Gerry B's Book Reviews

Older Man Younger Man: A Love Story, by Joseph Dispenza

A break through topic, a mentor’s example, and a good news story rolled into one.

 

bee4bee-half

 

 

older man younger man - cover“Older Man/Younger Man” is a memoir of the relationship between a middle-aged man and a man thirty years his junior, from their first meeting, through the challenges of living together across a wide age-gap, to a climactic confession of shame and regret, the terror of loss from a life-threatening disease—and, ultimately, the triumph of love. This is a passionate, bittersweet story of a powerful love that transcends gender, bridges generations, defies convention, and brings to the partners the richness of spiritual fulfillment.

The relationship between an older man and a younger man is one of the last taboos left in our culture’s sexual closet. “Older Man/Younger Man” is the first book to address an inter-generational gay male relationship as a path of spiritual redemption.

What makes this book unique and special is its presentation of the pairing between an older man and a much younger man as a healthy, successful relationship and as a spiritual journey.

♣♣♣

Review by Gerry Burnie

I grew up in a rural community of less than one thousand inhabitants, where everyone knew everyone back to their second-great grandfather, and where the first question asked was always, “What will the neighbours think?” Moreover, I too have had lovers who were decades younger than myself, and so I can relate in several ways to Joseph Dispenza’s personal memoirs in Older Man Younger Man [Sept 2011].

A  personal- experience book of this nature is tricky write, for it has to straddle a narrow line between self indulgence and ‘author as example.’ Dispenza does this fairly well, with only a few examples of overworking certain parts with personal detail: such as the bathroom regimen preceding the detection of prostate cancer. Nevertheless, I can well understand how such a traumatic discovery would stand out in one’s mind.

One of the aspects of Older Man Younger Man to which I could particularly relate was the first introduction of the other to parents, relatives, and/or friends. Almost invariably this is an awkward time of ‘double whammy’: Your friend/partner/lover is male, gay, and also young enough to be your son—or father, as the case may be.

After this it is the ‘smirky’ looks of strangers and certain business associate until everyone gets used to it.

All of these Despenza and his partner experienced, but the rather cool part is that he doesn’t dwell on them. Yes, age differentiation is a regrettable part of an older/younger relationship, but Dispenza chose to talk more about the ordinary routines of living together, and the joys and challenges that entails.

While it is a fascinating story, well written, and insightful to read, it is difficult to categorize. It is a break through topic of sorts (inasmuch as there are few older-perspective, gay stories out there); it is a mentor’s example for those faced with a similar situation; and it is a good news saga because love prevails in the end. Take your pick. Four and one-half bees.

♣♣♣

Viewers to Gerry B’s Book Reviews to date – 55,835

♣♣♣

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

It is a collection of little-known people, facts and events in Canadian history, and includes a bibliography of interesting Canadian books as well. Latest post:  Benedict Arnold – A Canadian Connection.

♣♣♣

In spite of worldwide condemnation, GBLT individuals are still suffering mental and physical abuse in Russia. Please do whatever you can to protest the Sochi 2014 Olympics by boycotting the sponsors: Coca Cola, Samsung, MacDonald’s, Visa, etc. Yours may only be one voice, but if you speak out others will join you.

boycott sponsors

 

♣♣♣

If you would like to learn more about my other 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.

      

            

♣♣♣

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!

Thanks for dropping by! I’ll have another novel ready for next week, same URL, so drop back then.

September 30, 2013 Posted by | Gay romance, Memoir, Non-fiction, Older/younger relationships | Leave a comment

The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men

An unique and fully refreshing story that I think can be enjoyed by anyone who reads it.

bee5

the mingled destinies - coverStory blurb: Minerva True is a River Dweller and mystic who lives deep in the forested hills of a river valley on the fringes of the world. She is the only person who sees the ancient danger that resides on a nearby chapel grounds. Most pay little heed to her warnings, and in the end only a small band of friends stand beside her. A tale of love and duty ensues, challenging the destinies of Minerva, the young hero Leith, his lover Aubrey, and the mute boy, Deverell. Leith’s half-crazed mother Calpurnia has her own aspirations, however, that prove detrimental not only to Minerva, but to everyone she comes in contact with.

About the author: Eric Arvin resides in the same sleepy Indiana river town where he grew up. He graduated from Hanover College with a Bachelors in History. He has lived, for brief periods, in Italy and Australia. He has survived brain surgery and his own loud-mouthed personal demons. Eric is the author of WOKE UP IN A STRANGE PLACE, THE MINGLED DESTINIES OF CROCODILES & MEN, SUBSURDITY, SIMPLE MEN, and various other sundry and not-so-sundry writings. He intends to live the rest of his days with tongue in cheek and eyes set to roam.

♠♠♠

Review by Gerry Burnie

Lately I have been ruminating on a trend that has GBLT novels reading like variations on a single, repetitive theme: That is until I came across Eric Arvin’s (…get ready for it) The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men [Wilde City Press, LLC, April 24, 2013].

Now, with a title like that you just know it’s going to be unique, even if it has to dip into the world of fantasy to do it, and so it is with a wonderful romp through mystic times, good v. evil, insidious dark forces (including religion, science and progress), and a prophetess by the name of Minerva.

Then we have a witch-like eccentric—appropriately named ‘Calpernia’—and a loyal vanguard of yeomen: Leith, his lover Aubrey Avonmore, and Deverell.

As you can probably tell, one of the particularly strong points of this novel is the character development, and that includes the names given to each one. It is surprising how a character’s personality can be enhanced by an unique and colourful name, or burdened by the alternative. I mean, “Helen True” just wouldn’t cut it.

The author has also done a superb job of portraying the mystic setting so that it becomes an integral part of the story.  After all, a lost valley in a land far, far away, dripping with ancient mystery and forgotten lore, deserves not to be passed over lightly.

And what fantasy would be complete without an evil villain to hiss at (in your mind, anyway), and in this case it is “Dark Eyes:” a sort of allegory for religion (the destroyer of legend and myth), science, the nemesis of imagination, and progress which has its own agenda. Therefore, every time people turn away from the fantasies of old (youth), Dark Eyes becomes stronger.

There have been some aspects left in abeyance, like the further development of Azrael, in anticipation of the sequel, Azrael and the Light Bringer.

This is an unique and fully refreshing story that I think can be enjoyed by anyone who reads it. Five bees.

♠♠♠

Viewers to Gerry B’s Book Reviews – 55,518

♠♠♠

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!

♠♠♠

In spite of worldwide condemnation, GBLT individuals are still suffering mental and physical abuse in Russia. Please do whatever you can to protest the Sochi 2014 Olympics by boycotting the sponsors: Coca Cola, Samsung, MacDonald’s, Visa, etc. Yours may only be one voice, but if you speak out others will join you.

boycott sponsors

Thank you!

♠♠♠

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

It is a collection of little-known people, facts and events in Canadian history, and includes a bibliography of interesting books as well. Latest post:  Benedict Arnold – A Canadian Connection.

♠♠♠

If you would like to learn more about my other 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’ll have another novel ready for next week, same URL, so drop back then.

 

September 23, 2013 Posted by | Fantasy, Fiction, Gay romance, M/M love and adventure | Leave a comment

The Crimson Outlaw, by Alex Beecroft

 Shades of “The Prince and The Pauper,” with a gay twist. Delightful!

bee5

The crimson outlaw - coverStory blurb: Vali Florescu, heir to a powerful local boyar, flees his father’s cruelty to seek his fortune in the untamed Carpathian forests. There he expects to fight ferocious bandits and woo fair maidens to prove himself worthy of returning to depose his tyrannical father. But when he is ambushed by Mihai Roscat, the fearsome Crimson Outlaw, he discovers that he’s surprisingly happy to be captured and debauched instead.

Mihai, once an honoured knight, has long sought revenge against Vali’s father, Wadim, who killed his lord and forced him into a life of banditry. Expecting his hostage to be a resentful, spoiled brat, Mihai is unprepared for the boy to switch loyalties, saving the lives of villagers and of Mihai himself during one of Wadim’s raids. Mihai is equally unprepared for the attraction between them to deepen into love.

Vali soon learns that life outside the castle is not the fairy tale he thought, and happy endings must be earned. To free themselves and their people from Wadim’s oppression, Vali and Mihai must forge their love into the spear-point of a revolution and fight for a better world for all.

Cover art by Simoné

Layout by L.C. Chase

File length: 524 KB

Print Length: 95 pages

♠♠♠

Review by Gerry Burnie

Although I was already familiar with Alex Beecroft’s outstanding writing (having reviewed  several of her books before), I must admit that when I first saw The Crimson Outlaw [Riptide Publishing, August 10, 2013], it was the luscious cover by Simoné that caught first my eye. Happily, the writing matched the cover, so it made it a delightful package indeed.

The story blurb capsulizes the plot quite well, and so I will focus on the other aspects of the story that made it such a delightful read for me.

The first, of course, has to be the unique setting. Off hand, I can’t think of another GBLT novel set in Romania; certainly none that I have ever come across. In a way this is surprising because it has so many romantic aspects going for it—the rich and colourful Magyar traditions, and the fierce gentry for example.

Second, the castle intrigue. I mean, a castle just isn’t a castle unless it has some intrigue surrounding it. So, in this case we have Vali trying to save Stela (his sister) from an arranged marriage with a much older and homely man; Vali against Wadim (his cruel and tyrannical father); and finally Vali and Mihai, the handsome outlaw, both of them against Wadim.

Finally there  is the character develop that kept me convinced right down to the minor supporting cast. It made them both real and understandable.

Altogether this novel answered my quest for a somewhat unique story that didn’t involve vampires and werewolves, and that wasn’t preoccupied with the perils of coming out and/or self-introspection. So bravo … or in Ms Beecroft’s case, Brava! Five bees.

♠♠♠

Viewers to Gerry B’s Book Reviews – 55,122

♠♠♠

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!

♠♠♠

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

It is a collection of little-known people, facts and events in Canadian history, and includes a bibliography of interesting books as well. Latest post: Piper James Richardson:  Recipient of the Victoria Cross for valour

♠♠♠

If you would like to learn more about my other 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’ll have another novel ready for next week, same URL, so drop back then.

September 16, 2013 Posted by | Fiction, Gay historical fiction, Gay romance | | Leave a comment

Pickup Men, by L.C. Chase

A pleasant read.

bee3

pickup men - cover

Story blurb: It takes a pissed-off Brahma bull named Shockwave to show rodeo pickup man Marty Fairgrave the cold hard truth about champion bull rider Tripp Colby: Tripp will never leave the safety of his closet or acknowledge Marty in public. Sometimes loving someone just isn’t enough, and after a year of hiding what they are, Marty finally sees the light—and it’s no longer shining on Tripp.

Tripp Colby would do anything for Marty. Well . . . almost. He’s never loved anyone before, and isn’t quite sure how to handle it now. But he knows Marty is his everything, and in order to win him back, Tripp will have to overcome his darkest fears and step into the light.

But no matter Tripp’s intentions, the cost might be too high and the effort too late for these two cowboys to ride off into the sunset.

Cover design: L.C. Chase

Review by Gerry Burnie

Who said a cover can’t sell a book? In my search for this week’s featured novel, which I do a week-or-so in advance of my review, my eye fell upon L.C. Chase’s luscious design for Pickup Men (Volume 1) [Riptide Publishing; 1 edition, July 8, 2013]. The rodeo scene, the hunky model, and the elaborate font, all fit together to make a most evocative whole.

I liked the story too, although it stuck pretty much to the ‘road-well-travelled-genre’ of gay novels. Marty Fairgrave is a likeable, straightforward guy, out of the closet, and respected for it. He is also blessed with a pair of loving, supportive parents, and a couple of equally supportive, male friends.

On the other hand, his erstwhile lover (…of sorts), Tripp Colby, is locked in the closet from the inside, and is loathe to come out of it. As it turns out he has some justification on account of a homophobic and domineering father, but this isn’t doing a thing for Marty’s devotion.

Things finally come to a head when Marty risks serious injury to save Tripp from a rampant bull, but Tripp doesn’t have the courtesy to visit him in the hospital. Even so, after Marty has pulled the plug on their relationship, Tripp decides to make an effort to win him back.

In spite of all this, Tripp isn’t a complete heel—as we discover when he makes a trip to San Francisco, but whether he can redeem himself to the point where he regains Marty’s love is the crux of the story.

I try not to be too critical of a story simply because it sticks to the middle road, but, by the same token, there is very little to get excited about, either. Jane Jacobs once described modern, urban  subdivisions as suffering from “The great blight of sameness,” and I am beginning to think the same applies to gay fiction.

More specifically I found that the writing style in this one tended to jump topics rather abruptly, making for a bumpy read, and that some of the sex scenes were just a bit loquacious for my taste. Mind you, I scan sex scenes anyway, so that is a minor quibble.

Bottom line: Would I recommend it? Yes, definitely. These are merely my opinions, and they may not reflect the tastes and opinions of others. Three bees.

♠♠♠

Viewers to Gerry B’s Book Reviews – 54,839

♠♠♠

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!

♠♠♠

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

It is a collection of little-known people, facts and events in Canadian history, and includes a bibliography of interesting books as well. Latest post: Sir Mathew Ballie Begbie (Judge): The so-called ‘hanging judge.’

♠♠♠

boycott sochi

Boycott Russia’s attack on human rights. October 5, 6 & & 7 boycott Coca Cola and MacDonald s.

♠♠♠

If you would like to learn more about my other 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’ll have another novel ready for next week, same URL, so drop back then.

 

September 9, 2013 Posted by | Fiction, Gay fiction, Gay romance, Gay western | Leave a comment

The Cost of Loving (Unconditional Love #2) by Wade Kelly

A well-written, insightful story that I think you will enjoy on a sunny day.

bee4

bee-half

the cost of loving - coverStory blub: Matt Dixon, a young firefighter, is the golden child of his family, and he never dreamed that coming out would challenge more than the way his church sees him.

For years, Matt has led a double life hoping to avoid ridicule. When a self-righteous pastor’s statements provoke him to defend his recently deceased best friend’s honor and subsequently out himself, he suffers the brutal aftermath of his revelation. Everyone in his life, including his family and his new lover, Darian, must deal with the ramifications as Matt struggles to come to terms with guilt, shame, and his very belief in God.

Darian Weston lost his fiancé when Jamie took his life, and his feelings for Matt added guilt to his burden of grief. Confused and lonely, Darian clings to Matt despite his inner strife. But small-town realities keep intruding, and if Matt and Darian hope to make a life together, they must first take a stand for what they believe in, even if they fear the cost.

Cover art: Enny Kraft

About the author (in his own words): Hi. I’m Wade. I live and write in conservative, small-town America. Here, it’s not always easy to live free and open in one’s beliefs. Nevertheless, I love to write from my own real-life observations and experiences by expressing them through fictional characters and settings. Basically, I write what I feel, I write what I know, and I write what I think others need to hear. And if you think a character sounds like someone you know, think again… All my characters are ME.

Unlike some authors, I have no huge background in writing. I’m not good at punctuation and spelling, and my thoughts often surpass my ability as an author to express them. However, I can’t NOT write. It’s who I am. I hope you are touched by my stories.

