Dark Edge of Honor - Aleksandr Voinov & Rhianon Etzweiler

Dark Edge of Honor by Aleksandr Voinox & Rhianon Etzweiler

This review is filled with parantheticals...

There’s a whole lot of backstory that is given throughout the book, so I’ll try to keep it snappy here (and pretty, too). You have Mike, an operative on a dusty backwater planet that the Alliance (vaguely good-guys) has some unknown interest in, and Sergei, part of the Doctrine (vaguely bad-guys) sources coming to take over and, no joke, indoctrinate the people. These are, coincidentally, our lovers, and through some very daring choices, they end up in the field together. (It's all a bit Romeo and Juliet.)

I was a little hard on this book as I listened to it, mostly because of what happened last time I listened to a Gay Romance. (See my review of Escape Velocity.) But toward the end I found myself more and more amazed at how much info was given without spending (too much) time on actual exposition. No, that was left to moments of reflection and brief discussions (and omissions) when the boys were just getting to know one another. It was actually nice how before they could really settle into something temporary, the rug was pulled out and something proverbial hit the fan.

And even though I was hard on the audiobook, credit must be given to Jack LeFleur, who took an almost ridiculous plot very seriously, and he read the sex scenes respectably. The fact that I set the book’s playback to three times the regular speed has nothing to do with him, but more to do with the voices of the narrators. Sparse and compact sentences just sound like you’re listening to a very long spoken word performance of romance. And that doesn’t work at all. It was too dramatic, there was too much gravitas for something that is more contrived than cunning. Listening to it faster kept the pace where it should be. Reading short sentences usually has a reader flying through the pages, after all.

I’m hopeful for this this couple, but with all the world-building and tempting unanswered questions in the background it’s almost a shame this book is standalone. I’m torn between advising buy or borrow because lovers of sci-fi and military romance will probably come back to this one again and again.

Pages: (Audiobook: 12:15)
Year: 15 August 2011
Publisher: Carina Press

Read: 2014
Stars: 3 (liked it)

Review: Family Man - Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton

One family-style pizza with extra cheese, coming up!

He’s divorcing his third wife and neighborhood guy Vince can’t help but wonder if he’s been on the wrong side of the aisle all along. He actually takes a look at a guy who may be - you know - and whom he’s known almost all his life. And Trey would look back, if he wasn’t so hell bent on saying on track. He’s got his mother and grandmother to support and a college degree that he keeps chipping away at, but still seems to be getting older as his classmates get younger. He really doesn’t have time for a guy who may be a little ‘curious’. Except if he didn’t make the time, he’d be missing out on such an amazing romance. Just writing this makes me want to pick it up again. So cute! Slow burn, sweet romance, really sexy dancing in a jazz club. Yep, nothing wrong here.

I have mixed results with Heidi Cullinan it seems. An early read of mine was her novel, A Private Gentleman which was a blend of anachronism and stunning charm, I read Dance with Me soon after and was more than a little disappointed. Marie Sexton has had much more luck with me, as I really liked Promises. But this? It was really good. Romance is hard to bag and gay romance seems to run the gamut from impossible sexcapades to bum-numbingly good seduction.

Thore Schölermann, german soap actor
The book was refreshing, there’s something sweet about a romance that blossoms into THE romance of a lifetime, and I quite enjoy a coming out story. Vince’s sister was also a lovely addition to the story, even if she was a little flat, enabling more than contributing to the plot. She reminded me of an 80s Yuppie. So much was good about this book. I felt that quite a few clichés were avoided. Except there was a variation of the inevitable hospital scene with a vague resolution. Warm Italian family? Check. Was the conflict that for brought you to the hospital in the first place ended? Uh, right…

The hospital scene (as it does in all other incarnations I’ve seen) did serve a purpose, but for some reason, I’m not sure it brought any other conflicts to a head as one might expect in a story. It may have been more true to life, but it didn’t tie any tight knots for me. The ending as well, as sweet and in character as it was with the rest of the novel, didn’t contain all the satisfaction I hoped for. All the plans made, all their dreams, did they ever come to fruition? Then again, sexy slow-burn romance was sexy.

I think that guy on the cover looks a little like Thore Schölermann from the German Soap Forbidden Love. I mean, it's almost uncanny how similar their looks are...

(Read/Skim/Miss) (Buy/Borrow)
232pp. Samhain. 12 March 2013.