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For how much lighthearted this historical "romp" was it made me think twice. First of all, it was a long time I didn't use the term romp for an historical romance, a romp was a very popular genre when I was reading a lot of historical romance in my teens, and I actually liked them a lot: light, funny, not too much commitment but a pleasant feeling of relax.

Second, the theme, a man misguided as a woman who is so convincing he ends to be bethroted with another man. Unrealistic? Maybe 10 years ago I was to say yes, but now, after all my historical researches, I know that isn't actually impossible. True, what I found more common is a woman passing as a man (so convincing in a case that only when she died people found out she wasn't a man), but I remember I read a biography of a French spy to the Russian court, a man, who loved so much his woman role that, once retired, moved to England and continued his life as a woman, and again, only when he died, people found out he was a man.

So no, the theme of this novel isn't unrealistic, and I quite liked how the author didn't make of the "heroine" a stereotype: Joseph/Josephine, in modern term, would be referred as a cross-dressed, he doesn't want to be a woman, he likes to dress as one, but during the intimacy with Marcus, he is quite happy and comfortable with his man body.

Again, do not expect a serious novel, but if you want to read a light novella, this is the one.

Publisher: Three Worlds Press, a div of Three Worlds Productions, LLC (December 22, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Lightson Dinasty

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And now for something completely different... but only on the surface: truth, steampunk novels maybe be a novelty for the readers of Amy Lane, but even if the setting is fantasy, and the time is a tale, the troubled heroes are always there, the struggling to achieve an inner happiness when everything outside is crushing is there, the subtle humor that makes you smile even amidst the drama is again always there.

The author recreates a world that is a mix of pre-industrial era, when machines didn't rule the world, and yet, machines are already part of her fantasy world, but they aren't "moving" the world; if anything else, they are making it worse, used in the wrong way but powerful men... the irony of today critique moved in a fantasy world. Technology should help people, not destroy them.

The pain of the post-war heroes like Dorjan and Areau is that of a today soldier having to deal with the reality he killed civilians instead of enemies. How many today boys, just out teenagedhood, join the army with big ideas of doing the right thing and come back with nightmares that will never leave them, it they come back at all. A common theme in Amy Lane's works, so much that I did wonder how much near home she is hitting. Anyway, nothing was fantasy in Dorjan and Areau's pain, and Taern is the only medicine Dorjan's broken soul needs. It's not only about sex, even if that will be part of it, like one of the prescriptions, it was more about closeness, and filling the emptiness.

It wasn't a "comfort" read, and so it's not the ending, if you will arrive to care for all the characters, even the apparently "bad" ones, you will hurt a little in the end; in a romance all the good ones are happily living after, but well, that will not be in this story. Nevertheless, you will know they did the right thing, and that is what make them heroes.

Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 21, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 162380244X
ISBN-13: 978-1623802448
Amazon: Under the Rushes
Amazon Kindle: Under the Rushes



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A great historical that despite the length (more than 450 pages) was quite easy to go down, like a smooth glass of water. It's for sure less romance and more high sea adventures, and considering the pirate them, it was in a way old fashioned like the historical setting, but considering my being an aficionado of vintage things, that was a plus to me. Moreover, even if this is far from being a breeches rippers, the romance between Kit and Griffin was hot enough to satisfy also the romantic reader that is in me.

I have to admit, I'm not an huge fan of the setting, while I know it's extremely popular, especially among the UK readers, and also considering the best historical novels are about this theme; that is the reason why I was maybe a little reluctant to start this specifically novel. But it was highly recommended by different friends, so I almost "forced" myself to read it, and was I happy I do. It wasn't long that the usually boredom of reading about ships and officers and co was soon forgotten, and instead I was enthralled in understanding Kit and Griffin, their reasons, the almost rude courtship Griffin was clearly moving on Kit, and Kit not even realizing it.

My favor is of course on Griffin, cause he was more open about his desires, but it's also true that he didn't give many chances to Kit to understand loving him wasn't a so huge betraying of everything he believed as true and right. But indeed I recognize Griffin in such attitude, it's another way to destabilize Kit, and in doing so, having him fall for the trap love he is preparing.

Publisher: Etopia Press (December 12, 2012)
Amazon Kindle: On a Lee Shore



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I admit, I was ready to dislike this novella as soon as I started it: a young man in prison for a nefarious crime (killing children) has to pay his debt becoming a whore, first raped by the prison guards, and then sold to the relatives of the children he killed. I wasn’t sure what was worst, the crime he committed or the punishment he was enduring. Because the young man was basically stupid, used by others as a mean for the crime, a crime he committed not understanding the implications.

But one of those relatives, a young lord whose brother was one of the children, the older of the children to be killed, the one who was trying to save them all and died in doing so, decides to “buy” the prisoner’s debt: now the young man is living on the lord’s estate, not understanding what the lord wants from him, how he is supposed to repay him. Living on the estate, the young man has the chance to see the true from the other side, to recollect who was the young lord’s brother, how unselfish and kind he was, what great crime he committed in killing him, basically killing the whole joy of the estate and its inhabitants. For a simple boy like him, a commoner, worse than a commoner now, a slave, it seems impossible to be able to replace such loss.

I arrive to deeply care for both the young man and the young lord; towards the end, it seemed almost a fairy tale, a tragedy turned in romance… but that wasn’t surprising, cause, for what I remember, the best fairy tales are indeed tragic love stories.

Publisher: Love in Dark Settings Press (June 21, 2012)
Amazon Kindle: Debt Price (Master/Other)

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Jeff Mann isn’t shy in using a rough imaginary to set his stories, whereas they are in XIX century American frontier, or in XVIII century Scotland, but even amidst the blood and sweat, and tears, you can find the tenderness of two men loving each other.

Angus and Derek are like two halves of the same apple, they were brought up together, Derek the laird’s son, and Angus his second hand, his protector, the one who has to give up his life in case to protect Derek. And he will do. But not only for a born duty, but also cause Angus is deeply in love with Derek and they call each other such, “lover”. The same night Angus is killed, Derek is turned into a vampire, in a ceremony that mixes love and death, sex and rape; yes, it’s rape, even if Derek will enjoy the act, he clearly didn’t want it, he was still mourning the loss of his half soul. That is the tenderness amidst the violence, a Derek in search of vengeance who is asking his sire to not have sex with him, cause, yes, he is in mourn, and he needs the time to heal.

The first story, the making of Derek, is probably the longer, taking half the book; after that we follow Derek in the centuries to come, up until modern time, with Derek paired with an husbear, Matt; not being familiar with the bear culture, it was the first time I “met” a bear bottom: it’s not really a term to describe their preferred sexual position, cause, as Derek said, they switch sometime, but it’s more to describe Matt’s playful attitude, something that remains with him way longer his young age, cause, in the end, Matt is more than 40, but nevertheless, still a bear bottom.

I didn’t really understand the decision of Derek to not turn Matt, they seem happy together. What I can think is that, deep down, Derek is still in love with Angus, a man that was totally opposite to Matt, in a way, Matt is to Derek, what Derek was to Angus, and so Derek needs someone different than Matt, someone who can be to him what Angus was. Still, deep down, I’m hoping he will change mind.

Paperback: 202 pages
Publisher: Bear Bones Books (August 25, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590213939
ISBN-13: 978-1590213933
Amazon: Desire & Devour: Stories of Blood & Sweat
Amazon Kindle: Desire & Devour: Stories of Blood & Sweat



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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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Everett Gerard, for various reasons, decided long ago to forget about his property, the Abbey. It’s 1888, in England, and while homosexuality is for sure forbidden, it’s not uncommon. Everyone basically knows Gerard is a sodomite, thanks also to an old scandal with an Italian count, but until he manages to disguise his real sexual inclinations with a libertine life, no one question why he is still a bachelor at almost 30 years old, and considering the fact his father died, he is not even worried that he is the last of his family

But then a solution to even that trouble basically fall into his lap: a 9 years old boy with a striking resemblance to the Gerard’s family, arrives to the Abbey, and the house’s bailiff, Miles Kenway, after trying to tame the almost savage boy, decides to call Gerard to his due towards the boy. Gerard knows he cannot be the father of the boy (no possibility at all), but for sure the boy is a Gerard, and so why not let people believe he is Everett’s offspring and, not only putting to death the old scandal, but also solving the problem of the heir to the Abbey.

