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I have to admit that, considering this is not the first time I read a novel with superheroes and villains all living together in a somewhere in the future city not so distant from our own universe, I'm starting to feel like I'm missing a big piece of cultural background... is this scenario part of some literary universe? is it a sci-fi subgenre or maybe a classical fiction I'm not aware of?

In any case, in this novel, Alex Gabriel approaches the usually light tone with even an heavier push on the hilarious button, and, while dealing with villains trying to conquer the world, instead of being scared, it seems like the mere civilians were amused. I think that no alive being was affected, and only some building took the brush of the villains' actions.

And indeed Pat, one of our heroes, is the son of a villain (female), and his three sisters are as well. Pat is not cut for the villain life, and he prefers to be an architectural student, while working part-time as house manager of a superhero, Nicholas. But Pat is a night house manager and interacts with Nicholas through an AI which is managing the whole house, so they never met, until the night Nicholas asks for a rent boy, and Pat, who didn't understand the request, reply by person... and well, you can imagine what happens next.

The story is a mix of naughty and funny; but even when dealing with sex, while explicit, the author always maintains the humor sublayer, so that, the whole experience of reading this story is a light one, nice, funny, comfortable, happy.

Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Alex Gabriel Books; 1 edition (December 22, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1505695988
ISBN-13: 978-1505695984
Amazon: Love for the Cold-Blooded: Or: The Part-Time Evil Minion's Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero
Amazon Kindle: Love for the Cold-Blooded: Or: The Part-Time Evil Minion's Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero

More Reviews by Author at my website:, My Reviews

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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:, My Reviews
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The most frightening thing of this near future story is that, what the author tells us is not something so impossible that it couldn’t happen.

Nikolai Sidorov, Nick, was born in Australia but from Russian parents, and when he was 20 years old he was expelled by his home country for a stupid misdemeanor. At the time the country was starting to fear there wasn’t enough food reserve for the “real” Australian, and Nick wasn’t considered as one. No matter that Nick didn’t know anything else than Australia, didn’t speak Russian or that he was studying to become an architect, that he had friends, and family, there, he wasn’t a citizen.

Now he is back for the funeral of one of his best friends from the past, but not only the country has changed, also his remaining friends have, above all Daniel, the boy he had a crush at the time.

This wasn’t a comforting story, it was unsetting, a little frightening, and in the end, bittersweet; it doesn’t give you answers, on the contrary, it opens questions, some of them you are even scared to have an answer to. Good tension and short sketched but deep and interesting characters, I think it would be good to see them fully developed into a novel.

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (March 12, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Coming Home (Under the Southern Cross)

More Reviews by Author at my website:, My Reviews
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If you want to break some taboos, The Bacchi is probably your choice. First of all, this is not a gay or bisexual or even transgender novel, both Lefi, a Somian, than Afton, a Valoran, are in some way hermaphrodites, so basically they have no gender, or better they have both gender. They are not humans, but an alien breed, and the Somians have lost their hermaphroditism to basically mutate on a female or on a male, but in a way, they still preserve the double characteristic cause they are always twins at birth, and if they are a male and a female, they are a mated pair. Only that Lefi’s twin sister has died, and now for Lefi is like he has lost his heart and doesn’t believe he is capable of loving again.

The Valorans instead are fully hermaphrodites, but since young age, they lean toward a gender, and so, even if they have both genitalia, they identify as a male or female; moreover, they are very private regarding sexuality and homosexuality is basically nonexistent; to Afton, who was raised as a male, the attraction he feels toward Lefi, a male, is unsettling, and to add trouble to his worries, Somians are very sexual people, exactly the opposite of Valorans, and Lefi is a sex worker, a Bacchi (basically a high paid and recognized prostitute).

There is a second, parallel plot about a slave black market where Valorans are sold to brothels, and Afton, as a police inspector, is required to investigate, and Lefi is his “liason”. But truth be told, this wasn’t the plot I was interested in, more interesting was the slow seduction of Lefi towards Afton, and Afton questioning not only his sexuality, but the entire emotional structure of his own people. This is a sensitive matter and I don’t want to approach it in a way that is indelicate, but my feeling was that, even if Afton start to consider his female genitalia (while instead, previously, he completely ignored them), in no way he changes his male attitude to life; for example, Afton can bear children, but he has never considered the option, as a male, and still doesn’t consider it even when he falls in love for another men.

Paperback: 404 pages
Publisher: (September 30, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1304499812
ISBN-13: 978-1304499813
Amazon: The Bacchi
Amazon Kindle: The Bacchi

Series: An Uncommon Whore
1) An Uncommon Whore:
2) The Bacchi

More Reviews by Author at my website:, My Reviews

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I have often said sci-fi or fantasy is not my strength, but now I’m also wondering if I haven’t missed some basic knowledge: is there some sci-fi tradition about feline-like aliens abducting men/women? That is cause Wishes is at least the fourth series I read with the same theme from different authors, and while two could have been a coincidence, 4 is really becoming a tradition.

Auri is the lieutenant of a terrain spaceshift who is basically sold into slavery without him being aware of that. Kanar, the king of Felinians, recognizes in Auri one of his mates (he has already three and was told by an oracle he will have a fourth) and agrees to a commercial agreement with Earth only if their ambassadors give him Auri. Yes, you have it right, not only Auri is not willing, he is also basically abducted, and the first mating with Kanar is not consensual. It was quite difficult for me to accept this development of the story, even if, indeed, it was more coherent with the mood of the story of, let’s say, a fake courtship with Auri arriving to understand how lucky he was.

The author was very true to her story and development, the Felinians have a polyamory society, Kanar has, with Auri, four mates and he basically divides his time among them, with nights where they have one-to-one meetings, and other where they have ménages a trois; when I arrive to this point of the story, I understood the comment of one of the mates that 4 was a good number, it basically meant no one feels excluded when it’s his night “off”.

I felt like the same issues I had in accepting this society were reflected in Auri: he had to adapt to it, overcoming his beliefs of what a “normal” relationship should be. At the end of the story, I cannot really say if Auri’s, and mine’s, ideas are right or wrong, it’s all a matter of perspective, in Kanar’s society, what they are doing is the common behavior, and the merit of the author is to make it plausible.

Paperback: 190 pages
Publisher: Etopia Press (November 19, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1939194237
ISBN-13: 978-1939194237
Amazon: Wishes
Amazon Kindle: Wishes

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I have to be truth, I picked up this book as soon as it was out cause I wanted to read a good mpreg story, and that is not easy to find. While the good part was there, there isn’t much of the mpreg, I think that, being this a series, most of it will be in following book.

The main theme is an interracial love story between a young human, Dale, and a warrior alien, Keyno. From what I could gather, the alien race hasn’t really gender, they are all warrior with the ability to conceive; only that, as an aftermath of a chemical war, their reproductive system was damaged, and now they need to find mates who are able to carry on a pregnancy; female apparently won’t go, cause the babies are bigger than usual, and it leads to miscarriage. So basically, Keyno’s people is travelling the star system, vising various planets and picking a few thousands of willing or unwilling men to be “harvested”. At first, Dale was on the unwilling side. But he soon changed idea when he saw the advantage of having a sexy mate like Keyno, even if he comes with a tail and a little more fur than usual (cat-like) and with the requirement for Dale to be the one to give birth to their babies.

Let me say that I enjoyed the story, it was mostly light and cute, not really heavy-set on details like many sci-fi novels. So yes, I’m not a big fan of sci-fi, I prefer my stories like this one, but this is also a warning to possible readers of what they will have reading it, if you are hard-core sci-fi fans, maybe it’s good for you to set your expectation.

Another little warning is for the character of Dale, he is a brat, a cute, little brat, well aware of the appeal he has on Keyno and able to use it. The relationship between them is, or better, should be Dominant versus submissive, but Dale soon learns the technique of topping from the bottom, and he has soon Keyno tied around his little finger. Truth, that was fated from the beginning, cause Keyno’s people is used to consider mates like precious ones to be protected and cherished.

I wouldn’t have minded to read a little more about Dale and the prospective pregnancy but he mostly joked about it using stereotypes about women and pregnancy; I suppose the real deal will be in following books when it will be his time to experience it.

Series: The Harvest
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Storm Moon Press LLC (October 31, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 162757073X
ISBN-13: 978-1627570732
Amazon: The Harvest: Taken: Book 1
Amazon Kindle: The Harvest: Taken: Book 1


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A sweet, almost old fashioned romance, this novel follow spaceship captain Jason falling in love for Ferran, a young alien. Ferran comes from a matriarchal society, and since he is sterile, he was destined from birth to be, more or less, a male housekeeper. He has a docile streak, breed in him since he was born, and as usual among his people, he is very sensual, they see sex like an ordinary expression of deep feelings. Jason in comparison is more reserved, maybe even a bit aloof, very much in line with his Eastern world roots, but it is impossible for him to resist Ferran, even if they know their love is doomed by the impeding due of Ferran: go back home and marry a woman chosen by his mother.

As I said, this remembered me the old futuristic romances I read when I was a teenager, futuristic wasn’t really a popular genre, or at least it wasn’t in comparison to the historical romance, but I did enjoy some of those novels, and I found again that enjoyment in Changing Worlds. The world building is not very complex, not until Jason exits the sheltered environment of Ferran’s home; the life inside that matriarchal home is like you will expect to be in a pre-World War family, only with a woman in place of the man; actually, even if I don’t have direct experience, they told me that some African culture were and still are similar to that, in Ethiopia, for example, during the WWII, the chief of a tribe was the oldest female, and when a man married, he went into the wife’s family.

I enjoyed the evolution of both characters, that of Ferran is more marked, basically is also the purpose of the story, but also Jason changed a little, becoming more open, less aloof, opening his heart to others other than Ferran.

Amazon: Changing Worlds
Amazon Kindle: Changing Worlds
Paperback: 266 pages
Publisher: Storm Moon Press LLC (May 18, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937058301
ISBN-13: 978-1937058302


Cover Art by Nathie

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I really enjoyed the third, and for now, last installment in this series, Xavi comes out like this hedonistic, but so cute, top from the bottom character that is able to conquer Andreas’s heart completely and unavoidably.

It can appear that there is no balance between them, like Xavi is almost “forced” to be with Andreas, a feeling that you could have in the previous book, but with this one, you understand that Xavi has chosen to be with Andreas, moreover, he is happy and content; he is like a cat, who has find his home and has always a saucer full of milk cream… why in heaven should he leave all this? And like a content cat, he is more than willing to “purr” for his lover.

I did enjoy the introduction of new myths in the vampire tradition, like the fact that they could bear sunlight, but only to a moderate level: the scene in which Xavi cannot renounce to his tan, willingly subjecting himself to the pain of being under the sun is perfect for his hedonistic character.

Picking Barcellona has setting for the novel is again a perfect choice, the Barrio Antico and the Ramblas are a mix of modern and ancient, that well reflect the development of the story: the time is a near future, 2042, but the theme is a classical gothic one, vampires.

I would dare to say that, while you will for sure enjoying reading the whole series, Fool’s Rush has all the merits to be also a perfect standalone novel.

Amazon Kindle: Fool's Rush (Fool's Odyssey)
Publisher: Manifold Press (May 10, 2013)

Series: Fool's Odyssey Trilogy
1) Fool's Errand:
2) Fool's Oath:
3) Fool's Rush

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Very strange novel, with an original approach that I’m still thinking about; I didn’t want to write a review soon after I finished the book cause I wanted to think about it, I wanted to find a way to convey the feeling. The author doesn’t introduce her characters, they are actually presented to you with a bag of events you don’t know; the author will jump back and forward in their life until you will have all the elements to put together the pieces of the puzzle, but again, you will have to do that by yourself. The second thing I notice is that, in this post-apocalypse future, time is inconsistent and they are distances; in the course of few pages, the characters spend together almost 20 years, starting as barely legal soldiers to end as pushing 40 revolutionaries. The strangest thing of all is that for all those 20 years they are at the same time lovers and worst enemies, always at the opposite fronts. When it was war, they were fighting against each other, when it was (barely) peace time, they were competing against each other at the Olympics. But do not imagine Olympic Games as you know them, the Olympics in this story are dark and horrific, more like the Roman arenas where gladiators were fighting to death.

Anyway expect the unexpected from this story, do not expect linearity, wait for the turn of the tables; the only constant is that Merq and Armise love each other… to death.

Warning: this one was quick and the introduction to a series, The Borders War, so there is an hanging ending.

Amazon Kindle: One Breath, One Bullet (The Borders War)
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing (May 30, 2013)

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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The story is a frighteningly possible apocalypse now future; or at least it was considering the devastation the AIDS plague brought to this world. In a future society, people tested positive to the homogene, mind you that doesn’t mean they are homosexual, but that they have a specific gene believing to determine homosexuality; consequence is that even men who are not homosexual, but married (and in love with their wives) and fathers are confined in isolated camps. For the last 7 years they are captives of machines, since prison officers are now substituted by robots and only one or two men, tested negative to the homogene, can control an entire prison.

This is the situation where we find camp guard Rafe and prisoner Dylan; Dylan understood the only weak point of that situation are the human guards and he plans to seduce Rafe. Of course nothing is simple as appears and our men will find themselves in a very uneasy situation.

The setting was perfect, since it was oppressive; as usual in these stories, even if not specifically said, the mood and the writing style convey a perennial shadow, even in broad light the sun seemed not able to warm this inhuman world.

Even the characters, Rafe and Dylan, were perfect, right for the reason they were not: Rafe didn’t struck me as particularly clever, and Dylan was ready to use everyone to his purposes. There is to be considered that Dylan was 17 years old when he was imprisoned, and now, 7 years later, he is a man of 24 who hasn’t had really any chance to live. A bit of selfishness is probably amendable.

I’m not sure the author intended this as to be a standalone book; she introduces different elements that are not totally wrapped up at the end, and even for the main characters there isn’t a 100% closure; in a way, I’m not even sure Rafe and Dylan are destined to be together, or maybe they are, but in this uncertain future, where nothing is sure, they have the only possible relationship, a relationship to be lived day by day.

Amazon: Quarantine
Amazon Kindle: Quarantine
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing (September 10, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1781845271
ISBN-13: 978-1781845271

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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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: 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: list&view=elisa.rolle
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A story about an 18 years old boy and his appointed guardian, 5 years older, it could have been way more sexy, but the author decided/managed to make it almost innocent; don’t get me wrong, the two boys will enjoy their sexual relationship but the only think the reader will read is “And then I had no idea how we'd slept together so many nights and kept this from happening.” What “this” is, an adult reader will know, a Young Adult reader can imagine.

The story is quite simple and at the same time extraordinary: Gareth always thought he was different, but he was linking that feeling with him being gay and with his situation as foster kid. The only real strange thing happening in his life is the presence of his protector, a slightly older boy who is a constant since he was 5 years old. This boy appears only at night, to embrace Gareth and make him feel safe even if the world around him is crushing and unwelcoming.

Aranth, and the reason of his presence, will be unveiled to Gareth when his “quest” on this world will reach the end, and something bigger is awaiting him. Gareth and Aranth’s story, while dealing with sci-fi elements, and aliens and other planets, is somewhat ordinary and simple, nothing like a big sci/fi/adventure/thriller plot, so much that they even find the time to rescue a puppy.

I think this was a choice of the author, to write a story that was easy enough for a Young Adult reader to enjoy without too much hassle and bustle.

Amazon: Silent One
Amazon Kindle: Silent One
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Prizm (June 13, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1610403231
ISBN-13: 978-1610403238

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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I think the main reason of this novel was to prove how stupid the war is and how rigid the military structure can be, above all if they try to see the world in Black and White.

The main characters of this novel are a group of kids with special powers. I say kids, even if they are probably in their twenties, since I had the feelings all these guys were taken from their family when they were still teenagers and they didn’t have the chance to grow into real adult and above all soldier. When the story starts they are approaching graduation day from the Military Academy, and to me it was like reading of boys approaching the last day of high school.

The story is told in first point of view by Mik, a misfit among them; Mik is an orphan and so he has no bad experience in his past with his family; all these boys have supernatural powers but this is not a bonus in this futuristic society, on the contrary you are considered an abomination, and most of the time your own family disown you… I think there is a parallelism here between being gay and having supernatural powers, like in today society you are disowned for being gay, in that futuristic society it happens the same when approaching adulthood you find out you have special skills people fear.

At the beginning I didn’t feel the attraction between Mik and his roommate Ash, but thinking at it twice, I noticed how Mik was jealous of his best friend; in any case it’s not Mik who does the first move, but Ash, almost taking advantage of Mik’s almost breakdown after he has to kill for the first time. Ash brings to bed a drunken Mik, and he has his way with him, tighten the bond between them that will last for all the novel, with some bumps on the road.

Dawn of Darkness is the first book in a series, and that is the reason why there is no a wrapping up ending; moreover, after the blow the author decided to give to the reader at the last chapter, he also opted for giving hope and the very last word will help many readers who maybe wanted a different ending.

Amazon: Dawn of Darkness: Daeva: Book One
Amazon Kindle: Dawn of Darkness: Daeva: Book One
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (November 18, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1466423714
ISBN-13: 978-1466423718

Reading List:
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A sci-fi version of the Pygmalion story, Alarin is a late teen pickpocketing guy and sometime street hustler; one night he accepts the wrong deal and he would be probably dead on a dark alley if not for Maleus, a wealthy businessman passing by.

The society where Alarin and Maleus are living is a futuristic city divided in social levels that are reflected in the floor you are allowed in: poor people stay in the bottomside part of the city, where the sun cannot reach them, where vitamins and proteins are the new drugs; wealthy people live above, without never going below.

Maleus’s intervention in helping Alarin is not casual, he was looking after the guy, and that same night he was perusing the bottomside to find the guy; his proposal is simple: he will give Alarin, food, clothes, shelter and everything in exchange of the absolute possession of Alarin’s body and soul. Despite the premises, indeed Maleus is more like a teacher than a lover, and most of their sexual encounters are like a lesson, Maleus is teaching to Alarin to behave in a bedroom like he is teaching him to behave in a room full of people. Little by little the reader will understand Maleus has an hidden agenda and Alarin is the missing piece to his puzzle.

This is not a classical romance, and as it’s, there is not you classical happily ever after; probably the main reason is due to the fact that this is born like book 1 in a series, and so the story is not complete with this novel, but it has a follow up in book 2, Rysykk's Remedy.

Even if both Maleus and Alarin have venial reason to enter in this relationship, their bond will move from interest to love, and there will be an exchange of love words between them, but despite this, Maleus will not renounce to his agenda, and Alarin will remain more a pawn than a partner, at least for this first instalment of their story.

Reading List:
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A futuristic approach to the old fashioned Cinderfella story, Redemption is the story of Jason, a young man who has an immediate need for money and the fastest way to find it is to sold himself into a bondmate contract for 20 years. Even if the term “bondmate” can suggest something more romantic, the bondmate contract is basically the modern way to be a slave: accepting the contract Jason accepts to become a property of someone else, man or woman is the same, if they have the money to buy his contract.

In a way, Jason is lucky since the one to buy the contract is Devin, an handsome man in his thirties who is basically a workaholic without time for a private life. Buying a bondmate is a perfect solution, during the day Jason will be Devin’s personal assistant, during the night he will share his bed, if Devin is in the mood, or otherwise he will stay in his room, without risk to hear recrimination. Devin’s former wife was a society butterfly and she left when she realized Devin was not her personal escort, but he had actually a job he had to do.

I liked the contrast between Jason’s expected role and his physical appearance: Jason is strong and young, not at all weak, and if not for the urgent need of money, he had also perspective on the future, he was a post-graduate student with excellent credentials. When Devin takes him home, I had the feeling Jason felt like an elephant in a glass shop, and I think also Devin was questioning if he had done the right choice.

Another interesting point is how homosexuality in this futuristic society is no more a taboo, basically everyone is bisexual, and indeed Jason had only one previous homosexual experience, but he has no issue at all at being bought by a man, while instead Devin, from what I understood, had his same share of women and men in the past, and I think he has picked a man now since he is still burned by the bad experience with his ex-wife.

Amazon Kindle: Redemption
Publisher: ODC Press (April 1, 2012)

Reading List:
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I knew Kari Gregg as an author before reading this book and I knew she likes her submissive to be VERY submissive and her Dominant to have a protective streak. In a near future, a genetic mutation whose purpose was to inhibit aggression had instead highlighted the Dominant side of most, men and women alike. But among them there are some anomalies, 1 out of 1000, who instead have become more submissive, wanting the touch of a Dominant lover, better craving it. Connor is one of them, and IT director who already before the mutation was a kind and nice guy, but now he is like honey for the bears. When the change happened, Connor was in a relationship, but his partner became aggressive, so aggressive that he had to me forcedly removed from Connor and not the poor guy is without a Master, i.e. prey to everyone who is daring enough to claim him. David, Connor’s CEO on the firm, understands that he is in danger and decides to temporarily claim him, until he will be able to find a suitable Master. David is straight, soon to be married to Hannah, and even if he is attracted to Connor, he cannot be what Connor’s need. Problem is that, to David’s eyes, Emmett, the right Master, is not good enough for his precious Connor, not until the time Emmett will not prove to David to be worth of Connor, and to do that he has to court Connor, to cherish and protect him like David is doing. Between them Connor is not able to think straight (no pun intended), David is a safe shelter, warm and comfort, but Emmett is like a volcano, hot and sexy. If only he could have both their qualities in one package…

To the more skittish readers, I have to give a warning, Connor is not playing to be a submissive, he is a submissive; after the mutation Connor has feeble memories of the independent man he was before, he knows he was someone different, and that is the reason why I approve of David’s attempts to recreate a safe haven where Connor can thrive, but Connor cannot live alone; Connor needs a Master to live, he needs to be said what to do, how to do and when to do everything, from the simple shower to eating to working. Approaching this story, readers have to try to think like Connor, to live in the body of a “prey” since to the 1000 Dominants out there he is the only 1 submissive available, and so he is a coveted prize.

There is some sex, not as much as you could imagine, and to some level, there is some non-con sex, or at least, sex that at the beginning needed a little convincement. Plus David and Emmett, with their bartering and fighting sometime forget that Connor is there and maybe he needs them; sure none of them want to hurt Connor, but sometime they don’t realize it.

Amazon Kindle: Collared
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (November 26, 2011)

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Cover Art by Petite-Madame VonApple
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Aislinn Kerry builds a future possible world where clones are common occurrences, arriving to have women “bear” their own clone instead of risking to have a child with a stranger. Adrien and Cristian’s case is not the same, being Cristian only few years younger than Adrien, but they grew completely apart from each other, Adrien in the US, the son of show business people and becoming himself an actor, and Cristian in rural Spain where he is now the owner of a B&B. I don’t know if the author wanted to make a statement about human genetics and homosexuality, since she really didn’t highlight it too much, but both Adrien than Cristian are gay, even if their upbringing was completely different.

Adrien doesn’t know about Cristian, while instead Cristian knows about the actor, and every step in his life is conditioned by that knowledge. Cristian has a mix of love and hate for Adrien, he cannot really hate him since he knows about their connection, but loving him is not either possible, being Adrien out of reach. But when Adrien knocks at his door, that is Cristian’s chance to complete his life since until that moment a piece was missing, the other half of himself. Cristian is in a relationship with Felix, and Felix will work us conduct between Adrien and Cristian, through the sharing of a partner, Adrien and Cristian will be able to reconnect.

I think many could find odd, if not even too kinky, for a man to have a sexual relationship with his clone, but for me is at the same level of a woman who decides to give birth to her own clone, it’s all a question of biology more than morality. In a way the author lets understand the reader she is not really fine with the idea of giving birth to your clone, but no prejudices is expressed for Adrien and Cristian’s sexual relationship, or at least I didn’t feel any.

Adrien, Cristian and Felix will build a perfect ménages, each of them completing or giving something one of the other two needs, something the other lover was not able to provide. Removing one of the three will unbalance the relationship, and so it’s essential for them to be together.

Aside from all the clone thing, the future world where Adrien, Cristian and Felix are living is pretty much the same as today, the issues Adrien is facing with his notoriety are exactly the same, the lack of privacy, the need to satisfy the public demand, and so on.

Amazon: Double Feature
Amazon Kindle: Double Feature
Paperback: 236 pages
Publisher: Amber Quill Press, LLC (August 13, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1611249503
ISBN-13: 978-1611249507

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Dark Sun is a little too sexy to be considered a Young Adult story, but if not for that, the feeling was really “young” and with a Romeo and Jules’s theme (after all, Romeo and Juliet were teenagers…).

Orion and Lynx are respectively, heir and second son of the most important triads in the city, Phoenix and Dragon. To an outsider they are pampered princes, with all the money and the chances in their pocket. In this post-apocalypse Seattle, the city is divided in three level, Cloud Level, Midtown and Bottom City, and you move from one level to the other through lifts. Of course Cloud level is the most near the sky, but nevertheless there is no natural light, a cloud of pollution is obscuring the sun, and people are living in constant artificial life, if they can afford it, or in perennial shadow, like in the Bottom City.

Supposedly Lynx is an enforcer, trained to be a warrior, but nor him or Orion have the right looks, on the contrary, from what I gather from the author’s description, they are both pretty and young boys, and maybe this adds to the feeling of being reading a Young Adult story, it was really like Orion and Lynx were fighting both against society than their own families; true, Orion in particular is doing good to the poor people of Bottom City, but both for him and especially for Lynx, there is a huge component of rebelling against their parents, and there was a little of bratty behaviour in them.

As the characters felt “young” so was the story, it was mostly like some sort of video-game, with the games culminating in the destruction of a target the heroes spent most of the novel trying to find through pieces of info here and there; and like in a video-game, I have never felt the heroes to be really in danger, like they had in any case some spare life to use.

I’m not usually a huge fan of urban fantasy, the gothic and dark atmosphere is sometime too heavy for my taste, but Dark Sun was not heavy at all, and that is a bonus from my point of view.

Amazon Kindle: Dark Sun
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (July 5, 2011)

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Cover Art by Anne Cain
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In Spinning Jaime Samms introduced her two heroes, Mikko and Kenny. The world in which they are living is 100 years in the future, and it’s a dark and new gothic environment, the waste of energy today world did caused for our descendants to live in almost total obscurity, especially when natural light is down. The obscurity is reflected also in their approach to life, news and research tools are hard to find, and people is slowly going back to a way of life that is mostly conduct to real connections more than through the online net.

Mikko and Kenny’s relationship is strange, Mikko himself is coming from a Dom and sub relationship where he was the sub, but Kenny needs grounding and so Mikko is posing as a Dom for Kenny. I didn’t really feel that is what Mikko wants, but that is what Kenny needs and Mikko is in love with him. So much in love that when Kenny asks, at the end of the previous book, to be free to go back to his former boyfriend to understand if there are chances for them, Mikko let him go. That is what you do if you love someone, letting them go and if the love is strong, they will come back to you.

Again Grounded is not a final chapter, but a step more into Mikko and Kenny’s love story. Kenny is discovering himself, and Mikko is helping him. Both Mikko and Kenny have particular powers, but from what I understood, Kenny is more powerful than Mikko, and that is a nice contrast, since Kenny is the sub in their relationship. As the title suggested, Mikko is giving the chance to Kenny to be grounded, to be enough steady and strong to enter in his own powers and be able to manage them. But the Grounded in the title I think is referring also to their relationship, to the fact that Mikko and Kenny want to set down, to be grounded to a place, the place that will become their safe shelter.

Amazon Kindle: Grounded (The Ageless)
Publisher: Pink Petal Books (October 7, 2010)

Series: The Ageless
1) Spinning:
2) Grounded

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When I was a little girl, one of my favourite movies was Starman; what I liked of that movie is that the sci-fi elements were blended in the ordinary/contemporary setting, and in the end, it was not so different from a today love story. Starfall is pretty much the same: Ash, the alien, is apparently like a man from earth; apparently since the difference are easily hidden (eyes wearing glasses, hair faking a trendy coloring, 6 digits wearing gloves, and well, genitalia, not having sex).

To his own breed, Ash is “ugly” but to earth eyes he is gorgeous, and that is what will think Conn, former marine a little in the closet. Conn was in love with a fellow soldier, but when he died in a mission, Conn buried him and his feelings in the closet; he married and was, of course, a wreckage, and he had a one night stand with his partner in the PI firm he is employed now. Faye is a wonderful woman, and if not for the fact that she doesn’t want a relationship with Conn, I would have felt pity for her. But the awkwardness between Conn and Faye is mostly due to the fact that Faye hadn’t any suspicious Conn was gay more than being jealous of the relationship between Conn and Ash.

The main theme of the novel is, from Ash’s side, the search for his lost sister, and for Conn the mission to find and take back home a runaway underage girl. But as soon as they met, the focus shifts on their relationship, and the resulting sex scenes are hot and with that touch of “strangeness” that inspires without being too much of an oddity. Ash feels a mate-bond towards Conn, and from Conn’s side, he calls it love at first sight, but it’s probably the same. They dance a little around each other, but they then move pretty fast into a full-fledged relationship, and so it starts also the questioning on how they will manage to be together when they are from far away planets from each other.

As I told at the beginning, the author didn’t pushed too much on the alien thing, and I liked that. This was more a romance than a sci-fi novel, and I think it was also sweet and romantic. The alien details were good, well-balanced, and just enough to make the story believable.

Amazon: Starfall
Amazon Kindle: Starfall
Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: Silver Publishing (November 18, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1614953295
ISBN-13: 978-1614953296
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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.

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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

1) A Strong and Sudden Thaw:
2) Out of the Ashes

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Considering this is a novel by Carina Press, the ebook imprint of Harlequin, I shouldn't be surprised the romance is good, but well, I was. Sci-fi novel with a heavy military subtheme, “doctrine” as a credo and various other elements made me wonder if the romance in the story was able to not only survive but emerge. Yes, it was, and in a way that without doubt makes this a romance. Even if Mike and Sergei are of different side of the war, even if they should be enemies, even if Mike is betraying Sergei each time he makes love to him, despite all of these, when they are together it seems they are in a different reality, in a place where they are two boyfriends meeting at home after a difficult day at work.

Sergei is a military and someone who believes in the Doctrine; already for this reason I should not like him, but even if he is stronger than Mike and a little stubborn (mainly since he is not able to see the Doctrine is not exactly the good thing they taught him), I felt almost pity for him. That first sex scene with his superior officer, where well, he got off, but in a cold and impersonal way, was so different from the following love scene with Mike that I felt bad for him he was not able to have his first experience with Mike. In this, but also in other moment, I had the impression Sergei was like an overgrown boy, someone who had not the chance to fully develop on an emotional level like he did in his body, and in a strange contraposition, when he will reach the apex of his emotion, he will have to give up part of his physical perfection.

Mike is a good soldier, but not in the “robotic” way of Sergei; he is more sanguine, he has more emotions at stake, he really believes in what he fights for. But exactly for this reason, he ends to be more involvement than requested with Mike. From tidbits here and there, especially in the last part of the novel, I built this imagine of Mike like someone who would have not chosen to be a soldier if not forced by the events, and when his mission will be accomplished, he will be glad give it up all to go back to his civilian life. He is exactly at the opposite of Sergei since Sergei was taught there is no life outside the Doctrine, or he is a good brother or he is nothing; Sergei is so indoctrinated that he is not even able to see when his own brothers are trying to get rid off him.

Even if I said the romance is surprisingly good, don’t expect this novel to be smushy or sweet; it’s dark, dirty and with a good dose of violence, even if all of that is not gratuitous; sometime I had the feeling the authors granted some bestowal to the romance to not scare too much the readers, but it was done in a good way, so much to entice the romance reader to go on, and the fans of more gritty story to not look up in annoyance when the two heroes took a break from the war.

Amazon Kindle: Dark Edge of Honor
Publisher: Carina Press (August 15, 2011)

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Aside for the hot cover, one of the reason that pushed me to buy this book, the other is obviously the author: Jordan Castillo Price is one of those authors that will never disappoint you, she has both story than characters solid and strong, and so plenty satisfying, even when I’m reading a futuristic setting, that is not usually my cup of tea.

In a not so far future, some apocalyptic disaster, destroyed the world how we know it; a central power, the Deacons, govern the society and people are cloned in number pieces and programmed to live 30 years flat: from 0 to 10 years you are trained, from 10 to 30 years less one month you work always the same job, and then you have 1 month of retirement before giving back the AI that has let you survived till that moment and receiving your “prize”, i.e. your soul will leave your mortal body to go… well no one knows exactly where, but it has to go somewhere right?

Ernest has reached 29 years and 11 months and now has a full month to enjoy his retirement; the first place he chooses to go is an old style coffee-book store; true, the coffee is not the same, it’s given through syringes or IVs, and the books are artificial tablets, but at least it’s something Ernest is doing for pleasure, spending all the money he saved before his planned death. But then the owner of the coffee place, Will, start to insinuate the doubt that there is another true, that he is not fated to die in one month, not if he will stop to report each night with the central system.

There is a lot of fight against the system theory, but also a je accuse on how people mistreated the Earth and the gifts they received from Her. Ernest is not at fault, like they are not the other like him, since he has no idea there was something different before, revolutionary knowledge like psychology and history were purged from the available data feed, and they are accessible only from the very wealthy members of the Deacons. Ernest is not gay or straight, he is chemically castrated and so he has no sexual desire at all; not only that he is also deprived of testosterone, and so without sexual desires he has also no stimulus at all.

Will recognizes in Ernest some potential, and with some good placed inputs, insinuates in him the desire to “taste” the life, and it’s not a metaphor, Ernest was fed through a shunt in his arms, no solid or liquid food at all, nothing through his mouth. When he meets Will, there will be a lot of things he will learn to do with his mouth, not only eat: taste, kiss, and many, many other pleasurable activities.

Even if a claustrophobic society, the story is not at all boring or heavy, on the contrary, it’s almost sweet and romantic; there are some sad moments, but they are balanced by other more light events, and in the end, the feeling is very much like I have read a classical romance.

Amazon: Zero Hour: A Dystopian Adventure
Amazon Kindle: Zero Hour: A Dystopian Adventure
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: JCP Books (July 26, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0981875270
ISBN-13: 978-0981875279

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Cover Art by P.L. Nunn
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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.

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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.

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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:

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Cover Art by Anne Cain
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I was surprised by this story, even if indeed it was obvious already from the title: one of the female characters is a robot replica of Marilyn Monroe and as such she was programmed to have the past diva’s strengths and weakness. And I was, and still am, a big fan of Marilyn, and so I was really glad to read this story.

The author was very good in replicating who Marilyn was, the diva but also the troubled woman, into this futuristic Marilyn, but the female bot has something that Marilyn didn’t have, the chance to make big mistakes and be there afterward to correct them. On and off from male ownerships, Marilyn changes 3 owners, her 3 “husbands” as she calls them (exactly like the 3 husbands of the real Marilyn) and now she is yet again on sell in a resale facility.

Lynn enters the shop almost by chance, trying to avoid an abusive former boyfriend, and Marilyn recognizes in her the signs of a troubled and scared woman; she is kind with Lynn, and Lynn, maybe for the first time, feels safe with Marilyn. Lynn brings the female bot at home, but she doesn’t really know what to do with her, her decision is not taken with a sexual purpose, and it will be Marilyn that will teach to Lynn how to be her owner.

Again, like already in the past, I have to admit that I’m not an expert of lesbian romance, but I really liked Marilyn and I was impressed by not only the complexity of the characters, but also by the “technical” justification; I’m used to have some summarized reasons in the sci-fi novels, without no real base, because, after all, it’s fiction. But D.B. Story managed to give to this Marilyn’s bot, a somewhat realistic existence and also a concrete justification for her emotional development.

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Amazon Kindle: Marilyn
Publisher: Excessica Publishing (September 3, 2010)

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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.

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

Series: Dragonmen
1) Mate Hunt:
2) Mate Test
3) Mate Dance

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Admitedly sci-fiction is not my cup of tea and that is a big gap if you want to read Degranon, since I think the main inspiration for this novel are the old fashioned classics of sci-fiction, ’70 and ’80 style. In those year, due to the political climate, people were trying to understand the right level of government influence in your everyday life, and to do that utopian worlds were developed on fictional novels (as often happen).

Degranon has an interesting approach: is the world a better place to live if there are no differences among the men, nor of colors or of genders? If people is unable to see colors, and they see only in Black and White, then they cannot single out people due to the race; if being gay is as ordinary as being heterosexual, then it’s not something you are sigled out for; if being woman, or man, doesn’t influence your authority or your chances to be a leader, then it’s not something you have to fight for… but to remove all differences is the path to a better world or to a tyranny? I think the most excel minds are born as a challenge to the system, and so in a society like the one at the beginning of this novel, it’s only natural that you will have a situation of clash with the power.

It’s interesting to notice that, even if the author himself says in the preface that Degranon included a gay theme (While I thought of Degranon as a science fiction novel that included gay themes but only minor gay characters, I found that many of my readers identified with those gay aspects. (…) With all of that in mind, I kept wondering what Degranon would be like if I rewrote some of the major characters as gay.), there is not even once the word “gay” in all the novel: the homosexuality is so blended (or recognized) in this future society, that there is not need to singling out someone as gay or heterosexual. Actually you understand someone is gay only since he is in a relationship, or he is interested in someone else of his same-sex. So I quite disagree with other reviews I read about this novel, when the reviewer warns the possible sci-fiction reader of the gay-theme of the story, since there is really little of gay in the story.

The second aspect of the novel I noticed, and liked, is an almost regression to family value; in this modern society the family has lost of importance. Dr. Lorfeltez, later Taldra, should be impartial, her quest should be to create something better for the society, but she is also a mother, and a lover, and I felt for her impossible to separate these two side of her persona. Her choices are both for her people and her sons, and when the choices clash against each other, I’m not sure she is impartial enough; that is basically something very old fashioned, she is indead a mother, and that is something that no future government can change. Taldra is also the reason why this novel is and is not gay themed: Taldra is a woman, a mother, and this is mostly her story, nothing gay here; her twin sons are gays, or at least you can understand that (two times, referring to Argen’s possible partner, people use the word “boyfriend”). Now I’m not entirely sure Taldra’s behaviour is healthy, and I read a tad of fanaticism in her, but I suppose her motherly nature helps in balancing it.

Amazon: Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure

Amazon Kindle: Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure

Reading List:
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This is an odd but nice novella; in a futuristic, and apocalyptic world, nothing is changed and everything is. Your ordinary life is the same, school, work, cars, homes, friends only that, for once, the riches are richer and the poors are poorer and there is no more free will at love. Better to explain: at some point, at the end of what is called Blind Ages (that basically are the current times), people realized they were able to read the mind of other people; the bond was even stronger if the person in front of you was your mate, and so people stopped to marry for all the wrong reason, but they stopped also to marry for true love. If you mated with someone who was not your chosen soulmate, after sometime you simply snapped, basically your mind was lost. So people had two choice: or be lucky enough to find their soulmate, or living chaste for the rest of their life (or having meaningless sex, that could be an option).

Of course, if you had money, you could pay the priests, special talented human who were able to find your mate, wherever he/she was. Being a priest was quite a lucrative job since everyone was willing to pay them, other the few men or women that still believe in true love and the power of it. Jereth is one of them, he wanted to find his mate trough the slow search, that is basically the old way, without telepathic help from the priests. But he spent the last 15 years trying and now he is almost at the end of his patience limit. When he finally decides that yes, he will pay a priest, the answer is not satysfying: his mate is a man (and he has never thought about that possibility) and he is living in the worst part of the city, almost a ghetto where neither police wants to enter.

