Tag Archives: Jayne Lockwood reviews

22Dec/16

Review of The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland by Joe Cosentino

Way back when we were small, we had a wonderful time with Joe Cosentino, who regaled us with unforgettable tales from his theatrical past. To find out more about Joe and get links to his work, check out Episode 014: I Saw Bruce Willis Naked!

REVIEW

A great big dollop fairy dust has been thrown over four traditional tales of Far Far Away and made them totally fabulous. Add a dash of ribald humour, gentle digs at the straight community, and you have a what Joe Cosentino does best. Jaunty, humorous tales with a bittersweet edge.

First, we have The Naked Prince, who appears in front of poor, downtrodden Cinder (guess which tale this is…) He’s stark bollock naked and helpless, due to being robbed. He’s also a bit of a jackass, which was a refreshing twist, and the Stepmother eventually gets off with the Queen….

In The Golden Rule, Gideon Golden has been thrown out of his home by his homophobic parents (sadly, an all-too-common theme in reality.) The tale takes on a happier note when he takes shelter in an empty cottage on Bear Mountain. The three burly bears all take a shine to young Gideon, and the theme is love and acceptance.

Next, Whatever Happened To…? A size queen reporter (Jack, who has a thing for giants!) is sent to interview Pinnochio about his childhood, and discovers that Pinnochio’s nose isn’t the only appendage that grows when he tells porkies. Could this be true love and the beginning of a Happy Ever After?

And finally, Ice Cold gains its inspiration from Grimm’s The Snow Queen (or if you’re a millennial, Frozen.) Two boys, childhood friends, are orphaned and grow up together, eventually realising they are in love before one seeks adventure and falls into the clutches of Isadore, the Ice Prince. This story sets a different tone to the others and I enjoyed it most of all, as the jokey dialogue is replaced with real drama and tension.

So expect the unexpected. The bones of each traditional tale are there, but Cosentino has made mischief with just about every one of them. This is a gay new world, where all the tropes are turned on their heads, introducing other well-known characters as cameos or giving them walk-on parts. The author has a theatrical background and it shows in the dialogue. What fun this would be if it was set on the stage! (STRICTLY for adults only, of course!)

If I had a niggle, it would be that in places, the writing seemed a little clumsy when the secondary characters began squabbling. Yes, it was funny, but it took away from the major plot-lines. Not that this mattered too much. The book was an easy read, a bit of a giggle, and not too taxing on the brain cells. Is it his best book? No, but it is huge fun and has been written with so much affection, it’s very hard not to like it.

08Dec/16

Review of Coming Home Again by Scott Roche

We were delighted to have Scott Roche on the podcast very recently. To listen to his out-of-this-world interview and find out more about his work, check out Episode 078: Scott Roche – Weird On Purpose

REVIEWcominghomeagain

Doctor Max Blair is stationed at a secure government research facility when he is told to evaluate a visitor from outer space. But this is no alien. He is Captain Michael Rogers, a US Airforce pilot who was abducted in 1948. Behind the growing attraction between the two men, the government officials consider any method necessary to unlock the Captain’s secrets, thus endangering the whole planet…..

This is a well-balanced mix of science fiction and romance. First off, don’t be put off by the romance bit. Roche neatly sets up the scene in the secretive government facility and doesn’t over-simplify the science or the language. It all sounds very plausible, and he’s obviously thought of everything, from the decontamination of the visitor, some background about his captors, and explaining why he looks like he does now, without the expected accelerated atrophy of the body. I was initially reminded of the film Forever Young, but this is, dare I say it, a lot more intelligent. The growing relationship between the two leads is subtle but constant, with an undercurrent of dread for the reader that their story may not end well (no spoilers!)

The author packs a lot in 51 pages. So much so that I sense a bigger story waiting in the wings. The writing is terrific, the dialogue believable and the relationships between all the characters enjoyable to watch as they develop. Because he packs such a lot in a short space, the climax kind of hit me before I was ready for it, and it felt a little speeded up, like a 33 vinyl on 45. Also, it left a LOT of questions. What happens next? How does the Captain react to modern-day living? He falls in love with the first man he meets but what happens when he hits the streets? How is their relationship going to survive the inevitable scrutiny of government and the world media? How will the world react to the story? So many questions and I would say enough for a sequel. I really hope the author reads this and thinks about it, because this story has the potential to run and run.

 

27Jul/16

Glen & Tyler’s Honeymoon Adventure by JB Sanders

glenIt was great to have JB Sanders on our show recently. Listen to our interview with him and get links to his work on Episode 053: Glen & Tyler’s Unexpectedly Quiet Life!

REVIEW

Lots of things going on in this funtabulous fantasy. Glen and Tyler are bisexual loved-up newly-weds, the twist being that Tyler asked Glen to marry him as a business arrangement (he is only able to access his trust fund if he’s married) and it is only on their wedding day that they realise their friendship has been cunningly disguised as love all along. They even buy each other hockey teams as wedding gifts!

So far, so sweet, apart from Tyler’s ghastly family, his corporate mogul father, a beautiful but evil stepmother, a cunning bastard of a grandfather, able to screw things up from beyond the grave, and a brother that tries to seduce all of Tyler’s love interests purely for his little brother’s own well-being. Society eyebrows are raised as Tyler’s marriage to another man was not was expected or hoped for. They constantly come up against homophobia and scepticism that they are in love and their relationship is not just a marriage of convenience. And the serious point is made that they are constantly having to “come out” to people they meet for the first time. There isn’t just one “coming out” if you’re gay, it’s a process that goes on throughout life.

Meanwhile, cunning plans are put in place to separate the two cute lovebirds, and Tyler from his vast quantities of cash. There are moustache-twirling villains, (Tyler’s father and his evil, glamorous trophy wife, who doesn’t have a moustache…,) several nefarious plots to kill and kidnap, corporate intrigue, and some grumpy but very capable security guys, as well as lashings of gorgeous settings and gadgets to satisfy your inner James Bond. The hockey theme runs through out the book, but it is mainly the corporate intrigue, ruthless businessmen, nice suits and eye-watering amounts of cash being spent that I enjoyed so much.

Like I said, it’s a fantasy, a fairytale (excuse the pun), where the main heroes are gay men, married, in love and actually stay that way throughout the book without one of them dying tragically! Their affection for each other is the steel core that runs through the story, however fantastical the plot twists become. Glen is the voice of reason and calm, Tyler is the overly-generous, overly-trusting (at first) stupidly rich man who just wants to spread love around the world. Inevitably, there are people who want to stop him. There were times when I wanted to shake him and say “stop telling people how wealthy you are! They’re going to use you!” And some do, but Glen’s sensible presence strikes a note of reality.

Finally, no sex scenes but quite frankly, the book didn’t need it. There was more than enough going on without breaking off the action for a bit of rumpy pumpy (although they do have sex A LOT off camera, as it were.) And I believe that on Mr. Sander’s website, there are short stories with Glen and Tyler going at it, if you’re interested.

This book is the first in a series, and a very fun series it looks, with the newly-weds getting in all kinds of scrapes. I like Glen and Tyler. This isn’t a book for the cynical, but huge fun for anyone with a sense of fantasy, with oodles of intrigue thrown in.