Archive for the 'Books' Category

26th Sep 2010

Cake

Rating: ♦♦♦

I really, really wanted to like this book more than I did. I mean, what’s there not to like about pretty boy vampires, screwing madly? Believe me, the book had quite a bit of that – I guess I was just expecting more from it, knowing how pleased I was with SL Publishings first release, Cethe.

Cake was just a little too over the top for me. Things were resolved too neatly. The main character was too pretty. I think part of this stems from the book being written in first person narrative. I always feel that writing in the first person lends itself to edging into Mary-Sue territory, even if the author has no intention of going there.

Cake revolves around a legally blind, fat, nasty, computer programmer who is kidnapped by a vampire and turned into the perfect submissive, after he is caught preforming some industrial sabotage. After the vampire, Marcus, whittles our programmer into the perfect submissive (looks and all) he is given the choice of becoming a vampire, or staying a human and staying a sex toy.

Programmer-boy chooses to be a vamp, but instead of becoming Marcus’ equal. We find that he’s the last of the lost Blue Bloodline of a Royal House of vampires.

See what I mean about taking it a step too far.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy this book, and won’t be buying the next one when it comes out in print – it’s just not going to be on my list of all time favorite books. Snake has an amazing imagination, and while her books are an enjoying read, they could benefit from paring down of all the ideas that she’s trying to cram into one novel.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦, Cake, Snake, Derekica | 3 Comments »

23rd Nov 2009

Cethe

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

I have waited a long time to hold a book by Becca Abbott in my hot little hands. She was always one of my favorite Gundam Wing authors that we archived here at BND. Her stories were always filled with pain and heartache, yet tempered with passion and sweetness. SL Publishing Group has picked a real gem to be their first foray into print books. This is going to appeal to the yaoi fans, as well as to fans of m/m fiction who want a good dose of high fantasy with their relationships. I happen to be a sucker for high fantasy, so this book pushed all of my happy buttons.

Stefn is a sin-eater. Sin-eaters are humans who are born with a deformity and everything that goes wrong is laid to blame at their feet. Despised by his family because of his deformity, Stefn spends his days wrapped up in ancient histories and books.

There’s a revolution brewing. The church, which Stefn’s family owes full allegiance has grown corrupt and power hungry. The king of the land is in a drug-addled haze. The king’s brother will do everything in his power to save the kingdom of Tanrin; even if it means bringing back forbidden Naran sorcery.

A coup is staged, and Stefn is the only male member of his family left alive. He’s left alive for one reason, to serve as the conduit of power for Michael Arranz, who’s descended from the demon race of Naragi. Michael’s blood is one of the purest left, and he needs a conduit if the plans to save the country are to be fruitful.

Enter in Stefn – abused, sheltered and believing fully that the demon race is evil, and that he must do everything in his power to thwart Michael’s plans. Yet, it’s hard to rebel when your very being is tied to what you hate most in the world, when it holds you in a web of pleasure and friendship, greater than anything that Stefn has ever known.

This book to me to a place that few books are able to bring me to. A place where you don’t even notice that time is passing, yet you’re spending hours devouring every word on the page. I was sad when I found that I only had a few chapters left. I wanted the book to keep going, to spend more time with these characters.

I knew I was going to like this book, based on the strength of Abbott’s previous writing, but I wasn’t expecting to like it quite this much. If this is the quality of work that SL Publishing Group is going to be releasing, then we’re all in for a big treat.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Abbott, Becca, Cethe | 1 Comment »

05th Jul 2009

Blind Desire

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

I must admit to being a fan of Locke’s before she was discovered by Torquere Press. Hell, I like her writing so much that some of her fan work is on BND! Anyway, enough of my fangirl babbling!

Meet Ryzel. Ryzel is an incubus. He is sexy with his long hair and unearthly stamina. Now, meet Quinlin. Quinlin is a psychically gifted human and a delightful, if bitchy, treat for Ryzel.

After a hot one-night stand, Ryzel and Quinlin can’t stop thinking about each other. It doesn’t make sense at all to either of them. Can Quinlin really be the lover of an energy-feeding sex demon? And, does he want to be? What will Ryzel have to give up to keep Quinlin by his side? Fortunately, meddling parental figures, friends and even enemies help the duo figure out what is going on between them.

Honestly, Blind Desire is devilishly fun. I wanted more, though! It seems to me like the story could’ve had more external conflict to push Ryzel and Quinlin together. The bond they share is great, but I just want more angsting. Suffering makes the sex even better, in my opinion. Not that I’m complaining about the plentiful–hey, we are talking about an incubus here–sex scenes, mind you!

Now, this is the first published piece for Locke. I think this is a great start too. There is a well thought out setting, enough humor and a generous amount of pretty boys humping in this story. Perhaps we’ll see a sequel to Blind Desire in the future?

Posted by Nikita | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Blind Desire, Locke, I.D. | Comments Off on Blind Desire

05th Jul 2009

Dumb Jock

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

This was not a comfortable book to read. I don’t think many books about teenage alienation are really that comfortable. The books that ring the most true are the least comfortable to read. I know I tried to bury those feelings of confusion and insecurity, so having a writer dredge them all up again doesn’t make for the most pleasant of reading.

That’s not to say that it isn’t an engrossing read. It’s just not something to pick up when you want something light and happy or to help you forget your troubles.

The story revolves around Jeff, a young man in his freshman year of high school, who’s just starting to come to terms with his sexuality, and the relationship that blossoms between him and the star of the football team, Brett. Jeff is asked to tutor Brett. Well, asked is a bit too nice of a word. Jeff is told that he either tutors Brett or fails gym and gets turned into fresh meat for the ‘jocks’ to pick on.

Brett isn’t what Jeff expects and a friendship develops. Then, develops into something deeper than friendship. However, the town isn’t ready for people who are open about their sexuality and Brett has a lot to lose if his relationship with Jeff is made public knowledge.

It’s a sweet story, even though parts of the relationship made me a bit uncomfortable. For a good part of the story, Brett looks at Jeff as more of a devoted pet instead of a person who’s capable of making his own decisions. Their relationship does evolve and I definitely remember that slavish devotion from my time in high school. Then again, it’s not the most comfortable thing to read about.

My main problem with the writing is more of a pet peeve rather than an actual issue with the writing. When I’m reading fiction, I hate it when writers quote pop culture or make references to specific songs or TV shows. When I’m reading fiction, I have this imaginary world in my head. When the author lists a certain song that I’m familiar with, it jolts me out of my imaginary world because it doesn’t fit.

I much prefer more generalized references where I can substitute my own idea of what the characters are listening to/watching in my mind. If the author states that the characters are listening to loud, angry music, I’ll insert my own favorite flavor of loud, angry music. The authors version of loud music and mine most likely do not match.

And, that’s okay. Some people enjoy finding those pop culture references, but they drive me up the wall. I guess I would just rather use my imagination than have everything laid out for me.

All in all, it’s a sweet story and one that may just ring true to a lot of people out there.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Dumb Jock, Erno, Jeff | Comments Off on Dumb Jock

05th Jun 2009

True Colors

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I’ve truly enjoyed everything that I’ve read by Clare London and this is no exception. She’s got a way of having her characters angst that allows you to wallow in their misery without pushing it over the top. She’s also got a gift of making her characters just flawed enough to be real while still keeping it believable. Throw in sex scenes that are enough to scorch the type off the page and I am one happy, happy girl.

Zeke is an artist, who through some pretty nasty circumstances, is selling his gallery to Miles, an entrepreneur. Normally, artists and entrepreneurs don’t mix, but there’s something that draws these two together. Miles wants to see the artist that’s hiding behind Zeke’s troubled past and, though Zeke won’t admit to it, he’s looking for a way to let that artist out.

It’s a complicated web that ties the boys together. The supporting characters in this one are just as important as the main characters. Let me just say that I would give up something fairly vital to read a sequel and find out what happens to the main characters’ best friends. There seemed to be something brewing between the two of them–something that would be just as explosive as the chemistry between the two main characters if it was ever written out.

I can’t sing the praises of this one enough. It’s got everything I’m looking for in a m/m romance–characters that I can believe in, amazing chemistry, gorgeously written smut and a need to find out what’s going to happen–that will keep me up far past my bed time.

Everything by this author is an instant buy for me. I can’t wait to see what she’s going to come up with next!

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, London, Clare, True Colors | 2 Comments »

27th May 2009

Without Sin

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

This was a pretty hot release for something that is supposed to be aimed for young adults. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, but it didn’t read like the books that I was reading when I was a young teenager. Believe me, that’s a good thing. Tomas has managed to catch all of the intensity and emotions of a first love and pack it into words that had me remembering my first teenage fumblings.

When one first meets someone in high school, it’s all fumbling and groping and thwarted meetings. It’s super hyped-up emotions and being so horny that one thinks of screaming and falling in love in under a week. This book took all of that, set it at a Catholic boarding school and came up with something that’s truly special.

Jacob Smithson has a bit of a temper. He’s been kicked out of public school for fighting. As a last resort, his parents enroll him at a Catholic boarding school. Jacob, not being Catholic, doesn’t quite know what to make of going to mass and things of that nature, but he does see something that makes going to mass a bit more interesting. One of the altar boys looks like a fallen angel to Jacob and he’s determined to meet him.

Lucky for Jacob, the angelic altar boy, Avery, shares his fascination. Jacob and Avery are inseparable from the start. The problem lies in trying to find time and secrecy to be alone with each other and, for Jacob, staying out of trouble so he can stay in school with Avery.

When taunts from some of their schoolmates push Jacob too far, it looks like the boys will be separated permanently. The question is, will the intensity of their feelings be enough to get them through some serious struggles?

I’m so happy to have a title that I can recommend to some of our readers who may not be of age to read some of the other novels we’ve recommended. This is a gorgeous work and I’m so happy to have the chance to be able to spread the word about it!

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Tomas, J., Without Sin | Comments Off on Without Sin

03rd May 2009

Freeman

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

Clare London’s done it again. She’s sucked me into a story. I should know by now that this happens every time I read something that she’s done. She’s got a knack for taking people on the fringe of society, coming from a place that may be completely alien to the reader, and turning it into something that’s accessible. You feel with these characters and even when the motives behind their actions are obscured, you still understand them. It’s a rare talent.

This release is a bit different from the other work that I know and love from London. The reader doesn’t get to know exactly what the main character’s motives are until the very last chapter in the book. While it’s not my favorite plot device, she makes it work. Normally, I like to know everything about a character, so I can angst with them throughout the story.

There’s our main character, Freeman, whose job is to find things. He runs into a nameless club-goer, who he dubs ‘Kit.’ Kit becomes a fixture in Freeman’s life, even as Freeman starts to burrow into Kit’s employer’s not-so-legal dealings, and people from Freeman’s past come in to make things very confusing for Kit and Freeman both.

At times, you’re not even sure who the good guys are and that’s kind of nice. I like characters to be a bit ambiguous. It makes them all that much more real to me.

I’m not sure if this is going to be everyone’s cup of tea since it’s not happy and fluffy like the majority of BL out there, but it is a fantastic read. If people are going to ignore a good book because it’s not sticking to the conventions that we all got used to reading in BL manga and in fan-fiction, well, then they’re missing out. London is still one of my favorite authors–someone who I can always turn to for an engrossing story–even when she’s playing with new ideas and new ways of delivering gorgeously hot males screwing each other madly.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Freeman, London, Clare | Comments Off on Freeman

23rd Nov 2008

Dark Walker

Rating: ♦♦♦

I’ve been off of June’s paperback releases for a while. I don’t have the loathing for them that a lot of people have, but they’re not the easiest reading. This one, though, sucked me in by virtue of the fact that I’m a huge fan of the illustrator, Hirotaka Hisaragi. This is the artist behind the series Innocent Bird, which I found to be visually stunning.

Now, this book is based on the series of the same name that Kisaragi wrote. Only, Kisaragi didn’t write this book and new characters were invented. So, you could look at it as a bit of AU fan fiction. That being said, I did find a lot I liked in the book–and not just the illustrations. The idea behind the world is that certain people can fall into an alternate world, the Depths of Dreams, and there they can fight demons who want nothing more than to go to the human world and feast on humans.

The humans who have the ability to fall into the Depths of Dreams are called Dark Walkers. Dark Walkers also have the ability to fight the demons, though it’s a perilous task. See, if they kill too many demons, they run the risk of turning into a demon themselves.

One of our main characters, Yuugo, gained his wings in this way. He defeated a crow demon and stole the wings. This makes me very happy as I have a bit of a kink for boys with wings.

So, there’s this shadow world that our main character, Tomoki, knows nothing about. All he knows is that when he falls asleep, he’s taken by a mystery lover, someone who’s face he can’t see, but someone who begs Tomoki to remember him. This confuses the hell out of Tomoki, who’s pretty sure that he’s not attracted to guys, but is dreaming about being screwed six ways to Sunday.

Of course, this means that Tomoki’s a Dark Walker and his lover is charged with keeping him safe as he grows into his powers. It’s just getting Tomoki to realize who his lover is in time and learning how to harness these powers to keep them both safe that is going to be the challenge.

All in all, it’s really not a bad read. It’s just kind of stilted and of course having bits that make me cringe, what with the lack of lube and all, but that’s something that I’ve come to expect from BL novels. However, it just registers as a minor irritation now.

While I can’t say to run out and buy this one, I will say that it’s pretty as hell. It is something that I will probably read again the next time I need to scratch my itch for boys with wings.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦, Dark Walker, Kisaragi, Hirotaka, Yura, Hikaru | 3 Comments »

07th Sep 2008

Sparks Fly

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I love Clare London’s characters. They’re always so vivid and leap off of the page. You find yourself cheering them on, just waiting for the happy ending that you know is lurking out there for them. This story is no exception.

First, we have Nic, a bright, young, entrepreneur who has, along with his lead programmer, Aidan, created a dating agency which is just about to go public. The site is quite successful, but Nic has an idea that is really going to revolutionize the online match-making world. He wants to remove the gender matching questions to match people up with their true soul-mates. After all, if you’re closing yourself off to half the population, you may be missing something really special. Aidan is just the man to get this programing right. He and Nic worked well together when they were getting the site off the ground.

This all sounds good, but add in the fact that Nic is starting to crack under the pressure of living in the spotlight, the danger of a hacker trying to take down their system and then throw in Nic’s attraction to Aidan. Now, Aidan is not the best when it comes to interpersonal relations. He’s much better with computers than he is with people. Especially with people like Nic, who he’s attracted to, even though he’s fighting the attraction with all that he’s got. Sparks are definitely going to fly when these two clash and get together. Friction creates sparks and there’s plenty of friction between these two.

I really enjoyed this story, mainly because the characters were not perfect. Give me flawed characters any day. Nic is far too stubborn and Aidan’s anti-social tendencies made them that much more real to me. London has created a true jewel with this release. Anyone who enjoys male/male erotic novels is going to find a lot to like with this one!

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, London, Clare, Sparks Fly | Comments Off on Sparks Fly

01st Sep 2008

Prisoner

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

The key to a good story for me is whether or not I want to sink back into the story to find out more about the history of the world and how it works. I want to know more about Derr’s world. I want to know what makes its leaders tick and, most of all, I want to know what happens to the characters after this story.

Dieter is the general for one of the Sacred Four armies of Kira. The surrounding countries tremble with fear at the very mention of his name. One night, his army is attacked by a brother from the country of Salhara and taken prisoner. The prisoner claims to have no name and refuses to give a name, or take the name that Dieter tries to force on him. After saving Dieter from an attack from another country, Illussor, leaving the rest of Dieter’s army dead, the prisoner is weak and near death himself. Dieter lets him know that he will save his life if he will take the name that he is given, Berhat. Berhat still does not want the name, but it’s the only way for him to survive.

Now, the Salhara people drink a potion called Arcen to gain their magic. Arcen comes in different colors, depending on its strength, and leaves a taint on the body in the form of changing the user’s eye color. Kiranians view the people of Salhara as being poluted by their use of Arcen. The people of Kira shun magic and rely on physical strength and weapons. Illussor uses a different form of magic, the most powerful of which is called a Scream. It was a Scream that destroyed Dieter’s army and only Berhat’s use of Arcen saved them from being casualties as well.

So, Dieter is taking Berhat to the capital of Kira to face his punishment, but there are other forces at work which will try even the fragile bonds of prisoner and captive.

This world is so richly textured and lush that it would take me forever to go into details about the politics, people and the reasons for their behavior. Suffice it to say that this is an example of fantasy world building done well. The magic systems are logical, there’s a consequence for each action and the whole thing just flows wonderfully. Once gain, Derr has proven to be a master at what she does. It’s hard to construct a world that is so rich and lush that works on all levels. Fantasy fans should not hesitate to add this one to their collections.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Derr, Megan, Prisoner | Comments Off on Prisoner

24th Aug 2008

Regency

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I’ve been a fan of this author’s work for a very long time. She’s never been hosted on BND, but she’s been a fan and a supporter since we began. I just hope she doesn’t want to kill us for giving her a review.

Regency takes everything I like about romance novels set in that time period and filters it through a male/male lens. This keeps all of the sweetness and trappings of the time period that I love, but adds in the eroticism of men lusting after each other. What more could I ask for in a book?

We start off with a story about a foppish prince who wages a daily battle with his secretary. The two of them loathe each other, but both are two stubborn to admit defeat. The prince refuses to give in and fire his secretary and the secretary refuses to quit.

Our secretary, being fed up with humiliation, decides to teach the prince a lesson and a festival, featuring multiple nights of masquerade balls, proves the perfect opportunity. Only things don’t work out as planned and the masks the heroes wear at the masquerade are nothing like the masks they wear every day to cloak their true personalities from the outside world. So, you can see where this is going.

Then, there’s the story of the duelist who as achieved everything he set out to do, except for taking care of matters of his heart. The young duelist keeps receiving anonymous letters. Letters that make him think as well as arouse and titillate. The question is, who is sending these letters? There’s really no one in his social circle who can write so well and harbor amorous feelings.

Every story is a treat and absolute delight to read. The only complaint I could have would be that in the world that Derr has created, there is no censure on male/male relationships. Now, we all know what a crime homosexuality was in this time period, so not having that censure threw me for a bit. Believe me, it was something I got over quickly. I’m not going to let something like historical accuracy get in the way of my enjoyment of a book that is written so well. This is the perfect book to curl up with on a yucky day, when you just need to lose yourself in pure romance.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Derr, Megan, Regency | Comments Off on Regency