Apologies as usual for taking so long to get this done, but Magic Man Chapter Eight is
now up! In this chapter, Kyle and Catalina race to save Robert and Dimitri from witch hunters. I’m hoping to have another chapter for you soon, so keep checking back for updates.
Apologies as usual for taking so long to get this done, but Magic Man Chapter Eight is
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Overall: Two amazing stories in the form of Honest Lawyers and His Best Defense, two good stories (24 Hours and Study Buddy) and two stories I didn’t much care for (Double Cross and Against The Law). This is a very mixed anthology, so there’s something for everyone. Different stories in this book will speak to different people, but few will love every story in it. Legal Briefs is cheap and proceeds benefit Lambda Legal, so I recommend it even if you find not all the stories are in genres you like. Kudos goes to Storm Moon Press for putting together an anthology that spans a range of genres and the whole LGBT spectrum.
Honest Lawyers by Kelly Rand – Court reporter Luna is flattered by law student Craig’s attentions, but the fear of rejection makes her nervous about opening up to him about her status as a trans woman. – 5 stars. Loved this story. Luna was easy to empathize with as she fell for Craig, and the conversation they have about Luna’s status as a trans* woman was so filled with acceptance and loving that I had tears in my eyes. Luna and Craig were lovely people and I wanted them to succeed with their relationship. This story left me with a wonderful warm feeling inside and I would heartily recommend the anthology on the strength of this alone.
24 Hours by Cari Z – 3.5 stars. Evan defends himself in a bar-room brawl and 24 hours later has to defend himself again, this time to his drunken attacker’s lawyer, who fortunately has as little patience for his client as Evan did. A somewhat unbelievable and forgettable story, but fun and charming regardless.
Study Buddy by Stella Harris – 4 stars. Lawyer Melanie is starting to come to terms with her attraction to women, something her new Study Buddy April is happy to help with. A good coming-to-terms with sexuality story. I could relate to Melanie’s nerves as she went to the strip club and the sex scene was hot. A good f/f story.
His Best Defense by Blaine D. Arden – 5 stars. Master Illan is a powerhouse in the Surim court, but it’s newcomer Daru who proves to be His Best Defense against threats both without and within. Loved this story! Second only to Honest Lawyers in this anthology. Arden builds a fascinating fantasy/sci-fi world and the plot is full of twists. I really felt the romance in this one and its a story I would definitely read again. I’d love to see the author write something else in this world.
Double Cross by Salome Wilde – DNF. The moment Candy LeBon walks into Detective Calvin Guy’s life, he suspects a double-cross, but even he’s unprepared for the extent of twisted path she’ll lead him down. This one didn’t click with me at all. If you’re into the hard-boiled detective genre this will be a treat for you as it’s really well-written language-wise, but I just found my attention drifting as the narrator talked about “dolls” and “babes” while smoking and drinking profusely. It might work for you but to me it seemed like all the tropes and trappings of the genre distracted from the actual story being told.
Against The Law by Gryvon – 2 stars. In Henry’s country, his attraction to Abel is against the law, but his secret is kept safe by another who harbors same-sex attractions—Henry’s wife. I was never quite sure if this one was fantasy or historical, because I didn’t find myself drawn into its world. Everything happened very quickly and I didn’t really feel a whole lot about Henry, Abel or their relationship.
I’ve been meaning to write this list for a long time. Some of these webcomics are popular, some are not. I can guarantee that all of them are good in one way or another and deserve your support. Most of them are 18+, so proceed with that in mind.
I’d like to do a list of LBT webcomics, but I need some good tips on what to read. Email me your favorites at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try them.
1. Starfighter. It’s been a while since I devoured the entire webcomic in one sitting and I haven’t yet gotten around to reading Chapter 3, but this comic about two space fighter pilots is one of my favorite M/M webcomics. The art style is moody and unique, with a sparse use of color, and the story is super hot!
2. Teahouse. Teahouse is the story of a fancy brothel in the country of Ivore following the lives of the courtesans who live there, as well as the lives of the people who seek them out. The first thing you’ll notice about Teahouse is the art. Teahouse is full color with some exquisite detail in the environments and character art. I’ve never seen such fine art in a free webcomic and I love the diverse cast of characters. I follow this one on a regular basis.
3. Elan Meets Rafa. I found this one purely by accident sometime last week and once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. After being disinherited by his father, Elan winds up in a seedy neighborhood where he’s hit by Rafa’s car while chasing his kitty Murakami who ran into the street. Rafa takes pity on Elan and offers him a place to stay, and the two become closer.
4. The Element Of Surprise. In an unnamed city in an unnamed state somewhere in
America’s “rust belt”, two men meet. Mark, an overmodest young carpenter, comes to the aid of Ben, an overconfident reporter for the city’s newspaper; soon Mark finds himself drawn into the crime and vice of local politics while simultaneously, unwillingly, falling in love with Ben. I fell in love with this webcomic after accidentally stumbling onto it about a year ago. The art is simplistic and the story is more sweet than sexy, but this is one of my favorites and I follow every update.
5. Artifice. I’ve been following Yaoi 911‘s webcomics for a long time now, but Artifice is definitely my favorite. It’s the story of Deacon, an android who is under investigation by a psychologist to find out why he rebelled against his mission. The reason lies in a man named Jeff, who gets under Deacon’s skin and brings out a more human side in him.
6. The Less Than Epic Adventures of T.J and Amal. In the span of a single day, Amal calls off his arranged marriage, comes out to his conservative parents, promptly gets disowned, goes on a bender… and wakes up the next morning to find TJ, a lanky, dreadlocked vagrant, frying eggs and singing Paul Simon in his kitchen. TJ claims that the two have made a drunken pact to drive all the way from Berkeley to Providence. As it happens, Amal promised his sister he’d be there for her graduation from Brown University. And TJ, well… TJ has his own reasons. The agreement is simple: Amal does the driving; TJ pays the way – but a 3500 mile journey leaves plenty of time for things to get complicated.
A great road trip webcomic with interesting, well-developed characters. There’s a lot to read, but it’s well worth the time investment.
7. Grave Impressions. Though overseas the world may be condensed to right or wrong, punctuated by a hail of bullets, life on the homefront is a little more complicated, particularly for one aspiring detective and his close circle of friends. Fighting the normative tide in their personal and private lives, they must keep three simple rules in mind:
Loose lips sink ships, conformity is key, and most of all, no one is who they appear to be.
I haven’t spent much time with this one yet, but the premise is interesting and the art is well done.
8. Purpurea Noxa. Set in a secret world of darkness inhabited by vampires, werewolves and other creatures of the supernatural universe, this story focuses on two cities – Lucca and Pisa (located in Tuscany, Italy) – who are old enemies over past disagreements and frequently face-off in a series of predominantly bloody clashes. I’m not usually a big vampire fan, but what I’ve read of this webcomic so far has been exciting and hot.
9. Devoto: Music In Hell. This is the story of how the now-fallen Principality of Music, formerly an angel of decent reputation, was given an opportunity to provide inspiration for one working man desperately in need of a muse. Guys make out. A unique art style sets this one aside from the others. Some amazingly drawn sex scenes really stand out.
10. The Young Protectors. If you like gay superheroes, you’ll love The Young Protectors. Personally, I never cared for this one as much as Artifice, but I’m well behind with reading and need to catch up, so I might like it more now. This one doesn’t waste any time getting to the kissing, so if you need payoff right away this might be for you.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
These fifteen stories were inspired by images from the Young Adult LGBT Books Group. In these pages you’ll find LGBTQ teenagers living their lives – experiencing first encounters and long relationships, coming out, staying closeted, questioning, loving, having adventures, dealing with family, with prejudice, with magic.
Rainbow Briefs was hands-down my favorite anthology read of 2013. The quality and variety of these shorts is amazing considering this book is free. I especially liked that this anthology was LGBTQ, with a nice mixture of lesbian, gay and trans stories to satisfy almost everyone.
Despite being YA, these stories don’t speak down to their audience. I could relate to a lot of what was written from my own teenage years and it’s rare I find that level of authenticity in any story. Kira Harp is certainly a master at speaking to a young adult audience and I would absolutely recommend this to any teenager struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity. I also recommend it for adults as well – these stories transcend the label of YA and are something everyone can read and enjoy.
