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verdigristwist (UK)

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Grif's Toy: Tease and Denial Book One
Grif's Toy: Tease and Denial Book One
Price: £3.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Different... and size does matter., 18 Feb. 2015
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2014 - Grif and Wes are having dinner in a posh restaurant. Grif is in pain. It's Wes who's keeping him there. It's also Wes who's publicly humiliating him. You ask yourself: why is Grif putting up with this?
1998 - Grif is 13. Its his first day at Junior High. He's a physical kind of lad, and he's been looking forward to that stepping stone on the way to manhood - the communal showers after gym. Its the first time he's done this. It doesn't go quite the way he planned. And that's the catch. Grif has a kink, and for once we have a reason - the link formed in that 13 year old's brain between sexual awakening and public humiliation.Life will never be the same.
This is a well written story, shuffling between clearly defined time zones, markers in Grif's life. We get to follow the development of Grif from High School boy to Undergraduate to business man. Along the way he comes to terms with what he likes and why he likes it. It's not all bad but it sure ain't easy. You want to give him a hug - but he sure wouldn't appreciate it, his shyness would ricochet toward self-defence and indignation, his secret fears blocking any comfort being offered.
An imaginative first book. An extraordinary character.


The Truth of the Line
The Truth of the Line
Price: £3.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Mystery, art and a good eye needed..., 17 Feb. 2015
Well researched, this novel gives us a glimpse of life in the times of Elizabeth I as seen through the eyes of the Court limner - Nicholas Hilliard. As painter of 'small portraits' (miniatures) and goldsmith, Nicholas created many jewel like pieces of art that we can still see today (if we are lucky) at various exhibitions,in London at least. (The National Portrait Gallery is a good place to start if you want to look them up.) So, we go through Elizabethan England via the life of a man who was there, as he meets Drake, records the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, and keenly observes Elizabeth herself as she sits for her portraits. What then should he make of a wealthy young man who seeks him out and requests a portrait be done of him. Why does he requests a woman's hand is painted reaching out from a cloud towards him, and what does the nonsensical motto mean that he insists is written around his likeness?
This is not a fictional romance, the painter does not run away with Elizabeth I, not even for a night,and there are no bodice ripping scenes, but there is a serious proposition being put forwards here concerning the mysterious young man on the front cover and Queen Elizabeth I's possible past. The actions in the book are based upon interpretations of actual paintings and documents of the time, the story built around historical facts, figures and dates. The question put to the reader is 'can you too see what I see in these contemporary images?' The 'wrapping' is there to help us imagine this far and distant world, its manners, conventions, and how the Elizabethan version of J Depp had such a successful career at Court. (If you don't think Hilliard looks like JD's double then off to Specsavers with you - and no - he's not the guy on the cover.) This is one for art lovers or history fans who like a bit of a mystery. No it's not heavy but there is a serious point behind it all. See what you think. (And look up the pictures - they are sumptuous.)


Darknet
Darknet
Price: £3.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best yet., 17 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Darknet (Kindle Edition)
Darknet – Matthew Mather - Early read in exchange for honest review. This is it.
One thing about MM’s work. The implications stay with you. I get this with Cyber Storm, lately when a mega-storm was forecast for New York and I could imagine possible consequences all too clearly. And now it’s happening with Darknet. It’s not that I haven’t heard of the ‘unofficial’ web, and what it’s used for. It’s not that I’m completely unaware of the interconnectivity of all these devices we carry around or have sitting at home – but when I hear an advert for an app allowing you to control your central heating from your mobile phone – well, let’s just say I look at it in a more sinister way now (thank you MM). Yes, my paranoia rates are rising and are bound to get worse.
Spanning three months Darknet starts in London, moves to New York, skips across to Hong Kong, shimmies up to Canada. Across the world business men are being killed in coincidental enough ways at the most inappropriate times. So are their associates, geeks and anyone who might be in the know. In criminal prosecution cases evidence is being fabricated. And in the middle of it all sits one Company who’s employees are never seen in person. Drawn into a fight against it a small company of friends and family, their common link being Jake O’Connell, a man reluctant to face the frightening, impossible truth though as people he knows get ever more involved and endangered then face it he must. With help from a girl he met once in a bar, old friends from the Mohawk community, his family and even the Yakuza, Jake takes on the nearest thing the world has so far got to Artificial Intelligence and the hit man commissioned to keep him quiet. Along the way he appreciates anew the world and the relationships he has taken for granted, while doing a bit of soul searching himself. Fingers crossed – he seems like a nice guy.
Quote: A simple kiss from your wife on the way to work, your daughter sitting on your lap reading, a call from an old friend – things taken for granted, now ripped from Jakes life.
MM’s dystopian landscapes are not post-apocalyptic – they are happening now or are being developed out of sight in some bright and shiny IT Start-up. If not now they will be possible in the very near future. If you can record a voice, an iris scan or build a picture of what someone looks like from their Face Book page; if you can copy, click and drag from one site to another then what isn’t possible? If MM didn’t invent Techno Terror he is very good at engendering it.


Consent (Power Exchange Book 3)
Consent (Power Exchange Book 3)
Price: £4.42

4.0 out of 5 stars Yes - it's a detective story..., 17 Feb. 2015
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Gavin DeGrassi no longer works directly for the police department - about the only man in his family who doesn't - but when he picks up a call from his brother Cole to say Cole's wife(and Gavin's ex-partner in the force) has been kidnapped there is only one thing he can do: dust off his detective skills and get on the case - unofficially of course. Digging for clues in Myah's past turns up dodgy policy practices, a blind eye turned for the sake of a quiet life and hints of rent boys vanishing or turning up murdered. Something was rotten on Myah's old beat and it's still going on. It take the combined efforts of Gavin, Cole, and Gavin's lover and Dom Ben to find out what.
This is book 3 of the Power Exchange series and my favourite so far. The action (POV) cuts from Gavin and his frantic search to track down Myah, and Myah herself. The reader's hopes are kept on a knife edge as the men don't know if she is alive or dead and we wonder if she will be found in time (if at all). All this plus Ben showing a side to his character that is truly chilling. (Gotta love him.) There are characters from previous storylines in here but still works just as well as a stand alone. Good one.


Into The Woods: 2015 Edited Edition (Searching For Eden)
Into The Woods: 2015 Edited Edition (Searching For Eden)
Price: £1.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fae, fantasy and a boy called Eden..., 17 Feb. 2015
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With an American dad and an Indian mother, Eden has cinnamon coloured skin, dark hair and eyes of silver and green. Intelligent and gay he has a love of books, a tatt he can't understand despite dreaming it up and a turn of speed that (usually) keeps him one step ahead of the local gay bashing bully boys. He also has a safe place to hide from them: a creepy wood said to be the haunt of the Fae. If only. Eden has never fit into society. He thinks it's because of his sexuality or his colour or his mixed parentage, but maybe it's something more fundamental.
YES. Its another story humans, elves, swords and pointy ears, sentient trees, and something else... Mainly, it's about love. Young love, constant love, love at first sight AND how lonely it is to be without it. Fingers crossed I hope that by the time the story is concluded it will also be about love overcoming evil.
It is also about the clash of worlds, and differences. If they matter or not.
A few things that make it less than perfect for me. Eden's dad. (Yes, I know that parents don't register much on a teenagers world view but I'd have liked a bit more character building here.) And Ellie. (Um - she's a uni-student? Heavens preserve us.) Niggles over there is thought as well as cruelty, beauty, happiness and sorrow to be found here. There is also book 2 to look forward to. (Not sure if this is Part 1 of what is possibly a trilogy? We'll see.)
Fave quotes: 'Hold onto your sleep, your humanity for as long as you can ... once it leaves you, you will grieve for it.The blackness behind your eyelids as your body sinks and falls into dreams and worlds where you can be anyone and anything.' 'The real is not always enough to carry you through the dark days.'


Another Man's Treasure
Another Man's Treasure
Price: £3.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what you'd imagine..., 12 Feb. 2015
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A 4 to 5 for this. Not bad considering I almost didn't buy it - because I didn't much like the cover, and because, having now read it, I think the image gives the wrong impression of what this book is about.
This is a story about a troubled soul, someone who hides from the world, surrounding himself with false security, willfully blind to the world he cocoons himself in. It can't last, and it doesn't. Ilia, as he now calls himself, has a cop for a father, a gangster for a lover, and no sense of anchorage outside the apartment where he waits for evening, and for his lover to come around. When his lover dies both his former life, where he failed to connect in any meaningful way with his family, and the brutal world his lover ruled and protected him from, come crashing in, violating the fragile bubble of security that was only ever safe in word only.
There is, of course, brutality as a new gang leader takes over. There is, accidentally, love and affection as a stranger is drawn into Ilia's safe house turned prison. There is the numbing reality of the real world as it sucks Ilia back, as dysfunctional as ever. And a wonderfully enigmatic ending, so you can be upbeat if you want that HFN feelgood factor, or not if you're that way inclined


Tough Love (Special Delivery)
Tough Love (Special Delivery)
Price: £3.65

4.0 out of 5 stars Dramatic lives, edgy choices..., 12 Feb. 2015
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Chenco has had a tough life. Chucked out by his mother for being himself and not what she wanted him to be, (his alter-ego is a beautiful, sassy, glamorous drag queen), he finds his biological father only to discover that the man was not worth the journey. Still he stays with him, the old man is fading and the one thing he promises Chenco is a roof over his head when he dies - even if that is only a run-down trailer. Only he lies.

