A Hundred Little Lies is an absorbing historical debut. This is an author I’ll keep an eye out for what they do next. The story is an easy day in the life narrative in the first person told by Jack. His bias colors the story and as the plot progresses the reader realizes that Jack may or may not be telling the truth. He’s built his life on lies so it’s difficult to tease out the truth from those lies, even within the context of the story. Thus sometimes the story assumes the reader knows more than they actually do and numerous important details are late in coming or omitted entirely. This is the weakest part of an otherwise engrossing and satisfying story. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: April 2011
I sat down to read just a few pages of Eromenos by Melanie J. McDonald and I couldn’t put it down. I read the entire novel in one sitting and wanted more. Though there are numerous books about the emperor Hadrian and from his viewpoint, this is the first one I’ve come across that features the dead lover Antinous. Here the young Antinous tells his life and how he became the emperor’s favorite and the events that led to his death. The story is beautifully written with obvious historical research but a fascinatingly complex twist to Antinous’ actions and reasons. This isn’t a romance, though there is love, it’s more a compelling examination of a young man’s life. Continue reading
Flesh & Blood is the sequel to Ethan Stone’s In the Flesh debut novel. The strengths of the first novel were not the nearly non-existence romance but the pseudo interesting mystery and the author’s voice. Here the romance remains immaterial except for a lot of sex scenes while the mysteries are obvious, foreshadowed, and extremely cliché. The author’s voice is the best thing about this story which unfortunately fails in several ways. The writing tends to be abrupt and tells almost every time instead of showing. The actions are equally blunt with little descriptive prose. I didn’t mind that so much and actually like the brusque nature but the story is bland and too obvious, often gliding over incredibly difficult and complex problems in the blink of an eye. Sadly the sequel doesn’t stand up to the first book, although I’ll likely read the third book hoping it gets better.
I want to be sad that a fabulous series (Coda Books) has ended but the concluding novella, Paris A to Z, wraps everything and everyone up so well that I feel satisfied and happy. The story could have been longer and had more Jonathan and Cole but really that’s just getting greedy since the story is nearly pitch perfect in offering solid happy endings to everyone. In some ways the various arc are the inevitable conclusions to the growth that each character has over the course of the series. Angelo and Zach grow the most but then again they had the most tenuous and perhaps out there relationship. In the end there’s no doubt everyone is happy and with their intended soul mates.
So last week I asked if kinky was the new black. Now at the time BDSM got mixed up with kinky which is a bit of a misnomer. While BDSM tends to be kinky, kinky doesn’t always mean BDSM. Just so we’re clear on all of that!
But moving on … what’s going to be the new trend in m/m do you think? We all love this genre, we read it, write it, devour it, discuss it and take it apart in incredibly minute detail. So we must have some kind of insight in what will become the next big thing right?
Do you think it’ll be the marriage of convenience like Jenre talks about here. Or perhaps infidelity will become the new talked about taboo subject or will we see an increase in rapes in romance? Will the new favorite trend be astral projection (as I’ve read 2 books and seen a movie on it all within the same month). I’ve heard rumblings about more virgins in fiction. Will the big condom debate of last year fade away into “who cares?”
We will always have the classic favorites that never go out of style: werewolves, friends to lovers, buckets of angst, and the 1-2-3 finger sex with handy towels which will never leave. But what do you think the next “big” thing will be in gay fiction?
Like everyone these days I’m a big fan of tumblr. There are a ton of photo blogs and I do love the plethora of naked men. Every so often some tumblrs stand out due to the unique photos and Bluebeau – also known as Cigarettes and Love – is one of those. I discovered this site a month or more ago and I believe several of the pictures are ones she’s taken herself. Either way, it’s a visual treat for those looking for something unusual. Or just a break from the pretty boys.
The Lord Won’t Mind is the first book in a trilogy about Charlie and Peter. The story is meant as a juicy gay romance for “housewives.” I suppose in many ways it succeeds since the story is first and foremost extremely entertaining. There is lots of sex, instant love, a ton of drama and tears, and very stereotypical situations and attitudes befitting the time. The story offers a very superficial romance without the complexity and depth of its contemporaries. I wouldn’t necessarily call this gay literature, it’s a little too light and breezy, but depending on your expectations this classic may satisfy.
A Weapon of Opportunity is a whimsical, entertaining story with good characters and a quick paced mystery. In some ways the story is similar to others – the ghost lover and detective are reminiscent of Drew Zachary’s series and the astral projection is eerily close to a current horror movie Insidious. Despite those reminders this story remains interesting and enjoyable to read from start to finish. I heard somewhere this is the start of a series and if so, then definitely one to watch.
I always look forward to reading this yearly collection edited by Richard Labonté. Sometimes the collections are simply amazing while others can be hit or miss. As with any anthology, reader tastes can vary wildly and it’s hard to obtain a perfect combination. Unfortunately the judge for this year’s collection has very different tastes from mine as I didn’t particularly like many of the stories. Several I’d read before and the others have similar themes – it’s easy to see what gets Kevin Killian off – but the writing and themes didn’t work for me personally. Depending on your tastes this collection will either score big or not be for you.
I read a lot of books and the same themes keep recycling over and over. This isn’t bad per se but in addition to sometimes tepid writing means books tend to blend together or be forgettable. When reading for entertainment as I think the majority of us do it doesn’t matter so much as the enjoyment WHILE reading but when looking back at the vast number of books I’ve read I sometimes can’t remember a thing about them.
So when I discover an author with a distinctive voice, one that resonates through their writing no matter what the subject or genre, I tend to cling that author. I love when I can open a book and instinctively know who the author is. This partly guarantees a good read (or strongly suggests) but I also like the familiarity; sort of like visiting an old friend who’s got some new stories to tell.
I’m not exactly sure what makes an author voice distinctive. I’m not sure I could pinpoint the exact element from author to author. Just one of those you know it when you see it. Not all authors have this elusive quality, even some massively productive authors still lack a distinctive stamp while some authors with only a few books to their credit stand out with uniqueness. It’s just one quality that I love when it comes through – even if I’m not a fan.
I recently read a book of hers and right away at the beginning I knew I was reading Dane. Though much has been made of her continued and almost stubborn use of cringe inducing prose – I don’t think a single book can go by without a fluttering rectum or seizing chute of molten fire – her books are very distinctive. From the situations to the characters, the set up of the sex scenes and of course the prose, these books scream Cameron Dane even if her name wasn’t on the cover.
She tends to polarize fans with those that adore her writing and those that can’t stand it. I tend to fall into one or the other as well as often EA’s work will get 1 star from me but also it can get a super hot 4 stars OMG MORE PLEASE too. She seems to stick to GFY tropes and a yaoi-inspired non-con with a patina of homophobia over the whole thing. Yet I don’t think anyone can argue that her books aren’t distinctive and easily recognizable.
I recently read The Only Gold (reviewed here) and right away I was swept into her world. I knew I was reading an Allen book with her attention to detail and that melodious voice. Her style of writing is immediately evident and unique even as her characters vary wildly. Yet it’s the complexity of the story and the men themselves that shows her voice. The sheer level of complicated personalities and beautiful lyrical writing never lets me forget the author. This doesn’t detract from the story at all, in fact I like that feeling of comfort and knowing I can trust the story.
I could go on but these are just 3 examples of authors with distinctive voices to their writing, at least in my opinion.
But what do you think? Do you like a distinctive author voice or not? Who stands out to you as having one and do you immediately think of when asking about recognizable writing?