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Slightly different in comparison to other serials I read by the same authors due to the sci-fi/futuristic setting instead of an historical one, there is in any case a common thread. The primitive and passionate nature of human beings is tamed by the force of intellect or by the ability to dominate their own emotions. From this perspective, even a violent act as rape becomes a teaching tool. That is probably the most difficult point for me to understand, I always avoided the gratuitous violence, and maybe, I can accept it here cause, as I said, this time there is a plan behind, a purpose, that in this futuristic society, is working. Now, take out it from this environment, and my prejudices remain the same.

Another point that let me accept it is that, while difficult, and particular in its own way, the bond between Egon and Halvar is there, and it was real, I arrived even to see it turned from captive to protector, with Egon caring for an aging Halvar, and dreading the time when Halvar will die, cause it will deprive Egon of his mainstay, the reason why he managed to find a balance in his own existence as a slave.

Publisher: Love in Dark Settings Press; 2nd edition (January 17, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Pleasure (Slaves of the Northern Corporate Dominion)

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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Short novella, a mix of sci-fi and futuristic romance, with a touch of steampunk, I had the feeling this was part of a bigger plot, but knowing Willa Okati, I’m not entirely sure, she is not new in building an almost complete universe, just for one short story (and that is major bonus to her).

Jazz is a an expert on explosive, and he likes them as much as the next shining thingy; Riot, Jazz’s lover, is both scientist than pilot than busboy, he is basically everything Jazz needs, in and out of bed. Together they are they own crew of pirates, a crew of two, but more than enough to strike the target and run away with the goodies, all with a big bang boom but not casualties.

Jazz likes to cross-dress, and in a world where steampunk is the last fashion, he can enjoy the satin and silk of those shining gowns, that are also very useful to hide his little tricks. And when he is back with Riot, the matching stocking to the gown, are alone enough temptation for his lover, even without the gown at all.

One book, a run, and an hot aftermath, and the story is already to the end, but as I said, Willa Okati managed to concentrate in it an entire universe, and a past and future for her characters, allowing the reader to know them with only few highlights.

Amazon Kindle: Jazz Bang Boom
Publisher: Changeling Press, LLC (November 18, 2011)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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I’m not usually a big fan of sci-fi, but I have a kink for the Sci-fi Regency sub-theme, probably a legacy of my past as Regency Romance reader. So as soon as I started this novel, I knew it was up my alley. Actually there is very little interaction between the main characters and the outside world, so the Sci-fi setting is not so overwhelming. This is basically the story of the slow seduction of pirate Valero towards captain Tristan, and Valero behaves like a real gentleman. A former military man himself, Valero is intrigued by young Tristan, who displays courage in a moment when, really, only a fool would have fought back.

Before meeting Valero, Tristan is the boy toy of a spoiled aristocrat; a valued and honorable man, Tristan felt the burden of being assigned to this task, but he is also in conflict with his body, which appreciates the chances it has to enjoy the pleasure of the flesh. Tristan hides a kinky core, something that he allows outside only through his hidden fetish for silk and lace. Tristan is a noble man but he is also a man who is able to appreciate the pleasures, in every form they arrive.

Temporarily blind and a captive of Valero, Tristan falls for Valero’s tactic: Valero understands that he will gain more with honey than vinegar, and he courtships Tristan like he would do with a prospect spouse. One thing I liked of this story is that in this futuristic society, homosexuality is no more the exception to the rule, and so no one is questioning Valero and Tristan’s relationship, if not for the fact they should be enemies and not lovers.

Probably my favorite point of the whole story is when Tristan regains his sight and he looks at Valero for the first time; it’s not that Valero is not handsome, but he is not what Tristan was expecting; Tristan fell in love for Valero’s soul, not for his body, and when he sees the other man is different from the mental imagine he had, he falters only a bit, before realizing that is not important, whatever looks Valero has, that is not what matters.

Very sweet and romantic story, not what I’m used to read in a sci-fi novel, but for me this is a bonus.

