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    1. With This Ring: A Tabloid Star
     
    2.
    $14.93
    3. Me
    4. Michael Tolliver Lives
    5. Not Knowing Jack
    $15.87
    6. As Meat Loves Salt (Harvest Original)
    7. Silent Knights
    8. The Christmas Throwaway
    9. Pricks and Pragmatism
    $21.45
    10. Secret Historian: The Life and
    11. Mother's Milk
    $29.70
    12. Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire
    13. His for the Holidays
    14. The Cat's Meow (Assassins Pride)
    15. A Taste of Love
    16. In His Bed
    $7.99
    17. Running with Scissors: A Memoir
    18. Core Training
    19. The Trap
    20. Fish & Chips (Cut & Run

    1. With This Ring: A Tabloid Star Story
    by T.A. Chase
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $2.50
    Asin: B00309SCW6
    Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
    Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    The end of the year is the start of a whole new beginning…

    A Tabloid Star story.

    Josh Bauer and Ryan Kellar sweated through a turbulent start to their relationship. Now that they’ve embarked on a life together, filled with family friends—and each other—Ryan’s suffering sweaty palms again. For an entirely different reason.

    It’s not the heat they generate every time they’re alone together. It’s not even the crush of people at Josh’s jam-packed birthday party. It’s the birthday present Ryan’s carrying in his jeans pocket. The one that could make him the happiest man in the world, come New Year’s Eve.

    If Josh says “yes”…

    Warning: Hot guy on guy sex. A happily married couple and a rocking New Year’s Eve party guaranteed to keep you up all night.

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars With this Ring, March 26, 2010
    Actor Ryan Kellar and his lover Josh Bauer have gone through a lot together. Their relationship survived being outed in the tabloids and a great deal of turmoil. Now Ryan wants to take the next step. If Josh will have him, Ryan wants to make his lover his husband.

    With This Ring is the sweet continuation of Ryan and Josh's story. Getting married on New Year's Eve would be romantic anyway, but with these two it's a guaranteed aww! I really like Ryan and Josh, and reading more about how their relationship progresses to marriage is enjoyable. There's a particularly cool secondary character, one of Ryan's older relatives, who I liked a lot. Garrett and CJ from TA Chase's Love of Sports series make a cameo appearance, and Kasey and Gram are mentioned, which is fun if you've read those books as well. With This Ring doesn't feature a lot of conflict, but it's a nice holiday read with enough sweetness to brighten a gloomy day.

    Cassie
    Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed

    5-0 out of 5 stars With This Ring a Tabloid Star Story by T. A. Chase, January 15, 2010
    Genre: contemporary
    Viewpoint: two alternating third-person viewpoints
    Setting: Vermont USA
    Sex Scenes (nonexplicit, mild, medium, very): some medium
    Themes: g ay marriage should be legal everywhere, people should be tolerant, true love
    Other Info: I read this, mistakenly thinking that it would be an introduction to the characters of the longer work Tabloid Star. Actually, it works more like a coda or an epilogue where you can revisit the characters that you're already familiar with. If, like me, you don't know these characters at all, it still works as a stand-alone story of two guys and their big day as they get married to each other.

    Synopsis:
    Ryan and Josh from Tabloid Star decide to get married on New Year's Eve. Ryan is a famous actor whose career is very hot right now. In the past, he's been worried if the tabloids were going to wreck his career over his secret g ay relationship. He's sensitive and emotional. Josh is a big, easy-going construction worker. In the past, he's put his own life on hold to help his sister Erin and her young autistic son Pedro. He's steady and loyal.

    In this story, the two gather friends and family and have their wedding. They also have a couple of hot sex scenes. Some significant events in the past are shown (such as when Ryan proposed six months before the wedding) and they're gracefully handled in alternating chapters and not (thank God) as flashbacks that interrupt the action. The wedding and New Year's Eve party happen at the end of the story.

    Weak points: nothing major

    Strong points: the sex scenes (for those of us who don't know the characters), the character interactions (for those who do), the smooth writing.

    Recommendation: Recommended, yes. See also Tabloid Star.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Lacking in Substance, February 7, 2010
    Dear me! The good points about this book is that it can be downloaded for only $2.00 and can be read in a little more than an hour. I see that there are two 5-star ratings that have been written. Is T. A. Chase a friend of theirs? I found the writing puerile and totally lacking of any tension or drama. While sometimes nice endings are wonderful and there was one character (great aunt) you loved, this book is not even worth the [...] for a download. Sugary sweet is all it is -- and I generally love gay romance novels!

    5-0 out of 5 stars With This Ring (A Tabloid Star Story) by T.A. Chase, January 16, 2010
    A story about a marriage can't be anything else if not sweet and romantic, and as usually, the added spicy is given by the sex, that in a T.A. Chase's book is always a right mix of nice and naughty.

    Almost in contraposition on how their story started, trying to avoid public display of affection, Ryan and Josh decide to marry and to do it in plain air. Among the few U.S. states that allow it, they choose Vermont and to end in the best way the most important year of their life, the ceremony will be held at midnight on the New Year Eve.

    This type of novella, usually seasonal novella, is always an occasion to group old and new friends in a single book, and so here we meet Garrett and CJ, from High Line, there is also a reference to Garrett's brother, Kasey and his lover Gram, and also Josh's friends, Morgan and Vance, made their appearance. The new friends are Ryan's parents, who support their son in his decision, even if they are alone in the family in doing so other than Ryan's great aunt, Edna, a former vaudeville dancer of 90 years old.

    Probably the most original and nice thing of the novella is the parallel development: in the day of their marriage, while they are waiting the midnight, Ryan and Josh remember the most important step that led to this day, from the night in which Ryan made his proposal to Josh, passing from the various moment when they shared the news with their dear friends and relatives, to that very morning, when Ryan received the unexpected support of the old lady.

    There is obviously no drama, but only good feelings and a lot of hope, the hope that this type of stories, now very much fictional, will become so common in the future that people will have the chance to live them and not only dream. ... Read more


    2.
     

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    3. Me
    by Ricky Martin
    Hardcover (2010-11-02)
    list price: $26.95 -- our price: $14.93
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0451234154
    Publisher: Celebra Hardcover
    Sales Rank: 738
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    International superstar, Ricky Martin, who has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide, opens up for the first time about memories of his early childhood, experiences in the famed boy band Menudo, struggles with his identity during the Livin' la Vida Loca phenomenon, reflections on coming to terms with his sexuality, relationships that allowed him to embrace love, and life-changing decisions like devoting himself to helping children around the world and becoming a father. Me is an intimate memoir about the very liberating and spiritual journey of one of the most iconic pop-stars of our time. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Conversation with a Remarkable Man
    Ricky has written a very interesting book about his experiences as a performer and his journey to discover himself. As a fan for many years, I always wanted to have a long conversation with Ricky and he has given us that opportunity with this very personal book. From his unusual childhood to his recent revelations, the book is full of insight into a world that few have experienced. He is modest about his incredible professional accomplishments and sincere in his desire to reach out to others through his charitable work. He has a sense of humor about himself and a true appreciation for his many blessings. Some of the book is heart wrenching as he is frank in his description of his fears and self doubts, especially when discussing the discovery of his sexual identity and what he feared that might do to his future. I wish that he had not doubted that those of us who admire him would continue to do so, perhaps even more, because of his willingness to discuss those things that were most private to him. The discovery of his own personal joy and his love of parenthood is a pleasure to share with this very private and rather shy man. This was an enjoyable book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ricky, as always, takes the high road
    I got this book last night and finished it this morning.

    It's wonderful.

    Ricky Martin tells the story of his life -- from Menudo to fatherhood and everything in between -- with charm, humor, and the grace that has made him an international superstar for two decades. What separates this book from the pack is that Ricky tells his story -- he doesn't drop names at all, and he doesn't opt for headline-grabbing lascivious details that are so typical of celebrity tell-alls. This is the classy story of a classy guy. Moving, powerful, and inspiring. 5 VERY BIG STARS.

    Zac Bissonnnette

    Author of Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off My Parents

    5-0 out of 5 stars "The One And Only Ricky Martin"
    Born on Christmas Eve, 1971 in Puerto Rico, Ricky Martin found both fame as an actor and singer during the early nineties after he starred in the daytime soap opera "General Hospital" and recorded the worldwide hit "Livin' la Vido Loca".

    In this very informative autobiography entitled "Me", Ricky documents his humble beginnings in South America where he achieved recording success being one of the most popular Latin singers ever, both as a member of the boy group Menudo and a popular solo act. He started acting in musical theatre and was hired for several daytime serials known as telenovelas. All this success would bring him to the attention of the American recording industry and the rest as they say became history.

    Ricky discusses how he would become one of the most popular male singers in the 1990's with his english debut record called simply "Ricky Martin", how that record and its two huge singles propelled him into superstar status, and how he wasn't ready for such success.

    The most informative part of the book is when he writes about his life as a closeted gay man in an industry where it's important for the female record-buying public to admire and lust after hunky male singers. He discusses how hard it was for him to remain silent on issues regarding his sexuality even after Barbara Walters asked him in a famous interview if he were gay. Finally, after years of silence, when even his close friends and family knew his secret, in 2010 via his Twitter account, Ricky announced his sexual orientation. He writes about that experience and how and why he decided this was the right time to "come out", and his feeling of relief after he pressed "send" on his computer after the revelation.

    Ricky talks about his love of children and his eventual fatherhood of twin boys that he conceieved through a surrogate. He also discusses his love affair with a male Los Angeles DJ years ago, how it was love immediately, but realized due to an intense touring schedule that it could never really work.

    Informative, funny, sad, regret, happiness, and relief are all elements in "Me", a book I read in one sitting about a man who had everything in the world: fame, money, children, friends, and a wonderful family, yet was missing one important element in life: the freedom to be who he was. However, on March 29, 2010 once Ricky stated to the world his true self, he would have everything. As an openly gay man I am proud of you Ricky Martin.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A heartfelt, genuine look at a unique individual
    I considered myself somewhat of a fan of Ricky during his "Livin' La Vida Loca" peak of popularity, and thought I knew the basic story of his life, even before I picked up this autobiography, released a couple of months short of his 39th birthday. I was expecting a polished, feel-good story, possibly more the work of a talented ghost writer than Mr. Martin himself, and was surprised to find that the book reads more like a personal journal, with what are clearly his own observations and thoughts about what happened in his life - occasionally disjointed and prone to go off on occasional tangents - but undoubtedly the heartfelt and genuine emotions of the singer himself.

    Martin traces his life from his boyhood in Puerto Rico, holding a kitchen spoon (as a pretend microphone) as he sang for his family, through his whirlwind years touring the world as a lead singer in the teen group Menudo, during his roles acting on soap operas, a Broadway show, and getting the recording contract that would eventually lead to that career-defining moment on the Grammy Awards show. Rather than resting there, he applies equal self-analysis to what happened afterward, decisions that were made (both good and bad), attempts to maintain his popularity in America without alienating his core supporters abroad.

    More importantly, he takes us on a journey to get to know him more as a person, his spirituality and beliefs, his Humanitarian work through his Foundation, his activism in fighting human trafficking, and - ultimately - his decision to become a parent (through a surrogate) and the (self-regretted, but sound) reasoning behind his long-delayed revelation as a gay man.

    Absolutely much more than I was expecting, and enough to give me a new found respect for him. Five stars out of five.

    - Bob Lind, Echo Magazine

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Man
    Here's what I love. There's no salacious tell all here. There's no pages of wallowing in drama about, 'how do I deal with being gay?', in fact, the argument he makes that his sexuality is just one aspect of his life in evidenced all through the book. Yes, his decision to come out and write this was based on the birth of his children, but I'd argue the book is much more of a spiritual awakening, than a sexual one. So, if you're looking for dirty details you'll be disappointed. What you will find is a thoughtful, reflective, and deeply felt spiritual memoir that made this person like and respect him even more than I already had.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great for Motivating Yourself To Release Yourself
    I have always been a Fan of Ricky Martin from Menudo to this day he has been an example to follow. Having been in the spotlight for so long it is amazing how he really has done so many things that are of benefit towards others and staying away from major issues.

    Ricky does a great job helping me understand him even more without violating the privacy of others who might have hurt him. His perspective of life is great and how he explains his approach on life you can really see the human side in him.

    I learn even more of why he has done so many things and some of the obstacles he had on the way to becoming an international star.

    I received a great value from the Book since he also speaks about his role as a father which I am soon to be.

    I think if we can follow Ricky's advice on how not too categorize people and simply stay away from negative people that are going to come your way we can really focus on the bigger and important things in life.

    What a great job and very easy book to read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best celebrity memoir I've ever read!
    I genuinely enjoyed reading Ricky Martin's memoir. If you are expecting a salacious tell-all, then you are definitely missing what this book is really about. Ricky's book is sincere and filled with beautiful, kind and touching words that explore his own unique spiritual journey. This is the best celebrity memoir I've ever read by far! ... Read more


    4. Michael Tolliver Lives
    by Armistead Maupin
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $11.99
    Asin: B000ROKXZQ
    Publisher: HarperCollins e-books
    Sales Rank: 4658
    Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Michael Tolliver, the sweet-spirited Southerner in Armistead Maupin's classic Tales of the City series, is arguably one of the most widely loved characters in contem-porary fiction. Now, almost twenty years after ending his ground-breaking saga of San Francisco life, Maupin revisits his all-too-human hero, letting the fifty-five-year-old gardener tell his story in his own voice.

    Having survived the plague that took so many of his friends and lovers, Michael has learned to embrace the random pleasures of life, the tender alliances that sustain him in the hardest of times. Michael Tolliver Lives follows its protagonist as he finds love with a younger man, attends to his dying fundamentalist mother in Florida, and finally reaffirms his allegiance to a wise octogenarian who was once his landlady.

    Though this is a stand-alone novel—accessible to fans of Tales of the City and new readers alike—a reassuring number of familiar faces appear along the way. As usual, the author's mordant wit and ear for pitch-perfect dialogue serve every aspect of the story—from the bawdy to the bittersweet. Michael Tolliver Lives is a novel about the act of growing older joyfully and the everyday miracles that somehow make that possible.

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Welcome back, Mouse, June 12, 2007
    Maupin's "Tales of the City" novels had an undeniable impact on my life. I was a closeted college sophomore when I checked the first three books out of the Springfield, MA library in the Fall of 1990. I had a feeling I was coming late to the "Tales" party at that point but was instantly taken with 28 Barbary lane and its inhabitants. I was so square at 19 that the thought of a pot smoking landlady made me vaguely uncomfortable; I don't miss those days or my old rigid self. At the age of 22, the landmark PBS miniseries had me spending my tax refund check on a ten day vacation to San Francisco so that I could check out the city Maupin immortalized on my own. Any misgivings about a pot smoking landlady were gone.

    So now, thirteen years after I read the last book in the series, I was over the moon to see "Michael Tolliver Lives." But after reading two negative critic reviews, I was worried. Could this book measure up to my memories? Yes, and then some. "Michael Tolliver Lives" is different than the previous novels in the "Tales" series; this is one man's, first person narrative, unlike the multi-character structure of the other "Tales" books. But "Michael Tolliver Lives" is as wonderful, moving and beautiful as anything Maupin's ever written (quick plug for "Maybe the Moon.") Here are the characters we know and love. Times have changed, but Mouse and Brian and Anna Madrigal, the pot smoking landlady (and some others, but that'd be ruining the surprise) are here and take no time making us love them again.

    As the title implies, this is Michael's (aka Mouse) tale. Mouse is as sharp as ever and his wry observations make you realize how much you've missed him. In this book, we learn more about his family: his mother, his brother, his sister in law, and see Michael come to an even deeper understanding of the role he's played in his family's life, and outside of it. This part of the book was one that stayed with me; some of Michael's thoughts are exactly where I have been at times, and that recognition really got to me. (Another nice moment of identification for me is when Michael cites the scene in "Poltergeist" when JoBeth Williams feels her daughter's soul move through her. I thought I was the only one who appreciates that scene.) The novel also reflects the crazy times we live in, as Maupin has always done from the hedonistic 70s to the Reagan 80s to now. It's nice to know that we're all in this together. It's been indescribably wonderful to catch up with our old friends (I've grown to love the pot smoking landlady immensely and wish I'd "known" her personally) and see how they've been surviving. In these post-9/11 years, we need our friends from Barbary Lane. And here they are.

    5-0 out of 5 stars NOT A SEQUEL BUT A GREAT REUNION, June 19, 2007
    If, like me, you're a huge fan of Maupin's TALES OF THE CITY novels, you're probably hoping his latest book is the sequel you've always dreamed of. It isn't. It's much more like a twentieth reunion, allowing brief reconnections with long missed friends, but not the continuation of an old familiar story.

    Yes, Michael/Mouse and Anna and Brian are still around, but times have changed and so has the plot. The exciting ironies of a youthful and madly whimsical age have been replaced by a new and more structured reality guided by middle aged commitments and expectations. If the book teaches us one thing, it's that life goes on even if it doesn't go on forever.

    Michael didn't die of the plague as most might have thought he would. The AIDS-cocktail saved his life and he's still living in his beloved San Francisco. He's sold his nursery and is now a successful freelance gardener. He has a new husband, Ben, who is 21 years younger. Ben, who Michael first became aware of on a web site for younger men looking for older guys, adores mature Daddies, and Michael has learned to accept the role. Their relationship is open, but they are very much in love and extremely contented.

    Michael realizes that he has two different families, the biological one he left behind in Florida many years before, and his logical one, as Anna Madrigal puts it, the one that formed at the legendary 28 Barbary Lane. His biological family has never really accepted who he is and his logical family has never failed to be there to take up the slack.

    Unlike the many stories told in the TALES novels, this is primarily Michaels story, one often filled with tragedy, but still optimistic in scope. Michael has learned to appreciate life's little gifts and his existence is a happy one. He knows where his loyalties lie, and that knowledge never waivers.

    MICHAEL TOLIVER LIVES may not be the sequel I hoped for, but it is still an extremely successful and entertaining novel, full of depth and great understanding. Michael has grown up and so has this wonderful world created by Maupin. I can't recommend this book highly enough.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic Return to TALES OF THE CITY, July 4, 2007
    As much as Maupin and his publisher would like to position this sequel to the TALES OF THE CITY novels as a free-standing story, it will be most appreciated by fans of the landmark series of novels set in the San Francisco of the 70's and 80's.

    While the TALES series juggled characters and points-of-view, the new novel is written in first person from central character Michael's point-of-view, giving it a voice and tone much more similar to Maupin's THE NIGHT LISTENER, especially in that both central characters are clearly stand-ins for Maupin himself. This new novel, however, lacks both the clever, tongue-in-cheek plot twists of the TALES stories and the dark, ambiguous mystery of NIGHT LISTENER.

    This is a sweet and touching story and fans of the series will be pleased to have this reunion with Michael Toliver, Anna Madrigal, Brian and other TALES characters. But the story itself falls flat compared to other Maupin efforts and its one nominal twist lacks resonance or impact.

    One caveat -- this novel may be as unabashedly gay in point-of-view and sexuality as anything Maupin has written, so readers unfamiliar with Maupin's work who might be uncomfortable with that will be best served by steering clear of MICHAEL TOLIVER LIVES.

    All in all, this is a highly readable, if slight, novel best appreciated by those of us who devoured Maupin's TALES novels.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thank goodness Maupin revisited this series, July 4, 2007
    As a rabid fan of Maupin's writing, I have read and reread the Tales books over the years. Something about the characters and the story touches me deeply, and the descriptions of the city really bring it alive. But on every reread, I always skipped the last book, because I was so disappointed in the ending - I really felt betrayed by what the characters did, because their actions in the last book didn't seem in keeping with their personalities at all.

    So thank you, thank you, thank you Mr Maupin for giving us a more nuanced view of their actions, and giving us an idea of what they are all doing with their lives, after all these years.

    The whole cast is here - though Mary Ann, is, disappointingly, across the country and only marginally involved in this story (though we do get some insights into her actions all those years ago) - but Michael, Brian, Anna Madrigal, and a whole cast of new characters are here. I loved the look into Michael's new relationship, into Brian and Mary Ann's daughter's life, and I loved meeting Mrs Madrigal's new friends and seeing the way she is spreading her legacy to a new generation of San Franciscans.

    This is highly recommended for fans of the series - but do read all six of the originals before reading this one - otherwise you will have the last books spoiled for you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good Book, July 1, 2007
    I first read the Tales of The City series as a high schooler in the mid nineties, and have reread them every couple of years since to recapture that raucous, free spirited yet somehow more innocent time. I couldn't have been more overjoyed to hear Mr. Maupin was releasing this "update" on our Mouse. I received it Tuesday afternoon the day it was released and finished it just hours later thanks to Armistead Maupin's charming wit and profound storytelling.
    I found "Michael Tolliver Lives" to be hilarious, provcative and heartwarming like the rest of the series, but there is something a little softer and sweeter about this installment, as it should be. Time reaches into literary characters just as it does the rest of us. I loved and relished every second of this book as it filled me with the warmth of a comfortable sweater found after years of being tucked away. I only wish I could have more time with these characters,old and new, I've come to love and cherish.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Maupin's most mature and moving book., June 15, 2007
    I just finished reading this latest work by the legendary Armistead Maupin, and I must say I was extremely impressed. You see, I was never a a huge fan of his Tales of the City saga. I did read all of the novels, mainly because they had been recommended to me by friends, but I found it hard to connect with the characters. Now, however, something has definitely shifted (either in my or in Maupin's writing), as I was extremely moved by this new work. It is rare that I have read something that seems to grapple with the issues of ageing, loss and family with such honesty and unflinching commitment. I know saw so much of what I have experienced in the past 20 years is now reflected in the musings and struggles of "Mouse," that I feel a real kinship with the character. He is more real to me that he has ever been. Although there are certainly moments of humor in this novel, it was the truth of Maupin's sense of loss that struck me. I highly recommend this novel which tells me so clearly that I a not alone...

    5-0 out of 5 stars A GAY HERO TO BE PROUD OF, July 5, 2007
    If anyone had a reason to give up on life and to prepare simply to die, it would have been Michael Tolliver at the end of the sixth installment of the TALES OF THE CITY series SURE OF YOU. He had acquired HIV and like all of the other gay men of the time in this same predicament, he expected not to live much past the early nineteen-nineties. Instead, with the publication of a seventh book entitled MICHAEL TOLLIVER LIVES, we find him not only alive, but still funny and vibrant at the age of fifty-five. True, his body has changed some (he's acquired a bit of a tummy) and he's not still the young adorable "Mouse" that won the Boxer Shorts Dance Contest when we first met him, but he has other things going for him like stamina, loyalty, integrity, and best of all a love of life that has allowed him to grab happiness where he finds it whether it be his love for making things grow, supporting a friend, or giving or taking from the new love of his life the things that they both need. In Michael,
    Armistead Maupin has finally given us a middle-aged gay male character that we can point to and say: "See, it is posssible to grow old gracefully and maintain a gay lifestyle."

    I'm still looking for a Michael and like him I choose to think that love is possible even for middle-aged gay men. It doesn't have to be someone younger like in his case; just send me someone like Michael Tolliver whether he's a little younger, my age, or older and I'll marry him in a minute. The key is that like Michael, we need to learn to love who we are. A college psycholigist once asked me how I felt about being in love with a man. I told him that didn't bother me at all that my problem was he didn't love me back. I could and should have added that falling in love with a man was the first thing I'd ever done that I knew was right!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Michael Tolliver Lives Very Well, July 3, 2007
    This was like suddenly meeting an old friend you hadn't seen in years. You're pleased to find hium so nappy and well-partnered, in a relationship that seems almost ideal

    5-0 out of 5 stars He's back!, July 3, 2007
    Yeah, after all this time, Michael is back. This was a fun, quick read. It's great that Michael survived AIDS, and is a great catch-up on what has been happening in his (and his other friends) lives. This is a fun read and makes me long for more!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Yep, he lives, July 4, 2007
    Nostalgic, a bit preachy, but I loved it and read it one setting. I'm glad Michael made alive to tell the tale. Thanks Armistead! ... Read more


    5. Not Knowing Jack
    by K.A. Mitchell
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $5.50
    Asin: B0047DWCIY
    Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
    Sales Rank: 599
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    When your lover becomes a stranger, trust is the weakest link of all.

    Bartender Tony Gemetti has it all: a rich, hot boyfriend, a McMansion in the ’burbs and unlimited sex in an expectation-free zone. He thought that was all he ever wanted out of any relationship—until Jack begins making excuses for frequent disappearances. Realizing he has more than his libido and enough drawers for his T-shirt collection riding on this relationship, Tony figures it’s time to find out what’s going on.

    Jack Noble has spent his life hiding his real self behind a carefully created image. With Tony, he finally knows real freedom, real happiness. Now a past of buried secrets and lies is closing in, and no matter how hard he tries to stop it, the truth is tearing through. Once Tony learns what kind of man Jack really is, he won’t stay. Jack’s sure of it.

    Suddenly the past shows up in a completely unexpected way, testing the boundaries of their old, coasting-along-on-fun relationship. Tony indeed finds that Jack isn’t the man he went looking for, but it’s too late. There’s too much at stake to just walk away. First, though, he has to make sure there are no lies left for Jack to hide behind.

    Warning: Readers should be free of any heart condition that may be affected by a hero with an overactive imagination, painful back stories, and hot sex in a variety of athletic positions. Neither the author nor the publisher is responsible for any sudden or frequent urges to have children with Tony Gemetti.

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Just loved it, December 10, 2010
    I have come to just love Ms. Mitchell's work (her characters are always so wonderfully funny / brave / REAL for me) and I knew I would enjoy this book even though I wasn't so sure about the plot, just based upon the Amazon blurb. Normally, I really enjoy the thrill of reading about characters meeting for the first time, of recognizing that flare of attraction, of seeing characters realize they care for each other deeply. So I actually wasn't sure about a story where all of that has already happened before we get on the scene.

    And in fact, when Not Knowing Jack starts, Tony and Jack are already a couple, living together, lives intertwined. They say "love you" in that casual way during sex that shows affection, but leaves each doubting the actual depth of their relationship. They have a good life together of work, friends, a stylish home. And all of that begins to fray around the edges when Jack starts acting...a little odd. Tony's wild imagination immediately conjures up the worst and their relationship takes some rocky turns as unrest and distrust creeps in.

    But it's only when Tony learns the truth that it all explodes. Because Jack has been hiding things - a lot of things; big things. Like, that he was once married. And his wife turned out to be crazy. And...well, the rest would be spoilers!

    Much of the story is told from Tony's point of view, and I just loved Tony. He's smart, funny, brave, entirely realistic about his own flaws, and just the sweetest guy. He says those snarky things that we all think but are too polite to speak out loud. He's a believable, well-rounded character, the kind you'd love to just hang out with. And we get to see him grow and come into his own during the course of events.

    Jack is a great character too; generous, kind, earnest. He made mistakes in the past, and they torment him. So he tries to shut them away and move on like they never happened...only now, they've come back to bite him!

    Jack and Tony are friends with the main characters from Regularly Scheduled Life, so you get to revisit Sean and Kyle some six months or so after the events in that book.

    And did I mention the really hot sex? See, the good part about established characters is that they already know how to push each other's buttons! Ms. Mitchell always does a fabulous job of making the sex scenes SEXY and believable, and emotionally fulfilling. There's never those unfortunate word choices that ruin the mood, or the "creative" positions that just leave you wondering how uncomfortable that would really be.

    Not Knowing Jack is sweet, and funny, and a wonderful, inspiring love story. I hated seeing Jack and Tony struggle, but I loved seeing them strive and succeed. This is about real life, and real relationships, and being brave enough to make it work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Getting to know Jack, December 10, 2010
    It's not often that a book comes along like this one. Life should be so perfect that we know our mates and friends so well and then find out we don't know jacks**t about them. This story explains it in detail! Get ready for an emotional bumpy ride. You will most likely identify with Jack or Tony. One way or the other, is it just easier to blame the other person because they didn't reveal everything, or are we able to take a stand and accept some responsibility of understanding of the whys and wherefores of being in ignorance? Why does it matter? There might just be a reason that Jack didn't tell Tony everything. Very few stories are capable of making such a large impact on its readers, but this one manages to reach out and b**tchslap you if you even think about mind wandering. Ms. Mitchell once again grabbed our attention (Regularly Scheduled Life) and shaken up our beliefs in relationships. Great job Ms. Mitchell!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Marvelous!, December 12, 2010
    I just finished this in one sitting and am very impressed with how well it is written. This has to be Mitchell's best to-date. And for once, the sex scene is just the right balance. Thank you!. I love these two guys. Usually I prefer reading about how two strangers meet and their romance start. But I have to make an exception here. Jack and Tony are already living together but they may as well be friends with benefits. Their conflicts and struggles to understand the other are so real and convincing. These two characters could not be more different and yet they are so right for each other. Tony is an absolute "doll". He has little material wealth but he has so much love to give Jack but only if the closed up Jack could see it before it is too late. Jack is the more complex character and is buried in a past which has not stop hurting him. The story starts with Tony's doubts as Jack keeps disappearing. A bit of laugh as Tony's imagination went wild. Jack's past is not easy to take in and the absorbing plot keeps me captivated. Revealing anything about Jack's past will surely spoil the reading experience. Suffice to say I am just glued to the pages wanting these two men to overcome the odds and make it. A well written story filled with so much emotions and much more than a M/M romance. Marvelous. ... Read more


    6. As Meat Loves Salt (Harvest Original)
    by Maria McCann
    Paperback
    list price: $15.95 -- our price: $15.87
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 015601226X
    Publisher: Harvest Books
    Sales Rank: 5033
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    In the seventeenth century, the English Revolution is under way. The nation, seething with religious and political discontent, has erupted into violence and terror. Jacob Cullen and his fellow soldiers dream of rebuilding their lives when the fighting is over. But the shattering events of war will overtake them.
    A darkly erotic tale of passion and obsession, As Meat Loves Salt is a gripping portrait of England beset by war. It is also a moving portrait of a man on the brink of madness. Hailed as a masterpiece, this is a first novel by a most original new voice in fiction.

    A Harvest Original
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Love can't cure schizophrenia, May 19, 2005
    I finished this book about 4 hours ago and I feel like I have been on an emotional roller coaster. I actually feel disoriented and dizzy by this wonderful tragic book. I would have to say that this is one of the most intense reading experiences I have ever had. It opened me up and challenged me emotionally like few books or films have ever accomplished. I may read it again some day but not soon. I say this because this book is so realistic and tragic that it is painful.

    Maria McCann gives us fair warning when she begins her story with a brutal murder, yet romantic idealist that I am, I kept hope alive in my heart that Jacob Cullen would overcome his dark interior voices and that he and Christopher Ferris would mature into a mutually supportive male-male couple. I hoped this to the final bleak and heartbreaking pages.

    We see the world narrated through the eyes of Jacob Cullen, who maintains control of his irrational violent impulses 99% of the time, however, when he is threatened or hurt, he becomes a terror, a Dark Angel. McCann carefully allows us to see deeper and deeper into the disturbed mind of Jacob. He rationlizes much of his hostility and violence and I didn't fully understand until I was 75% of the way through the book as to how dangerous Jacob really is. He suffers so much for his actions that I empathized with him until the final 2 chapters when he facilitated the destruction of Christopher Ferris' world. When a love affair ends, there are those who will go to extremes to re-ignite the flames of passion, and if this does not work, they will seek the total destruction of their past lover. Jacob Cullen is one of these folks.

    I hoped that Jacob's paranoid schizophrenic violent nature would be "cured" by his love for Christopher Ferris, his lover. They try to balance their strengths and weaknesses, each needing to submit to the other from time to time to maintain the balance needed in a male to male relationship. However, on many occassions neither partner submits and a struggle for dominance in the relationship clouds their interactions. Christopher Ferris is no push-over. In fact he is psychological healthy and empowered. The middle section of the book where Christopher and Jacob make love every night and plan their great commune adventure almost made me forget Jacob's intense violent reactions when he misinterprets and feels threatened.

    I am very conflicted as to whether their sexual relationship postpones Jacob's fall into violent insanity or whether it aggravated it. Their struggles for dominance (Jacob gained a violent sexual dominance while Christopher gained the dominance of vision, direction and becoming Jacob's entire reason for existence)further aggravated Jacob's disturbed paranoid mind. You will understand the attraction between these men as you read the book. Christopher wishes to create a new socially just world yet he is attracted to the massive masculine force of Jacob. Jacob is aware of his faults and sees in Christopher the antithesis of his personality, a man of social grace, insight, and creativity. Christopher Ferris is not an angel however. He is manipulative and charming. He knows how to get his way which is one of the sore spots in Christopher and Jacob's relationship. During the bloody civil war, Christopher has become sick of all the gore and violence. He convinces Jacob to desert the army of Cromwell with him. Why does he chose Jacob over Nathan? Nathan is bright, articulate and would be a willing partner. He selects Jacob out of pure animal attraction, never a wise way to select a mate. Christopher is physically and emotionally hurt so often that he can no longer forgive Jacob's violent nature and actions. He continues to love but can no longer forgive. His disillusionment with Jacob mirrors the reader's growing disillusionment but as in all failing relationships there are sexual bonds that pull folks back into destructive patterns.

    I hoped that Christopher Ferris, a truly good man with exceptional visionary leadership and interpersonal skills, would achieve his mission of building the New Jerusalem commune, a social justice experiment in a violent time of little justice. I believed this would happen even as Jacob becomes more of a disruptive and dark force in the life of the commune.

    I hoped that the relationship between Christopher Ferris and Jacob Cullen would grow since it was absolutely full of creative energy and sexual electricity. I think both men loved each other but Christopher was obsessed with his vision of social justice whereas Jacob was obsessed with Christopher. This might have worked if Jacob had not been a violent paranoid schizophrenic with frightful devilish voices sounding in his scull.

    The Civil War in England was a time of great social upheaval and McCann captures all the filth, inhumanity, smells, and diseases. The loss of social order would certainly be fertile ground for violence and inhumanity but also a fertile ground for a male-male relationship as well as utopian social movements.

    The battle scenes, between the Catholic Cavallier forces of Charles I and the Parlimentary Protestant forces of Cromwell are terrible in their violence and cruelty and serve as a perfect background for Jacob's growing obsession with his fellow soldier, Christopher Ferris. Ferris fights the good fight while hating the blood and gore of warfare. In this gore and constant danger, Christopher Ferris finds the wild man, Jacob, and nutures him while their growing obsession with each other grows.

    McCann's charaterization was superb. Every character, of which there are many, in this historic and personal tragedy comes to life. Her attention to detail and social interactions make even minor characters jump alive in your imagination.

    I highly recommend this book but I warn you that it is an upsetting reading experience that will leave you with amazement at McCann's literary power.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Harrowing, Essential Reading, May 19, 2004
    When I first finished this novel, I felt a terrible need to get it out of my sight. I couldn't return it to the library since it was about two in the morning, so I hid it under a pile of clothes in my closet. Such was the impact this story had on me - I could barely stand to keep it in my house.

    Sound terrible? Well, it was, but in the best kind of way. I suffered through everything with Jacob Cullen, Maria McCann's fascinating narrator. Jacob is somewhat schizophrenic and completely obsessed with violence, but like most people he has his own (flawed) reasons for what he does. He doesn't hate himself, so in seeing everything from his perspective it becomes difficult to hate him for his actions. One also becomes aware of every possibility he has to improve himself and his life. Christopher Ferris, Jacob's lover, is the kind of person any man or woman could (and does) fall for, passionately. This makes it all the more horrifying to be trapped in Jacob's mind as he watches everything good in his life come to ruin. The ending, as gut-wrenching as it is, seems inevitable given that it's brought on by Jacob and Ferris both being true to who they are, for better or worse. There's no escape.

    It's also worth noting that much could have gone wrong in the craft of this book, but didn't - quite the opposite. Not only is there the difficulty of narrating from Jacob's point of view (the mystery that is Jacob is dribbled out in the smallest hints, dreams or passing thoughts, never given too quickly), but also the story stretches from a manor house to London to the common fields, and it's all covered in compelling detail. The language, too, never falters in successfully blending 17th-century and modern. The underlying motif of hellfire/desire could come across as overused, but in the circumstances it's the right metaphor.

    When I first finished this novel, it was a year ago. I never thought I could go through reading it again. But a few days ago I picked it up and found myself just as compelled as the first time. This book has it all - full characters, mystery, eroticism, tragedy, detailed history and a sweeping insight into human existence. I couldn't recommend it more highly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A welcome assault . . ., May 22, 2003
    Wow! I just finished reading this book and am still reeling from it. I do not remember the last time I read a novel that made me feel so much so deeply. Moments from the story keep replaying in my mind, as if I had lived them . . .

    It is sad to read reviewers casually dismissing this book's narrator as unlikable. Jacob Cullen is twisted, but I find him darkly alluring. During the novel, he alternately reveals his intelligence, his resourcefulness, his idealism, his selfishness, his willingness to please, his paranoia, his shame, his sexual magnetism, and his capacity for cruelty. Still, he does not easily reduce to any of these. If he has one distinguishing characteristic, it is his brooding, passionate nature. Someone flippantly asked why anyone would want to read a novel about such an unpleasant man. The answer is that this sullen protagonist leads a richly textured emotional life, which McCann communicates with alarming power and precision. This book challenges the reader to feel the sprawling beauty and ugliness of Jacob and his world. As such, McCann's talent is a welcome tonic to our current era's numb complacency and tidy compartmentalization of affect.

    This novel unsettles because life is unsettling. Love, desire, vulnerability and obsession fold in and out of each other, with violence limning the contours. McCann's novel somehow manages to capture this great big mess in all of its sadness and glory. Reading this novel made me feel my own life anew. I can think of no better praise.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, January 2, 2003
    This is a brilliant novel, a true masterpiece. Maria McCann has taken the historical novel to a new height with the story of Jacob Cullen, a deeply flawed man, and his love for Feriss, the idealist. Set against the background of the English Civil War, we are plunged into the 17th Century from the first pages. We see war,... idealism and great chunks of daily life. But above all it is the story of Jacob who cannot control his inner demons of rage and jealousy. And it is a love story with all the stages of an obsessive love, infatuation, fulfulllment, obsession and betrayal. I was not able to put the book down and it has haunted me ever since.

    This is a remarkable achievement for a first time novelist. Maria McCann is an extraordinary writer. You simply must read this book.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An historical feast of admirable proportions, September 15, 2003
    In mid-Sixteenth Century England, the countryside is decimated by civil war, giving birth to the aptly named New Army. Marching behind the banner of Oliver Cromwell, the ragtag army of peasants and servants is hot in pursuit of Papists and idolaters, not to mention rations for the starving soldiers. Wherever the army's wrath rages, the land, people and booty are fair game. The marauding New Army, although mostly successful in their sieges, has been hindered by a lack of adequate supplies, as well as grievous injuries, kept in line by the promise of booty and women for their pleasure.

    On an isolated farm in the middle of the country, as yet untouched by the violence, Jacob Cullen lives with his two brothers, fallen on hard times since the death of their father. As a gambler, the father had lost most of the family fortune and left his three sons at the mercy of the debtors. Although raised as gentry, they have been forced to work as servants in the house of a local man to whom their father owed a great deal. Even in such reduced circumstances, the brothers are happy to have each other's company and, like many other peasants, they have been infected by the incipient rebellion across the land, reading forbidden broadsheets late at night, excited by the pending anarchy.

    As Jacob prepares for his wedding to another servant, he is full of the youthful dreams common to young men. By chance, Jacob sees a band of officials riding to the farm unexpectedly, possibly bearing a warrant for Jacob and his brothers. Jacob is convinced that he is suspected of crimes against the Crown as well as a recent murder. After stealing a horse and some jewelry, Jacob takes flight, along with his new bride and one brother. Unfortunately, Joseph's brother is wounded during the escape and they must take refuge in the forest. While there, Jacob indulges his lifelong lack of self-control, indulging his temper and intemperate appetite, ruining his future prospects. Finding himself alone the next morning, he stumbles ahead, alone and confused, toward safety.

    Jacob is found on the side of the road by a contingent of soldiers from the New Army, where he lies insensate, near starvation. He is saved by the good graces of Christopher Ferris, a Londoner, who takes Jacob under his wing until he recovers. Jacob is then trained as a member of the New Army and looks to Ferris for companionship and friendship, although he is unable to tolerate any of Ferris' other friends and finds himself sickened with jealousy.. Later, disgusted by the rigors of war and too much bloodshed, Jacob and Ferris sneak off in the dark of night, having seen all they ever hope to see of such sights. They return to London, where Ferris has rooms with an aging aunt who dotes on her only nephew. She takes them both in, grateful that Jacob has returned her beloved nephew to safety.

    Jacob reveals much of a personal nature to the reader as the novel progresses, a man with so little self-knowledge that he is constantly shocked by the consequences of his own actions. A blighted soul whose judgment is obliterated by passion, Jacob is driven by his lustful desires, aptly named by Ferris "The Bad Angel. Jacob is forced by circumstance to embark upon his most difficult journey, confronting his own nature and questioning his deepest motives, stepping blindly into uncharted territory. Jacob's spirit is so deeply flawed that he greedily sows the seeds of his own destruction, completely oblivious in his truncated spiritual development.

    Jacob is "The Bad Angel", but Ferris personifies the "Good Angel", moderate and thoughtful, respectful of the feelings of others. Ferris has long dreamed of living off the land in a community of others, imagining of a kind of Everyman's utopia. Hoping to teach Jacob the finer points of self-control and temperance, although Jacob is single-mindedly incapable of subtlety, Ferris commits himself to Jacob's education in the finer aspects of a refined life. Yet Ferris is himself seduced by Jacob's dark desire, until they are finally engaged in a constant struggle for dominance. Part love story, part exploration of the darkness at the heart of a man's soul, this novel tackles a most difficult aspect of human nature, exposing the many sides of love/obsession. For both Jacob and Ferris, locked in a battle between Heaven and Hell, consumed by their endless erotic adventures, their very humanity is stripped to its bare bones. In elegant prose, the author dares the reader to flinch. Luan Gaines/2003.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Brutal and Erotic Tale of Cromwell's England, September 18, 2005
    This is a novel bound to stir up strong opinions in its readers. I found this to be the most shocking historical novel I have read, due not to the pages and pages of violence that bring the bloody English Civil War to life, but because of the singular nature of its protagonist. If you are a reader who judges a novel by the likability factor of its characters, I suggest you pass this one by. But I think that the strong of stomach will be helpless to put this one down.

    When a dark secret to the psyche of Jacob Cullen is revealed early in the story, the effect is like a punch to the gut of the reader, and though I am seldom truly repelled by unsympathetic characters, this one was a doozy!

    As the creepy tale of Cullen's obsession for his benefactor Christopher Ferris begins to play out, the brave reader will be unable to turn away from this involving psychological thriller, and though there are times when the story shows signs of sagging, author McCann's uncompromising vision of her 17th Century world and the passions of her characters is stunning, detailed and disturbing.

    The sexual passion of one man for another, explicit not in description of sexual acts but in the burning emotions and desires present, shows a fascinating understanding on the author's part, and like the frightening developments in the plot, will not be to the tastes of some readers.
    So I offer my praise and warnings to those who would enter the world of "As Meat Loves Salt". Brutal and beautiful,full of marvelous period detail, it is sad and unforgettable.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a difficult but compelling read, March 22, 2005
    I've read this book a few times now, and even though I (obviously) know what happens, I still find myself in tears at the end. I almost don't want to evaluate it as it has, no doubt, many imperfections but it somehow transcends these to be a powerful emotional experience. Indeed, it's one of very, very few novels I have read in recent years which can claim this (Siri Hustvedt's "What I Loved" being another).

    Its power is in its ability to make my heart ache for self-destructive Jacob even while recognising the inexcusable nature of his violence and its appalling impact on others. On one level, it's deeply problematic to feel such pity for a character whose acts are violent and damaging, particularly in his use of sexual violence. On another, the way the narrative uncovers insights through the accrual of everyday knowledge makes simplistic judgements impossible, just as in reality. Nothing stands alone. The novel forces the reader to confront beliefs and stereotypes about "monsters" and "madmen" and instead recognise how such personalities become disconnected by life experiences.

    I think it also shows us how close to some of these states any of us might come, too. I've been in relationships where jealousy took me nearer the edge of my reason than I wanted to be. I can understand how it happens (although I've never raped or murdered anyone!).

    One thing I particularly like about the book is how well it illustrates the fallacy of love (and sex) as redemption. I don't believe that "love conquers all" - at best it gives us some help with the lifelong quest to know, understand and improve ourselves given the raw material which was formed before our lovers ever knew our names.

    Jacob's relationship with Ferris at best postpones and at worst aggravates his decline into uncontrollable violence - it has no transformative power and this makes the happiness they briefly believe they share all the more poignant. While Jacob is morally responsible for the rapes and violence, and in effect he has been formed and flawed before he ever meets Ferris, I also feel that his gradual disconnection from reality is fuelled by the way his lover eroticises as well as resisting Jacob's inherent sense of dominance. Ferris also counters his fears of the spiritual threat of damnation with a rationality which, you feel, just doesn't reach the emotions-driven Jacob. Both seem destined to draw the worst from each other and so it proves.

    Unlike many I'm not sure I want to see a sequel. Although Jacob is young, and is travelling to new experiences, there doesn't seem much further he can go on his internal journey. I don't know what there would be left to say. A happy ending is no more likely in Massachusetts than Cheapside. Bleak as it is, I prefer to think of him on the boat, the only love letter he ever got (or ever will) floating on the waves below, so disconnected from self that he cannot even tell he is crying.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Passion and sexual desire gone to rot, January 20, 2005
    I am not a historian, but McCann's attention to historical details seems dead-on accurate in `As Meat Loves Salt'. Her description of the era was concise and riveting, and she successfully describes a time-period that was pulling itself out of the Middle Ages.

    This makes the `love' story all the more exceptional. I wouldn't dare say that book is about two men in love. Its not - and reviews that state that are misleading.

    This is novel about two men who develop a powerful attraction to each other that briefly bursts into sexual fulfillment. Both men long for each other - and for a brief time there is an intense level of mutual devotion - but there is no love. That is proven in the last act of the novel, when various betrayals bring out the worse in both men.

    It's the story of the potential love gone quickly to rot - and how that decay can permanently infect a person if not addressed. There is also a strong sense of suspense in the middle part, during a sub-plot exploring the possibilty of the character's relationship being 'found out'.

    My only main problem was in the development of Ferris, the secondary character of the novel. Ferris seems less like a developed character rather than a counterpoint to Jacob, the story's main protagonist. When Ferris is first introduced, he seems Virtue to Jacob's Vice. As the story develops, Ferris becomes the personification of Selfishness while Jacob is written as Redemption. It was a little too cut-and-dried, and would have worked better if the characters were made a tad more ambiguous as each other's foils.

    Despite that, McCann has created a compelling antihero in Jacob - a fractured man who is unable to successfully act upon his desires or good sense. Jacob is a character driven by instinct - and it's this instinct that leads him upon a path of destruction of himself and those he cares for.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The most thoroughly affecting novel I've ever read..., January 23, 2004
    As Meat Loves Salt is in no way an original story; the tale of betrayal, madness, sin, and, of course, love is one that has probably been told in a thousand other love stories, only in subtler tones. However, McCann has the surprising ability to draw the reader into the story, into Jacob. I felt his emotions with a acuteness I haven't ever felt from a book; when Jacob was happy, confused, enraged, I was with him. If you take a moment to step out of the book and look at him from a objective viewpoint, you see how mad he is, how self-destructive. But, while reading, you are so drawn up that you hardly notice; you just want him to be happy.

    The outside of Jacob's psyche is just as vivid, and gritty with the realism of the period. Everything, the mud on the road, the smells of the city, the chill of sleeping on the ground, came together to create one of the most complete backdrops I've ever had the pleasure to read of.

    My heart ached for Jacob throughout. When I finally finished, I put the book down and stared at it, as the last sentences repeated in my head. I couldn't sleep; I just lay awake and thought about it. It's haunted me since.

    Read this book. There's not a single reason not to.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Both appalling and appealing, but ultimately compelling, April 20, 2003
    In her first novel, set during the English Civil War, McCann takes a huge risk (and largely succeeds) in making the narrator deeply loathsome. Haunted by inner demons to the point of schizophrenia, Jacob Cullen is unable to control his rage, his murderous desires, and especially his jealousy, and he suddenly finds himself fleeing the comforts of his wife, his family, and the manor where he was a servant. He desperately attempts to corral his brutish manners but often fails when it matters most. Readers will probably alternate between horror at his actions and empathy (even sympathy) for his plight. More often than not, I found myself dreading to turn the page--but unable to stop reading.