Steve (big, bear like, motor bike riding, tough) is at a lawyers when his meeting is interrupted by a furious young man making a scene and demanding his father's will is wrong. He leaves, giving the lawyer and his other client space, but when he comes accross the same young man (Chenco) in despair in an alley he feels a connection that makes him want to help. Chenco wants to believe him, then he makes a connection that almost destroys him. Steve is in league with his dead father's other son Mitch. The legitimate one. The one he was told was as homophobic as his father. The one he has never met but is automatically afraid of.

Between an insecure Dom and a star quality sub how can this emotional knot ever be untangled, and will these star crossed lovers, their family and friends ever sort it out?

I've already read the first one of this series (Special Delivery). It was fairly light, sexy, and had that HEA ending that can be soo satisfying if unlikely (well, one can hope). It took me a while to realise Tough Love was book III in a series (Duh - I seem to have missed out a story somewhere), and the people from book one (Mitch, Sam and Randy in Special Delivery) were the same guys further on in their lives.

This is a darker book, and more complex. The kink is more violent for a start and is touching on self harm (needles). It is also touching on how destructive this sort of addiction could be, (and it is described as an addition) if you have the sort of personality that becomes dependent on (what?) self harming for attention? as a way to escape from yourself? as a way to emotionally blackmail others? As I said - it's dark.

Heidi Cullinan's writing has improved with the series (not that it was bad to start with) and she is tackling a way of living I find difficult to understand. (I have never bought into the idea that you physically hurt someone in order to protect them.) I know this is a novel, but despite the OTT lifestyles (to me anyway) the predicaments seemed real. If you'd been treated like s**t all your life and had to fight to be yourself, feed yourself, disguise yourself, yet combined that with a desperate need to be loved, wouldn't you want to feel secure and protected at any cost? That I came away feeling some sympathy for the characters and their choices shows an ability by HC to explain how people might think about their relationships and why they might act as they do. Now - where is book II in this series?


A Hunted Man (The Men of Halfway House Book 2)
A Hunted Man (The Men of Halfway House Book 2)
Price: £3.56

3.0 out of 5 stars sweet as candy, 12 Feb. 2015
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Romantic, romantic, romantic. This story has ‘lovey dovey’ written all the way through it like a stick of Brighton rock. Velcro has nothing on it, and for safety’s sake I can only assume that Hunter drives an automatic.
Talking of Hunter, he is one of the two main characters. He is mature, a workaholic lawyer who works for the State. A believer in truth and justice he has spent his life putting baddies behind bars. Fearless and resolute in Court he is determined and dogged, and an ex-marine to boot.
The story though starts with Cam. He is twenty seven, looks younger, and has been in jail for the last ten years. Now, at last, he is being let out. And he’s not sure he can handle it. Having been assaulted, brutalised and generally hounded while in jail he has developed a defensive psychological shell that won’t allow him to hope for any good to come to him or to last if it does. Luckily for him he arrives at The Halfway House, a new transitional establishment run by J and Matt, and they genuinely care. Before long Cam has a room of his own, a job at the local cafe, and has clocked (and been clocked) by the silver eyed regular with a taste for his cappuccinos. It’s all too good to be true, and sure enough, soon Cam’s past is catching up with him.
We follow along wondering what did Cam do to get thrown in jail (he seems such a nice guy), why are these people (whoever they are) out to get him, and can anyone in the system be trusted?
Thoughts on this one: I liked the story. I liked the characters, right down to the next set of ex-cons who come in as housemates. But however much I appreciate m on m action there was just a bit too much happiness going on here. I know, the guy had been through enough already, give him a break, but really: everyone was so nice. And that was unnatural. Hunter, Cam, J and Matt, the people who ran the cafe, Hunter’s dad, the ex-cons who came along, it was all too much too soon and for me a bit too often. (So OK – I get this is escapism.)
Basically if you want a really good romantic read with LOTS of cuddles and canoodling and an HEA ending then this is for you. The story line is strong enough to keep you occupied, the guys pique your sympathy, you will be curious about Cam’s previous life and delighted that he’s found The One as soon as he’s stumbled out through those oppressive metal gates. A true love special. Bit too cute for me, but that’s me, a bit too cynical to get fully involved in this full-on love-fest. I prefer something a little more hard edged, but I’m sure there are lots of people out there who would love this for its feel good factor. And there’s nothing wrong with that.


When All the World Sleeps
When All the World Sleeps
Price: £3.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing scenario, broken heroes, intriguing story..., 12 Feb. 2015
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Joe Belman (Bel) knows he isn’t the only gay in the village, he suspects he might not be the only gay cop in the Force, but as this is small town America he’s keeping quiet about it.
Daniel is most definitely ‘out’ but that seems almost the least of his troubles. His Jekyll and Hyde personality marks him out as some crazy kind of trouble and why he stays in the town of Logan when he’s shunned as a cowardly murderer is anyone’s guess, yet he does. Frightened by his own uncontrolled behaviour, every night, to stop himself murdering again, Daniel locks himself up. But that’s not always enough. His cunning unconscious mind finds ways to break his body free, then who knows what he might do or what he might say to get himself or others hurt? Things he can’t remember when he really does awake. And there’s the real problem. Daniel swears he killed Kenny while sleepwalking. Despite being found not guilty at trial almost no one in the town of Logan believes him, certainly not Joe. But when Joe Belman starts guarding Daniel at night to protect him from himself and others, the cop starts to change his sceptical mind. Even worse, Bel starts to fall for the ostracised outcast.
This is a wonderfully slow paced book. I imagine it being read in a soft, rolling American accent, the soothing voice at odds with the terrible acts that reverberate through the present, from the past. That doesn’t mean it drags, just that the story is measured and not speeding along like a runaway train. In Daniel’s nightmare world, where sleep itself is the enemy, cause and effect ricochet off each other. Kenny beats Daniel up, Daniel sets light to Kenny’s house while he’s asleep in it, Kenny’s friends want revenge, while Daniel wants his sleep to be just that, sleep, not the time of night his unconscious mind takes his body over. As for Bel, he needs to decide who’s side he’s on, and what he might sacrifice to move on in his life.
The slow unpeeling of Daniel’s past life and the refocusing of Bel’s world view are not to be hurried, and with these two authors they’re not. A unique hero (to my knowledge) and an irresistible story. Thoroughly enjoyable.


Heart
Heart
Price: £4.20

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, a story with Heart..., 12 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Heart (Kindle Edition)
Seb works alone in his family run shop in Cornwall. Dex is in the same town for the summer season. It’s a small town, they are bound to bump into each other – and they do. Then as suddenly as he appeared the young, enigmatic Dex (with his thin, delicate frame and white blond hair) is gone.
Dex has been called back to his own form of reality, his own wretched ‘normal’ where brutal humiliation comes as standard. The lowest of the low in a Travellers camp he keeps his head and eyes down, does whatever he’s told to do, and tries to keep the few horses kept there from starving. Then something happens that makes him run. In his dreams he thinks back on his time with Seb, in his nightmares he fears his old life will reclaim him.
I love Dex. That he maintains his sweet character under circumstances that would turn most of us into bitter, twisted, revenge filled degenerates is nothing short of a miracle. To say his life has been tough is an understatement. Dex has learnt that to survive you become invisible and compliant. Mistrust of Authority is etched into his soul, and so is a sense of helpless pragmatism. Alone in his own little world he puts up with violence and abuse, surviving to live another day, never knowing how to do more than tolerate what’s dished out to him and to simply endure.
A knight to the rescue? Seb has tried getting away from his background too but just like Dex finds himself back where he started, only he returns voluntarily from a sense of filial duty. Still, he misses his stint in the big city, and with his parents retired to Spain and the rest of his family scattered he feels alone and isolated. When he connects with fragile, homeless Dex his life takes on some purpose. When Dex vanishes without so much as a goodbye note he leaves another emotional hole in Seb’s sterile life. One too many. Without so much as a full name to go by how can he track the younger man down? Answer: he can’t. But will life give him a second chance?
There is a slow burning tension throughout this book. The scene is set, the break is made, then you (like Dex) spend every moment dreading that hand on his shoulder and what it will mean. Like Seb you wait patiently for Dex to gain in confidence or to reveal a tiny clue as to where he is from, or what his life meant before. The writing is understated, not feasting on the cruelties and injustices of Dex’s life but like him just accepting them. There is enough said for the reader to fill in what is/has happened. We have imaginations, we read the papers. We long fervently for that HEA.
Despite the angst a delightful story. One I look forward to re-reading.


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