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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

His Name is John by Dorien Grey

     This is the third or fourth time, at least, that I've re-read Dorien Grey's mystery His Name Is John and it's also the first Dorien Grey book I ever read, which lead to me collecting all of this fantastic author's books. When I find a good thing I go all out and get everything I can.
     Anyway, I've just finished the book and I was once again feeling all emotional, all in a good way of course. And while I have no intention of spilling any beans I will say that this is a supremely satisfying story in any and all ways. Firstly, there's the mystery—who is John, and why is he, for want of a better word, haunting Elliott Smith? As the story progresses Elliott, and we as observers, discover a tidbit here, a clue there, a scintilla of a memory that way, all of it coming from John. And then we watch further as Elliott becomes more and more involved; his curiosity is piqued and things—slowly, at least to start—come to light and/or fall into place.
     I love the way Grey ever so gently peels back, layer by layer, the events that lead up to John's presence in Elliott's life.
     Secondly, there's the paranormal, or is that supernatural?, element. There's no doubt at all that John's no longer alive... and yet there's (for me anyways) no sense of disbelief. Especially since Elliott is such a down-to-earth, logical person... this is far beyond his purview! But even he is caught up in the presence of John in his life.
     Thirdly, and while not a big part of the story it is still a component, is the romance. As I am a major-league fan of romance this is not a small thing. Along with getting to know the other people in Elliott's life—especially his sister, Cessy, her homicide detective husband, Brad, and their children BJ, Jenny, and (to a smaller degree) baby Sandy—the introduction of, and the developing relationship with, Steve Gutierrez is all very, very fine!
     There are a few times—two in particular—when somewhat startling revelations are made and I pretty much lost it. Okay, one revelation, and then John's words to Elliott at the end of the book. Man, I had to take a break!
     So, yep, there will be another re-read of His Name Is John in my future, certainly within a year. This is one of those feel-good books that are on my go-to list when I need something totally fantastic! And Dorien Grey is one of those authors as well.
     If you've never read any of his books, either his "Elliott Smith and John" stories, or his "Dick Hardesty" mysteries... or even one of his other books—the western Calico; his book of poems, Dreams of a Calico Mouse; A World Ago: A Navy Man's Letters Home (1954-1956) [rather self-explanatory]—then I strongly encourage you to check any of them out.  I highly recommend any and all of them!

Dorien Grey's website:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Glory Lands by Vastine Bondurant—Wow!

Review: I finished this story a few days ago and I've been going over and over it, again and again, in my head.
Glory Lands by Vastine Bondurant is a powerful, gut-wrenching, and life affirming story that I will not soon forget.
     The story starts off with a heart stopping scene that sets an underlying tone, but by no means is it representative of the overall feeling the story evokes. The setting of the story, both location and time (rural east Texas in the 30s—to start) seems tailor made for the events... unfortunately our modern society is often not much better, and that in and of itself is a tragedy. But I digress... or maybe I don't.
  All I know is that as the characters were introduced, they became real people; what happened to them was immediate and right there in front of me. And even though I knew, just knew, that something awful was going to happen, I was so caught up in Emory Joe and Glory's story that there was no hesitation on my part. The positives far outweigh the negatives and I found myself incredibly satisfied as Vastine Bondurant's Glory Lands came to an end.
Rating: 4.5 stars of 5


Story Description: A Texas Piney Woods Story
    Rural East Texas, 1931. Preacher’s son Emory Joe Logan and a fiddler from Shreveport, Glory Lands, meet and form a tender bond. When they are caught and arrested for homosexual acts by Sheriff Elihu Bishop, the lawman’s sanctimonious bigotry threatens to rip the young men from their families.
     Emory Joe’s father, Pastor Charles Logan, is brought to his knees in terror, confusion, and anger. He still regrets not standing up against Bishop when the lawman murdered a youth in cold blood nine years ago.
     Now there’s no longer a choice for the preacher to stand up to the lawman. Cold-blooded justice, bigotry-disguised-as-religion, and hatred take on a whole new meaning when they’re standing on his doorstep, ready to take the son he loves.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Triple Oh Heaven! by Robin Anderson (La Di Da Di Bloody Da series)

     I would be entirely remiss in not singing my praises for the latest in Robin Anderson's latest book in his 'La Di Da Bloody Da' series.. At first the 300+ pages were daunting; until I started to read it and then I was completely entranced and consumed. By the end it was a surprise to realise that it was, indeed, a long book. But once again you snared my imagination from the get-go. Miz M and Miz K are completely and utterly charming and I so love their adventures.
     I also love all the romances! But what keeps me glued to the pages are the circumstances in which our dauntless heroines find themselves embroiled and how I KNOW they are going to triumph, and spectacularly at that.

Story Description:
When the two trannys of taste and not tackiness, Miz M and Miz K, set off to judge a pageant with unusual qualifications in the politically turbulent country of Vulgaria, they stumble into a web of deception and misadventures.
The madcap and unique Miz M and Miz K, trannies of taste and never tackiness, manage to find themselves in the center of a web of political chaos and intrigue when they set out to the hitherto unknown country of Vulgaria to judge a pageant that has the most unusual qualifications they have ever encountered.
Meeting some old foes, like Slit-Eye Sly and Svetlana Orlov, and making some new allies, like Triple Oh Heaven and Count Rudi Vernacular--to name a few--brings them face to face with an unusual challenge.
Taking on Kaiser 'The Crippler' Kalishnakov and his plot to take over the world, means stopping germ warfare and the blockage of the world's oil supply. All it will take is a steady aim, a cattle prod, two elephants, a running supply of champagne and crème de menthe, and the Three Muff-keteers!
Book available here

Trannys to Tiaras! by Robin Anderson

    The first time I read a Robin Anderson book I was hooked, and completely taken with the story, and the characters. I was now a solid fan.
    Not only am I fortunate enough to work at Silver Publishing where Robin's "La Di Da Di Bloody Da" series has been published, I've had the pleasure of working, in a small way, on the books. 
     The first book I worked on, Trannys to Tiaras!, was my introduction to the inimitable Miz M and Miz K—Miranda Maracona and Kookie Kombius—'trannys of taste, never tackiness'. I then had to read the first book, La Di Da Di Bloody Da!, which only confirmed my first impression of not only Robin Anderson's talent at writing very entertaining stories, but also the stars of the series.
    I was so utterly charmed and entertained by the adventures of Miz M and Miz K in the first book of the series, I indulged myself again with Trannys to Tiaras! , which this time I read for pure enjoyment.
     In the continued escapades of the dynamic duo, and the assorted—and wild!—cast of characters, I once more found myself joyously immersed in another of Robin Anderson's stories. And while I was completely satisfied, the hint of more to come was just the icing on the cake.

Story Description: Diamond smuggling provides little challenge for Miz Miranda Maracona and Miz Kookie Kombuis, two outrageous transvestites (one so dark and one so fair!) or facing the villains determined to 'put a tranny in the works!' From London to luxurious Dune Eden in the Namibian Desert, laughs and outrageous happenings abound.

Book available here

Friday, September 20, 2013

Shadowed: Brides of the Kindred, Book 8 by Evangeline Anderson

4.5 Stars ~ I'm new to Evangeline Anderson's 'Brides of the Kindred' series, but after having read "Shadowed" I am very curious to read the earlier books. But even not having read the first seven books in the series I wasn't confused or feeling lost. Anderson's filling in of the backstory was enough for me to understand the basics of the Kindred society. It was also enough to give me a definite taste of Saber and Lissa's story, which precedes "Shadowed" and is somewhat entwined with Reddick and Nina's. Then there are some of the other characters--especially Kat and Deep and Lock, and Liv and Baird--who really piqued my curiosity. Anderson's storytelling has, once again, proven to be captivating. She's one of those authors who knows how to capture the reader's attention and get them involved with what goes on in the story.

If you enjoy science fiction and stories of hot men and the women who love, and tame, them, then I recommend "Shadowed: Brides of the Kindred #8". I don't think you will be disappointed.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Honor C by C. Zampa

Review: In this, C. Zampa's second novel, I once again found myself completely caught up in the book. I enjoyed Honor and Jorge's story tremendously; in fact when I was going through it to solidify points I wanted to make for this review I found myself reading it again. It's seductive and downright addictive is what it is.

 I really enjoyed the way that Zampa gives the reader first person perspectives for the characters, mainly, of course, Honor and Jorge. But the times we were allowed to see firsthand what Becky was feeling and thinking added spice to the story, and I very much enjoyed it, even if I found myself upset with her. However, it was the look into what Becky was going through that added verisimilitude to the rest, and for that I offer kudos to the author. And it wasn't only the direct insight into what the character—whoever it was at the time—was feeling that I liked so much, but also their impressions of what was happening with the others.

In Honor C, the phrase 'the course of true love never did run smooth' is very appropriate. I was heartbroken, for both of them, when Honor decided to end his love affair with Jorge. But I think my heart belongs to Jorge. There is something about him that calls to me; his honesty and forthrightness are totally beguiling—well that and his outright sexiness. What makes it even hotter is that he's only being who he is; there's no guile, no desire to snare anyone. It's just Jorge being Jorge and I can certainly understand just what it is that Honor finds so utterly captivating.

There's no 'bad guy' (or bad gal) here; this is a story of people who love, and of people who hurt. But most of all, it's a story of people who learn that, regardless of decisions made, there is a price. And, at the end, that's life.

Once again C. Zampa has done it; captured me heart and mind, and I look eagerly forward to the next occasion. Thank you dear author!

* * * * Rating: 4½ Stars * * * *

Summary: When Honor Castillo convinces himself he isn't gay, he begins a new life. He ends his affair with his lover, Jorge Villagomez, and marries Rebecca to establish a life with her as a respected San Antonio businessman. They have a son and he tells himself he is happy.

Eleven years later, Jorge returns to San Antonio, and his path crosses Honor's once more. The flame of their passion never died, and neither did Jorge's love for Honor.

When Jorge approaches Honor to design his studio, Honor believes he can walk the line between friendship and lovers. But when a sudden crisis threatens to take Jorge from him forever, Honor must choose between his duty and his heart. Most of all, he's forced to decide what he's willing to lose in order to be true to who he really is.

Buy link: