Monday, April 30, 2012

A Look at Xavier Axelson

I read my first book by Xavier Axelson, The Incident, back in November of 2011. This book is a gay romance, but the way Axelson dug deep into his characters had a lot to do with the reasons behind my including it with my list of  2011 LGBT Favorite Books and Authors under the romance category. I liked his style.

Since that time I've read a few of his books, from his back list and new releases as they come along, but I've not reviewed them. This month alone I read titles by Axelson, so I figure it's time to go ahead and give you some quick impressions of his books and why I read them.

First let me begin by saying that The Incident remains my favorite book by Xavier Axelson. After having read most of his works, it is the one gay romance written by him that I found to have both depth in characterization as well as that emotional connection that makes for an effective and memorable romance.

Having said that, Axelson also conveys that emotional connection between the main characters in The Birches. In this story, I love the way that he connects eroticism and the pleasures of sex with those of food and cooking. The depth of character that I found in The Incident is not there, but then this is a lighter, less character or angst driven story, instead the romance and the erotic make The Birches a surprisingly pleasurable read. Certainly after reading it, I kept looking for more books by the author. :D

Of  Axelson's older romance-related releases, Dutch's Boy is my favorite. Of course this may be because I love westerns and to me there's nothing sexier than a cowboy. What I found in Dutch's Boy is an idealized romance between a young man who finds the courage to show his father his independence by competing at the rodeo, while finally finding love in the arms of the young man he has dreamed of throughout his young life. It's a lovely, sweet romance with some very erotic moments between Harry and Reb. Axelson can certainly write those bedroom scenes... although I particularly enjoyed that tense scene on the train between Harry and Blake. Pheww!  

There is also the very short story Christmas Eve At The Powers That Be Cafe. I believe this was the author's first book... and although it has its flaws, I definitely recommend it as a sexy holiday M/M romance read set during World War II. Again, I was particularly taken with the intensity and emotional connection between the characters during the sexual scenes, and of course I love the setting and atmosphere even as the ending struck me as being less than plausible but high on the sweet scale.

Axelson also writes stories that fall under the erotic horror category, or speculative fiction with a strong dash of the erotic. In Lily we have a father who lost his daughter to the woods and a wolf. He suffers deeply but believes that she'll return to him for one day on the anniversary of her disappearance. During that year he finds a man who believes in him and loves him. This story is about new beginnings and accepting loss. I don't know why I was so surprised at how sexy this story turned out to be, even with all the angst and suffering, and the loving... there's lots of love here too. For me, although there's that paranormal/horror aspect to the story and Lily is a key character, the romance is just as important so I love that it has a good happy ending for the main couple.

However in Earthly Concerns although there are some erotic scenes and romantic angst, the horror supersedes the romance and the erotic. This story is definitely more on the spec fic side. There's a chilling fear and horror that permeate this story. As one character is warm and caring, the other is cold and remains distant throughout, making the reader doubt his true motives and intentions until the very end. Speaking of the end, because I read this story from the spec fic point of view and not necessarily as a romance, I was a bit disappointed. Although in this case, I have a suspicion that I might be in the minority. [grin] Except for that ending, this is one chilling, scary story and although short, I thought it was very well done!

As an interesting aside, three of Axelson's books, Dutch's Boy, Lily and Earthly Concerns, feature sons and/or daughters and subjects related to parental errors in judgment or parents who need to accept loss and/or their children's choices.

If you're an M/M romance reader, you might enjoy these books and I do recommend them for you. If you would like to know a bit more about Mr. Axelson, you might want to read "A Conversation with Xavier Axelson by Gavin Atlas."  This interview inspired me to read that first book.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for this kind and very generous post! I'm so glad you've enjoyed my work! More to come...:)

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    1. Xavier, I've been enjoying your books. You keep writing them, I'll keep reading... :)

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    2. Hi Hilcia, thanks again for having me; as an FYI my latest and First Non Erotic Horror Short "Cravings" has been released TODAY as part of the First Time Dead anthology. It's available on Amazon
      for $2.99
      http://www.amazon.com/First-Time-Dead-3-ebook/dp/B007Z4ULOY/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1335894737&sr=8-8

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    3. My pleasure, Xavier. Thanks for the heads up! I'll check it out...

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  2. Just read my first of Xavier's books today. Not my normal genre, but it had me on the edge of my chair from start to finish.

    Earthly Concerns.

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    1. Alixtheweaver, right? Wasn't that good? I also read it in one sitting and after reading all of Axelson's romances was really surprised at how edgy and scary this short story turned out to be. I couldn't put it down either.

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  3. Oooh adding a few more books to my wishlist. LOL

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    Replies
    1. Oooh, can't wait to see which ones you chose from here. *g*

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