When not writing, I am THINKING about writing and probably scribbling notes on old napkins in the car while I play “taxi-driver” for my three kids. I love snakes, and I have a turtle in my bathtub!

Review by Gerry Burnie

As good as The Cost of Loving (Unconditional Love #2) by Wade Kelly [Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition, August 15, 2013] is, I don’t recommend it if you’re already in a funk! Wait for another day. But otherwise it’s a thought-provoking, insightful story, that deals with a range of complex issues, such as deep-seated depression and self-laceration.

When Jamie Miller commits suicide it is like a pebble in a stream; the catalyst for a whole range of unforeseen ramifications. Most affected are his best friend, Matt Dixon, and his fiancé Darian Weston. Matt is a blonde-haired, ‘Fire Jock’ (and closeted gay), but when a holy roller-type preacher maligns Jamie’s character it brings Matt (honourably) out of the closet in his defence.

Darian is somewhat the opposite. He is none too self-confident to begin with, and with Jamie’s death it really knocks the blocks out from beneath him. He then returns to drugs (somewhat old hat) and self-laceration—now there’s something I haven’t encountered before. He also turns to sex, almost as a drug, and Matt is his unwitting supplier.

The good news is that things do come together in the end for a ‘not overly happy ending’ but one that will leave at least some Kleenex in the box.

I really do admire the author for tackling such a dark range of issues, and characters, without much compromising. Writing depressing scenes is not generally relished by most authors, but even toffee requires salt, so the deeper the depression the higher the redemption.

I am also of two minds when it comes to the topic of conservative religions, and holy-roller-type clergy. Religions have never been a friend of the GBLT person, and have, more than any other institution, been responsible for untold their death and humiliation in the past, but I am beginning to wonder if it is becoming a trite issue. Yes, religions are retrogressive, and ‘yes’ most of them are out-dated and hypocritical, but this is not breaking new ground to say so.

BTW, this is not a criticism of this story, just a reader’s observation.

Then, there is my usual plea to ‘lighten up authors.’ For the most part GBLT stories are becoming indistinguishable by their dark composure, so a little humour would be greatly appreciated.

Bottom line, The Cost of Loving (Unconditional Love #2) is a well-written, insightful story that I think you will enjoy on a sunny day. Four and one-half bees.

PS – I couldn’t complete this review without a mention of the Gorgeous cover by Enny Kraft. One of the most evocative I’ve seen.

♂♂♂

Viewers to Gerry B’s Book Reviews – 54,536

♂♂♂

Notice to all those requesting a book review

For every review I am able to write, I get approximately 10 requests. Therefore, to give everyone an equal opportunity, I have decided to put all the names in a box and pick four every month. This will go on until the end of the current year. Then a new set of names will be collected next year.

Thank you for your interest and participation.

♂♂♂

Tomorrow is ‘Speak out for Russia’ in Canada. Here is the All Out.Org message:

Here’s the plan: tomorrow, we’re all coming together at Global Speak Out events across the world. Join an event near you to grow the pressure on world leaders to help stop the anti-gay crackdown in Russia.

How to join in:

Click here to find the event closest to you: https://www.allout.org/russiaevents
Wear RED to the event to show your support. All Out members will be wearing red to symbolise that we’re all standing up for love in Russia.
If you can’t make it, you can still chip in to power the movement fighting for love and equality in Russia and around the world.
Click here to donate: https://www.allout.org/russia-speakout
It’s amazing – there’s more than 20 events in cities all over the world, from Asunción to Manchester to Vancouver. It’s time to go ALL OUT for Russia!

Join the Movement: Go All Out

♂♂♂

If you would like to learn more about my other 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’ll be spending the week reading another novel for next week’s review, so please come back.

September 2, 2013 Posted by | Fiction, Gay fiction, Homoerotic | 2 Comments

   

%d bloggers like this: