Tuesday, February 16, 2016

OJ's Newest #BookReview OJ - A Cook's Tale by @mannramblings #gayromance #mmromance

A Cook's Tale
(Ship Logs of the Santa Claus: Book Two)
By Mann Ramblings
3.75 Stars
Wayward Ink Publishing Unit 1, No. 8 Union Street Tighes Hill NSW 2297 Australia 
Ramblings, Mann (2015-11-27). A Cook's Tale (Ship Logs of the Santa Claus Book 2)  
Wayward Ink Publishing. Kindle Edition. 
EBook ISBN: 978-1-925222-70-8 

Available for purchase at:
Wayward Ink Publishing

After a horrific breakup, Erron Murfin is bitter, homeless, and friendless.  When the cook’s position on the Santa Claus presents itself, Erron decides to escape his current circumstance and join the crew.  On board he reconnects with family friend Gamin Wells, whose own secrets and issues begin to surface upon Erron’s arrival.  The least of which is the reason the pair haven’t laid eyes on one another in over twelve years. 

As Erron settles into his new duties, the men on board take an interest in their newest crew member.  Among those intrigued by Erron are polyamorous couple, Barrus and James.  Despite Erron’s cautious nature, he’s drawn into a triad relationship with the pair. 

But there’s something about Gamin… Is Erron too damaged to confront his own feelings? Will his past prevent him from finding what he needs? 

Personal Tags: War; Hot Angst; Hot Sex; Alpha types; Space Traders; Science Fiction; Not Really Taboo; Older Man/Younger Man; Three Ways. 

OJ's Review 


I had read the first book in this series, Ship’s Log of the Santa Claus, and had thoroughly enjoyed its premise and the way the whole story carried through. The pace of the first book is well done and the plot unfolds just right. So when I saw there was book two I bought right away. Unfortunately life happens and I couldn’t get to it as quickly as I wanted. Finally, here it is, the further stories and escapades of the crew of the Santa Claus, a trading ship and home to the unwanted veterans and survivors of the Centauri Civil War.  

Erron knew the decommissioned ship had once housed over a hundred and fifty soldiers while transporting supplies and vehicles. For the thirty or so current members of the crew, it must be fairly spacious. After the Civil War, the Santa Claus had been purchased by Captain Danverse and populated primarily with a host of men whose military contracts had been bought out after being marked redundant. 



With a wolfish grin, Erron peeled his shirt over his head, catching the complete attention of all the players. As his flat, tight stomach came into view, all conversation stopped. Every male in the room projected his need at Erron without a single syllable. He tossed his shirt into the pot before he unbuckled his pants. A collective gasp went through the room as he peeled his clothing down his lean, taut thighs and depositing it on top of his shirt. Erron stood before the men in a pair of snug, wine colored briefs that molded obscenely to his form. “Holy shit, the new boy is packing!” Priest shouted. 

 He’d never be large and imposing, his frame didn’t allow it. A lean body and smooth skin could still turn heads. The treatment responsible for his hair growing in green made all the rest on his body the same color. Jade colored hair on his arms and legs was too odd and a green pubic zone made him feel like a perverted clown, so it had to go. 


Tall and thick, with coarse hair on his arms and legs, Gamin’s size and sturdiness were a stark contrast to Erron’s smaller stature. Wisps of fur reached around the sides of the chef’s rounded belly that matched the meaty globes of his behind. Everything about Gamin was solid and manly. The peppering of gray on his head and beard fit him as well. 


A large man chuckled at the top of the steps. “A little anxious to get on board?” His head was shaved to the point of stubble, matching the growth framing his jaw. Dark eyes and a wide smile made Erron look twice. Strong and confident as he descended the steps, the man wore a snug T-shirt and breeches lined with pockets down the side. He was thick and muscular with a little padding around the waist. Obviously, the man knew his way around the gym, but enjoyed his food as well. 


Barrus and James were good together. Slightly mismatched, Barrus was large, wide, and slightly gruff to James’ lean and kept appearance.  A wave of vertigo hit him as gravity upended itself and the ladder was no longer under his foot. He braced for impact, but found himself caught in James’ arms. James may have been leaner than Barrus, but the man was strong and, damn it, he smelled good. 


This is a really good M/M Science Fiction story with a solid plot and great characters. All of our favorite characters from the first book are back, the MCs as SCs this time and some of the SCs are now MCs, as it should be. The focus changes from Captain Danvers and Sergeant Jacks to Gamin, the chef, and his story which is intertwined with Erron’s story.  Gamin was Erron’s mother’s best friend, until they had a huge falling out and never spoke again, some twelve years previous to Gamin and Erron reconnecting. Erron’s mother was a woman, unlucky in love, who had Erron and Gamin became his father figure as he was growing up. 

As Erron joins the crew the angst over his nascent, unacknowledged, feelings for Gamin come in conflict with his feelings for Barrus and James, an open relationship couple with a somewhat, although really incorrect, tawdry reputation onboard. It is this interaction, intertwined with Erron’s reaction to the anti-space nausea medication that sets the stage for a truly heart-warming story. 


Mann Ramblings delivers with his easy flowing, comprehensible style of writing. The story arc flows at a natural, progressive pace without any rough edges or unpredictable jumps to distract the reader away from the emotional, exciting story. The sex scenes are really smoking hot, in an intense M/M way, reminiscent of the first book. Gamin and Niven’s story is told in such a tasteful, emotional and happy manner that I truly felt this enormous sense of loss, adding so much hot angst to this story. The characters are well developed with a complete wholeness about them. I can feel Erron’s mishaps and his feelings, Gamin’s gut wrenching sense of loss and Barrus and James’ interplay and interaction in their relationship. A truly solid, well written book. 

I hope we are treated to a third in the series: Barrus and James’ story begs to be told. 


Like many gay men, when MANN RAMBLINGS grew up, there weren’t any heroes he could relate to. The world held him back while he tried futilely to hide the real person inside. So much has changed since those hollow days. He finally found his voice, the voice that says it’s all right to revel in the so-called inappropriate joys, laughs, and loves that storm inside a man’s head. It took a long time to find that courage and now that it’s here, he plans to use it well. 

While spending years more focused on visual arts, he never let go of his innate passion for storytelling— he wanted to write and draw comic books when he grew up. Once he discovered M/ M fiction, a whole new world opened with new possibilities. Why couldn’t you have fantastic and dynamic tales with an M/ M cast? He started reading the online tales of authors like, Night Tempest, Rob Colton, and Alicia Nordwell, which only fueled within him the need to create. Eventually he found GayAuthors.org, and with a little coercive nudge from Night Tempest, started sharing his tales with an unexpected level of positive response. That experience and support gave him the courage to cross his fingers and aim for the world of M/ M publishing. 

Born and raised in Michigan, Mann Ramblings continues to type away, wishing it was practical to use a noisy, old fashioned keyboard that clacks with each strike, if only to annoy his loving partner and spoiled miniature dachshund. 

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