Thursday, July 19, 2012

One Small ThingOne Small Thing by Piper Vaughn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ebook, 214 pages
Published May 4th 2012 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language English

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**Mild Spoilers

Funny and fresh. Warm and fulfilling. Surprisingly sexy.

Dual POV


A baby changes everything. In this initially light-hearted and humorously written story, a young gay man has to figure out how to bartend, go to beauty school and make sure his daughter has the best possible care.


Rue, is a young "club boy" who decides to keep his baby. His decision creates havoc in his already hectic life, but caused me to instantly like him. His humor and outlook made it easy to want more Rue. Just ask Erik. You gotta love a man who thinks:

"Might as well make like Lee and press on."

Friday, July 13, 2012

Circuit Theory
Expected publication: July 30th 2012 by Riptide Publishing
Edition language -  English

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"Stiletto heels didn’t actually hurt when they poked into your pixelated cranium, but it did look rather odd, like I was being weirdly topped by a woman with a shoe fetish. Whoops. Man. Skins could be very androgynous in Synth."

The instantly likeable and hilarious beginning caught me off guard. By the time I decided this was going to be a lighthearted romp in a virtual world, I didn't foresee the depth that this short story could possibly hold. A very surprising read, often funny, often emotional, completely unique.


Dante and Byron have created their perfect reality...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

PortsidePortside by Elyan Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Published June 18th 2012 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN13 9781937551414

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I don't know how I feel about this book and yet it earns an undeniable 5 stars.

I'm left unsure, but not about the writing, or the characters, or the story. I'm not exactly unsettled either. Maybe the best way to describe what I'm left with is that I am so blown away by the writing that it's difficult to sort through my thoughts.


Elyan Smith has written one of the tightest and most vivid books I've come across. The imagery created is almost a little, too real. This is life. This is reality. In a way that feels very raw, the author exposes the reader to a place too common, that we easily and often ignore. Not only did the author accomplish placing me in this depressed town, where I could literally feel the environment, he also placed me right next to Iwan. Rather than only seeing the world from Iwan's eyes, I was also able to see the world looking at Iwan. Or, maybe that was just me looking to see Iwan.


Iwan has accepted his life for what it is. He doesn't hope, he doesn't dream but he still, wants. Some of my confusion for writing this review comes down to Iwan's character. Not because he isn't very well written but because I'm not sure if I feel contented or not about Iwan. And yet, I wouldn't change a thing about him.

Lyn is hard, rough and probably the best friend Iwan could have. She is an excellent supporting character.

Tommy's character could have been written so differently, but I have to say how much I appreciate the author choosing to take this path with him. I think 100 other author's would have chosen to take a different approach with Tommy but again, he was perfectly created.

Jonah has me disconcerted. I don't know what he knows, what he understands or what he feels. I think that is by design though and it is not a derogatory statement on his character. In fact, he is what gives me hope in this story.

"What do you want? Jonah called..."
..."Nothing." The wind dragged the word from Iwan's mouth."

This book is filled with innuendo and allusion and through that, and a second read-through I found myself understanding things I don't understand. Thank you Mr. Smith for a brilliant book. I will be seeking out more of your work, to be sure.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ebook, 139 pages
Published:  August 9th 2011 by Loose Id
ISBN:13 9781611185447
Edition Language: English
No Spoilers

3-4 stars. Sometimes I really wish there was a 3.8 star rating, ya know?


This was a sweet, romantic, quick read that hit all the right marks. The writing was fresh and well paced. The story moved along with little to no lulls.


I found Shane to be a surprisingly contemplative and sentimental character who tugged at my heart strings. He let and eleven year old mistake nearly ruin him. When times were bad, he was the most happy. When times were supposed to be good, he was the most miserable.

"Shane the selfish jerk strikes again."

Jesse, as seen through Shane's eyes is someone you would want to know. He is not perfect but beautiful. Not confident but positive, clumsy but gifted.

"After all those years, all the resentment I'd felt toward you, I hadn't thought that hurting you would hurt me too."

I had to take a little bit away for some predictability in this story but I add high marks for the thrilling tummy twinges I enjoyed. I'm sure that I'll be looking for more from these authors soon.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ebook, 85 pages
Published July 9th 2012 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN13 9781937551452
Edition Language English

A very clever book, with a very clever title.

Kyle is every human.

Grimm is potential.

Every human needs potential.

This is a profound and profoundly beautiful effort by a masterful writer, who has time and again caused me to look within and discover new truths about myself and humanity. Damn Voinov for his incursion of me.

I had a long, descriptive review typed out for this book, but it just isn’t necessary. My review is simply to tell anyone, who will listen, to read-this-book. For yourself.

"He understood it then. The potential, the utter, unbelievable freedom to be whoever existed underneath his skin."

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Counterpunch (Belonging, #3)Counterpunch by Aleksandr Voinov
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ebook, 173 pages
Published November 4th 2011 by Storm Moon Press   (first published November 2nd 2011)
ISBN 1937058174 (ISBN13: 9781937058173)

5 of 5 stars false

No spoilers -- Just some quotes.

Go look this up before reading this book:

"What's my name, Ernie?" -------------------- Muhammad Ali to Ernie Tyrell

**** I feel it is important to note that you do not need to be a boxing fan or aficionado to understand and ultimately love this book. Voinov carefully places you into this world and guides you effortlessly, so, the experience is completely full, rich and most of all, enlightening.


Walls closing in with no way to escape, is a feeling that penetrates throughout this story. Voinov's tight writing and hard hitting peak in this book, leaving a lasting impact.


We see our own, familiar world, with some slight changes to the rules, through Brooklyn's eyes. He is a man who has known freedom and has lost it. He is forced to tolerate confinement, humiliation, pain, torture, sexual abuse and worst of all, loss of self. Brooklyn is a slave.

"Okay, so slavery sometimes fucks up freemen, too."

Nathaniel, the smooth, educated, wealthy gentleman is the only one, who it seems, knows there is more to Brooklyn than being a slave. Nathaniel appears to be perfect, but as is typical for Voinov, that would be too easy.

Although this story comes to us through Brooklyn, the secondary characters are vivid. They range from likeable to hated. Watching Voinov paint such depth into these characters is fascinating. A writer could easily let his novel rest on the strength of his primary players, but not Voinov, he develops them to extract a full range of emotion from the reader.


As a reader it is hard to know what is worse; Brooklyn's sentence or his self-imprisonment. He knows he is still a man with values and worth but he also feels that he can never pay for his crimes. This would be easy to accept if you were certain that he deserved his punishment. The nagging feeling that eats at the pit of your stomach just grows and grows until you think both Brooklyn and yourself are going to burst. Then he does. And so do you.

This book could be read for the pure intent of enjoying a tense ride. There is, however, so much more here. A lesson. Do I dare compare this with the despair and hope in a book as epic as Uncle Tom's Cabin? I do. The message is no less important now than it was in 1852. Or in 1967 when Muhammad Ali demanded to be acknowledged. Powerful writing, powerful message, powerful characters. Easily comparable.

"Fight like a man or die like a slave."

In a word, exceptional.

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