    To summarize the story is to give too much away. The plot twists began surprising me within eighty pages, and I wouldn't want to ruin the experience for others. Suffice it to say that events lead Jacob to join Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army and participate in one of its most gruesome sieges. McCann's stomach-churning descriptions of the battle scenes are equally compelling and unbearable--and the assault continues when Jacob and his newly found friend, Christopher Ferris, flee to the stench-ridden metropolis of London and, later, when they establish a homestead of squatters. Ferris, like the reader, is torn throughout these exploits by his own emotions toward the volatile Cullen: alarmed by Jacob's violence but disarmed by his underlying potential and attracted to his occasional tenderness.

    One of the more astonishing aspects of the novel is the writing itself. Even established authors would have difficulty maintaining such a consistent tone for nearly 600 pages. McCann's wording recalls, but never slavishly imitates, the cadence of seventeenth-century prose, yet at no time is the narrative difficult to follow or read. The plot, the action, the characters, the writing--all the elements add up to a tour de force of historical fiction. ... Read more


    7. Silent Knights
    by Gale Stanley
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $3.99
    Asin: B0047O2EHM
    Publisher: Silver Publishing
    Sales Rank: 1250
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Paul Stanton thought he had it all, a great job, a beautiful condo and a stable relationship with his soul mate. When his lover dumps him for another man, Paul is forced to rethink his life. He visits his childhood home in rural Pennsylvania rather than spend the holidays alone in San Francisco. But only a few days with his family is enough to convince him that you can't go home again.

    Paul leaves for the airport in the midst of a snowstorm. Stranded in the woodlands, a chance meeting between him and a hunter is his only option for survival. He knows the type. A backwoods bigot like the men he grew up with. But what choice does he have? A few days with the Mountain Man convinces Paul there's more to Andy Reynolds than meets the eye. But is it enough to bind two men who have nothing in common except their sex?

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Talented Author!, November 17, 2010
    Clare C's Review

    Silent Knights is my first exposure to Gale Stanley, and I was very pleased by the experience. Paul and Andy are both unhappy men. Each has isolated themselves in their own way. Paul distanced himself from his family and spent the time pursuing plastic relationships. Andy fled to the mountains of Pennsylvania. A snowstorm traps them together right around Christmas.

    They share some amazingly sweet and erotic moments that force them to come to terms with what they truly want from life. I liked the way Paul had to return to the place from which he fled in order to move forward. There was a poetic completion Ms. Stanley's plotting. The pace of the story was perfect, though in some places the conversation carried the story instead of the narrative, and the characters were developed in a way that let the reader closely connect with them.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this story and I look forward to reading more by this talented author.




    4 Tea Cups!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Opposites Attract, November 8, 2010
    Two sexy men find they have more in common than they thought. I like internal conflict in the characters and these didn't disappoint. There's enough external conflict to keep things interesting. And did I mention there's lots of sex. It kept me entertained.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Just the usual., November 4, 2010
    This is not bad but for [...] and a story barely lasting 1.5 hours I want much more than just love at first sight, instant sex, quickly getting over their ex-lovers whom they were obviously lamenting over, and desiring to spend their whole lives together, all over a span of less than 10 days. That is OK if there is more depth and originality in both characters and plot. Not so here in this very quick reading. Not saying it is bad but just too typical. Paul getting over his "jerk of a playboy lover" is believable but Andy (the mountain man) suddenly getting over his dead lover is less convincing. After all Andy did abandon everything when his lover died, hide in the mountains, and lives as a hunter. Hard to accept that Andy is all too willing to return to civilization for Paul after only one night of sex and spending two days with the guy. Not saying this is bad but could have been better with more plot and less sex. And when you skip some of the sex like I did there is not much left..

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Early Christmas Present..., October 22, 2010
    This is my first M/M romance, it won't be the last. It's a good contemporary story, no murders, supernatural stuff, etc. just likeable characters overcoming obstacles to try and find a happily ever after. The writing is good, the setting well-described and there are some seriously hot sex scenes.

    5-0 out of 5 stars OMG, WOW!!!!, November 19, 2010
    Okay, this book is one of my favorite now! It's has the romantic flare of , hum.... A Knight in shining armor (Okay a modern Knight). And it's Freak-in Hot! OMG! I am sooo glad I found this :-]
    Heck yea 5 stars there is no mistakes written in this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hot, Hot, Hot, October 27, 2010
    I am loving this new writer. This is the third book of hers that I've read and I have loved them all. Her writing style makes you feel like you know the characters almost on a personal level. Vivid descriptions to go with an already great story line (and lots of hot, steamy sex too). ... Read more


    8. The Christmas Throwaway
    by RJ Scott
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $4.99
    Asin: B004EYUES6
    Publisher: Silver Publishing
    Sales Rank: 398
    Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Christmas is a time for giving - what do you do when no one gives a damn?



    For Zachary Weston Christmas means sleeping on a churchyard bench in the freezing snow with nothing better in his future. Thrown out of his home for being gay, he is left without money or, it seems, anywhere to go.



    Until a stranger shows him that some people do give a lot more than a damn.

    Ben Hamilton is a rookie cop in his small home town. He finds a young throwaway, fresh from the city, sleeping on a bench in the churchyard on a snowy Christmas Eve. Can he be the one to give Zachary his own Christmas miracle?
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Christmas Story, December 6, 2010
    R.J. Scott has outdone herself once again with this newest book. Zach Weston is a 17 year old throwaway, beaten severely by his homophobic father and kicked out of his home at gun point when he refused to join the army. Alone, starving and cold, Zach is rustled out of a beautiful Christmas dream while sleeping on a snow covered bench by Officer Ben Hamilton. It's Christmas Eve and Ben takes pity on the poor boy by taking him home for hot food and a warm bed instead of to jail. Zach's life will never be the same after Momma Hamilton embraces him. But what can Ben do for this boy?
    This book surpasses even my favorite R.J. Scott book Oracle. Anyone interested in The Trevor Project needs to read this amazing and heart warming book of love, acceptance and compassion. I whole heartedly recommend this book you won't be disappointed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Lovely story, December 15, 2010
    Wonderful feel good Christmas story, makes you wish for more cops like Ben in real life to help kids like Zach. I also really liked that writer did not turn it into romance too quickly, it would have just robbed the story of the "right Christmas spirit" to borrow RP's expression :-).

    It was nice to see Ben remembering that he is a cop who decided to help abused kid first, even if the age difference between them is significantly less than what I saw in many romances and when romance eventually develops over the years, it is so very lovely.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A story with the right Christmas spirit!, December 12, 2010
    For me this story is not so much a romance as a story of compassion and love for mankind. The beginning of the story is beautifully written and really tugs at my heart. Zach's dream as he sleeps in the freezing cold in a church yard is beautiful writing. Who will take pity on this homeless underage teen and truly save him? Enter Ben, a young police officer with a big heart. Ben could have delivered this underage teen to the authority. But no, he brings Zach into the folds of his loving family and helps Zach to heal. Right this defies credibility. Noone will go to that extend to help a stranger in real life, reasons brought up realistically by Ben's own suspicious brother. But this is the type of story we need. Zach's fears, innocence and plight as a gay teen is convincingly expressed here. I also like the developing romance between Zach and Ben which spans a few years. The spirit and the message this story tries to convey surely deserves a 5 stars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Loved The Book But, December 19, 2010
    I really did like the book and it was a nice tear jerker book. Brian who is a rookie cop in town finds Zach asleep and freezing on a bench on Christmas eve. Brian takes Zach in and offers him warm place to sleep, warm clothes and a hot meal. Zach was thrown out into the streets by his brutal military dad who tried to beat the gayness out of Zach. Brian who is also gay takes Brian under his wings and eventually they fall in love, you could see that coming. Anyway, I enjoyed the book so much that I read it all in one sitting but the only complaint I would have is the last few pages of the book went to the graphic sex which I don't think did anything for the book in general. I think that part made a perfect book a bit trashy but I still gave it five stars.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Boring, December 26, 2010
    Slow and boring. Gay son, military dad and weak ass mom. Dad beats and puts son out. Nice gay cop finds boy sleeping in church lot on Christmas Eve. Takes boy home with him, boy worries about younger sister eventual sister comes to live with them too. Cop wait for boy to turn 19 and boy sorry now young man expresses his desires to be with cop. Love, happiness the end. ... Read more


    9. Pricks and Pragmatism
    by JL Merrow
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $3.50
    Asin: B00436EZGM
    Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
    Sales Rank: 1327
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Easy come, easy go…until the heart gets involved.

    English student and aspiring journalist Luke Corbin should be studying. Instead he’s facing homelessness, thanks to the lover who’s just kicking him out of their posh digs. It’s not his first rejection—his father tossed him out at age sixteen—but Luke has no problem trading his favors for a home and security. Especially with rich, powerful, handsome men.

    Except now, with finals bearing down, there’s no time to be choosy. He needs a roof over his head and he needs it now. Even if it means settling temporarily for a geeky, less-than-well-off chemical engineer called Russell.

    Luke’s fully prepared to put out for the guy—because after all, in this world no one gets something for nothing. But Russell isn’t just a nerd; he’s an honourable nerd who wants to save himself for someone special.

    At first Luke is annoyed, but the more time he spends with Russell, the closer he comes to a devastating realization. He wants to be that someone special. Except he’s fallen for the one man he can’t seem to charm…

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Cute!, September 29, 2010
    I love this kind of story and this one was written very well. Luke has a great voice and he's very funny. Russell is adorable. Of course I knew how this story would end, but I still had a big smile on my face anyway. Sometimes you just want to read something cute and heartwarming, you know?

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Amazing!, November 1, 2010
    I've read my fair share of gay romance, and while a lot of it has been good and well written, I've never felt the urge to comment before this. "Pricks and Pragmatism" is funny, skillfully designed and written, and very emotionally engaging. I actually felt like I could see what was described.

    Most gay romances are all about sex; to the point that they're basically porn. This book, while it doesn't dismiss sex, doesn't go on and on about it so you can actually enjoy the fantastic story that goes with it. Then there are the characters. The way they come alive in this novel is breathtaking! I especially love the way the main character describes things. He made me laugh so hard I woke my family from the other room.

    All in all, I love this book, want more like it, and after I finish this review I am definitely taking a look at JL Merrow's other works. : D

    5-0 out of 5 stars Delightful romance and charming characters., October 1, 2010
    I love these two guys and their romance. Just a novella but expressive, well written, funny with its heart warming moments. Luke is one cute character. He is gorgeous but underneath is a sensitive young man still hurt by his father's rejection. His current aim in life is to excel in his finals and get a job as a journalist, even if it means living off from one man to the next. Anyway, all these men want in return is just sex, right?. Imagine Luke's utmost surprise when Russel proves to be the exception. Russel is equally adorable. Thirty year old, a bit nerdy and yet to find the special someone, Russel with his heart of gold slowly weaves his way into Luke's heart. Their romance is just delightful. These guys really grow on you and Luke's narration is very engaging and funny. I first read this writer's work in Angel (a napsize release from Dreamspinnerpress). I was impressive with her writing and have been wishing for a longer story from her. Pricks and Pragmatism certainly delivers and much more. Looking forward to more from JL Merrow.

    4-0 out of 5 stars above average short story, October 25, 2010
    I like that it dealt with the beautiful and slightly tawdry Luke's feelings about his lifestyle - Luke isn't exactly a hustler, he doesn't accept cash, but he does accept free rent and clothes in exchange for sex. And then he is introduced to Russell, who offers him free room and board, but won't sleep with him. Why not? What could it possibly mean? It's not exceptionally well written, and Russell was definitely underwritten, but Luke has enough of spin to him to make it work for me. B+

    3-0 out of 5 stars More Problematic and Predictable than Pragmatic, December 8, 2010
    I had high hopes for J.L. Merrow's Pricks and Pragmatism since it's been in the Top 10 on Kindle in Gay Fiction for some time now. Interesting title. Hot cover. Unfortunately, that's about all it has going for it. The story is told only from the point of view of Luke, a young lad who is trying to finish his degree and needs a place to stay.

    He's hopped from flat to flat, usually ending up as his roomie's plaything along the way to pay the rent, until he finally ends up staying with Russell. Russell is shy, introverted, scruffy, and a virgin, and Luke just can't seem to get through to him. It's the classic tale of the outsider looking in or the protagonist falling for the last person he expected - trite and predictable, yes. Each has their own flaws, and thinks poorly of the other, but neither confess the truth to one another.

    Unfortunately, the only characters we meet besides Russell are all gay stereotypes. They are snobs with nice bodies, lots of money, and huge sexual appetites. Even Luke is good looking and horny all the time, although he isn't getting any from Russell. But the cast of characters are extremely minor, and we only get a taste of them coming or going.

    Most of our attention is focused through Luke's mind as he studies hard to graduate, does push ups naked to try to get Russell's attention, or cooks for them. Luke is one of those twenty-something gay males who thinks he knows everything about life - full of confidence - who dances with his shirt off and hooks up with random guys in public bathrooms. In fact, the first sex scene which doesn't take place until half way through the story is Luke and an Asian having a tepid encounter in a bathroom stall. Even the sex, which could have saved this story, is mediocre at best!

    The story and its characters are extremely flat. "We went here. I was thinking about this. I did this. Russell did that." The reader is left to put the pieces of the emotional puzzle together by themselves. We never get the intensity we want from Russell and Luke - despite a few small arguments - although we know it is there. It's like building two beautiful sand castles on the beach and then just walking away from them because we already know what's going to happen. We never get to see the imagery or dramas taking place on the inside.

    The author teases the reader with other little dramas such as Luke's estranged relationship with his father, Luke trying to become a journalist, and some of Luke's previous love interests, but Merrow just barely scratches the surface in an attempt to get back to Russell and Luke being together, but the reader is left driveling through the dry narratives to get to the good stuff. And sadly, there's isn't much of the good stuff.

    Merrow can write narrative and dialogue, that's a given, but can't seem to get through to the characters or the readers with the emotion and drama that could really connect everything in the end. It's as boring as a bad song on a juke box in a gay bar on a Tuesday night. No one is there. No one is listening. And for those who are, it's a sad situation. The only thing Merrow stays true to is the stereotypes - bland, boring, and conceited homosexuals - we all know the types and I think that's why this story is so frustrating. Real readers just don't connect with those characters. With a bit more feeling, and possibly even the point of view changed to Russell, this story would have worked out nicely. ... Read more


    10. Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade
    by Justin Spring
    Hardcover
    list price: $32.50 -- our price: $21.45
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0374281343
    Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    Sales Rank: 3612
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Drawn from the secret, never-before-seen diaries, journals, and sexual records of the novelist, poet, and university professor Samuel M. Steward, Secret Historian is a sensational reconstruction of one of the more extraordinary hidden lives of the twentieth century. An intimate friend of Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, and Thornton Wilder, Steward maintained a secret sex life from childhood on, and documented these experiences in brilliantly vivid (and often very funny) detail.

    After leaving the world of academe to become Phil Sparrow, a tattoo artist on Chicago’s notorious South State Street, Steward worked closely with Alfred Kinsey on his landmark sex research. During the early 1960s, Steward changed his name and identity once again, this time to write exceptionally literate, upbeat pro-homosexual pornography under the name of Phil Andros.

    Until today he has been known only as Phil Sparrow—but an extraordinary archive of his papers, lost since his death in 1993, has provided Justin Spring with the material for an exceptionally compassionate and brilliantly illuminating life-and-times biography. More than merely the story of one remarkable man, Secret Historian is a moving portrait of homosexual life long before Stonewall and gay liberation.

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Rescued from oblivion, September 1, 2010
    I knew I was going to enjoy this biography from its first page. Spring writes, "I first came across Steward's name in the gay pulp fiction archive and database at the John Hay Special Collections Library at Brown University..." The gay pulp fiction archive?! Immediately readers know they're in for a ride.

    Samuel Steward (aka Donald Bishop, Thomas Cave, John McAndrews, Phil Sparrow, Ward Stames, Phil Andros) was a poet, novelist, Catholic English professor, tattoo artist, gay pornographer, friend of Gertrude Stein and Alice Tolkas, and a key contributor to Alfred Kinsey's sex research. Justin Spring has rescued this astonishing character from oblivion, giving him the break he never got in what Steward described as "my happily wasted life."

