Saturday, March 24, 2012

REVIEW: Hung Hunk Tales by Troy M. Grant

Hung Hunk TalesHung Hunk Tales by Troy M. Grant
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hung Hunk Tales features guys with big dick as its main kink in its anthology of gay erotica. Other kinks include spontaneous sex, bareback sex, popping cherries, and physically smaller tops. There is a slight D/s-esque tone in most of these stories.

The short stories are largely formulaic: shy guy see hung hunk, shy guy stalk hung hunk, hung hunk see shy guy, hung hunk grab shy guy and then make shy guy blow him and lastly penetrate him. The 8 short stories total to an approximate count of 20,500 words and are written in 1st PoV.

The Stories

Baseball Bargain follows the formula. It is told from Nate's side. Eric the physically smaller top see Eric peeking and soon he is topping Nate. This story is one of the four that use condom in its sex scene.

Shower Sub Service is the near same as its predecessor. It is told from Gavin's side. Instead of Eric, it is Ross who is the physically smaller top.

Size Counts slightly deviates from the formula. It is told from Jake's side. Jake isn't submissive and shy as the previous two protagonists were. There are a total of three sex scenes, two short ones at the start and one long at the end. The two short ones are blowjobs Jake received from his friends. The long one take place the next year where Jake loses his virginity with Luke the physically smaller top.

Small Town, Big Dick is non-formulaic. It is told from Jimmy's side, the top's side. It is a May/December pairing. Jimmy meets "daddy" Scott, and then tops him. It the second story to use condom.

Jungle Fuck is also non-formulaic. The narrator and his friend Ike have a menage a trois with some "jungle hunk." There is a masturbation scene and then all three young men blowjob each other.

Freshman Innocence continues the formula, with a few differences. It is told from Dan's side, Dan the physically smaller hung hunk who gets drooled over. Chip the college jock tops Dan. It is the third story to use condom.

Foreign Temptation is the near same as Small Town, Big Dick but opposite and with one pleasant surprise. It is a May/December pairing and is told from the middle age man. He gets topped by Armando, the young hung hunk. The ending is a HEA, making this short story an erotic romance, imo, instead of an erotica.

He’s No Angel is somewhat formulaic. It told from Ben's side and Ben is submissive but he isn't shy to get what he wants an he wants Angel. Angel is nicknamed so his face but his attitude is that of a demon. The demon-like top insults Ben, make Ben BJ him, and then penetrates Ben. The short story is the heaviest in its D/s-esque tone compared to the other short stories. It is the fourth and last story to use condom.


I rate the Hung Hunk Tales 3 stars for I liked it. The eight stories were successfully smutty. There were no editing errors I could see. Freshman Innocence and Foreign Temptation were my two favorite short stories.

Amazon GoodReads

Thursday, March 22, 2012

REVIEW: Daydreamer by Michael S. Booker

DaydreamerDaydreamer by Michael S. Booker
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Daydreamer is a mm-romance of approximately 6800 words told in 3rd PoV from Jesse Warner's side. The story begins with Jesse moaning about his single status to Mason Turner over coffee at Starbucks. Acting as best friend, Mason decide to set up Jesse on a blind date with Gabe Marquez, Mason's college classmate.

Jesse and Mason existed as a dichotomy. Jesse is a romantic at heart. He is relationship-minded and desperate for love. He cannot give away his body without giving his heart alongside. Mason is a party boy. He is self-proclaimed slut and loudly proud of it. He doesn't hesitate to prude-shame his best friend or participate in orgies given a chance. Both friends are young, male, and gay — all three attributes with a perchance of being stereotyped for promiscuity. Mason was stereotypical to parodic extreme, while Jess was atypical to an unrealistic extreme on the other side of the spectrum.

I liked Jesse, but I didn't care for Mason. I perfectly related to Jesse on many levels to the point where I could have easily imagined Jesse as myself. I found Mason arrogant, shallow, and his teasing of Jesse unfunny. One reason Mason would play matchmaker with Jess instead of sleeping with Gabe himself because Gabe, like Jesse, was not into casual sex. Thus it was not completely altruistic on Mason's part. I was happy to see that Mason appeared only in one scene. I didn't hate Mason but he was hardly likable.

Beside Jesse, I liked Gabe too. I confess, I wasn't delighted when Mason told Jess that Jesse was fresh from an amicable break-up with his ex-girlfriend and that Jesse recently discovered his bisexuality. I was afraid for Jesse that Gabe might use Jesse for a sexual experiment, but then I quickly realize if that was true Gabe would have done it with Mason who would have been all too happy for it. My fears were completely unfounded, and Gabe was every bit a nice guy.

I liked Jesse, I liked Gabe, I didn't hate Mason, and I liked the plot. So why the low rating? It is because the story had an abrupt ending. The sexual tension was built up so nicely and then BAM! it was over. So when I finished the story, I didn't realize I had finished the story. I had to re-read the ending to double-check the story's completeness, that this wasn't some sort of an excerpt — it wasn't. Daydreamer had a HEA which I generally love, but I love them when they are developed well. Daydreamer could have use a few more paragraphs. Because of this one flaw, it was enough for me to bring it down a star. I was almost tempted to rate the short story one star out of sheer annoyance. Yes, the flawed ending was that big of a deal for me.

In short, I rate Daydreamer two-stars for it was okay. I liked everything but the poorly developed HEA ending.

Amazon GoodReads

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

REVIEW: Ice Cage by Yamila Abraham

Ice CageIce Cage by Yamila Abraham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I rarely read ménage fiction, yet what lured me to Ice Cage was the smutty cover depicting a ménage à trois and the book description telling me it is about a ménage à trois. For the most part, the book gave me what I expected — graphic sex scenes of ménage à trois. There was a total of two graphic sex scenes, one in the middle and one at the end. Yet, there was something else I didn't expect.

The 7000-words story is told in 3rd PoV from Tyler's side. In Ice Cage, Tyler is trying to fend off Mikhail and Sebastian's seduction. Because the story starts off with Mikhail playfully spanking Tyler as some sort of joke/present/flirting for Tyler's birthday, I could tell Tyler was reaching his tipping point where he could no longer resist the scientists' amorous advance... or his own sexual needs.

Ice Cage has three characters. There was Tyler, a poor Italian ESL teacher who just turned 27 years old. There was Sebastian, a gay 47-years old Austrian scientist with a neat-freak tendency. Finally, there was Mikhail, a married 53-years old Russian scientist turned "prison gay" during the 50 weeks a year stuck in an isolated igloo for some science thingy.

What I did not expect was a romance between Tyler and Sebastian. Mikhail acted as a third wheel; he was just there for sex's sake satisfying his own sex drive. The romance between Tyler and Sebastian pleasantly surprised me. What also surprised me was how I didn't find Mikhail to be intrusive. Perhaps, I did find Mikhail to be unnecessary and probably would like the story better if the sex was just between Tyler and Sebastian (though, tbh, I'm not sure if that would make sure sense plot-wise). But for sure, I didn't Mikhail's presence intrusive.

To reiterate, Ice Cage was a short story of approximately 7000 words. This was 3/4 of the book, the last 1/4 of book was an excerpt from Incubus Master: Scor's Story by the same author. Overall, Ice Cage was a smutty, slightly sweet read. I rate it three stars for I liked it. I would have liked it some more if it was longer, i.e. a third sex scene, or had graphic illustrations because the cover-art was hot! Regardless, I found the HEA ending wholesomely satisfying.

Amazon GoodReads

REVIEW: Subtle Experiments by Stephanie Dart

Subtle Experiments Subtle Experiments by Stephanie Dart
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Subtle Experiment is a 3200-words story that is split into three parts: Childhood, High School, and College. Each part contains one scene, all three scenes showing Josh's interaction with Chance. Told in 1st PoV from Josh's side, the story chronicle Josh's slow acceptance of his sexuality and ultimately himself. Coupled with the coming-out plot is the development of the relationship between Josh and Chance, hence the reason for why Chance is in all three scenes.

