story that merely or fully exist in the world as we know it and it fitting like a glove, and without having parts that doesn’t make sense. Everything about the Last Jötunn makes sense nothing of the magic and “it” factor that appears seems the slightest bit odd.
The Last Jötunn, is about a man named Jack, a single gay man in his 50’s, who is currently visiting his friends who lives up in the mountains. They have gone away to Hawaii to get married and Jack is there to take care of their place and their dog while they marry and honeymoon.
Jack is at crossroads in his life, he’s just sold his company and is currently pondering, what to do with the rest of his life, to find someone to share it with and if that is worth it and how one goes about finding that special someone. Jack isn’t grumpy but he’s fairly humorous in moments of high frustration, like when he’s out in the deep snow in slippers and with a torch looking for the dog whose refusing to come back inside for some reason.
In the middle of being acquainted with Jack, both Jack and the dog he is taking care of are confronted or at least partly confronted with what Jack thinks is a huge boar and for the longest time we are kept at suspense on what or who it is Jack have seen and what takes place when Jack finds out wasn’t at all what I had expected to happened, it was way better!
I hope that Alp continues to be inspired by the Poetic Edda and Jack and his friends fate and that there will be a continuance to this story, because I for one would love to find out what happens next.
You can find Alp Mortal on the following social medias:
Carter Seagrove Project LLC
Dreamer, Writer, Reader and Metal Head.