Showing posts with label Vincent Diamond. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vincent Diamond. Show all posts

Thursday, December 3, 2009

M/M Review: Rough Cut: Vincent Diamond Collected by Vincent Diamond

In Rough Cut, Vincent Diamond gives us a beautiful collection of short stories -- 17 in total -- some of them connected with the same characters, some of them single short stories that give us more than just what I've come to expect from M/M Erotica. Some of these short stories make us think and ponder -- there are just so many scenarios, so many "what ifs," so many "gray areas." Diamond manages to gift us with all of these things AND romance AND eroticism in these short stories. Her love of animals and nature is evident throughout all of them and it's lovely to see her passion for it; as well as her love of the characters in the writing.

The book begins with an impressive Foreword by Richard Labonte, one that I have to agree with. The characters in these stories, weather you are reading the single short story, or the connected ones, are well developed as are the relationships. I was impressed with how invested I became in the relationships while reading this book.

Lions and Tigers and Snares & Cold Hands, Warm Heart are linked stories with the same characters. In these two shorts, you'll find Kendall Knight, a Licensed Handler of large animals working at a "big cat" refuge, and Byron an undercover detective investigating Kendall and his partner. I loved these stories, not just the sizzling chemistry between these two men, but their love and commitment for their work and what I could only imagine their future holds.

A Cold Night’s Sleep & Fire are linked stories with the same characters. Sandy is an ex-cop who now works as a Ranger in a State Park and Tanner is an ex-con just out of prison. This is a story of how one person can make a difference in another's life. A day, a moment, can help the healing process and sometimes it can come from the most unexpected places or person. Beautiful.

Haunted, Slide into Desire, Walking the Blue Line, Deep Trouble Undercover, A Question of Taste, Dangerous Days, Tropical Daze. The story of Conrad and Steven, an undercover cop and a Rave Master and ex-con. Seven short stories that are really one complete story in the end. It's just beautiful. We go through Steven's journey of self-discovery, guilt, passion and love and Conrad's right there with him. I fell in love with these characters, their Romance with a capital R (because that's exactly what it was), and the sizzling passion they shared. I couldn't stop reading these shorts until I finished. Can you tell these were my very favorite stories and characters? The best recommendation I can give is... I'll be re-reading these. I'll definitely want to read Conrad and Steven's journey again.

Shepherd -- What a thought provoking piece! A single short that left me thinking, thinking... I'll have to quote here: "It's not who we are, it's where we are." A quote that made me think about the choices made in this story, but also about how it particularly applied to me personally under other circumstances and situations having nothing to do with M/M. Specifically applied to the immigrant's experience. This is the story of Felipe, who has been imprisoned for criminal assault and his experiences in prison during his first months of incarceration. I found this short gripping. I wanted more and at the same time, I thought it was perfect the way it was because of the way it made me think. Not the usual look at M/M; definitely not romance. Loved this piece.

Bruised, Back in the Saddle, Horsing Around -- These three stories are also linked. The story of Marcus and David. Marcus owns a Stud Farm where horses are also trained for competition. Not horse races, but dressage. David is a young veterinarian doing part of his internship at Marcus' farm. Gorgeous story(stories) of self-discovery and of learning to love again. This is one where I was left hanging. I really wanted to know what happened next and hope Diamond writes that next short.

Irish Cream -- Ohhhhh, Irish Cream! What a finish to this book! It broke my heart and it soothed it. This is a beautiful single short told by an old man who is remembering Liam, an Irish young man he met in the 1950's. We get glimpses of what it was like to be gay during that time, of stolen moments and beauty shared and lost. I loved this piece.

A few things I would like to add that includes all the stories. These are great to read one at a time if you don't have the time to read a whole book, or in between reads. Although I found myself so fascinated by some of the stories that I had to go on and finish those. The love stories are just gorgeous, all of them. The passion in these books felt real to me -- Diamond has a way of writing a bedroom scene (or a barn scene, as may be the case) that's for sure. However, it is undeniable that together with the passion, Diamond also gave us the romance without taking the easy way out.

NOTE: I read this book back in February of this year before I began blogging. However, I did not want this year to end without posting my review for what became one of my favorite M/M Anthologies/Collections of short stories this year. The original review was posted at The Manhole @ The Phade on February 8, 2009.

You can visit Vincent Diamond here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Review: Country Boys: Wild Gay Erotica by Richard Labonté

This anthology is a compilation of works by sixteen talented writers beginning with a beautiful Introduction written by its editor, Richard Labonté. Mr. Labonté, a long time city dweller who moved to a small town, wanted to showcase through these short stories, gay men's experiences of life and love in small, country towns. In the Introduction, which I enjoyed as much as the rest of the book, he gives us a bit of his own history and experiences in the small town where he lived openly with his husband Asa -- the book is dedicated to Asa, a touching and fitting tribute.

There are sixteen short stories in this anthology and every single one of them is worth reading. The writing is diverse, creative, and excellent all around. Some of the stories are very short, as in Bear Season by C.B. Potts, and some a bit longer as in Noel, for the Last Time by Wayne Courtois, but all are well developed.

There were quite a few stories where we are allowed a peek at some erotic, some tender and some wild first encounters between curious young men in the country who explore their sexuality together, and where we meet farms boys, good ole boys, and river boys.

Opening Day at The Fair by J.M. Snyder is worth mentioning in this category as you can almost hear the buzz of insects, feel the lazy summer day, the heat, the sweat and the yearning when reading it. Goodland Kansas by Jay Neal is a touching coming of age story about three boys set in a small town -- "know thyself," the beauty or the tragedy. I loved this story by Neal. These three friends know each other from childhood through adulthood. We share some of their adventures, moments of self-awareness and discoveries, their differences and in the end their choices.

Laying By written by Dale Chase where a young man traveling to California with his family, via a wagon train in 1846, experiences sexual awakening and love is a favorite. But I must say I was so surprised by River Boy written by Tom Cardamone that I had to read it twice. This was a unique piece set in the Florida river swamps featuring two unusual characters and even more unusual circumstances. Cardamone weaves D/s into the tale of River Boy and Skink in the most unexpected of settings. A story I'll remember.

Those pesky city dwellers also make appearances while they're visiting the country. The Farmer's Son by Karl Taggart was a favorite of mine, a story that somehow seemed plausible -- I wonder if our city boy will take his Harley out for a ride down that country road again...hmm. Vincent Diamond's Wrestling Gators is a fast paced erotic tale that proves once again that a man wearing a uniform and playing hero will work every single time, and in Hot Eats by Kal Cobalt, a cinematographer finds more than great fried chicken at the local Diner during that lonely third shift.

There are other stories, Goat Boy by Jack Fritscher is a celebration of manhood the likes of which I've never imagined--it made me laugh and gag at the same time. And there's the beautiful story of home coming by Dominic Santi titled Drum Stone about a Native American who while searching for his roots finds love.

I found this anthology while searching for works by Vincent Diamond, an author who has become a personal favorite. Not only did I find a wonderful story by Diamond I had not yet read, but I also found a slew of new-to-me authors whose stories I can't wait to research and read. Mr. Labonté certainly reached his goal with this anthology; it is a gorgeous celebration of life, love and experiences in the country. Great find!

Gay Erotica - Grade: A

You can find this book and other works by Richard Labonté here

Originally posted at Musings of a Bibliophile May 21, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

M/M Mini Reviews 2: Barbara Sheridan, T.A. Chase, Vincent Diamond

Beautiful C*csucker - Little Tryst by Barbara Sheridan

Set in 1987, New York City, this is a well constructed short story involving two detectives from different cultures whose short meeting impacts both their lives. Ray Watts is a New York City detective whose assignment is to chauffeur a visiting foreign Japanese detective around New York City for an afternoon, and is surprised when he meets a beautiful and sexy female detective that sets his pants on fire. Miki Nabeshima, with a completed assignment and some time for leisure, is more interested in getting to know Ray than the City. An invitation for an evening out on the town reveals to Ray that Miki is a he, not a she. Their meeting sets up the stage and Sheridan takes us on a ride from an exclusive BDSM club to the bedroom. An erotic tale of self-discovery.

Barbara Sheridan writes both excellent insight into the characters and an well-rounded plot in this short story. As readers, Sheridan lets us take a good look at these two men, and we get an excellent idea as to what makes them tick. Although there is not an HEA -- after all this IS a tryst -- we do hope that at some point Ms. Sheridan decides to let us share another one of Miki and Ray's encounters.

M/M Contemporary Erotica Short Story - Grade: A-
Little Tryst can be found at Noble Romance

Bound by Love by T.A. Chase

T.A. Chase touches on two difficult subjects in this book, PT SD and sibling rivalry. Tyler Newsome is coming home to the Lazy N Ranch, tired of the rodeo, he wants to start his own life and stop feeling as if he is an extension of his twin brother JT. He's had a crush on Ren since forever and is looking forward to seeing him again. Tyler is portrayed as a man who has always been responsible for his family, but most of all his brother JT, who is a self-centered, competitive type of sibling and who tends to project his own inadequacies on to Tyler. Tyler is trying to break away from the hold his twin has on him.

Ren Alston and his two brothers own a successful horse ranch in Montana where they specialize in raising dun and grullo Quarter Horses. He and his two brothers are veterans who all suffer from either PT SD or its after-effects. Ren has dealt with the worst part of it, but still has some residual left over symptoms. T. A. Chase integrated this part of the story line with the romance beautifully and realistically. PT SD is a serious subject and he treated it as such, and although he didn't go too deeply into it, I would say with excellent results. Ren was always attracted to Tyler, but with all his responsibilities and the baggage, he was not sure a relationship was possible. Now that Tyler is coming home without JT, Ren sees the perfect opportunity and hopes that he'll get a chance at love.

This was a beautiful story of two men who despite their short comings, inadequacies and in some instances being short changed by life, bloom and flourish together. I loved seeing Tyler grow and become self-assured and self-reliant, and Ren more than deserved to get his one "true" love. With a bit of control and submission and plenty of riding, T. A. Chase gives us more than just a cowboy tale.

M/M Contemporary Romance - Grade: A
Bound by Love can be found at My Bookstore and More

Animal Attractions 2, Anthology edited by Vincent Diamond

Edited by Vincent Diamond, this anthology has one running theme throughout, you guessed it, animals -- all kinds of animals -- who make a contribution to each love story in this small Romance collection. Elusive Blue by Kelly Kiernan - A story of a small town sheriff whose life is that of a solitary, lonely man who meets his match through a blue tiger. Written with a 1950's "feel" this is a romantic story about both intolerance and acceptance. The Case of the Missing Boa by Aaron Michaels, is a "who-done-it" with a sense of humor, the search for the "perfect man" and how he can be found in the most unlikely of places and under the most unexpected of circumstances. Driven by Destiny by Jane Davitt is set in 1930's Hollywood. A black panther, a smooth manager and a hot bodyguard make up this story. Davitt gives us a hot story with a touch of control and submission.

All the stories in this anthology were well written and worth reading -- I certainly enjoyed every single one of them -- but as in most anthologies, we usually walk away with a favorite or two, here are some of mine. Slow and Steady by CB Potts, a beautifully written story set in the Brazilian amazon, features a scientist on assignment with his companions, a cameraman, the narrator and their guide and white, glowing snails. A story about one man's patience and how it pays off. I swear I could smell the jungle and feel the humidity, the descriptions were so descriptive they sucked me right in.

Rodeo Mafia by Julia Talbot, introduces us to an animal rights activist and photojournalist who decides to take on cattle ranchers and the Rodeo by using his photography to prove how animals are being abused at both places. The give and take in this piece was wonderful. Talbot showcased how different points of view can be appreciated and understood when individuals truly listen to each other. A sexy story.

Hiding in Snow by Sean Michael features a photographer and a scientist, who while in the mountains in Uzbekistan to document the plight of snow leopards, are the victims of an avalanche. Showcasing adventure and survival, our men get to know each other under dire circumstances and forge a bond that neither expected, but both ultimately desire. Sean Michael gives us with the perfect ending to this beautifully edited Romance collection.

M/M Romance Anthology - Grade: B+
Animal Attractions 2 can be found at Torquere

Part of Vincent Diamond's editor's proceeds are being donated to animal charities. For this book the charities are Florida Draft Horse Rescue and Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue, where they work hard to rescue, rehab, retire and hopefully adopt members of these breeds.

Originally posted at Musings of Bibliophile May 12, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Upcoming Reviews at Musings

Mini Reviews: M/M Romance Reading Challenge - Part Two

I'm continuing with the M/M Romance Reading Challenge. I'll be sharing my impressions on three books this week: Beautiful C*ocsucker by Barbara Sheridan, Bound by Love by T. A. Chase and Animal Attraction 2 Edited by Vincent Diamond.

To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

I love Historical Romances and Elizabeth Hoyt's books have become automatic buys for me in a very short period of time. I've yet to read a book by her that I haven't either liked or loved.

Brie and I will be doing a joint review of To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt, third book in the Four Soldiers series at Musings. These are always lots of fun, I love discussing books with someone else and exchanging points of view. Look for it, I hope you enjoy it as well. See you there!