    This biography is definitely not for the gentle reader. Steward's prodigious sexual escapades from the 30s through the 80s made my few remaining hairs stand on end. Sailors, thugs, underage hustlers, Rudolph Valentino, Thorton Wilder, students, policemen, ex-cons, priests and one Hells Angel, scripted orgies, brutal S/M sessions: all were documented in his meticulous "Stud File." Almost despite himself, quiet little Steward was a defiant, transgressive artist to his core, surviving repression, literary rejection, AIDS, alcoholism and depression with a staggering sense of aplomb. One favorite example (that will only mean something to gay readers of a certain age): in his late 50s, Steward's favorite paid partner was "one very talented and extraordinarily good-looking hustler who later took the porn name of Johnny Hardin... Between late 1966 and 1970 Steward had sex with him 155 times." Now there is a fun fact to know and tell.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What Secret Historan means to me, October 13, 2010
    Truth is indeed stranger (and a helluva lot more fun) than fiction! Had the life of this incredible man not been so thoroughly researched (a decade in the making) by the author, Justin Spring, and so meticulously documented by the subject himself, one would scarcely believe such a life could have existed.

    Secret Historian, The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, intrigued and touched me on so many levels. Firstly, it's a real page-turner. I didn't want to put it down, as I could hardly wait to find out what Sam was going to get himself into next. And trust me, Sam never let me down!

    Secondly, as a devotee of gay history, not since Donald Vining's detailed diary has a gay man's day to day life been documented in such vivid detail. Through Sam Steward's scandalous Stud File, his letters, his journal and other writings, Justin Spring's fascinating book shatters the myth that the pre-Stonewall gay life was all gloom and sexless doom.

    This is not to say that Sam, being an isolator who eschewed emotional attachments with other men (and who battled alcohol and drug addictions), didn't have his share of loneliness and depression, especially in his later years when he felt he was no longer sexually viable. Indeed, with the iconoclastic life he designed for himself, a later life of addiction, isolation and sadness seemed inevitable. Fortunately, Sam's delightful sense of humor, very much in evidence in this book, sustained him through most of his darkest hours.

    And therein lies the primary reason this book moved me so much. Except for Sam's fascination with S/M sex, I found such a great number of parallels between his life and my own, his thought processes and life choices, that the final chapters in this book served as a wake-up call; a realization that unless I made some serious lifestyle and career changes, that my own golden years would likely be filled with solitude and detachment as Sam's had.

    My only regret is that, after being introduced to Sam Steward in this moving and entertaining biography, I was never able to meet the man in person. But thanks to the author's obvious affection for his subject, I feel as though I have.

    I've never written a book review in my 50 years, And it's not often that a book can not only hold one's interest through two readings, but also serve as a catalyst to change one's life. But Secret Historian has done just that.

    And Dear Justin Spring: I had to make sure that you knew.



    5-0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary work, August 24, 2010
    Spring,an exceptional biographer, has taken a look at a relatively unknown life, and through its exploration has revealed not only a life ardently lived, but one which illuminates the lives of so many others. I look forward to Spring's next work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A real revelation, August 30, 2010
    Who knew? Thanks to Justin Spring we have a whole new real-life character from the 20th century. This is an excellent book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Professor of Sex, October 20, 2010
    Samuel Steward (aka Phil Sparrow, Phil Andros) lived (1909-1993) an interesting life. A boyhood that, if not necessarily unhappy, was not an easy one. He obtains a doctorate in English literature and then a series of untenured teaching jobs, mostly in Chicago and at Catholic institutions, for which, temperamentally, he was not well suited. Sam was homosexual and the years of his adulthood were, well, let us say, unpropitious for gays in America. On the other hand Steward never found it difficult, until he reached a certain age, to find sexual partners. He diligently compiled a card file detailing all the thousands of his sexual experiences (from Rudolf Valentino on), which Alfred Kinsey considered to be of enormous scientific interest and significance. (Steward was one of Kinsey's main homosexual sources for his study of male sexuality.) Sam loved Europe, especially France, and visited the country as often as his limited resources allowed. Hankering for a literary career, he boldly introduced himself to Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas, who become life-long friends. (Steward published late in life the letters they wrote him, under the title "Dear Sammy.") He met Gide and Cocteau and became Thorton Wilder's lover, apparently Wilder's longest lasting relationship. Then Steward becomes interested in tattooing (he always was attracted to sailors) and opened a tattoo parlor in Chicago while he was still teaching at De Paul University. There was some inconcinnity between Steward's two professions and eventually, when his external employment was discovered by university authorities, Steward was terminated, although he informed his students (he was quite a popular teacher) that he had quit. Life becoming less endurable in Chicago, Steward moved to Oakland, CA, opened a tattoo shop there and soon became the favorite artist of the local branch of the Hell's Angels. His literary career only took off when he began publishing gay pornography, of a higher literary standard than is usual, under the nom de plume of Phil Andros. Steward never made much money at it (porn publishers didn't then pay well), but Sam found the labor fulfilling. Late in life, his health declined and he still lived in a very rough neighborhood. Thankfully, a few friends were there to take care of him until the end.
    "Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade" by Justin Spring, is a reasonably well written and lively book. (With a subject like Steward, how could it not be?) I'm not fond of the "sexual renegade" bit; I suppose it's there for hype. But otherwise, this is a book I would strongly recommend both because Steward is interesting and because the book sheds much light on what it was like to be homosexual in America before Stonewall.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Required reading, October 20, 2010
    This book should be required for all gay men. At different times in this compelling bio, Steward's life story will remind you of just about every gay man you know. Just when you think his life story can't get more interesting, it does. Just be careful that someone doesn't read it over your shoulder on mass transit. This book, like Steward, goes from discreet to graphic in an instant.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great read!, September 3, 2010
    The great achievement of this book is that it's so meticulously researched but also a wonderful read. A truly engaging account of a fascinating, singular life.

    --Craig Seymour, author of All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay Washington, D.C.

    5-0 out of 5 stars TOTALLY FASCINATIN READ!, October 24, 2010

    My overall impression of Sam Steward's life was one of empathy & identification. Although he possessed much more education & opportunity than I, much of his own accord; his basic feelings toward life & his sexual orientation/activity is what I could most closely associate with. I really came to care very much for Sam Steward; someone I had never known of even heard of until I read this book's review in The New York Times.
    THANK YOU Justin Spring for pursuing this work into publication; I am most heartily grateful to you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What a life, September 27, 2010
    I own and have read and reread Steward's own book, "Bad boys and Tough tattoos... it is a facinating document on tattooing in it's time, which is my primary interest.He makes no secret about being gay in that book, but it is barely mentioned. In this book, it is the primary focus. There is a good amount of information on his tattooing career, really fleshing out a lot of material missing in the first book. Again, really facinating stuff if you are a tattoo artist or enthusiast.
    However, if you are the least bit squeamish about the seamy side of gay life, this book is not for you! As an outsider,I found it quite interesting considering the great respect I have for Mr. Steward... with an occasional EWWWWW, Ha! Seriously, it's a really great book if you are the least bit interested in either world, because Steward was a truely facinating character on SO many different levels. Definitely a worthy addition to my library.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sam Steward - Secret No More, October 5, 2010
    I really enjoyed this thoroughly researched and very readable book on Sam Steward.

    I'm of an age where I remember reading Phil Andros pulps, borrowed from older friends (loved those Tom of Finland covers!), and vaguely remember Sam's articles in the Advocate, back when it was a magazine that mattered. (I've also seen and laughed at/with the "Phil Andros Sisters", a colourful sub-set of the Seattle Men's Chorus.)

    Steward's life was, honestly, quite sordid but, oh my God, did he ever leave a legacy. With his connections to Stein, Toklas, Genet, et al, (and even to Oscar through Bosie Douglas) he really was a bridge or conduit to my generation - the ones who came out in (and survived) the 70s and early 80s.

    Justin Spring is a truly dogged researcher, dealing with recalcitrant librarians/archivists, family members and so on. Just finding Sam's effects was a major coup in itself. He deserves great praise for connecting the dots to bring Sam back, warts and all. Steward really was a textbook example of "an exercise in contrasts". He deserved so much more than he ever got, and now Mr. Spring has thrown some kind light his way. ... Read more


    11. Mother's Milk
    by Esmeralda Greene
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $0.99
    Asin: B0040JHQK4
    Publisher: EsmeraldaGreene.com
    Sales Rank: 896
    Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    More sizzling hot and taboo-breaking erotica from the pen of Esmeralda Greene! Dorothy Spinoza is a young mother and housewife. Janey is a neighborhood teenaged girl who helps Dorothy out with grocery shopping and other household chores. When Janey arrives one morning as Dorothy is breast-feeding her infant daughter, she learns to her surprise that this nurturing act of motherly love has a profoundly "stimulating" effect on the highly-sexed Dorothy. Soon Janey and Dorothy are exploring both their lesbian desire for one another and the sexual side of lactation. Then it's Dorothy's turn to be surprised, when she discovers a startling hidden side to young Janey's personality.


    This story is included in Esmeralda Greene's The Collected "Greene Shorts"; Volume 1.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome!, November 21, 2010
    Book size: short novella, max location 226.

    Wow, just wow. I have read a lot of erotica but I think this is probably the hottest, most exciting thing I have read so far. Plot line: A breast feeding mother has some action with a teenage girl that is more than she appears. I absolutely loved the twist with the girl. If you get this book you have to like lactation and f/f interaction and I really enjoy both. The only thing that good make this book better is if it was longer. I would really have liked for the author to have expanded on the relationship that developed between them and seen more meetings between the two. I really wish that the author would make a sequel. Other then that this book is fantastic and I highly recommend it to anybody that enjoys the thing I already mentioned. And it is only a dollar, so if you don't like it no great loss.

    3-0 out of 5 stars ~*~*~NOT MY CUP OF TEA...OR MILK IN THIS CASE(maybe because I'm a Mom)~*~*~, December 21, 2010
    As I am writing this there are only 2 other reviews and both are from men(based on their names) so I'll throw in my womans view. I really enjoy reading erotica, I like f/f and I was really curious when I read the description, it was definately something I had never heard of. I was excited to get started reading this book and I was pretty turned off right from the beginning, appearantly female breast lactation is not for me. But even if I had been into that, I found that this book didn't go into enough details on anything. And even though this was less than a buck, it was SO short, maybe a 10 minute read.


    What you can expect in this story(may contain spoilers)
    The helper is only 15 years old, I know a LOT of people will enjoy that but I am 30 years old and just can't bring myself to picture these things with a girl of that age. In the beginning the Mom has a crazy orgasm while she is breastfeeding, again, a LOT of people will enjoy that but since I breastfed both my daughters it just feels wrong(I never experienced that when I was breastfeeding, maybe I'm just jealous, lol) The 15 year old is staring in awe as this happens and then the baby gets layed down in her crib to sleep. Now I thought we were getting somewhere, can't stand anything sexual around a baby. Anyhow, they 15 year old ends up breastfeeding and fingering the Mom, again, IF I enjoyed the lactation thing I still think that the fingering and everything needed more details. And then Janey turns into a real bit*h, she starts pulling the Moms hair and calling her a cow, bossing her around and cussing and she is making her eat her out. I've read other stories where someone is dominant but in this instance I just didn't like it. I kept picturing some butch girl forcing an out of shape new Mom into giving her milk and eating her out while making her moo like a cow.

    So, if you are into lactation, underage girl, f/f(at least 1 butch) meanness, not much detail and a very quick story, then this is for you. But if you've been a breastfeeding Mom, don't care for underage girl, don't like butchy f/f action, like more detail and something that lasts long enough to actually get you 'satisfied' I would skip this and go get yourself a Selena Kitt book. My favorite so far is Babysitting the Baumgartners (An Erotic Menage Coming of Age Tale) It has hot f/f, m/f, f/f/m it is full of details and is just amazing!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Greene Shorts' - Wow!, October 11, 2010
    Recently I came across Esmeralda Greene's erotic short story series "Greene Shorts" here on Amazon and was blown away by the freshness, daring, and skill of her writing. Over the years, I've read quite a bit of what passes for erotica, most of which consists of stale, recycled ideas tricked out in atrocious writing. Even competently written erotica often lacks fire, for the writers seldom seem to invest themselves in what they've envisioned. But the stories in the Greene Shorts series crackle with originality, verve and skill. They're exuberantly told through nearly flawless writing and a mischievous sense of humor. The storylines are strikingly unconventional yet plausible enough for the purpose; the characters stand out as distinct, beguiling individuals portrayed with psychological insight; and the sexual tastes these characters reveal are twisted as all get out and at the same time extremely hot. I was right there with the protagonists through every scene, sharing their lusts and taking part vicariously as they satisfied their desires. If you're looking for kinky, well-written stories guaranteed to turn you on, you've found the right place!
    ... Read more


    12. Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture
    by Jonathan D. Katz, David C. Ward
    Hardcover
    list price: $45.00 -- our price: $29.70
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1588342999
    Publisher: Smithsonian Books
    Sales Rank: 4086
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    An entirely new interpretation of modern American portraiture based on the history of sexual difference.

    Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, companion volume to an exhibition of the same name at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, traces the defining presence of same-sex desire in American portraiture through a seductive selection of more than 140 full-color illustrations, drawings, and portraits from leading American artists. Arcing from the turn of the twentieth century, through the emergence of the modern gay liberation movement in 1969, the tragedies of the AIDS epidemic, and to the present, Hide/Seek openly considers what has long been suppressed or tacitly ignored, even by the most progressive sectors of our society: the influence of gay and lesbian artists in creating American modernism.

    Hide/Seek shows how questions of gender and sexual identity dramatically shaped the artistic practices of influential American artists such as Thomas Eakins, Romaine Brooks, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O'Keeffe, Charles Demuth, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andrew Wyeth, Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe, and many more—in addition to artists of more recent works such as Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Glenn Ligon, Catherine Opie, and Cass Bird. The authors argue that despite the late-nineteenth-century definition and legal codification of the “homosexual,” in reality, questions of sexuality always remained fluid and continually redefined by artists concerned with the act of portrayal. In particular, gay and lesbian artists—of but not fully in the society they portrayed—occupied a position of influential marginality, from which vantage point they crafted innovative and revolutionary ways of painting portraits. Their resistance to society's attempt to proscribe them forced them to develop new visual vocabularies by which to code, disguise, and thereby express their subjects' identities—and also their own.

    Bringing together for the first time new scholarship in the history of American sexuality and new research in American portraiture, Hide/Seek charts the heretofore hidden impact of gay and lesbian artists on American art and portraiture and creates the basis for the necessary reassessment of the careers of major American artists—both gay and straight—as well as of portraiture itself.

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Timely Exhibition, Tainted by Continuing Censorship, December 19, 2010
    When the Smithsonian Institution had the courage this year to place in the National Portrait Gallery this exhibition HIDE/SEEK: DIFFERENCE AND DESIRE IN AMERICAN PORTRAITURE the art world applauded. The exhibition aimed to describe how gender and identity could be traced far back in the country's history of creating American portraiture and in doing so break some barriers of controversy that have dissipated with the passage of time. The exhibition was conceived and well-mounted by Jonathan D. Katz and David C. Ward with the idea of combining a timeline of art history within the framework of the same-sex desire from the 'Victorian' era of the turn of the century through the changes accompanying the feminist movement, Stonewall and subsequent gay liberation through the AIDS plague (and the country's response) to the present. Given the fact that Congress has now finally repealed the 'don't ask, don't tell' military restriction it would seem this exhibition is thoughtfully timely. Sadly the spectre of censorship - removing David Wojnarowicz's video "A Fire in My Belly" that momentarily shoed ants crawling over the belly of an inexpensive Mexican crucifix - has diminished the statement of courage made by one of our most important national museums, numbing the impact of the importance of this extraordinary collection of American portrait art.

    Thanks to the publication of this rather impressive catalogue for the exhibition, the ideas within the exhibition are now preserved for history. The greeting work as the doors open in the National Portrait Gallery is the beautiful 'Salutat' by Thomas Eakins, a large painting of a near nude male saluting his appreciative all male audience - one of the many works where Eakins depicted his same sex stance in a society that condemned such of his paintings as his famous 'Swimming'. Other artists with like inclinations are included - Marsden Hartley, Charles Demuth, Romaine Brooks, George Bellows, Winslow Homer, Grant Wood, F. Holland Day, JC Leyendecker, John Singer Sargent, Georgia O'Keefe, Paul Cadmus, Jasper Johns , Robert Rauschenberg, Andrew Wyeth, Andy Warhol, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Catherine Opie, Robert Mapplethorpe, Larry Rivers, Cy Twombly, Frank O'Hara, Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly, Lucas Samaras, Lyle Ashton Harris, Jerome Caja, Alice Neel, David Hockney, Anthony Goicolea, Annie Leibovitz, and many others, including, of course, David Wojnarowicz!

    The well researched and well written essays by Katz and Ward relate by word and accompanying images that the artists from the early part of the 20th century treated questions of sexuality as 'fluid, hiding reality behind the demands of society at that time...occupying a safe state of marginality. Their resistance to society's attempt to proscribe them forced them to develop new visual vocabularies by which to code, disguise, and thereby express their subjects' identities--and also their own.'
    As the exhibition continues to the present there are many very important works that demonstrate the courage of the creators in a society that is beginning to cope with differences in gender identity. This is an historically important exhibition and the accompanying catalogue is a substantial addition to both art history and gender studies. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, December 10 ... Read more


    13. His for the Holidays
    by Josh Lanyon, Z.A. Maxfield, L.B. Gregg, Harper Fox
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $9.99
    Asin: B004CJ814C
    Publisher: Carina Press
    Sales Rank: 1443
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Spicing Up the Season

    Hope brightens a bleak Edinburgh December. A man gets a second chance with his high school crush. A decade-long game of cat and mouse comes to a passionate conclusion. And Santa Claus drives a red muscle car. Heat up your holidays with this collection of four festive tales from some of the top talent in the male/male genre.

    Anthology includes:

    Mistletoe at Midnight by LB Gregg
    Nine Lights Over Edinburgh by Harper Fox
    I Heard Him Exclaim by Z.A. Maxfield

    Icecapade by Josh Lanyon

    Stories also available for purchase separately.

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent holiday anthology, December 10, 2010
    Josh Lanyon's Icecapade was my favorite story, about an ex-cat burglar and the cop who's been chasing him. (And finally catches him - yay!) Very sweet and charming. I only wish it were longer. (Not that it needed to be, I'm just being greedy - I want to spend more time with these characters!): 5 stars

    Z.A. Maxfield's I Heard Him Exclaim was my second favorite. Her characters are adorable as usual and she has a great voice. I thought the idea of a skinny Santa was funny and it worked well. My only quibble is the use of "Gods" instead of "God". It just felt odd and pulled me out of the story every time. (I mean, I know people who talk like that, so it shouldn't be THAT weird for me, but it still doesn't look right in print. If that makes any sense at all.): 4.5 stars

    I think Harper Fox's story Nine Lights Over Edinburgh was really well written, but a little bit too heavy for my personal tastes and a little out of place in this anthology. Not that the other stories didn't deal with some difficult subjects, only that the tone of the stories were more lighthearted than this one. (It required me to shift gears, so to speak.) That being said, I did like it, and I was satisfied with the ending.: 4.5 stars

    I liked L.B. Gregg's Mistletoe at Midnight overall. (I have a soft spot for nutcase family dynamics.) There were several parts where I was laughing and grinning, however, there were also parts where I felt the characters acted oddly just to create more tension in the story.: 4 stars

    Overall, an excellent anthology and it was a treat to read. :D

    4-0 out of 5 stars Worth getting, spoilers in the review, December 16, 2010
    I was counting down the days till I got this, it's got 4 authors I know and love, so I was very excited. All in all, I think it's an anthology that's well worth getting, and I gulped it down (though obviously some stories were better than others.)

    There will be spoilers in this review, if you don't like spoilers, stop now!

    Best First:
    I loved Josh Lanyon's Icecapade - his characters had a cat and mouse relationship for over ten years, and now it's time to lay down their defenses and let some honesty in. I loved Noel, the ex cat burglar and Robbie the taciturn FBI agent. The dialogue, always Lanyon's strong point, was warm and witty, and the story was actually quite romantic.

    Second best:
    Was the first in the book, L B Gregg's Mistletoe at Midnight, which also had old lovers reuniting. This time it was first love, meeting again. I really enjoyed Owen McKenzie, the quirky quiet vet, and his crazy embarrassing family. Caleb Black wasn't quite as well drawn, I guess we see it from Owen's point of view, so it's harder to get into Caleb's head.

    Sweet but not substantial:
    I Heard Him Exclaim by Z.A. Maxfield - I've got loads of her books, so I know and like her style, she's written some of my all time favorites. But her plot here didn't work for me - falling in love and being willing to commit over a mere 2 days, I just can't believe in it. I know the epilogue gave us a glimpse of a year later, but really all the heavy lifting had been done in the first 18 hours and that felt jarring. I guess I'm too old for instant love, I need more time!

    Well Written but so badly plotted!
    Nine Lights Over Edinburgh by Harper Fox. I've read Fox's 2 other novellas and just loved them, but they were substantially longer and I think she tried to cram way too much in this far shorter space. Toby, the Mossad agent, only makes an appearance half way through, and there are plot inconsistencies and just plain foolishness that almost made this a wall banger. Only the quality of the writing kept me in there. You know when you see a really great actor (eg Daniel Craig) in a really rubbish thriller, and you keep thinking how much better it could be or why was he doing X, no seasoned cop would do X at that moment... that's how I felt about this book. I want Harper Fox to write more (a lot more!) I really loved Driftwood and Life After Joe, both of which I rate as keepers and frequent rereads but this was a misfire.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ready for feeling a little bit like Christmas?, December 18, 2010
    This anthology was wonderful - a fantastic holiday read full of second chances, romance, hot m/m lovin' and just enough tears and laughter to get you in the ho-ho-mood.

    First up - "Mistletoe at Midnight" by LB Gregg. As usual, her blend of saucy humor and hot romance give you characters that you wish were your neighbors and friends. I love a tale of 'the one who got away" and this one delivers.

    Next- "Nights over Edinburgh" - set in the darkly beautiful Scottish city, who would have thought that a suspenseful tale of human trafficking and kidnapping could be romantic and uplifting. Both heroes are broken, sexy and in need of a holiday miracle. Good stuff.

    Third - "I Heard Him Exclaim" by Z.A. Maxfield. This tale features a family who takes Christmas very seriously and a Sexy Santa who makes me want to take a turn on his lap! Two men, both looking for meaning in lives turned upside down, find it in each other's arms.

    Finaly - "Icecapade" by Josh Lanyon. Give me one sexy ex-cat burglar turned novelist and the dark, brooding FBI agent who wants to catch him and you have romance that made me swoon. So clever and stylish - a highlight of Lanyon's books.

    Buy this anthology, snuggle up to the fire and fall in love. Just what Santa ordered for this very good girl! ;)

    ... Read more


    14. The Cat's Meow (Assassins Pride)
    by Stormy Glenn
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $5.99
    Asin: B004D4YB0Y
    Publisher: Silver Publishing
    Sales Rank: 2776
    Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is not always a bad thing…

    Noah Anderson is odd and he knows it. He has a strong obsessive compulsive disorder that keeps him organized but distances him from the world around him. He doesn't have any friends, family, or even a lover. He's never had a lover.

    When he finds himself in the wrong place at the right time, Noah discovers that the dangers posed by having sex for the first time pale in comparison to having sex with the assassin that comes to kill him, even if it means his life.

    Gage Tynan is a killer. It's what he's always been. And he excelled at his job until he jumped into the car of a passing motorist when his latest mission goes wrong. The man driving is so odd that Gage suspects he might have been sent to harm him. Gage has no idea that the little man that asks him to take his cat will change his life in ways he has no clue of.

    Gage is dragged into a world of shifters and exiled kings, one where his strength will be called upon to keep Noah safe from the pride soldiers sent to keep him from taking the throne.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars MEOW!, December 14, 2010
    I love Stormy Glenns work and this book is no exception. I am looking forward to the sequel with much anticipation. We still need to know what Trent is up to and we need to see Dean, Braden, Jonas, Carlyle, and Lincoln get their HEA's.
    As with many eBooks there are typos which bug me, but if you can over look those (and they aren't to bad) you will enjoy this book. Also if you've ever owned a cat you'll smile at Noah's behavior in human and cat form. My favorite line from this book is when Dean says to Gage..."Dude you cat has a cat?" I actually laughed out loud. There is tension, humor, and I even shed a tear at Noahs lack of human and shifter contact. I also like how Stormy is able to give the reader background information without making it seem that we are stupid and need to have everything spelled out for us. If you love shifters and Stomry Glenns previous shifter series you will love reading what looks to be the beginnings of a beautiful new series of "Cat" tales. Pun intended.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Un-Free-kin-believable~ Child-like Porn Tale, December 16, 2010
    This is my second book by Stormy Glenn and as like the other book her style seems to be like a child-like porn tale. Therefore; she has proven not to be the writer for me. I think I need to read a Z.A Maxfield book to rid the residual effects of this book. This is a pornographic children's tale.

    Bad News:

    The tone of this book was like reading an x-rated elementary book . The characters' have absolutely no chemistry they are just there. The story-line was chicken scratch because I think a kid must of thought this one up and Stormy Glenn simply added the x-rated feature. All and all the book was an Un-free-kin believable child like porn tale leaving a residue on my brain to alert me to never buy a book written by Stormy again.

    Good News:

    1* because it is cute,but isn't that still child-like... ... Read more


    15. A Taste of Love
    by Andrew Grey
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $6.99
    Asin: B004BA56ZE
    Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
    Sales Rank: 1624
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    The lunch rush at Darryl Hansen’s restaurant, Café Belgie, is getting to be too much for one man to handle, and Billy Weaver is a young man in search of a job—any job—to support his family. Billy gains Darryl's respect with his earnest nature and willingness to work hard, but Billy's admiring looks resurrect pain and shame from Darryl’s past. Until Darryl stumbles across Billy's secret, Billy is suffering in silence: his father died a few months earlier, leaving him struggling to raise his twin five-year-old brothers. Darryl takes Billy and the boys to the restaurant, where they’ll stand together to face the smorgasbord of troubles in their future… while Davey, Donnie, and Billy all worm their way into Darryl’s heart. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet romance, but mostly sweet, November 18, 2010
    Andrew Grey's "Taste of Love" is a bittersweet romance with nuances of humor, sadness, passion, and pathos. Meet Darryl, an aspiring young restauranteur with a supposedly shameful past. Into his life come Billy and his two young, twin brothers. The men is this story are starving, in some respects literally--but mostly for love. Both Darryl and Billy are unprepared for what they will have to give, and give up, for their love. But together they will find their way, and, like every Andrew Grey story I have read, family and togetherness will become the most important thing in their lives. Davey and Donnie, the twins, are unforgettable characters, and the sassy, snippy pastry chef in Darryl's restaurant, Maureen, rounds out the cast of characters in this new setting. This story touched me and made me cry, more than once, and it is one that I will be reading again.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I laughed and cried, November 20, 2010
    I found this story incredibly emotionally moving. Reading this story, I found myself laughing as well as crying in places. My. Grey created incredibly vibrant characters both the adults as well as Billy's young brothers and the people who work in Darryl's restaurant. I've been a fan of Mr. Grey's work for a while, but I think this is my favorite story so far.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming and tender, with a little twist., November 16, 2010
    When I want a heartwarming and easy to immerse in M/M romance with a nice plot I go for Andrew Grey. "A taste of love" is another tender romance as one restaurant owner finds love when he extends a helping hand to an impoverished young man and his twin brothers.

    The first half of the story is the usual but enjoyable romance with a little complication in the form of Billy's 5 years old twin brothers. I like the way the writer draws Darryl out as this older man struggles against his attraction for the much younger Billy. It is so easy to be caught up in their story. And when Darryl is all too willing to accuse Billy of theft, spurred by his own bewilderment over his strong feelings for the younger man, I got a little bit chocked up. So I am a sap but credit has to be given to the writer for writing with feelings. When Darryl finally overcomes his own inner demons and invites Billy and the twins into his home, I was all nicely settled into the warm flow of the story until the twists which I did not see coming. Angst ensued but thankfully not too much. I was concerned about how it would all turn out and have to say the outcome is perfect for the guys. Billy is able to move on with his new found life with a lover who cares deeply. Darryl's inner demons are also revealed. Even if not dwelt in detail, the pain Darryl went through during his youth is unnerving. I wish his parents have shown more regrets over the past. Both Darryl and Billy are likable. I especially like Billy who has cared for his little brothers since he was sixteen. Theirs is a touching little story. There are a bit of editing flaws here and there but which I can easily forgive in the case of independent publishers. The first half of the story rates 4 stars but the second half is a 5 stars for me as the guys struggle with their sudden predicament while growing in their feelings for each other.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming Lovestory, November 20, 2010
    What a great story! As usual, Andrew Grey's characters are real, feel like people I know, and have interesting quirks. I loved how courageously Billy protects his younger brothers, it made me feel for all of them. Daryl taking them all in like he did was wonderful, the kind of thing you'd wish would happen more often. This is a great book to read during the holidays. Without being Christmas-specific, it left me with the warm, fuzzy feeling a small miracle causes. Great read!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Touches the heart...just a bit..., December 12, 2010
    A sappy love story with a happy ending. Infrequent sexual encounters vanilla in flavor. This story might touch your heart if you let it. I gave it 4 stars because I felt it was overpriced a couple of dollars. ... Read more


    16. In His Bed
    by AJ Hardcourt
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $2.00
    Asin: B0043VE2LK
    Publisher: Demanding Romance
    Sales Rank: 1707
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Jude Park has everything he’s worked hard to achieve. But something is still missing. He can’t move forward with his life without finding out if there is something more for him in Salt Lake City. Maybe he’s chasing a dream--a wet dream--but he has to see Rob Aspen.

    Rob isn’t misreading the signals. But Jude is a temptation he shouldn’t want. Tell that to his body. Jude is hot, hard and hungry for cock. His tight ass and ripped body have Rob thinking reckless thoughts. How could he contemplating sex with his best friend’s son?
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hot, but..., December 24, 2010
    As I'm sure most of you picked up this book for some steamy gay romance, I'll start off by saying that the sex scenes in this book are absolutely delectable. Or sex scene, as it were - it's a short read, after all. But grammar-wise, it had issues: I caught three errors on the first page alone. I don't know if bad grammar turns off (no pun intended) others as much as it does me, but I found it hard to look past. That said, the story is believable (hanging plot lines at the end notwithstanding) and the sex is hot. So if you don't mind slight errors here and there and are looking for a quick read, buy IN HIS BED.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Delectable!, November 4, 2010
    Hot, short, and sweet! Worth the read. Only took about 30 minutes, but worth it. You could feel each breath the characters took. I just wished there was more--a novel's worth more! ... Read more


    17. Running with Scissors: A Memoir
    by Augusten Burroughs
    Mass Market Paperback
    list price: $7.99 -- our price: $7.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0312938853
    Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
    Sales Rank: 5815
    Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    RUNNING WITH SCISSORS is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor’s bizarre family, and befriending a pedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year-round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull, an electroshock therapy machine could provide entertainment. The funny, harrowing, and bestselling account of an ordinary boy’s survival under the most extraordinary circumstances…

     
    Running with Scissors Acknowledgments
    Gratitude doesn’t begin to describe it: Jennifer Enderlin, Christopher Schelling, John Murphy, Gregg Sullivan, Kim Cardascia, Michael Storrings, and everyone at St. Martin’s Press. Thank you: Lawrence David, Suzanne Finnamore, Robert Rodi, Bret Easton Ellis, Jon Pepoon, Lee Lodes, Jeff Soares, Kevin Weidenbacher, Lynda Pearson, Lona Walburn, Lori Greenburg, John DePretis, and Sheila Cobb. I would also like to express my appreciation to my mother and father for, no matter how inadvertently, giving me such a memorable childhood. Additionally, I would like to thank the real-life members of the family portrayed in this book for taking me into their home and accepting me as one of their own. I recognize that their memories of the events described in this book are different than my own. They are each fine, decent, and hard-working people. The book was not intended to hurt the family. Both my publisher and I regret any unintentional harm resulting from the publishing and marketing of Running with Scissors. Most of all, I would like to thank my brother for demonstrating, by example, the importance of being wholly unique.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Disturbingly hilarious, January 20, 2003
    I found myself laughing hysterically at this book while simultaneously shaking my head in horror. It's the story of Burrough's life from the age of roughly 13 to 16. Burrough's lived a middle-classed life, but the people around him were gradually losing it. His mother began to have "psychotic breaks" (although it sounds like she may have had bipolar disorder) and hooked up with a bizarre psychiatrist - Dr. Finch. Soon, every aspect of their lives are touched by Dr. Finch and his equally bizarre family. At times, the events are horrifying, such as Burrough's molestation by Dr. Finch's adopted son. Remarkably, Burrough's manages to find the humor even in these situations. People are likely to compare Burrough's to another gay humorist, David Sedaris; however, Burrough's stories are far darker than those of Sedaris, although both of them write great funny stories. This book was a tremendously quick read, and I laughed out loud more than any recent book I've read. Highly recommended on that basis, but some readers are likely to be highly offended by some of the content.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Could anyone's life BE any stranger!!!, June 3, 2004
    I saw the cover and chuckled, thinking, aw, this will be a cute story. My God, how wrong was I? Augusten Burroughs writes a memoir of his young years growing up in not only one, but two totally disfunctional households. His parents despise each other and you begin to wonder on which page one might kill the other.
    Mom is totally dependent on her psychiatrist, spending endless hours with him. He is portrayed as a Santa Claus-type person...
    a right jolly old elf. When Augusten is left to stay with psychiatrist and family, we are plunged into a household that goes WAY beyond bizarre! You really have to read it to believe it. I honestly looked at his picture on the back cover at least
    20 times while reading the book wondering how this guy could look so normal after what he had been through!
    This is one mind-blowing read. I was so intrigued by his story that I went on NPR's web-site to listen to his interviews.
    Gosh, he sounds so grounded...and yet how could it be?

