Tag: Erastes

Guest Review: Junction X by Erastes

Posted December 10, 2011 by Ames in Reviews | 1 Comment

Ames’ review of Junction X by Erastes.

Set in the very English suburbia of 1962 where everyone has tidy front gardens and lace curtains, Junction X is the story of Edward Johnson, who ostensibly has the perfect life: A beautiful house, a great job, an attractive wife and two well-mannered children. The trouble is he’s been lying to himself all of his life. And first love, when it does come, hits him and hits him hard. Who is the object of his passion? The teenaged son of the new neighbours.

Edward’s world is about to go to hell.

I really enjoy Erastes’ writing and Junction X was no exception. However, I’m really struggling with how to grade this book. This book was heartbreaking – but I couldn’t put it down, even when I began to realize where it was headed.

Edward Johnson used to fool around with his neighbour. Not the wife…but the husband. But despite the physical release of those frantic meetings, Edward still longed for more. He wanted an emotional connection. He loved his wife…but he was not in love with her. And when his neighbour moved away, Edward thought that was the end of things. But then a new couple moved in next door and their son was the most beautiful person Ed had ever seen. A friendship ensued and then eventually more. And Ed knew it was wrong, but he became the consummate liar to keep his relationship going with Alex. But eventually his wife became suspicious, his friend (the former neighbour) chimed in on his activities and Ed realized that he had a choice to make…and the choices he made positively broke my heart.

I have to say Erastes drew me in and wrung me out with this story. The writing was gripping and there was some foreshadowing that clued the reader in that this was not necessarily an HEA type story. And it wasn’t. I have to get that out of the way. I would not classify this as an m/m romance if you were wondering. It was so much more. When I started this book, I was reminded of that movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road. Imagine that movie, in Britain, and then insert a hot young neighbour to the mix. That’s Junction X. The time period had so much influence on the characters. Which is how it should be. But it’s really felt here more so than in other novels I’ve read recently.

Edward’s story was fascinating and heartbreaking. I can’t even imagine what to grade it. The writing was great. But the story…I was unprepared for the way it went down. Don’t go into this thinking you’re getting a romance. There was a story about two people falling love, yes, but sometimes you fall in love with the wrong person…

But in the end, I have to give Junction X a 5 out of 5. It was compelling as hell and to be so wrapped up in a book that it breaks your heart? That’s talent.

This book is available from Cheyenne Publishing. You can buy it here in e-format.

Guest Review: Mere Mortals by Erastes

Posted September 25, 2011 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Ames’ review of Mere Mortals by Erastes.

Orphaned Crispin Thorne has been taken as ward by Philip Smallwood, a man he’s never met, and is transplanted from his private school to Smallwood’s house on an island on the beautiful but coldly remote, Horsey Mere in Norfolk.

Upon his arrival, he finds that he’s not the only young man given a fresh start. Myles Graham, and Jude Middleton are there before him, and as their benefactor is away, they soon form alliances and friendships, as they speculate on why they’ve been given this new life. Who is Philip Smallwood? Why has he given them such a fabulous new life? What secrets does the house hold-and what is it that the Doctor seems to know?

Mere Mortals was a very interesting gothic tale. Right from the beginning we are immersed in this mysterious, dark, almost foreboding atmosphere.  Told from Crispin’s point of view, I was intrigued with the mystery and loved how the setting (Norfolk countryside) really played a key role in the story.

Crispin is an orphan and has been raised in a boarding school.  When he was caught with another boy, he thought for sure he’d be booted out with nothing to his name.  But such was not the case.  Crispin became the ward of the mysterious Phillip Smallwood and after completing his final year at school, Crispin went to live with his benefactor, a man whom he’d never met.

When he arrives in Bittern’s Reach, Crispin meets two other young men whom Phillip became benefactors to:  Jude Middleton and Myles Graham. And it’s not too long before Crispin realizes both these men prefer the company of other men as well.  And then they meet their mysterious benefactor.  Phillip quickly sets their schedules up-they are to continue schooling, but they will also receive training in other areas, to be young gentleman.  He even decides on their clothing.  Despite this regimented schedule, the men do have a certain freedom on Phillip’s estate.  Unfortunately for them, living in Norfolk, to go anywhere else, they need to travel by boat.  Keeps them isolated.

As the story progresses, the setting and atmosphere really work well together to engender a feeling of quiet menace below the surface of their lives.  There’s something off a bit with the way everything is going down and Crispin isn’t quite sure what.  And the what is a bit of a surprise.  I was so engrossed in Crispin’s tale and since it’s from his point of view we only have the same clues he does to work with.  I thought it all came together in a satisfying way.  I really enjoyed Crispin’s character and thought the other characters were well done too.  But the real star of this novel was the setting.  Erastes did such a good job of placing us in that Norfolk countryside.  That really set the mood for the story, and not in an obvious way.

If you’re in the mood for a gothic historical m/m, I recommend Mere Mortals. 4 out of 5

This book is available from Lethe Press. You can buy it here in e-format.

What I Read Last Week

Posted July 11, 2011 by Tracy in Features | 9 Comments

Here we are again! It doesn’t seem possible that a whole week has gone by since I wrote last Monday’s post. Time flies when you’re old! lol
I was totally correct last week – getting up early is killing me! lol It’s definitely not easy getting up early in the morning and it’s really hard to go to bed so much earlier than I normally do just so I can get a decent amount of sleep. Luckily this is only for 3 more weeks. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? Please say right. lol
This past weekend the fam and I headed down to San Diego to see my sister who was down there for work. We ended up going to the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla and then having a picnic in Balboa Park in SD. The aquarium was small but there was a lot of interesting things for the kids to do and we had a lot of fun. The park was beautiful and the it wore the kids out so that was nice. lol
Here are a few pictures:
The view from the aquarium
My sister
My fam, my niece, her boyfriend and his kids
Checking out the tide pools
My reading wasn’t squashed as much as I thought it would be this past week. I did read shorter books in between the longer ones which was nice.
First up was Brightest Kind of Darkness by PT Michelle. This was a YA novel that I really loved. You can read my review here. 4.5 out of 5
Next up was book 2 in the Lessons in Love trilogy by Suzanne Enoch called London’s Perfect Scoundrel. This was Evelyn’s book and it was great! Evelyn decides that she’s going to volunteer some time at an orphanage that she passes all the time. But she finds that she must past muster with the Board of Trustees before she can do anything and that’s where she runs into the Marquis St. Aubyn. St. Aubyn is a rake and a scoundrel and no one that a proper lady should be associated with. St. Aubyn decides he wants to bed Evelyn but he gets much more than he bargained for when he decides to pursue her. This was a great book. Once I picked it up I had a very hard time putting it down. I loved that we got such a great deal of page time with St. Aubyn as I just loved his character. I did have a little bit of an issue with Evelyn’s family. She was seen as a total dimwit by her family but she was really pretty smart. I just couldn’t understand how they could view here that way – just because she went along with what they said all the time. That was just a little niggle and didn’t effect my overall enjoyment of the book. I can’t wait to read the next book. 5 out of 5
Next up was Muffled Drum by Erastes. This was the story of two men who fall in love and are almost torn apart by a case of amnesia. Good stuff. 4 out of 5 You can read my review here.
Next was Sympathy by Jordan Castillo Price. While delivering plants to a house in his neighborhood that always scared the bejeezers out of him as a kid Tony meets David, the new owner of the house. The story was of David and Tony getting to know each other and the strange connection David had with Tony. Good story. 3.5 out of 5
Addicted to You by Bethany Kane was my next read . This is an erotic romance but there was a great story involved here that I really liked. Katie heads to southern Illinois to try and help her friend Rill. Rill’s wife had died two years before and Rill had ended up drinking himself silly in a small town. Katie and Rill end up in bed together but during that time the two find out quite a bit about themselves. I liked the characters in this one a lot and loved seeing each of them grown during the story. 4 out of 5
Next was a short called Jennifer’s Lion by Lizzie Lynn Lee. The story was that a woman is drugged dumped in the Savannah by her so-called fiancé so that he can collect the insurance money. But Jennifer is found by a shape-shifting lion clan who takes her in. Of course the alpha wants to claim her and they’re having sex not an hour after she wakes up from certain death. I didn’t care for the story much at all – the instant sex was off-putting and there was no real depth to it at all. Then I got to the epilogue where the man goes down on the woman in his lion form – Oh heeeeeelll no. I didn’t bother reading further even though there were only 2 pages or so left. Not my cuppa, thank you. 1 out of 5
Slings & Arrows by Josh Lanyon was another short I read. This was about a college student who has a crush on one of his teacher’s assistants, Walter. He likes Walter but the pair is awkward around each other. It was very sweet and I really loved how the pair came together despite their huge communication issues. 4 out of 5
Last for the week was A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran. This was an unusual historical romance. Nell grew up in one of the worst parts of London. She finds out from her mother, right before her mother dies, that she is the daughter of an Earl. She thinks she’s a bastard daughter and goes to kill the man when she asks for money and is ignored. She finds out that not only is her father dead but she’s not the bastard daughter – she is the missing daughter who was kidnapped when she was 6 years old. The current earl wants to turn her into a lady so that she can be recognized as who she truly is as well as get the money that is due her and that they will split. Simon marries Nell but originally plans to annul the marriage if she isn’t recognized as the long lost daughter. The pair end up falling in love, but there are many people who get in their way of happiness, including themselves. A really good book that has Duran’s typical wonderful writing. The book almost had a kind of Pygmalion feel to it but it was so much more. 4.25 out of 5
My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Happy Reading!

Review: Muffled Drum by Erastes

Posted July 8, 2011 by Tracy in Reviews | 5 Comments

Bohemia, 1866
They met in a port-side tavern, their lust-filled moments stolen from days of marching and madness. After eighteen months, Captain Rudolph von Ratzlaff and First Lieutenant Mathias Hofmann have decided to run away from everything they hold dear. Resigning their commissions is social suicide, but there’s no other choice. Someone will eventually see Rudolph’s partiality toward Mathias. 
Now their plans have gone horribly awry… When Mathias goes to Rudolph’s tent after their last battle, his lover looks at him without a hint of recognition. Mathias can hardly believe the man he knew is gone. He wants to fill in so many of Rudolph’s missing memories, but the doctor says a shock could result in permanent damage. The pain of seeing Rudolph on a daily basis, when Rudolph doesn’t remember their love, is excruciating. Now Mathias must decide whether he wants to fight for the man he loves or forget him completely…
Imagine you decided to make one of the biggest decision of your life knowing that you had someone you love beside you (in your heart) and they too would be making the biggest decision of their life. You’d be nervous, sure, but you’d also be excited to start the next chapter to see what would happen. That’s what happened with Mathias Hoffman. He and his lover, Rudolph, decide to resign their commissions from the army (during a campaign, no less, so they will be completely ostracized) so that they can go live somewhere in obscurity and just be together. Mathias heads to the head officer after a battle and resigns. He then heads to Rudolph’s tent wondering if he too has already resigned. But when he reaches Rudolph’s tent there’s a celebration going on. When Mathias approaches Rudolph he discovers that not only did Rudolph not resign, Rudolph has no freakin clue who Mathias is. You see during the battle Rudolph jumped a cart on his horse – the horses hoof caught the side of the cart and Rudolph got a bump on the head. He remembers being in the army but not anything of his life from the last two years. The years where Mathias and Rudolph met and fell in love.
Mathias discovers that Rudolph is being sent home to Berlin and decides that he’s not giving up on Rudolph – he will travel with him in the hopes that his love will get his memory back. But as they travel Mathias gets more concerned that Rudolph will never recover. Mathias keeps to himself the fact that they were lovers when he shares the details of their friendship. As the two men travel toward Berlin they get closer and at one point share a kiss. But Rudolph pushes Mathias away because he can’t cheat on his boyfriend Ernst. What??? Now Mathias has to deal with his feelings toward Rudolph, his decisions about what he will do once they reach Berlin and promises he made. Needless to say this was nothing like he thought his time out of the army would go.
I have to tell you that my heart was in my throat for most of this book. The feeling and the emotion that was oozing off the pages was heart wrenching and my chest literally ached for Mathias – and at some points, Rudolph. When Mathias goes to that tent and finds out that Rudolph doesn’t know him it almost made me cry. Here this man has changed his entire life for something that no longer exists and my heart went out to him. But I so admired Mathias for sticking with Rudolph – yes, a lot of it was self-serving with Mathias hoping that he would be remembered but the love I felt from him toward Rudolph was something that couldn’t be denied.
I had a harder time getting to like Rudolph after his association with Ernst was discovered. Now, that wasn’t what we all thought it was in the end but it still made me stop and pause, wondering who exactly Rudolph was.
This is my first read by Erastes but it certainly won’t be my last. I loved her writing styles, her characterizations and the pure emotion (whether love or hate) that was put into the book. Muffled Drum is a very good historical that I will remember for quite a while.
Rating: 4 out of 5