Though the story was very short, it told alot. I learned Chance's father is the reason why Chance has no problems with gay people because his father is gay — who probably taught Josh to be open-minded as I deduced and assumed. I learned Josh's grandparents is the reason why Josh refused to accept that's he gay. I got the impression that Josh was an orphan living under the guardianship of his grandparents which explains how they greatly influenced him with their bigotry.

I had difficulty liking Josh in the beginning of the story. I read how he started smoking in his childhood as a way to fit in — which was stupid, imo, because 1) it hardly worked and 2) resulted in a filthy habit from Childhood to High school. Based on what happened in Childhood and High School, I got the impression that Josh self-ostracized himself more than his peers ostracizing him. Only Chance was ever there for Josh, even when Chance was a popular jock in high school and there were gay rumors about him and Josh.

The ending was nice, but I felt 2/3 satisfied with it. From Childhood to College, Josh was a grumpy misfit. I couldn't empathize with Josh, he needed an attitude adjustment. Moreover, I wish the ending was longer or there was an extra part showing Josh being happy and nicer. With Chance, of course. I like the story mostly because of Chance and because of the cover-art.

Overall, the short was nice. I rate it 2-stars for it was okay. It would have been three-stars had Josh showed some character development, i.e. an attitude adjustment.

Amazon GoodReads

Saturday, March 10, 2012

REVIEW: Extinction Point by Paul Jones

Extinction Point Extinction Point by Paul Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

CAUTION: Long Review, Slight Spoilers

I hesitated reading Extinction Point (EP) because I did not care for the author's other Apocalyptic book, Towards Yesterday. However, when the author offered me a free copy I took the opportunity. At most I would have wasted my time and be placed in an awkward situation of low-star rating the book. Yes, it's that same kind of awkwardness when Grandma gives you a present... and it's an ugly sweater. Fortunately, I found the book thoroughly enjoyable.

EP starts off with Emily Baxter on a reporting gig. I instantly like Emily the first time I read her internal monologue about weird magazines found in waiting areas. My affection for her increased when Emily refused to accept any nonsense from the hooky-playing receptionist, barring Emily from her appointment. All that happened in the first scene, a short scene. A definite strong start the book have. Already I was rooting for Emily and salivating to read more of her. The book did not disappoint.

Exclusively told from Emily Baxter's side in 3rd PoV, the story is about Emily trying to survive the Apocalypse alone. Not that she had any choice since everyone else was dead. By luck or genetic Emily managed to survive the plague brought on a mysterious weather phenomenon dubbed as "Blood Rain." The book pulled no punches, the first time Emily saw herself truly alone was after witnessing her boyfriend's spontaneous gory death. Later on she tried calling her parents in Florida. No one answered. Ever. Emily then walked to her neighbor's place where a mother and a father and their little boy were dead. From the blood spill and stain, they too must have suffered a spontaneous gory death. Dead person here, dead person there, dead people everywhere. Blood all around. Emily go crazy?

The Character(s?)

+++ Emily

No, Emily did not go crazy. She did screamed some when she saw her boyfriend dying in front of her. But that was it. The story could have made Emily go bat-shit crazy at the blood bodies surrounding her, but it didn't.
Death was coming for her, she knew and waited. It was just a matter of seconds before she joined Nathan and the millions of victims across the world who had already succumbed to this violent, insidious red-plague. What was strange though was with the inevitability of her death came a serenity of sorts, a calmness within her mind as everything complicated in her life ceased to matter. Her only responsibility now was to wait.

The cold honesty of her situation, the simplicity of it all, was a welcome relief.

So, she waited.
I tearless wept for Emily when I read that passage. I was delighted when she managed to pull herself together quickly after. However, I soon noticed this "cold honesty of her situation" became somewhat of a repeated occurrence. I was happy to see Emily being well aware of the danger she placed herself in, even when was she weaponless. I was not happy how that same "cold honesty of her situation" made her quickly resign to death when face with danger and seemingly no chance of escape. Many times when I wanted to scream "Don't give up!" at her. Nevertheless, as far as character flaws goes, this "cold honesty of her situation" was very low on my irritation scale. I hardly ever thought she was annoying because of it, I thought the flaw made her more real as a person.

Throughout the story, Emily was smart and resourceful. She achieved a good balance between her paranoia that was brought on by the Apocalypse and her inquisitiveness that made her a talented reporter. I did have moments where I didn't know what she was doing or why she was doing it, but I didn't doubt her action. I was confident knowing whatever Emily did she did it for a good reason.

Emily Baxter was a kick-ass heroine in the fact that she did things and got things done. She may have been weak in front of the WTFkery mutants the Apocalypse birthed — what average person wouldn't, but when she had an opportunity to overcome them she instantly took it. When she got hurt, she didn't shrug it like it's nothing. She said ouch, disinfect it, and then let it rest like a reasonable person.

Bonus part was her morbid humor. That was icing on the character cake.
Some messages explained their authors were hunkering down and hoping to ride out the storm, there were even one or two that dismissed the threat as nothing more than mass hysteria.

How'd that work out for you? Emily wondered.
LOL. Absolutely hilarious. Too bad no one was there to appreciate this irony or to tell “I told you so”...'cause, you know, they're all dead.

+++ Thor

He's a dog, specifically an Alaskan Malamute. He saved Emily from the WTFkery mutant. He's trained, so trained that despite starvation he won't eat until Emily had to give the Eat command. Nothing more to say except I love him. I kinda wish he showed up earlier in the story, but then it might have lessen the impact of his arrival. The story really want to pull the point across that Emily Baxter was alone.

+++ WTFkery mutants

The dead bodies didn't stay dead for long... No, they didn't became zombies. This is what made EP distinctive from the common Apocalyptic books. Instead, the mysterious red thing from the "Blood Rain" molded the various body parts into some sort of creatures I don't know what it is but I personally nicknamed them as WTFkery mutants. As the story described these, um, things were about grotesque as a leaf-nosed bat — I dare you to google that — or the human centipede from that...well, The Human Centipede films.

More than the WTFkery mutants, what made EP scary-good was well how it build up the suspense of Emily meeting a WTFkery mutant for the first time. Second was the fact that some of them were not aggressive. You read right. Some. Not all. Some.
How ironic was it, she thought, that in every alien invasion movie she had ever seen, every sci-fi book she had ever read, the aliens were always either intent on eating us or just misunderstood. No one ever seemed to consider the possibility they might just ignore us completely; that the survivors of the human race might be so very inconsequential to their plan.
No kidding. How dare some of these WTFkery mutants ignore Emily. All of them should be trying to chase and devour her. Get with the Apocalyptic act, would you? /sarcasm. LOL.

Addressing the Apocalyptic Issue

+++ cause of apocalypse

The story addressed all the finer points of the Apocalypse very well. The events leading up and after "Blood Rain" were well built. The red thing that made everyone died and change into WTFkery mutants were well developed — I was pleasantly surprised at how scientific Emily was in her examination of the Apocalyptic red thingy. There many theories Emily played around; the one seem best to me was that it was some sort of an alien virus. EP never outright said what it is, thus the answers — including the one why the Apocalypse happened — lies in future books which I eagerly look forward to.

+++ get your weapon

EP seem to accurately describe what an Apocalyptic survivor would have to do to keep on surviving. One thing that slightly irked me what that I wished Emily would have got her hand on a weapon as soon as possible. It's always smart to run away and hide, but there are times when that isn't feasible. I hope in future books, Emily would always have a weapon at hand. Like Gin Blanco from my favorite Urban Fantasy series, the Elemental Assassin. That kick-ass heroine never walk anywhere without her silver knives.

+++ travel by... bike?

The biggest issue — of the very few issues — I had with EP was the bike. Um... Is Emily going to travel to Alaska by bike? Not that it's impossible, but it doesn't seem very practical. Or fast. If Emily can't travel by car because of all the abandoned cars blocking the roads, why not a motorcycle? It's almost as slim as a bike that she can move through tight passages. I hope this issue is quickly addressed and resolved in the sequel.

+++ travel by... bike? [ETA]

I finally figured out why Emily would pick a bike. The answer was there right all along, it just took a while for me to get it through my head. Anyway, the reason is because if it's anything is broken, she can fix the bike. Yet...

I guess it's because I'm mostly focusing how the book is set up. The book is divided into seven parts, each part is a day. Each day consist of multiple chapters. If the next book is going to be the same, divided into days, then I wonder how many days it would take for Emily to bike from NYC to Alaska.

A few reasons why I find a motorcycle more practical is because what if a WTFkery mutant start chasing her? It's easier to make a quick getaway on a motorcycle than on a bike. A bike would require exercise on her part, while with motorcycle all she needs is gasoline. What happens if she's injured or too tired to ride a bike and then a WTFkery mutant or a bunch appear? A bike won't help. And there's only so many she can shoot, assuming if she's an accurate shooter, assuming if the mutants can die with bullet wounds, assuming if the mutants can even be pierced with bullets.

The book always made me aware of the time. Emily riding a bike doesn't really push the point of how urgent it was that she need to escape the city full of WTFkery mutants and reach the haven in Alaska.

If riding a motorcycle is simply too scary for her, there's always the scooter.

The Editing

For a self-published book, EP was well edited. Nonetheless there were some mistakes, mostly of the rogue punctuation kinds. I believe I only noticed them because I literally read EP word for word. That's how good the book was; I didn't skim anything. The followings are mistakes I found:
[Her stomach gave an anticipatory grumble. .] Kindle Location 182. There's an extra period.

[As Emily ’s eyes roamed the buildings,] Kindle Location 590. There's an extra space in the possessive noun.

[Obviously, the power was still on because her alarm clock was still working,.] Kindle Location 1688. There's a rogue comma before the period.

[intent on insinuating themselves into every nook and crevice of the apartment and the city. .] Kindle Location 1925. There's an extra period.

[Waggghhhhrrrrrgh!] Kindle Location 2065. This needs to be italicized like the other onomatopoeia.

[She took the bergen and left it near the front door while she grabbed her jacket .] Kindle Location 2415. There's a space before the period.

[was loose enough she wouldn’t end up accidentally stabbing herself .] Kindle Location 2420. There's a space before the period.

[She began to breathe a little easier ,] Kindle Location 2920. There's a space before the comma.

[what he liked to call ’the best bargains on two wheels‘.] Kindle Location 3116 The type of single quotation marks are not correct. It's supposed to be ‘ first, and ’ second.

[It was intoxicating..] Kindle Location 3186. There's an extra period.

[911] Kindle Location 370, 457, and 585. These are supposed to be "9/11" to denote it as an event, not an emergency number.
These are the mistakes I found in my first reading the book. However, as I said before, I only noticed them because I literally read EP word for word. There was nothing I found boring about EP at all.

+++ The Editing [ETA]

They're fixed.


EP was great. I give it four-stars for I really liked it. It's been a while since I read a well developed science-fiction Apocalyptic book. I recommend this book for readers who looking something other than zombies, zombies, and more zombies. If readers like me who were not at all a fan of Towards Yesterday but still want to give the author a second chance, this is it right here.

I'm biased in favor for a single PoV, so I hope the future books will stick with Emily. EP is a strong start of a series. This is a bit frightening for me because I don't know how the next book will top this one.

Amazon GoodReads