I liked the romance between Gerard and Kenway, while forbidden, it wasn’t full of angst or denial; both men had long ago decided their interests lie on men, and when they meet each other, that interest is mutual. Even the social status difference isn’t something that put them apart, considering Kenway is a well-read man, who, even if he hasn’t a college degree, has nevertheless a deep knowledge of culture and life. On the other hand, Gerard is the classical middle class man, not from aristocracy, but nevertheless wealthy, and yes, even if he has some reasons hidden in his past to behave as he is, I found him to be maybe a little too much spoilt; sure, deep down he has a good heart, and the immediately liking the has for Ipsial, even if, both the most likely fathers are men he despises, said a lot about Gerard’s predisposition to love people for who they are and not for their origins.

Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (July 9, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: The Gentleman's Keeper

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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It’s not only the name that links Peter to Peter Pan and Wendell to Wendy, there are many other references in the novel, a young elf of a boy by the name of Tinker, a band of scoundrels that always goes along with Peter, and of course, the firm decision of Peter to never grey up, to not being a captive of an house with closed windows.

Wendell, as his female counterpart, is the one with the leveled head, the older of three brothers, the one who always behaved as his parents expected, except for the fact that he didn’t marry, and at almost 30, he is reaching an age that makes him a black sheep among white lambs. Wendell is homosexual, and he knows that, but in 1901 London, the same year, if I remember well, when Oscar Wilde died in exile, an happily ever after for him is unthinkable. And so he searches solace in a very special private club, where he meets Peter, and the two start a passionate love story, in a way less traumatic than what I was expecting.

The book had a warning for BDSM theme, but sincerely, that is really far from any BDSM themed novel I read; sure, sometime Peter tends to order Wendell around, but more cause he is the experienced one in comparison to almost virgin Wendell, but aside from that, there is no difference between them in bed, no Domination or submission; and even if Peter is from aristocracy and Wendell is a middle class clerk, even in that account there is no highlighting of their social status different level when they are together.

All in all, I found this story to be more romantic and sweet than expected, and it left me with a warm comfortable feeling.

Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Amber Quill Press, LLC (June 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1611249139
ISBN-13: 978-1611249132
Amazon: Loving Peter
Amazon Kindle: Loving Peter

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There were three main characters on this story, Johnny, Frankie and the setting, the excellence of all three of them making this a must for the historical romance lovers; and in this case, I would like to highlight the “romance” in the historical romance tag, cause, on the contrary of other novels, in which the excellent setting steals the scene to the love story between the main characters, in this case both strength are preserved.

I enjoyed both characterization of Johnny and Frankie, they were really at the opposite: first, the origins, France and Germany are geographically near, but totally far from each other in attitude, and Creole-French Frankie is sensual and sexy, and unabashed in his preferences, where Germanic-roots Johnny is reserved, self-flagellating himself for his “perverse” needs; moreover Frankie is embracing his heritage, floundering it with its luxurious joy of life and colorful attitude, he is like a rich brocade of a deep burgundy, while instead Johnny is trying to hide it, misguiding people to believe him to be a 100% WASP, giving me the idea of a brown cotton cloth.

While the Civil War time was an important element of the story, I have to say that I enjoyed it wasn’t as predominant as I feared, I’m not really into war novels (too much drama, too often a loss of young lives). More than 1/3 of the story is focused on Frankie and Johnny, before their involvement on different war fronts, so that, when it happens, I had the feeling these men had to find a way to stay together, for how much impossible it could appear.

There was quite the component of sex, so much that, sometime, especially at first, when the romance between Johnny and Frankie wasn’t already in place, it was almost to a level of erotica. I’m sure this was part of the character of Frankie, and also a way to not only prove how different he was from repressed Johnny, but also how far he will go at the end of the story, thanks to the love he has found.

Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (July 31, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1623806372
ISBN-13: 978-1623806378
Amazon: Where My Love Lies Dreaming
Amazon Kindle: Where My Love Lies Dreaming

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More than one year ago, a friend of mine told me to check out an online series cause it was really good. At the time I did read an episode, but I have so little time to read that following a serial online was almost impossible. I did like it though. Then I forgot about it. When I saw this series on Amazon, Captive Prince, the first thing that caught my eyes was the simplicity of the cover, it reminded me of, I think, Coco Chanel’s motto: there is something you can remove, the less, the better. These two volumes of a Fantasy series were climbing the bestsellers list, and it was even more amazing considering they were self-published by the author. But again, I wasn’t so convinced, Fantasy is not really my cup of tea, and moreover, I’m not really a big fan of Master/slave plots. But, oh boy, was that cover so good, and the response from the readers so widely positive, that I decided to try test the first volume (bless Kindle and the easiness to buy a book, but I have to warn you, I have three devices, Kindle, Ipad and Laptop, and the Kindle app for Laptop doesn’t work for this file, I had to read it on my Ipad).

Anyway, I was immediately reminded of that online series, and I checked with my friend, and indeed it was the same. The author published it in two volumes and the third will come soon. I was really glad cause, where personally I wouldn’t have read it online, I’m more than willing to buy it as a three volumes series.

I was also immediately contradicted on my preconceptions on Master/slave plot: sure Damen is a former prince and warrior, who for the betrayal of his own brother, is now a slave in an enemy kingdom; not only, he is supposed to serve the prince, heir to the throne, who is, to Damen, a lazy and cruel man, not worthy of his respect. Damen wants only to find a way to escape, but in a few days he will realize that there are better way than running, and that an uneasy alliance can be the solution.

I appreciate a lot that violence, non-consensual sex, and all the similar “titillations” of a common Master/slave plot weren’t part of the deal here. So much that, at the end of the first volume, I’m not even sure there will be a relationship at all between Damen and Laurent, actually I think Damen doesn’t like much Laurent, and Laurent is probably interested to someone else and not Damen. Or maybe I’m wrong, and I would be glad of that, cause Damen and Laurent together would be a powerful pairing.

Also the care for details, good but not overwhelming was of my taste. I don’t really like those heave fantasy setting, where the reader is too much distracted from the characters due to all those lengthy descriptions. Here there was the essential, and then you had the plot, that was the center piece of the story.

Series: Captive Prince
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Gatto; 2 edition (February 4, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0987507397
ISBN-13: 978-0987507396
Amazon: Captive Prince: Volume One (Volume 1)
Amazon Kindle: Captive Prince: Volume One (Volume 1)

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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Considering I’m not a huge fan of heavy fantasy setting, I have to admit with a little surprise that I enjoyed this story, probably since it has something that I really love, an evil character that will you will end to cheer for, hoping not that he will redeem, but that he will be able to find love.

The setting is pure steampunk, a Victorian London society (reference to the Rose theatre and to other London landmarks), the addition of mechanical machines and some other fantasy details are the only thing that bring this novel out from the historical borders. From what I understood, a good steampunk has to be, first of all, a good historical novel, and so Mars on the Rise completely centers the target.

As I said, Erus Veetu, the dark and dangerous war lord, is my favorite character, even if I really hate as he treats Cedo; the easiest way would be for the author to let Erus be the bad villain and Cedo finding love with the more likable and friendly Billy, but Erus is a tortured soul, and of course there is a little of “nurse” syndrome in Cedo, who believes he is the one who can understand Erus and love him despite everything and everyone.

You can see sparks of goodness in Erus, like for example when he allows Cedo to take his cat Misty; he clearly says that he is doing so since it will make Cedo happy, and he wants for Cedo to be happy. And then, after all, he is not taking him captive, he more than once has given him the chance to run away, but Cedo has always came back, willingly, like willingly he followed Erus the first time.

Amazon: Mars on the Rise
Amazon Kindle: Mars on the Rise
Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: Torquere Press (April 25, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1610403053
ISBN-13: 978-1610403054



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Considering I’m not a huge fan of heavy fantasy setting, I have to admit with a little surprise that I enjoyed this story, probably since it has something that I really love, an evil character that will you will end to cheer for, hoping not that he will redeem, but that he will be able to find love.

The setting is pure steampunk, a Victorian London society (reference to the Rose theatre and to other London landmarks), the addition of mechanical machines and some other fantasy details are the only thing that bring this novel out from the historical borders. From what I understood, a good steampunk has to be, first of all, a good historical novel, and so Mars on the Rise completely centers the target.

As I said, Erus Veetu, the dark and dangerous war lord, is my favorite character, even if I really hate as he treats Cedo; the easiest way would be for the author to let Erus be the bad villain and Cedo finding love with the more likable and friendly Billy, but Erus is a tortured soul, and of course there is a little of “nurse” syndrome in Cedo, who believes he is the one who can understand Erus and love him despite everything and everyone.

