November 3rd, 2010

andrew potter

Blinded By Our Eyes by Clare London

This was quite an unsettling novel, sometime bordering almost on the horror rather than the mystery; in any case, even if there is a romance in it, actually one former romance and a romance to be, I would classify it more mystery than romance genre.

When Charles Garrett finds the dead body of Paolo in a pool of blood in his gallery and his crying brother Joseph near it, at first he thinks at the beauty of the plateau they represent. This was the first time I stopped and re-read the sentence, I was thinking, “be careful, Charles, don’t stop into the pool of blood, don’t contaminate the crime scene”, that was my rational mind; and instead Charles was freezed in the moment since he was cataloguing all the macabre details like he was assessing an artwork.

Other than Charles, there are other three men in the novel and the relationships among them, and between them and Charles, are not clearly explained to the reader that has to build them step by step. At first, due to his interest in Paolo, and the regret for his sudden death, I thought there was more than a working relationship between Charles and Paolo. But then I realized that Charles had only an artistic interest in Paolo, and in a way, I classified it as a bit selfish, even if, indead, Charles was strongly denying that he was glad Paolo’s art was selling better after his death.

Joseph is the second man in the first scene, and the one alive; for how Charles deals with him, that night and after, I thought their relationship was superficial, more on the friendship side. Charles is concerned for Joseph, he worries for him, but I felt as he was a bit detached, as his concern was more for the well-being of a friend, not a lover. And instead Joseph is, or was, Charles’s lover.

Last to enter the scene is Antony, supposedly Paolo’s lover, but even that it’s not clear. Charles suspects Antony to be the one who killed Paolo, for different reasons. But when he meets the man, again for an artistic fascination more than for a sexual interest, Charles changes idea. I think the reasoning in Charles’s mind was, since Antony is a good artist, able to create beauty, he cannot be the killer. Strange reasoning indead, since there is not direct connection between the two things, if not in Charles’s mind and, at this point, his morbid fascination with everything is beauty.

Now from all of above someone could think I didn’t like Charles, and it’s wrong; I think Charles was a complex character, and I did like the author didn’t write him like an umpteenth wanna-be private investigator. Sincerely I think Charles was interested in finding the murderer more since the murderer killed a potential great artist than for a love of justice: that made him original, and even his obsession for beauty was something that gave him deepness.

Amazon Kindle: Blinded By Our Eyes

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andrew potter

The God Box by Alex Sanchez

Homosexuality and christianity are two concepts that is no easy to put in the same sentence without them being at the opposite.

Paul is the perfect teenager: a beloved son, an attentive boyfriend, a good friend, he is perfect in anything he wants to achieve. But I felt something uneasy in Paul, a drive to be accepted that is almost unhealthy: Paul is a latino american, but when he moved to Texas with his parents, he was the odd kid out and the only to accept him was Angie, a kid his same age who was beautiful and kind, and very religious. Angie is the good kind of religious girl, the type who really understands the concept of “love your neighbor as yourself”. In the little child Paolo, the concept to be accept was similar to the concept be like Angie, if he was like Angie he would be part of a group. And so little Paolo became Paul, and he also became a good Christian boy, every Sunday in the church, and of course he became also Angie’s boyfriend. To excel in everything was for Paul a proof that he was one of them, one of the good boy.

When he is a teenager, Paul starts to have “strange” feelings for other guys, feelings that Paul is more than able to indentify, but that he doesn’t want to acknowledge: being gay means being not perfect, it’s against the religion he was taught, it’s against the life he is expecting to have, it’s, above all, against his feelings for Angie, being gay means that he has to leave Angie, and leaving Angie is something he doesn’t want to consider, Angie represents everything little Paolo wanted.

When Manuel, an out and proud gay guy, transfer to their school, it’s not the first time Paul was questioning his sexuality. It’s not fault, or merit, of Manuel that Paul realizes he is gay, Manuel is only giving to Paul the proof that there is another way to consider the question, being gay doesn’t mean being excluded, being unhappy, being a paria. Manuel is not hiding his feelings, and moreover, he is not denying his love for Jesus Christ and God; Manuel achieved the result of accepting himself and at the same time continuing to love God and religion, only that his concept of God and religion is a concept of love and acceptance, not a concept of refusal and limitation.

Paul and Manuel’s path is not easy, and they will have a chance only since, among the majority of people who will refuse them, they will find also people who will accept them, not since those people are good or kind, but simply since those people will understand that Paul and Manuel are like any other teenager.

Amazon: The God Box

Amazon Kindle: The God Box

Italian translation available from Playground Libri, E' una questione d'amore:

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andrew potter

Bending the Rules by Jack Greene

In this short story by Jack Greene I had two confirmation: he likes pretty boys and romance. By the plot, and some of his previous story, I was sure on the first, but the romance was more a surprise.

In less than 25 pages, if you want to fit into it a good sex scene, usually the romance is a bit neglected. And so, as soon as the two met, I was there waiting to see when they would move on the dirty part of the story. Since they met in a gym, I thought the showers was a good place; but the shower scene arrived and passed without them doing nothing. Then they planned a dinner, and the two of them inside the same car was another good place, but they arrived to the restaurant and nothing happened. Then the dance club and still nothing. I finally realized the author was writing a full romantic story, with an old style courtship, and sincerely the sex was not his main target. Now don’t get me wrong, there is sex, and it’s good, but it’s the icing on the cake, not the main course.

Of the two men, the pretty boy, Kieran, yoga instructor, in all his oddity made by eyeliner and lipstick, was in a way the most classical character for a M/M romance; who instead was more original was Zach, personal trainer: usually this type of character is not famous for being smart or courteous. Zach not only is smart enough to avoid unneccessary involvement with people he works with (both customers than colleagues), but also to understand when someone important crossed his path so to do an exception. Plus Zach is sure of himself so much that he has no problem to admit that he can be attract by a man, and when he is, to act upon that attraction.

Amazon Kindle: Bending The Rules

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andrew potter

Like a Sacred Desire edited by Jennifer Williams

I’m not really familiar with the Sex Magick, but I think the meaning here is to heal through sex, and it’s an interesting concept.

Unquiet Ghosts by Jana Denardo (M/F): in this short story Talin is a mage who wronged his people and for that reason he was punished with rape; the rape was done by men, and for that reason now Talin not only is unable to cleanse his souls, he is also scared of a man touch. His healing will be by the hand of Rasia, a woman and a priestess, that will heal with sex but also with the soft touch that only a woman is able to bestow on Talin now.

The HandYou’re Dealt by Elizabeth Schechter (M/M): this is probably my favorite story in the anthology, and not only since it’s a M/M story. Steven is blind and scarred in body, but he has an attentive lover, Nick. Nick knows how to push Steven’s button, and pull his strings, and I think he chooses to be a Dom to the submissive Steven since now he is able to give focus to Steven. With his accident, Steven lost something, but now thank to Nick, he has direction, even if he has no more the sight.

The Birthright by Renatto Garcia (M/F): a mix of history and fantasy, this short story, that has more the feel of a long novel, tells Bijou’s experience, how she will relive her grandmother Brigitte’s life, and not only in a metaphoric meaning. But Bijou is not her grandmother, and maybe for her there is a chance, something Brigitte didn’t have.

Perhaps AWorthy Offering by D.L. King (M/F): even if this is basically a male/female story, technically it’s more than that and nothing of that; Gregory is a sexual slave in a BDSM club. He craves the pain, and the touch of someone who can give him the perfect pain. If this touch arrives from a female or male hand, doesn’t matter, provided he can reach the blissful heaven of a total surrender.

Wood by David Sklar (M/F and F/F): this is quite the trick and threat story, my second favorite in this anthology; a very old witch does everything she can to bind a young man to her, arriving to steal his “wood”, so that he will want to please only her. But the final purpose of the witch is not to have a male lover, or at least not for her: she is all for the casual sex with a man here and there, but she has also mastered the art of a strap on, and in the end, she doesn’t need the man at all.

St. Nicholas’ Eve by Angela Caperton (M/F): a naughty and nice tale, completed of Holly (that is a typical Christmas ornament) and Rupert (that, according to Wikipedia, in the folklore of Germany, is the companion of Saint Nicholas, i.e. Santa Claus). Only that here Rupert, a very special man, visits Holly, a woman, to teach her to not consider Christmas only a season for business to make money. And he will teach her not with a punishment, but with a prize.

Opening by Raven Kaldera (M/M and M/F): Rossketil is an old man and an healer, and Sibbi, his servant, is a former whore; apparently they are not fit for each other, but Sibbi, maybe since he saw too much, or maybe since he suffered too much, is the only one who is able to bear Rossketil’s strenght and unleash its power, again an healing through sex.

Amazon Kindle: Like a Sacred Desire: Tales of Sex Magick

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