Gerry B's Book Reviews

The Ghost Slept Over, by Marshall Thornton

 Brilliantly written, and a barrel of laughs!

bee4.jpg

 

 

click  on cover to order.

click on cover to order.

Story blurb: When failed actor Cal Parsons travels to rural New York to claim the estate of his famous and estranged ex-partner he discovers something he wasn’t expecting…the ghost of his ex! And, worse, his ex invites Cal to join him for all eternity. Now. As Cal attempts to rid himself of the ghost by any means he begins to fall for the attractive attorney representing the estate. Will Cal be able to begin a new relationship or will he be seduced into the ever after?

About the author: Marshall Thornton is an award-winning novelist, playwright and screenwriter living in Long Beach, California. He is best known for the Boystown detective series, which has been short listed for a Rainbow Award three times and has been a finalist for the Lambda Award for gay mystery twice. Other novels include the erotic comedy The Perils of Praline, or the Amorous Adventures of a Southern Gentleman in Hollywood, The Ghost Slept Over and Full Release. Marshall has an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA, where he received the Carl David Memorial Fellowship and was recognized in the Samuel Goldwyn Writing awards. He has also had plays produced in both Chicago and Los Angeles and stories published in The James White Review and Frontier Magazine.

logo-gbbr_thumb.jpg

 

Review by Gerry Burnie

Those of you who follow this blog will know that I have been ruminating (ad nauseam) about the general lack of humour in GBLT literature, and then, lo-and-behold, along comes The Ghost Slept Over a romantic comedy by Marshall Thornton [Createspace, January 8, 2015]

Indeed, there is hardly any angst in it, whatsoever, but what there is n abundance is slightly farcical humour; loads of witty dialogue; and a zany cast of characters – including a B-rated actor, a self-centred ghost, and a small town lawyer.

The storyline revolves around Cal Parsons, the actor, but it is also shared with the other characters by giving them each a chapter.

Cal’s relationship with his ex, successful playwright McCormack Williams, broke up years ago when McCormack dumped him for a career in New York, so it is somewhat of a surprise when Cal learns that he in the sole beneficiary of MCormack’s estate.

The catch is that McCormack hasn’t quite moved out – not in the ordinary sense – and is still sort of hanging around, so-to-speak. Moreover, he wants Cal to join him in the hereafter.

Handling the estate is a small town lawyer, Dewey, who at first comes across as a bit staid; however, as the story progresses he gets with the programme – especially where Cal is concerned.

There is nothing particularly new about this plot line: The deceased lover who comes back to watch over their ex has been used several times before, but what makes this story fresh is the brilliantly written, witty dialogue. Not to mention the madcap mayhem that prevails throughout.

On the quibble side, the pace is somewhat uneven: Especially in the opening chapters; however, as the story progresses it picks up to a rollicking tempo.

I am also not a great fan of changing points of view or flashbacks, although I must say that in this case they almost work.

A great story, though, brilliantly written and a barrel of laughs. Four bees.

♠♠♠

Viewers to Gerry B’s Book Reviews – 77,821

♠♠♠

Interested in Canadian history?

Want to learn more? Then visit my new page:  In Praise of Canadian History.  It is a collection of people, facts and events in Canadian history, and includes a bibliography of interesting Canadian books as well. Latest post: Northern Dancer … The little horse that could.

Right now I’m listening to Swisssh Radio. Click on the banner ad to join me.

clip_image004

Swisssh online radio is where it’s at for promoting your products, big or small: World-wide coverage; 24/7; top professional service; and reasonable rates. Click on the logo to learn more.

two irish lads - final - med

For those of you who have requested a 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. See you next week … Same time, same URL.

April 27, 2015 Posted by | a love story, Fiction, Gay fiction, Romantic comedy | Leave a comment

The Archer: A novel of medieval England (The Archers #1) by Martin Archer

A credible rendering of a fascinating period in history.

bee4

 

archer - coverStory blurb: Martin Archer’s “The Archers” saga is set in rough and dangerous medieval Britain. It’s a dull and brutal place which forces many Englishmen to go abroad and join the crusades to escape their fates and seek their fortunes. It is based upon the tales and histories in the newly discovered parchments found under some rubble in the basement of the Bodleian Library.

The action packed books in “The English Archer” saga begin with “The Archer’s Quest.” It follows young man who joins a company of English archers when his older brother Thomas leaves the monastery to take him crusading with King Richard. Years later William himself is leading the company’s handful of survivors as they attempt to fight their way home past corrupt church officials and slave-taking Moslem pirates in a desperate effort to return to England.

logo - gbbr

Review by Gerry Burnie

While The Archer: A novel of medieval England (The Archers #1) by Martin Archer is listed under ‘gay adventure’ on Amazon, it must be working with a different definition of ‘gay’ than I am. Nonetheless, I was drawn by the fact that it is primarily a male adventure set in the medieval era around the time of crusades (1095 – 1291), one of my favourite periods in history, and also features a company of yeoman archers – one of my favourite set of characters as well.

