Monday, January 28, 2013
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Reviewer: Alan Chin
Publisher: Kiss and Tell Press, London
This book is a first-hand account of one man’s experiences in some of London’s saunas, sex clubs, and phone-sex chat-lines. To a lesser degree, it is also the story of Michael Wynne’s journey to become a writer, as well as his lesbian painter friend.
There is not much plot to this book. It is a non-fiction account of the goings-on of gay men in subterranean London. It is told with honesty, and because of that, is an interesting read. Although it certainly has erotic elements, it is not what I would classify as an erotic story. I saw it more as psychological study of loneliness.
I think the author best describes his meaning when he writes:
“And that’s the thing about those of us who have multiple sex partners, that’s our gift, the ones who fuck around often… our way of seeing the world – our stories the way we experience our beloveds – is unique, different to the lives of those who mate for life. A few hours contain an entire relationship: love and sex and intimacy reduced to its essence.”
This is an entertaining read that I recommend.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Reviewer: Alex at Rainbow Reviews
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (Dec. 10th 2012)
Buy Link: http://bit.ly/SLEqez
Everyone needs a little help now and then. For gay Muslim Sayen Homet, that help first came from his understanding mother, who brought him to America from the Middle East. Now that he’s working his way through Stanford Medical School, his help comes from a secret sugar daddy. But Sayen might be able to end their arrangement soon now that he has a boyfriend he can depend on, A student Campbell Reardon. Campbell is more than willing to support Sayen, even if it means coming out to his conservative family.
But when Campbell takes Sayen home to meet his parents, everything falls apart. Campbell doesn’t realize how his boyfriend pays for school… and neither of them knows Sayen’s sugar daddy is Campbell's father, Blake.
While everyone involved struggles to overcome their shock, it becomes obvious Blake will do anything to keep Sayen. Campbell and Sayen love each other, but in the face of so much hurt and betrayal, love might not be enough to hold them together.
This is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. I picked it up and finished it in just over three hours because I simply could not put it down. At its end, I had tears in my eyes and I don’t know if it is because the story was so lovely or because it is so well written. I highly recommend this brilliant multicultural, contemporary male/male romance novel. Stunning in its ability to be both simple and complex, Mr. Chin captures the nuances of the Muslim lifestyle and that of the wealthily political family with equal aplomb, instilling the story with thorough, emotional passages that give great depth to both the lead characters, Sayen the Muslim medical student and Campbell the wealthy son of a judge, and the supporting cast alike.
Impoverished, but brilliant, medical student Sayen stays abreast of his tuition fees because he has a wealthy, albeit secret and married, sugar daddy as a lover. Well-to-do fellow med student, Campbell, has repeatedly made advances to him and is slowly wearing him down. He is attracted to Campbell whom he has much in common with and who is his own age. Plus there would be no need to hide a relationship with Campbell, but realistically Sayen cannot give up his entire medical future simply for a relationship. Without the money to finish his education, his promise to his mother will be broken and his plans to help others won’t pan out.
All bets are off when Campbell seduces him one evening, confessing love and offering to foot his bills. Forced to make a decision and realizing that what he feels for Campbell is growing ever stronger, Sayen breaks up with his sugar daddy and the two students become live-in lovers.
The subsequent trip home to meet Campbell’s parents rivals the 1967 movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” in charm, humor, and complexity.
Never straying from the escalating romance between the two leads, the novel holds a wealth of equally powerful tales concerning family dynamics, secrets, and the fears that bind. Magical and powerful, each chapter of the book held me in throes of anticipation and read like an entire story on its own. Alan Chin utilizes evocative atmosphere, emotional subtlety, and brilliant characterization to convey a beautifully moving story in a concise, extremely captivating manner. I found myself rereading entire passages simply for the ripple of delight I felt at the wordplay. Realistic and heartwarming, with an excellent attention to detail, dazzling lovemaking scenes, and a fantastic supporting cast, the book is a treasure hiding behind a rather humorous and pimped out cover.
Upon reaching its end, I was smiling even as a tear rolled down my cheek. I realized that I held something truly rare and precious in my hands… a male/male romance novel that I, for one, will savor again and again. Thank you, Alan Chin, for sharing this poignant and enthralling tale; I’m off to find your other books.
To read the full, original review at Rainbow Reviews, go to http://preview.tinyurl.com/anxnqzf
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Reviewer: Alan Chin
Publisher: Owl Canyon Press
Cooper Chance was an army sharpshooter in Iraq who became a deserter. Now he is a mercenary in Africa, trading illegal diamonds to survive in a gritty labyrinth of thugs, prostitutes and corrupt cops. He develops a big-brother relationship with a young prostitute caught up in human trafficking, and he falls in love with a Muslim man, Sadiq, who is as lost in this troubled part of the world as Cooper is.
When huge oil reserves are discovered, the CIA offers Cooper a way to go back to the states without serving jail time. His mission: to assassinate a local warlord. He refuses the assignment but then in an effort to save the young prostitute from trafficking, he tumbles into a risky high-stakes mission that turns bad when unexpected consequences arise.
Cooper’s Promise is a well-crafted love story in the midst of the hell of poverty, diamond trading, and human trafficking. The author does a great job of putting the reader into this environment, and then making them care about the well-rounded characters.
This is a difficult story to read because of the nature of the environment. The author had tackled some pretty weighty themes that may make some readers uncomfortable. He does, however, weave these themes into the story with skill.
This story immediately sucked me into the action and held my interest throughout, but I must admit, as the plot unfolded, I found the storyline stretching the limits of believability, and also occasionally dipping into melodrama. These issues were easily overlooked because of the fast paced action and the depth of the characters.
If you’re looking for a heartfelt love story with a happily-ever-after ending, keep looking. This is a gritty, disturbing story of a love that blooms in the wrong place at the wrong time. If however, you enjoy a compelling action-filled adventure written with verve, then I can highly recommend this read.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Reviewer: Alan Chin
Publisher: Grove Press
At the turn of the twentieth century, Shed is an orphaned half-Indian bisexual boy who lives and works at a hotel/brothel in the tiny town of Excellent, Idaho. Despite being surrounded by a loving, if eccentric, surrogate family at the hotel, Shed has a growing need to find an identity among his mother’s Indian tribe. Setting off alone across an unforgiving landscape, Shed encounters a procession of extraordinary characters along the way. Although he learns a great deal about the mysteries and traditions of his Indian heritage, it is not until Shed returns to Excellent and witnesses a series of brutal tragedies that he attains the wisdom that catapults him into manhood.
Author Tom Spanbauer creates a vision of the Old West unlike anything seen before. The characters are unique, rebellious, and brimming with life. He draws the reader into each scene with a distinctive voice, and each scene becomes a single glowing strand that the author weaves into a beautifully crafted web that is both uplifting and heartbreaking.
The story is an unsettling vision quest. It reads like experiencing a dream that keeps getting more and more outlandish, yet more evocative. It is a tale of turning knowledge into understanding, and one boy’s march to manhood that all readers can relate to. I placed this book on my “favorites shelf” and I will return to it again and again.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Reviewer: Bob Lind, Echo Magazine
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press, December 2012
5 Big Stars for DADDY'S MONEY by Alan Chin
Sayen Homet is a young Muslim man, working his way through Stanford Medical School as best he can. His mother already sacrificed considerably to get him to America, and could not help him pay for school, so Sayen found another way: hooking up with an older man, his secret Sugar Daddy.
When Sayen meets Campbell Reardon, another med student with whom he feels an instant - and lustful - connection. Campbell is also rich, and is more than willing to support Sayen financially, so he ends his arrangement with the older man. As the young couple continues to date, Sayen is brought to meet Campbell's parents, and learns that his former "Sugar Daddy" is Campbell's father!
One would think the story ends there, but that's really just the start of the action, as various emotions, prejudices and grudges surface on the part of the young couple, Campbell's father (who is still in love with Sayen himself), Campbell's mother (who doesn't sit well with the news of her husband's affair), and sister Halle (who is pregnant with her Muslim boyfriend's baby.) It's a roller coaster ride, well-written and engaging in the hands of one of my favorite authors. Don't miss it! Five stars out of five.