You can see sparks of goodness in Erus, like for example when he allows Cedo to take his cat Misty; he clearly says that he is doing so since it will make Cedo happy, and he wants for Cedo to be happy. And then, after all, he is not taking him captive, he more than once has given him the chance to run away, but Cedo has always came back, willingly, like willingly he followed Erus the first time.

Amazon: Mars on the Rise
Amazon Kindle: Mars on the Rise
Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: Torquere Press (April 25, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1610403053
ISBN-13: 978-1610403054



Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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At first I was not sure what to “do” with this book; the historical setting was very appealing, but this poor boy, Edmund, was always ending in a trouble, one worse than the other. Sure, more or less he was enjoying the experience, but well, for the third son of an English earl to end, more or less, on the meat market as sexual slave… but then I had like a lightning of understanding, what I was reading was like one of those feuilleton, only with a LOT of sex on it. Basically the plot was a frame to the sex, and in this context, it was a nice addition, but it wasn’t supposed to be accurate or consistent. Buccaneer Island is the retelling of the sexual adventures of Edmund, something that he is doing in his old age, adventures no one believes are real, and maybe neither Edmund, maybe he is enriching them a little.

There is even the hint of a transgender story, Edmund is so willing to please his master of the moment that he changes his looks to appear as a woman, and maybe he would have even considered a sex change (rudimental and quite dangerous). Sure, at that point the reader is questioning how much is Edmund’s sexual fantasy and how much can be considered real (I propend for the first hypothesis).

In any case, even when he is in the most dangerous situation, Edmund approached everything like he was taking a sexy escapade from reality, always sure his noble parents will rescue him sooner or later, and when that happens, well, it’s almost a bummer to Edmund, who was enjoying the freedom of the Buccaneer Island, especially the sexual freedom.

Amazon: Buccaneer Island
Amazon Kindle: Buccaneer Island
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (April 17, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602826587
ISBN-13: 978-1602826588



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This is a Bittersweet Dreams title, so I knew that a not traditional happy ending was to be expected, plus the blurb was easy to decipher. So I concentrated more on the development of the story than on the ending, and I found myself enjoying very much the relationship of Alen with his mother, so much that, in the end, I was almost in tears.

The life of Alen is not easy or idyllic, but he does everything he has to do since he deeply loves his mother; but Alen has never felt as he belongs to the village he was born or among the people who always looked at him like a strange creature. Maybe that is the reason why he searched for solace in something else, and the only thing he has in his poor life is the fire in the heart of the cottage. Alen more than once convinced himself someone is in it, he saw a face, and that burning eyes were calling him.

That is the reason why, when he is condemned to the pyre, he doesn’t fear it, on the contrary, he sees it like a way to his freedom.

In the end, Burnt Offerings has an happy ending, only that it’s not traditional, the bittersweet is more for Alen’s mother, but she is like all mothers should be, glad for the happiness her son found.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2583

Amazon Kindle: Burnt Offerings
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 25, 2011)

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Cover Art by Anne Cain

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Dangerous Beauty is the second in the A Pride of Uttor series; I haven’t read the first, an het romance involving the sister of Endre, a destitute prince, and Gaspar, the emperor who conquered their kingdom. Endre is now living as a privileged captive, more a guest than a prisoner, but nevertheless his father instilled into him the dislike for everything related to Gaspar; moreover, Endre is fighting an attraction for men, something that in his culture is punished by death and that instead in Uttor is not only accepted, but even legal, so much that man can take male consort. Instead of being a consolation for Endre, that is even a worst damnation, since he is fighting the attraction for Arshad, prince of Tabar, ally to the emperor, and for connection, his own enemy.

The novel is so explicit when concerning the sex, that if not for the uplifting ending, and more or less, the exclusivity of the main characters, this could be easily classified as erotica. Like it is, it’s for sure Erotic Romance, and I say it like a warning, because there is a lot of sex; oddly, it’s very basic, no kinky undertones, even if sometime there is the use of the words Master, submissive, slave… but they are just that, words, and mostly the two men enjoy quite ordinary, if not intensive, sex sessions.

There is also a lot of play around the concept of virgin, and Savage Romance/breeches rippers theme, but again, it’s more a play than the real thing: Arshad thinks about conquering the virgin Endre, to debauch the innocent princeling, but when it comes the time, not only it’s more Endre seducing Arshad, also Arshad will display a side of him that is almost kind, and for sure young. That is what I noticed also in another event, when Arshad needs to take the army against his enemies, realizing he has never really gone into a real fight… it was like a boy who until that moment has only posed as an adult who is suddenly asked to behave like one. After that, I had some difficult to see Arshad like a real domineering lover.

For sure Endre is a submissive, but that doesn’t mean he is not a man; Endre loves to be told to do thing, first by his father and then by Arshad. Once he admits with himself that he likes Arshad, he has no trouble at all considering him the ruler on their relationship, but I see it more like Endre admitting his submissive nature, not like renouncing to his masculinity.

Amazon Kindle: Dangerous Beauty (Pride of Uttor Series, Book Two)
Publisher: Resplendence Publishing, LLC (February 13, 2013)

Series: Pride of Uttor
1) Captive Heart
2) Dangerous Beauty

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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Aside from being among the Bestsellers in Gay Romance for last year, I was drawn by this series for the m-preg theme. I think someone suggested this to me, and being the first one a novella, I thought, why not? The commitment is not too much if I don’t like it, and if I like, there is always book 2. I read it in one night and bought the second novella the same night.

Valentina Heart doesn’t shy away from the chosen theme, and actually, it’s the main reason why Prince Rinin is able to barter a marriage instead of being a sex slave to King Merinej. Rin is now alone, his kingdom lost the war against Merin’s one, and now the council has decided for him: he will be the pawn to beg mercy. Since he was born, Rin wasn’t fated to be a warrior, too fragile and precious; he was special, a man able to give birth, but that is also coming with the almost certainty of death if he tries. And now he is supposed to be a sex slave to Merin, him that doesn’t have any idea of what sex or even the simple contact with a man means. But for once Rin decides to rebel, and proposes to Merin a marriage: he will bear Merin’s child, a child of two kings, someone destined to be powerful and of perfect lineage. If death will come, for Rin it will be better than a life as a slave.

This is for sure a story that appeals to many, but at the same that is not suitable to all. This is a gay version of the Savage Romance, with many of the clichés of that genre, but also with all its attractiveness. It’s not realistic, it’s not about equality in a relationship, it’s about a strong character in relationship with a more fragile one, but fragility doesn’t mean stupidity. Rin is not stupid, he is naïve; he is the first to admit he was not raised to be a leader, and he doesn’t want to be. But at the same time, he is proud of his ancestry, and wants the respect he deserves.

I strongly suggest to approach these two novellas as a whole, and to read both of them close to each other.

Amazon Kindle: King's Conquest (Mending the Rift)
Publisher: Silver Publishing (January 21, 2012)
Amazon Kindle: Owner of My Heart (Mending the Rift)
Publisher: Silver Publishing (July 14, 2012)

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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Steampunk is a popular genre in fantasy and I have to say that the cover artist did a fantastic job with this cover, enticing but also subtlety sexy. If I have to be sincere, I’m not a big fan of fantasy in general, but this particular subgenre, Victorian/futuristic setting, appeals to me; most of the time, like in this case, the author introduces some fantastic element (in this case an airship) maintaining the historical accuracy. Aside from flying instead of sailing, our heroes don’t have anything else of modern.

Henry is a simple hand on a luxury airship, he is no fancy officer, he comes from a poor background and learned a job that is allowing him to live but probably not to comfortably retire when it will be time. He for sure has no money to marry, even if he was incline to this option; but Henry prefers the company of men, a secret he hasn’t shared aboard, something he satisfies on the brief time he is allowed ashore. When his airship is hijacked by pirates and he lands in the hands of handsome pirate captain Volentine, he is not really happy, not until he doesn’t see that being the pet of an handsome captain can have its advantages.

Alone in the captain cabin, Henry can free his hidden desires, he can satisfy all of them, plus he can quill his sense of guilty thinking he is forced by Volentine. But actually Henry doesn’t put up much resistance, and he is soon a willing partner to Volentine.

