Special thanks to Leontine from Leontine's Book Realm for the super header.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Holy Hump Day

I could get used to this second day of work being Wednesday. Although it throws me off. But I'll survive I'm sure. :-) Some things I've read lately. Woohoo, go me. (My linkability button is not working on this stupid computer but I'll fix it this evening for the publisher info.)

A Trouble Halved by Andy Eisenberg (71 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Allen is a senior in high school and pissed he has to go and spend a week at his Grandparents for Christmas. He ends up chatting by chance with the rich star of the football team who mentions he’s going to be up in the same area. Allen outs himself and is surprised to find that Greg is also gay and interested. They arrange to spend some time together at his Grandparents' and due to a storm Greg stays over. They also arrange for him to stay for the following week as his parents have to work. This is a sweet story of two young guys just working on their first relationship. Allen is afraid to come out although his Grandmother and brother says it’s no secret. Finally on NYE, he makes the move by kissing Greg in front of his family, even though they’d have to be blind not to catch on. It’s a bit of escapism, Greg claims his family and team mates are fine with it, everyone in Allen’s family seems fine with it and the life on the farm with a big family seems very ideal, but if that kind of happy place doesn’t bother you it was a cute story about two young guys. One thing I’ll note, and I know this is publisher requirements usually, great pains are taken to note that both boys are already 18. I don’t want to read a story about a 34 year old and a 16 year old, but to me, when two guys are 16 or 17, it makes sense that they are likely sexually involved in some way. Also in Canada “legal” is 16 (and many places in the US it’s less than 18) so I always find that a bit of an artificial number and when special mention is made it tends to make me roll my eyes.

An Act of Generosity by Sharon Maria Bidwell (86 pages)
Changeling Press

Robert confronts his foster brother’s old girlfriend who is trying to extort money from him in the guise of helping her son James. He agrees and gives her money but says no more. A few years later he’s interviewing for a personal assistant when 21 year old Lee applies for the job. He’s instantly attracted and even though he knows Lee fudged on his application he hires him and things are going well, although Lee lives 90 min. from the office. As Robert has a large house, his partner convinces him to let Lee live with him. Of course they end up in a relationship and things are going really well several months later when Lee starts to withdraw and he has a confession to make. His name is not Lee, it’s James and he intended to thank Robert for helping him get out (he took some of the money and found his bio-father) but once he started working for him he just didn’t. The story passes through a lot of time, it’s a few months before they hook up and maybe six months later before the confession. There’s not much conflict, just will Robert be able to live with the lies and that’s all solved within 20 min. I liked both characters well enough but didn’t love either of them. Not for any particular reason, they just seemed a bit bland (and normal perhaps LOL). Also nothing much happens, they go to work, they talk, they eventually have sex, they go to work. It’s certainly not bad, just didn’t grab me.

Oasis by AJ Llewellyn (143 pages)
Silver Publishing

Elias lives with roommate Josh, a porn videographer. Elias has had a rough year, his best friend who he fathered a child with is withholding visitation, his BF left him and he gained a lot of weight. He has since lost the weight and Josh convinces him to go to Leather Pride in Palm Springs, all the sex you can handle. They aren’t there 5 min. until Josh is caught up in a threesome with twins. Elias isn’t sure why, but he feels weird about that, he then gets himself caught up in a fivesome (is that a word) with Josh the twins and a marine and again, feels a bit weirded out after the fact. He runs into real-life porn star Samuel Colt and has a fun time and tries to hook up a threesome with him and Josh but now Josh is getting squicked out that Elias is having sex with someone else and FINALLY they clue in that they actually love each other. If you like your sex ONLY between the two main love interests this is not the book for you. There’s sex between everyone pretty much, although once they confess their love they decide to remain exclusive (except for anniversary sex with the porn star). There are descriptions of porn shoots and all manner of combinations. Despite what could seem to be a sex overload, I didn’t find it so. I liked Elias a lot as a character, his love for his son and apathy about life with all his stress. I also enjoyed seeing Josh, a guy who floats through life with all good things falling at his feet, kind of having to wake up and smell the coffee. The author is personal friends with Samuel Colt, and I assume he has a pretty good insider view of the gay porn world, so if you want to get a less glamorized glimpse it will be interesting and if you don’t mind lots of sex with lots of different people. Well, in your books, not that I’m judging mind you, whatever floats your boat. ;-)

Jesse by Jan Irving (183 pages)
Loose Id

Kyle and Mac were raising Mac’s younger brothers Jesse (17) and David (12) when Mac was killed in an accident on their ranch. However the kid’s drunken abusive father shows up and takes the kids back. A few years later, Jesse finally gets custody of David and shows up looking for help. Kyle welcomes them with open arms, but Jesse has a plan, he’s been in love with Kyle since a kid and he’s determined to have him. There is also a psychic connection that Kyle and Jesse share where they can hear each other speak. Kyle is freaked out at first, Jesse is 20, he’s 45 and his lover’s brother, but Jesse is determined and while Kyle is sure he’s vanilla, Jesse is determined to take him to the far side of kink and once they get started Kyle is totally on-board. Meanwhile someone is sabotaging the ranch and David is acting weird. Usually I get squicked by the relationship between family members (as in the brother of the dead, not twins, that’s a whole other story), but for some reason I didn’t find it too weird, maybe because I never got a sense of Mac and that it was a great romance between him and Kyle. Jesse’s dominance came through in the writing and I was kind of surprised that Kyle jumped so quickly on the butt-plug-with-a-tail/role playing bandwagon; however Jesse was a force of nature. I’m not sure the paranormal aspect was really necessary, I suppose it was supposed to show their connection was greater than with Mac, but I think it could have been easily left aside and still worked well. It was an okay read with some steamy sex scenes involving role play.


Sweet Vernal Zephyr said...

I'm glad to hear that you don't judge ;)

The Oasis sounds fun and I'm interested to see how five guys fit together.

Jesse reminds me of Keeping Promise Rock, just a little bit. Not a lot.

Thanks for the reviews! Miranda

Tam said...

I'd have to discard a few amazing friends if I judged Miranda. LOL There were some tongues involved in that 5-some. :-)

Average Reader said...

Hmmm, what an eclectic platter of offerings here! I think probably the Eisenberg sounds best for me, though I like the sound of the realism in the Llewellyn. I've read fiction I've enjoyed in past by Irving, but I have a feeling the unnecessary telepathy might put me off this one.

Tam said...

It was quite different than my last mix which had me squeeing all over the place. None of these are "bad", just not super stand-outs.

The Eisenberg one is very sweet without much angst, well, probably as much angst as most teenagers have which in their minds is the WORST EVER. LOL

The only thing that made me question the Llewellyn realism was the sheer number of times all these guys could have sex in a night. LOL Viagra anyone? But it didn't romanticize the gay porn industry that's for sure. I don't mean to say it's super negative, but probably more real than you usually read in a "romance"

Jenre said...

To be honest none of these appeal. This is not necessarily a bad thing since my TBR pile is bursting at the seams :).

Tam said...

I know the feeling Jen. Sometimes it's a bit of relief not to have the "OMG, I must get that now" feeling when reading a review.

Chris said...

Is Oasis part of a series? The "Palm Spring Diaries" bit suggests that it is.

Tam said...

It doesn't appear to be and based on the acknowledgement in front no. But I guess who knows. The author never mentioned it though in his blog post about the book.

Lily said...

Definitely a mix of stories. I've got a couple on my TBR and I'm looking forward to varied 2, 3, 4 & 5 combos in AJ's book. He sure does like to write a lot of sex into his stories.

btw, love the pic!

Tam said...

Thanks Lily. There is a lot of sex but it didn't seem like overload as I've read in some stories. It seemed to fit.

Anonymous said...

The only one I've read is the Irving book. It wasn't my favorite by her, but it was okay.

One of the issues I have with reading books with teenage protagonists is that I've taught 18 year olds, and sometimes the characters seem way too old for their ages or conversely, way too immature for me to want to see them in intimate scenes.

Tam said...

Sometimes you just don't want to be too close to what you know Eyre. The one kid seemed pretty mature in this one, but I don't spend that much time around kids that age, and with my daughter's friends they are all girls.