Gerry B's Book Reviews

Billy Bishop: Top Canadian Flying Ace, by Dan McCaffery

Canadian history made interesting…

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billy bishop - coverBilly Bishop was the top Canadian flying ace in the first World War, credited officially with a record breaking 75 victories. He was a highly skilled pilot and an accurate shot. Bishop went from being the most decorated war hero in Canadian history to a crusader for peace, writing the book “Winged Peace,” which supported international control of global air power. While some historians feel that authorities upgraded Bishop’s claims to improve morale, author Dan McCaffery presents the true life and accomplishments of Bishop through information he gathered from interviews and archival sources.

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Review by Gerry Burnie

Billy_Bishop_VCAsk any Canadian of a certain age to name an air ace, and they’re likely to name Billy Bishop: Top Canadian Flying Ace, by Dan McCaffery [Lorimer, 2002].

William Avery “Billy” Bishop wasn’t so much destined for glory as he was drawn into it with his idiosyncratic skills; namely a keen eye and adventurous spirit that seemed to be going the same way.

Born in the rural municipality of Owen Sound, Ontario, he retained that rural small town self-sufficiency through most of his life. Not given to team sports, he preferred individual pursuits such as swwimming, horse back riding, and shooting—in which he exceeded rather phenomenally. One story goes that he struck a target so far away that to the others it was just a dot.

billy bishop - planeAnother example of his small town, pragmatic thinking, was his decision to join the air corp in the first place, because “…it’s clean up there! I’ll bet you don’t get any mud or horse shit on you up there.”

His first solo, combat patrol was less than stellar as he had trouble controlling his air plane, was nearly shot down, and got separated from his squadron. Nonetheless, he went on to be the highest scoring Canadian ace in WWI.

About the only way one can rate a biography is on how well it is researched, and how well it is written. To this list I will also add a third: Did I learn something I didn’t know before? To all three I can “Yes.” Although I have never encountered any of McCaffrey’s books previously, I am impressed by the way he has fleshed out a larger-than-life character—both personally and militarily—in a way that is both interesting and readable.

Educators take note. Five bees.

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Viewers to Gerry B’s Book Reviews to date – 51,681

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Interested in Canadian history? Want to see more? Then visit my new page:  In Praise of Canadian History.

It is a collection of little-known facts and events in Canadian history, and a bibliography of interesting books I have collected to date. Latest post: Fire on the water: The burning of the SS Noronic.

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If you would like to learn more about any of my books, or to order copies, click on the specific cover below. Two Irish Lads and Nor All Thy Tears are available in both Kindle and Nook formats. Publisher’s price, $4.95.

      

June 24, 2013 Posted by | Billy Bishop, biography, Canadian author, Canadian biography, Canadian content, Canadian historical content, non GBLT, Non-fiction | Leave a comment

The Boys and the Bees, by Mari Donne

A truly gentle and romantic romance

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The boys and the bees - coverThe only interesting thing about Why Yell, Iowa, is its name, so when Mark Johansen left for college, he didn’t plan to return. But his family has other ideas: his father manipulates him into a job he hates and his mother uses him as a patch for coping with his siblings’ problems.

When Mark runs into Jamie Novotny after a particularly bad day at work, he’s surprised to find the quirky kid he knew in high school has grown into a driven eco warrior. But the shock of finding Jamie working in the local co-op pales compared to his astonishment when Jamie confesses he’s had a crush on Mark for years.

Their first night together leaves Mark happy but disoriented, but their second leaves him bereft. He’s unable to find Jamie because he refuses to use cell phones, fearing their environmental impact. Mark’s usual stoicism splinters, and he can’t stop himself from tracking Jamie down. When their lives collide, Mark makes room in his heart and his house for Jamie—but what Jamie really wants is for Mark to man up.

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Review by Gerry Burnie

I must admit that it was the cutesie title, i.e. The Boys and the Bees, by Mari Donne [Dreamspinner Press, November 28, 2012] that first caught my attention. I also must admit that I expected it to be more erotic than it is—but that’s a good thing. Between plot and sex, plot wins with me every time. In fact, The Boys and the Bees is a very gentle love story devoid—for the most part—of angst, archenemies, and anxious soul-searching.

However, editorially speaking, Mark frustrated me. It wasn’t for lack of development, because he is quite vivid; rather, it was because he was such a ‘milk toast—everyone’s patsy—especially his usurious parents and siblings. Of course, I understand why the author chose to characterize him this way. She needed some room for him to grow when he meets Jamie, and that’s fair enough.

I liked Jamie, even though I generally dislike over-zealous ‘causers’ of any kind, but I thought he exhibited a nice balance. After all, he did work at the local co-op. The pace was appropriate, too, which suited both the story and the small town setting.

So, I guess my only quibble is the lack of an original plot. As well-written as this story is, and it is, it seems the last three books I’ve read have all had a similar theme: Small town boy returns to find his high school friend, BFF, crush, etc., still there, and after some business (ranching, etc.) they settle down happily ever after.

Now these are books I selected at random, and from different sources, so it is not as though I went looking for a particular genre. Nonetheless, individually, they are all good reads.

That said, I recommend The Boys and the Bees as a truly gentle and romantic romance. Three and one-half bees.

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Viewers to Gerry B’s Book Reviews to date – 51,323

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Notice to all those who have requested a book review

Thank you for your interest, and my apologies for not responding to your request individually. I’m getting there, but the numbers have been overwhelming. Please extend your patience just a bit longer.

Thanks again!

‡‡‡

Visit my new page, In Praise of Canadian History.

It is a collection of little-known facts and events in Canadian history, and a bibliography of interesting books I have collected to date. Latest post: Kootenai” Brown: Canada’s earliest conservationist.

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If you would like to learn more about any of my books, or to order copies, click on the specific cover below. Two Irish Lads and Nor All Thy Tears are available in both Kindle and Nook formats. Publisher’s price, $4.95.

      

Thanks for dropping by. I am continually adding new material for your interest, so drop back often. Thanks.

June 17, 2013 Posted by | Fiction, Gay fiction, Gay romance | Leave a comment

Lonely as God, by Dale Chase

Short, raw & sweet!

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lonely as god - coverFor young drover Tom Seeley, the Chisholm Trail is a lonely damn place, which hardly seems possible among eighteen men and two thousand head of cattle. It’s while guarding the stock at night that second man Jack Dawe quotes a snip of poetry to reveal himself a like-minded man. Suddenly, under that big empty night sky, the loneliness starts to disappear.

When you’re out on the trail, sometimes you ain’t got no choice but to find love in the arms of another man just to stop yourself being lonely as God.

A short story – 688KB (46 pages)

Front cover design – Wilde City Press.

Note: This novel is not yet available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, but it can be purchased from the publisher’s website, Wilde City Press.

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Review by Gerry Burnie

Before I even read Lonely as God, by Dale Chase [Wilde City Press, 2013], I was taken by the cover design. Outstanding! In fact, I’m jealous I didn’t find such an image for my forthcoming western novel.

Right from the beginning one is struck by the unapologetic earthiness of this tale. Told in first person by the main character, Tom Seeley, there is no doubt what it is all about. It is erotica, plain and simple, and yet it is not pornographic in the sense that the author does not dwell on every nuance of the act. Indeed, the sex scenes are perfunctory, almost utilitarian in nature, and for the most part are over in a few paragraphs (as apposed to pages), i.e.,

I’ve come up hard knowing he’ll take me, and I spit in my palm and smear it down my cock while Matt reaches back to part his buttocks. “Give me some dick,” he says, and get behind him and shove in. He lets out moan, and I hear a low whistle from Drew but I don’t look over.

Get a man’s dick up a butt hole and nothing else matters. Troubles, thoughts, concerns, fears, none have a chance amid a fuck and I start to pump into Matt while knowing this, my dick setting me free. Doesn’t matter I came before. My balls have filled back up and feel ready to burst so I give it to Matt good, ramming in and out, grunting like some pig in his wallow.

I can feel Matt working his cock. He moans in time to my thrusting and soon says he’s coming. When he squeals, it drives me to fuck harder. Then my juice sets to boiling which makes my mouth fall open, my tongue come out like it will taste the come. I allow whatever sounds my body requires while gaining release, grunts and groans and all manner of things except for words. I cannot speak at such a time. Then I hit the rise, and I dig my fingers into Matt as the pulse begins. I cry out as I let go into him, filling his chute with my stuff as I pound his bottom. His horse snorts approval.

I keep at Matt even after I empty because I don’t want to stop. Not ever. But nature will have her way and I go soft and slip out. I slap Matt’s bottom and he straightens up and turns. “Some good fuck,” he says as he pulls up his drawers.

I like that. Sex is part of life, and of GLBT literature, but having said this it shouldn’t be the be-all or even the ‘most-of-all’ of a plot. So, even though this tale is highly erotic, it doesn’t run away with the story.

I’m also willing into buy the notion that 18, rough-neck men, are into mano-a-mano sex at the drop of a pair of Levis, but realistically it is quite a stretch. It is, perhaps, the closest the plot comes to being pornographic.

I also like the non-poetic prose. The main character is not an educated man, and cattle drives were not a genteel affair. They were long, hot, dusty and dangerous undertakings, and the men were as tough as the trail or the cattle they drove. So the King’s English would have been out of place here.

There were a couple of places where I thought the story went over the top, especially with the loose sex issue, but generally-speaking it is as true to the conditions, interactions, and language of a cattle drive as I have read.Four and on-half bees.

 

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Total viewers to date – 50,870

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Notice to all those who have requested a book review

Thank you for your interest, and my apologies for not responding to your request individually. I’m getting there, but the numbers have been overwhelming. Please extend your patience just a bit longer.

Thanks again!

♠♠♠

Visit my new page, In Praise of Canadian History.

It is a collection of little-known facts and events in Canadian history, and a bibliography of interesting tales and characters.

♠♠♠

If you would like to learn more about any of my books, or to order copies, click on the specific cover below. Two Irish Lads and Nor All Thy Tears are available in both Kindle and Nook formats. Publisher’s price, $4.95.

      

Thanks for dropping by. Your continuing interest is greatly appreciated.

June 10, 2013 Posted by | Fiction, Gay military, Gay western, Homoerotic | Leave a comment

In Their Own Words: Canadian stories of valour and bravery from Afghanistan. 2001-2007 (Free download)

Free Download – Pass it on for our troops…

In their own words - cover - sml

In Their Own Words: Canadian stories of valour and bravery from Afghanistan. 2001-2007, edited by Craig Leslie Mantle, CPO2 Paul Pellerin (Ret’d), Tom Douglas, Justin Wright & Mélanie Denis [Canadian Defence Academy Press, 2013], vividly presents the personal accounts of twenty-three Canadian soldiers who have been recognized with some of the nation’s highest honours for their courageous actions in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2007. This groundbreaking book offers profound insight into the daily challenges faced in the field, the hazards of combat, the trials and rewards of military service, and the “mind of the soldier.” By recounting the circumstances under which he earned his decoration, each recipient, in his own voice, provides a positive example of the many values that the Canadian Forces itself cherishes: duty, loyalty, integrity and courage. Whether engaging the enemy, saving the life of a fellow soldier from certain death or preventing civilian casualties, the experiences recounted within these pages are nothing short of inspiring and deserving of the highest possible respect.

FREE. Download a PDF copy for free at: https://workspaces.acrobat.com/?d=Mcr-r0OY-OwXUSK3aSYbAA. [Note: the Workspaces page shows only a preview of 50 pages, but when downloaded the full 419 pages are delivered.]

A Canadian Soldier

Do not cry for me,
For I am a Canadian soldier.
Guardian of “The True, North, strong and free”,
Ambassador of the “Red Maple Leaf”.

I know that, what I had of freedom,
All I used or knew,
Is what our father’s
Fought for us long ago.

I did not give
That freedom away or,
Have someone take it away
By force or law.

You hold in your hands
The most precious of gifts.
Freedom to love and express art.
Freedom to be who you want to be.

Freedom is a package deal.
With it comes responsibilities and consequences.
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
Do not make our sacrifice, one in vain.

I join God knowing,
I fought for my fellow man’s freedom.
My duty complete,
Yours to carry on in memory.

For now my mother is crying,
And criticism of our mission arises.
Question not, but always remember,
For I am a Canadian soldier.

Sgt. M.J.Watts, November 22, 2010

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Visit my new page, In Praise of Canadian History: A bibliography of interesting Canadian books and authors, and facts you may not know about Canada.. 

June 5, 2013 Posted by | Afghanistan, Canadian content, Canadian soldiers, Free download, Non-fiction | , , , , | Leave a comment

Cards On The Table, by Josh Lanyon

Not too long, not too short, but just right!

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cards on the table - coverStory blurb: Fifty years ago a glamorous Hollywood party ended in murder — the only clue a bloody Tarot card. Timothy North is trying to find out what happened that long ago summer’s night, but when a Tarot card turns up pinned to his front door, the only person Tim can turn to for help is his ex-lover, Detective Jack Brady.

About the author: A distinct voice in gay fiction, multi-award-winning author JOSH LANYON has been writing gay mystery, adventure and romance for over a decade. In addition to numerous short stories, novellas, and novels, Josh is the author of the critically acclaimed Adrien English series, including The Hell You Say, winner of the 2006 USA Book News awards for GLBT Fiction. Josh is an Eppie Award winner and a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist.

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Review by Gerry Burnie

Although I have come across the name Josh Lanyon many times while searching through online bookstores, I had not read any of his books until I picked up Cards On The Table [Just Joshin, January 24, 2012], a short story but, oh, so satisfying.

Timothy North is a former reporter who has turned his hand to writing about an unsolved murder that is well and truly cold. However, as in all such cases, there is something intriguing about it; and sinister as well.

The next plot step up is that the case involved a beautiful Hollywood starlet and a bloodied Tarot card. However, as Tim digs further it becomes very evident that someone wants him off the case by pinning a sinister threat to his door—a Tarot card.

Wisely, Tim looks for support in the one person he knows can help—his ex-lover, Detective Jack Brady. The difficulty is that they parted under somewhat strained circumstances, so the question is: Can they warm up to before the parting?

With this twist we now have a second mystery running parallel to the first (in beautiful fashion), which only doubles the the reader’s already piqued interest.

It is subtle contrivances like these that separate the master mystery writer from the pack; this, and a list of eccentric suspects, mob connections, assorted dangers, and a cute cop with dimples thrown into the mix.

Altogether this story is a jewel; not too long, not too short, but just right. Five bees.

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Visitor’s views to date – 50,542

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In Praise of Canadian History.

fenian raidsAfter much difficulty convincing WordPress that it wasn’t a “get rich quick program”—most of my fellow authors will get a hoot out of that one—I am happy to announce a new blog. In Praise of Canadian History is dedicated to proving that Canada Does have an interesting history equal to any, and to commemorating little known events that prove it. Please help me make it a success. Thanks.

Fenian Raids (Battle or Ridgeway, Ontario) – June 2, 1866

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Notice to all those who have requested a book review

Thank you for your interest, and my apologies for not responding to your request individually. I’m getting there, but the numbers have been overwhelming. Please extend your patience just a bit longer.

Thanks again!

۩۩۩

If you would like to learn more about any of my books, or to order copies, click on the specific cover below. Two Irish Lads and Nor All Thy Tears are available in both Kindle and Nook formats. Publisher’s price, $4.95.

      

Thanks for dropping by. Your continuing interest is greatly appreciated.

June 3, 2013 Posted by | Fiction, Gay fiction, Gay mystery, Homoerotic | Leave a comment

   

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