Friday, 31 October 2014

THE HAUNTED MAZE a true Halloween Horror Story

I’ve reached the stage in my life where few things manage to upset me. There are exceptions to that rule though. It still gets to me when I expect a book to be available at a certain date and time, only for it to be delayed for whatever reason.

I was really looking forward to Theo Fenraven’s The Haunted Maze. In fact, I had been counting the days until its release on Halloween. Have a look at the cover and blurb and you’ll understand why.


Still in his twenties, Percy Callendar is one of the richest men in the world. In an attempt to find the future love of his life—and because he likes to have fun—he builds the ultimate haunted house and assembles a select group of men to go through it.

Sage Donovan, owner of a fledgling IT company, is the seventh applicant to receive an invitation. He figures completing the maze—something no one has done yet—will guarantee fame and maybe fortune, and he immediately accepts despite having a little problem with anxiety.

Witches, spiders, ghosts and ghouls are the least Sage has to deal with, because before the night is over, he will face his deepest fear, changing his life and Percy’s forever.

As it is, Amazon has decided today is the day to fuck up. I’ve been stalking their website since I got up about thirteen hours ago and have been getting more frustrated with each passing hour.

Of course, if this is frustrating for me, imagine what it must be like for the author. He must be tearing his hair out by this stage. You perfectly time your ‘haunted’ story to be released on Halloween only for Amazon to ruin all your carefully laid plans.

I’ll continue my vigil of Amazon and will be one-clicking The Haunted Maze as soon as it appears. After all, a good story is a good story whatever day it's released on. And, unless Amazon makes an even bigger balls up of this, my review of The Haunted Maze should be up on Sunday. Still, somebody ought to tell Amazon exactly how badly they messed this one up.

Monday, 27 October 2014

THE SOLDIER by Kate Aaron, Release Day Review

THE SOLDIER by Kate Aaron
Pages: 170
Date: 27/10/2014
Grade: 5+
Details: no. 2 Free Men
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“Three months. That’s all it took for Kai to forsake freedom and learn to love his new life as pleasureslave to a wealthy Thirskan Underlord.

Finding himself surrounded by his own people once more, Kai should have been happy: relieved to be rescued from slavery, and out of the clutches of a man who was the sworn enemy of his people. Yet his people are not how he remembers them. Distrustful of Kai, and disgusted by his relationship with not one man but two, they make it abundantly clear he no longer fits in.

Beaten, starved, and tortured, when the chance comes to escape, Kai is barely strong enough to make the journey. Even if he succeeds, how could anybody ever love the thing he’s become in order to survive?”

My thoughts:

In my review of “The Slave I tried to be objective and talk about the story and all the subjects it addresses without getting to gushy about it. I can’t do that again. Every review bone in my body is screaming at me to quote from and gush about this book, and so I will.

This is Kai’s story. We got to know him through Tam’s eyes in “The Slave”. In “The Soldier” we hear what happens after Tam, Master and Kai were attacked at the end of the first book, leaving both characters and readers on a knife’s edge.

This book takes us into the heart and mind of the soldier who lost the man he loved before being captured and sold as a slave. The sentiments with which he remembers those moments in the desert stole my breath.

“I wished it [the sand] would swallow me, wished I could disappear completely beneath the surface and sleep the eternal dreamless sleep.”

And that was just the first of many times Kai’s pain tore at me. Be prepared to have your heart broken as you watch him suffer. I almost wanted to curse Kate Aaron’s descriptive powers as I could almost smell his scorched skin, as his pain became so vivid I could almost feel it.

“I was my agony.”

Kai is a beautiful soul. His first concerns are always for the two men he’s grown to love during the three months of his enslavement. Being back among his own people doesn’t change that loyalty and neither does the torture he has to endure. His fears for their safety are bigger than concerns about his own life. Kai’s biggest fear is that the damage done by the torture he endures at the hands of his own people might turn both Master and Tam away from him in disgust.

“Yet, despite everything, I couldn’t find it within me to wish I’d never been his slave.”

With ‘The Slave’, Kate Aaron gave us a relatively pain and angst free story with a massive cliff-hanger at the end. The Soldier is anything but pain and angst free. Physical as well as emotional pain is visited upon all three men. Poor Kai is lost. While Tam and Master at least have the certainty of having been captured by enemies, Kai is left with what feels to him like nothing. The people who captured him are his own but don’t want him anymore. Tam and Master feel closer to his heart than any of those who hold them prisoner, but is he still with them now that the situation has changed?

“We could never go back to the way life was before, but as long as Master and Tam would have me, I was theirs.”

I did mention Master was an enigma in my review of ‘The Slave’, didn’t I? Well, an enigma he remains. More suggestions are made and a few veils are lifted, but the story seems to present more new questions than it answers old ones. Who the Master is and what his motives are remains something of a mystery. One which I guess won’t be solved until the final book.

Like I said, your heart will break, time and again and not just because of the ordeals Kai has to face and the feelings he is struggling with. Tam is suffering at least as much.

“I can’t do this again, Kai. I can’t. When they attacked, when I thought Master was dead and I was going to have to watch them murder you too, I couldn’t bear it. I wanted it to be over. When you hit me, before I passed out, do you know what my last thought was? (...) I thought you’d killed me, and my last thought was ‘thank you.’ – Tam

Kate Aaron’s language is beautiful whether she uses it to describe her men, the ordeals they face or Kai’s inner thoughts:

“Overhead, the rings glowed cold and white, indifferent to the toils of one small man lost and alone in the middle of the vast and unending desert.”

Oh Kai, how you broke my heart.

“I cried for what I could not have because if I allowed myself to cry for all the things I had lost, I feared I would never stop.”

And this, o my God, all the feels:

“Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear, because I want to believe you so badly, and if you’re wrong, it will only hurt me more.”

Just in case you’re starting to worry this book is all violence, pain and heartbreak, let me reassure you. There are moments of astounding tenderness, life confirming selflessness and pure beauty a plenty.

“We were more than possessions, more than dumb animals of inanimate things. We were men; we got to choose who owned us. In that moment we both chose him.”

I fell in love with Tam when I read his book. Now that I’ve read Kai’s story I feel like a bit of a traitor. I still adore Tam but my heart firmly belongs to Kai. The precarious balance between his strength when it comes to physical challenges and his fragility when dealing with matters of the heart touched me on a very deep level.

Four weeks from today the final part in this trilogy will be released. I will be marking of the days between now and November 24th. The world Kate Aaron has created has sucked me in. Her characters have lodged themselves in my heart. And her words, her beautiful words, have made me a fan for life. 

THE SLAVE by Kate Aaron: Release Day Review

THE SLAVE by Kate Aaron
Pages: 180
Date: 18/10/2014
Grade: 5
Details: no. 1 Free Men
            ARC received from author

The Blurb:

“At twenty-seven, Tamelik has been a slave more than half his life, having witnessed his family being murdered in front of him when he was just a child. Naturally submissive, although with a petulant streak, he can’t help but fall in love with the master who treats him kindly.

Tam's dreams come true when his mistress walks out, leaving her husband behind. For six glorious months, he and his master get to be together. Then Tam is ordered to purchase another slave.

He wants to hate Kai for being unruly and ungrateful. For being of the same race as the men who murdered his family. For being his eventual replacement in their master’s bed. But it’s hard to hate a man who cries himself to sleep, flinches at the slightest touch, and blushes beautifully when he’s kissed.

Seducing Kai has suddenly become more challenge than chore, and with his master’s encouragement, Tam finds himself falling for his new companion. Except... nobody can be in love with two people at once, can they?”

My thoughts:

This is my second attempt at writing this review. The first one was very long and gave too much away. This is the sort of book that leaves me wanting to share and rave. I would love to go into minute detail about everything I thought and felt while reading, but that would be a huge disservice to anyone who hasn’t read the book yet. Not only because it might spoil the story. A huge part of the enjoyment reading this book brought me, stemmed from the feelings it ignited in me and the way they developed as the story progressed. Every reader should have the opportunity to experience that for themselves. So, in this second version, I’ll try to restrain myself.

‘The Slave’ is an intriguing story with fascinating characters. That isn’t the main reason it blew me away though. The way the story was told and the manner in which Kate Aaron tackled potentially controversial topics impressed me more than I can adequately put into words.

A story about two slaves and their master could so easily turn into something uncomfortable and dark. The fact that Tam has been with his master since he was twelve could have made this a disturbing read. Yet the impression I was left with when I finished the book, was one of light, love and beauty. That, and an immense appreciation for Kate Aaron’s storytelling powers.

Tam and Kai go through big transformations in this story. Tam has to come to terms with a rival for his beloved master’s affections as well as his growing feelings for the man he sees as his potential replacement. At the same time, Kai has to not only resign himself to the fact he’s no longer a free man but also come to terms with his developing feelings for the man who has bought him, as well as the man who holds him captive. Those changes are so fluent and gradual as to be almost imperceptible. As a result you never question events as they unfold or feelings as they come to the service.

The dynamics in this story are fascinating. Tam and Kai are slaves, be it to a benevolent master. The book beautifully expresses the humiliation resulting from being (made) a slave, the love that can blossom because/despite/in the midst of this unequal situation and the conflicting emotions resulting from that discrepancy.

This story is told from Tam’s perspective and it’s impossible not to fall in love with him as we read. All his feelings, worries, fears and delights were palatable and I for one couldn’t help but become invested in his happiness.

Through Tam’s eyes we get a pretty good idea who Kai is. We may not be able to share the former soldier’s thoughts but Tam spends enough time with him to read him well and share his impressions. Watching Kai slowly change from hostile through friendly to invested in the complicated relationship dynamics was a pure delight.

Master remains much more of an enigma in this book. Tam is almost too close and too dependent on the man who owns him, to give us an objective view of what might be motivating him. The reader gets a few clues, but since they’re delivered from Tam’s perspective it remains to be seen if they can be trusted.

Only after finishing the book did I realise Kate Aaron had made me think about a potentially controversial subject. Slavery is of course a despicable state of affairs. But, as Tam and Kai discuss, was Kai really free when he was a soldier? Or did he move from one form of slavery to another? There is also the issue of Tam’s love for his master. Is this a form of Stockholm Syndrome, as Kai is inclined to believe, or do Tam’s feelings stem from a deeper, more powerful connection?

And before I forget, I should mention this book is both incredibly hot and heartbreakingly tender. The dynamics between the three men took my breath away. The brushing of each other’s hair, the shaving and all the other loving touches they bestow on each other were delightful.

I should probably warn you. This book ends on one hell of a cliff-hanger. Since Kate Aaron was kind enough to release books one and book two, ‘The Soldier’, on the same day, this shouldn’t be a huge issue for you. Of course, the downside of being given an ARC of ‘The Slave’ is that I now have to wait nine days to find out what happens next. I have no doubt Tam and Kai will be living in my thoughts all that time.

Buy link for The Slave:

Thursday, 23 October 2014


IN THE FIRE by Eileen Griffin & Nikka Michaels

Seize: 93K words / 433KB
Date: 23/10/2014
Grade: 4.5
Details: no. 2 In the Kitchen
            Received from Carina Press
            Through NetGalley

The blurb:

Because the way to a man's heart…

Eight years ago, the world was their oyster. Until, that is, competing chefs Ethan Martin and James Lassiter's hot and heavy relationship fizzled after Jamie left for an internship in Paris. Even though Jamie's career has taken off since his return to the States, with his own television show and a lot of fame, his feelings for Ethan have never quite gone away.

Ethan's culinary career has developed more slowly, but he's almost saved enough to buy the restaurant where he works and re-open it as his dream spot, Bistro 30. If only he could get the sexy chef who loved him and left him out of his mind.

But when someone starts sabotaging the restaurant and a fire threatens to take away everything Ethan holds dear, his only option is to rely on Jamie for help. Back in close quarters, the two men will have to find a way to work through their past if they hope to save the restaurant and their future.

My thoughts:

What a difference eight years make. When In the Rawthe first book in the ‘In the Kitchen’ trilogy ended we left our two boys deeply in love. Sure, Jamie was on his way to Paris to further his cooking career, but they would only be separated for six months. Surely the deep connection and love between them would survive the relatively short separation?

Apparently not. When ‘In the Fire’ starts Ethan and Jamie have been living separate lives for eight years. Over the course of Jamie’s six months in Paris they drifted apart for reasons neither is completely sure about. When Jamie returned to America he moved to New York rather than back to Seattle and the rest, as they say is history. Jamie has become a famous television chef over the years while Ethan is tantalizingly close to buying the restaurant he’s been dreaming about for so long. When circumstances force Ethan and Jamie to meet again it soon becomes clear that eight years were not enough to kill the feelings they have for each other. They may not trust each other completely and may be filled with doubts about the wisdom of their actions, the heat and love burning between them won’t be denied.

Still, it takes the thread of Ethan almost losing his dream for the two of them to turn back into the solid and immovable unit they once were.

I have fallen more than a little bit in love with Ethan and Jamie over the course of ‘In the Raw’ and ‘In the Fire’. They both have their own distinct voice in these books and are fully fleshed out characters, easy to recognise and even easier to fall for. When I first saw there was an eight year gap in the story-line between books one and two I had my doubts about how well that might work. I should have known better. I think giving Ethan and Jamie those years to grow from boys into grown men was nothing less than a stroke of genius. ‘In the Fire’ tells us enough about what happened during those eight years to make the reader understand how they turned into the men they are now, without us having to be present for every single minute. When we reconnect with our two heroes one of them is on the brink of realizing his dream while the other has discovered that what appeared to be a dream has turned into a chore; a wonderful time for both of them to re-evaluate their lives.

Griffin and Michaels have a wonderful writing style. They create characters with real personalities and make them shine. Their descriptions are vivid (don’t read these books while hungry) and their dialogue sparkle and occasionally leads to laugh out loud moments. The easy flow of the narrative combined with two characters who are extremely hot together, ensures a wonderful and captivating reading experience.

If I have an issue with this book it is that it took almost 70% of the story before Jamie and Ethan spend some real time together. What I love most about these books is the interaction between them and with them being apart I did miss those sparks. But, I understand why the separation was necessary in the story and I’m convinced my impatience with prolonged angst had a lot to do with my reaction. Since I’m well aware my issues with angst are a-typical for readers of this genre, I’m convinced others may love those parts I wished had been a bit shorter.

Where ‘In the Raw’ ended a bit ambiguously, ‘In the Fire’ has no such issues. In fact the ending in this book is such that I have absolutely no idea where Eileen Griffin and Nikka Michaels might be taking us with book three. If I didn’t know for a fact they were already writing it I might doubt it was to come at all. To say I’m curious and looking forward to that third book would be a serious understatement. These two authors have once again confirmed their status among my must read writers.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


Pages: 82
Date: 21/10/2014
Grade: 4
Details: No. 2 With a Kick
            Received from the author

The blurb:

"All guys do emotional just in different ways. I eat ice-cream, you get drunk in the gutter…” 

A drunk clown rolling around in the gutter is not what David Wright expects to find as he walks to With A Kick, his favourite ice-cream shop. David has had a lousy day. A literary agent has crushed his dreams and all he wants is the consolation of alcoholic ice-cream. He’s about to walk away when he realises the clown has been dumped by his boyfriend. On a whim, David takes the clown into With A Kick before he gets arrested. Underneath the smeared make-up, he meets Stan, who has just found his boyfriend and best friend getting more than friendly. Over ice-cream, David and Stan discuss their problems and discover maybe they can help each other.

My thoughts:

‘Hissed as a Newt’ was a sweet and funny short romance. Both David and Stan were easy to like as characters and neither was too good to be true, which is always a huge plus in my mind.

As relationship starts go, the first meeting between David and Stan is far from promising. David has just stormed out of the office of the woman he had hoped would be the agent he needs to kick of his writing career and is in a rotten mood. Stan is dead drunk and being sick in a gutter. The two should have never exchanged a word except that David, for reasons unknown even to himself, decides to help the sad man dressed as a clown.

When David discovers Stan is more or less homeless after he walked in on his partner in bed with his best friend, David offers the sad clown his sofa for the night. A strong and immediate attraction combined with more practical considerations turns the one night solution into a more permanent arrangement. The two men may just be exactly what the other needs.

This book was written in Sue Brown’s smooth and easy to read style. The characters are recognisable and sympathetic although both have their quirks and issues. Sure, they get intimate very quickly and seem to be falling for each other almost instantly but, in the context of the story it came across as believable. The one issue the reader might have about Stan’s motivation – is he just on the rebound – is recognised and addressed by the characters and therefore not an issue. And I have to say this book ends on one of the best lines ever.

This is the second book in the ‘With a Kick’ series but I can’t say not having read the first book was an issue; this story stands completely on its own.  Having said that, now that I know this is part of a series, I want to read the prequel too. And I really hope there will be a story about ‘With a Kick’s’ owner and his employee.

Overall this was another entertaining read by an author I’m growing increasingly fond of.

Monday, 20 October 2014


CAPTIVATED by Megan Hart and Tiffany Reisz

Pages: 240
Date: 20/10/2014
Grade: 4
Details: Received from Harlequin
            Through Love Romances and More

The blurb:

“Double the passion and seduction as New York Times bestselling author Megan Hart and international bestselling author Tiffany Reisz weave two provocative tales about power, bad-boy lovers and secret desires!

LETTING GO by Megan Hart 
Colleen goes to the same bar every night and orders the same drink: a whiskey, neat. She doesn't drink it, though. Jesse the bartender notices the beautiful, sad woman who keeps to herself. Until one night when she lets go and lets him in. And after that, Jesse has only one mission--to show her one night is only the beginning.

SEIZE THE NIGHT by Tiffany Reisz 
Four years ago, a night of forbidden passion between Remi and Julien, the heirs of two powerful and competitive horse-racing families, led to a feud that is threatening to ruin both farms. Now Remi must find Julien again, but when she does, her need for Julien is just as strong and just as forbidden.”

My thoughts:


This story didn’t really work for me. Don’t get me wrong, it is well written and has some really hot and engrossing moments, but overall it was a rather indifferent reading experience for me.

The problem, for me, was that I couldn’t really connect with either of the two characters. While I understand and appreciate that Colleen had  to overcome issues stemming from her failed marriage, I don’t see those as a valid reason to behave like a mixed up teenager or to treat Jesse the way she does. Every little thing Colleen does in this story has one reason, and one reason only; to satisfy Colleen’s needs.

Jesse on the other hand was very easy to like, and for most of the story I did. But, while I liked the scenes during which he submitted to Colleen when they were intimate, I lost patience with him when he didn’t stand up to her when she treated him in what can only be described as a bad and selfish way.

I wanted better for Jesse and honestly didn’t care about Colleen’s happiness at all. And that led to me being completely uninvested in the ending of their story. In fact, part of me is still convinced it would have been much better for them, or at least for Jesse, if they hadn’t reconnected.

The story line reverses the traditional roles in romance stories; rather than the man behaving badly and the woman being silly enough to just forgive and forget we watch Colleen behaving badly and Jesse not only allowing her to get away with it, but also taking her back without a word of apology or explanation. I don’t like it when women are portrayed like that and I don’t like it when men are described that way either.

This is a well written story. Unfortunately the storyline didn’t work for me.


I have been a fan of Tiffany Reisz’s books ever since I read ‘The Siren’ and pick up whatever she releases sure in the knowledge I won’t be disappointed. ‘Seize the Night’ was no exception to that rule. This is a fun, sweet and extremely sexy story with nice and relatable characters and a refreshing lack of angst although Julian’s back story certainly tugs on the heartstrings.

As always Tiffany Reisz’s writing drew me straight into the story. She makes it look so easy. Her words flow and her conversations sparkle to the point I could almost hear the character’s voices. And especially Merrick, Remi’s assistant, managed to put a smile on my face every time he opened his mouth.

Having said all that, I should probably add that, for me at least, this story didn’t compare to the Original Sinners’ books. Those really are in a class of their own. The characters in that series are unique while the characters in ‘Seize the Day’ were fun, but recognisable. The same is true for the story line and the way the conflict was resolved. It held my interest but didn’t draw me in to the same extend Reisz’s series does. I did enjoy the one or two references to another horse-racing family; one fans of the Original Sinners series will instantly recognise.

In short, this is a perfect story for those who are eagerly awaiting the next instalment in the original Sinners series. While it may not be up to the exact same – very high – standard, it is certainly an engaging and delightful read and will tie you over very nicely until ‘The King’ becomes available.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


DAMIAN’S DISCIPLINE by K.C.Wells & Parker Williams

Pages: 240
Date: 15/10/2014
Grade: 5
Details: No. 5 Collars & Cuffs
            Received from the author

The blurb:

“The man who pimped Jeff may be in prison, but Jeff is still living the nightmare, selling himself to men and relying on pills to manage. Then he meets Scott, a young American man who could easily have been where Jeff is now. Scott’s friends extend a helping hand to Jeff, and he grabs it. 

Leo and Thomas bring Jeff to stay with Dom Damian Barnett until they can find him someplace more long-term. Still grieving from losing his sub to cancer two years before, Damian agrees to help. But when he glimpses the extent of the damage, Damian wants to do more than offer his guestroom. Jeff is not a submissive, but Damian can see he desperately needs structure in his life. It’s up to Damian to find an answer. 

He never expects that what he discovers will change both their lives.”

My thoughts:

“This would be one review that would be a bitch to write. Bad ones always were.”

Ain’t that the truth? But, fortunately, it’s not something I had to worry about as far as this book was concerned. ‘Damian’s Discipline’ was a joy to read from start to finish and almost impossible to put down.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of this review I have a confession to make; I’m reading this series out of order. I know at least one of the authors is frowning at me right now. I distinctly remember being told I should read the Collars & Cuffs books as they were written. Considering I had already read ADance with Domination out of order and loved it regardless, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to read the ARC of ‘Damian’s Discipline’. And, on the upside, it leaves me in a position where I can say it is possible to read this book as a stand-alone and have a wonderful reading experience. I never felt as if I didn’t have enough information about the secondary characters or past story-lines. I mean, I wouldn’t have rated this book 5 stars if I’d felt I’d missed parts of the story.

The story in ‘Damian’s Discipline’ tugs at your heartstrings from the very first page. It is impossible not to hurt for poor Jeff and not to marvel at the fact he’s still alive and not addicted to anything worse than the pills he takes occasionally. He’s so young and vulnerable and has been betrayed and abused so often it’s no surprise he mistrusts the world and everybody he encounters. It is his ability to trust again, be it slowly and reluctantly, that comes as a surprise.

“I want someone else to make the decisions. I don’t want to have to make choices anymore.” - Jeff

It is impossible to not fall in love with Damian even before you’ve finished the first quarter of this book. This man has a huge heart and deep rooted instinct to take care of others. He is only supposed to give Jeff a place to stay until a different solution can be found, but it takes him no time at all to realise he needs to make sure Jeff is safe and restored to life.

“He didn’t know it yet, but I would break down the gates of heaven and hell to see him live again.” - Damian

Initially Damian compares Jeff to the sub he lost to cancer two years earlier, but before long a friend points out to him that this is not what his former partner would have wanted.

“I know he told you he wanted you to mourn him, but also to find someone to take care of.”

The subsequent scene brought quite a few tears to my eyes.

Jeff is not a submissive and yet clearly needs rules and boundaries if he wants to have a chance to put his life back together. With BDSM out of the question, Damian struggles to find a structure that might work for them, until he stumbles across the concept of Domestic Discipline.

Domestic Discipline is more like a partnership, even though one of us is more in charge. There are no scenes. It’s just a way of life, with one person in charge for both.”

And while it is by no means an instant solution to all the issues Jeff faces, it gives both men a structure in which they can work and live together. Despite setbacks and misunderstandings the arrangement works well until unvoiced feelings in both men get in the way and threaten to destroy what they have built between them over the course of three months.

And that’s all I’m going to say about the story. ‘Damian’s Discipline’ takes the reader on a wonderful journey and it would be a shame if I spoiled it for you. Just go and read the book; you won’t regret it.



Pages: 295

Date: 14/10/2014
Grade: 4
Details: Received from Samhain Publishing
             Through Love Romances and More

The blurb:
“Sometimes the little head really does know best.
Jeff White’s needs are simple. All he wants is a submissive to help him explore the dominant side that his ex-girlfriend couldn’t handle. Problem is, inexperience in both dating and domming has resulted in a string of rejections.
What he needs is an experienced sub willing to show him the ins and outs of controlling a scene. Unfortunately, the only one willing to take him on is male, and Jeff is straight. One hundred percent, never-gonna-happen straight.
Easygoing painslut Eddie Powell doesn’t care that Jeff is younger, working class, and shorter. Eddie likes a bit of rough, and Jeff fits the bill perfectly. The trick will be convincing him to follow Eddie’s five-step training programme—which would be easy if Eddie wasn’t starting to have feelings for the rough-around-the-edges landscaper.
Once Jeff lays his hands on Eddie, things definitely get out of hand. But it’ll take more than hot, sweaty, kinky sex to persuade him to come out of the closet—especially to himself.”
My thoughts:
For a very long time I wasn’t sure what to make of this book. Initially I thought I might be reading a comedy because it took me a while before I could see the characters in this story, especially Jeff, as anything but caricatures.
Jeff appeared to be a stereotypical working class man. His ideas about women seemed rather misogynistic and he definitely came across as rather homophobic. When he decides he wants to find himself a submissive woman to play with, it is hardly surprising they run away before he even makes it to first base. His views about women in general and his lack of knowledge and experience when it comes to BDSM were enough to scare anyone off. What he needs is an experienced sub to train him.
Enter Eddie; as a submissive plain slut he’d make the perfect trainer for Jeff except that he’s male and gay and Jeff is most definitely not into men.
Whereas Jeff initially came across as rather glum, downtrodden and unsophisticated, Eddie seemed fun, light hearted and very easy going. And, for a while, this stark contrast rubbed me up the wrong way. As the story progressed both characters became less one dimensional and far more interesting. Not only is Jeff nowhere near as straight as he’d like to tell himself, he’s also far more caring and insecure than he appeared at first. Eddie on the other hand goes through an opposite transition. He’s not quite as easy going and happy go lucky as he would like the world to believe.
And that’s when the book picked up for me and really captured my attention. Where I’d initially disliked Jeff with a vengeance and had loved Eddie for putting a smile on my face as soon as he made an appearance, I suddenly found myself rooting for Jeff and thinking that Eddie might be a bit more understanding of the situation his trainee Dom found himself in. And this transition in my feelings towards the characters and the story is of course a clear sign this was a very well plotted and written book. I appreciated the fact that there were no miraculous revelations or conversions; small steps forward were followed by giant leaps backwards, progress was at times painfully slow and I repeatedly wanted to take the two men and smash their heads together.
This story and the way it is written is as English as English can be. The setting, the language, the foods eaten the drinks drank and the places visited are all quintessential English; a bit of ‘arse’ anyone?

This was my first book by Josephine Myles but it won’t be my last. If ‘How to Train Your Dom in 5 Easy Steps’ is anything to go by, this lady has a wicked sense of humour as well as a talent for telling a good story. I’m looking forward to enjoying more of both.

Monday, 13 October 2014

WEATHERBOY by Theo Fenraven A Release Day Review

WEATHERBOY by Theo Fenraven

Pages: 154
Date: 13/10/2014
Grade: 4.5
Details: Young Adult

The blurb:

After fifteen-year-old Tuck finds a Maya artifact while on vacation in Guatemala, his whole life changes. To his surprise, he discovers he can make it rain and snow. A local weatherman happens to be around when Tuck creates a waterspout near his home in Tarpon Springs, Florida, and the next thing he knows, someone from the Department of Homeland Security is picking him up at school and taking him to their offices in Orlando. From there, things only get weirder and more dangerous when he’s escorted to Washington, D.C.

With help from friends and family, Tuck tries to outwit government agents while staying one step ahead of the mysterious Rafe Castillo, the man assigned to ride herd on him. Tuck has an amazing opportunity to reverse the effects of climate change… but only if he stays alive long enough to do it.

My thoughts:

People following my reviews may have noticed I’m a fan of Theo Fenraven. He hasn’t written a book yet that didn’t take my breath away. And, as a quick glance at those reviews will show, he is a versatile writer; unlikely to approach the same subject or exact same genre twice in a row. Up until now this author’s books were firmly aimed at an adult audience. As of today teenagers have the opportunity to enjoy his gift for storytelling and masterful way with words too. Having said that, this book is by no means a teenage exclusive; adults will enjoy ‘Weatherboy’ as much as their younger peers.

To say ‘Weatherboy’ throws you straight into the action would be an understatement. This is a fast paced story without a single boring paragraph. Tuck literally finds his whole world has turned upside down over the course of twenty four hours and it doesn’t take much longer for him to be torn away from everything he knows and loves and thrown into a world in which he’s nothing more than a pawn in the hands of those in power.

Theo Fenraven does not paint a kind picture of those who are in charge of running our world. Unfortunately it is an all too accurate one. We might like to think our governments want to do what is best for us, but when we really think about it we know that’s rarely if ever the case. Tuck and the reader are on a journey into adulthood and it is not always an easy ride. There are two sides to this coin. Tuck may have to face the realities of power-politics; he also discovers the beauty of friendship and loyalty, even where he isn’t sure he will find it.

Weatherboy’ tells a good and gripping story. We’re given fascinating characters, a recognisable world, some fantastical powers and high tension suspense. But there is more. This book also brings the subject of climate change and the way the world (doesn’t) deal with this issue to the forefront. Teenagers these days are often more aware of what exactly is going on around them than their elders are. ‘Weatherboy’ gives them an opportunity to better understand what all of us are up against when it comes to the future of our planet. The librarian and book-club organiser in me would love to read and discuss this story with a group of teenagers; I suspect it would be a lively and enlightening experience.

If I’m perfectly honest I have to admit I was mildly disappointed ‘Weatherboy’ wasn’t longer. I would have liked to spend more time with Tuck, his family and Rafe. Taking into account the way this book ends I think it is not unlikely my wish for more will come true in the future. While this book tells a full story and ends without leaving the reader guessing, there is room for more and I really hope we’ll be allowed to find out what’s next for Tuck.

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