This is basically a Prince Charming theme in futuristic setting: Caris, the cinderfella of the story, is sweet and cute, and very young, or at least younger than Jereth; he is waiting like a sleeping beauty for her Prince to come to his rescue, but in the meantime, he had a lover. In a old fashioned world, probably Ramie, Caris’ lover, would have been also his mate, he is kind and generous, even if maybe a little too old for Caris (he is even older than Jereth). But in this situation he will play the role of the martyr, handing down Caris to Jereth, more, almost imploring Jereth to take Caris with him. It’s strange, I like so and so Caris and Jereth, but I really like Ramie, and was pretty upset to not have an happily ever after for him.

That this probably what prevented this story to be too much sugary: in a normal situation, all the soulmate finds pretty and young soulmate in need of protector and he rescues him like a knight in shining armor, is at risk of being labelled as “too romance like”; but the setting of the story is cold, detached, all this you have to find your mate otherwise you will unhappy forever or you will risk to go mad, you will live only as long as your mate will live, it was really a stop to the sugar flow. Even when Jereth brings Caris in his world, in his safe and clean world, it felt sterile and unwelcoming, and it didn’t surprise me that Caris was not so happy at the beginning.

Amazon Kindle: Of One Mind

Reading List:
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This is a three stories anthology, 2 stories out of 3, Mate and Whip Hand are about the same couple, d’Schane and Terry (M/M) while The Melting of the Snowflake is a completely different story (M/F).

Mate and Whip Hand are two futuristic short stories with a good, but not too much heavy, D/s theme. Terry is a submissive working as secretary in an iper-technologic firm. During the day he is the perfect employee, and during the night he is the perfect sub for Daphne. Terry doesn’t particularly like Daphne but he craves the touch of a Dom, and female Doms are rare and he doesn’t want to lose her.

After a leak of info on the firm computer system, Terry is questioned by d’Schane, a computer wizard of only 20 years. While Daphne, a tall and strong woman, probably more clever than Terry, fits perfectly the role of the Dom, d’Schane, small and I think also with a complex of inferiority towards his parents, is not exactly what Terry would choose as his partner. But d’Schane doesn’t give him a choice, and by the way, he is the one who manages to beat Terry on a chess game, and I think that Terry more than the physical strength appreciates the cleverness in his possible partners.

They are really a strange couple, Terry so self-confident and balanced and in need of someone who will master him, and d’Schane so jumpy and iperactive, not exactly the epitome of quiet strength that usually you associate with a Dom, but indead he is perfect for Terry. The fact that both of them have never actually considered a man as their preferred partner is almost irrilevant, it’s not their gender that binds them together, but something more deeply. As I said, this is more a match of mind than body.

Even if usually the futuristic settings, above all when they have also an apocalyptic feeling (the world in which Terry and d’Schane are living is so full of pollution they cannot stay outside for long period of time, and the consequences are that the setting is a bit claustrophobic, the characters living always inside some building, with artificial light and no really difference in weather), these two stories were not at all heavy, on the contrary, I found them quite light and sometime even funny. Probably it was a consequence of d’Schane young age, and of his unlikely role of Dom, I read him more like a teenager playing with his parents’ toys, and the little rebellion Terry will have is plenty justifiable.

If I’m to be true, I did’t like so much the third story, The Melting of the Snowflake, mainly since I think the main character, Artere, was worthy of something more. In a fantasy matriarchal society, Artere, first son of a queen, was used as a pawn in a political marriage; his sister, the new queen, forged an alliance with a nearby kingdom having his own brother married to the other queen. But queen Keluria treats Artere like a cherished pet, not like an husband; when he is sad, she administer her care to him, when he is good, she almost doesn’t realize he is around. Despite the treatment, Artere longes for her touch like a puppy for his master’s love. But nothing he can do will awake Keluria’s love, and soon Artere will realize that he has no future with her.

Amazon Kindle: MATE: And More Stories on the Erotic Edge of SF/Fantasy

Reading List:
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Buried Alive in the Blues by J. Daniel Sawyer (M/F and M/M): More than an apocalyptic futuristic short story, this was almost an horror. While the world is crashing down around her, a woman is mourning the loss of her beloved husband Juno. For her nothing matter now, if not the blues, and when the last band in the world playing the right blues comes to town, that is the only reason why she will leave her home. But she is not going only to listen to music and dance, she is going to the end of the world and back again, and through sex she will take her vengeance, or maybe even grant peace to her enemies.

Expiry Date by Elizabeth Coldwell (M/F): in its macabre tone, this was probably the most funny of the short stories. Holly has no money to pay for her chip to be upgraded, and at the end of the day she will be dead. She decides that she will enjoy her last day, even if this will mean to cheat her best friend: Suzi has the best husband around, Marco, and Holly wants a piece of him before the end. It’s not really cheating since she will be not around to continue to do so. But destiny has other plans.

Darkest Night by Elizabeth Schechter (M/M and M/F): for once the M/M pair was not the good one. Moira is an AI of Tariq’s spaceshift, and she is always there for him, despite all the different lovers, males and females, entering his life. Now Tariq has Marcus, and he seems happy; Moira has no jealousy in her, and she only wants the best for Tariq, so she doesn’t understand why Marcus is so contrary to her. Then Moira intercept a message: the end of the world, know and unknow is coming, and they have only two choice, searching shelter deep in the ground or chosing to die in the space, like they have always lived. Tariq has no doubt, and Moira can only follow what Tariq wants, but Marcus has a slightly different idea.

Invasion! by Beverly Langland (F/F and M/F): this is almost a joke, when the radio airs the announce that there is an Invasion from Mars, two women and a man decide that if they have to die, at least they will enjoy the waiting…

Fences by David Hubbard (M/M): without doubt Fences was the most romantic and in a way the only one with a bit of hope in the end. Jeremy had a perfect life, a loving husband, a beautiful house in the suburbs, two dogs… the full package, until a lethal virus destroyed everything. Now a widower with his days counted, Jeremy is only waiting for the end, and trying to enjoy what remains of his life. He is not expecting a second chance, above all not to love, but his neighboor, Bradley, is alone as Jeremy, and he has lost everything like Jeremy. Bradley was not gay, and in a normal situation nothing between them could have happened, but this is not a normal situation, and sincerely, now it’s more important that you are able to find someone, than being selective on his gender. But even if maybe Jeremy and Bradley get together out of loneliness, it’s not a desperate move: both Jeremy than Bradley had a good life before, and they would have been able to live out of their memories, but they don’t want to face the end alone.

Amazon Kindle: Apocalypse Sex: Love at the End of the World

Reading List: 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.