Amazon: Blind Space
Amazon Kindle: Blind Space
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: Silver Publishing (December 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1614954607
ISBN-13: 978-1614954606



Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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This is basically three books in one; it starts like a coming of age / young adult novel, with our teenager hero, Mayport Titus, living the boarding school where he spent most of his youth in search of adventures, or better, trying to regain power onto his late father’s business, the Titus Chocolate Company. To do so he enrols the help of his nemesis/lover of the past, Joseph Thiervy, an older boy who was in boarding school with Mayport and who was Mayport’s first love. This part of the story is really like a kid adventures, with both Mayport and Thiervy running away from their supposed tasks to try to path the way to their own future. Mayport and Thiervy also reignited their past relationship, like time wasn’t gone through. It’s not an open relationship, Thiervy more than Mayport, wants to be discreet, and while in bed he is open and welcoming, during the day he treats Mayport like he is nothing else than a business man with money with a spaceship and a captaion to hire and Thiervy is that captain.

As soon as the story is set, it becomes like a pirate’s adventures novel, with Thiervy and Mayport moving from, supposedly, Asia to Europe to America (even if the places have different names and the distances are shortened due to the use of spaceship instead of airplane). Mayport want to regain the control over his father’s company, but I think he wants also to find a place where he and Joseph can be who they want without restriction, and that it means both family expectations than society customs. This Utopia is May Port, a harbour city that is a mix of New England style and Medieval feud; in May Port the ruling officer has full authority on the city, and that means he can legislate and approve whatever law he likes, even allowing same-sex marriage…

And so here it comes the third part of the novel, that Victorian drawing-room drama suggested by the author; Mayport and Thiervy have collected relatives and friends all around the world and they are now settle in May Port, but there is still a piece missing to the puzzle… Mayport wants to marry Thiervy, but he has to find the courage to ask, and will Thiervy overcome his reluctance to public display of affection? Will society be able to accept the love between two men, if recognize by the law?

Chocolatiers of the High Winds is a long and high paced run along with Mayport and Thiervy, apparently a run to success, but actually the oldest of the quests, that for true love.

http://www.circlet.com/?p=3974

Amazon Kindle: Chocolatiers of the High Winds
Publisher: Circlet Press, INC (May 2, 2012)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading_list&view=elisa.rolle
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Quite a complex plot for being barely a novella length story; in a fantasy/futuristic world, once that reverted back to more or less medieval times, Galon is a mage and he is a man’s man. For a mage that is not acceptable, also since mages have to reproduce as much as possible being theirs an hereditary trait. But Galon is not able to renounce to his most basic desires and so he is often in danger, like this time when Anzel arrives to save him.

Anzel is the scion of a wealthy and important family, and the power of his family name protects him even if he is the same as Galon; Anzel helps Galon and offers him shelter and love, something that Galon has never had in all his life.

I’m really surprise on how much the author packed in only 29 pages, she often did some elapses in time, but that didn’t diminish the strength of the story. The strange thing is that, this plot works in 29 pages but it would have been probably worked also in a longer fashion, probably even in an epic fantasy.

There is a latent sensuality in all the story, even if this is definitely not an erotic romance, so that it resembles more a story you can tell for goodnight.

http://www.phaze.com/book.php?title=The+Master%27s+Lover

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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This is not an easy sequel to like, above all if you loved the first book, and now I understand why, while many friends recommended me A Strong and Sudden Thaw, the release of Out of the Ashes went almost unnoticed. I understand the reason, and I hear all the complaints about cheating, about not being faithful to your lover when you know he is in danger, about the absolute taboo of falling in love with another man (sex is one thing, but love? Absolutely unacceptable!), but again I have to tell readers, take a step back and try to understand the reasons, of the characters and the author.

In the first book, R.W. Day broke a taboo, the main character, David, was “only” 16 years old and he fell in love with Callan, who was 23 years old. Truth be told, I didn’t feel at the time as that was an issue, considering the time and the setting, David was an adult, and Callan was of course still young, their age difference was almost non-existent, if not for the fact that Callan was sexually experienced and David instead wasn’t. To the same readers complaining that David falls in love with another man in this sequel, I’d like to remember that Callan himself had a relationship with another man in that first book. Truth it was not love, but still, it’s not like these two men never looked to another one as soon as they meet each other.

Anyway I highlighted again the age difference since, of the many complaints I heard about this second novel, not one highlighted the fact that Sterling, the “other man” is 63 years old! And David is only 18… so, do you really believe this love is possible? Sure, I’m not questioning David’s feelings for Sterling, but well, I think the author “used” Sterling as an expedient to prove that love is complex, and mostly doesn’t care about age, class and gender, but I have never thought that David and Callan were not destined together.

People complained it was not possible that David really loved Sterling, or that it was not possible that his love for Callan was real; someone saw as “convenient” as David and Sterling’s relationship evolved, since if not like that, there was no way for David to be able to go back to Callan. I simply think there were different love; David looked upon Sterling, and he really loved him, but their differences were clear and big, the love between them was almost reverence, a little like the Greek love were an older one teaches to a younger one the way of life. With Callan instead David has a more balanced relationship, and Callan’s disability (he lost an arm) makes them even more near, almost cancelling their different social status; even the highlighting of how Callan has great difficulty to write with his left hand is a way, to me, to level him to David’s illiteracy or bad accent.

So yes, I’m not sure I would recommend this novel to “all” readers, mostly since it’s a dark romance which doesn’t play according the rules. But if you are aware of that, than I think this one will test your willingness to try something different.

http://lethepressbooks.com/books.htm#day-out-of-the-ashes

Buy Here

Amazon: Out of the Ashes
Amazon Kindle: Out of the Ashes
Paperback: 308 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (September 25, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590210646
ISBN-13: 978-1590210642

Series:
1) A Strong and Sudden Thaw: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1281982.html
2) Out of the Ashes

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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In Service is not a “pretty” or “cute” M/M romance, on the contrary it’s dark and dirty (Dark Roast Press is specialized in this type of stories); I’m sure it’s not the cup of tea for the average reader, but in more than 300 pages it is for sure an alternative reality plot that will find its fans among those readers who like almost epic novels. The alternative society described in the book is something that, in various degrees, I have already found in other novels: in a not so far future, the difference between high and low society increased so much that it almost went back to feudalism, when life servants were common practice. A man or a woman can choose to go into life service to pay their debts or to take care of their family, but if you are born from a servant you are a servant yourself, even if you didn’t choose that life. Plus, there is no age restriction, and so even underage children can go into service. In this modern and progressive society (yes, I’m sarcastic) it’s common practice when you reach your 25th birthday to receive a servant who will take care or your sexual needs.

Elias is nobility and he is also a spoiled brat; when he sees Jared, the 20 years old servant of another man, he doesn’t care what damage he will care, he pretends his gift to be that servant and no one else. Problem is that Jared was sold into service to pay for the damage he caused to a noble man and now the same noble man is going after Jared’s younger brother, since he couldn’t have his toy.

As I said, even if there is a blossoming romance between Elias and Jared, it is also peppered with obstacles and events that will involve violence, deaths and non consensual sex. The non con sex doesn’t happen between Elias and Jared, and when it happens, it’s not described, only related, but still I need to warn the most sensitive readers. Of course the first sex scenes between Elias and Jared are not out of love, but a service Jared is paying to Elias. It also serves to the author to highlight how much, sex scene by sex scene, the relationship is changing between Jared and Elias, and when we arrive to hear love words between them, they seem truer due to that.

Jared is not an easy character to like if you want for your heroes to be strong willed and independent, even if he will get better, at the beginning I had the feelings he was permanently mentally damaged; it’s like his mind stopped to evolve when he was 12 years old and sold into service. Love will help him, but indeed he lost 8 years and he needs time to recover those.

http://www.darkroastpress.com/inservice.php

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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Best Overall Gay Novel (2° place), Best Writing Style (1° place), Best Setting (2° place) and Best Futuristic Novel (1° place)

This is one of those books that mostly everyone recommended me to read; I have to admit that I delayed the reading since I’m not really a fantasy lover, and, I don’t know why, I also had the feeling that the romance in the story was not really the main theme, and so the other reason why I sometime read a fantasy novel, the romance, was excluded. But this last point is not true, there is a romance in the story, even if it’s on a Young Adult level, making this a Gay novel that I’d have no issue at all to recommend myself to a teenager reader.

But lets go back to the story and its main characters: David is the narrative voice, a 16 years old guy; the age of David is an important details of the story since, not only it makes this a Coming of Age story, it also determines the balance between David and Callan, who is 23 years old. The story is set more or less 100 years in the future, when, after another Ice Age, the world reverted to a Pre-Industrial Revolution period; this is again not an irrelevant detail, while in our modern society, a 23 years old man having an affair with a 16 years old guy would be considered a criminal, in a country farm society of the XIX century, 16 years old is considered almost adulthood, and indeed David’s mother is pushing him to marry.

Of course, when the relationship between David and Callan comes out, there is the hint from more than one townsfolk that Callan is corrupting their children; I think the author simply stroked through this hypothesis making David being the first having sexual thoughts on Callan. The very first time they met, when Callan has not even his “own” voice in the story, David thinks that it would be nice to have the hands of the young healer on him. It’s for sure an innocent thought, David has no sexual experience, let alone same sex sexual experience, but it’s nevertheless the first hint of their future love story.

Aside from the relationship between David and Callan, the other strong point of this novel is the setting, and the contraposition between Sci-fi and Fantasy genre: the environment where all the characters are moving is a mix between reality and legend. Who is old enough to remember the time before the Ice Age, tells stories about a world where machine and artificial energy made life easier; people know the stories are true, since simple reminders of that past, like the iron fences, are still there to prove that. But then comes the strong contraposition with a total fantasy element, the Dragons: Dragons are flying in the sky and those dragons is something that was not “real” in the past, and that now are very real, killing animals but also small children. The author will try to explain the presence of a fantasy element like Dragons with a sci-fi expedient like a scientific experiment gone wrong, plunging again the story more on the Sci-fi theme than the Fantasy, but still maintaining all the characters living in this “old fashioned” setting.

The social environment was another interesting point; other than reverting back to a farm society, loosing all the modern infrastructures easing the lives of people, also the mentality of the people did the same. Homosexuality is yet again a crime, and people conveniently forgot what little civilization society reached just before the Ice Age. Plus the “government” (an outside force to their community) has become the enemy and so everything coming from outside is an enemy as well. It’s quite a claustrophobic environment, but in a way it’s also easier to manage: you know well who is against you, but you know also who can be your friend, and so it’s also possible to prove the simply fact that being homosexual it’s not automatically being the bad guy.

http://lethepressbooks.com/gay.htm#day-a-strong-and-sudden-thaw



Buy Here

Amazon: A Strong and Sudden Thaw
Amazon Kindle: A Strong and Sudden Thaw
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press; Reissue edition (January 30, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590210638
ISBN-13: 978-1590210635

R.W. Day's In the Spotlight post: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/439816.html

Reading List:



http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle


Cover Art by Anne Cain
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
Mate Dance had the feeling of an old fashioned romance or comedy, like The Prince and the Showgirl with Marilyn Monroe. And as in those old fashioned comedies, while it was clear that the relationship between prince charming and cinderfella is far from being innocent, it’s not that the sex is so imposing to eat the story.

Raven is a successful ballet dancer who is losing the “passion”; he is still good, and dance is still his favourite pleasure, but he has not more the thrill to perform. Right the night when he is thinking that he has to take a turn in his life he meets Trisha, a scared little girl whose grandmother was killed in the street and she has no one who can take care of her, at least at the moment. As soon as the police intervenes, they discover that Trisha is the love-child of Prince Kaemon, a dragon shifter, and that both the Prince than the King want Trisha with them, above all since Kaemon is gay and Trisha will probably the only heir he will ever have.

When Kaemon meets Raven, the Prince recognizes in him his mate, but he doesn’t want to scare him off; he decides to use the attachment Raven developed for his daughter Trisha to convince him to spend some time at the palace. Of course, being Raven and Kaemon both gays, and Raven far from being a shy virgin, he is sharing Kaemon’s bed from night one. But temporarily sharing a bed is way different from sharing your life and renouncing to your independency.

Actually this is apparently Raven’s only issue; that Kaemon is a prince, and that maybe Raven is not at the same level is apparently no problem at all, and this gives you an idea of the self-esteem Raven has of himself. That is quite a good thing, since I really don’t like so much the shy virgin damsel in distress. And by the way Prince Kaemon is not exactly a knight in shining armor, but more a spoiled princeling that is still depending from his father: most of Kaemon’s important decision are taken by his father, that luckily for Kaemon, is a good man and seems to have Kaemon’s interests at heart.

Nice and good novella, fast but with a care in details that I notice this author is gaining story after story.

http://www.literaryroad.com/product.php?ISBN_num=215

Amazon Kindle: Dragonmen 3: Mate Dance
Publisher: Literary Road Press (April 10, 2010)

Series: Dragonmen
1) Mate Hunt: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/594172.html
2) Mate Test
3) Mate Dance

Reading List:



http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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Second in the Futuristic Regency series by J.L. Langley, this is the story of Payton, the older brother of Aiden, and second in line to the throne of Regelence. Regelence is a planet where men can marry, more it's more common for the peers to marry a man, and they can also procreate in lab an heir with the genes from both male parents and without the female component.

Payton is a IT geek and Nate, Aiden's husband, asks him to help in decipher a message which probably hides a conspiracy against both Regelence than Englor, the other planet in the Alliance that lives accordingly to the Regency rules. But in Englor those rules are more strictly than in Regelence, and even if same-sex marriage is not against the law, it's highly discouraged. And so Payton, who is a pampered prince nursed to become a beautiful ornament to the arm of a powerful and rich man, finds himself suddenly free to roams Englor's street without a chaperon, even if it appears that his genetically modified interest in other men is not so welcomed.

But not all the men on Englor are the same, and Payton meets Simon, not other than the heir to Englor's throne. Simon is a friendly and very sexy man, one that, as soon as he spots the pretty new officer, can't help to seduce him. Not that Payton resists so much to the advances... it's almost not clear if Simon seduces Payton or if Payton is the "innocent" seducer.

Even if Simon is the supposed Alpha male, he is really too open and young to be a real dominant character; Simon is the perfect scoundrel, very good in the battle field as well as in the bedroom, no matter that, in his case, the chosen bedroom partner is a male and not a maid. And Payton is not the usual virgin maid type of character; true, he is virgin, but he is a lot older than his 19 years old. In a way, Payton is more ready to be a king than Simon; Simon still needs the advice of faithful counselors, but not since he is prudent, I believe since he is still too young. So Payton and Simon make a good match, and together maybe they will manage to not destroy Englor...

As usual in a J.L. Langley's book, there is a lot of funny situations, and Payton is the perfect little firecracker, cute and to be handed with caution. Not sure if Simon is strong enough to handle him. So funny and sex as well, but I have to said that the sex it seemed more... dirty, but in a good way. Sex was always an heavy component in the mix for the previous books by the same author, but in this case it was an orgy of sense, down and dirty; with the balance of the humor, the result is a very involving story.

http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/the-englor-affair

Amazon: The Englor Affair (Sci-Regency)

Amazon Kindle: The Englor Affair

Series:
1) My Fair Captain: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/106500.html
2) The Englor Affair

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle


Cover Art by Anne Cain


Cover Art by Anne Cain
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
Dragon's Kiss was a previously released short story in a Band of Thebes theme anthology. So the main focus of the story is the relationship between fellow soldiers, on manlove relationships bring on more on an almost friendship basis than real love.

In a futuristic world, a mix of Apocalypse Now and Back to the Future, Bear is one of the survivors from a natural disaster that destroyed the Earth as we know her. People now live among the ruin of the past world, but they are back to an almost medieval era. Bear is born generations after the catastrophe, and so he has not knowledge of the world as it was before, and he lives in a closed community, lead by a Council that considers all past things evil. There is acceptance for the homosexual relationships, more, they are encouraged, but only among the members of the pack. The ostracism now is no more for who is "different", but for who is "stranger". People who dare to cross the pack borders are most likely killed and also who wants to go away.

Bear and his fellow soldier Lynx are sent by their Council leader to capture a trespasser; they find the man, Dragon, a member of a near pack who was banished from his people to be an heretic: he doesn't believe that all the past was evil, he wants to know, he wants something forbidden, the knowledge. Bear knows that, if they bring back Dragon to their pack, the man would be probably killed, and Bear fears this event since the same sin Dragon committed, is haunting his mind.

This is only a short story, so apart set the place and give the chance to the characters to meet, there is nothing much more. But the most interesting thing is how the prejudice is still present: it shifted from the people to the society, the ignorant crowd no more fear the single man, the different (race, sexuality, rank...), they know fear an entire society, past or stranger, everything is outside their community is evil. And the leaders know that, to preserve their powers, they have to maintain the crow ignorant.

http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/dragon-s-kiss

Amazon Kindle: Dragon's Kiss: A Mother Earth story.

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle


Cover Art by Anne Cain

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