Tag Archives: published: 2013-03

Soldier Mine by Amber Kell

Soldier Mine

Soldier Mine by Amber Kell

Series: The Thresl Chronicles, Book 1
Published by: Total-E-Bound on March 11, 2013
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

During an attack by a group of colleagues, Kreslan Piers is saved by an unlikely hero. And he learns that his life changed in that moment. The Thresl–a shape-shifting companion creature–has imprinted on Kres, and that is something that cannot be undone. A soldier like him wouldn’t normally have a Thresl companion, so he’s sent off to learn more about his new relationship and how to connect with his likely new beau. But Kres’s Thresl is no ordinary Thresl. Vohne is actually royalty. And he has memories of past lives in which he and Kres keep finding each each other, and he believes that destiny has a part to play in their lives. But there are challenges that come with being royal and having power–challenges that may not only threaten Kres and Vohne’s relationship but also their lives…

This is an interesting and relatively quick read. As a reader, I was quickly immersed in the world and never left it until I finished the book. It’s a good choice for fans of science fiction, romance, and stories of a hint of mystery and betrayal.

Family Man by Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton

Family Man

Family Man by Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton

Published by: Samhain Publishing on March 12, 2013
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Vince Fierro is forty and still bouncing back from his third divorce. His job with a family plumbing firm is going well. But Vince knows something’s missing in his life. And when he works on a job for a gay couple, he starts to wonder if there’s a reason his marriages failed. Could Vince be gay? He doesn’t think so. And he can’t be. That doesn’t jive with being an Irish Catholic, after all. After getting some advice from his sister, he sets out to explore the gay bars of Chicago to see if anyone stirs his interest. And no one does until he runs into someone he knows from his neighborhood.

Trey Giles keeps busier than anyone else he knows. He’s going to school, working two jobs, taking care of his grandmother, and dealing with his alcoholic mother. There’s no time for a relationship, or even a hookup, so he’s never pursued one. But when he spots Vince Fierro at a bar in Boystown, he can’t help but ask some questions. And even though Vince tells Trey he doesn’t think he’s gay, Trey sees something that makes him think otherwise. And he figures he can make some time to help Vince find his way.

But can Vince come to terms with who he is? And how will he reconcile it with his religion and his family? And even if he does, can Trey make time for the two of them to be together?

Taking a journey with these two guys was quite fun. And I enjoyed hearkening back to the year that I lived in Chicago with all the local references. Even better than they were all spot on.

I honestly had expected to see Vince do a bit more soul searching regarding his sexuality. We really didn’t see too much struggling aside from a few moments or how it appeared to Trey without getting a chance to see things from Vince’s perspective. And while I sympathized with Trey’s position near the end, exploring his feelings a bit more from his perspective would likely help readers who don’t have the experience of dealing with a loved one who is an addict or an alcoholic.

Overall, though, this is an enjoyable read and it warrants a recommendation from me!

Title: Let’s Hear It for the Boy
Author: T.A. Webb
Publication Date: March 20, 2013

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Paul Stewart has been assigned to write a story about Auntie Social (a.k.a. Matthew Trammell), one of Atlanta’s biggest drag queens, who has worked for 30 years raising money for HIV/AIDS programs and is seen as a pillar of the community. Though Paul has heard and read Matthew’s reasons time and again for his work, he can’t help but wonder if there’s a story that hasn’t been told and, surprisingly, is able to break through and get Matthew to tell him a story that resonates on levels he hadn’t expected.

Incredibly moving, heartbreaking, touching, etc. The list of descriptors could go on and on here. This really was an incredible story that pulled me in and hit me in a lot of ways. T.A. Webb has created a masterful story here. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is because I felt like the last scene was just a bit contrived and took away from the overall story, but it’s still wonderful all the same.

Title: In the Land of the Living
Author: Austin Ratner
Publication Date: March 12, 2013

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Sometimes you read a book and it’s not particularly great, but it’s not terrible, and you reach the end going ‘What was the point, exactly?’ And In the Land of the Living is definitely one such book. A story covering the life of Isidore Auberon and his two sons (though one far more directly than the other), this was one that was difficult to connect to or relate with on any level for me – not because the characters didn’t go through things that I can personally identify with, but because there just wasn’t a depth to them that really allowed the reader to get beyond the surface.

The narrative has some interesting moments, but has just as many that weren’t all that engaging. And the characters themselves were posited in such a way that they seemed like they were meant to be larger-than-life, but their actions weren’t congruent or consistent with that and it made the whole story seem even more distant.

That said, I didn’t really dislike the book, which is why I’ve given it 3 stars. It’s possible someone else might read it and find it easier to relate to, but otherwise it’s just a quick, somewhat mindless read, to me…

(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Title: The Elephant of Surprise
Author: Brent Hartinger
Publication Date: March 30, 2013

Rating: ★ ★ ★  
The fourth installment in the Russel Middlebrook series is probably my favorite. The story isn’t too far out from the previous three books, but there were a few things about it that I think pulled me in a bit more.

For one, I like the way the author is able to show that Russel is gaining a bit more maturity. It shows not only in the character’s actions, but also in the voice of the narration. Secondly, the development of some of the side characters over the course of the series has helped to give more depth to Russel’s world. And, finally, this is one where I actually didn’t see one of the major twists coming until I was up to that particular scene (some of the previous books have been a bit more, well, predictable at times).

I’m not sure if there’s a fifth book in store, but at this point I hope there is if the series is going to continue moving in this direction.

(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)