Amazon: The Englor Affair (Sci-Regency)

Amazon Kindle: The Englor Affair

1) My Fair Captain:
2) The Englor Affair

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by Anne Cain

Cover Art by Anne Cain
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Marry Me Or Die is a funny romp and I don't believe it wants to be more. It's a futuristic novella where D.J. Manly rewrites the old classic "shotgun marriage" story: Silus is 24 years old and happy to enjoy the freedom of being a bachelor. In the futuristic planet where he lives, Laden, homosexuality is no more forbidden, and so same-sex marriage; but even if Silus is totally gay, he doesn't want to profit of the chance he has to marry a man, he is more than good alone and free to have sex with as many men as he wants. All of this changes when Laden passes under the control of the Monostones and their king: it's an almost peaceful transition if not for the fact that the Monostones are strictly monogamous, and the new king, as first act, promulgates a law: it's forbidden to be over 18 and unmarried, who will go against the law will be prosecuted, condemned to hard labour and in the worst cases to death... and Silus is a very bad case!

But there is an escaping way, Crash the son of the king and the one who is in command to judge the outlaws, will be soon 18 years old and he obviously has to marry. Even if the king believes his soon to be innocent and still virgin, Crash has had the chance to taste what it means being sexual free, and it's not at all happy to have to renounce to that freedom. Since he can't avoid it, he will choose the more experience man he can put his hands on, and Silus meets the requirements. So here is the proposal: or Silus will marry Crash, and remain married to him for at least 15 years, and not cheating around, or he will die. Obviously there is not choice, and then Crash is a little pretty thing, no harsh job to marry him.

As in the best tradition of romance, the shotgun marriage will turn in true and forever love, not before the two young men have the chance to experiment a bit in bed. As I said, I think the author took this as a light and funny story, there is no much drama, and all the events are more funny than really dangerous. Even the time Silus spent in prison wasn't bad, he received so much marriage proposal to last a life. Both men, Silus and Crash, are young and horny, and they behave according to their role; love is a nice cherry on top of the main course that is the sex, and the reason why Crash proclaims he is in love with Silus is that since he can't stand without having sex with him... he doesn't miss Silus' mind or wit, or sense of humor... he misses something specific, and please, don't let me go into details ;-) Anyway, again I think that the author deals with the characters in line with their role: they are two young men at their full sexual potential, and for now, it's more important sex than love.

Said that, and considering that this is a novella, there is no much time left for any other development, but if you are out for a sexy funny romp, this is a good choice.

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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The setting is the same of a previous book by Angelia Sparrow, Nikolai, there is even a reference to a character in that book, but the feeling of this book is completely different; Nikolai was dark and gothic, I remember that I said it was not a romance. Instead Glad Hands is a classical love story with the nice add that one of the characters is a trucker, a profession that Angelia Sparrow knows well and so she describes it in a very accurate way. There is neither too much angst, an element that usually abounds when one or both characters are young.

Chuck Hummingbird is a Cherokee and he lives in the Tribal Lands, an independent territory inside of what it was once the United States of America. Tribal Lands is quite a good place to live, the territory didn't go back in time like other places, there is more freedom for people to be as they like, as for gays that are recognized members of society, but more freedom means also more crime. But from living with a bit more crime and not living at all, since in the Confederacy of South they kill homosexuals, Chuck thinks he is pretty lucky. And with his job as a trucker and his chance to travel the country, he sometimes picks up stray here and there, mostly kids who were kicking out of their home.

Seven is one of those kid. He is not so young, he is 20 years old, but he went through a very bad experience; in Heartland where he lived, an uber religious place, they still believe that they can heal the gayness from their kids, and Seven was sent in an hospital to have his "therapy". Now he is scared and skittish and he has a tattoo on his hand that prevents him to find a honest job and start a new life. And so he is thinking to leave and like a knight in shining armor arrives Chuck on his truck.

Chuck and Seven go along well since the first moment; it's obvious that circumstances make Seven falls in love with Chuck: he is his savior and he is also the first openly gay man he has met; with Chuck Seven finds again the family he lost, and there is no way that he will let him go. I don't know if meeting Chuck in a different situation would have the same result, but probably yes, since Chuck is really a good man and also very handsome (I always have a fondness for long black hair Native American style).

The book is almost divided in two parts: the first one is a road story, with Chuck and Seven who are too busy to run away from hostile territories to indulge in more than kisses and something more, but it's also the time when their relationship cemented in something more than friendship. The second one is spent with Chuck and Seven trying to find a way to make things work between them, and doesn't matter if this is a futuristic tale, the problem they face are exactly the same of an ordinary couple with more the issue from being from different cultures.

There is sex, but not so much as you would expected from an Ellora's Cave romance; the sex is something nice that happen between Chuck and Seven but it's not something absolutely necessary in their relationship, and so when they can't have it, it's not the big problem that would be in so many other books that base their existence mainly on it.

The futuristic part of the book is not so heavy and if not for the prologue (that leads you think that the futuristic setting would be more important) and the way in which gays can live in Tribal Lands (probably an hope for the future), the story would have had not a problem to be a contemporary: there are no special effects, on the contrary, this futuristic world is almost gone back to the past instead of proceeding toward the future.

Amazon Kindle: Glad Hands

Reading List:
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Lately I was neglecting this furry lovers series by Jade Buchanan for a very silly reason: I don't like menages and even more when the menages is among two male and a female. This is the fifth book in the series, but I only read the first one and skipped the following three since they are all menages. Now finally Jade Buchanan returns to a male on male story, and so also I'm returning to read her.

Khalid and Pran's characters are actually spin offs from the previous series, The Felidae. Pran is the Tigris who challenged Rajiv in a tribal tournament in Usama's Journey's book. Khalid is the half breed Tigris and half breed Leo named in Navin's Master's book, the estranged brother of one of the Tigris, actually the only one who has some power on Pran.

I remember that I was intrigued by this possible story and wondered how it could be: till now, the books I read on these two series always paired a strong alpha male to an omega male; sometime the alpha males where two, but always they were balanced by an omega male between them. Here instead both Pran than Khalid are alpha males, but there is not a clear dominant between them. The author chose to balance them in the two most obvious way: Pran is older than Khalid, and so the age difference gives him points, and Khalid is bigger than Pran, and so the physical appearance gives him his points. Since this is a society where the physical strenght is a strong component of the political power, maybe Khalid has some more points than Pran, but not so much.

As always the story is not very long, 71 pages, and after the two main characters resolve their conflict, there is a lot of sex, very physical and with an heavy dose of brutal force, but always tempered by love. Jade Buchanan doesn't forget that, at the end, she is writing about half beast, and so her characters can't be shrinking violet, and they must be driven by instinct.

Amazon Kindle: The Pridelands 5: Khalid's Challenge
Publisher: Changeling Press, LLC (November 21, 2008)

Series: The Pridelands
1) Darren’s Surprise: 
2) Zula’s Stand
3) Sheer's Choice
4) Griffin's Joy
5) Khalid's Challenge

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle


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