Tag Archives: Jayne’s Book Reviews

16May/20

Hallelujah by Kim Fielding and F.E. Feeley Jr.


To find out more about Kim Fielding and F E Feeley Jr. and their work, check out the following episodes! For Kim, there is

Kim Fielding – Episode 266 – Marry In A Cemetery!

And for F E Feeley Jr., Episode 255 – The State Of The Queer Union!

If I’m totally honest, I was avoiding this book at first. The cover was tempting. Show me a tornado and it’s usually a must-read, but I wasn’t sure of the premise. Demons, a religious backstory; in these times, I can’t cope with anything too weighty and dystopian. Real life is a bit too much like a disaster movie at the moment, and we can’t predict what the ending will be.

And yes, there are serious issues in this book, the state of the world today, war between states and countries, climate change, man’s inhumanity to man. There’s bleakness and horror which cannot be denied BUT:

Then I remembered When Heaven Strikes, another book with a tornado, written by F E Feeley Jr, and I remembered how I loved it, so I took the plunge. From the first moment, I felt for choir master, Joseph, who in the first part of the book (1991) had turned his back on his musical dreams to support his father on the family farm. He was torn about how he would ever be accepted in his hometown if he came out, and his relationship with his father is prickly. His church seem determined to see him paired off with the sister of the man Joseph secretly longs for. Oh, and Joseph also sees dead people. Some of them are quite persistent, but he is in denial about his talent, and hasn’t found a way to deal with it affectively.

So far, so earnest, but after some demonic activity, the story veers off in an unexpected direction, with hot and tender scenes which were a welcome respite from the encroaching menace. Then tragedy strikes, and the scene closes on 1991.

Skip forward to the present day, and Joseph is still working the farm. He’s given up on being a choir director and is literally treading water, unable to move on with his life.

I’m not going to spoil it for you, but Joseph is compelled to head off into the desert with a mysterious Creole woman, Francine, who says she is his distant cousin. Francine has a message from the past, warning Joseph he is being hunted by the demon who has haunted him for most of his life. As they search for answers, Joseph also has to deal with questioning his faith, and the constant company of a familiar ghost who he isn’t ready to let go of.

Okay, so that doesn’t sound a barrel of laughs, but trust me, this is an expertly woven tale, with likeable characters and a good dose of humour to balance the darker scenes and themes. Joseph is supported by equally compelling secondary characters who enrich the story and give it a colourful energy. I read the book over three nights and was totally hooked.

Can I address the Stephen King thing? To invite comparison is also to invite criticism. Forget King; this is something else. Something unique to these authors. I’m not saying it’s better than King, or worse. It’s totally different. Comparisons are impossible and pretty unfair, if I’m honest.

There’s a road trip, magic that is written in a way that you totally believe it, a respect for religion that I wasn’t expecting, a running theme based around Leonard Cohen’s masterful rendition of Hallelujah, and a powerful, satisfying denouement. The writing was excellent, the plotting off the scale. It was an imaginative, hugely enjoyable journey and I’m so glad I was given the opportunity to read it.

BLURB

Can you hear it?

Whispering in the dark.

Secrets only the dark knows.

Joseph Moore, choir director for the First Baptist Church of Lenora, Nebraska, has secrets of his own. Terrible, lonely secrets. One that involves natural human desire. One that calls forth powers he cannot begin to understand. Both with the potential to destroy him and those he loves.

Now the world is changing. The darkness, the shadows, the ghosts, are closing in—and Joseph and his lover, Kevin, are being stalked by a merciless demon, hell-bent on possession.

Can you hear it now?

There in the dark.

It’s whispering your name.

19Aug/16

The Biggest Lover (Big-Boned Mens’ Erotica) edited by R. Jackson

TheBiggestLover

It was a privilege to talk to Ron Suresha earlier this year. To hear our frank conversation with him and find out more about his work, listen to Episode 045 – The Deliciousness

REVIEW

A confession: I had this book on my Kindle for a while before I gathered up the balls to read it. Why? Because I knew it wasn’t aimed at middle-class English ladies, and quite frankly, I was a bit nervous. Not sure what to expect. I didn’t want any previously undiscovered, deeply-buried prejudices to mar my enjoyment of the book. Thank goodness I found out two things. I don’t have deeply-buried prejudices concerning larger than life people, and this book is a glorious celebration of a culture I knew nothing about, and which I now have a great respect for.

This is a  wonderful, quality anthology by several authors, packed full of erotic, tender, funny stories, thoughtfully and skilfully chosen by R. Jackson. A couple are downright disturbing, involving food and eating (though I’m not the target readership, so maybe they are not.) It would be hard to pick a favourite. It is a big, meaty read on all levels. The reader is not pandered to, but embraced and welcomed into a great big bear hug. “This is our world. Welcome, friend, but do not judge.”

People come in all shapes and sizes, but the fact that Chubs, Chasers and Bears are marginalised by literature, as well as overall society, gives this anthology an edge.  It is rare to have a collection that is so evenly paced in quality, but it is clear each story has been carefully chosen to give sub-genres of the Bear community a voice. I’m glad that I was able to read it, because it gave me a privileged glimpse into a private world of men who feel left on the side-lines because of their size. In these stories, the overall feeling is acceptance and love for who they are, rather than being obliged to squeeze into the roles that society feels able to cope with.

These stories celebrate big men, and show that their size doesn’t have to be a barrier to having the same needs and aspirations as anyone of a “normal” size. One of the cancers of our society is to judge others simply for the way they look, whether they are too slim or of size, ugly or beautiful, forgetting that people have souls. To not appreciate people for who they are is to rob oneself.

So this book is a celebration, a humorous, beautiful, melancholy and ultimately uplifting collection from some fine authors, including Suresha himself. If I had to choose a standout, it would be …. no, I can’t choose. This is a book to be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys buying in bulk. Anyone who reads it will get something out of it. A beautiful and inspirational read.

And did I say the sex was hot too….?

19Aug/16

Prisoner 374215 by Angel Martinez

PRISONER

Angel Martinez is one busy bunny, being being a chief collaborator with Mischief Corner Books, a prolific writer of sci-fi novels and having time to visit us on more than one occasion! Find out more about Angel and her work on her latest episode with us. Episode 069 – Now With Bonus Content!

REVIEW

What an unusual gem of a book this is. Set in a bleak future, it is the story of an unnamed prisoner, kept in solitary confinement and treated with nothing but contempt. His only companion is a prison guard he has called Scar, but this man barely speaks. Sometimes he offers a tiny bit of comfort, but the prisoner thinks he is imagining it. He dare not hope otherwise.

As we gradually discover who the the prisoner is and why he is being treated so badly, a chink in the granite armour of Scar seems to be widening. This story is so beautifully told, not flinching away from the brutality of the situation, but crafting a gradual relationship forming between prisoner and guard. I did not dare to hope that this story would end well. I was not disappointed with the ending. It is well worth checking this story out. Amidst the grey cells and hideous cruelty, hope dares to flourish. I cannot say more without ruining the surprise.

A very rewarding and cleverly told tale.