If I have to be sincere, while Volentine plays the role of the sadistic captain, I really didn’t perceive him like that; he is quite kind and sensitive, always worrying of Henry’s needs, sometime even having them in mind before his owns. He always tries to find the solution that will bring less danger to Henry, and even when he finds Henry in a compromising situation, he is ready to believe his words, without questioning too much. To me, Volentine was everything other than ruthless, and the ending, while funny, was actually quite in line with the idea I had of this man.

http://pinkpetalbooks.com/Sky-Rat-Angelia-Sparrow.html

Amazon Kindle: Sky Rat
Publisher: Pink Petal Books (October 7, 2010)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading_list&view=elisa.rolle


Cover Art by Christine M. Griffin

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This is one of the most beautiful romance I have read. Robert is a young nobleman tortured by his father who fear his son and heir being homosexual. But Robert doesn't know nothing about sex and nothing about love. But one night he meet Greyson, a duke who is searching an angel... from that moment his angel is him, and from that moment his name is Angel. In fact, we only know him like Angel, his real name is revealed only at the end when Angel is ready to break free of his cage and declare his love.

The romance is in first person, and we read all the story trought the eyes of Angel, eyes tormented but also eager of love. Greyson is able to fillfull him of love. This is a great romance where everything is narrated with a soffuse tenderness and with the ability to make feel us the real sensation of Angel.

I strongly reccomended this romance to everyone.

http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=TAC_ANGL

Amazon: Angel's Evolution
Amazon Kindle: Angel's Evolution
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (July 6, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608207234
ISBN-13: 978-1608207237

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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More light than the previous books in this series, mostly since the story is mainly set in an isolated lodge in the forest giving the characters more freedom, it follows the same trend of mixing together strong and domineering men with more gentle and kind companions. Peter is the captain of Duke Logan; in a previous book Logan and Drake, a pair, shared their bed with Peter, but Peter is bisexual, and he is in love with his wife, and so that was only a passing fling. Unfortunately Peter’s wife dies in childbirth, and Peter convinced himself it was the punishment for his sin. Despite this, when Logan sends him to Marsden Lodge, an hunting lodge in the northern border of his dukedom, Peter falls in lust (not love) with Arvel, the deaf mute caretaker of the place. Arvel is petite and pretty like a forest fairy (no pun intended), with big lavender eyes and long red hair; he would have not survived the harsh life of a medieval village if not for the help of Gareth, a big and burly mercenary that between hirings comes back to Arvel and helps him. That of Arvel with Gareth is love, but Arvel is really like a forest creature, welcoming and friendly with everyone who shares with him a kind spirit. And so Arvel welcome Peter not only inside the lodge, but also in his bed. And when Gareth comes back to him as usual, Arvel wants for Gareth and Peter to be lover like he is with Gareth. Everything is perfect if not that Peter understands his relationship with Arvel, or even the one he will build with Gareth, is not love; this will be righted by him meeting with Caelin, a young man who destined to priesthood, was shunned due to his sin of homosexuality.

Silent Lodge is an erotic tale, the various relationship in this tale, between Logan, Drake and Peter, between Peter, Arvel and Gareth, and between Peter and Caelin, are built upon sex, and only in some cases they developed in love. But the sex is without regret, especially when there is the chance to deepen the relationship beyond a simple escapade. These men don’t consider what they are doing a sin, because they are not harming anyone; this is even more evident due to the isolation of the lodge: who can be affected by their actions if no one is aware of what they are doing? Basically the sin is only that since people, and not God, stated it.

http://www.loose-id.com/In-the-Company-of-Men-Silent-Lodge.aspx

Amazon: Silent Lodge
Amazon Kindle: Silent Lodge
Paperback: 290 pages
Publisher: Loose Id, LLC (November 25, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1607377403
ISBN-13: 978-1607377405

Series: In the Company of Men
1) The Mercenary's Tale: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/243092.html
2) Jackson’s Pride: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/277247.html
3) Baymore's Heir: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1533510.html
4) Silent Lodge

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


Cover Art by Christine M. Griffin
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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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A nice novella playing on the old theme of the Master/slave bond in a fantasy setting; the village where Daniel lives is bound by an ancient pact with the Kin lords to offer, or better sacrifice, one youth every year. When the chosen is Daniel’s sister, he cannot let it happen: while his sister is loved by everyone, and engaged, Daniel knows he has no better future ahead of him, he prefers the company of men and that is the worst sin according to the priest. So Daniel volunteers to be the sacrificial lamb to the Kin lords, and he is not expecting anything better than becoming like an animal: the Kin lords drink human blood and the offerings are to become their life substance providers.

Vale is the trainer of the Kin, he is the one who has to take Daniel in the first days and explain him what will be his dues. What Vale is not expecting is to bond with Daniel in a way that goes beyond the training. Daniel is a kind and gentle soul that well suit the similar behaviour of Vale. Vale is not used to train with forceful imposition, he is more like a whisperers, letting his teachings sip into the offerings.

The feeling of the story is more or less that of a fairy tale, maybe a little sexier than an old fashioned one, but still, it was like in those tales, where the godmother fairy will arrive to make everything right and grant the happily ever after to the couple.

http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1457

Amazon Kindle: Bound by Blood
Publisher: Changeling Press, LLC (September 10, 2010)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading_list&view=elisa.rolle
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The story doesn’t span a long time in the life of Lieutenant Conrad Herriot and Seaman Tom Cotton: when we met them, they are already “together” since when Conrad was a 13 years old boy entering the Royal Army as officer and Tom was assigned to him as a servant, Tom himself a boy of 15 years. They basically grew up together, becoming the men they are without no one intruding between them, no family, no women, no other men. The bond is so tight that Conrad prefers the company of Tom to other officers and this is arising embarrassing questions. They have nothing to hide, not yet at least, but the ship is a nest of gossips and they are condemned before being real sinners.

I like the bond between Conrad and Tom before and after it turns in a romantic relationship; it speaks of ordinary things, of everyday and of brotherhood. Sure there will be physical passion between them, but first of all there is a bond that was born when both of them were developing into men, it was like an imprinting, something that is impossible to break.

I’m not sure they would have arrived so soon to the physical side of the relationship if not for the gossiping of the other men, I can imagine both of them retiring in the country, now more friends than lord and servant, and enjoy a quiet old age far from indiscreet eyes. This was denied to them, but Conrad and Tom will find a way to dramatically change their future, and still be together.

I like that Tom was not so ready to lose his integrity in exchange of the satisfaction of his desires but most of all, of his life. Sure it doesn’t take long to him to reconsider the option, of what he is gaining in exchange of what he is losing, but still, it’s not an immediate decision. In this he is behaving more gentlemanly than Conrad, who should be the real gentleman between them, but I have the feeling that Conrad is also the more romantic… romanticism is something that noblemen can afford wherelse simple men like Tom are usually more practical.

http://ebooks.carinapress.com/309422ED-E92A-42D1-8DFA-2068C6705E89/10/134/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=E433596A-3645-493A-987A-8428CE0CA7D4

Amazon Kindle: By Honor Betrayed
Publisher: Carina Press (November 7, 2011)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading_list&view=elisa.rolle
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A bittersweet tale about a summer’s fling: it’s 1891, Queen Victoria’s India, and Mair, a 18 years old young man soon to be leaving for England and his college future, meets Captain Charles Blackthorne, 35 years old and embittered by his current life. Charles sees in Mair his lost hopes, the innocent and young romance he didn’t have the chance to fully experiment, the lightness and carelessness to love and be love by another man. Charles is tired, more than tired he is weary of the clandestine affair he can have with other fellow soldiers, there is no romance in it, there is sex without passion, it’s only a mechanism, and to that, he can renounce. But with Mair he will have the night of his dreams, a night that will remain a lapse in time, nothing more, but everything he wants.

This is only a short story, and it would be interesting to know what it will be of Mair and his adventures in England and of Charles and his life in India; will they be able to fulfil their desires? Will they meet again? We don’t know, but for now, they had they summer’s lease.

http://www.bcpinepress.com/catalogDetail.php?bookCode=53

Amazon Kindle: Summer's Lease
Publisher: Bristlecone Pine Press (September 20, 2011)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading_list&view=elisa.rolle
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In a way, The Prince’s Boy by Cecilia Tan is an old fashioned novel… now people are thinking what the hack I’m saying, a BDSM fantasy gay romance couldn’t be “old fashioned”. Yes, you are right, but I was more referring to the plot development than the theme of the story; I still remember my literature classes, when I read about the Charles Dickens or Alexander Dumas’s novels, this books were serialized in weekly magazines, and readers were eagerly waiting for the next instalment since the author always left them hanging on some edge, often with the life of the main characters in danger. That was the main rule, maintaining the attention of the reader very high, and that is the reason why, to a today reader, who reads the story from beginning to the end, sometime it results in a rollercoast reading, from low to high every chapter, with your heart that is bumping up and down with the misadventures of the heroes.

Also the theme doesn’t help, the story of prince Kenet and his whipping boy Jorin; a whipping boy is basically the shadow of a child prince, chosen to take the punishment on behalf of the prince since no one can touch him. To Kenet, who at the beginning considers Jorin like his own property, like a dear puppy, seeing the young boy being punished is worse than taking the punishment himself. Kenet and Jorin will grew in a symbiotic way, sharing everything, including their bodies when they reach puberty. I like their relationship, but I feel like something has to change for them to be a real couple. I haven’t yet read the second part of this saga, so I actually don’t know what the epilogue will be, but at this moment, while I love both of them, Kenet and Jorin, I feel like they need a stronger hand, so, or one of the two will take this role, or they need someone else outside they tight bond.

Kenet and Jorin don’t have an easy development on their story, they will be separated, they will have various sexual partners, willingly and unwillingly, but I think that this is all part of their development, they are learning from each of these partners. Be aware, there is non-con sex, heavy BDSM not in a safe context and even if it serves them to grow up in a better man, not always I felt like Kenet, and above all Jorin, enjoyed their submissive role. So no, this is not a pretty story, even if the small solace was that I have never felt like there was no hope for Kenet and Jorin.

http://www.circlet.com/?p=2760

Amazon: The Prince's Boy
Amazon Kindle: The Prince's Boy
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: Circlet Press, Inc. (April 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613900090
ISBN-13: 978-1613900093

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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Also Best Gay Novel (3° place)

Allow me to digress a little from the novel, but you will understand that, in the end, I didn’t go so far away from the point. I was kindly offered and ARC of this novel by the publisher; as soon as I started it (and sorry if I was not able to finish it sooner), my curiosity was picked, since I’m an old fan of Casanova, but I didn’t know he had a brother… yes, the author was so good in “preparing” the field for the reader that I really thought I was reading real memoirs and not a fictional work. But then I arrived to the of letter of Benedetto to Gianni Garini, and I wanted to know more, going back to the introduction, to that “with a foreword of Professor Guido Grancuore…”. Originally it was something like Professor Guido Grancuore, Università di S. Matteo (o Marco?), Padua. I don’t think the publisher knew I’m actually from Padua, and I don’t think they knew they did a huge mistake naming the college “S. Matteo”, not since, as the publisher well knew, there is no college “S. Matteo” in Padua, but since the University of Padua, aside from being one of the oldest University in the world, it’s also completely secular, and in no way one of its department could be named after a Saint. When it was founded in 1221, Padua gathered the “almost” heretic scholar from the University of Bologna (founded in 1181) who didn’t want to abide to the Church rule of miracles and divine providence. Those scholars believe in the secular laws of medicine, astronomy and all the other “heretic” matters, and since they couldn’t study it in Bologna, they retired to Padua. That is the reason why, the University of Padua has not the name of a Saint, or a King, or some other very important person, but it is simply named “il Bo’”, i.e. “the Ox”, from the head of an ox that was hanging at the entrance of the inn that initially accommodate them, and that is now the old court of that very same university. When I told to the publisher this same thing, he told me he didn’t want to use the real name but he wanted a “likely” name, something that was right according to the history (and the story). I suggest him to name the fictional college after Elena Cornaro-Piscopia (or Elena Corner della Piscopia), born in 1646 and died in 1684, she was the first woman to officially graduate in an University and she did it in Padua; since she was from a very wealthy family, it’s possible that a college was named after her (basically since her family could have sponsored that), and as the same Marten Weber tells in the acknowledgments, “there should be a university named after her”. And since Elena was an out of the ordinary woman, it’s right she is “used” in the story of an out of the ordinary man, Benedetto Casanova.

Now all of you are wondered, what all of this does it matter with the story? Well it’s a proof more the author paid high attention to all the minimal details, and the feeling of this fictional story is of a very non fictional memoirs, so much that, even for who, like me, lives in the place where part of the story is set, has difficult sometime to distinct reality from fiction, and only for the very fat chance I’m living in that very city, I probably found out one of those little story digressions from history the author took.

The story follows Benedetto Casanova, the less notorious gay brother of Giacomo Casanova, in his love adventures. While he is maybe as libertine as his famous brother, in one thing Benedetto differs from Giacomo, he believes in love. I think that is the main point of the author, since in the end, we will see that Benedetto has reached his dreams, and he is happy, while Giacomo continues in his wicked ways towards destruction. Like Giacomo, Benedetto cannot distinct love from sex, and so there is a lot of sex in this novel, but as I like to remember, one of the judges of the Rainbow Awards who gave an high score to this novel, said that “This was an incredible piece of literature (…) (but) while the writing was excellent and the historical research was compelling, I had a serious problem with the fact that so much of this book was centered on sex. It was like reading a glorified hxxxxxb digest.” For me it is like he was saying, I shouldn’t like this since it’s basically pxxn, but I liked it anyway.

What instead is in common between Giacomo and Benedetto is the hard social criticism they did of their times and politics (and remember, at that time, Church was politics); behind the façade of libertine, Giacomo was in reality, and Benedetto is in fiction, an accurate observer of society, and someone who wasn’t scared to tell the truth.

I highly recommend this novel, but please, be aware of the sexual component of it; knowing what you will find, you will be probably less scandalized and ready to enjoy the fine and clever mind who wrote it.

Amazon: Benedetto Casanova - The Memoirs
Amazon Kindle: Benedetto Casanova - The Memoirs
Paperback: 414 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (March 18, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1461010934
ISBN-13: 978-1461010937



Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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The first book I read by Megan Derr but for sure not the last, Midnight impressed me for the originality and quality of the story, both characteristics seldom found in independent small presses. Or at least when such presses are targeting a reader in search of “fun”. And please take this as the right compliment I’m paying to this author and this press. It’s not easy to write a story that is able to both involve than amuse you, at the end of Midnight I’m an happy reader, since I spend some pleasant hours with these characters and I would be willing to spend even more time with them, like if I made new friends and I was still eager to know them even better.

It’s “ordinary” to write a paranormal romance about vampires, or elves, or werewolves; if you start to talk about dragons, ghosts, witches or draugrs (from what I understood the historical version of zombies), it starts to be a little less ordinary, but still, I had already read about them in previous paranormal novels… but having all of them together? In an historical setting that was giving a “fashion-like” side to the story? Well that was original, and good.

Devlin White, eleventh Duke of Winterbourne, is a black witch; yes, someone already told me that, if it’s a man, than it’s not a witch but a warlock or a wizard, but in the novel the author appealed to Devlin as a witch and so I will do. Midnight is the Devlin’s ward, an orphaned child Devlin met during one of his mission; unfortunately Devlin was unable to save the six years old child, but when the little thing awake from the death as a draugr, Devlin bound him with a spell to his own life: if Devlin dies, Midnight dies, if Devlin lives, Midnight lives and grows and loves… Devlin. 15 years are passed and Midnight is now a 21 years old youth, beautiful and more than faithful to Devlin and only him; Midnight has always been in love with Devlin, even when he was 6 years old, and that love is the reason why he awake from the death; that innocent love turned into passion when, at 15 years old, he spied Devlin with another man, a beautiful young man with long black hair; Midnight decided he would grew in the perfect image of Devlin’s lover, so that he could replace him in that role. It’s not Devlin who shaped Midnight into his lover, it’s Midnight who has done everything in his power to be the one Devlin can love.

There is a lot to love in this story, basically all the characters are wonderful, even the villains. The half elf, half wolf Barra, the knight Neirin and his dragon Troyes, the vampires Ceadda and Alucard, and many, many other paranormal creatures are more than supporting characters to Devlin and Midnight, but what I probably loved the most in this novel is what I said at the beginning, that it was fun and yes, something even light; there was a lot of “love” for pretty things, Midnight being the prettiest thing of all, and the dark, gothic side of the story was always softened by something sweet and romantic, like a kiss, or pretty and shiny like a useless, but beautiful jewel.

http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=94&products_id=218

Amazon: Midnight
Amazon Kindle: Midnight
Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (January 11, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936202638
ISBN-13: 978-1936202638



Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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Knowing (and having read) the previous works by Erastes, I was a little “scared” to start this one: a story about two lovers in the Prussian army during the 1866 war… I was expecting good setting, dark passion and a lot of drama for these two men, and well, the happy end was not a sure thing. But I was wrong. Maybe the author tamed a little her inclination for realistic drama due to the guidelines of the publisher (Carina Press is indeed a romance publisher, and the happy end is one of the sacred rule of the romance), and the result is the same love for a good setting, the same researched and detailed plot but with a little more of happily ever after.

