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Monday, May 10, 2010

New Zeland Day

So since my shopping binge some people have been wondering what my theme will be in my next reading jag. Ta da!!! New Zealand. Didn't plan it that way but whatever. It's a great theme. What you need to know about New Zealand: it's down south near Australia. It's smallish, has two main islands and about 3.5 million people. The Maori are the native people to New Zealand. It is part of the commonwealth, the capital is Wellington, and some very obscure pointless facts:
  • Less than 5% of the population of New Zealand is human - the rest are animals (there are nine sheep to every human in New Zealand)

  • New Zealand has more bookshops per head of population than any other country; one for every 7,500 people (compared with one for every 19,000 in England and one for every 50,000 in the USA)

  • Each year some 400 significant earthquakes are recorded in New Zealand, of which roughly 100 are likely to be felt without instruments, but aren't of sufficient importance to warrant public notice.

  • "Lord of the Rings" was filmed entirely in New Zealand.

Go visit, I hear it's lovely. I know there are some great bloggers from there, that should be encouragement enough. On with the show.

Angelfish by M. King (82 pages)
Kelly has been away at college in England and has been told it's time to come home to New Zealand and take up his position in the family cracker company. He hates his life there, his cold distant parents who want to control him, he's in the closet, hates his company's products, life sucks but he is too chicken to say anything and goes along, attending charity dinners, golfing and pretending to care. He meets gardener Craig and is smitten by him and his angelfish tattoo. That day he starts to freak out and this fish starts coming to life and taunting him about his life. He thinks he's going nuts and the fish basically keep showing up as he starts hitting the gay clubs and avoiding Craig at all cost while continuing to deny what he wants. Eventually Craig and him get together and he has to figure out what he wants. I'm so glad they said he was in therapy because this guy was totally nutso, and not because of the fish thing. LOL He started out someone I really liked, the book was humorous, the descriptions of Christchurch are amazing, it's like being there, but he just degenerated into the ass who seemed to be totally out of it half the time, couldn't think straight, had the talking fish thing going on, was turning mean, just jerky. He just started to redeem himself at the end of the story where even he admits it might not be true love forever but he's going to try it out. So I'm a bit conflicted. Did I enjoy it? On the whole yes, but did I love Kelly? Not so much, he was basically a spineless wimp who continued to act 12, sneaking out to clubs, going along with everything his parents wanted, turning nasty, while listening to an imaginary fish. (Get thee on Prozac.) For the setting alone it's worth a read and it is a good book, it just left me kind of .... unsettled. Not a bad thing perhaps to stir up a reader from time to time. I thought the author must be from the area but it says she's British, but she's either been there, is a hell of a researcher or it's all completely made up, but I believed the descriptions.

Mark's Toy Box by Laine Williams (34 pages)
Nurse Mark and Policeman Keith have been living together for awhile. Mark (an acknowledged sub) has hooked up with some dominant assholes in the past and been abused but Keith is wonderful. He treats Mark like gold and is big enough and dominant enough to please Mark and while he'd like more, he would never push Keith who is in his first gay relationship. Mark has a toy box with some stuff from his past relationships that he plays with when Keith isn't home. One day he's wearing a corset, tall black boots and is prancing around when Keith comes home early. Mark is terrified Keith will be freaked out and leave him but Keith gets totally into it and handcuffs Mark and does the nasty cop routine which has Mark in heaven. Keith later agrees to try some of the toys and gets Mark to admit that he'd like a bit more of the rough stuff. This was the first story published a couple of years before the 3 below which is a continuation of their relationship. This was a smoking little story as Keith gets into the roll play and Mark is loving every minute of it while at the same time terrified that kind gentle straight arrow Keith will freak out about all the bondage crap and toys he's got in the trunk. I would have loved to read a story about how Keith and Mark hook-up as this is Keith's first relationship with a guy so I'm not sure if it was GFY or just finally out of the closet. Set in NZ of course although that doesn't really play a roll in the story.

Lessons in Mastery 1, 2, 3 by Laine Williams (25 29 & 48 pages)


Under Control: Mark is having a rough day at the hospital where he had to deal with someone who was badly abused by their partner under the guise of consent (BDSM). He's very upset about it and later that night the guy is back, even more badly injured and this time in intensive care. Later at home Keith asks him to top. He's been hinting at this but Mark is terrified due to a bad experience and not wanting to be the one in "control". His father badly abused him as a child and he has to figure out that having power doesn't mean abuse and that he has more control that he believes in their relationship. It was very touching to see Mark dealing with the abuse and really letting Keith in and trying to understand that not all people with power abuse it and that he had his own power he wasn't even aware of.

Under Restraint: After realizing that Mark is really into BDSM, wanting to please him and give him what he needs, he arranges for Mark's birthday to go to a professional Dom where he can dominate Mark under the guidance of Master Joseph because he's just learning. Mark is a little stunned but immediately falls into the submissive role and things go really well although the whole time Keith is a little freaked. He doesn't understand why Mark needs or can enjoy this especially given his abusive past and he is confused and terrified by the fact that hurting Mark turned him on so much.It was interesting to see Keith trying to understand the whole dynamic of their relationship and Mark not even really able to explain why it works for him. Perhaps it's a bit more sex based story than the first because it's more a long sex scene with some relationship stuff around the actual scene.

Under Fire: Things are going well, the guys get their D/s on once in a while at Master Joseph's but Keith comes home after a bust gone bad. One cop died and his partner is badly injured. He feels responsible and soon spirals into depression and alcohol abuse. Mark tries to be supportive but he fears for their relationship, his own job is on the line because he's so caught up in Keith's spiral he's screwing up on the job and could kill someone. He finally confronts Keith about the drinking and Keith very nearly hits him, but stops and takes off. He finally agrees to get help and they have to rebuild their relationship which takes weeks and weeks as Keith goes to counselling to cope with his guilt over the both incidents. My heart broke for Mark in this one. He tried so hard to give Keith what he needed to heal but he was so far into his depression and a beer bottle he couldn't accept it, and when Keith turned on him it was so sad. It seemed pretty accurate (to my knowledge) of how it can be for cops in that situation. The author didn't gloss over it and just have him go to therapy one day and come home happy, it was really hard for them for months, not days, but they loved each other and had to fight to make it work and that came through.

All in all I loved this series. I fell in love with book 1 way back in the day when Jen recommended it and I finally got the other two (and then saw Mark's Toy Box) in the ARe sale. It deals with some serious themes, domestic abuse, understanding D/s, and dealing with depression and alcoholism, but is done with such sympathetic characters you just want to see them work it all out and be happy.


23 comments:

Chris said...

Gorgeous picture there of NZ!

So Angelfish was pretty mixed for you, huh? I think I got pulled more into the freaky headspace and cut the guy some slack due to that whole psychotic break thing. :D

Tam said...

Well, that's why I said I was glad he was in therapy because he obviously seriously needed help but he turned into such a nasty piece of work I didn't like him much by the end, psychotic or not. Certainly elicited an emotional response.

Chris said...

Indeed! :D

Lily said...

That is a beautiful picture of NZ. The sheep's pretty cute too. :)

I haven't read Angelfish yet but I did read Mark's Toy box when it first came out. I've got the next two in my TBR but never did get the third one. Thanks for reminding me. I'll have to get it and read all three of them.

wren boudreau said...

You must have been influencing me across the air waves! I just bought the Lessons in Mastery books.

I love the picture, too.

Kris said...

You forgot to mention the other things about Kiwis and sheep, Tam. Come now. Don't be shy. :P

Tam said...

The next three get much more into the emotional side Lily and Toy Box was just more fun, although here is still smexin' of course. :-)

I'm looking forward to your opinion on Angelfish.

Tam said...

I have the power Wren. ;-) Hope you enjoy them.

Oh no no no Kris. You are NOT dragging me into the middle of an Aussie-Kiwi battle. Uh uh, not gonna go there. LOL

K. Z. Snow said...

I had the opportunity to move to New Zealand when I was in college. Had an eccentric German professor who was relocating there and wanted his favorite students to come along. (No, not as a harem; he was married, and just very fond of his friends.)

Many times over the years, I've regretted not doing it. I think I would've been happy there.

Tam said...

You never know how things would have turned out. I have a feeling it seems quite isolated to be there, not many people, far from anywhere, but I suppose it depends on the personality type. The descriptions in Angelfish make that city sound very appealing and lovely and you surely can't beat the scenery or all the book stores. And if you like sheep .... :-)

ErotRomReader (Janna) said...

Aww, your post makes me feel a bit homesick for New Zealand. I know it sounds strange because I'm not from NZ, but it's one of the few countries/places that made me feel at home the minute I stepped from the plane. It's a beautiful country and the Kiwi's are very friendly and mellow.

The Laine Williams books sound wonderful. Good thing I have some of the ARe reward bucks left from last Sunday ;)

Tam said...

I've heard very nice things about NZ. I did work for a short period of time with someone who was on an exchange from there. We sometimes trade government employees for short periods of time.

I really do like that Laine Willims series. Hope you enjoy it.

Kris said...

Wuss! :P

Eyre said...

Kris, I have to admit that I had similar thoughts when I read that fact about the sheep. ;) Like you, I can't believe Tam passed up the opportunity for a sheep joke.

Tam, I haven't read the Williams' books. I guess I'll have to add them now. My TBR list is already insurmountable. :)

Tam said...

You guys are naughty naughty girls. Sheesh. And who says I wasn't THINKING it? LOL

Sorry Eyre to contribute to your overwhelming TBR file. LOL

Sarah said...

Awww, I like living in NZ. Is nice. Lots of LOTR round here and crap summer weather and a hole in the ozone.

And, I hesitate to mention that Australia has waaay more sheep that us. O-o But, less than China.

Tam said...

Having a nice big hole is nice Sarah. Oh wait, maybe not. :-P I think I should have skipped that sheep reference, I seem to have opened a can of worms. LOL

Tracy said...

Although I've read some bdsm in the past I don't gravitate towards it at all. You've really mad me want to read these stories though. Stop it. My wallet can't handle it! lol

Tam said...

It's not super hardcore Tracy and most of the time even though Keith is more dominant he's really kind and loving. It's really only the second book that is heavy on the BDSM and does have a major enema scene but it was done to show the closeness and worked for me. If you get them hope you enjoy them.

Chris said...

AND - they just arrived at Fictionwise, which is having a 40% micropay rebate right now. Ack.

Tam said...

I hope you like them Chris. I'll feel badly now if you hate them. LOL

Chris said...

I haven't picked them up - I have put them in my wishlist to think about them. :)

Lily said...

I saw them at FW this morning and bought book #3 which I was missing. Now I just have to read them. :)