    2-0 out of 5 stars Don't expect to be sent into fits of laughter., October 26, 2006
    Here's the thing about memoirs. Sometimes you read them and you catch yourself saying, "Well, why would the author have the character do that?" Or, "What was the point of the protagonist doing this?" Then you remember it's a memoir--based on real life--and that real life doesn't always conform to the rules of fiction writing.

    So, while I'd like to complain about the meaninglessness of having the main character form a really close bond with Natalie, only to throw it away in three pages because of an arguably tough situation right at the end, I can't. Because, as far as I know, the author is simply telling us what happened, and it doesn't necessarily have to have any meaning.

    I think I went into this book expecting "The Royal Tennenbaums." This is because the back of the book (which, to my high annoyance, has no synopsis) has multiple quotes from reviewers calling the book "hilarious" or "riotously funny" or "hysterical." That, plus the previews of the movie, make it seem as though the story is going to be fun, quirky ... uhhh ... funny. Maybe a little dark, as Royal was, but not dreadful.

    Here are things I simply cannot find funny:

    Hateful, selfish parents
    Attempted murder of one spouse on the other
    Verbal abuse
    Parents who disown their children
    Child molestation
    Selling children

    And, uh, that's pretty much what this whole book is about. Its very core is about a mother who goes bananas and just says hateful things to her son, before completely abandoning him. The father isn't present at all. The child is left to fend for himself at a psycho psychiatrists house, along with other kids, from the age of 12 or 13, depending on when you judge the true neglect begins. No one at his school, none of the neighbors, NO ONE ever saw these kids and thought, "Gee, maybe something should be done for these kids?"

    I don't find that funny, I find it incredibly sad.

    And despite the protagonist's "maturity," it is RAPE when a 33-year-old man has sex with a 13-year-old. Just like it's RAPE when a 40-year-old ADOPTS an 11-year-old so he can have sex with her undeterred.

    I know why people find this book charming. The author does have a skill for finding the humor in some awful situations. Some of the dialogue is downright witty. And, any reader can look at the book and say, "Well, his childhood couldn't have been all that bad. I mean, look how successful he's turned out to be."

    Sure, true. And honestly, I might not have minded this book so much had someone ever said to me, "It's very disturbing and sad, but the author has a gift for finding some light in the darkness" I might have gone into reading the book with the right mindest and really liked it. But I was expecting funny and what I read seemed to me anything but.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Disturbingly honest--and disturbingly funny, March 16, 2003
    When he was a teenager in Massachusetts during the 1970s, Augusten Burroughs kept daily journals recording everything that happened to him. "Running with Scissors" is a result of those journals, but it's unlikely that anyone who suffered experiences like his would need a journal to recall them. Instead, his diaries both gave him the therapeutic outlet he needed while growing up and supplied this book with the rich detail that makes it, at times, so unbelievable.

    Burrough's mother was a struggling poet who wanted to be like Anne Sexton, and, lacking any talent, she instead suffered Sexton's psychotic episodes. The father, unable to deal with his wife's instability, drank himself out of the relationship. Eventually, Burroughs is abandoned by his family and adopted by his mother's psychiatrist, a certifiable lunatic who dispenses drugs and sex far more diligently than sound advice and who believes discipline is an evil to be avoided at all costs. To complicate an already disastrous situation, other members of this adopted family include several deeply disturbed individuals, including a pedophile who finds a ready victim in the 14-year-old Burroughs.

    I read this book two months ago, and, while I found it simultaneously appalling and enjoyable, I didn't know what to make of it. Since then, I've read several press reports that address some of the rumors generated by this book's publication. No, none of the people described in this book have sued (or threatened to sue) the author for libel. True, no child with the name "Augusten Burroughs" ever lived anywhere near Northampton--because Burroughs legally changed his name when he was 18. In sum, I've read nothing to indicate that Burroughs is making it all up.

    Yet there are two criticisms of the book I don't understand. Unfortunately for Burroughs, the back cover includes a single blurb comparing him to David Sedaris, and many readers, unable to think for themselves, contrast the two authors and find Burroughs lacking. Other than being gay and funny (and it's insulting that that is all it takes for people to link the two authors), Burroughs and Sedaris have nothing in common--each has his own writing style and a unique sense of humor. It would be just as pertinent to compare him to Ru Paul.

    The second criticism is that Burroughs reproduces conversations verbatim from thirty years ago. Putting aside the fact that he was able to consult diaries to refresh his memory, this technique is not uncommon. J. R. Ackerley, Annie Dillard, and Philip Roth--to name just three I've read recently--all use the same conceit in their classic memoirs. Burroughs is not as good as these three writers--his prose is a bit austere, and the book teeters on the edge of John Waters-inspired camp. Nevertheless, criticism of "recreated" dialogue seems gratuitous: any detail in any autobiography can be censured on the same grounds. Burroughs quite successfully recreates for the reader certain episodes of his life--episodes no human being would have been able to forget--and the exact wording of recalled dialogue matters as much as the exact color of the polyester shirt he was wearing at the time.

    Regardless of its faults (both real and alleged), the book is vivid proof that Burroughs emerged from his past with a profound sense of dignity. In a recent interview, he said of the older man who sexually abused him: "Mostly I still feel an incredible rage that he would do that to a young person, but just as much as I feel that rage I feel sorry for him, because he was someone who was mentally ill and had the most atrocious therapist possible." This quote alone displays his uncanny ability to step back and reflect detachedly on his experiences and to be both empathetic and sympathetic even towards those who deserve his venom. Some readers will be disturbed by Burroughs's ability to laugh (and make us laugh) at what happened to him. Yet the book probably would have unbearable otherwise--and, if it weren't for his sense of humor, it's unlikely the author would be around to tell us his story at all.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Funny Moments In a Childhood Of Pathos, December 24, 2002
    The only beef I had with what I considered to be well written book was that I spent much of the time reading it utterly horrified at what this guy went through in his childhhod. Falling under the category of truth is stranger than fiction, Augusten Burroughs is lucky to have any sense of humor at all in regards to his past. A near psychotic Mother, a non existant emotionally detached Father, and a Doctor that gives a hideous name to psychiatry, are just a fraction of his distorted reality. I wanted to love it and again only didn't because I found myself so depressed at the circumstances. From reading some other reviews, I guess many people have compared him to David Sedaris, and that seems inevitable given they both had some wacky incidents in their lives. I just never felt that Sedaris' were as potentially dangerous and destructive as the world Burroughs presents.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not funny, disturbing and upsetting, February 4, 2007
    We have all heard the bad rap some writers have gotten over what constitutes a memoir. Did it really happen? Have you fabricated parts to make it more enticing to the reader? Will Oprah come down hard on you when she finds out you fibbed on the details? While reading "Running With Scissors" I found myself asking these questions over and over again. Could it really be possible there was a man who had his children retrieve his excrement and save it on the family's picnic table, believing they were direct messages from God? The same man who gave his blessing to a "relationship" between his 30 something year old adopted son and 13 year old Augusten, his patient/ward? Could it be possible this man was a psychiatrist and he wasn't arrested for child abuse but eventually just insurance fraud?
    If just half of this memoir is true, Augusten Burroughs is lucky to be alive and able to tell his story. Some people who have read this book call it funny or hilarious and I just don't see that. Shocking, disturbing, unbelievable are terms that come to mind but not funny. I suppose it's like laughing at absurdities but I still find the entire story more incredulous than anything. The subject matter of insanity, psychic breaks, pedophilia, and child neglect hardly warrants a chuckle and it chills me to the core that this all might actually have happened. Burroughs tells a frightening story of his turbulent adolescence and he somehow made it out alive but don't make the mistake of thinking you are going to find comedy between these pages. Reading this book was like watching a train wreck, hard to look away but repulsed just the same.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Hard to Believe, March 7, 2007
    Augusten's parents have always had problems. His father is an alcoholic and his mother has some sort of mental illness that causes her to have periodic psychotic episodes. As a result of this stress, Augusten spent his early life in obsessive-compulsive behaviors, spending hours polishing jewelry or making sure his hair was absolutely flat on his head. When Augusten's parents decide to divorce, his mother becomes more and more attached to her psychiatrist, an unconventional man who lives with his family and various patients in an old run-down Victorian house. When Augusten's mother needs some time to focus on herself, she sends twelve-year-old Augusten to live with Dr. Finch.

    The Finch household is always in chaos. The children are not expected to follow any sorts of rules, and they seem to spend most of their time exploring dangerous or destructive hobbies, such as playing with an electric shock machine or tearing down the ceiling of the kitchen. At first Augusten is horrified, but soon he becomes complacent. He no longer feels like he has to look perfect. He becomes friendly with Dr. Finch's daughter, and he starts to think of the Finch household as his home.

    However, despite being able to loosen up, Augusten's life is certainly not ideal. He decides, with Dr. Finch's blessing, to stop going to school in the seventh grade. Much of his time is spent going to movies, smoking marijuana and drinking. He is raped by another of Finch's adopted sons, a man in his thirties with whom Augusten then begins a longtime sexual relationship.

    In the end, Augusten survives his teenage years. His life goes on and he looks back on this time in his life with a sense of humor, to the point that he tries to make his memoir into a comedy.

    My first problem with this book is that I don't believe it. Everything about this family was so outrageous, it could not possibly have been as bad as Burroughs makes it out to be. He describes the Finch household as being on a street of tidy Victorians inhabited by nice, normal neighbors. Yet not one of them ever complained about the weirdness of the Finch family? Nobody ever called social services about the children living in squalor, not attending school, setting up their living space in the front yard?

    I did like the idea that children are resilient enough to have been horribly neglected and abused, as most of the children in this story are, but still turn out okay in the end. Augusten and Natalie, both sexually abused by older men at impressionable ages, were able to pull their lives together. They each had the strength to move on from their childhoods and become productive adults. It's an admirable idea.

    However, I found it distasteful that Burroughs would decide to turn the horrifying neglect and abuse of his childhood (if, in fact, any of it is true) into a lighthearted comedy. I suppose after living through such circumstances a person would build up a defense so as not to go crazy, but I can't imagine reading this and chuckling about the silly antics of that child-raping Neil or kooky old Dr. Finch, giving Augusten the drugs and booze he needs to stage a suicide attempt. Are these situations really funny to anyone?

    2-0 out of 5 stars I must have read the wrong "Running with Scissors.", August 5, 2003
    Reading this book, which I just finished, brought me a couple of surprises. The first was that, although the author is a competent writer, I could not for the life of me understand the list of accolades this memoir has received by both the elite media and average readers alike. Huh? Is this what's passing for excellence in literature these day? It's perfectly okay, but I approached it with high expectations and felt cheated by the end. It fell short of the real genius of a dazzling comedic writer like David Sedaris (an obvious influence), with his wonderfully detailed, well-structured, finely etched stories and essays. Sedaris doesn't just write humorous one liners--he writes hilarious, heartfelt situations, kooky but real characters, with a brilliant and complicated satirical eye.

    Burroughs sometimes ends a paragraph with a tacked-on quip that you might hear on an average TV sitcom, but that's about the extent of the comedy. Actually, this book was more on the lines of a Jerry Springer episode. You may stop to watch while flipping the channels, interested in looking at the freak show, but the majority of the time you don't feel for any of the participants--and you don't laugh at them. You cringe. They are two-dimensional, cartoon-like characters who simply disgust--it's the same with the characters in "Running with Scissors."

    Which leads me to the second surprise: nothing in this book was anymore shocking than something you would see on an average daytime talk show. What disgusted me were Mr. Burroughs descriptions of the people in his life and his different environments. What stands out in my mind is crusty masturbated-on blankets, heads flaking with huge dandruff scales, greasy MacDonald's fingers leaving fingerprints on everything, flabby bodies stuffed into sweat stained polyester-uniforms, decaying poultry bones left all over the house, and constant chain smoking in filthy, roach infested rooms. When I closed the book, I felt like I wanted to bathe. There's not a single person in the book to like, to root for. And that, by the way, includes the narrator, who is not a particularly, intelligent, witty or a nice person--at least not during the time frame of this memoir. He starts off being a neat freak obsessed with pop culture celebrities, but turns into a pig almost overnight. For all I know, Mr. Burroughs may have grown up to be a very charming dinner companion. But by the end of this book, you just want the freak show to end so you can switch the channel.

    2-0 out of 5 stars A story with potential, underwritten, October 24, 2005
    I wanted to like this book, and don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it on some level. Although some of the scenes are grotesque, they are certainly alive with detail and stick in your brain the way well-written scenes should. However, I feel like Burroughs had a great opportunity to write a truly moving memoir here and he passed it by. The amazing amount of material he had to work with- his insane mother, the intriguing Finch family, his affair with a pedophile- these things could have produced a deep and memorable book. But Burroughs doesn't go that far. I felt as though he skated the surface, anxious to fit in as many gross and weird scenes as possible, without delving into character development or drawing any conclusions from what occurred.

    Examples of what I mean: Did anyone feel as though they knew Natalie? We don't even get a clear description of her until the last few chapters, yet she's a main character. Same with Hope, who starts out as the capable and sweet receptionist of the dr. and is later shown as religious and weird- during the cat scene, I actually had to flip to the front of the book and verify that this was the same Finch daughter, because she was acting so different from the original image of her we had been given. Ditto for the dr. and the revelations at the end of the book about him (I won't give it away)- and for Augusten himself. These characters slowly begin to show their colors in the first few chapters, then suddenly they do a bunch of weird stuff and act in ways we don't expect, and then the book is abruptly over, with a dissatisfying epilogue about where these people ended up. We never get to know them on more than a surface level.

    This could have been a classic memoir- Burroughs certainly had the material for one. But he crammed an awful lot of events into such a small space that we're left feeling, as one other reviewer said, as though we've just watched an episode of Donahue. We're amused and intrigued but we don't really know these people, or what it all means.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Too Tragic to Be Funny, September 24, 2006
    When I first started this book I thought it was going to be funny and maybe full of childhood pain. I had no idea it could degenerate so quickly. This is pathos not pain. If everything in this book is true, then BRAVO to Burroughs for surviving it and being able to write about it with love and gentle humor. Also, if its totatlly true, then where are the officials who should have taken this poor kid away from his mother and locked the Dr. up?

    However, I found parts of it too horrific to be consumed by the general audience. There was some stuff in the book I just didn't need to know and I would have enjoyed it much better not knowing. I don't think this makes me a prude, just a little more selective. One doesn't need to dig through the remnants of vomit to know that one has just thrown up.

    This is indeed a horrifying memoir and reminds us that some people should not have children. Maybe his childhood made Augusten who he is today, but no one should have to live through that kind of tragedy because everyone doesn't make it through something this horrific quite as unscathed as Burroughs.