The little different trend is clear from the beginning, when Captain Rudolph von Ratzlaff and First Lieutenant Mathias Hofmann are planning to elope together after one last battle. They are lovers since the day they met in a tavern and even if Mathias wonders how a man of an high social status like Rudolph is willing to share his life with a simple middle class man like him, they are both clearly in love. But the fate decides to make it a little difficult for them and Rudolph suffers from amnesia due to a blow he received in that last battle. He has forgotten the last two years, and so his relationship with Mathias, but he has not forgotten his previous male lover, Ernst, in Berlin. Rudolph is planning to go back to Berlin and to Ernst, and Mathias decides to stay near him, to see if he will regain his memory and with that, their love.

As I said, this novel is way more “light” than expected, and in some point, it sounded almost like a comedy more than drama; Rudolph was not at all a romance hero, on the contrary, sometime he was very much ordinary man, with the related faults: he was easily deceived by a pretty face like Ernst, and even when he realizes that he was manipulated by his same servants, his reaction is “soft”. I had the feeling that Rudolph was a good representative of the aristocracy of the time, maybe a little too used to obtain what he wanted without fighting too much for it. On this regard, Mathias is a little more “active”, and he seems to fight more for their relationship. I have the feeling both of them believed in their love, but I also think there was a good chance for them to not succeed in their common happily ever after due to really stupid obstacles.

I enjoyed Muffled Drum, above all I loved the unexpected “sweet” romance I found.

http://ebooks.carinapress.com/09196D89-072C-4D25-919E-175B46E3B9A5/10/134/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=54D0C312-6A2D-4F69-94DE-6DC46E91481A

Amazon Kindle: Muffled Drum
Publisher: Carina Press (July 4, 2011)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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I really, really liked this historical adventure/mystery novel, despite all the ugliness it dealt with it managed to be also sweet and romantic, but I cannot avoid to think the author was a little too severe with one of her characters and I hope she will come back to these men and time.

Former whore Ira Adler is now well nestled with crime lord Cain Goddard. Ira knows Cain’s affair are probably against the law, it was the reason why he ended up with him: Cain was one of Ira’s usual customers, and when the young man came to one of their appointment beaten up by a constable, Cain took care of him and of the constable, only that the output was very different. Cain offered to Ira the role of confidential secretary, teaching him the job, sure, but matching it with other special tasks, tasks that Ira is more than willing to complete.

Aside for being a crime lord, Cain is a perfect romance hero, he is always careful of Ira’s well-being, he never questions him, even when Ira’s word is against that of one of Cain’s oldest employee; Cain is the first to speak the word love, and even if he is aware that Ira is not meeting his feelings, he is also willing to wait for the young man to be ready (of course we are speaking of emotion, on a physical level they are already sharing a life like a married couple and probably more, considering the custom of the time); when time is passing, and Ira is not yet ready, instead of being impatient, Cain is willing to again open his heart and gifting Ira with a tangible sign of his love. I think that, if Ira doesn’t want him, I’m ready to fall in love for him myself.

I understand Ira’s integrity, he hasn’t never had one and now that he has found that being honest is giving him an independency he didn’t know, he is not willing to let it go. And to think that all is due to the only mistake that Cain commits, i.e. to ask to his lover, former pickpocketing thief, to retrieve an object from a man that is blackmailing him. A simple task, something that a former whore like Ira could do blinded, but an event that will also cause Ira to go out from Cain’s umbrella, to go back to his old life for the first time in two years. As I said, that is Cain’s only mistake, he had Ira in a golden cage, a wonderful paradise bird who was singing only for him, but he let it go, and now it will be difficult to convince him to come back.

Ira in his way, feels for Cain, but he is not in love with the man. Ira is probably stronger than Cain, and a little harder to fall in love. Actually, the reader will learn that all of Cain’s trouble, past and present, are always due to his tendency of falling in love, and that is a situation when you are weaker. Again you will understand that, even if I really like Ira, my favourite is Cain, and I hope that, in the end, Ira will see that with love, you can change even the most devil of the crime lords, and Cain is far from being the worst.

http://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/products.php?product=Affair-of-the-Porcelain-Dog%2C-The-%252d-by-Jess-Faraday

Amazon: The Affair of the Porcelain Dog
Amazon Kindle: The Affair of the Porcelain Dog
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (June 14, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602822301
ISBN-13: 978-1602822306

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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It’s very clear this author is used to write erotic historical romances, and I’d like to highlight the word “erotic”, since in this case it weights a little more than the “historical” one. Nobleman Nathan has done his due to the dukedom, 2 sons and 1 daughter, and now he has no patience left for his demanding wife, a wife that, by the way, has already found a replacement for the role of bedmate. There is no love between Nathan and his wife, and from what I understand, never there was. Even if it’s not detailed, I think their was an arranged marriage of some sort. Sure, to my opinion, Nathan could have found someone nicer to be the mother of his children, but then the children seem to not have taken from their mother.

Lately a new addition to the household has helped with raising the kids: Henry, Nathan’s steward, spends as many time as he can with the children, and they seem to care for him as much as they care for their father. Nathan is not against the idea, but he himself would like to have a deeper bond with the young man, only that Henry has never expressed any interest or given him any signs he would be willing. Aside from that, Henry’s devotion to Nathan is exclusive, and when he learns about a possible threat to the man’s good name, he is ready to risk his cover for him: Henry is a former whore and he escaped a molly house; the man who is blackmailing Nathan is the same man Henry was running away from; of course Henry’s plot will not go as smoothly as he hoped and Nathan will have to help him. That is no surprising at all, what will be a nice surprise for the reader is the changing in powership that will happen between Nathan and Henry.

At the beginning I found Henry to be a little too submissive, too weak; I was already thinking to tag this story as a “classical” breeches rippers, with the poor young man falling in love for the dashing aristocrat; but even if this is a breeches rippers, you will have a surprise on whom will have his breeches ripped. I think this is due to two major factor: Henry’s bad past experience preventing him to fully trust another man, with his body but above all with his freedom, and Nathan’s need for once to not be the one in command, his need to let it go, and exactly at the opposite of Henry, to be able to trust someone with his body and his freedom.

This is book 1 in a series, and it’s clear who will be the pair of book 2. What remained an open point is if maybe this is not a spin off of some other series by the same author, mainly since some of the supporting characters, having only a cameo role, gave me the idea to have a some sort of shared past with both Henry than Nathan, and so there was a little bit the feeling to be plunged in the middle of the action with little preparation. But in a way, it was no bad, since the reader was soon at the main course, without wasting much time with the appetizers.

Amazon Kindle: Almost an Equal (The Hunt Club Chronicles - Book 1)
Publisher: Night Shift Publishing (June 15, 2011)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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Since it’s not the first time I greatly appreciated a story by Katica Locke, I shouldn’t be surprised by how much I enjoyed this last one; it’s only a novella, and I started reading it in a break, almost with the idea to give it a “try” taste and maybe continue later, and instead I was captivated until the last word. And trust me, you need to read that last word to fully appreciate this story.

Kae is a werecat, a little tabby domestic cat; out of boring, he cruises Tyress, a middle-age man who is more or less trying to pick up every man passing him in the pub and not having any success, on the contrary, he is regarded as a pity case. But Kae sees something in Tyress and it’s not with pity that he starts talking with him, only to find out Tyress is an Huntsman, i.e. a deadly enemy of any wereshifter. Tyress claims to be retired and he more or less, lets Kae go without any harm if not some spiteful words, but you know, curiosity kills the cat, and Kae is not satisfied until he doesn’t push Tyress to action.

The story follows with a cat and mouse hunt (or better a man and cat hunt), mixing sex and passion, almost non con sex with funny moment, and boys, was that a masterly proof of Katica Locke’s skills, it was something almost impossible to manage, but I have never felt like Kae or Tyress were hurting from each other behaviour even if I was at the same time trying to understand what was their final target.

Katica Locke recreated a perfect werecat in Kae, a cat when he was in shifted form, but a man with some “feline” behavioural traits when he was in human form.; Tyress on the other hand was one of the best middle-age characters, with that bittersweetness of men who come to realize their youth is gone and they will be never able to catch it again, with too many regrets and too little good memories.

Very good story, highly recommended.

http://shadowfirestore.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=13_15&products_id=57

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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Definitely a good Regency romance, maybe a little too much focused on the war and diplomatic issue of the time (but that is probably justified by one of the hero being an officer) but nevertheless very romantic.

What is probably the best achievement of the author is to make me like Charlotte “Lottie”, a supporting character that I was ready to hate even before starting the book; true, in the blurb they presented her like a supporter of Charlie and Tristan’s relationship, she is Charlie’s sister and Tristan’s wife, but well, she had two children from Tristan and I didn’t think it was really possible she had no amorous feelings for her husband. So, or she was a sad wife who realized she couldn’t have the love of her life, or she was someone who really didn’t care for her husband at all. She is nor one or the other. Lottie is a practical woman, and apparently she has no romantic dreams; I have the feeling that, if she met the right man, she would fall in love, but, first she is not searching and second, that man had to have a very strong will to match a woman like Lottie. In the meantime, Lottie had nothing against the idea of the arranged marriage with Tristan, mostly since it allowed her to be independent. The relationship with her father is strange, but the reader will later realize the reason of that.

This long introduction is also giving you the idea of how important Tristan’s bisexuality is for the plot; actually Tristan is not bisex, he is strictly heterosexual until he meets Charlie, but this is not a gay for you story. Tristan has a complex relationship with his father, marred by the wrong idea that if Tristan is not a perfect son, his father will not love him; and since Tristan is far from being perfect, at least at his own eyes, he thinks no one can love him. Being homosexual, a sodomite, is not an option, and Tristan is repressing his feelings so much that it will lead him to a nervous breakdown. The reason? I think that, until he is having affair with women that are as much disinterest as him, he is not facing the issue of his homosexuality; but when he meets Lottie, a woman who is more than worthy to be loved, and he is not able to “impress” her enough to build a love relationship, he has to admit that the love of a woman is not what he is seeking, and that is the end. Doesn’t really matter that probably Lottie will never find the right man, that is not Tristan’s fault, and that, more or less, their marriage is a good one, probably better than most of the bon-ton marriages around them.

If the first part of the novel is a little slow, or maybe I read it like that since I was not really interested in that part of the story, when Charlie enters the scene the story takes a faster pace, and the love relationship between Charlie and Tristan is one of both love, trust and friendship. There are really no obstacle to their love, Lottie not only approves of that, she is even encouraging it, and even who is not aware of the personal nature of their bond is favouring it, for the good influence that Charlie has on the former scoundrel that was Tristan. Maybe that was something not really realistic, as probably it’s not Tristan’s choice to become a doctor (no aristocrat of the time would probably considering such idea); but there are example of middle class men of the time who were scientist or intellectual, so maybe it’s not impossible that someone like Tristan, after having assured to his descendants a good future, could spend the rest of his life doing something he enjoys.

I didn’t speak a lot of Charlie; he is not at all a plain character, on the contrary, he is a noble and sensitive man, but probably in comparison to Tristan he is too “good”, and you know, the bad guy is always attracting the romance readers ;-) but joke aside, Charlie is an impressive romance reader, and someone with a great courage, not only on the battle field but also when dealing with love and relationship.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2292

Amazon: Kindred Hearts
Amazon Kindle: Kindred Hearts
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (May 2, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1615818987
ISBN-13: 978-1615818983

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading%20list&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

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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

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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I’m deeply regretting to have not read this book before, this is exactly like one of those historical romances I eagerly read when I was a teenager and so loved. There is the dashing scoundrel, and as often it happens he has a wise old aunt who is holding the purse strings; she deeply love her rake of a nephew but she wants for him to settle down for the good of the title but above all for his own happiness. There is of course a vain lover, more interested to that purse than to the gentleman, and there is of course the innocent soul who happens to step into the mouse’s trap totally unaware. And in this case mouse is the appropriate definition since this is like Stephen, the Earl of St. Joseph, nicknamed Jamie, the shy historian who was supposed to be his nephews’ tutor before the tragedy of losing them and their parents to a shipwreck. Jamie insinuates not only in Stephen’s house and in the life of all the household, but with his good heart and innocent behaviour, also in the heart of the handsome earl, even if the man has a lover, Julian, the Golden One, that is way prettier than the little country mouse Jamie.

As often it happens, there is also a secret in Jamie’s past that makes him probably more suitable to Stephen than Julian, and if this wasn’t an homosexual affair, it would have probably ended in Stephen marrying Jamie, but as it’s, what we can expect is for them to live happily, and scandalously, ever after in sin. How that is possible in England at the end of the XVIII century? (the date you can guess from a reference to the madness of King George and the taking of the throne of the Regent) the answer is simple: wealth and nobless. Not only Stephen has a title, his aunt is also one of the wealthiest women of England and manage the purse strings of more family other than Stephen’s; when the ton tries to ostracize his nephew, she is ready to emulate Jesus Christ and his “who sinned cast the first stone” speech, letting the people be aware she knows secrets and she is ready to spread them.

Once you overcome the homosexuality is illegal issue, what remains to the author is two men and their love story, mostly played inside the walls of Stephen’s house, and so in a safe environment. It’s true that Jamie entered that environment unaware of Stephen’s particular bed choices, but the author is also ready to let the reader know he is not so against the idea; now don’t get me wrong, Jamie is completely, totally innocent, and he wouldn’t dare to face Stephen with his sexual preferences, but upon witnessing Stephen’s encounter with his lover, Jamie remembers how he had feelings for a young seminarist, feelings that were quite similar to what he should have felt instead for a young girl. With such realization slowly comes also another epiphany, he can easily fall in love for mylord, if only that was not an impossible dream: Jamie doesn’t want to end being the plaything of a lord, and if he loves a man there is no other chance.

I really enjoy Jamie’s character but also Stephen; he was not your usual scoundrel, he didn’t redeem only for the sake, of the chance to fall into bed with Jamie, Stephen was already a good man, enough to look at his strange household, made up from castoff of other noble families or worst, from the streets. Jamie fits well among them since he basically assumes the role of the lady of the house, a role he fulfil perfectly in each aspect if not the one of sharing the bed of the lord of the house. Role even Stephen starts to wonder why it’s not covered by the lad, so that he starts a slow, but steady work of breaking down the young man’s defences.

Amazon: The Price of Temptation
Amazon Kindle: The Price of Temptation
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Seventh Window Publications (September 30, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0971708932
ISBN-13: 978-0971708938

M.J. Pearson's In the Spotligh post: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/861660.html

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Spoils of War is 100% what not so long ago people defined a savage romance, or, a bodice ripper. But actually to Micah it goes even worst than the heroines of those old fashioned romances, since if they were raped, it was only at the hands of who will become their chosen hero; unfortunately here Micah, the kidnapped son of a king is continuously raped by his captors for almost a year before Eli, his rescuer, can free him.

Micah, kidnapped at 8 years old and traumatized by the death of his own mother, has for sure suffered from a trauma that blocked his mental growth, he is more a boy than an adult man; and being deprived of food and care, also his body didn’t grow as expected, and he is small and fragile.

Since he has never known anything else, Micah consider sex like an ordinary way to prove attachment; when Eli freed him, Micah identifies in the man his new master, and of course he has to prove to his master that he is worthy. On the contrary of what most reader will expect, Eli is more than willing to have sex with Micah, but for the first time, it’s Micah receiving pleasure. Eli dotes on Micah like he is a precious treasure, bathing him, feeding him, and giving him pleasure. Micah is “allowed” to receive such pleasure, but Eli stubbornly refuses to let Micah do any sexual act that would bring sexual relief to Eli without it being shared between them.

While I really felt uncomfortable with the first part of the story, when Micah is a sex slave for his captor, I started to enjoy the story reading of the bond that was slowly but steadily growing between Micah and Eli, above all, even if Eli is for sure stronger than Micah, he never once imposes himself on the boy, letting Micah grows confident of his sexuality at his own pace. I don’t think Micah will ever overcome his trauma, and I think he will always be more a boy than a man, but at least now he knows there are people who care for him, and that he is safe and cared for.

https://www.nobleromance.com/Books/192/Spoils-of-War

Amazon: Spoils of War
Amazon Kindle: Spoils of War
Paperback: 146 pages
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing, LLC (January 2, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 160592184X
ISBN-13: 978-1605921846

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I waited and waited before reading this book; I found all the possible excuses, like it was out of stock… and they released a paperback version! Like it was too expensive for the shipping cost… and they released an ebook version! It really seemed “they” wanted for me to read it… who they are? My conscience, my heart and my damn love for good historical novels that of course overcome the small voice that was saying, be careful, this book will haunt you. Oh, how much it was right! And unfortunately my voice was not as strong as Jacob’s voice, that made this man the devil that he was.

The book is set during the English revolution of Cromwell and Jacob Cullen is what today you will define a psychopath. For how much I liked him, yes, I did, I was probably liking the man I wanted him to be, the man he could have been if his illness was not making him a monster. When he was able to not listen to his devil inner voice, Jacob was almost a romantic hero; and even if he commits ugly actions, even uglier since they are against the ones he loves more, he is in pain after that… is it enough to make him a good man? No, unfortunately it’s not, since the other Jacob, the one who is following the voice, is like the puppy who bites the hand that is feeding him, for no apparent reason if not that he believes that hand was feeding/loving someone else.

Jacob falls in love for Christopher, and Christopher for him; I truly believe it was love, and I truly believe Jacob is regretting the end of this love (and please don’t be angry, this is not a real spoiler, it’s enough to read any review, or even the blurb, to understand this is not an happily ever after story). Only a man in love could say to the voice (yes, Jacob “talks” with the voice…): “Why did You bid me drown the letter? I have lost something that he touched, and the destruction of it has gained You nothing, for now I no longer read the words, I hear them, as if he implored me face to face: Speak to me, Jacob, do not play the tyrant. Speak to me.” Almost as a precise surgeon, the author chose these words, “Speak to me”, to open and close the first time Jacob went to Christopher, exactly in the middle of the novel, and to close the book, right the last words before the End. Speak to me, Jacob, maybe Christopher was saying, Speak to me and not to your voice? Was Christopher aware that Jacob was crazy, that there was nothing to do to save him?

But there is nothing much to say, Jacob is ill, completely crazy, and for how much Christopher loves him, the other man has dreams that in the end he realizes cannot include Jacob, and that is the moment when Jacob will bite the hand who is feeding him, feeding him love.

You want passion, wrenching love, wonderful and original characters, perfectly carved setting? As Meat Loves Salt is your novel. You want sweet and romance, frilly dresses and comfortable feelings? Avoid this novel as a plague.

Amazon: As Meat Loves Salt
Amazon Kindle: As Meat Loves Salt
Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (March 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0007429266
ISBN-13: 978-0007429264

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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

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This was for sure an unexpected novel; I have to admit, I opened it lured by the cover and the title, expecting to read a light tale and instead I closed it with a bittersweet taste in my soul and maybe even a tears or two wanting to fall down.

Sure, the story starts in the most “naughty” way, imagining an all male court of Camelot, where the mighty Knights of King Arthur enjoy the naked beauty of young servants; the same King Arthur has an open and joyful relationship with Sir Lancelot and so his various knights with squires or peasants, depending on each man preferences.

Each chapter is a tale of a different knight, Lancelot, Gareth, Peveril, Ulric, Quentin and so on; while introducing the different knight, the author maintains a light tone, focusing on the different relationship each knight intertwines with their chosen partner. But more or less at the middle of the book, with the starting of the betrayal of Sir Morion, the previous favourite knight of King Arthur before the newly arrived Sir Lancelot took his place, the tone suddenly change, so suddenly that I almost didn’t have the time to realize it, and the end was even more a punch in the gut for that reason.

I’m not saying it was a full drama, but it resembles more some troubadour tale (and sometime they were not happily ever after tale) than the light romance I thought I was reading. In a way I think this change in tone made the story more epic and poetic, so that it will probably appeal to a more literary reader than a full romance would have been. Now don’t think this is an historical tale, the author took plenty of licenses on the history, for example having the court of Camelot in a Norman era, while, like the same author highlighted in the postnote and I also remembered from my own study, King Arthur if indeed existed, probably lived in the 6th century.

I know it’s stupid to feel sad for fictional characters, but some of them, like Gareth and Ulric, where so kind and tender, that I was hoping for them to have their own happily ever after within the main story that is the one of King Arthur with Sir Lancelot. More since I think the author wanted to write a satirical story, a farce, and he was doing it quite well, the stories of Peveril is, for example, very funny, but also the same introduction to the book, with the description of the court and its inhabitants. For this and other reasons when the tragedy struck, I was not prepared.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2268

Amazon Kindle: Gay Knights and Horny Heroes: Tales from the Court of King Arthur
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (April 12, 2011)

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Cover Art by Paul Richmond
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At the fourth book in the series there is always the risk that the story becomes “ordinary”; actually for some readers this can be even a good point, many readers like to be familiar with the heroes, like to know a lot about their life and love. I think Lee Rowan did a trick with this novel to satisfy both types of reader.

Home is the Sailor is again, and always, the story about Davy and Will, and as always, is the story about their forbidden love. This is a point Lee Rowan respected in all her novels about these men, and I think respected even according to the period in which this novel is set, beginning of the XIX century: very seldom Davy and Will allow their love to be freely expressed, and actually they are more the times they need to hide than when they can share a moment alone; strangely enough, the most daring places, like a riding carriage, is probably the place where they can be more safe, since no one would expect from them to do such things inside.

But to renew the plot, Lee Rowan decided to shift the setting from the sea to the mainland: and actually in doing so, she not only adds novelty to the intercourse between Davy and Will, she also shifts the balance and brings back the reader to the very beginning of this series, when Davy and Will first met. In the course of the series, Will gained “strength” on Davy for his harsher experience, and also since he self-proclaimed himself Davy’s protector. But actually Davy’s social status is a step, or maybe two or three, above Will, and when they need to go back to Davy’s family home, that void they filled up with their love, open again. Davy has responsibility that Will has not; Will can allow himself to be an unmarried old sea wolf, but Davy probably not. With the shift in setting there is also a little change in the subtheme; more or less the previous three books were romance/adventure stories, this last one instead have also a little bit of mystery in it.

What I probably liked best, of this novel but also of all the series, is that the author allows to her heroes to be men in love, and so there is the romance, without taking decisions that are not realistic; even the end of this novel (probably not the end of Davy and Will’s adventures) is a mix of happiness and bittersweet feeling: true, Davy and Will will find a way to be together, but actually it’s not a totally pink perspective; the need of secrecy still lingers and Davy and Will have yet another little bickering right at the last page, so that the reader is enticed to search for a following story to know if they will find an agreement.

http://www.bcpinepress.com/catalogDetail.php?bookCode=0039

Buy Here

Amazon: Home is the Sailor
Amazon Kindle: Home is the Sailor
Paperback: 230 pages
Publisher: Cheyenne Publishing (August 15, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982826702
ISBN-13: 978-0982826706

Series: Royal Navy
1) Ransom
2) Winds of Change
3) Eye of the Storm: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/482258.html
4) Home is the Sailor

Reading List:



http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
A short paranormal/historical novella set in an undefined country, probably England or Scotland or Ireland; actually aside for an epilogue there are only two men in all the story and they have both similar experience in their past: shunned by their parents and families since they prefer the company of men. The only difference is that Rhys, older and stronger, has his own land where he can roam at night and living in a peaceful, but isolated way during the day; James instead, barely eighteen years old, has no mean of substance on him, and when Rhys finds him in his land, the boy is almost freezed to death.

Rhys’s first instinct would be to kill the stranger, but then loneliness makes him take another decision; he brings the kid at home with him, like someone would do with a stray pet. He feeds and shelters him, but when James doesn’t want to share his own story, so Rhys doesn’t reveal his true nature. Day after day they establish a good cohabitation, but there a sexual tension underneath, something neither James or Rhys speaks aloud but that is clear will lead them towards a decision point. In a clear similitude, the sexual tension will cross path with the true nature of Rhys which needs to be freed, and that will be the moment for both James and Rhys to take that decision.

The sex that will come next will be a little awkward, no one of them is experienced and most they go on by instinct, but it will be good; so good that there will be only one logical decision to take, one that will allow James and Rhys to be together forever, so that loneliness will be no more an issue for both of them.

http://www.king-cart.com/cgi-bin/cart.cgi?store=linda018&product_name=In+The+Pale+Moonlight&return_page=&user-id=&password=&exchange=&exact_match=exact

Amazon Kindle: In the Pale Moonlight
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books (October 4, 2010)

Reading List:



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


Cover Art by Christine M. Griffin

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