The story takes the guise of a recently discovered chronicle that recalls the adventures of William, Captain of the English archers, as recorded by his friend and scribe Yoram of Damascus.

The tales are many, but for the most part they capture the essence of the time fairly well. The crusades were an ill conceived, poorly organized, avaricious campaign that had little to do with Christ, and more to do with wealth and plunder. Nonetheless, as the author emphasizes, they were a relief from the drudgery of toiling thanklessly for the divine right of kings, noblemen and clergy.

The fact that they were also a complete and utter disaster only adds to the literary possibilities.

My comments

As far as I can tell, the author has done his homework regarding the grottiness of the period, and I am glad to see he didn’t try to gloss it over in Hollywood style. Life was truly nasty, brutish, and short for the burdened classes, and the avarice of the upper classes didn’t help alleviate the situation.

That said, there are some editing issues, and at times the dialogue doesn’t fit the character – i.e. where the kid says “…My arse is sore.” Considering it is said in the presence of his uncle, a monk, the expression seems questionable.

Ancillary items

Product descriptions: Something I found off-putting about this book had nothing to do with the story itself; rather, it had to do with the business surrounding it. In my opinion, product descriptions (i.e. ‘blurbs’) should describe what readers can expect from the novel at hand – not all the other novels in an author’s repertoire.

And while we’re on the topic, generally, I’ll decide if a novel is ‘exciting’ or ‘action-packed,’ so hyperbole is utterly wasted on me until I have read the story.

♠♠♠

Viewers to Gerry B’s Book Reviews – 77,702

♠♠♠

Interested in Canadian history?

Want to learn more? Then visit my new page:  In Praise of Canadian History.  It is a collection of people, facts and events in Canadian history, and includes a bibliography of interesting Canadian books as well. Latest post: Northern Dancer … The little horse that could.

 

Right now I’m listening to Swisssh Radio. Click on the banner ad to join me.

clip_image004

Swisssh online radio is where it’s at for promoting your products, big or small: World-wide coverage; 24/7; top professional service; and reasonable rates. Click on the logo to learn more.

For those of you who have requested a 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!

April 20, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Twisted (Lucky Jeff Ranch #2) by Jake Mactire

A good read and well recommended.

 

clip_image002

 

Sequel to “Two Sides of the Same Coin.”

twisted - coverDespite the celebrity their recent cracking of a cattle rustling ring has brought, Jeff Connelly and his partner, Mike Guidry, are ready to settle down and start the dude ranch they’ve always dreamed of. Following your dreams isn’t always easy, though-between a troubled new ranch hand who propositions Jeff and Mike’s past suddenly confronting him, emotions are already running high.

Then a sadistic serial killer nicknamed the West Coat Cutter starts slicing a trail though Jeff and Mike’s territory. As the body count rises, they begin to suspect that the killer may in fact be someone they know-a suspicion that is only strengthened by a sudden rash of threatening notes addressed to Jeff. Can they escape the West Coast Cutter before the worst happens?

 

logo - gbbr

Review by Gerry Burnie

I gave in to my love for western-genre novels this week, even though it is a contemporary version. Twisted (Lucky Jeff Ranch #2) by Jake Mactire [Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition, July 24, 2011] is a continuation of Mactire’s “Lucky Jeff Ranch” series, and, although I haven’t read Two Sides of the Same Coin, this sequel stood alone fairly well.

Jeff Donnelly became the proprietor of ‘Lucky Jeff Ranch’ upon the untimely death of his father in a car accident. Mike Guidry was one of the ranch hands who came with it, but eventually – after a number of adventures together – they became loving partners, and now they have plans afoot to convert ‘Lucky Jeff’ into a dude ranch.

Thus begins the adventures in Twisted.

To thicken the plot, a ranch hand by the name of Smitty asks if his younger brother (Jason) can come work with them. Gay and troubled, his brother wants to make a new start in a fresh environment, and Smitty feels that Jeff and Mike would make positive role models. Moreover, there is a recent threat that is stalking the gay community in town: A serial killer dubbed the ‘West Coast Cutter’ who is preying on gay men like Jason.

Then, unexpectedly, Mike’s father appears on the scene contritely making apologies for rejecting his son when he was sixteen. Jeff views this with a certain amount of scepticism, but for Mike’s sake he stands aside to allow him to reconnect with his estranged mother, brother and sister.

However, when a body is discovered nearby, there is no question the ‘West Coast Cutter’ is close at hand.

My comments

It is well written and easy to read: A good start.

The plot features some clever twists and turns (another plus), but for me it is clichéic. I think this is because it is angst driven – the gay but troubled brother; Mike’s expulsion from the family circle; the homophobic but contrite father – have all been done before.

I hasten to add that it is not a major issue, and it is subjective, but for someone who has read and analyzed over three hundred books for this blog, I thirst for something original – like comedy.

Nonetheless, it is a good read and well recommended. Four bees.

♠♠♠

Viewers to Gerry B’s Book Reviews – 77,594

♠♠♠

Interested in Canadian history?

Want to learn more? Then visit my new page:  In Praise of Canadian History.  It is a collection of people, facts and events in Canadian history, and includes a bibliography of interesting Canadian books as well. Latest post: Northern Dancer … The little horse that could.

 

Right now I’m listening to Swisssh Radio. Click on the banner ad to join me.

clip_image004

Swisssh online radio is where it’s at for promoting your products, big or small: World-wide coverage; 24/7; top professional service; and reasonable rates. Click on the logo to learn more.

 

 

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.

April 13, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Full Circle by Michael Thomas Ford

A thoroughly engaging story…

bee5

 

 

Click on cover to order

Click on cover to order

Story blurb: History professor Ned Brummel is living happily with his partner of twelve years in small-town Maine when he receives a phone call from his estranged friend–Jack–telling him that another friend–Andy–is very ill and possibly near death. It is news that shatters the peace of his world for many reasons. And as Ned boards a plane to Chicago on his way to his friend’s bedside, he embarks on a another journey into memory, examining the major events and small moments that have shaped his world and his relationships with two very different, very important men.

About the author: Michael Thomas Ford is the author of more than fifty books, for both young readers and adults, in genres ranging from humor to horror, literary fiction to nonfiction. As a writer for young adults he is the author of the popular “Circle of Three” series (writing as Isobel Bird); nonfiction books about spirituality (Paths of Faith), the AIDS crisis (Voices of AIDS), and the gay community (The World Out There and Speaking Out); and the novels Suicide Notes and Z (forthcoming in 2010).

His work for adult readers includes the best-selling novels Last Summer, Looking for It, Full Circle, Changing Tides, and What We Remember, and Jane Bites Back. His work has been nominated for 12 Lambda Literary Awards, twice winning for Best Humor Book, twice for Best Romance Novel, and most recently for Gay Men’s Mystery. He was also nominated for a Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award (for his novel The Dollhouse That Time Forgot) and a Gaylactic Spectrum Award (for his short story “Night of the Werepuss”).

logo - gbbr

Review by Gerry Burnie

I hadn’t read any previous novels by Michael Thomas Ford until I came across Full Circle [Kensington, August 1, 2007]. His credentials are certainly impressive, but what appealed to me is the era – the liberation movement of the sixties, to the AIDS epidemic of the 80s and 90s. My era exactly, so it was like a walk down memory lane.

It is told from the perspective of two men, involving a third, and through their eyes we experience the assassination of JFK; protests surrounding the Vietnam War, the Stonewall Riots, and the identification of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Probably one of the most eventful chapters in gay-American life in the 20th century.

The writing is professional through-and-through, as one would expect from a 50-time published author, but what impressed me most was his seemingly effortless ability to balance the viewpoints (memories) of the three main characters – like a Troika – while remaining focussed on the events surrounding them.

It is truly a textbook example of in-control writing.

For those of you who were born in a later time, you are bound to find Ned and Jack’s reminiscences engaging, as are their personalities, and if you are students of history (as we all are, whether we like it or not) this is a history lesson I think you will enjoy. Five bees.

♠♠♠

Viewers to Gerry B’s Book Reviews – 77,458

♠♠♠

Interested in Canadian history?

Want to learn more? Then visit my new page:  In Praise of Canadian History.  It is a collection of people, facts and events in Canadian history, and includes a bibliography of interesting Canadian books as well. Latest post: Northern Dancer … The little horse that could.

Right now I’m listening to Swisssh Radio. Click on the banner ad to join me.

swisssh radio - easy listening log

Swisssh online radio is where it’s at for promoting your products, big or small: World-wide coverage; 24/7; top professional service; and reasonable rates. Click on the logo to learn more.

Click on the logo to learn about my books to datre

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.

 

April 6, 2015 Posted by | a love story, AIDS, Gay American History, Gay fiction, Gay historical fiction | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: