Monthly Archives: September 2019

Book Review: Innocence and Carnality by J. Alan Veerkamp

Innocence and Carnality       

Author: J. Alan Veerkamp

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

American release date: April 23, 2019

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/LGBT Romance/350 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Nathan is a bird in a gilded cage. A member of the Deilian aristocracy, his life is proscribed by a series of rigid rules. But something goes horribly wrong when his “inclination” is discovered—that is, his homosexuality. Suddenly he has become the black sheep of his family, and his future looks bleak indeed, as the people of Deilia do not tolerate such behavior. Nathan’s father has him fitted with a chastity belt to keep his virtue intact until such time as he can find him someone who is willing to wed him, sacrificing his very dignity in the process.

Nathan’s father eventually comes up with a husband for his wayward son… enter Lord Rother Marsh Delaga III. He shows up one day and is unlike anyone Nathan has ever met. He is quite open about being gay, and is very obviously interested in Nathan. The wedding takes place right away—this is a man who doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet when he wants something—and he whisks his handsome and innocent young husband off to the strange and seductive land of Marisol.

Delaga House is not what Nathan expected. In fact there’s no way around it, it is a bordello. With some very interesting occupants.  Such as Alexandra, the very competent manager, and Blythe, the rather large bodyguard with a mind of his own and a mouth to match, and Vivian, who has a sharp tongue and an inflated sense of her own importance. Luckily, Nathan has brought his valet Harston with him, with whom he is close, someone to anchor him in this strange land.

Thanks to his strict upbringing, Nathan has trouble adjusting to the sensuality of his new life, but it feels oh so good. And just when he thinks maybe life as a married man in Marisol will be good, he the blinders torn from his eyes. Has he traded one kind of cage for another? Where can he turn and who can he trust? If he doesn’t lost his innocence and learn how to deceive, he will never survive the experience.

Innocence and Carnality is my first book by J. Alan Veerkamp, but it won’t be my last. I’ve been looking forward to reading this ever since I saw snippets of it in our writer’s group. It was well worth the wait. It’s sci fi with a definite steampunk vibe that I love. I especially loved Nathan, and enjoyed reading about his journey, and the things he had to do to survive as he became less and less innocent through necessity. The author has a wonderful writing style that flows easily, and he creates very memorable characters. The sex scenes are very hot and steamy and very explicit.

If there is a lesson one can take away from this book, perhaps it’s that there are no absolutes with good and bad, and what may seem to be good may not be, and what is looked down on as bad might be just a matter of understanding. I think this book would make an awesome movie.

In all good books, a character should grow in some way, not simply exist. Veerkamp has accomplished that with young Nathan, who not only experiences new things, but learns from them and develops as a person. You can’t help but cheer for him and hope he rises above the bad in his life in the end in order to emerge triumphant. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy men having hot steamy sex but are also a romantic heart, and liked it with a touch of sci fi.

Well done, J. Alan, well done indeed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday Briefs: September 18, 2019

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Adrift: Chapter 57 by J. Alan Veerkamp

The Nightingale’s gymnasium fostered a seed of jealously in Arad. Sleek, well-equipped and more square footage than the Ansariland’s, it was a beautiful thing. A padded sparring ring sat dead center with everything surrounding it, including the crew as spectators.

Vosh entered from the adjacent locker room wearing only a snug pair of black shorts. Less defined than Roku, he still packed an impressive furry physique. Meaty and powerful, the man was big everywhere. The clinging shorts proved that. Arad’s full attention flashed to Roku as he stripped out of his shirt. Muscles flexed and tensed as he readied himself.

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Wednesday Briefs: September 11, 2019

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

In Pieces #69 (17.2) by Julie Lynn Hayes

When the first set ended, the band took a break and the dance club switched to a computerized music system. Ryan expected Ben to take a seat at the table he was sharing with Marge and relax before the next set, but apparently Ben had other ideas. Standing in front of Ryan, he reached for his hand as he swung his hips to the rhythm of the music that surged around them.

“C’mon, baby, let’s you and me shake it up a little!’

How could Ryan refuse such an invitation?  He couldn’t.

Click here to read the entire Brief:

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Book Review: Blue Morning, Vol 7 by Shoko Hidako

Blue Morning, Vol 7     

Author: Shoko Hidaka

Publisher: SuBLime Publishing

American release date: March 13, 2018

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Yaoi/232 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer:  Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Akihito finds one of his father’s old suits and tries it on, only to find it fits him as if it were made for him. He has a reason for dressing this way. He’s going to pay a visit to the dying head of the Katsuragi house. Meanwhile, Tomoyuki is returning to the Ashizaki house, along with Amamiya, having spent the night with Akihito. Now he has to face the anger of Saemon Ashizaki.

On Akihito’s arrival at the Katsuragi house, he is met by Takayuki Katsuragi, who is highly displeased at this unannounced visit, fearing it’s being done to cause him to lose face. Akihito insists he has no desire to place Tomoyuki as head of the Kuze house, he merely wishes to speak with Takamasa Katsuragi before it’s too late.

Soichiro returns home to find Katsuragi in his room, and he’s surprised to find the man has been drinking. Not surprising considering what happened between him and Soichiro’s father. They speak of Akihito and his plans to spend the summer at Kamakura before leaving for his studies in England.

When Akihito, dressed in his father’s suit, is finally permitted to see Takamasa Katsuragi, the dying man confuses him with his father, and at Akihito’s urging, begins to spin a tale going back some thirty-odd years. Afterward he retires to Kamakura. Time passes, and summer is nearly gone, but no sign of Katsuragi.

Katsuragi and Soichiro have a confrontation regarding the latter’s marriage, as well as the geisha he loves, but it’s not satisfactory to him, even after Katsuragi explains his reasoning. He dismisses Katsuragi peremptorily, tells him to get out.

Things are surely coming to a head in this series, truths are coming out, revealing a complicated web of lies. Akihito has learned that which Tomoyuki yearns to know, and is about to tell him the truth. Surely, using this information, they can find a way to stay together and be together, as equals? I believe that is what it all comes down to in the end, finding the common ground on which they can be equal partners, not master and servant, and free to live their lives together.

Even so, I worry that there are forces who may work against them. At this juncture, although Soichiro has long been supportive of their relationship, right now he is angry, so there’s no telling what he may do. His father is angry too. I think the next volume is the last one, and should be here in just a few months. I’m looking forward to seeing these two men get the happy ending they deserve.

Another great volume, waiting anxiously for the next one!

Wednesday Briefs: September 4, 2019

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

 

Here Kitty Kitty; Chapter 23.2 by Carol Pedroso

Kitryn sighed as he looked around the group sitting at the extended conference table. Three more elders had arrived. Elder Jamison was a fae representative who was also a friend of Carl’s; Elder Orion was a dwarf who was short even for his kind and had to sit on a booster seat to be able to reach the table comfortably. Lastly, there was Elder Dorian who was a Goblin. He had a habit of tapping his claws on the table and Kitryn was getting close to asking if someone had some handcuffs he could borrow.

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Book Review: Bleach, Vol 7 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 6     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 5, 2005

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

As Ichigo battles Hollows which Quincy Uryu Ishida has lured with his bait, Orihime and Chad awaken to find themselves safe, having been removed from the battle by a mysterious stranger in a striped hat. Chad demands to know what has happened, and what it has to do with Ichigo. Ishida is finding that his plan is going awry. He can’t kill the Hollows with just one shot anymore, alarmingly, and as his strength wanes, the number of Hollows only increases—not quite what he’d had in mind when he began the contest with Ichigo.

Rukia is dismayed to find that her strength is not what it should be. Suddenly beset by what she at first thinks is Ichigo, she realizes it is Kon clinging to her like a leech, she spots Ishida and learns that this sudden infestation of Hollows is his fault and wants to know what he was trying to prove. Meanwhile, Kiskue is revealing the truth about their powers to Orihime and Chad, and how they were activated. Seeing their skepticism, he invites them to come along with him and see for themselves.

Ichigo has finally caught up with Kon and is furious that he didn’t do what he sent him to do, which was to retrieve Rukia’s thingamajig. Ishida is still intent on having Ichigo as his opponent, but Ichigo notices the ominous cracks in the sky. As they watch, Rukia explains to him about the Quincies and why they had to be destroyed.

Despite everything, Ichigo wants to work with Ishida, not against him. Ishida explains why he hates Soul Reapers so much, and Ichigo explains about the death of his mother, and his own war against Hollows. Can these two work together to defeat the Hollow horde? And what the heck is a Menos Grande?

Should they be frightened?

There is a lot going on in this volume of Bleach. Since I’m watching the anime (although I’ve way ahead of where I’m reading), I find it interesting to note things in the manga I would have liked to see in the anime. Such as the scene with Kiskue and Orihime and Chad, where he explains about their powers. Watching Ishida and Ichigo learn to work together is great, as they both have issues to work through, mostly Ishida. Ichigo, for the most part, is pretty laid back, and takes things in stride. Ishida, on the other hand, is rather high-strung and nervous.

The fight against the Menos Grande is pretty awesome, not to mention we get to see more of Kiskue Uruhara and Tessai, although there is much we don’t yet know. I loved seeing Rukia and Ishida assimilate with their schoolmates, and the first appearance of Mr. Yoruichi is priceless.

Another great volume of Bleach, looking forward to more of the same!