I would have rated almost all of the stories four or five stars, but Designing Sam was easily my favorite. I haven’t been moved to tears at a book for a long time, but this honest depiction of a trans teenager struggling with family and identity in a realistic manner really moved me. In a genre where sometimes we are so eager to get our HEA that we make families overwhelmingly accepting, it was good to see a parent in denial and a situation that wasn’t wrapped up neatly with a bow on top. It’s a stark reminder that we have a lot of work to do as a community to increase acceptance and awareness of LGBTQ issues.
I think you should go and download this book right now. I think you should spend a couple of hours pouring over these stories, reading even the ones that fall outside of your typical reading diet. Then pass it on to a young person you know who needs to understand that they are not alone in the world. These positive yet realistic stories could literally change a life.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When Gable’s boyfriend Avery goes missing, it sparks a chain of events that lead to Detective Maurice Ashford showing up at his door to tell him that Avery has been murdered. But Gable has a power granted to him by a box of mysterious crayons: he can turn back the clock and relive the worst days of his life all over again. Determined to find the killer and stop him before he can end Avery’s life, Gable turns the clock back over and over again. Can he stop the Double H Killer or is Avery’s fate already set in stone?
The first thing that struck me about this novel is that it is written in present tense. This may deter some people, but I actually thought it fit this particular story well. It conveyed the urgency of Gable’s situation as he continually relived the events of the worst few days of his life and tried to stop the inevitable from happening.
I found Double Hue to be quite the page-turner with an excellent villain. The “Horrific Homophobe” could have easily been a stereotypical caricature of a villain but instead he’s sick and twisted in all the right ways as he evades capture and plays mind games with Gable. I loved to hate him, even as I pitied him just a little bit. Then I remembered he was a killer and deserved no such compassion. Lawrence pulled off playing with my emotions and obscuring things that might have been obvious with skill, pulling all the right strings to keep my interest.
Many novels which jump in time aren’t always easy to follow, but I had no such problems with Double Hue. It was so well written that I had no trouble comprehending Gable’s jumps back to the start. I felt his growing emotional fatigue and hopelessness as he had to face living the worst week of his life once more.
Double Hue had a very satisfying ending. It’s often hard to see how books like this end happily when you’re in the middle of them, but this one ended with a solid HEA that put a smile on my face. Don’t be afraid to pick this one up because of its dark themes; it’s not a tragedy.
There were a couple of typos, including the snort-inducing “Horrific Homophone” at one point. But I have a very picky eye for these things and a couple of mistyped words does not ruin the book at all.
I recommend this book to you if you’re looking for a little more excitement from your reads and prefer more plot to your novels than romance. There’s definitely love here and even a sex scene or two, but the thriller element is strongest. I was happy to read something with more plot instead of picking up a book to find it’s mostly porn, but your tastes may differ.
I received a free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
A new chapter of Magic Man is now up! Chapter Seven, Hunters, is now available. I’ve started work on this novel again after a hiatus and plan to continue writing and posting new chapters whenever I have the time.
If you’ve yet to read Magic Man, you can access all the chapters at the main Magic Man page. It’s completely free, so what are you waiting for?
Kyle’s life is a mess. Ostracized by his parents for his sexuality and working for minimum wage, he’s at his wits’ end when he responds to a free ad promising room and board in exchange for learning the ancient art of magic. Meeting the mysterious witch Robert, Kyle is drawn into a whole new world that exists underneath the surface of this one: a world of magic, mystery and wonder that will challenge everything he’s ever known and believed.
I’m happy to announce that Written In The Snow is now available!
You can buy it in e-book formats for $6.99 at the following stores:
The paperback edition is also available to purchase for $11.99:
To read an excerpt or watch the book trailer, head over to the novel page.
The Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals from my previous post are still available, so grab them while you can!
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Marc is a seer whose visions always come true, but something’s disturbed the pattern of events in his time, rendering his visions useless. Together with his friends Kei and Devlan, boyfriend Galen and housemate Diana they must travel to the Oracle and put it right… but some things will be changed forever, regardless of their actions. Can they stabilize the timeline and bring happiness to their lives, or will the unseer’s power to change fate destroy their destinies?
After a slow start, this book started to grow on me. As it became clear that things were not as they should be in their time, I became more interested in this book and its characters. Disturbed Fate weaves an interesting tale of consequences in a time where seers and vampires exist. One change in the timeline throws them all off course and places the group in danger. I especially liked that even though they manage to set things right in a way, there is no magical deus ex machina. What is changed stays that way forever, which is realistic.
I liked Galen’s tale of moving on from his dead boyfriend Dom, but his former name Yuki (which everyone but Marc uses) became an annoyance to me at times, with the man constantly referred to by different names. It had a purpose in the plot, but it was confusing and difficult to get used to. It was resolved at the end, but I really would have preferred the characters hadn’t insisted on referring to him by different names throughout the book. It would have been far better to refer to him as Yuki and change his name to Galen at the end than the confused, half-assed way that some people called him Yuki and others Galen.
I didn’t really gel with the romance all that well and failed to feel the chemistry between Marc and Galen, but the supporting characters (including some strong women) really helped carry the plot and keep me reading. The pacing was at times uneven, and the book felt like it should have finished in several places before it actually did, but it was a good enough story that I’m interested in reading the second novel.
Disturbed Fate is no literary masterpiece, with some awkward language and dialogue in places, and a few errors scattered here and there. You will probably enjoy it if you like contemporary supernatural stories and have patience for a good story that unfolds slowly.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Damien Cooper’s mind is a bit fucked up. Yes, that’s his actual diagnosis.
His disability has him hearing things he’s not supposed to hear and his other senses are also taken to new heights. Damien’s boyfriend adopts a cannibalistic feasting habit after beginning employment at a mysterious factory site and Damien’s mother strays away from reality after she becomes obsessed with a self-help book. Damien struggles to embrace his flaws while uncovering an explosive new trait.
When I first received the request in my inbox to review Feast, Stray, Love, I had to take it. Cannibalism? Brain surgery gone wrong? Regardless of quality, I knew this would be a break from the usual tropes that perpetuate gay romance fiction. I was right in that regard. Feast, Stray Love is pretty original with a side of dark humor that won’t be for everyone but was right up my alley.
So, why 3 stars? Well, the writing style could use some work. Even in the re-edited version I received for review, I found a few minor errors. Besides that, the style’s a little awkward. It’s nothing that won’t improve as the author writes more, but it may be hard for some people to get into this story because of that.
I enjoyed the dry humor about the medical profession and the mysterious goings-on at the Factory and was genuinely surprised at one twist, but this wasn’t exactly a page-turner at points. I would love to read more but one thing I must say is that this doesn’t stand on its own all that well. It’s clearly a part of a serial story and while I’m curious about the other parts, they’re not on my must-buy list at the moment.
This will suit those who are not easily offended and can laugh at dark and gory situations, as well as people looking for something outside the mold of typical romance novels.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon
When a gang of men tries to take advantage of young Alen, he kills one of them in self-defense. The penalty for murder is death, but the local priest is willing to waive the sentence if Alen will submit to his desires. Alen wants neither outcome, for he already has his heart set on a being he has seen in the flames of his hearth, the only one who has been there for him besides his mother. When the sentence is carried out, the being of fire Firnal takes form and Alen discovers his friend in the flames was more than a trick of his imagination after all.
Burnt Offerings was very hard for me to get into at first. The writing style is thick, littered with superfluous adjectives that did little to move the story along and made the book hard to follow. The beginning is packed full of unnecessary description of what is basically a standard fantasy-esque village. Once I got past this, I found I liked the story quite a bit. Alen is a tragic figure and the villagers bully him for having spurned their affections. I’m not sure I bought that they all seemed to find him irresistibly attractive, since attraction is such a subjective thing, but I could definitely empathize with Alen’s pain at the unwanted attention he seemed to draw and his desire to get away from it.
The priest was a shallow villain who was after Alen only for his body, but Alen’s mother brought a lot of emotion to the story, fearing for her son the way any mother would and trying to protect him from a cruel world. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her as she begged for Alen’s life.
I found the ending surprising given the sales pitch, but I wasn’t complaining. To see Alen find happiness was fulfilling and satisfying, which begs the question: why is this part of Dreamspinner Press’s Bittersweet Dreams line? Alen is happier at the end of the book than he is at the beginning. His love for Firnal endures and survives. I can’t say that this book ends with anything less than a HEA in my opinion.
If you can deal with overly formal speech and a verbose writing style in order to get to a good story, you may like this. I certainly found it full of surprises. If you were expecting a tragedy, though, you may be left scratching your head after reading Burnt Offerings.