Well, as you folks know, real life has been kicking my butt, and not in the fun spank-y way. I lost and gained a dog and a treadmill. The new dog has his issues and the new treadmill’s in a box. I’m way behind on a project, and I am working on a piece of my own for possible publication. There are fun AND spankings in it, thank goodness. I’ve been panting to share a book with y’all however, and I decided to let some other things wait while I got started on doing just that.
I imagine there are people my age who married out of high school, got one job they’ve kept and advanced in until now, and have lived perfectly “normal” vanilla lives. I doubt there are many these days, but it’s possible such lives still exist. I would not be one of them. Mental illness leads to unusual choices, which in turn lead to places the brave dare not go. I don’t actually recall making any choices in my 20s, I just followed the boys to wherever they were going. This pattern has actually continued in my life until I turned 40. There’s something about 40 that makes you stop and reevaluate, no matter how messed up your head happens to be. It’s pretty much the halfway mark, and if you aren’t where you’d like to be, you start thinking about how to get there. If you’re ill, you start wondering if where you’d like to be is even where you really thought it was.
The point, I guess, is that I have a lot of experiences to share, and not all of them are sunshine and roses. I’ve looked under a lot of rocks for my happiness, and was amazed to discover through therapy that I never lost it to begin with. I am honest with you folks, because the reasons I may feel a certain way about a certain book are colored by my experiences. Hence this sharing, sometimes over-sharing. If you’ve lived a different life, you might not feel the same.
The book I want to share with you is a M/M erotic thriller, which is a genre I’d never even imagined prior to the indie revolution. It is one particularly designed for me, it seems. This one in particular involves the BSDM community. So a little more sharing may be necessary here.
I was involved in this lifestyle a good many years ago now. However, the person to whom I gave my trust was not well with his own choices, and did not have the slightest idea how responsible people do these things. It was a great surprise to me to learn of safe-words, and limits discussed, and contracts that either party could break. I was making scary choices for some man, as usual, and I’m very lucky I did not get more than my pride hurt. I have since learned that people can make other choices that will make both of them happy.
And so, Power Exchange, by AJ Rose. I seem to recall I read a mention or review of this by my dear friend T. Baggins, and put it on my list of books to check out when I had money to buy books. Life is often on a paycheck to paycheck basis around here, so I didn’t get back to it for a while. Since zombies have eaten my brain, it’s hard to remember exactly what I read that put it on my list, but when I investigated, this blurb seemed to have been written with me specifically in mind.
“From the moment Detective Gavin DeGrassi steps into the world of BDSM to solve the brutal slaying of Dom George Kaiser, his course is not his own. Mesmerized by the context in which the victim lived and the images seared into his soul, Gavin has to find a way to navigate these unknown waters. With his personal life in upheaval due to a marital split, and his professional life uncertain with the assignment of a new partner, Gavin needs all the help he can get understanding the case.
Enter Ben Haverson, a psychologist and a well known Dom. With Ben’s help as a consultant on the case and attention to Gavin himself, Gavin delves deeper than he ever thought he would into the world of restraints and paddles. Forced to take a closer look at himself, his true nature, and his innermost desires, Gavin has a choice: keep the fear of submitting at bay, or dive in and solve the case with the knowledge he gains? When another victim is discovered, Gavin’s choice is made for him, and he’s pulled headlong into the deepest, most emotional journey of his life.
Unfortunately for him and Ben, a killer has noticed, has taken stock, and has set his sights on the D/s pair. Can Gavin outwit him, or will his first exchange of power be his last?”
Could I ask for anything more?! Police procedure, BSDM, AND a sexually motivated signature killer?! Not to mention some particularly erotic erotica? Although I’d had a recent bad experience with a book that I shared with you in a past review, I trust my friend T. not to steer me wrong. And I am so glad that I do.
Power Exchange is very simply amazing. From character creation to pacing, this one is hitting on all cylinders. There’s romance, an excellent coming out sub-plot, a smidge of family drama, and some beautifully described bondage that seems to fit perfectly within my own limits. Creating a mental picture for the reader does not require over-writing, and this is a concept that Rose has proven perfectly here. Dialogue is another place where a writer may shine or fall flat, and Power Exchange succeeds in capturing unstilted real life. I guess that’s the bottom line. Everything you read, whether it meshes with your experience or is wildly outside of it, comes across as entirely authentic. That’s what they say authors must do, isn’t it? Write the truth. There’s a lot of truth in Power Exchange.
On the Imaqulotta Scale, I rate this book as Heavenly.
I have a blog planned for you. Unfortunately, I also have a project that is way overdue. AND something I am trying to write. So, it may be a week or so, maybe even two. I appreciate your patience.
As longtime readers have probably noticed, zombies and zombie killers have recently eaten my brain, my homework, and pretty much my waking life. Prior to this, however, another paranormal creature ruled my heart. From my first viewing of Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter, which scared the life out of me at 6, they’ve been MY monster. I told a boy on the bus when I was 9 that I was going to be the “bride of a vampire” when I grew up. My fifth grade report, complete with custom made black cover, was about vampires. I carried a copy of The Vampire Lestat in my purse my entire sophomore and junior years. I saw The Lost Boys over 100 times in theaters. From folklore to fiction, I have studied our fanged friends pretty extensively. I suppose it’s hardly surprising that I grew to be a spooky kid, and an adult whose wardrobe contains entirely too much black. As IF such a thing was possible!
Thanks to a certain book trilogy, many people think vampires are passé, a joke. I would not be one of them. I vaguely remember the uproar when Anne Rice had her vampires able to see themselves in mirrors, despite the fact that this is mostly a Hollywood affectation that I don’t recall reading in any folklore I have researched. Mess with what people “know” about vampires, which was mostly established by the late great Bela Lugosi in 1931, at your peril. Fans will lambast you endlessly. Internet humorists will create sarcastic memes about you. Of course, as I have said in the past, I am sure this troubles the authors of such works not at all. Legends deserve reinvention from time to time.
The novel I want to share with you today is the first publication of a friend of mine, Nicholai Conliff. Although our face to face meetings have been few, Nicholai’s name popping up on any social network we’ve shared has always been a reason to smile. Whether it was a blog post or merely a status update, his words always had a certain precision I enjoyed. So, of course, when he told me he’d finished his debut novel, I was thrilled, and lucky to be among its first readers. I enjoyed Unburied, and I’ll enjoy sharing it with you.
According to the author: “74-year-old Ashley Miller, a former child soldier of the German army in World War II, spends what should have been his old age in peaceful isolation: he keeps his lawn up to neighborhood standards, listens to records, sticks to his diet, longs for the faces that have left his life . . . and hasn’t aged a day since 1942.
Part historical, part literary horror, UNBURIED oscillates between past and present to form a cohesive dual narrative dismissing the tropes of paranormal genre fiction.”
Unburied reveals itself skillfully, in teasing glimpses. The historical elements are an integral part of the story, but are very immediate to the reader. This is not a typical modern vampire story, although elements of folklore are used that the casual fan might not even recognize. Epic in scope, the piece manages to be character driven. This is a moody, atmospheric, densely packed book, full of feeling. It’s not for the faint of heart. Unburied is unpredictable, because it departs from what we’ve come to expect from horror. It shies from nothing, but Conliff has not come to the table to be crass. There’s a word we don’t hear very often lately—dread. That’s just what is invoked here.
On the Imaqulotta Scale, I rate this book to be Heavenly.