Tag Archives: published: 2012-02

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Published by: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers on February 21, 2012
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Aristotle (Ari) could be described as a bit of a loner, keeping people at least an arm’s length away. But when he goes to the swimming pool one day in the summer (even though he can’t really swim), he finds a potential new friend in Dante. Although Dante is also a bit of a loner, he’s less jaded and more spirited than Ari, which seems at first like it may not bode well for a budding friendship. As the two get to know each other better, however, they learn that they can find commonality even in their differences. They face a number of challenges, both individually and together, that bring them together in ways neither expected.

This is a beautifully-written and compelling narrative. Written from Ari’s perspective, there is an authenticity to the narration that brings the characters to life on the page. The development of the characters (including those in the background) is defined and believable, presented in ways that make sense in the context of the plot and that keep readers connected to and grounded in this universe. Incredibly enjoyable and moving at the same time.

 

Chase in Shadow by Amy Lane

Chase in Shadow

Chase in Shadow by Amy Lane

Series: Johnnies, Book 2
Published by: Dreamspinner Press on February 23, 2012
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Chase Summers has put together the perfect life. His girlfriend, Mercy, is perfect. Their relationship is perfect. And yet, Chase isn’t happy. And his construction job isn’t paying what he needs to give Mercy the life she deserves. So when he learns of a gay-for-pay porn website that is hiring–and pays well–he actually decides to give it a shot. After all, it’s just for money, right?

When Chase meets Tommy Halloran, however, he has to admit that maybe he’s not quite as straight as his “gay-for-pay” resume indicates. Tommy is a fellow performer, and while they never perform together on camera, they fall quickly into a romantic and sexual relationship that seems like it might provide them both exactly what they need. But Chase and Tommy both have demons to face. And Chase doesn’t seem very willing to face his. He’ll have to, though, if he wants to make it out of both of his relationships alive…

This is heavy. Heavier than you might expect from reading the blurb. It’s not really angsty, but Chase is carrying some massive baggage with him that comes to a head in some pretty dramatic ways. But what’s really inspiring in this story is the way that friends come together for each other and support each other when they need it–even if they’ve made some not-so-intelligent decisions to get into the situation in the first place.

Content warning: discussions of suicide and attempted suicide

A Private Gentleman by Heidi Cullinan

A Private Gentleman

A Private Gentleman by Heidi Cullinan

Published by: Samhain Publishing on February 14, 2012
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Lord George Albert Westin (“Wes”) is incredibly shy and introverted. His stutter often makes people look down upon him, including his own family. He tends to stick to himself and his garden. But when he hears of an exotic orchid that he needs to see, he ventures out to the home of a fellow gardener. It’s there that Wes meets Michael Vallant. Wes is drawn to Michael immediately, but there are many things about Michael he doesn’t know. Not only is there the issue of Michael’s profession, but there’s a much darker secret that connects them. Can Michael help Wes come out of his shell more? And can Wes help Michael work through his past? And will Wes believe Michael if he tells him the truth?

A great and well-written historical. These two connect in a seemingly unexpected way, and the story that connects them through their history is even more out of the ordinary. I enjoyed their interactions even though their relationship developed in a rather unorthodox way. In some ways, I’m still not sure how I feel about the interactions with Wes’s family, but it does play into the history of both men. Overall an interesting read.

Murder at the Windsor Club by Stephen E. Stanley

Murder at the Windsor Club

Murder at the Windsor Club by Stephen E. Stanley

Series: Jeremy Dance Mystery, Book 1
Published by: Stonefield Publishing on February 19, 2012
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Jeremy Dance is a successful private investigator in 1930’s Boston. Not only does he always get the job done, but he is also discreet. And that’s exactly what the wealthy families of Beacon Hill are looking for. But Jeremy has a few secrets of his own, so it’s his own understanding that makes him willing to let people’s business be their business.

When a nice dinner among Jeremy, his assistant (Roscoe), and his best friend (Judy) is interrupted by a call to investigate a murder, he gets one of his most interesting cases yet. And he soon finds he’ll need to tread carefully. Many have something to lose if the circumstances of the case are leaked. And just as many might have something to lose if the case isn’t solved quickly.

But as Jeremy knows quite well, some people will do anything to protect their secrets.

This was a fun mystery, reminiscent of a classic detective novel. There were several smaller side cases during the course of the book that provide added context and opportunity to observe the characters in action. It definitely provided for a much richer world, drawing me in as a reader.

While Jeremy and his assistant are gay (not with each other) and Judy is a lesbian, this isn’t really a romance. Those are just facts that are a part of their character. And even though it’s not really acceptable at their time in history, they make it all work quite well.

Definitely an enjoyable read. Highly recommended to fans of mystery and/or historical fiction.

Captive Prince: Volume One by C.S. Pacat

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Title: Captive Prince: Volume One
Author: C.S. Pacat
Published: February 4, 2012
Pages: 240
Publisher: C.S. Pacat (rereleased by Berkley Books)
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:
Damen, Prince of Akelios, knows that someday he will be a great king. He has proven to be popular with his people and has all the trappings of a great leader. But when his half-brother takes the thrown as part of a violent coup, Damen is resigned to a much different fate. He is given as a slave to Prince Laurent, the incorrigible heir to the thrown of neighboring (and rival) Vere. Damen finds himself in a dangerous predicament due to Laurent’s nature and the political climate of Vere. But what’s even more of a risk is that Laurent blames Damen for the death of his brother, making it clear he can never allow his true identity to become known.

This is an extremely well-written and engaging story–I had a very hard time putting it down while I was reading. The character development and world building is superb and it is so easy to become invested in the lives of these characters. There’s a great deal of suspense here as well, not only because of Damen’s position but also between Laurent and his uncle, and Laurent and many other members of the court. I definitely give this a very high recommendation.

Title: Mindfuck!
Author: Jessi Bond
Publication Date: February 23, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
A very quick-to-read but well written short story. Blake Underwood is at the height of his career, a well-known psychic with a stage show that draws sold out crowds and delights the audience. Nothing could go wrong…until one night Steven appears at a show and gets invited up on stage. As Blake begins to “divine” what is going on in Steven’s head, he soon finds out he has a lot to learn about himself.

Recommended for those who like M/M erotica and are fine with an intense short dose of it.