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[ profile] charliecochrane sent me this book for Christmas: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Communists

and its the funniest, silliest thing I've read for years! Imagine Captain Hook and his gang of cutthroats but who are about 12 in mind, if not in body-who don't do "ravishing" because they concentrate on the pillaging side of the deal, and who hero worship their captain, who invents Pop-up Pirates as a game to punish them when they decide that they don't want to be oppressed masses any more. (And they have a good point, they say that they don't want to be called "scurvy landlubbers" as an insult, because "landlubber don't get scurvy")  It's delightfully silly, and if you enjoyed Sir Apropos of Nothing and you like Pratchett - although wouldn't mind if he was laugh at loud SILLY - like Monty Python and pirates you will LOVE this.  Oh there are hilarious slashy moments too, such as when The Pirate Captain (who's name is a dark secret and will not be revealed until the last book) gives a cigar to his guest, and his guest says:

"Rolled on the thighs of cuban lovlies?"

and The Pirate Captain says, "No, but you can roll them on the thighs of the pirate with a scarf, if you like. He keeps them very smooth, and he won't mind at all."

It's actually the 3rd book in a series, more to come, so I'll be getting them all. Brilliant, and thank you, Charlie!

This is his website! hee hee!!

zoCluzc8 dIv7 QVar
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And because I worship at the shiny altar, I've transferred my list of Historical Links to my webpage and coded the links themselves.

It's here - and please let me know of any other links you may have?

Just finished "A Single Man" by Isherwood, Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb, and "Raven's Gate" by Anthony Horowitz.  I'll put a review to Single Man on Speak Its Name

I liked Assassins Apprentice a lot, I was expecting Fitz to have a lot of Stu-qualities and I was pleased that, rather the contrary he seemed to have trouble with everything to start with. However he's going to get Stuey before the end of the series, I'm sure of it. I loved the small hints of slash and the very insular feel of it, rather than a huge sweeping vista as you often get with fantasies.  I wasn't too keen on the last chapter because it really had a rushed feeling and all it did was tell not show what happened after the big climax.

Raven's Gate )

I simply couldn't put it down, read it in 2 hours and thoroughly enjoyed it. Will certainly be getting the next in the series.
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From the author's page: Escaping into the fantasy of his books when he’s not working in the general store, Ethan Keller has lived a sheltered life in his mother’s boarding house. One day, an enigmatic cowboy passing through the small Texas town takes an immediate liking to the shy seventeen-year-old. Ethan is intrigued by the attention, and the cowboy eventually charms him into signing on to a 900-mile cattle drive. Ethan soon finds that his feelings for this cowboy run deeper than just friendship. He never knew that this kind of love even existed; and now for the two of them to make a life together in the untamed west, they must face nearly insurmountable odds if they are to survive.

As this book has already reviewed favourably on Speak Its Name I'm putting my review here.

This book has the warm, technicolour feel of one of  John Ford's later films. The author admits to being a fan of the big Hollywood films, and if you are too, you will love this, because there are touches of them all here. You can feel the sun beating on your neck, the tamed frontier towns, the grit from the summer heat, and the fresh wind of a stranger who blows into town.Review with some spoilers )

However, this is a very nice little book and I thoroughly enjoyed it and was totally convinced by it.  There's some romantic scenes, but hell, I like romantic cowboys, and there's no ignoring that being gay, even out on the range amongst "real men" could be a dangerous thing to be.

I reckon that if John Ford was alive today, he'd make this into a film. I'd like to think he would.  Recommended.
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This book surprised me. I'd been considering buying it for a while, but as I had so many historicals I wanted to review (and knew that I couldn't do this one on Speak Its Name) I kept putting it off, even though the reviews I'd seen had been praiseworthy.  So when a kind friend sent me a copy I jumped in eagerly.

The writing impressed me from the firstRead more... )

A big thumbs up and a most decided four stars.more please.....
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When the Puritan village of Perseverance was troubled by a lascivious warlock, they sent for the Witch-hunter known as the Sword of the Lord. What should have been a classic conflict of good and evil did not turn out as anyone expected.

I'm reviewing it here as I'm not doing fantasy/AU on Speak Its Name at the mo.

It's a short story - but I'm not quite sure of the time period it's supposed to be in - I'm assuming too that the story is set in Pioneer America as there is mention of an Earl who has left to "return to England" and there are Puritans, but not being anchored in a time frame was a little off putting - all the more so when the Witch Hunter we are introduced to in the first paragraph is wearing wolf skins. Wish I coulda liked it. Didn't )

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I don't know much about post Roman "England" (as it wasn't yet called England) at all, but this book certainly did enough to convince me that the author knew what they were doing.Read more... )
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The Boy I love by Marion Husband
Ebook - Paperback

Short Version – loved it (with minor reservations) B+

Long Version )


I was bitterly disappointed with Mordred, Bastard Son though – I've read about 50 pages and I don't really think I can stick any more. It's not my most favourite of eras anyway - but even Mordred being gay doesn't give me the incentive to carry on. He's already showing Sue-ish tendencies in the book and he's not even born yet….Does it improve?  It seems to assume that I know all the ins and outs of the legends, that I know Morte D'Arthur inside out, it mentions Roman legend and treats Merlin as if he is Dr Who, regenerating through time – Merlin – Time Lord!!! Does it improve? Should I struggle on?

And BTW, talking of Dr Who – anyone notice that the beat of the "Drums" is exactly the same rhythm as the Dr Who theme? Eek!

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Sound and Fury by B A Tortuga

Short Version: Plot? What Plot? C+

Long Version Again, I encountered a problem I see again and again with these gay historicals, that don't tell you WHEN they are occurring. )

And in other WTFs -  Confused now - The anthology "Time Well Bent" Guidelines seem to have altered, and my head has gone Splodey.

This was the original guideline.

"Time Well Bent will be an anthology of speculative fiction in the sub-genre of alternate history, written from GLBTQ perspectives. Imagine some historical event, of great or slight significance, veering off from what is currently recorded, thereby changing history in large or small ways. The alternate sexuality of the protagonists must play an integral part in the course of events."

"Elements of time travel with the intention of altering history will be a hard sell, but might work. Fantasy could fit when the historical period or cultural setting is appropriate, such as in the Medieval or Renaissance eras, or, as a culture-based example, in a story of Roma (Gypsies) resisting Nazi oppression."

"This book is not intended to be erotica. Plot, setting, and characterization are the essential elements. Any level of erotic content integral to the development of the story is fine, but nothing gratuitous."

Ok, fine - but I've just noticed that this has been added:

"NOTE: after reading some submissions, I need to make it clear that I'm not looking for historical 'slash,' as such, or stories that are primarily romance. It's a matter of tone and focus. Relationships (and sex) can be part of the story, but the historical and speculative aspects must be central."

OK - so the protag has to be GLBTQ... and he must be integral to the changing history e.g. Smuggling King Charles I off the scaffold at the last moment - but his being gay doesn't enter into it.

Sorry. I'm confused. I get that one's actions are mostly NOT driven by one's libido, but if the character is G-etc, then why bother mentioning it? Why should his sexual orientation be relevant at all, if what they want is a historical AU in some way?  A character's sexuality isn't always mentioned, after all - he just gets on with his job, adventuring etc.

"David watched the scaffold being built as he remember the rough sex he'd had with the rough trade behind the tavern the night before. Daniel? Simon? He couldn't remember and it didn't matter now. He was here to do a job. To free the King."

Confused. Anyone got any thoughts?
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If there are one or more people on your friends list who make your world a better place just because they exist, and who you would not have met (in real life or not) without the Internet, then post this same sentence in your journal.

via [ profile] leatherdykeuk one of them

Two Dissapointing reads  Not reviews as such, just general thoughts, as I didn't finish either of them.

Hot Valley & Phyllida & The Brotherhood of Philander  )

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Smokescreen by Stevie Woods


Torquere Press $1.95

Period: Regency England 1801

Lord Richard Douglas (known as Chard to his best friend Julian) has just returned from the continent with a new wife. Sir Julian – seeing them together realises he loves his friend in a way that would not be acceptable to law or society.

Short Version : Meh: C 

Long Version )

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Book Review: Peridot by Parhelion

I’ve read a lot of gay short stories since I started in this game, and not many stand out, sad to say, I do have favourites that I return to… but that’s another story…. It generally takes something like a Saki short story to stick in my head.

So the discovery of this little gem (pun not intended but unable to avoid) was a nice surprise. I had no idea who Parhelion is, never heard of him/her before, so I had no expectations going into the story – I read it because it was marginally “historical” being set in the 1950’s but actually that wasn’t obvious in the slightest, as it turned out it was being told in flashback. There’s not much actual sense of historical context – other than the masquerade that gay men had to live under (but then, they still do) but once I’d read a couple of pages I didn’t particularly care.

Basically, it’s the story of Steve Corvey, who – although he has aspirations to cut loose and travel the world – is forced through circumstances to take over his father’s jewellery store in a small town in California, and becomes entangled with an extraordinary extended family called the Jowletts and ends up staying in the small town. He takes on and sponsors a young man called Nate - who he admits that he does not feel attracted to at all – but who over the years becomes his best friend and eventually his business partner. Having a partner enables Steve to travel and to indulge in sexual activities he’s unable to do in his small town. So when in Burma on a buying trip/sexual holiday he gets a call that Nate’s in trouble, he flies home to do what he can to help, unaware that the trip will change his life.

I can’t say more than that, but please, if you haven’t read this, I highly recommend it. It’s well written, thoughtful, unexpected and has a real resonance that will (should) hang with you for days after you’ve read it.

The only thing that disappointed me was that at 14,500 words it’s just too short. There is material in this for a full-scale novel, there’s so much richness and back story half hinted at – and the Jowletts alone could easily fill a book by themselves.

However despite the truly TRULY awful cover, this little tale is reminiscent of “Winter of our Discontent” by Steinbeck and as that’s one of my favourite books of all time, that’s a big thumbs up for me. If you like your homoerotica to be tinged with angst and internalisation, then you’ll love this.

Parhelion – if you are out there, say Hi, will ya? I’d love to see more of this kind of stuff.

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Short Version:  Rating B+ Recommended

(Very) Long Version (major spoilers) )
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So I just finished The Vintner's Luck and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't read and who liked - for example - the Charioteer. It's a lovely read, with a beautiful heart-breaking love story within it, I can't actually say that I could really see what Xas saw in Sobrane, maybe it was just because Sobrane loved him. Spoilery sobbing )
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I'm not going to say much as many other people have said it better than I ever could, but you can't go wrong by going to [ profile] gehayi's LJ and reading the assorted links which will lead you to others, but I will add this, aimed at my fellow EX-ficcers.

Fanlibs TOS say that they reserve the right to EDIT your fic. They also reserve the right to use your fic in ANY WAY.

So stay away from the place (not that you needed telling) and tell your friends to stay away. They can, with those two little rights, file the serial numbers off your hard written Snape fic and sell it on as an original piece, and the only person who has any right to do THAT - is YOU. The whole venture stinks and I don't wish them any success with it. I'm sure that most of my flist are old and onery enough to know a scam artist when it smiles at them, but there are younger, more naive ficcers who aren't. And that's who Fanlibs are going to make millions on.

On a happier note: Happy Birthday [ profile] ataniell93! Have a great day, hun!

Review of "An Agreement Among Gentlemen" by Chris Owen

First Impressions: I liked it. There were many things to like. *ticks off* Characters, the writing, the readability, and RED HOT SEX. I'll say this upfront that Owen makes me jealous as his/her sex scenes are everything that I like to read, sensuous and steaming without being coarse in any way. I did have a few problems with it, however.

Spoilers.. the good and the annoying )
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A Dangerous Man – by Anne Brooke

It's taken me a day or two to mull over this book, because I wanted to think about how it made me feel.  It's unlike anything I've read before, because mainly I've read gay historical stories, other than short stories – and contemporary is kind of beyond my ken. I don't know how the modern gay man in London feels or what the scene is. (Ok I don't know that for 1800 either but then neither does anyone else so that's ok).

I enjoyed it. Let me say that at the first. It's well written by someone who obviously knows how to write, who knows how to use the language to describe place with what seems an effortless grace so you always have a sense of your surrounding, whether it be a seedy bar in Hackney, or a graceful house in Islington. You can smell the leather, feel the heavy crystal, feel the grit under your shoes.

Michael (don't call me Mikey) is an artist, struggling to make ends meet, and is not averse to a little part time prostitution to help those ends meet.  He lives with Joe and Paul, Joe owns a gallery but won't hang his paintings – Paul knocks money off the rent for a little sexual action.  Then one day Michael gets the chance of a commission in a City firm and falls head over heels in love with Jack, his potential new patron.

And this is where it all kicks off.Read more... )

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I shall be reminding you all tomorrow, but I have a guest spot on "Lust Bites" tomorrow, which I'm pretty excited about, as it's a lovely community full of great erotica writers. So please pop over and post a question or a comment or anything you like.  I'd particularly welcome questions about Standish - or anything, of course.

Let's talk about sex, baby.

Talking of Standish - [ profile] rosie_red73 loved it - which I'm very happy about, of course.  Thank you, Rosie.

I'd been debating whether to actually tell you guys this, because I was pretty ARGH! about it, but Standish got a pretty scathingly bad review from Mrs Giggles.  I think the main problem was that she didn't actually get that it was a gentle pastiche on the Regency novel, and she didn't like the "black and white" of my characters.  Meh.  But anyway, it was a milestone - the same way that "the first book" "the first review" "the first translation" is - "the first bad review" milestone has been passed, and lookit me, ma. I survived to tell the tale!  *proud*  For one who thinks that everyone should have opinions, I'm quite happy for Mrs Giggles to have hers.

Now. Talking of GOOD Reviews (or rather reviews of good books!) I'd like to extol

"The Phoenix" by Ruth Sims. m/m Historical

Spoilers )
Summing Up.  Very highly recommended.  Certainly the best written gay historical I've read since At Swim Two Boys, and a book that convinces me that I can do better with my own prose.  This is not a "romance" btw, chaps - so while I'm giving no clues to the ending, I adored it, because it left me guessing right up until the very last chapter. It's a real keeper.
Four and a Half out of Five
Excerpts here
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The Price of Temptation
by M J Pearson (m/m Regency Romance)

I won't say I didn't enjoy this, because I did. It was possible to unhinge my research head and treat it as a "romance novel" with all that that genre implies. Brooding hero, delicate (but rather stubborn) heroine who isn't going to let said BH get into his pants unless it's true love - not if he can help it! (all whilst being swept along by his own desires)
Read more... )
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Thoroughly enjoyable.  This book very clearly makes the point that gay historical fiction needn't be po faced, full of deep meaningful literary merit and serious as hell.  This is a romp, from start (hero found groping his friend in an understairs cupboard) to the finish which I won't spoil. Imagine how I squeed when I read the first page and found that it was set about 10 miles from where I sit right now, on the North Norfolk coast in 1925.

Spoilers afoot Watson! )
So all in all, recommended.  I dislike asking an author for a sequel, but, in Mitch, he has a character who could cheerfully go on to other gay mysteries.  I shall go and seek Lear's other works now, and will look forward to his next.  A nice afternoon's read, which got me hot and made me smile too.

And really - any writer who uses whence and glabrous is always going to win my heart...
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ETA: ebook at the moment - paperback on its way!

"Winds of Change" is the sequel to Lee Rowan's "Ransom" and continues the adventures and misadventures of Lts William Marshall and David Archer after their capture and escape in the book of that name.  And it's a very good read.

The two men are transferred to a new ship, together with their captain; a "Trouble ship" where there is unrest and sabotage. A method of smoking out the sabateur is proposed but it is not without a great deal of risk for David and William, and for their growing relationship.

The characters are wonderfully drawn, they would slide into any of the Hornblower novels without even causing the slightest bow wave. William is a career man and his duty is every bit as important to him as it is to Nelson himself.  He puts his heart and soul into everything he does, whether it's managing a 74 gun ship of the line, or loving the love that dare not speak its name. David is my favourite, I have to say, for his innate love of life despite everything he's been through.

For my money, this book has everything. It's a wonderful love story, without underplaying the very real danger that homosexuals faced in His Majesty's Navy in the late 1700's and early 1800's. It's meticulously researched, but Lee writes in a way that doesn't bore you with facts of the time, she writes simply as if she were writing in that time, and the period detail becomes as unobstruvive as if it were a contemporary novel. It's a mystery, a thriller and it has lines that made me giggle, parts that made a hard boiled cynic like me cry (twice) and some wonderfully tender sexual moments.

If you found Ransom a little slow, then you'll be happy with WoC, as it's faster-paced, tighter and there's a very real tension throughout.

If I had one tiny quibble, I was dissapointed that the ending of the mystery was done off screen, I was expecting as much adventure in the last part of the book as I'd read in the first part, but in reality, what Lee decides to concentrate on in the final pages doesn't spoil the story at all.

In the growing genre of homosexual historical fiction, Lee Rowan is at the forefront.  She never sacrifices period detail or excellent writing in an attempt to dumb down at any time.

Very highly reccommended.

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Funeral ) Anyway, thanks again to all who sent good wishes, you all mean a lot to me, and from now on this LJ will be back to normal and no-one will be spared! Too much sadness and she wouldn't have wanted that, as she was most irreverent and would want me to continue to enjoy life with the same "moderation is for monks" ethos I've always had.

That being said - on with the motley.

Review - Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon )

All in all I'll give it a 7 out of 10. I'll get the next Lord John books, but I'll probably get them from the library rather than buying them.


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