    ... Read more


    18. Core Training
    by Andrew Grey
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $3.99
    Asin: B00486U4P8
    Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
    Sales Rank: 1740
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Hugh Douglas isn’t thrilled about reaching his fortieth birthday. But he gets an unexpected present when a waiter he knows, Max Pierce, flirts hard with him at the gym. They end up going home together and having the hottest sex Hugh can remember… and Max even wants to stick around afterward. Starting a romance won’t be easy. Hugh can't help but feel his age compared to the much younger Max, even though Max makes Hugh feel rejuvenated. Max is dealing with daily doses of abuse from his alcoholic father, but Hugh can offer support from his own life experience. If they can help each other, it just might be enough to make a life together work. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hot and Sweet, October 30, 2010
    Core Training is a hot, lovable follow-up to Andrew Grey's earlier gym stories, Spot Me and Pump Me Up. Hugh is the hunk on the cover, older but in great shape, though maybe he's not feeling it. And Max is the hot, lovable younger guy who puts the starch back in Hughs shorts. You'll enjoy the incredible lovemaking scenes in this story, but you'll read it again for the conversations the two men have in between. What starts out casually could turn more serious, although the characters you may know from the previous stories make their appearances and add to the fun and humor in Core Training. You don't need to have read Spot Me and Pump Me Up, but you'll want to once you've met Hugh and Max, and the other guys who work out together. Core Training is a well-rounded tale of two men who find much more between them than sex, and goes beyond the perfect, fairy-tale ending you might expect of a story of its length.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hot and Fun With a Twist, November 3, 2010
    I found this story quite interesting. Like Mr. Grey's other gym stoires, this one is ful of hot guys and some steamy sex. But what I found most interesting was how he worked Max's alcoholic father into the story. It wasn't just fluff, but fun and actually had something to say.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read, November 9, 2010
    Absolutely loved this one. Max and Hugh are so 'real', they kept me fascinated. I liked how the love between them developed, much to both of their surprise. The sex is hot, but shows how much they care as well. Hugh is older but has never had a relationship, while Max is hoping he can find true love. A wonderful, wonderful read. ... Read more


    19. The Trap
    by Indigo Wren
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $5.50
    Asin: B00436EZGC
    Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
    Sales Rank: 2560
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    There’s no escaping the man at the heart of his memories.

    Three years ago, David and his college roommate, Ethan, were on the brink of unimaginable success, ready to revolutionize an industry and reap billions. Then David accidentally revealed the attraction he’d never wanted to feel, and certainly never meant Ethan to see. Mortified, he ran from everything that mattered—the fledgling company he’d helped to build, the bright future he’d worked to secure, and the man he couldn’t let himself want.

    Now he’s built a new life for himself. So what if it’s not the one he hoped for? He’s learned to look only forward, and not to envy the success Ethan achieved without him. He’s even learned to cope with the nightmares. The panic attacks. The failed relationships with women.

    When an opportunity arises to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime getaway to a private island resort, David never suspects a trap is about to be sprung. One where he’ll be forced to face the truths from which he’s been hiding—and the man from whom he’s never stopped running.

    Warning: This book contains erotic waffles, sexual math, blatant ABBA worship, kidnapping, nude napping, dog-napping, journal hijacking, betrayal, redemption, and red-hot man love so poignant and passionate, you won’t know whether to say “awwwwwww” or “oooooohhh!”

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Serious issues, October 25, 2010
    To start off, this book is extremely well written. I was easily pulled in and taken for a ride along with the two main characters. Only the author's incessant need to liken things to other things was a drawback to her writing skill.

    So why the three stars? Because there is nothing romantic about one of the main character's Ethan kidnapping David (the main character), then denying him food or water for an indeterminate period of time until he acquiesced to his commands. In the book David went 3 days before sneaking into the house (only to find everything locked up). David also suffers from claustrophobia. So of course Ethan spends an inordinate amount of time trying to tie David up. All of this is defended on the basis that Ethan has David's best interests at heart. Sorry but I can't get behind a romance when one of the participants is completely indifferent to the desires of the other.

    The only saving grace to this book is the writing skill.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Loved It!, October 25, 2010
    From the first written word until the last, I was captivated. I just HAD to keep reading, turning the pages to see what happened next. The characters were easy to relate to and genuine. I loved Ethan's story of Bella..Ms. Wren hooked me with that subject. I am a dog lover, and the rescue and recovery of an abused animal touched me and gave some insight into Ethan's character. He saw underneath the outside trappings to the beauty beneath. David was a great guy, just insecure, but to Ethan, he was the world. And, eventually, David saw in himself what Ethan always knew. I was disappointed when the book came to an end. I would have liked to keep on reading about two such complex characters and how there two lives were absorbed into one. But Ms. Wren knew what she was doing...the story had been told and any more would have been overkill!! I'm looking forward to her future books!!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Okay, no., October 25, 2010
    First off, though the initial blurb sounded interesting, the premise is actually totally implausible and the author does nothing to make it easier to swallow. In just three years, Ethan starts up a tech company that revolutionizes the industry and makes billions? Not only that, he finds time to buy an island and lay this intricate trap for David that involves earning frequent flyer miles, locks on every kitchen cabinet and door, and printed resort brochures? In three years? Maybe in eight or ten years, but three??

    The premise could have really benefited by having these guys be more than three years out of college, with some life and love experience behind them.

    All of that aside, most of the conflict is a plot device. Sure, David ran off on Ethan when he was caught masturbating while watching his best friend shower. And David's cowardice is the grounds for a great deal of hurt. But at no time - either in the past or present - does Ethan speak up about his feelings for David, instead letting David assume this now is all a petty revenge scheme. If either Ethan or David had the least bit of emotional depth, I could have bought the conflict. But we never see a reason for David to fear being hurt or rejected by Ethan, nor do we get anything that would make us think Ethan wouldn't confess his love for David. Instead, Ethan acts like a smug jerk, and David is so busy running away from everything that he just seems weak and whiney. Beyond that, these characters have the emotional depth of a teaspoon between them; the author gives us very little reason to care about them or their relationship.
    And then later in the story, there comes a point when David lies to get them off the island, and his lies are more convoluted and cruel than if he had just admitted the truth and promised to work on a future with Ethan (if he was able to convince Ethan of the lie, making him believe the truth would have been WAY easier). Instead, this leads to more separation and hurt feelings and contrived plot devices. It was all very frustrating and I found myself skipping ahead to the end.

    And worst of all, the sex wasn't very hot, even with the titillating inclusion of bits of bondage. I'm still not sure how Ethan ever thought that David was a submissive when it came to sex; I guess it's just lucky he was right.

    Save your money and skip this one, no matter how interesting the plot sounds.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Suspend disbelief, November 30, 2010
    #Might be spoilers in review#

    I agree with a lot of the reviews here, I had some serious issues with the plot line of "The Trap" -- at first. I mean is it really romantic to kidnap anyone and make them submit to you sexually, emotionally and physically? I likened the plot to Stockholm Syndrome for the first 35 pages of the novel. Then I realized I would have to *completely* suspend reality (because in the real world, where are the billionaires who want to kidnap me and make me their love slave on their private island paradise, then give me $675 million dollars? If there is one out there (and he looks like Brad Pitt, e-mail me!))

    But while the plot is totally unrealistic, the relationship between Ethan and David is beautiful and fascinating. That is what kept me reading "The Trap," when the former police officer in me was yelling, "David, have Ethan arrested, he kidnapped you." Romance books are supposed to take you out of the real world and into fantasy-land and in my opinion, "The Trap" does just that and very well. Ms. Wren is a skillful writer, and while the plot might not have been every readers cup of tea, her characterizations are exceptional. I look forward to reading more from her. She goes on my must-buy list of authors.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Love opens up your eyes to anything & everthing!, October 25, 2010
    If her first book is any indication, Indigo Wren is a star in the making. THIS IS A BEAUTIFUL ROMANCE. This book will capture you from beginning to end. And then make you want more. The writing is wonderful. She builds the characters and then creates scenes that will prevent you from putting this book down till you finish it.

    Fear ended what could have been the start of a beautiful relationship in both their business and personal lives 3 years ago. But time and distance has not changed how these two feel about each other. Get ready for your emotions to run high. Hot and explosive sex scenes with a touch of Dom/Sub and a little bondage to help release that fear and vulnerability. David and Ethan will make you fall in love with them as they find each other again.

    I've been reading romances for over 30 years and no longer waste my time finishing mediocre books. Buy this book with confidence; this is an author with a great future. Wonderful work Indigo...can't wait to read your next book.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read, November 2, 2010
    David Holmes is horrified to discover his vacation at a posh island paradise was carefully orchestrated by old friend and college roommate, Ethan Locke. Will the two men work through their misunderstandings and find their happily ever after?

    When David abandoned Ethan on the eve of their business venture taking off, he relinquished all rights not only to the business but also their friendship. For the next three years, he found himself plagued with nightmares, panic attacks, and failed relationships with the women he has been dating. The island resort sounds like the perfect place to get away from yet another breakup and finally put the past to rest. When he discovers Ethan is behind the vacation, he is furious yet he allows Ethan to convince him to stay and try to resolve their relationship. Ethan knows David better than David knows himself. Dominant Ethan recognizes David's submissive nature, and he is ready to assume control of their future. But is David ready to submit to Ethan?

    The Trap by Indigo Wren is a well written novel that has a slow beginning but gains momentum about a quarter of the way through. The Trap is a character driven novel told through David's point of view. His character is well developed, and readers gain an in depth understanding of what is going on inside his head. Ethan, on the other hand, is an enigma. While Ethan sees past the walls and barriers erected by David, he does not reveal much about himself. With Ethan's careful probing and astute observations, David undergoes a great deal of introspection which brings to light some startling revelations.

    The Trap is an enjoyable read. The slight BDSM theme of the novel mainly explores the Dominant/submissive nature of Ethan and David's relationship with a little bondage and spanking experimentation. Ms. Wren does a superb job of explaining the Dominant/submissive relationship, and The Trap is the perfect book for readers who are new to the BDSM genre.

    The Trap by Indigo Wren is a thoughtful and reflective book which is lightened by humor and friendship. David's journey of self-discovery is engaging and leads to an uplifting and heartfelt ending.

    Originally posted at Whipped Cream Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!, November 26, 2010
    What a great story. I would not hesitate to read it again; it's that enjoyable. Isn't that why we read fiction? Ok, so David is a dweeb and you just want to slap him (good job Ms. Wren). Ethan is sexy and fun and smart, but can be a butthead too, but hey, love is blind. What he does see in David is why we read: to finally discover what and why. If you want to read a m/m story to enjoy, this is the one. But if you HAVE to analyze every other word and pick out crap that sure doesn't happen in your semi-imaginary world, find fault with every little detail, then you better just skip it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars PHENOMENAL!!, October 25, 2010
    This book's title refers to so many things, but most especially to the traps we set inside of ourselves in the interest of what we think is self-preservation. If you are looking for cover-to-cover erotica, this is not the book for you. But if you, like me, cherish deep, rich stories that cause you to invest emotionally in what you are reading, than purchase The Trap without hesitation. The emotional journey of the two main characters is every bit as engaging as the physical love they discover together. I was utterly captivated by this book and will undoubtedly read it again. There are too many nuances contained within the pages to absorb them all fully in one reading.

    I was completely mind-boggled to discover that this was the first published work by Indigo Wren! She has joined a very short list of authors whose next book I will anxiously await. Bravo, Indigo Wren!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Reality can be better than fiction, October 30, 2010
    I have close to 600 titles from this genre on my iPhone Kindle.
    I have read the other reviews and would like to add my two cents.
    Werewolves, vampires, dragons, and faeries are all great vehicles for adding wonder and excitement to a story.
    Cops, soldiers, cowboys, and spies are equally good at pulling us out of our everyday lives.
    But the reason that we are buying THESE titles is to share the emotions that the characters have to live through.
    When I find a book that pulls me in to the point that the premise isn't as important as the depth of characterization, I can do nothing except say

    "WAY TO GO INDIE"!!! ... Read more


    20. Fish & Chips (Cut & Run Series )
    by Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $6.99
    Asin: B004FN1Q0G
    Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
    Sales Rank: 2033
    Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are back on the job, settled into a personal and professional relationship built on fierce protectiveness and blistering passion. Now they’re assigned to impersonate two members of an international smuggling ring—an out-and-proud married couple—on a Christmas cruise in the Caribbean. As their boss says, surely they’d rather kiss each other than be shot at, and he has no idea how right he is. Portraying the wealthy criminals requires a particular change in attitude from Ty and Zane while dealing with the frustrating waiting game that is their assignment. As it begins to affect how they treat each other in private, they realize there’s more to being partners than watching each other’s backs, and when the case takes an unexpected turn and threatens Ty’s life, he and Zane will have to navigate seas of white lies and stormy secrets, including some of their own. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars It was so worth the wait!, December 6, 2010
    If I were to tell my real life friends that for months I am awaiting a new meeting with my friends Ty and Zane they would have probably asked who Ty and Zane are and why they have not met them yet. Of course if they would have learned that Ty and Zane are characters from the book, the least I would have gotten myself from my friends would be multiple eye rolls.

    Nevertheless, this book WAS for me like meeting old friends, learning what they were up to while I did not see them and remarkably, learning that I did not know nearly as much as I thought I did about their characters.

    I am a type of reader who is usually worried about reading a sequel to the beloved book simply because the next book will not measure up to the first one and also because I often feel that writing a sequel when there is nothing else to learn about the characters and that author will not be able to come up with powerful conflict between the protagonists and instead will create fake conflict just for the sake of it.

    Okay, of course I saw that after Cut and Run Ty and Zane had plenty of emotional issues to resolve between them, but I was not sure after Sticks and Stones whether what is left between them (to say those words to each other) is going to be enough for the whole book. Oh boy was I wrong.

    It is like in every book we are shown more and more of who these guys are and what makes them tick and how much they really do care for each other even if they are scared as heck to admit it.

    And they do mature in every book and their relationship truly does reach new level of trust and understanding and now I am not worried at all that these amazing authors will not come with enough new material for the books to come in the series.

    Sex scenes were so so hot and I loved how often authors made me laugh throughout the book.

    Bravo!

    5-0 out of 5 stars These books just keep getting better and better!, December 7, 2010
    Like the previous reviewer, I've been waiting for this for so long I was concerned I'd end up being disappointed. Thankfully I had nothing to worry about - this book was awesome and everything I could have asked for. There's action and adventure, sure, and there's romance and relationship stuff. (Yes!) And of course, there's comedy - from witty banter to pratfalls. Really, it has it all folks!

    The only problem is I was so excited to read it, I read really fast. I think I might have to read it all over again. ;)

    And then there's a preview of the 4th book, Divide & Conquer, at the end... Needless to say, I CAN'T WAIT!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fish & Chips by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux, December 13, 2010
    Fish & Chips is the third book in the Cut & Run series by these two authors and is amazingly just as good as the first two! This series has definitely become one of my very favorites. I can't seem to get enough of Ty and Zane!

    In this story, the two FBI agents are sent on a cruise to impersonate two criminals; Corbin and Del Porter, a gay married couple involved in an antique smuggling ring, and attempt to get information on their two business partners, Lorenzo Bianchi and Vartan Armen. Sounds simple enough, right? Of course, this is Ty and Zane I'm talking about, so it's only a matter of time before things go haywire and become a complete cluster! There are two Italian agents of the Guardia di Finanza on board, who are what you would call a bit crooked, that they have to deal with, an Italian woman that Del (Ty) is suppose to be friends with, who believes Ty can speak Italian when he most certainly cannot, high rolling poker games, a rock climbing catastrophe and, as expected, someone attempts to murder Ty. Well, actually, more than one someone, make that a few someones. Can the poor man go anywhere without having a big bulls-eye painted on his ass?

    As for their personal relationship in this story, Zane and Ty easily grow closer and more comfortable with each other while impersonating a married couple. Ty accepts the fact that he has fallen in love with Zane, while Zane is still in denial, or if not in denial, at least not looking to closely at his own emotions, but he does obviously feel very strongly for Ty. Hopefully he'll be more willing to admit it in the next book! If not I'm going to be wishing he was a real person so I could give him a good smack! I hope Divide and Conquer (the next one) comes out soon! I can't wait for more of these boys!

    5-0 out of 5 stars These books just keep getting better and better!, December 9, 2010
    I've been waiting for this for so long I was concerned I'd end up being disappointed. Thankfully I had nothing to worry about - this book was awesome and everything I could have asked for. There's action and adventure, sure, and there's romance and relationship stuff. (Yes!) And of course, there's comedy - from witty banter to pratfalls. Really, it has it all folks!

    The only problem is I was so excited to read it, I read really fast. I think I might have to read it all over again. ;)

    And then there's a preview of the 4th book, Divide & Conquer, at the end... Needless to say, I CAN'T WAIT! ... Read more


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